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Aug 27th
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Features

It’s A Small World

It’s A Small World

Pianist Robert Edward Thies revisits the past
When most children were dreaming of becoming firefighters, doctors and astronauts, 4-year-old Robert Edward Thies was aspiring to be a classical musician.

On Oct. 2, the now 39-year-old distinguished pianist will help kick off the Santa Cruz Symphony’s 2010/2011 season with a concert called “Out of this World,” which will showcase three pieces, two of which inspired him as a young boy.

Thies will play George Gershwin’s jazzy “Rhapsody in Blue,” a composition originally written for the Paul Whiteman Band, which has held a special place in his heart since childhood. While he has been given the opportunity to perform the piece on several occasions throughout his career—this will be the third time this year. To him, it never gets old.

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Love Your Local Band

The Terrible

The Terrible

Standing in the center of Metavinyl, the record mecca in Downtown Santa Cruz owned by drummer Jonathon Schneiderman, the first thing the four members of The Terrible tell me is that they’re not really much of a band. Qué? Friends who’ve been jamming for a decade, they don’t play shows very often (a handful this year) and they don’t really practice (“I’ll practice the day of the show onstage at the Blue Lagoon,” guitarist Nick Gyorkos laughs, referencing this week’s gig). Like a space rock vampire that emerges after long bouts of sleep to clench audiences with a piercing attack before retreating, the hard-driving quartet may not take itself seriously, but listeners do. Plus, lining the wall behind the guys is a big clue that begs to differ with their claim: a slew of copies of The Terrible’s new record, their brown cardboard sleeves screenprinted with art by Stacie Willoughby and neatly wrapped in plastic. There are 300 limited-edition prints of the record, with a 21-minute haze of throbbing psychedelic rock on each side ready to melt your player needle, and it’s the impetus behind The Terrible’s performance with Mammatus and Indian Giver at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at The Blue Lagoon.

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Features

Animal Collective's Deakin Goes Solo

Animal Collective's Deakin Goes Solo

Deakin crafts tunes, and more, on his own
In certain circles, Animal Collective is a veritable god-like force, essentially unassailable critically for creating some of the most important experimental music of an entire generation.

Conversely, member Josh Dibb (aka Deakin, coming to the Brookdale Lodge on Tuesday, Sept. 28 with supporting act Price Rama), doesn’t have the kind of confidence you’d expect of a prophet. However, he does have at least one thing in common with Jesus Christ.

“Carpentry, I think, has been my other really big source of money and work, aside from music,” says Dibb, recalling his days as a set-builder for what he calls “off, off Broadway” productions in New York City. This was during a time after dropping out of Brandeis University in Massachusetts, a decision that clearly still weighs on him.

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Love Your Local Band

Matador

Matador

With so many street performers on Pacific Avenue hacking their way through played-out classic rock covers, it takes a unique sound to even catch my attention. Take, for instance, Matador: I’m still captivated by its music almost two years after I first saw the duo perform. With Mathew on guitar and Dorota strumming the violin, both going only by first name, Matador formed by chance when Mathew was couch surfing at a mutual friend’s house. “It was just random,” says Dorota. “[We] happened to be at the same place on the same day.” That meeting resulted in the two writing music the very next day. Three years later, they are still at it. “Writing music is kind of like a science experiment,” Mathew states. “We start with a little piece and then we work on it,” explains Dorota. “We’ll try it a billion different ways until it grows into a complete mess, then we bring it back.” With this method of controlled chaos, Matador unleashes a river of melody that’s hauntingly beautiful one moment and dangerously explosive the next.

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Features

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Owen Ashworth reflects on 13 years as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
"I don’t think I’m a particularly good interview,” laments Owen Ashworth about halfway through my interview with the purveyor of indie electronic act Casiotone for the Painfully Alone—coming to the Crepe Place on Wednesday, Sept. 22 with opener Otouto.

This is a half-truth. It’s not so much that Ashworth isn’t a good interview—rather, I feel like I’ve learned a great deal about the Chicago-via-San Francisco musician during our 30 minutes. His answers are methodical, philosophical, and engaging. However, Ashworth is correct in asserting that his musings are distinct (read: much headier) from other indie pseudo-stars. And I feel like this is because he knows all my tricks and secrets.

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Features

Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival

All that jazz and more
The Monterey Jazz Festival is the West Coast equivalent of a jazz Stonehenge—a touchstone that has consistently provided the world with phenomenal acts since its inception in 1958 (featuring Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie and others). Now in its 53rd year, nuzzled within the 22 oak-studded acres of the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the MJF has created a heavy weekend that defies and expands the notion of a jazz festival with a musical smorgasbord of auditory delights. For this year’s incarnation of the fest, 500 artists will share eight stages starting Friday night, Sept. 17 through Sunday night, Sept. 19. 

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Features

Jimmie Vaughan's Joy Ride

Jimmie Vaughan's Joy Ride

Jimmie Vaughan is still a blues speed racer
Getting a call from one Jimmie Vaughan on my cell phone at 8 a.m. recently had me doing a double take. “Hi, this is Jimmie Vaughan. I hope it’s OK that I’m calling this early, but I’m sitting in my hotel room with nothing to do and have time do the interview sooner if you can,” his message says after I let the unknown number hit my voicemail while brushing my teeth at home. When I checked it I had to wonder, was I awake or just groggily mishearing things? Blues legend, Vaughan is a founder of the hard-driving Fabulous Thunderbirds. The guy used to open for Jimi Hendrix—the two infamously swapped Wah pedals. Oh, and he’s the older brother and first mentor of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. There’s more than four decades of blues and rock noodling filling his well-worn boots.

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Love Your Local Band

San Narciso

San NarcisoWhile having sushi dinner at Mobo recently, I mentioned San Narciso, to which my friend pondered aloud, “Why have I heard of them?” The reason is because a new 4-song EP, Friend Prices, confirms what many local show-goers have already discovered: San Narciso, the year-old local indie rock band, is fantastic.
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Features

Kuumbwa Jazz: Small But Mighty

Kuumbwa Jazz: Small But Mighty

Kuumbwa Jazz celebrates 35 years
Starting a nonprofit jazz organization in a little coastal town just south of San Francisco doesn’t seem too promising, and naming it an often mispronounced Swahili word can’t be the best marketing ploy. Still, in 1975, a 19-year-old Tim Jackson joined forces with KUSP programmers Rich Wills and Sheba Burney to do just that. The project would swell into the Kuumbwa Jazz Society, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, and decades of hosting the top jazz musicians from town and from around the globe.

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Love Your Local Band

Midnite Snack

Midnite Snack

In a world of disposable music in which many bands study fashion more than the songs they play, Denney Joints from the Midnite Snack has one thing to say to you: “Blow my head off with your guitar. Give me something moving, that’s how beauty should sound.” And the 26-year-old knows a little something about music. Besides being the lead singer-songwriter and guitar player for the Snack, he eats, breathes and studies music at Cabrillo College. It was there, in 2008, where he met drummer Trevor Hope (of the Vox Jaguars) and the two formed Midnite Snack, adding bassist Sam Copperman a year later and recording their first EP, Soup Samwich. “I wrote most of the stuff we play like four years ago, but I’ve been sitting on it because I didn’t have a band and I hated the way my voice sounded,” Joints explains with a smirk.

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Features

The Hold Steady: Fact or Fiction

The Hold Steady: Fact or FictionBloodshed, betrayal, and redemption are recurring themes in the band's songs
here was bloodshed in the streets. Charlemagne’s in sweatpants, looking over his shoulder; skinny, scared and off his game. Holly is as beautiful as ever, but now she’s crying hysterically in the corner because we can’t get as high as we got that first night. Meanwhile, Gideon and the shadow men with the same tattoos are partying in Ybor City, Fla., of course, with a pipe made from a Pringles can.
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Features

They Might Be Giants' Puppet Talk

They Might Be Giants' Puppet Talk

They Might Be Giants’ John Flansburgh on living with a split personality
"Can you call me back in 10 minutes? I just arrived, and I have to sort of de-pack my crap.” The statement is classic John Flansburgh, vocalist/guitarist for the jubilantly strange, lovably dorky alternative rock band They Might Be Giants. Since founding the group with vocalist/accordionist/keyboardist John Linnell in 1982, Flansburgh has practically built his career on the kind of pithy wording and amiably sardonic delivery he’s now displaying.

After liberating his crap, Flansburgh gets GT up to speed on a “misguided hand puppet project” that TMBG is currently working on. (Fans will soon see the results in the form of a slew of videos for the Web.) The 50-year-old musician explains that the puppets in question are “kind of angry, and that really speaks to adult audiences. They kind of feel put down by They Might Be Giants. They don’t want to be a part of the show; they feel like we’re holding them back.”

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.