Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Runaway

music ZoeBoekbinder2Zoe Boekbinder bids farewell to the left coast with wispy, looping folk-pop

hen she tells you that she "escaped from the circus" to start her solo act, Zoe Boekbinder is talking about parting ways with her previous band, Vermillion Lies, which she formed and played in with her sister, Kim, from 2004 to 2009.

But Boekbinder could easily be talking about other episodes in her life when she decided to break from the norm to pursue other passions. She has lived much of her life like a gypsy—bouncing from town to town practicing different forms of performance art all the way.

And on Friday, fresh off a European tour, her travels will lead her up and over the hill from her current camp in Oakland to perform her brand of wispy, looping and percussive folk-pop at The Crepe Place.

Born on a farm in Ontario, Canada, the singer/songwriter traveled all over North America with her family "in a big red truck, pulling a trailer." They lived in communes and other "hippie kinds of places"—"I grew up naked by a river, pretty much," Boekbinder says.

After high school, she studied to be a clown and learned to travel on the cheap. Though she hasn't used her clowning abilities much, she says they have been incredibly valuable to her as a musician. "Clowns are very vulnerable," she says. It's a character trait she clearly appreciates and one that shows itself in her own music.

"At your bidding I fell 50 feet into salt water," she sings on "Salt Water," from her latest album, 2011's Darling Specimens. "I scrambled to hold on or be lost forever/You said it was for my own sake/and watched as I was swallowed in the wake."

Boekbinder delivers the words in a high, quavering voice—resonant and clear as a bell—over crisp finger picking and a clickity-clacking rhythm that sounds like it was built somewhat haphazardly out of an open palm gently thumping on acoustic guitars and chopsticks clattering on dinnerware. "How was I supposed to know I would end up in the undertow?"

In many ways Boekbinder's act is reminiscent of Merrill Garbus' project, tUnE-yArDs. Both are denizens of Oakland and both write and perform songs using looping pedals, which they deploy to sample their voice and instruments, building phrase upon phrase until they've constructed the entire foundation of a song. And then they sing over that. They even have similar haircuts.

But where tUnE-yArDs is explosive, Boekbinder is subdued and delicate, owing more to folk and Americana than the hip-hop-referencing Garbus. The two have never met, though Boekbinder thinks they may have mutual friends.

Darling Specimens has proven to be somewhat of a departure for Boekbinder, who has been accustomed to working on her own, since putting out her three-song demo, Over the Top, and full-length, Artichoke Perfume, both in September 2010. A five-song EP was recorded some time ago, but now is completely out of print.

While the previous album was acoustic, with few contributors, Darling Specimens, produced by Shenandoah Davis, features intricate arrangements performed by a large group of players and beats—all of them composed of found-sound samples and performed by a percussion trio. "We recorded all the beats using random stuff that we could bang on," Boekbinder says.

After living in Oakland for six years—the longest she has ever lived in a single place, aside from the town she was born—Boekbinder is making plans to move to New Orleans. "The show in Santa Cruz is part of my goodbye to California," she says.

It would seem that Boekbinder is preparing to flee the circus once more. 


Zoe Boekbinder performs at 9 p.m. Friday, July 13 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 429-6994.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management