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Dec 20th
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Music

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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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Love Your Local Band

Rick Walker

Rick Walker

Rick Walker is a jack of all trades. The percussionist/producer/live-looping pioneer has played with bands that specialize in everything from British Invasion-style rock to world music, from jazz fusion to electronica, and has never been content to stick with one thing for very long. A lot of this stems from moving around a lot during his youth. “I was an air force brat, and in the first nine years I lived, my family moved nine times,” Walker says. “We saw a lot of exotic things, and I became a xenophile.

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Features

Finding Happiness Through Heartbreak

Finding Happiness Through Heartbreak

New Jersey punks tackle life's troubles with self-awareness and wit

Acoustic guitars aren't generally associated with the kind of propulsive, punk rock music played by New Jersey quartet The Front Bottoms. But in the DIY spirit of every true punk band, they make it work.

In fact, according to Brian Sella, the band's guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter, playing acoustic, rather than electric, was all about making due with what he had.

"I never got an amp," Sella says. He couldn't afford one in 2006 when he started jamming with drummer Mathew Uychich. Plus, it wasn’t practical to play electric guitar in his small house.

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Love Your Local Band

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise, a progressive reggae/hip-hop band from Salinas, is bringing together the young and the old with its activism, socially conscious lyricism and dynamic beats. Family is at the heart of the band as Hank Macias lays down the bass and his brother, Ruben Macias, keeps the rock steady on lead guitar. Alex Cortez pounds the drums while Hector Hurtado jams on rhythm guitar and Kyle Dunn sings, raps and plays the keyboard. Though the band formed in 2004, the current line-up has been active for four years. What keeps Wasted Noise fresh and interesting over the years is the diverse musical background of its members.

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Features

Gotta Have That Funk

Gotta Have That Funk

Sophistafunk is an ambassador of energy

When it comes to performing, Sophistafunk is all about energy. And according to Adam Gold, who plays keys and bass for the band, the audience is partially responsible for what the trio ends up creating on stage each night.

“I would almost say they’re like a fourth musician, a silent partner in all of this,” explains Gold. “The three of us know what we’re going to do, but we’re leaving this fourth space open which is sort of our muse.”

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Love Your Local Band

Neon Satori

Neon Satori

What’s in a name? For Neon Satori, everything. “A big element of our music is combining an epic, spiritual [sensibility] which makes you reflect on life, with a fun, funky dance aspect,” says Nate Stein, who contributes percussion, synths, and backup vocals to the Santa Cruz trio. “That’s the intent of Neon Satori: the fun of neon, but the consciousness of Satori.”

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Features

New Year, New Sound

New Year, New Sound

The She’s embrace change, explore new sonic territory with latest EP

The last six months or so have been quite the ride for The She’s. The all-girl quartet was part of a concert series at Slim’s in San Francisco, and partnered with Converse on an ad campaign this past summer. Converse was so enamored with The She’s that the shoe company invited the band to contribute a cover of a classic holiday tune to its just-released holiday compilation, Noise to the World. But even the best rides can be bumpy at times.

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Love Your Local Band

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men is the latest example of Kickstarter making dreams come true. After completing a successful fundraising campaign during the fall, the local band is preparing to unveil a new record, called Wrong Side of the Road. “We didn’t know what to ask for and were kind of scared,” guitarist/vocalist Kellen Coffis says of their Kickstarter experience.

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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