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Dec 17th
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Features

Still Smokin’

Still Smokin’

You don’t have to be high to appreciate High On Fire’s music…but it helps

If Matt Pike has an official mission statement, it might well be Dopesmoker, the one-song album he helped create during his days as guitarist for the ’90s doom metal band Sleep. An epic tale about a caravan of marijuana worshippers taking bong rips as they march through Jerusalem (“Follow the smoke to the riff-filled land …”), Dopesmoker found the band stretching out what was essentially a single musical idea for more than an hour, with Pike making only occasional, momentary departures from a menacing C power chord.

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Love Your Local Band

Carolyn Sills

Carolyn Sills

“It’s the day before the end of the world, so we want this to be a night that everyone will remember,” jokes Carolyn Sills, in reference to the date of her holiday concert, “Santa Is Real: A 1950s Christmas Spectacular,” which kicks off on Dec. 20 at Don Quixote’s. The annual event is the pride and joy of the Chicago-born bassist/singer, who moved to Santa Cruz three years ago.

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Features

Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride

Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride

Kevin Morby of The Babies invites you on his rock ’n’ roller coaster

The day before Thanksgiving, Kevin Morby was pacing outside of a Guitar Center and talking on the phone, in Des Moines, Iowa, while the rest of The Babies purchased strings for their show hours later.

It was a strangely low-key afternoon for the 24-year-old singer/guitarist, who recently finished touring with his other band, Woods, in celebration of their September folk rock treasure, Bend Beyond.

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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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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