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Sep 01st
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Love Your Local Band

Marya Stark

Marya Stark

Though she had only intended to record an acoustic album, Marya Stark soon found herself helpless—adding strings, then woodwinds, then a worldly array of percussion and all sorts of bells and whistles—until she emerged, more than a year later, with a fully blown, detail-oriented studio production. But what else would you expect from a woman with such a deep passion for music that she has managed to squeeze two careers out of banging drums and strumming strings? Who was she really fooling trying to get in and out of the studio so quickly? "I wanted to do a full proper studio album, and make it sound luscious and cinematic and awesome,"

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Features

Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love

The Punch Brothers flip traditional bluegrass on its head

 

More than one hundred years ago, the songs and instruments of immigrants melded into a new American sound, known as bluegrass, that resounded throughout the Appalachian mountain range. But in the last 40 years, bluegrass has mutated to encompass every other musical genre by adding a frenetic twang. So, when the Punch Brothers launch into a bluegrass version of a Radiohead song, audiences release a collective gasp—not at the audacity, but rather at the band’s profound musicianship, technical mastery and quick pace.

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Love Your Local Band

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise

Hector Hurtado, rhythm guitarist and co-founder of Wasted Noise, says he will do whatever it takes to keep the band’s nine-year legacy intact and moving forward. Over the years, the reggae/rock/ska outfit has seen the departure of three singers and four drummers and had to adapt accordingly, but they’ve made it through, and continue to enliven audiences around their hometown of Salinas and the wider Monterey Bay. “Losing members has been hard for the band, but we've always been able to keep this alive,” says Hurtado, who originally formed the group with brothers Ruben and Hank Macias, on lead guitar and bass.

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Features

Lost In A Sea Of Sound

Lost In A Sea Of Sound

Local musician Yoodoo Park crafts hazy, beach-inspired pop as GRMLN

At the moment, Yoodoo Park isn’t too fixated on the life of touring and recording that may await him. Despite the burst of recent and favorable coverage the 19-year-old UC Santa Cruz student has received in the indie rock blogosphere for his fledgling musical project, GRMLN, Park says his mind has been occupied by his studies.

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Love Your Local Band

The Chop Tops

The Chop Tops

When asked if he can recall a dull moment during The Chop Tops’ 17-year career, Sinner, the drummer/lead singer of the psychobilly/rockabilly three-piece, mentions the monotony of travelling 30,000 miles annually. “It’s beautiful out there, but we just finished our 12th U.S. tour. After somewhere around the fifth or sixth time, you’re like, ‘Cool, seen it.’” He and his bandmates—Shelby (lead guitar) and Brett (upright bass)—rocked Australia last April, and Sinner wants to explore further. “I wanna go play a gig on Mars—as soon as they get a sustainable dome up there [or] whatever the hell they’re gonna do,” he jokes.

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Features

Africa In All Of Us

Africa In All Of Us

When it comes to classifying her work, Angelique Kidjo is not unlike many artists. She is resistant to the idea that what she does can be neatly accounted for or encapsulated with a single word. However, while many musicians feel that genre has the effect of boxing them in, Kidjo is more concerned that the genre to which she is most commonly linked shuts too many other forms of musical expression out.

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Love Your Local Band

Antholix

Antholix

A few weeks ago, Alec Hale, the 25-year-old lead singer/guitarist for hard rock trio Antholix, prepared for the band’s upcoming show at The Catalyst Atrium by posting fliers around town. Aside from event details, the fliers are emblazoned with a bizarre sketch of a hawk playing a Telecaster and reaching for an Olympia beer. “As you grow up, you’re affected by images just as much as words,” Hale explains. “I think I [am] certainly pretty guilty of that.”

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Features

Built Like A Machine

Built Like A Machine

Oakland-based electronica songstress Lila Rose goes into creative overdrive on debut full-length

There’s a pinnacle moment in the film The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy knocks on the Tin Man’s chest three times, only to hear an echo.

“Beautiful!” says the Scarecrow, prompting the Tin Man to reveal, regretfully, just what that echo was: the sound of a hollow chest without a heart. The rickety man then breaks into a sad song, in which he longs for that precious organ.

Hardly the longing type, Toronto-born, Oakland-based songstress Lila Rose sings confidently “’cause I’m built/like a machine/and I’ve come to take/you and your heart,” on the pulsating title track off her first LP, 2012’s Heart Machine.

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Love Your Local Band

Cruzmatik

Cruzmatik

Rapper Reggie Stephens, also known as Famouz, and Ribsy’s Nickel frontman Jason “J-willz” Williams go way back—all the way to 1990 when the two played basketball at Santa Cruz High School. And with that longtime friendship serving as the creative nucleus, the two have launched a fresh musical collaboration called Cruzmatik. After high school, Stephens went to Rutgers University in New Jersey, played football for the New York Giants, and then recorded as a hip-hop artist for a spell in Los Angeles. Williams, on the other hand, toured California for more than a decade with Ribsy’s Nickel and shook up local venues with the band’s signature surf/reggae/rock.

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Features

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

Gold Standard Chorus supports youth music programs with annual concert benefit

It’s actually pretty miraculous what they pull off,” says Alice Hughes, choir teacher and Visual & Performing Arts Chair at Pacific Collegiate School, regarding “Sing For Your Life,” the annual concert benefit put on by the Gold Standard Barbershop Chorus. “And the fact that they’re doing it out of their love for music and a desire to keep music strong in schools—the kids really recognize and appreciate that.”

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Love Your Local Band

Colin Gailey

Colin Gailey

When Guitar Center launched its “Master Satriani” contest in July, more than 600 hopefuls sent in a video of themselves playing lead guitar over a track by multiple Grammy nominee Joe Satriani, for a chance to take a master class with the legend himself. The 10 winners spanned from New Jersey to Texas, but when Santa Cruz contestant Colin Gailey received a call letting him know that he had won, he was taken by surprise. “My first thought was that perhaps I had missed a payment on one of my bills,” he says with a laugh.

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Features

Out Of This World

Out Of This World

Experimental folk band, Other Lives, takes listeners to Mars and back

Imagine yourself immersed in the soothing tenor of some indie-folk crooner wistfully cooing over acoustic guitar and player piano punctuation marks. What do you see? An endless sea of golden grass, waving in the wind? Or do you see rugged, snow-capped peaks, speckled with evergreen stubble?

What about the barren surface of Mars?

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.