Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Mar 29th
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 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals