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Thursday | 28
Arguably the worst band name ever, Diarrhea Planet actually kind of works for the Nashville six-piece, infatuated as they are with aggressive silliness and excess. They have four guitar players, for god’s sake! And don’t be surprised to see more than one of them shredding at the same time. Their lyrics aren’t much better (e.g. “Ghost with a Boner”), but the group is actually made up of pretty solid players, and in between moments of uniform heavy metal riffage, shout-along choruses, and two-minute Ace Frehley guitar solos, they build some nuanced, layered arpeggios. On the surface they seem to worship ’70s metal and ’90s punk, but they are subtle pop enthusiasts at heart, and cite Steely Dan as an influence. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-4135.
BECCA STEVENS BAND
Becca Stevens knows her way around jazz. She’s been an essential collaborator for Bay Area-raised piano star Taylor Eigsti for years, contributing some gorgeous vocals on his 2010 album Daylight at Midnight (Concord Jazz). But the 29-year-old New York singer/songwriter and guitarist isn’t wedded to any one genre. Her indie-rock-inflected new album Perfect Animal (Universal Music Classics) reflects her love of Björk as well as Billie Holiday. She’s touring with a stylistically expansive band featuring keyboardist/accordionist Liam Robinson, bassist Chris Tordini, and drummer/percussionist Jordan Perlson. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 427-2227.
Friday | 29
Last year, the fledgling SF trio Great Spirit embarked on a mini-tour intended to be five shows, but it turned into a bunch of dates. If that sounds like an easy-going, roll-with-the-punches group of guys, it’s nothing compared to their music, which is rooted in banjo-driven bluegrass, with the trimix elements of jazz, psychedelic background noises, and laid-back funk-infused Phish-style jams, particularly on their song “The Road Less Traveled.” Their tour has been kind of ongoing, and they’ve even managed to release the EP, From Porch To Frontier. Their debut LP, Searching For A Legend, is expected out later this year. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
The video for Mystic Braves’ tune “Desert Island” shows the band, shaggy hair and all, performing in an open desert, surrounded by bizarre Jodorowsky imagery. Their music is pure organ-driven 1966 L.A. psychedelic rock a la the Seeds. They play it so spot on they’re borderline a tribute band. It’s the kind of band that would have been formed two decades ago as a joke, but now in 2015 is done seriously, and has a legitimate audience in the current musical landscape. The only thing keeping them from being a 1960s time capsule is how precise their musicianship is. They keep the whacked-out psychedelic sounds to a minimum, focusing on pop-structures, and don’t have an ounce of that Nuggets-era teenage garage-rock sloppiness. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $16/door. 429-4135.
Saturday | 30
There’s something timeless about noir country singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell. She’s firmly planted as one of today’s most engaging roots acts, but if you told me she was around when country, rockabilly, blues and folk were all mingling in the ’50s, I’d believe it. A Boise, Idaho native who has steadily reeled in a loyal international following, Jewell creates music that swings, with a voice that floats easily through decades and styles and an ace band to bring the whole thing home. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $35/gold. 427-2227.
WHITEY MORGAN & THE 78s
Anyone worth their weight in whiskey knows there’s a difference between country music and honky-tonk, and it doesn’t get much more honky-tonk than Whitey Morgan & the 78s. Despite coming from Flint, Michigan, Morgan and company capture the spirit of Waylon, the fight of Merle and some mojo from all the Hanks. They’re touring on the heels of their second Bloodshot Records release, Sonic Ranch, so be prepared for a fun night of drinking, hollering and causing a ruckus. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/door, $75/VIP package. 479-1854.
Take four guys from Oakland, throw in a banjo and a few strings, then kick it up a notch with some electric guitars and throw in a little soul and you’re in Tumbleweed Wanderers territory. Their musical influences are all over the board, adding enough ’60s fuzz-psych to their bluegrass set to make you wonder if you’ve been listening to the same band. One thing’s for sure, the Tumbleweed Wanderers’ infectiously positive songs will chase any blues away. MW
INFO: 9 p.m., Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel, Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
Sunday | 31
Singer-songwriter Corinne West is an Americana artist, but she regularly elicits reviews that are a bit more flowery than those typically bestowed on the genre, with words like “angelic” and “eloquent” being tossed around to describe her. But with a honey-sweet voice and earthy disposition, the flowery stuff fits—though it betrays the depth of West’s songwriting and her ability to turn a sharp phrase. On her new album, Starlight Highway, West goes deep into her own experiences to create what she considers her most intimate collection of songs yet. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 603-2294.
Monday | 1
NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL
An indie band whose two full-length albums—especially the outstanding 1998 release In the Aeroplane Over the Sea—have handily withstood the test of time, Neutral Milk Hotel remains a pillar of ’90s underground rock. But sad news, kiddies, this will be the band’s last tour for the foreseeable future as they’ve announced that it’s “time to say goodbye for the never ending now.” So, if seeing NMH was on your bucket list, get on this one. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. $40.35. 423-2053.
IN THE QUEUE
Award-winning Bay Area bluegrass. Thursday at Don Quixote’s
THE SAM CHASE
San Francisco folk-rock outfit. Friday at Moe’s Alley
Las Vegas-based rapper. Saturday at Catalyst
Electronic rock band. Tuesday at Catalyst
OZ NOY TRIO
Genre-defying guitarist. Tuesday at Kuumbwa