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Mar 04th
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Features

The Runaway

The Runaway

Zoe Boekbinder bids farewell to the left coast with wispy, looping folk-pop

hen she tells you that she "escaped from the circus" to start her solo act, Zoe Boekbinder is talking about parting ways with her previous band, Vermillion Lies, which she formed and played in with her sister, Kim, from 2004 to 2009.

But Boekbinder could easily be talking about other episodes in her life when she decided to break from the norm to pursue other passions. She has lived much of her life like a gypsy—bouncing from town to town practicing different forms of performance art all the way.

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Love Your Local Band

Rob Owen

Rob Owen

The message at the heart of Rob Owen’s music is perfectly encapsulated by the title of his first EP, Common Ground. “The songs are about interconnection or ‘inter-being,’” he explains. “They are about the common ground we all stand on but often forget about.” Tugging at the heartstrings and capturing the soul of audience members, is one of Owen’s strong suits as a singer/songwriter. His journey as a musician began when he moved from Silicon Valley to Aptos, and the change in scenery added what he calls a “different dimension in [his] writing.” Here, he has found solace in his family and a muse in everyday life. “I find that at the place where inspiration and influence collide, there is an infinite ocean of creativity,” says Owen.

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Features

Turning the Tables

Turning the Tables

Cheb i Sabbah has the vinyl solution to global turmoil

For the better part of two decades, Cheb i Sabbah has been experimenting with cultural mixing of the most literal kind. The world-renowned DJ looms over his turntables like a weaver at the spinning wheel, interlacing modern electronica with traditional Arabic, African and Asian music. But it seems that Sabbah’s DJ gig is just one part of his plan to bring the voices of various cultures into harmony with one another. 

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Love Your Local Band

Slop Opera

Slop Opera

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, or so the saying goes. Well, since 2004, that fat lady has been pushed aside, multiplied, and renamed Slop Opera: an all-male, hip-hop/rap collective. According to Mike Ross, the emcee/producer known as Ross Rock—a nickname coined by his football coach at Soquel High School—the group started as a quintet, consisting of himself and emcee Addamantium, DJ/producer Mr. Bean, Debris the Emcee and emcee Slie.

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Features

At Peace

At Peace

How to cleanse the mind and body with Kori Gardner of Mates of State

Cayenne pepper, lemon juice, maple syrup, and water sounds like a recipe for disaster, but for Kori Gardner—singer/synth and organ player for Mates of State—it’s all she can think about.

On day four of a 10-day Master Cleanse juice fast, Gardner and her husband, Jason Hammel (drums and vocals), are trying hard to avoid solid food—and not just for nutrition purposes.

“Jason started, and then 12 hours later he’s like, ‘I’m eating!’” Gardner recalls with a laugh. “We’ve done raw food diets before, but this is a little more extreme,” she says. While she admits that it’s been difficult to stay on track, she believes the rewards are too good to pass up.

“You get these rare moments of clarity that I’ve never felt before,” Gardner says of the diet. “Your mind is so clear because of all the toxins that have left your body.” This lucid mindset has aided her in writing music. “I felt like my ideas were completely concise and clear,” she says.

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Love Your Local Band

Al Frisby

Al Frisby

From a short distance, Al Frisby looks like a classic Santa Cruz surfer: rich silver locks atop a lanky frame. But when face-to-face, Frisby’s drawl reveals his Louisiana roots. The beloved singer/songwriter spouts a wellspring of local lore, has an encyclopedic knowledge of New Orleans music, and offers a slightly demented view of the world—in other words, he’s a colorful character. By the time Frisby arrived in Santa Cruz in the early ’90s, he had made a name for himself by writing comical novelty songs that poked fun at the counterculture. For example, “Deadheads on Bad Paper Acid,” is, according to Frisby, “A good ballad waltz about being raised in a VW van and traveling around the country.”

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Features

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

Loudon Wainwright III talks family, folk music, and the art of being funny

Aside from being a talented singer/songwriter, Loudon Wainwright III has become a household name for his sense of humor. From the road in the Northeast, where Wainwright is beginning a tour that runs through the fall, he confesses, “I’ve always liked making people laugh, if possible. I have friends that are comics and I certainly have watched a lot of stand up. When I perform, I have a guitar that acts as a fig-leaf and as a shield for protection—so I’m relaxed.”

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Features

Frizzle Fried

Frizzle Fried

Playing in Primus has twisted Larry LaLonde’s mind for good

Mutant circus funk? Salvador Dali hosts Sesame Street? There’s no straightforward description for the Bay Area-born alternative rock trio Primus. Picture a reality TV show in which Danny Elfman, Frank Zappa, Dr. Seuss, Hunter S. Thompson, Lewis Carroll, William S. Burroughs and the members of Rush live together and test out the latest experimental pharmaceuticals, and you’re getting close. At a loss for a succinct genre tag such as R&B, rock, country, etc., the folks who put together the WinAmp media player finally threw up their hands in defeat and simply filed Primus under “Primus.”

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Love Your Local Band

Thrive

Thrive

Thrive, a Santa Cruz reggae/rock hybrid, is pioneering a mood, sound and philosophy that elevates the listener. “Originally starting as a party band, we decided to create music that we can stand behind,” says singer/guitarist Aaron Borowitz. He and drummer/lead singer Kenny Rogers work to create a positive musical experience by writing lyrics about ordinary occurrences with a conscious perspective, and, in doing so, Thrive is ushering in a new essence for pop music.

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Features

Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light

Mickey Church of White Arrows talks psychedelic pop, voyeurism, and blindness

One thing is indisputable after watching White Arrows’ music video for “Get Gone”— the opening track off of the band’s Fireworks of the Sea EP, released in April—either you failed to pay attention during your high school’s D.A.R.E program, or the director and film crew certainly did.

As the quirky Los Angeles psych-pop quintet jams in an empty studio, the most trippy of visuals take over: flashes of light, similar to those in a starburst galaxy, blurred faces, kaleidoscope shapes, and entrancing swirls, all tie-dyed in the most muted of patriotic colors. Though this stoner vision may draw you further into a fantasy world, it is more of a flashback for frontman Mickey Church.

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Love Your Local Band

Comfort Twin

Comfort Twin

It isn't exactly easy for Comfort Twin to rehearse. Yet, while members of the Santa Cruz-based indie-Americana octet are spread far and wide—some live as far away as Berkeley and Sacramento—the group makes it work. And even though guitarists/vocalists Scott Ferreter and Zane Griffin—the Santa Cruz portion of the band—could probably find any number of talented musicians in town to back them up when they play The Crepe Place this Friday and Saturday, it just wouldn't be right if they did.

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Features

In the Now

In the Now

Donavon Frankenreiter reminds listeners to live in the present

Start Livin’, Donavon Frankenreiter’s newly released fifth album, consists of exactly the sort of music that fans have come to expect from the singer/guitarist/songwriter-cum-pro surfer: laidback acoustic surf-folk much akin to that of Frankenreiter’s friend and mentor, Jack Johnson. But Frankenreiter tried some new recording tactics this time out.
For one, rather than bringing in a full band, he enlisted the talents of just one other musician: his longtime bassist, Matt Grundy. The two musicians used all kinds of instruments never before heard on a Frankenreiter album—along with banjo, lap steel guitar and ukulele, they made creative use of percussion: In lieu of a drum kit, Frankenreiter and Grundy used pots and pans, Zippo lighters, singing bowls, bells and good old-fashioned hand claps.

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Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
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Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia