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Sep 02nd
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Music - Features

Frizzle Fried

Frizzle Fried

Playing in Primus has twisted Larry LaLonde’s mind for good

Mutant circus funk? Salvador Dali hosts Sesame Street? There’s no straightforward description for the Bay Area-born alternative rock trio Primus. Picture a reality TV show in which Danny Elfman, Frank Zappa, Dr. Seuss, Hunter S. Thompson, Lewis Carroll, William S. Burroughs and the members of Rush live together and test out the latest experimental pharmaceuticals, and you’re getting close. At a loss for a succinct genre tag such as R&B, rock, country, etc., the folks who put together the WinAmp media player finally threw up their hands in defeat and simply filed Primus under “Primus.”

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Music - Features

Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light

Mickey Church of White Arrows talks psychedelic pop, voyeurism, and blindness

One thing is indisputable after watching White Arrows’ music video for “Get Gone”— the opening track off of the band’s Fireworks of the Sea EP, released in April—either you failed to pay attention during your high school’s D.A.R.E program, or the director and film crew certainly did.

As the quirky Los Angeles psych-pop quintet jams in an empty studio, the most trippy of visuals take over: flashes of light, similar to those in a starburst galaxy, blurred faces, kaleidoscope shapes, and entrancing swirls, all tie-dyed in the most muted of patriotic colors. Though this stoner vision may draw you further into a fantasy world, it is more of a flashback for frontman Mickey Church.

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Music - Features

In the Now

In the Now

Donavon Frankenreiter reminds listeners to live in the present

Start Livin’, Donavon Frankenreiter’s newly released fifth album, consists of exactly the sort of music that fans have come to expect from the singer/guitarist/songwriter-cum-pro surfer: laidback acoustic surf-folk much akin to that of Frankenreiter’s friend and mentor, Jack Johnson. But Frankenreiter tried some new recording tactics this time out.
For one, rather than bringing in a full band, he enlisted the talents of just one other musician: his longtime bassist, Matt Grundy. The two musicians used all kinds of instruments never before heard on a Frankenreiter album—along with banjo, lap steel guitar and ukulele, they made creative use of percussion: In lieu of a drum kit, Frankenreiter and Grundy used pots and pans, Zippo lighters, singing bowls, bells and good old-fashioned hand claps.

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Music - Features

Older and Wiser

Older and Wiser

Local pop/folk/electronica outfit Audiafauna grows up on debut LP, ‘Grow Down’

When it comes to thrift store shopping in Santa Cruz, there’s no deal that’s too good to be true. But nobody understands the value of thrift stores better than Krikor Andonian, the guitarist and keyboardist for local pop, folk, and electronica-laden quintet, Audiafauna. It was at a thrift store on Front Street in 2008, where Andonian—then a grad student studying plant ecology at UC Santa Cruz—met singer Kelly Koval, who was studying literature at the time.

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Music - Features

You’re So Vein

You’re So Vein

Thick-skinned indie duo, Bad Veins, battles heartbreak with power pop

Bad Veins’ music video for “Falling Tide,” the throbbing electrorock track off of the band’s alluringly bleak self-titled debut (2009), shows the two mopey musicians at their worst. For nearly three minutes, the wallflower rockers appear too introverted to function, as they are featured sitting in the same spots during a birthday party, while more social party-goers participate in cake fights and card games, and play with little plastic army men.

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Music - Features

Hear Her Roar

Hear Her Roar

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ali Handal can rock out with the best of the boys

Look through any list of famous lead guitarists, and you’ll notice something that almost all of them have in common: a Y chromosome. If you’re a true music aficionado, you might be able to name four or five well-known female lead players, but beyond that, the names take a sharp turn for the obscure.

As an accomplished lead guitarist, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Ali Handal is well aware that she’s a bit of an anomaly. She came face-to-face with that fact when she first moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles in 1987. The musician recalls telling a Guitar Center employee she was unsure what gauge of guitar string she wanted. “The guy was like, ‘So, what kind of guitar does your boyfriend play?’” she recounts with a laugh.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Foodie File: Beer Thirty

Cups runneth over at Soquel’s new beer garden

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.