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Apr 26th
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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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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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

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