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Dec 22nd
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Features

The Indispensable Expendables

The Indispensable Expendables

Local reggae-punk stars celebrate 15 years of skating, surfing and rocking out

Way back when they first started jamming with one another, the members of Santa Cruz reggae-punk outfit The Expendables used to joke that each member of the band could easily be replaced.

"We were all pretty bad at our instruments when we first started playing, and we would always call each other 'expendable,'" recalls Adam Patterson, the band’s drummer and vocalist. But if The Expendables have proven anything over the course of the 15 years they've been writing and performing music, it's that they are anything but a throwaway band.

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Love Your Local Band

Big Medicine Head

Big Medicine Head

When asked why Big Medicine Head keeps making music after all these years, Bob Gemmell, the band’s singer, lyricist and guitarist, sums it up: “We make the time.” They also take their time. The band’s forthcoming effort, The Handsome Years, due out next spring, was supposed be released before the 2013 Summer Love-Off—Big Medicine Head’s annual tour—but they knew the album wasn’t ready.

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Features

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Sans band, Drew Holcomb gets reacquainted with his music

Drew Holcomb is not the man he was a few years ago. It’s normal for people to evolve over time, but Holcomb’s growth has played out in his music for all to see. This is most evident on Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ 2013 release, Good Light.

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Love Your Local Band

Rudebrat

Rudebrat

Upon discussing the title of his newest release, The Quick and the Dead EP, 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist and dubstep artist Jake Bratrude—scramble his last name and you get his stage name, Rudebrat—unintentionally describes his work ethic. “It’s like a saying from way back in the day during the Civil War,” Bratrude begins. “You have to be either really fast and pay a lot of attention [to] survive, or you can be slow and get left behind and die eventually.

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Features

Life Distractions

Life Distractions

Santa Cruz gets whisked away by The Mantles

An amusing thing happens when an artist releases a new record. Suddenly, there’s a mad dash to define the album and the artist themself. The xx has become synonymous with make-out music, Adele is the go-to heartbreak healer, Daft Punk brings the dance party, Robin Thicke brings the sexism—you get the idea.

So when the Oakland/San Francisco-based quintet The Mantles released its sophomore LP in June—Long Enough to Leave—the Internet was quick to label the lo-fi album (albeit the most polished and poppy Mantles release to date) as the ultimate summer soundtrack, due to jangly, glimmering guitars and forlorn, searching lyrics.

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Love Your Local Band

Lara Price and the Velvet Plum Band

Lara Price and the Velvet Plum Band

Local singer Lara Price is constantly redefining herself as an artist. “I’m always trying to grow and evolve,” she says. “I feel like I still haven’t really found my voice yet. I’m still looking for it.” In her search to find her elusive voice, Price has joined a variety of music projects. In addition to her own blues and unplugged endeavors, Price has teamed up with Militia of Love and the Santa Cruz Sirens Burlesque, and performs with Girls Got the Blues and the Velvet Plum Band. She’ll share the stage with the latter on Friday at Michael’s On Main.

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Features

Making their Mark

Making their Mark

Eliquate dusts off, releases ‘A Chalkboard’s War Against Erasers’

The road to success is littered with obstacles that many artists never overcome. But where others stop and think, Eliquate charges ahead; bumps, scrapes, and the once looming threat of homelessness be damned. “To put it in perspective for you,” says Elliot Wright, lead vocalist/MC, “on our first tour, we left right after getting evicted out of our house … the first, second, and third tour were like that. We came back and were totally, like, shit homeless.”

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Love Your Local Band

Asher

Asher

Listening to his upbeat, upstroke-heavy, acoustic tunes, you're more likely to think about spending a relaxing day at the beach, soaking up sun, surf and good vibes than anything remotely negative. But according to Asher Stern—known to his fans simply as Asher—his current sound is a far cry from the stuff he was playing when he first picked up the guitar. The long-time Santa Cruz denizen says he was an angry adolescent—"mad at the world"—when he began writing music at the age of 16. It could have been his distaste for high school or the prospect of an adulthood dominated by a soul-sucking 9-to-5.

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Features

Roky’s Road

Roky’s Road

To hell and back with Roky Erickson

In the spring of 1969, hot on the heels of a bust that would earn Timothy Leary a 20-year prison sentence for the possession of two marijuana roaches, Texas authorities brought the hammer down on another prominent psychedelic drug advocate: 22-year-old Roky Erickson, vocalist for the first group ever to bill itself as a psychedelic rock band. For the possession of a single joint, the 13th Floor Elevators frontman faced a potential 10 years of incarceration. After pleading insanity to escape this sentence, Erickson was sent to Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he lived among people who had committed some of the most mind-boggling atrocities imaginable.

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Love Your Local Band

Sasha Dobson

Sasha Dobson

For Sasha Dobson, the release of her new album, Aquarius, comes as a huge relief. “It’s a beautiful mountain to have crossed,” she laughs. “It’s been quite a hike!” During the recording process, Dobson stretched her creative wings, broke free from her jazz lineage—her father is the late, famed Bay Area pianist Smith Dobson, and her mother Gail Dobson, was a prominent jazz singer—and found her true passion. “I’m coming from being a jazz singer, and when I got hired to play guitar for Norah [Jones], that was ridiculous because I’d never thought that’s what I’d end up doing,” Dobson says.

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Love Your Local Band

Love Eternal

Love Eternal

From 2003-2010, Love Eternal released a new album or EP on an almost annual basis, but the band has gone quiet since 2010’s True Peace. Fear not: New material is on the way. “We are working on a double album,” says lead singer Jahred Namaste. “We’ve just started the basic planning for it and we’re really excited about it. There’s going to be a lot of new material, as well as some old material we never got around to recording.”

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Features

String Beings

String Beings

Kronos Quartet continues to broaden musical horizons at 40

For David Harrington, the 40 years he has spent as violinist for the Kronos Quartet have been magical. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be a part of Kronos and the work we’ve been able to do,” Harrington says. “The music we’ve been able to explore, and the variety of experiences that have become a part of our concerts and our work, is totally thrilling and has kept me on the edge of my chair all these years.”

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire