The Glitch Mob’s Justin Boreta lives up to his band’s name in a bug-riddled phone chat
Glitch: a minor malfunction, mishap, or technical problem. It’s a good word for the obstacles that Justin Boreta is encountering as he tries to chat with GT from the road. Frequent loss of reception is forcing Boreta, one of the three electronics fiends who comprise The Glitch Mob, to call back repeatedly to continue our interview.
“We’re always looking for new ways to improve our set,” Boreta explains. “We’ve been doing the whole laptop ksssssssss fraggen whole idea of ldbf mzrssff …”
Take a dip into the depths of Grand Lake
Caleb Nichols swings his arms in a wide arc, illustrating the release of his emotional baggage into the world. “This record’s about a journey that a lot of people have,” he explains, “about leaving home, and then trying to find it again. It’s also about the traveling itself.” He pauses, smiling. “About the baggage.”
Bespectacled, unshaven, and loquacious, he looks and acts every bit the hyper-literate songwriter one might expect to meet after listening to a few songs by his band, Grand Lake. His eyes follow the motion of his arms, and he continues with his wanderer’s metaphor. “It’s about trying to throw that baggage off a bridge,” he says, to soft laughter from his boyfriend (and Grand Lake drummer) John Pomeroy. “And then walking. You’re on the bridge; you’ve been stuck there for a while. You’ve got these heavy bags. It’s hot outside. You don’t want to walk anymore. Finally, you’re like, ‘fuck it,’ and you throw your bags over the rails. When you finally make it to the other side, and look back out over the bridge, you realize that one of them, not both of them, is still in your hands. It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock movie.”
There’s nothing like a little volcano ash to make a band bust a move. That’s what happened to Santa Cruz 11-piece soul ensemble The Inciters, when it got stuck in Germany this April because its plane home was grounded due to a headline-making volcanic eruption in Iceland. The band thought it had finished its European tour, but with debris looming overhead and dues to pay for last-minute room and board in Hamburg, it was show time. “We had to hustle,” founding trumpeter Rick Kendrick begins, “we were all broke, running out of money at the end of a tour, and having to pay for all of us to stay at a hostel.”
MGMT isn’t pretending, just ask the president of France
Indeed, what does Brian Eno know? It’s not surprising that the members of MGMT liken their relationship to the English ambient innovator as a master/apprentice dynamic, whether or not they’ve ever actually met. In fact, the band even asked Eno to produce the aptly-titled track, “Brian Eno,” but were shot down because he hadn’t heard of them.
However, nowadays Brian Eno seems like the only person who hasn’t heard of MGMT, which will come to the roomy Santa Cruz Civic with psychedelic trio Tame Impala opening on Saturday, May 29.
For a lot of bands, there’s one definitive show that changes everything; an inextinguishable fire is lit and there’s no turning back. Call it something in the stars, call it the apex moment when all the hard work culminates into one triumphant display of maturation, call it Fate casting down her signal to say, “I’ve been watching you and I’m here to help.” For Santa Cruz’s burgeoning Hammond organ trio, On The Spot, that gig was last September at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room. Three years since first assembling, having joked around from the start that someday Soulive would be sitting in the crowd at one of their shows, guitarist Danny Mayer, organ player Kris Yunker, and drummer Emery Nelson were invited to play—insert jaws dropping here—a Soulive after-party.
Warren Hood and band come from Texas royalty
There’s something about hearing Warren Hood’s Texas drawl that is gracious and inviting—as he speaks about his recent experience at Merlefest, you can almost imagine his spurs spinning with excitement. “I got to play with Elvis Costello and Little Feat,” relays Hood from his home in Austin. “It was not just business as usual.”
Tin and aluminum are the traditional gifts for a 10-year anniversary, but Your Music Magazine is seeing gold, silver and bronze. For a decade now, YMM has been sponsoring Your Music Olympicks, a battle of the bands bringing out some of the hardest hitting unsigned local musicians from the Bay and Sacramento. Each year bands compete to earn the title of “best band” not only by earning points at specific YMO events based on audience vote, but individual members can also raise their band’s standing by winning in categories such as Best Vocals, Best Guitar Solo, and more.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars survived war and bring the spotlight home
It’s a peculiar thing how it’s often those in positions of the greatest suffering who find the means to extol higher spiritual powers, radiate the brightest light, and dance as though there lies no problem at their feet. Take for example the spiritual songs of slaves, the hymns and folk songs of America during segregation and the anti-war era, or the political songs of South Africa during Apartheid. Music doesn’t just move, it can bolster a movement. So while you might be modest in your socio-economic standing, you can always remain brazenly rich when it comes to melody. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars know this well.
Red Sparowes give history lessons through instrumental music
Post-rock is challenging music. It’s not exactly jazz, and it doesn’t take the same kind of abstract understanding to wrap one’s head around; but still, instrumental music can often initially be outside of the comfort zone of many rock faithful who eventually gravitate from the softer croons of Death Cab towards the drifting soundscapes and sludgy guitars of acts like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.
Moreover, there’s the confusing issue of how music without lyrics is used to express specific thematic elements that a vocalist might directly address. If Explosions’ “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean” is about a sunken Russian Submarine, do specific movements in the song correlate to specific happenings on board? Or is it a more general inspiration?
Is Stanley Clarke the Rosa Parks of the electric bass?
With all the Victor Wootens, Michael Manrings and Marcus Millers out there, it’s easy to forget that not so very long ago, the electric bass was relegated to the back of the musical bus: While the lead instrumentalists frolicked in the spotlight, the bassist’s job was to do little more than keep time with the drummer and lay down simple grooves.
Then came Stanley Clarke. With the possible exception of Jaco Pastorius, no musician has done more than Clarke to help establish the bass guitar as a lead instrument in its own right. In the early ’70s, Clarke—previously known for his work with the fusion group Return to Forever as well as with jazz players like Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Art Blakey and Pharoah Sanders—took flight as a solo artist. Though it was almost unheard-of for a bass player to act as the leader of a band, Clarke’s undeniable skills made short work of the naysayers’ prejudices.