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Jul 28th
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Love Your Local Band

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Maybe it was fate. Or perhaps it’s simply yet another example of social media's power to bring people together. Whatever the case, local violinist Laurel Thomsen says it seems as if she and prolific Canadian singer-songwiter Dan Frechette were made to collaborate. The 36-year-old Frechette, a Manitoba-native who has penned more than 1,300 songs in his career, first reached out to the 31-year-old Thomsen after seeing one of her performances on YouTube. "All of a sudden, I saw this video," Frechette recalls. "I thought, ‘Wow! That woman really has it.'"

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Features

Widowspeak’s Golden Hour

Widowspeak’s Golden Hour

Dream pop duo pays homage to the ’70s with pastoral imagery and matching jackets

On TLC’s ’90s anthem “Waterfalls” the fearless lady trio preaches, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.”

But when it came to Widowspeak’s sophomore LP, Almanac, release in January, the Brooklyn, N.Y. dream pop duo made the bold decision to ignore that advice.

The band chose to feature a photograph of a waterfall on the cover, not solely for its beauty, but because it provides thematic and geographical context to the album, which was recorded in a 100-year-old barn in the Hudson River Valley in New York State.

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Love Your Local Band

Steven Graves

Steven Graves

Local singer-songwriter Steven Graves was a land management consultant in Southern California for almost 25 years before he retired in 2011 to pursue a full-time music career. The switch has been gratifying for him. “When you have a career doing something you’re passionate about that you feel has meaning, then that’s very satisfying,” Graves says. “Not everybody can do that, so I am grateful I’m able to.” And Graves is not the only one.

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Features

Longing for the Sun

Longing for the Sun

Seattle-based production duo creates moody atmosphere with effected vocal samples

You take a sound—any sound—record it and then change its nature by a multiplicity of operations.”

So begins Summer’s Gone, the debut LP from Seattle-based electronic duo Odesza, with a distinguished-sounding gentleman explaining the basics of sound editing. “You record it at different speeds, you play it backwards, you add it to itself over and over again. You adjust filters, echoes, acoustic qualities. You combine segments of magnetic tape. By these means and many others you create sounds which no one has ever heard before.”

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Love Your Local Band

Sean Ryan Duo

Sean Ryan Duo

There are plenty of guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and singers who will tell you that music is the only thing they could ever see themselves doing. But for Sean Ryan, music is just about the only thing he has ever done—literally. At 25 years old, Ryan has more experience working as a professional musician than many of his contemporaries will have by their mid-30s. He began drumming for his father's smooth jazz trio when he was 11, squeezing in home-school lessons in between gigs at clubs, private parties, weddings and restaurants.

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Features

Tight-lipped

Tight-lipped

Seattle band, Pickwick, leaves its songs open to interpretation

Rarely does a band avoid putting an autobiographical slant on its music. But when it comes to Pickwick’s forthcoming release, Can’t Talk Medicine, due out on March 12, singer/songwriter Galen Disston and multi-instrumentalist Kory Kruckenberg are determined to keep their distance.

“Each of the songs on the record is about an idea, character, moment or story I heard about that seemed to be completely without context,” Disston says. “They seemed completely original to me. None of it is personal or autobiographical.”

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Love Your Local Band

The Subtle Tease

The Subtle Tease

Nothing stays the same, for better or for worse. It's something that Jon Banda, frontman for The Subtle Tease, thinks about often. Just before the alternative indie rock/electronica quartet from Watsonville formed in 2009, Banda was in a dark place. “I was totally secluded and really having a hard time getting through a couple things,” he says. Serendipitously, Banda bumped into an old friend from Watsonville High School, bassist Clay Alves, and the first thing Alves asked him was if he was still playing guitar.

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Features

Perfecting Imperfection

Perfecting Imperfection

‘Old soul’ singer Brad Mackeson rejects overproduction

These days, you aren’t going to surprise anyone in the world of indie rock by attempting to breathe new life into old folk chord progressions. A quick glance at some of this year’s biggest Grammy winners will tell you that.

But there is a reason that a generation of up-and-coming musicians have been dusting off old Bob Dylan records and finding a use for the harmonicas that were shelved during the ’80s and ’90s. Folk music resonates with people in a way other genres can’t.

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Love Your Local Band

Eliquate

Eliquate

When Elliot Wright was attending UC Santa Cruz in 2006, he would show up at parties, plug his iPod into a sound system and rock the microphone. “When I moved to Santa Cruz I found so many amazing musicians that I realized I had to step up my game,” says Wright. That solo act evolved into Eliquate, a five-member hip-hop outfit featuring Jamie Schnetzler (guitar), Cosmo Stevens (bass), Dan Wells (drums) and Tanner Christiansen (samples, keys, percussion).

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Features

Making The Pieces Fit

Making The Pieces Fit

Violinist and looping master Kishi Bashi to play Moe's Alley

It took the virtuosic violinist Kaoru Ishibashi—a man known for his work with indie-prog masters such as Of Montreal and Regina Spector—more than a year to get to the point where he was comfortable enough to play his solo material in front of an audience.

It wasn't writer's block, nor was it due to him being a perfectionist. To understand why it took so long before Ishibashi, who goes by the stage name Kishi Bashi, was ready to tour, one needs to simply look up his performances online. His NPR Tiny Desk Concert is a good start.

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Love Your Local Band

Requiem for the Dead

Requiem for the Dead

Combine the take-no-prisoners attitude of hardcore metal and the raw intensity of a symphony orchestra, and you’ve got Requiem for the Dead, a band that speaks to the macabre with a dark eeriness that would make Tim Burton squeal with glee. The band, led by Santa Cruz native Steve Juliano, the former frontman for the world-touring metal band I Am Ghost, emerged locally in 2011. Juliano walked away from I Am Ghost, despite the band’s immense popularity, because, he says, all of the fun was being sucked out of the project by the overwhelming demands of business and ceaseless touring schedule.

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Features

Home Is Where The Art Is

Home Is Where The Art Is

Sacred steel whiz Robert Randolph reconnects with roots, finds inspiration

Last year at The Monterey Jazz Festival, Robert Randolph and the Family Band laid down a groove so infectious that it reached right into the genetic core of the audience. They were the only band that day whose music rivaled the intensity of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds’ jets that were buzzing above the fairgrounds. It wasn’t sheer volume that captivated the crowd—rather, it was the skills of brilliant sacred steel player Robert Randolph.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.