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Apr 23rd
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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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Love Your Local Band

Remy Le Boeuf

Remy Le Boeuf

As one half of the Le Boeuf Brothers, Remy Le Boeuf has helped liven up jazz by infusing it with indie rock and electronic sensibilities. But there are some more exciting things on the horizon for the Santa Cruz native, including a debut solo album. “We’ve talked about this a bit, about branching off and doing our own thing,” Le Boeuf says of his and his brother Pascal’s musical partnership.

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Features

Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour

Santa Cruz native Jesse Scheinin aims to create expansive universe with jazz

Jesse Scheinin doesn't just want you to dig his music. He wants to swallow you up—to envelop you in wild sights and sweeping sounds.

On the phone from his new home in Harlem, N.Y., the Santa Cruz-born saxophonist and composer explains that he wants his performances to be "an immersive experience," in which the audience is "surrounded by sound, weird things are going [on] and people are dressed strangely."

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Love Your Local Band

The Native Sibling

The Native Sibling

It’s been almost two years since GT last checked in with local brother-sister folk duo The Native Sibling, and during that time, the band has been busy. Ryan and Kaylee Williams have finished recording their full-length debut album—Letters Kept to Ourselves—a follow-up to their 2012 EP, Water Too Deep, Words Too Shallow. “It’s very raw,” Ryan says of the album, set for release this spring. “Kaylee and I are both very introspective writers, so there’s a lot of songs about memories, places we’ve been together and the inner workings of family and friendships.” One of the new songs, “Oh Sing,” has already received some radio play on KCRW in Los Angeles, and the duo recently released a video for “Carry You.”

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Features

Searching for Sound

Searching for Sound

San Diego folk/rock outfit, The Silent Comedy, gets loud

When discussing the differences between The Silent Comedy’s live and studio sound, Josh Zimmerman could very well be talking about two separate bands.

“We’ve always come across much more rock ’n’ roll when we play in front of people,” the bassist and vocalist says. “And then when we go into the studio, it’s always come out on the other side sounding very flat [by comparison]. So we’ve been wanting to capture that rock energy, the bigness of the sound from the live show, and just haven’t been able to yet.”

But they are getting closer. The band’s latest release, the Friends Divide EP, harnesses more of that raucous, raw live sound they have been trying to replicate in the studio. The gritty, Americana/rock track “Light of Day” is filled with impassioned cries from Zimmerman, and “Always Two” sounds like it was recorded in a spooky alleyway. Zimmerman attributes this to the efforts of producer Frenchie Smith.

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Love Your Local Band

Kalae Miles-Davis

Kalae Miles-Davis

Although he was raised in the tropical paradise of Oahu, these days Kalae Miles-Davis is a denizen of cooler climes—literally and figuratively. Now living in the much chillier Santa Cruz, the man who once intended to parlay his love and knowledge of traditional island music into a teaching career, and for a spell went by the moniker The Jazzy Hawaiian, has ditched his ukulele to pursue his newfound passion for the chillier sounds of straight-up jazz. "Moving to the mainland has really opened up more of a jazz interest in me," says Miles-Davis, who, despite his hyphenated last name, was only recently turned on to Miles Davis the jazz legend.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management