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Apr 28th
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Love Your Local Band

The Joint Chiefs

The Joint Chiefs

During the Persian Gulf War in 1990, local guitarist Don Caruth was working a construction job in San Jose when his best friend Ken Colby (aka KC) phoned him and told him to hurry over. KC had been bringing some friends together for a new unnamed musical project that focused on roots funk music. Minutes before Caruth arrived, KC and the other band members overheard a television newscaster say, in reference to the war, “the Joint Chiefs are in session.” KC knew they had stumbled upon the band’s name.

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Features

Married to Music

Married to Music

Haunted Summer’s bittersweet EP is potent, medicinal,and a taste of what’s to come

It’s hard not to get swept up in John and Bridgette Seasons’ chemistry. The married couple at the helm of Haunted Summer is simply too cute for words.

But it’s that same chemistry that makes their musical collaboration irresistible to the ears.

After almost a decade of being friends and admirers of each other’s music, John and Bridgette played a Halloween gig together in 2012, as part of an Animal Collective cover band.

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Love Your Local Band

Siren Solstice

Siren Solstice

For Andrew Kunz, Siren Solstice is more than just a passion project, it is also a way for him to help shine the spotlight on some of the area’s great musicians. “I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for about four years and have come to realize how many really awesome, talented people there are here,” says the pianist. “I figured it would be amazing to collaborate with [some of them], utilize and showcase everybody’s talents, and highlight what they’re all about.” The psychedelic jazz fusion band released its self-titled debut EP in August, and its penchant for hypnotic repetition one minute and improvisation the next is a treat.

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Features

A Glowing Reinvention

A Glowing Reinvention

Songwriter for British band Yuck found his groove after losing his singer

This time two years ago, the members of British indie rock four-piece Yuck were riding high on a wave of critical acclaim, which they captured with their debut album—a set of ramshackle tunes influenced by ’90s shoegaze and lo-fi fuzzy garage rock.

The self-titled record was filled with songs built upon churning guitar dirges and simple, lyrical constructions. On "The Wall," for instance, then-singer Daniel Blumberg sings mostly the same line over and over again. The band was applauded by the hipster blogosphere and mainstream music publications alike.

And then Blumberg split from the group, allegedly on less than amicable terms.

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Love Your Local Band

Rick Walker

Rick Walker

Rick Walker is a jack of all trades. The percussionist/producer/live-looping pioneer has played with bands that specialize in everything from British Invasion-style rock to world music, from jazz fusion to electronica, and has never been content to stick with one thing for very long. A lot of this stems from moving around a lot during his youth. “I was an air force brat, and in the first nine years I lived, my family moved nine times,” Walker says. “We saw a lot of exotic things, and I became a xenophile.

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Features

Finding Happiness Through Heartbreak

Finding Happiness Through Heartbreak

New Jersey punks tackle life's troubles with self-awareness and wit

Acoustic guitars aren't generally associated with the kind of propulsive, punk rock music played by New Jersey quartet The Front Bottoms. But in the DIY spirit of every true punk band, they make it work.

In fact, according to Brian Sella, the band's guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter, playing acoustic, rather than electric, was all about making due with what he had.

"I never got an amp," Sella says. He couldn't afford one in 2006 when he started jamming with drummer Mathew Uychich. Plus, it wasn’t practical to play electric guitar in his small house.

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Love Your Local Band

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise, a progressive reggae/hip-hop band from Salinas, is bringing together the young and the old with its activism, socially conscious lyricism and dynamic beats. Family is at the heart of the band as Hank Macias lays down the bass and his brother, Ruben Macias, keeps the rock steady on lead guitar. Alex Cortez pounds the drums while Hector Hurtado jams on rhythm guitar and Kyle Dunn sings, raps and plays the keyboard. Though the band formed in 2004, the current line-up has been active for four years. What keeps Wasted Noise fresh and interesting over the years is the diverse musical background of its members.

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Features

Gotta Have That Funk

Gotta Have That Funk

Sophistafunk is an ambassador of energy

When it comes to performing, Sophistafunk is all about energy. And according to Adam Gold, who plays keys and bass for the band, the audience is partially responsible for what the trio ends up creating on stage each night.

“I would almost say they’re like a fourth musician, a silent partner in all of this,” explains Gold. “The three of us know what we’re going to do, but we’re leaving this fourth space open which is sort of our muse.”

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Love Your Local Band

Neon Satori

Neon Satori

What’s in a name? For Neon Satori, everything. “A big element of our music is combining an epic, spiritual [sensibility] which makes you reflect on life, with a fun, funky dance aspect,” says Nate Stein, who contributes percussion, synths, and backup vocals to the Santa Cruz trio. “That’s the intent of Neon Satori: the fun of neon, but the consciousness of Satori.”

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Features

New Year, New Sound

New Year, New Sound

The She’s embrace change, explore new sonic territory with latest EP

The last six months or so have been quite the ride for The She’s. The all-girl quartet was part of a concert series at Slim’s in San Francisco, and partnered with Converse on an ad campaign this past summer. Converse was so enamored with The She’s that the shoe company invited the band to contribute a cover of a classic holiday tune to its just-released holiday compilation, Noise to the World. But even the best rides can be bumpy at times.

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Love Your Local Band

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men is the latest example of Kickstarter making dreams come true. After completing a successful fundraising campaign during the fall, the local band is preparing to unveil a new record, called Wrong Side of the Road. “We didn’t know what to ask for and were kind of scared,” guitarist/vocalist Kellen Coffis says of their Kickstarter experience.

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Features

Hey Stranger

Hey Stranger

Local favorite The Devil Makes Three returns with new album, two Catalyst shows

It’s hard to miss the freewheeling spirit which permeates nearly every nook and cranny of The Devil Makes Three’s latest album, I’m a Stranger Here. It feels and sounds loose and fresh, almost as if the making of the album was more recreational than it was work.

“[This] ended up probably being one of the funnest records we’ve ever made,” says guitarist/singer Pete Bernhard, who admits that, at first, the band wasn’t sure what direction the album was headed. After all, they had never worked with a producer before.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Dark Magic

40 years on the movie beat in Santa Cruz
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

If you could live in Santa Cruz in any era besides now, which would you choose?

Probably the ’70s, because Santa Cruz is such a fly-your-freak-flag place. That was when free love and hippiness was in vogue. Shane Reber, Santa Cruz, Caretaker

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise