Friendly heads-up people: the Breeders are coming to the Rio Theatre in August. The band has not played together since 1994 and lucky us, Santa Cruz is one of the stop on the LSXX (That’s the cool name they’ve given it.) tour.
If you want in on the action, get tickets now, because you know that show is going to sell out, and probably soon.
Now you know.
by Mari Stauffer
What could be better than Beach Fossils playing literally across the street from my work? Local rockers the Groggs opening for them!! Each talented member of the Groggs came together for a great opening set. Giving garage rock a refreshing new spin of charisma and inter-dimensional musical drive, the Groggs maintain a consistent if not ever-improving sound that is always guaranteed to rock you!! And rock they did, paving the way for the headliners.
After that splendid musical journey through the hyperspace of garage rock, it was time to get dreamy with Beach Fossils. Upon listening to their music for the first time, it may seem that someone has unearthed a long-lost new wave/post-punk band from the 1980s.
Singer/multi-intstrumentalist Dustin Payseur is entertaining live, cracking jokes between songs with a straight face and dry humor and all the musicians in the band mesh well together. The band’s lo-fi style has all the memorable elements of dream pop and new wave of the ’80s. From prominent bass lines played in a higher-than-typical range (think New Order/Joy Division) to jangly guitar licks (a la the Cure, the Ocean Blue), they deliver the new wavey goods. Nonetheless, the band also manages to give the genre their own sound, with poetic and thoughtful lyrics.
Definitely worth checking out live if you’re a fan of this style of head-bopping new wave, and if you miss their live show, check out their brand new album Clash the Truth, available at Streetlight Records right now!
We had a great Record Store Day and we sincerely thank every single person who came out and made it awesome: those early birds who lined up in the 7am hour; everyone who patiently waited their turn to shop the exclusives; the bands who rocked the house; the DJs who kept the party moving; the vinyl die-hards who came down to show us some Record Store Day love and those just getting into records who bought their first turntable. We appreciate you all!
Here are just a few photos from the day. There are more over on our Facebook page. We’d love to see your photos. Tag us in yours so everyone can check them out. Cool? Cool.
David Morales, the man behind Out There with Morales, the ongoing series on this blog, rounds up his picks for Record Store Day 2013.
Dust – S/T and Hard Attack
Absolutely devastating hard rock from this Brooklyn group, featuring Richie Wise on guitar/vocals, Kenny Aaronson on bass and Mark Bell on drums. The band released two albums on the Kama Sutra lable in 1971 and 1972, both of which are packaged together in this special set. Wise went on to produce the first two Kiss albums; Aaronson played bass for many other groups and Bob Dylan; and Mark Bell drummed for another killer hard rock band called Estus, then moving on to Richard Hell and the Ramones. If you even remotely consider yourself a fan of rock, you have to buy this!
Roky Erickson – Mine, Mine, Mind/Bloody Hammer (Light in the Attic)
The first release in the Roky Erickson catalogue from Light In The Attic. If you are not familiar with Roky’s solo work, this is the best place to start. Two killer sides of demented rock n roll from the man who actually lived it.
Adrian Lloyd – Lorna/Got A Little Woman (Sundazed)
From 1966 Los Angeles. Listen to this!
The Seeds – EP: Bad Part of Town, Wish Me Up, Love in a Summer Basket, Did He Die (Sundazed)
Double seven inch set of rare Seeds from 1970. Essential garage.
Sir Douglas Quintet – Interpreta en Español (Sundazed)
Two seven inches from Texas rock n blues legends, in español. That’s spanish for spanish! Including their hit, “Mendocino.”
Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle (Rhino)
After being kicked out of the Beach Boys’ Smile Sessions, Parks began work on his debut solo album in 1968. A nice mix of classical, pop and Americana. Rhino reissues this album for the first time in mono in an old style tip on sleeve.
The Zombies – S/T (Varese Sarabande)
American version of their fine 1965 debut album that includes two of their biggest hits, but it does not end there. This is pop at its most cleverly crafted, although it was never quite successful as those other four. Who knows why.
A group that will forever remain in my heart. Kenny Jones’s thick and wild but on point drums, Ian McLagan’s expressive keyboard play, Ronnie Lane’s funky heavy bass lines and joyously playful vocals, and Steve Marriot’s heavy blues guitar and soulful wailing vocals. Arguably the greatest British rock vocalist. They did not record a bad song In their short career. Everything this band touched turned to gold.
There Are But Four Small Faces (Varese Sarabande)
American compilation of sorts pulling songs from their 1967 Immediate Records self-titled album and recent singles around the time of the release.
Here Come The Nice / Talk To You (Charly)
A killer pop tune that was a substantial hit for the band. Buying drugs from your dealer never sounded this good.
Green Circles (stereo) / Green Circles (mono) (Charly)
Pretty psych tune totally not about a certain drug of the green variety.
Pink Floyd – See Emily Play/Scarecrow (Capitol)
Classic british psych single with fold out poster. Pink Floyd’s second single written by original frontman Syd Barret, released in 1967. The cover was also drawn by Syd.
Trouble In Mind Four Way Covers Split 2013
Featuring: Jacco Gardner – Always on My Mind (Billy Nicholls), The Resonars – It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft (Fairpoint Convention), MMOSS – Cathy’s Clown (Everly Brothers) and Maston – I Go to Sleep (The Kinks)
Rolling Stones – Five by Five (ABKCO)
Second EP released in 1964, recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago while on their first American tour. They were practically ignored as they didn’t yet have their first big hit. A few months later their manager would release a throw away track, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
You may have heard: This Saturday, April 20 (yes, it falls on 4/20 this year) is Record Store Day. What this means is that we’re going to have a ton of super-limited, exclusive Record Store Day titles.
It also means that you get to see some of the area’s finest bands and DJ’s for free! And, California Honeydrops are going to close the day. Aaaand, on Record Store Day eve, at 8pm, we’re showing the documentary film, Last Shop Standing, about independent record stores, drive-in movie-style at the Felix Kulpa Gallery.
The store opens at 10am on Record Store Day and the music begins at 11.
Here’s the lineup:
11am – DJ Frusen Gladje and the Snack Pack
12pm – Lisa Taylor
1pm – DJ Frusen Gladje and the Snack Pack
2pm – Deep Ellum
3pm – DJ Kowalski
4pm – Dressed In Roses (Jackie Rocks side project)
5:30pm – California Honeydrops
See you there.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Extra work, the unexpected death of a car and a roadtrip down to Santa Barbara had my mind occupied with just the essentials: Where do I need to be right now? What do I need to get done today? Who do I need to talk to at this moment? In the back of my mind, I was looking forward to seeing Janis Ian at the Kuumbwa on Easter night, but it was nestled pretty far in the back of my mind.
On the night of the concert, the rushed, chaotic climate continued as we hustled to get into town on time. The venue was packed but we managed to find a couple of seats near the back. Within moments, the lights dimmed and the announcer welcomed Diana Jones to the stage. At this point, I, quite literally, leapt from my chair and I might have even done some kind of fist pump. Diana Jones is one of the most talented, soul-scouring, under-appreciated singer-songwriters around; one of my favorite artists, and I had no idea she was on the bill. Already, the night was off to a great start.
No surprise, Jones played a quietly brilliant set. She has a downstroke style that oozes rootsiness and a voice to back it up. When she speaks, she has a bit of a southern accent, but when she sings, she has this earthen, old-world timeless thing going on. She sounds like no one else I know. The only comparisons I can think to make are Iris DeMent or Karen Dalton because they too have unusual, soulful voices.
Jones played some new stuff and some familiar tunes including “Henry Russell’s Last Words” about a coal miner who was dying in the mine, scratching out, in coal, his last love letter to his wife. Tissue time, y’all. She brought out a 1930s era tenor guitar that has a tone that melts your soul and plucked out some songs about loneliness, love and the mountains; pure roots gold. Then she called Ian up to the stage and they sang one together as a segue into Ian’s set.
Now, I must confess here, everything I know about Janis Ian is because my partner is a longtime fan and has instilled Ian’s awesomeness into my consciousness. I wasn’t alive when Ian’s song, “Society’s Child” was being banned from radio for daring to mention interracial relationships, or when she, as a teenage breakout star, was being booed and threatened for speaking her mind. I know a few of her singles and have heard her albums but I’m not that familiar with her entire catalog and I’ve never seen her play.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the woman is a shredder. She was all over that guitar, all night long, playing rock, folk, jazz and blues as smooth as butter. She’s also a master performer/comedian/storyteller. Her songs ranged from hilarious ditties about a seasick mouse (that one was commissioned, she told us, by Dame Cleo Laine), being at peace with your life (the woman has lived many lives in one), and coming to terms with her sexuality (this one ended with something like, “Love who you love and fuck the rest.”)
The over-arching vibe for the evening was joy, gratitude and not taking oneself too seriously, but committing deeply to, and celebrating, who you are.
Throughout the night she chatted about hanging out with Chick Corea, winning a Grammy, her partner, how audiences don’t respect the fourth wall anymore and how grateful she is to be doing what she does.
The highpoint of the night came when she stepped out of the spotlight, to the front of the stage and proceeded to floor me, and presumably everyone else, with a solo that showcased her mastery of the fretboard and feel. How one lone note, that sustains for eight seconds before another moves it along can be filled with that much soul is something I’m still trying to figure out. I’ll tell you one thing though, after the concert I couldn’t wait to grab my guitar and get practicing; I have a lot of ground to cover.
When all was said and done, it was a brilliant night. Jones has embedded herself even further into my all-time favorites list and Ian proved herself to be—and this was no surprise at all to those who’ve been following her all these years—a warm and fiery, graceful and elegant musical treasure.
Here’s Janis doing her thing:
And here’s Diana Jones doing hers. If you’re into soulful roots music, she is a must-hear.
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest in music trends, the name Trap Music shouldn’t be anything new. But for those of you who haven’t seen the inside of a club since the Reagan years, Trap Music is the rising style of electronic hip-hop–that was originally created in the 90’s.
“It’s basically Southern hip-hop,” describes Santa Cruz DJ, Andrew “The Pirate” Gruver, “that was made by drug dealers in the early ’90s. They would drink Lean (promethazine), making them move slow so the music was slow.”
Mixed with syncopated high-hat rhythms, booming subs and crisp, snare build-ups, Trap spread throughout the South earning two resurgences, one in the early 2000s (with artists like T.I.) and the latest happening only within the last several months. The current trend is happening with electronic music DJs mixing Trap into their sets and with the rise of artists like 2Chainz and Baauer; who’s “Harlem Shake” song became an internet sensation that Warner Brothers recently won the distributing rights for in an all-out bidding war.
“All of a sudden, Trap became an epidemic,” Gruver excitedly tells me.
For the past two years, Gruver has worked with DJ Little John’s company, Raindance Presents, throwing the monthly electronic show, SpaceBass, at the Motiv Bar in downtown. They are constantly booking artists that are on the cutting edge of what they do, keeping the bodies dancing and the party rocking.
“At first, we started off pushing the boundaries of what music you would want to party to,” explains Gruver, “but sometimes people would show up and look like they were being alienated. So now we just try to throw fun parties with diverse line-ups.”
Besides collaborating with Raindance Presents, Gruver also has this own promotion company, ILLevated Productions with his business partner, Chris Kite. On Saturday, March 23, they are throwing a Trap Music rager in the Felton hills at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall.
An amazing who’s-who of Bay Area DJs, the all-night party will showcase one of San Francisco’s most sought-after DJs, An-Ten-Nae, (who is also part of the LowRIDERz crew and has been releasing Acid Crunk compilations for years), along with Oakland’s Lafa Taylor dropping gritty beats and San Jose’s Indakyes mixing in the crunk, with DJ Groove Angle opening.
“He’s a local [Santa Cruz] dude who plays great Giltch Hop,” says Gruver “He’s so good at being the opening DJ, which is really important to set the vibe and get it right. We also have a side room dedicated to Trap, with Noiz 23, Zebuel a.ka. Zeb Early, and Napsty.”
So when the grandkids ask you where you were when the great Trap Music scene exploded in 2013, will you say you danced all-night, saw the latest and greatest in Bay Area DJs and created a plethora of memories, or will it be just another story about a Big Bang Theory re-run?
An ongoing series of local-ish gig photos by Brian Crabtree
Del The Funky Homosapien – Oct. 19 at Splatter Fest
Playz – Oct. 31 at The Catalyst Club
Ruby Sparks – Nov. 2 at The Blue Lagoon
Mochipet – Nov. 2 The Blue Lagoon
Serendipity Project – Oct. 19 at Splatter Fest
Planet Booty – Oct. 27 at The Catalyst Club
Rec League – Oct. 28 at The Rockit Room
Dead To Me – Sep 29 at The Catalyst Club
Vultures At Arms Reach – Oct. 3 at The Blue Lagoon
Sabyrtooth – Oct. 5 at Streetlight Records
Thanks again to Sabyrtooth for rocking First Friday for us.
photos by Brian Crabtree
Photos by Cat Johnson
Last week, Mary Gauthier and her band swung by the store to play a handful of songs for us. It was a great set featuring old and new material, and a perfect warmup to her show that night at the Kuumbwa, where she proceeded to bring the audience to its feet with her heart, humor and fire.
Mary has a new live album coming out soon and we’re usually stocked with her back catalog, so come down to the store and see what all the fuss is about.