The first thing a new listener might notice about Desmadre is its high-pitched lead rock guitar licks. But it’s the complex rhythms that make it stand out in Santa Cruz’s music scene.
U.K. band Temples worships old rock gods with an eye toward the future
Many bands form in small suburban towns, then move to the big city to stretch their wings and build a following. In other instances, the members find each other while bumming around the metropolis, working odd jobs to make ends meet. But for U.K. psychedelic revivalists Temples, the story is a bit different.
Snowapple amps up its enchanting brand of pop-folk-opera
Though not available at your average grocery store, the Snow Apple does exist. Grown in Canada, the fruit is believed to be a relative of the abundant McIntosh.
“They’re apples that you pick very late in the year, so you pick them when it’s already snowing,” explains Una, one of three members of the Amsterdam pop-folk-opera trio Snowapple. “We really liked that image: the late apple, the last apple.”
When asked how he and his bandmates settled on the name A Thousand Shall Fall, lead guitarist Dan Johnston explains that the moniker comes from Psalms in the Old Testament. “It’s a biblical quote; it’s a creepy passage, but we’re not a religious band,” he says. “Every time we play there is lots of smiting. We’ve smited many crowds.” At first listen, the band screams “metal.” But, Johnston would argue that their sound is more complex. “We play something that is in between genre lines,” he explains.
The Apache Relay explores new sonic territory on third album
When it came time to record its third album, The Apache Relay made the bold decision to shake things up a bit. The self-titled release, which arrives April 22, marks a departure from the pop/indie-rock sound which characterized the Nashville band’s sophomore album, 2011’s American Nomad, and earned the band a spot in the lineup on Mumford & Sons’ wildly popular Gentlemen of the Road Tour in 2012.
Jack Bowers has had an impressive career so far. The local musician first entered the scene in the 1970s with electric folk-rock band Oganookie. “We used to play at the old Catalyst, where Bookshop Santa Cruz is now, every Saturday night,” Bowers recalls. Back then, there were far fewer bands in the area, so steady gigs and a loyal following weren’t hard to find. “Our band lived up on a commune up in Brookdale in the San Lorenzo Valley,” he says. “We used to gig with Asleep at the Wheel and Commander Cody—we knew how to have fun.”
Tierney Sutton takes on the Joni Mitchell catalog
Tierney Sutton’s most recent album, After Blue, was a long time coming. Specifically, more than two decades long. But given that the album is Sutton’s take on various songs from the Joni Mitchell catalog, she was not about to rush into anything.
“The moment I began singing professionally, people began suggesting Joni Mitchell's music to me, so this project was brewing on some level for 25 or 30 years,” Sutton says. “But I knew that Joni's music was complex, serious, and not to be approached without some deep knowledge.”
For the four members of sea knight, it is all about making music. Not rock music. Not pop music. Just music. “Whatever we write is whatever we write,” explains guitarist Patrick Andrews. “Musically, we come from all angles.” That unique approach has a lot to do with the San Francisco- and Santa Cruz-based band’s influences, which Andrews says run the gamut, and help him and his bandmates—Linda Sao (vocals/guitar/piano), Cory Aboud (drums), and Sami Hiromi (bass/violin)—keep an open mind creatively.
Shpongle’s extraterrestrial electronica brings psychedelic music full circle
Four decades ago, Pink Floyd unveiled what was arguably history’s first psychedelic trance song: a synthesizer-driven instrumental called “On the Run.” Listening to that piece today, it isn’t difficult to imagine Pink Floyd as electronic music’s answer to Marty McFly, the time-traveler who played rock music for a pre-rock and roll audience in Back to the Future. “In times ahead, psychedelic music will be played on electronic instruments,” the band seemed to be saying. “Your grandkids are gonna love this stuff.”
You’ve probably heard Nick Gallant’s work, whether you knew it at the time or not. In addition to being the audio director for Disney Mobile, Gallant has made music for TV, films and video games, including Guitar Hero. In the mid-2000s, the game developers for Guitar Hero enlisted the help of Wave Group Sound, an audio production studio in Fremont, Calif, where Gallant was working as an audio engineer, producer and composer, to record covers.