Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 28th
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The Cranks

music_thecranksTo say the players in Aptos’ raging psychobilly duo, The Cranks, wear dedication on their sleeves would be a major understatement, overlooking a key detail surrounding the crew of Mike Hilden (guitars/vocals) and Américo Castillo (drums). It’s actually worn tattooed to their sleeve—The Cranks logo sprawled across Castillo’s forearm, leaving no doubt of his hardcore loyalty to the music. “We may not be the best musicians,” Castillo admits, “but no one can do what The Cranks do.” Rattling on a hybrid blend of Mexican corridos, Norteño rhythms, rockabilly rags and hard-nosed, foot-stomping Led Zeppelin rock, The Cranks are six-year veterans to the Santa Cruz scene—having  emerged from the ashes of the enigmatic trio, Sapos Muertos. After releasing a second album, The Cranks II, in October (only to rush back to the studio to start recording a third full-length, The Cranks III) the group has solidified its sound of organic, gritty, in-the-trenches roots rock that’s simultaneously perfect for the smoky dim aura of a grungy bar and the down-home warmth of a sunny Sunday barbecue. “We like to play with a lot of roots ideas,” Hilden raps, “but [we] don’t confine ourselves to one style.” The Cranks also don’t hesitate to bring the noise, shredding with high-voltage energy that sends surges down the audience’s spine. “Stripping people of their inhibitions is our goal,” Hilden adds. “The Cranks want to get the audience to that primal, instinctual state where everyone goes with their natural animal energies.” Developing their sound from a three-piece to a two-person act was difficult, Castillo noting The Cranks “worked real hard” to fine-tune their edge while working with the tools they had, sans bass. “The Cranks will always be Mike and myself,” Castillo affirms. Still, they’ve remained open-minded to experimenting and manipulating their sound, which prompted their latest move of eliciting the bass skills of Gary Boodt for some new tracks. A genuine working-class duo, The Cranks hit those perfect notes to accompany one’s hard-earned, frosty brew after a long day on the job, or rile up a celebration of the week’s end. Julian Schoen


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