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Apr 18th
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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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Love Your Local Band

Blue Soulstace

Blue Soulstace

Back in 2008, local power trio Blue Soulstace came together in a very 21st century way: Craigslist. “I answered an ad that was posted by the bass player, James Ferguson,” recalls lead guitarist Frank Weckerle. “Turns out, I worked with the bass player’s fiancée, the bass player knew the drummer, Jon Carney, and the drummer’s wife worked with my wife.” Sounding like something out of Missed Connections, the soon-to-be bandmates found one another across space and time.

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Features

Older and Wiser

Older and Wiser

Local pop/folk/electronica outfit Audiafauna grows up on debut LP, ‘Grow Down’

When it comes to thrift store shopping in Santa Cruz, there’s no deal that’s too good to be true. But nobody understands the value of thrift stores better than Krikor Andonian, the guitarist and keyboardist for local pop, folk, and electronica-laden quintet, Audiafauna. It was at a thrift store on Front Street in 2008, where Andonian—then a grad student studying plant ecology at UC Santa Cruz—met singer Kelly Koval, who was studying literature at the time.

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Love Your Local Band

Tater Famine

Tater Famine

Over the years, Tater Famine has played on hundreds of punk rock bills in Santa Cruz with bands like The Chop Tops, Los Dryheavers, and The Crutch—so it may come as a surprise that the band specializes in acoustic, neo-cowboy thrash/folk songs. Matteo Brunozzi picks away on a mandolin, John Dodds strums guitar, and Lauren Berman plucks a stand-up bass. Drummers have come and gone, but this trio—known for its three-part harmonies—is lean, mean and ready to hit the road.

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Features

You’re So Vein

You’re So Vein

Thick-skinned indie duo, Bad Veins, battles heartbreak with power pop

Bad Veins’ music video for “Falling Tide,” the throbbing electrorock track off of the band’s alluringly bleak self-titled debut (2009), shows the two mopey musicians at their worst. For nearly three minutes, the wallflower rockers appear too introverted to function, as they are featured sitting in the same spots during a birthday party, while more social party-goers participate in cake fights and card games, and play with little plastic army men.

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Love Your Local Band

I Don't Wanna Hear It!

I Don't Wanna Hear It!

If you've ever stopped by one of the Boardwalk's free summer concerts, you are familiar with the idea: a crew of formerly famous (or formerly almost-famous) musicians playing radio-friendly hits. I Don't Wanna Hear It! are not those guys. "F*ckin A, dude! Let's go party!" So begins the locally based punk rock supergroup's cover of Black Flag's "Wasted." It's just one in an arsenal of bruising, off-key, yelling/ screaming/ slurring, ’80s punk covers that I Don't Wanna Hear It! are likely to tear through when they play with Agent Orange and Stellar Corpses at The Catalyst Atrium this Friday.

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Features

Hear Her Roar

Hear Her Roar

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ali Handal can rock out with the best of the boys

Look through any list of famous lead guitarists, and you’ll notice something that almost all of them have in common: a Y chromosome. If you’re a true music aficionado, you might be able to name four or five well-known female lead players, but beyond that, the names take a sharp turn for the obscure.

As an accomplished lead guitarist, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Ali Handal is well aware that she’s a bit of an anomaly. She came face-to-face with that fact when she first moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles in 1987. The musician recalls telling a Guitar Center employee she was unsure what gauge of guitar string she wanted. “The guy was like, ‘So, what kind of guitar does your boyfriend play?’” she recounts with a laugh.

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Love Your Local Band

Santa Cruz Guitar Orchestra

Santa Cruz Guitar Orchestra

I got a fever! And the only prescription is … more guitar! That's how Mesut özgen might complete Christopher Walken’s iconic line from the Saturday Night Live sketch spoofing Blue Oyster Cult's cowbell-heavy "Don't Fear the Reaper." After all, özgen is the conductor of the one-of-a-kind Santa Cruz Guitar Orchestra. While classical guitar is most often performed by a solo player or a quartet, according to özgen, the growing trend of the guitar orchestra—a 20-musician ensemble composed almost entirely of guitars—has taken up roots in Santa Cruz.

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Features

Game Over

Game Over

Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur sets down his controller and  faces the music

Escaping from reality, via plunging into virtual, alternate worlds, appears to be all the rage for musicians these days, especially when you consider the viral rise to fame of Lana Del Rey’s hit “Video Games” and Dustin Payseur’s preferred pastime.

During a trivial Thursday, the frontman for Brooklyn-based indie dream pop quartet Beach Fossils clicks away the afternoon with good friend, collaborator, and Captured Tracks label-mate, Jack Tatum, of Wild Nothing.

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Love Your Local Band

Antdog Da Beast

Antdog Da Beast

At Santa Cruz High School, Anthony LaFrance easily blends in—he’s 18 years old, on the track team, and his favorite subject is English. But once the school bell rings, he unleashes his rap, R&B, and hip-hop-inspired alias, Antdog Da Beast. “The first time I touched a microphone was in seventh grade,” says LaFrance, who was visiting a radio show at UC Santa Cruz’s KZSC. When the show ended, “I started freestyling over instrumentals and heard the recording … ever since then, I’ve had the urge to make music.”

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Features

Nothing To Hide

Nothing To Hide

James McNew of Yo La Tengo picks favorites: albums, sports teams, coffee…

On the classic surf rock jam, “Nothing to Hide,” off of Yo La Tengo’s 12th album, Popular Songs (2009), husband and wife indie rockers Ira Kaplan (guitar) and Georgia Hubley (drums) sweetly sing, “We all decide/how to draw the line/we’ve all got something to hide.”

On bass, James McNew—who is anything but a third wheel—gives off some serious attitude, while Kaplan’s guitar playing mirrors an emotional tantrum, reminiscent of the tension that builds by bottling up feelings for too long. These two minutes and 46 seconds are torturous for the devoted listener, who, despite hoping to hear at least one scandalous secret, is, alas, cheated—until now, as McNew comes clean about all sorts of YLT-related and unrelated things.

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Love Your Local Band

The Spokesmen

The Spokesmen

Looking like a middle linebacker who traded in his helmet for a surfboard and a Jack Johnson signature guitar, Matt Conable and his band, The Spokesmen, are all about rock and roll with sunburnt Americana flavor. With no website, CDs or band ephemera, it’s easy to assume The Spokesmen are wanted for nefarious actions—but Conable maintains they’re just low profile. “We’ve been playing off and on in the local scene for a long time, but the four Spokesmen have just gotten together in January—we’re taking our time,” he explains. Guitarist Mark Roths and Conable began playing together 20 years ago in an early incarnation of local rock outfit Xing.

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Smells Like Team Spirit

The organizers of TEDx Santa Cruz don’t just talk about this year’s theme, ‘radical collaboration’—they live it

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

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

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

New Bohemian Brewery

New Santa Cruz brewery focuses on European style lagers