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Dec 20th
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Features

Switched On

Switched On

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.”

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Love Your Local Band

Nick Gallant

Nick Gallant

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.

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Features

Wide-Eyed Wonders

Wide-Eyed Wonders

Dr. Dog seeks out surprises on latest album

Generally speaking, when it comes time for a band to make an album, they have an idea of what they want it to sound like. They might noodle around in the studio a bit, but for the most part, there is little doubt about the direction they plan to go in. Rockers Dr. Dog, however, took a totally different approach with their most recent album, B Room.

“Normally, we have a stack of demos that everyone sifts through and a lot of times those demos are pretty fleshed out with full arrangements,” says Scott McMicken, the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist. “But this time, we didn’t put any songs on the table. We played, we wrote, and we hung out. We played, we wrote, and we hung out some more, and we recorded pretty much all of it that way.”

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Love Your Local Band

The Harmony Honeys

The Harmony Honeys

After an eight-month hiatus, The Harmony Honeys, a local old-time bluegrass band, are back in action. And vocalist Chelsea Curtin couldn’t be more excited. “It’s been a little while since we played out and about,” she says. “But we’re happy to be out on the scene again.” During their time off, Curtin moved to San Francisco for a new job, and bandmate Becky Hendricks (vocals, fiddle, guitar) spent some time playing with other bands. But fate has brought The Harmony Honeys back together, and their upcoming show at The Crepe Place will be a special one.

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Love Your Local Band

The Red Light District

The Red Light District

The Red Light District isn’t your grandmother’s band—unless, of course, your grandmother happened to see The Doors perform at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles in 1966. The local four-piece’s rock music swirls with a grinding groove and is punctuated by lead singer Steve Sam’s poetic lyricism, guttural cries and leather pants. Sam and lead guitarist Galdino Guijosa (aka Nano) went to high school together in Salinas, but the two didn’t dream of forming a band until they found themselves living together years later in Monterey. According to the wild-haired Sam, the move to Santa Cruz a few years ago was inevitable.

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Features

Big, Dark Dreams

Big, Dark Dreams

Bonnie & the BANG BANG is determined to go big, or go home

Bonnie & the BANG BANG is ready to take its music to the masses. Armed with its first full-length album, 2013’s The Dark Dream, and a plan to start touring indefinitely, the Bay Area indie rock band is going all-in in an effort to increase its fan base. Jacob Dineen, the guitarist, mandolinist and banjo player, spoke to GT about the new album, the changes to the lineup, and what this tour of theirs will look like.

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Love Your Local Band

Midnite Mojo

Midnite Mojo

For Marissa Valera and her brother, Millard, the act of listening can be a wellspring of inspiration for songwriting. Many of the lyrics they write for their local band, Midnite Mojo, are autobiographical, but they also get ideas from observations and other people’s stories. “[Sometimes we] listen to people when we go out, and hear their stories and think, ‘That guy’s story sounds like a pretty cool song—we could totally write that,’” Marissa says. The band began as a duo in 2007, with Marissa on guitar/vocals and Millard singing and playing upright bass.

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Features

Seeing the Light

Seeing the Light

Muriel Anderson’s new double album puts a rockin’ spin on children’s lullabies

A lot can happen in 25 years. Just ask Muriel Anderson. In 1989, the guitarist/harp-guitarist released her debut album, Heartstrings, and became the first woman to ever win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. Since then, she has been part of more than three dozen albums, compilations, DVDs and music books, and her music was featured in the Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

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Love Your Local Band

The Joint Chiefs

The Joint Chiefs

During the Persian Gulf War in 1990, local guitarist Don Caruth was working a construction job in San Jose when his best friend Ken Colby (aka KC) phoned him and told him to hurry over. KC had been bringing some friends together for a new unnamed musical project that focused on roots funk music. Minutes before Caruth arrived, KC and the other band members overheard a television newscaster say, in reference to the war, “the Joint Chiefs are in session.” KC knew they had stumbled upon the band’s name.

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Features

Married to Music

Married to Music

Haunted Summer’s bittersweet EP is potent, medicinal,and a taste of what’s to come

It’s hard not to get swept up in John and Bridgette Seasons’ chemistry. The married couple at the helm of Haunted Summer is simply too cute for words.

But it’s that same chemistry that makes their musical collaboration irresistible to the ears.

After almost a decade of being friends and admirers of each other’s music, John and Bridgette played a Halloween gig together in 2012, as part of an Animal Collective cover band.

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Love Your Local Band

Siren Solstice

Siren Solstice

For Andrew Kunz, Siren Solstice is more than just a passion project, it is also a way for him to help shine the spotlight on some of the area’s great musicians. “I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for about four years and have come to realize how many really awesome, talented people there are here,” says the pianist. “I figured it would be amazing to collaborate with [some of them], utilize and showcase everybody’s talents, and highlight what they’re all about.” The psychedelic jazz fusion band released its self-titled debut EP in August, and its penchant for hypnotic repetition one minute and improvisation the next is a treat.

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Features

A Glowing Reinvention

A Glowing Reinvention

Songwriter for British band Yuck found his groove after losing his singer

This time two years ago, the members of British indie rock four-piece Yuck were riding high on a wave of critical acclaim, which they captured with their debut album—a set of ramshackle tunes influenced by ’90s shoegaze and lo-fi fuzzy garage rock.

The self-titled record was filled with songs built upon churning guitar dirges and simple, lyrical constructions. On "The Wall," for instance, then-singer Daniel Blumberg sings mostly the same line over and over again. The band was applauded by the hipster blogosphere and mainstream music publications alike.

And then Blumberg split from the group, allegedly on less than amicable terms.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire