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Hospitality Interview at Rickshaw Stop

Brooklyn trio Hospitality recently released their Sophomore LP, Trouble, on Merge. They have been supporting the album with a nation-wide tour and are about to go overseas starting in May. I was lucky enough to catch up with Amber Papini (guitar, vocals) and Brian Betancourt (bass) before their show at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco last February. In our interview, we cover influences for their new darker sound, what they’ve been listening to lately, and upcoming releases for the band. Friends of the band, Airwaves, opened as well as Matt Kivel, who you can hear sound-checking in the background.

Stream the full interview below:

 

 

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Laura Marling

This post (and picture) comes courtesy of DJ Compost, one of the hosts of KZSC’s “Dead Energy” program.

Full Disclosure: The last time I saw Laura Marling in concert, it was before I came to KZSC. I used  a fake press pass to get into the 21+ venue. With a hand-crafted and surprisingly legitimate looking photo ID badge and the acting skills of Nicholas Cage on a good day, I somehow got into the show. When I told Laura about it after her performance, she called me a “fucking genius” and told me of her own experiences as an underage music aficionado in England where she’d sneak into shows with nothing more than fake DJ equipment and confidence. A bonding moment to remember. I recently saw Laura again at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and this time, as a real media-type person. Laura walked on stage to a microphone stand three inches taller than her pixie-like self. Standing on her tiptoes, she timidly chimed “hello,” before beginning to play. I thought she’d adjust her mic to better accommodate her height, but she never did. It seemed strategic for the self-proclaimed and endearingly awkward folk singer to hold her head craned upwards where her eyes could easily travel to the ceiling. She opened with the first four songs from her new album, “Once I Was An Eagle”, each one blending seamlessly into the next, which built to the fifth and angriest track on the album, “Master Hunter.” Laura joked that if she were us, she’d be rioting against hearing new material, then played a pair of brand new songs. Apologizing for her lack of bantering skills, she laughed ironically then announced, “Now for the hits”  and played gems from her previous three albums plus a beautiful Townes Van Zandt cover of “For the Sake of the Song.” Laura let us get to know her during the next hour and a half, but only as much as she wanted, keeping parts of herself hidden away-dark, mysterious, vulnerable and inviting at the same time. Closing with “Where Can I Go?” from “Once I Was An Eagle”, Laura cooed gently: “I am cold and I am bright/ It’s a curse of mine to be sad at night.” At 23 years old, she seems to bare more of the world on her shoulders than she should have to; a blessing and a curse as a songwriter. She voices an honest vulnerability that is absolutely inspiring as if she’s swallowed up the entire world and spat out the good in beautiful prose and the bad in fiery spurts of fury. Find out more about Laura Marling at her website and listen for her on KZSC.

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Parquet Courts Interview

    Parquet Courts singer and guitarist Andrew Savage once requested prior to an interview that he would not be asked about being “a Texas band”. Apparently the band didn’t exist in Texas and wasn’t even an idea until they all made the move to New York. So now that the record has been set straight, the Brooklyn four-piece released the Tally All Things That You Broke EP, their third release on What’s Your Rupture? last October. It followed their excellent sophomore album Light Up Gold, which earned high critical acclaim.  I was lucky enough to sit down with Andrew before his show with White Fence and CCR Headcleaner at the Great American Music Hall on January 16th.

What brought on these White Fence shows you are co-headlining?

“We’ve known the White Fence guys for a while now, we’ve played some shows with them and hung out with them a few times. We get along, we like the band and you know we’ve actually been trying to play some shows with them on the west coast for a while now, so it’s finally come to fruition.”

Who are some of you favorite artists coming out of the Bay Area right now?

Well yeah, I did ask CCR Headcleaner to play this show, I’ve never seen em before so I’m looking forward to it tonight.

What can we expect from the new album? Any set date?

No set date yet but it will come out in Spring of this year. It’s kind of a different affair of our previous records, but I think all of our records from American Specialties to Light Up Gold to this one are all pretty different. It’s got a different attitude but I don’t think it’ll be alienating to anybody……Parquet Courts fans will get what they want.

Some of you biggest influences right now, band wise?

Right now? Let’s see, lately I’ve been listening to the first Roxy Music record; not that that’s really a new thing but lately I guess I’ve just been listening to it more than normal. I’ve been listening to a lot of Cock Sparrer lately and I’ve been listening to a lot of country music I heard growing up, like a lot of Merle [Haggard], Waylon [Jennings], David Allen Coe. I like honky tonk kinda shit, Jerry Jeff Walker, a lot of Townes Van Zandt. But now that I say all this it’s tough for me to decide if these are influences or just bands I’ve been jamming lately. As I speak I’ve got Dead Moon’s Kicked Out – Kicked In playing.

 

Check out the full audio interview below as well as a track from Parquet Courts’ latest EP:
Photos by Ryan McDonald
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John Hanrahan Quartet & Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

The hosts of “Stirrin’ the Soup” had the pleasure of hosting two members from the Chicago-based group known as the John Hanrahan Quartet last week. John (the leader/drummer, now based in Santa Cruz) and his longtime bandmate/tenor saxophonist Brian Kephart, joined us for an exciting discussion about their show at Kuumbwa Jazz. When I heard that this group was going to perform Coltrane’s magnum opus A Love Supreme, I was impressed at the ambition of these guys – I mean,  what a piece to tackle! Here’s the crazy part: these guys meet up transnationally from Chicago to Santa Cruz every few years to play A Love Supreme without rehearsal, straight from the heart and from the top of the head. I went to their show and can say with unmatched certainty that these guys are amazing. Brian absolutely tears it up on the tenor sax and the rest of the band carries the tunes phenomenally. There was something special happening inside the Jazz Center that night; several attendees of the show reported sharing a feeling of spiritual connection to the music throughout the performance. Not quite speechless, but I can only express so much via text so please, find a comfy chair, sit back, relax and check out our discussion about the music we call “Jazz” if you like, and I hope you find it as stimulating as we did. Disclaimer: It’s a long one.

 

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Artist Penny Framstad’s CD Release Party

Santa Cruz born song writer and singer, Penny Framstad, left the beautiful half moon-bay twelve years ago to seek a music career in Los Angeles. By a stroke of luck, she found herself immersed in the soundtrack industry for film and television after the huge success of her song, ‘Even Angels Fall’ featured in the film 10 Things I Hate About You. After her surprising, and move than deserving, success she was able to get many more of her songs used in film and television. Her filmography includes; White Girls, The Office, Scrubs, Dawson’s Creek, Summerland, and many more!

The incredibly talented and kind artist has since returned to Santa Cruz in a very big way! While continuing to write and perform music, Penny is also opening her new vocal training school called, ‘Penny’s Pop Academy.’ Penny has spent many years training young singers and songwriters, and now she hopes to spread her training to the Santa Cruz community.

On Saturday, November 9th, Penny will be hosting a CD release party on a beautiful estate in Pasatiempo. Penny will be performing her old and new songs during the evening concert. Each guest will receive her new CD and a crab dinner, with additional access to an open wine bar. Tickets are currently available! If you are interested in attending this wonderful event, hosted by an extremely talented and kind artist, please contact Penny Framstad at her website, www.pennyspopacademy.com.

 

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Hristo Vitchev Interview

In my interview with Bulgarian-raised guitarist Hristo Vitchev, he largely spoke of the ‘Impressionistic” ideas behind his unique style of music. A composer of 6 albums since 2009, his sound is expressed much like a painter expresses what he sees in a painting; a symbiotic playing with his quartet that sonically paints a picture in the listener’s mind, giving the term “Impressionist” to the musical style of the group. The depth of communication with pianist Weber Iago and Hristo paints colorful strokes in the structure of rhythm and harmony throughout the musical landscape.