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Apr 19th
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Features

Free Bird

Free Bird

eighth blackbird’s rock ’n’ roll business plan
For audiophiles, it’s an immutable truth that there’s no experience quite like listening to music in a car, which is why driving I-5 between Los Angeles and the Bay is a favorite experience of mine: the 300-or-so Midwest-flat miles make the perfect environment for cochlea-rupturing audio levels. And indeed, I recently found myself on this (relatively) desolate stretch of road, when my copilot decided to co-opt my car stereo for his own purposes: experimental composer Steve Reich.

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Features

Place Your Vote

Place Your Vote

In bands and on ballots, Kinky Friedman makes his mark
Author, musician, sometime-politician and all-around American raconteur, Kinky Friedman doesn’t mince words when it comes to pontificating on just about any subject near and dear to his heart. His takes on life are often delivered in a humorous, satirical manner, but the 65-year-old tackles a lot of serious issues and themes, much like the manner in which Mark Twain presented his opinions and views to readers. Still, Friedman is clearly on a level all his own today.

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Love Your Local Band

Nordic Forge

Nordic Forge

“Man is wolf to man.” Not only is this a quote from the Roman playwright Plautus, one of the earliest known Latin authors, but it is also the title of the earliest known demo recording from local metal slayers Nordic Forge. “[The title track] is a song Jimi wrote almost all at once,” explains the vocalist, Rueben. “Then, I wrote the lyrics after listening to the hymn ‘O Rubor Sanguinis’ by Saint Hildegard Von Bingen.” Determined not to be just another scrawled name in the metal world, the guys in Nordic Forge draw their creativity from classics such as Shakespeare (“Throne of Blood”) and saintly hymns, to an array of bands from the early days of thrash metal and the extremes in Scandinavia. Mario, the act’s guitarist, cites atmospheric and melodic groups like Dissection, At the Gates, and Darkthrone as influences. “Always Darkthrone,” he emphasizes. Only known by their first names, the band of intellectual malcontents consists of Reuben on flesh-curling vocals, brothers Mario and Jimi decimating the guitar scales, Ben on thunderous bass, and Andrew manning the rapid-firing drums.

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Features

Rock ’n’ Read

Rock ’n’ Read

Local library wants teens to get loud at its Battle of the Bands
Let’s face it, the last place you’d think to unleash a rock band is at a public library. Making noise at a building of books isn’t exactly known as kosher because we’ve all grown accustomed to that stereotypical image of the grumpy librarian—glasses low on the bridge of her nose, fingers up to her lips shush-ing away, white hair knotted in a bun, and seriously lacking any cool factor.

Think again, says Santa Cruz’s Matt Lorenzo, a former library’s assistant and coordinator of the 2010 Teen Battle of the Bands on Saturday, July 24 at 1 p.m. Organizing the teen music competition for a second year in a row, the 32-year-old (whose mom is a local librarian) is giving the library a facelift and turning it into a temporary rock venue at the behest of the Santa Cruz Public Library system itself. (Insert voice of Gary Coleman doing a ‘What’choo talkin’ ’bout Willis?’ doubletake here.)

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Love Your Local Band

Honeymoon

Honeymoon

A girls’ night in can do wonders. Just ask Honeymoon. For a band whose first jam session started out haphazardly as an excuse for a bunch of talented ladies to casually hang out and drink wine at home last November, the band has snowballed into an intoxicating musical force. A powerful brigade of four singer-songwriters coalescing into a fresh new project that wields a juggler’s dream of instrumental variation, a cappella magic, and endearing familial chemistry, the ensemble is on the rise. Lauren Shera, Andrea Blunt, Christina Bailey and Sara Bollwinkel have each made their mark solo or in other bands before stumbling upon Honeymoon—in which they’re now fueling each other’s fires as a standout Americana-folk act.

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Features

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

Grand Archives’ Mat Brooke and his niche in the Northwest music scene
Maybe it’s the weather? Though Grand Archives frontman Mat Brooke might not completely comprehend it, it’s obvious that Scandinavia loves his band.

“I wish I could explain it or understand why it works that way,” says Brooke. “We’ve done a couple European tours, and in some countries we’ll show up and play to 14 people in the audience. Then we get to the Scandinavian countries and they’re just sold out, and have amazing fans out there. My only guess is that they have slightly the same climate as the Northwest, and somehow the Northwest sound appeals to them.”

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Love Your Local Band

HAJI P.

HAJI P.

What do you get when you cross fresh beats with intelligent rhymes that mix humor into the trials and tribulations of real life? Santa Cruz’s Haji P. Born in Hawaii (no, he doesn’t know Obama), Haji grew up alternating between Oahu and New Jersey, and attended college in Wilmington, N.C., where he formed hip-hop duo Brown Co. with friend and fellow artist DunDee; he finally settled (for now) in Santa Cruz in late 2007. Last February, Haji released his second solo album, Neighborhood Kid, in collaboration with DJ MF Shalem. Even though it’s riddled with witty metaphors and addictive beats, and follows a Brer Rabbit-style storyline, Neighborhood Kid is essentially a down and dirty look into a life dealing with racism (“You’re gonna burn my church but you can’t just give me a cup of Kool-Aid?” he raps on “Neighbors”), along with the other, normal pains of life like dating—all the while trying to stay as normal as possible (“You ain’t got to knock on my door, I’ll be sitting on my front porch,” he assures on “Porch Swing”). “It definitely took a minute getting used to the Bay,” he states with a constant laugh and tongue-in-cheek demeanor. “The minute I got here I was like, ‘Yo, this ain’t the same! There’s no biscuits, no racism, what am I going to do?’” But unlike most rappers today, Haji P. is the real deal, staying as close to the truth as possible and continually practicing what he preaches. Along with writing rhymes, Haji works at the Boys & Girls Club and is currently legitimizing a nonprofit children’s charity called “Neighborhood Kid Foundation.” Despite all his community work and creative work, don’t think that he lets it all inflate his ego: “I’m not a saint, I have my troubles, you know? Whatever the situation is, I gotta make the best of it; if it didn’t kill me, I’m lucky. I write it down and make it into something entertaining.”


INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 17. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $6/adv, $8/door. 423-1338. Hajip.com.

Features

Cemetery Songs

Cemetery Songs

CocoRosie’s Bianca Casady on songwriting in graveyards as therapy
The term “freak folk” might be a misnomer when applied to the likes of Vetiver and Sufjan Stevens, but it’s a more than appropriate description of CocoRosie. The group’s avant-garde music is a good indication of its creators’ offbeat sensibilities: Frequently compared to the work of Björk and Joanna Newsom, it makes use of everything from children’s toys to coffee grinders. Then there’s the band’s visual presentation: CocoRosie’s two key members—vocalist Bianca (“Coco”) Casady and her sister Sierra (“Rosie”), who also plays guitar, piano and harp—regularly perform in gender-bending attire, and the sleeve art for their 2005 album, Noah’s Ark, was provocative enough to be named one of the worst album covers in history by both Pitchfork Media and The Guardian. (It involves unicorns, experimental sex and puking—let’s leave it at that.)

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Love Your Local Band

Noise Clinic

Noise Clinic

There can be beauty in chaos, melody in meltdowns, and bliss in torrential sonic attacks. Just ask Taito Reed and company. When you want to investigate the old adage “There is light through all the darkness,” hit up the former Junk Sick Dawn frontman’s latest project, Noise Clinic. Balancing structure with floods of improv, pitting screeching elements of jagged rock against classical strings and random found sounds, spewing shouts and spoken word, singer/guitarist Reed, violinist/singer Sayaka Yabuki, drummer Rick Walker, and bassist Joe Gabent eschew the norm. The quartet, made up of veteran musicians long steeped in the local scene, lands itself in an ambiguous state where the aggressiveness of punk coalesces with quiet poetry.

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Features

Time Travelers

Time Travelers

Carolina Chocolate Drops are fresh faces in old-timey traditions
With old-timey string bands overflowing out of the porchfront woodworks and into the mainstream, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are a reminder that such twangy revelry is by no means limited to white players. Just like Bela Fleck’s recent documentary exploring the banjo’s African origins, Throw Down Your Heart, the trio plucks out—via plenty of virtuosic plucking on its 2010 release, Genuine Negro Jig—preconceived ideas. The banjo, after all, came to America aboard a slave ship from Africa, and just as much as there is a reminder of that history in the band’s music, there is also, perhaps more importantly, an assertion that modern black music isn’t limited to that which is most often seen and celebrated on radio and television.

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Love Your Local Band

Project Felon

Project Felon

Despite the moniker, Project Felon is the brainchild of two friends who share a simple love for hip-hop and good times, Playz and Kevlar. “We’ve made mistakes in the past,” explains Playz, “but we’re beyond it. I’ve got kids, they need me and that’s as real as it gets.” Kevlar adds in agreement, “A lot of the time people live in the past and let that determine their future. It’s all about making the right decisions.” With that mantra in mind, Project Felon has been working hard trying to establish Santa Cruz in the hip-hop world. Armed with Playz’s rhymes and beats, along with Kevlar’s freestyle flow, Project Felon’s live performances have earned the duo everything from radio interviews to television spots.

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Features

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

Chuck Prophet found songs and swine flu in Mexico
Outside the domain of ethnocentrism, and beyond the lull of patriotic fervor, lives Bay Area singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet. His songs present an America that is full of fatherless sons, wayward youth and love just around the next corner. With a baritone voice that is overly compared to Tom Petty, Prophet inhabits a unique California sound that is one part Woody Guthrie and the rest rock ’n’ roll.

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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

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

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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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

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?