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Sep 30th
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Music

beer STELLA


Love Your Local Band

THE MUMLERS

THE MUMLERSAccording to Will Sprott, lead singer of The Mumlers, a San Jose-based alt-folk collective, it was skateboarding that initially brought his band to the attention of Greg Lamson and Thomas Campbell, co-founders of the Santa Cruz indie record label Galaxia. “The people who run Galaxia are skaters and I grew up skateboarding,” Sprott says. “A friend of mine passed our first demo recordings on to another friend, who passed them on to another friend, and one day I got a phone call saying they were interested in what we were doing.” Exactly what Sprott and his bandmates are doing isn’t all that easy to define, and that, in part, is what makes The Mumlers’ music so good. Sprott’s nonchalant delivery and wry observations—“I came to this town / from beneath a hospital gown,” he sings on “Dice in a Drawer” from 2007’s Thickets and Stitches—fit effortlessly into the folky fabric of acoustic guitar plucking, squeeze box, horns, tambourine and simple drumming. Sprott and the rest of The Mumlers will bring their quirky, shrugging, backwoods jams this week to unveil new material off their just-released record, Don’t Throw Me Away. The singer says that on this newest release the band had a lot of time to get the mood it wanted. “We really got into the nitty gritty,” he says, “and found sounds we liked, used old microphones, preamps and tape machines. We recorded it in our friend Monte Vallier’s studio above a taqueria in the Mission district of San Francisco. It was just a very comfortable, contructive, relaxed place to do it.” Although the band hails from over the hill, Sprott says it feels right at home on the Santa Cruz label. “Santa Cruz is a beautiful place,” he says. “We’ve been swimming in the ocean there since we could swim. We have friends there. You can dig up sand crabs at the beach there. The whole town has been overflowing with vampires since the ’80s.”

9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
Features

Everything Old is New Again

Everything Old is New Again

DJ Tom LG combines the past and the present
The annual Burning Man festival is a unique fusion of the ancient and futuristic, the human and the digital. The very nature of its Nevada desert location, which puts its participants face-to-face with many of the same basic survival issues with which our primitive ancestors grappled, ensures a somewhat archaic feel, yet the tribal festivities are enlivened by electronic music and state-of-the-art technology.

In short, it’s probably the only place in the world where you might see a robot cruising past a cluster of naked people dancing around a fire.

One would be hard-pressed to find a better DJ for a Burning Man after-party than Tom LG, whose musical tastes epitomize this synthesis of the archaic and modern. “Part of the electronic music scene is to be continually moving forward: Don’t look back; that record was played yesterday, therefore, it’s obsolete,” offers LG, who will be spinning records at this Wednesday’s post-Burning Man party at Moe’s Alley along with DJ Seek, Little John and Rob Monroy. In contrast to that, he notes, “I think the essence of what I’m about is this old and this new, this past and present. I ride this line back and forth, and when the two come together is when I think I’ve created the best experience for people.”

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Features

Barenaked Lady

Barenaked Lady

New West Guitar Trio proves that less is more.

Everybody’s familiar with that common affliction that plagues many bands. You know, the inherent case of the LGES, otherwise known as Lead Guitarist Ego Syndrome, which can breed head-to-head vying for the spotlight between singer and ripping soloist; that Catch-22 that can ultimately make and then break a band.

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Features

Long Song to Freedom

Long Song to Freedom Ladysmith Black Mambazo fought Apartheid with grace

A lot of people talk about the power of music. Not many can say that they helped uproot an entire system of government and an oppressive social paradigm with their vocal harmonies.

 

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Features

Too Cool for School

Too Cool for School

Taking lessons from Esperanza Spalding

Everyone knows that old saying “Those who can’t do, teach.” Well, in response to it, meet Esperanza Spalding. The standup bassist, composer, bandleader and multilingual vocalist is annihilating such skepticism left and right. At the age when most people begin their college pursuits, Spalding accomplished a jaw-dropping feat by becoming Berklee College of Music’s youngest professor ever—when she was merely 20 years old. For jazz’s sparkling up-and-coming gem it wasn’t a whirlwind, it was natural.

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Features

Not Just Country for Young Men

Not Just Country for Young Men

The Avett Brothers answer the varied calls of the wild

When it comes to North Carolina’s thunderous country rockers the Avett Brothers, younger brother Seth Avett confirms that what you see onstage is what you get in private: “Since Scott [Avett] was a little boy, he’s had the highest level of energy that you could imagine, it’s unbelievable,” the

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Features

Men at Work

Men at Work

Tiempo Libre’s Cuban sons fought the odds

Back in Cuba, Jorge Gomez had a lot of time on his hands. During the early ’90s when, he recalls, there was “no work, no food and no hope,” the pianist turned to music. All day.

“In Cuba, most of the time you don’t have anything to do,” Gomez says from his current home in Miami. “So, you rehearse from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. looking for some hope. Nothing happens with your music, but you become a great musician. I only focused on rehearsing and finding a way to leave.”

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Features

When musical friends go home

When musical friends go home

Charlie Hunter and Ben Goldberg find out what's in store when accidents happen

Charlie Hunter just can’t stay away from home. The jazz funk guru who freakishly pulls triple duty on his custom-made seven and eight-string guitars, busting out bass, rhythm and solo magic, first left for the East Coast in 1996 because, he says, “I just had to go to New York to get my butt kicked, you know? I didn’t want to be 50 years old and feel like I didn’t do that.” Still, the Berkeley native hasn’t left us waning from his radar.

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Love Your Local Band

Sourgrass is greener

Sourgrass is greener

From backyard band to Santa Cruz bar stars, Sourgrass brings on the funk

Sourgrass has come a long way for a band that considered naming itself “Chocolate Subways and Marshmallow Overcoats.” In fact, they’ve come a long way since this time last year, when they were playing funk- and blues-fueled rock shows in backyards and garages. “This year is when we were really indoctrinated into the Santa Cruz music society, so to speak, because before this year we were just a whiskey band that played parties,” explains drummer Drew Cirincione.

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Features

Anchormen

Anchormen

STS9 proves you don’t need words to make a statement

Noam Chomsky is down with electronica. OK, so you might not see the revered scholar waving a glow stick at a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show anytime soon, but you will see him collaborating with our hometown boys in an upcoming documentary. That’s because STS9 walks the walk. Virtually all sound and no talk, the local 5-piece-gone-big, infamous for elaborate orchestrations of instrumental jam band rock with tech-savvy electronica, is all about getting the word out and giving back.

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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

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Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

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

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”