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Love Your Local Band

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Love Eternal

Love Eternal

From 2003-2010, Love Eternal released a new album or EP on an almost annual basis, but the band has gone quiet since 2010’s True Peace. Fear not: New material is on the way. “We are working on a double album,” says lead singer Jahred Namaste. “We’ve just started the basic planning for it and we’re really excited about it. There’s going to be a lot of new material, as well as some old material we never got around to recording.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Stormy Strong

Stormy Strong

“My life has been extremely crazy,” Stormy Strong laughs. “I don’t know, maybe it has to do with my name!” The local rock ’n’ roll singer-songwriter associates the word “crazy” with a variety of things—from relationships to the number of near-death experiences he had as the son of a commercial fisherman. “Crazy” also perfectly describes the music video for “Jumpstart the Heart,” off his latest EP, Take Her Down, which features vintage footage of daredevils doing acrobatic tricks on the edges of skyscrapers.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Michael Gaither

Michael Gaither

“With any genre of music, no matter what side of the microphone you’re on, it’s connecting people,” says Michael Gaither. In an effort to relate to people through his music, the local singer-songwriter tells (often humorous) stories with his lyrics. His fan-favorite Americana folk track “Highway 17,” for instance, offers a hilarious perspective on bad drivers and horrible commutes.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Coffee Zombie Collective

Coffee Zombie Collective

For Nate Lieby, the lead vocalist and ukulele player for Coffee Zombie Collective, being in a cover band is a nice change of pace for him, creatively. “I’d been writing original material for bands for about 15 years, so I’m enjoying having a different kind of challenge,” Lieby says. “You have to exercise a different kind of mind muscle when you’re rewriting existing tunes.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Matt Conable Band

The Matt Conable Band

Matt Conable is a rare breed of musician. “I decided 20 years ago that I didn’t want to try and make a living in music,” he says. “If it happened, fine, but music’s too close to my heart. It’s the thing I love the most. I realized if I make this the mechanism by which I try to pay the rent, then it’s going to quickly become about that, and not what I love about the music itself. I didn’t ever want to fall out of love with music, so I’ve always kept it as a very serious hobby.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

LabRat

LabRat

It’s been a rapid rise to dubstep fame for 24-year-old bicycle mechanic Travis Egner-Williams, who only adopted his LabRat alias within the last four years. “A lot of my pull is thanks to the Internet and being able to get my music out everywhere,” he explains. According to Egner-Williams, his fan base extends as far as Germany and Russia.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Shapes

The Shapes

When it comes to finding inspiration for their songs, Ashley Lloyd Thompson and Alex Thompson—who sing, write and play guitars in the band The Shapes—can look just about anywhere. “A lot of our songs are inspired by our environment, whether that’s the natural environment that we’re surrounded by here in Santa Cruz or longing for that environment,” Alex says. “We’ve written a few love songs too, and a couple of duets that revolve around hope or love.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

North Pacific String Band

North Pacific String Band

Jeff Wilson, who plays banjo for North Pacific String Band, loves being part of original music experiences. “What I like about the music we play is that it’s fairly unique and kind of hard to put your finger on,” Wilson says. “We’re not just trying to do bluegrass or country or folk. It’s a mixture of those things and we try to add in a lot of musicality to all of that.” Originality and musicality aren’t ideas which are limited to the band’s exploits either.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Mark Twang

Mark Twang

Mark Twang plays a little bit of everything—rock, roots, jazz and bluegrass for starters—but so far they haven’t played much in public as evidenced by the fact that their upcoming show at Don Quixote’s will only be their second gig. But there’s a reason why the band isn’t performing a lot right now. “We have plans [to make an album],” says drummer Jeff Wilson. “We’re trying to do some things differently though and not just come out full-steam ahead and start playing all these shows.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Amanda West

Amanda West

Amanda West started singing sometime after she began walking, but before uttering her first words. Or that's what she's been told, at least. "My mother says that I sang before I talked," the Santa Cruz-based singer-songwriter recounts. "I just always loved singing." When the 11-year-old West picked up a guitar for the first time—a cheap garage-sale find belonging to her "hippy" parents—she says it was more in the interest of having "someone accompany me when I sang" than out of a particular urge to strum. It makes sense when you think about it.

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