Marling

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.

mike b

Bloomfield Box Set Revisits 60′s Icon

In the 1960′s there were few guitarists more prolific and higher profile than Michael Bloomfield. Cutting  his teeth with blues masters like Muddy Waters, session playing for Bob Dylan’s famed Highway 61 and backing him up at the legendary “electric” Newport Folk performance of 1965, then serving an essential role in the white rediscovery of the blues with the Paul Butterfield Band before playing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival with his own band Electric Flag. What could be considered a career of legendary status for most, it was not a bad decade for Mike. In the 70′s he continued to do session work, collaborating frequently with fellow Dylan alum Al Kooper. Plagued by constant insomnia and personal demons, Bloomfield would die of an overdose in 1981. In an effort to elevate his old friend to the legend status he deserves, Al Kooper put together “From His Head to His Heart to His Hands”, a 3 CD box set showcasing some of his finest work. The DVD documentary, ” Sweet Blues” is included as well, profiling Bloomfield at work through all phases of his professional career. For anyone interested in blues, the San Francisco music scene in the late 60′s or the blues revival in America, this is as good a place as any to start. And when you hear his electric guitar, give a nod to Michael Bloomfield.

DJ SPONDEE

Programmer of the Month: Matt Wranovics (DJ SPONDEE)

February’s programmer of the month is DJ SPONDEE (aka Matt Wranovics) with KZSC’s fuzziest program Fuzz Tone.

Gracing Santa Cruz and the world with the best of noise rock, lo-fi, garage, experimental rock and your daily dose of guitar distortion and reverb, Matt week after week delivers quality programming with a particular passion for rock ‘n roll that’s

DJ SPONDEE with Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson

DJ SPONDEE with Beat Happening’s own Calvin Johnson!

hard to find. Rumor has it that the slightest reference to rock in Matt’s presence will light up his face and get him talking about the latest Ty Segall record or Beat Happening demo — he loves the genre, and on Fuzz Tone, it definitely shows.

Matt started volunteering (and became both an asset to the station and a KZSC fixture) in fall 2012 (the start of his freshman year, no less!) and started DJing his own program in summer 2013.  He also subbed on some other KZSC favorites, such as Joe’s Garage and Kill Fugly Radio.

Get your fuzz fix every Friday, 7-8:30 p.m. on Fuzz Tone with DJ SPONDEE. You won’t want to miss it.

John Coltrane A Love Supreme

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.

 

Kevin S

Goodbye Kevin Spitzer

The old adage “time flies when your having fun” certainly applies to Kevin Spitzer.  He first joined KZSC 14 years ago; long-time listeners will recall programs he’s hosted in the past such as “Celtic Undercurrents”, “Freedom Flight”, “Turtle Island” and “Imagine”. Kevin was also a regular substitute host of countless folk and talk shows, served twice on our Program Review Committee and helped on a variety of construction projects at KZSC. Even if you’re not familiar with his past, no doubt you’ve heard Kevin’s current show, “Conciliation Sunday”. In the spirit of his program, we can share with you that Kevin is having his “second Saturn Return”. As such, a change has got to come, even if all of us wish it weren’t so. Kevin is heading out on a new adventure, which will take him beyond the range of our 20,000 watts. With his heart and spirit devoted to raising consciousness among our staff and our listeners, Kevin Spitzer will be sorely missed by all of us at The Great 88. He is one of the volunteers who helped make us what we are today.

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The Band Rings in 1972

Unknown-3In 1971 the band played a four night run at New York’s Academy of Music that culminated in a powerhouse New Years Eve show. In 71′ the tightest band in rock n’ roll was at an apex, ripping through their extensive repertoire. Recordings of this run were originally released in 1972 as the double LP “Rock of Ages,” but now the shows are getting the just in time for the holidays box set treatment. The five disc set includes many never before released versions of Band classics including the entire New Years Eve set which features a visit from old bandleader Bob Dylan himself. At this time Dylan was just beginning to step back into the spotlight after his 1966 motorcycle accident, and his presence here is the kind of the thing that makes history major rock nerds like myself giddy.