Concert Review and Interview: Caleborate at the Catalyst (2.28.2018)

Interview and Review by: Julissa Garcia

Caleb Parker, once a young boy from Sacramento, blossomed into an artist who makes music to inspire change. Now greatly known as Caleborate, his persistence and humility has moved him towards doing what he loves and sharing his amazing musical talent out with the world. As an up-and- coming artist, Caleborate aspires to work against the grain and bring a new sound into mainstream music.

Caleb grew up living between his divorced parents and mentioned not really being able to make connections with people due to his constant moving between cities. What is most respectable though, is how he spoke about being open-minded about the instability instead of growing negative feelings towards the situation. He speaks very highly of his family and friends, truly speaking genuinely of them all. Through Caleb’s adolescence, he worked various jobs to sustain himself, but one thing he kept constant was his music. Since he was 16, Caleb, Caleborate, spent a lot of his time listening to beats and writing and hasn’t stopped since. He dedicated his life to it and speaks of loving his art and where it has taken him. Caleb made the decision to drop out of college and has since made significant growth with his music. Though he did mention that school was definitely something he wants to continue as soon as he possibly can get back to it, claiming that knowledge is power and he highly respects the opportunity to sit in a classroom to obtain growth from it.

In his most recent album Real Person, he talks about his struggles of losing friends, living in financial struggle, dealing with mental illness, and just what it means to him to be a real person. His whole album comes with unique sounds and a smooth flow. At his concert at the Catalyst on February 28th, he performed with great humility and joy. His interaction with the crowd made the whole scene comfortable and intimate. It was very noticeable that he is so grateful and appreciative to be where he is at in his life and appreciative of his growing, loyal fanbase. The connection he has with his team, his musical community that he has built, are definitely people that he claimed he was so thankful for. It was one of the most inspiring concerts.

ig: @caleborate
twitter: @CALEBORATE
soundcloud: Caleborate

Band Interviews: Exmag Interview with DJ Fizzi Pop (2.11.2018)

Interview by: Sarah Woolley

Over pesto pizza and motown soul playing in the background, I got to sit down with Brooklyn-based electro-funk trio Exmag at our very own Pizza my Heart.

 

DJ Fizzi Pop Interviews Exmag!

Over pesto pizza, IPA, and motown soul playing in the background, I got to sit down with Brooklyn-based electro-funk trio Exmag at our very own Pizza my Heart.

Eric, Tyler, and Dave have been on the road for the past month playing shows for their headlining Pleasure Tour. So far, they’ve played at notable venues such as The Roxy in Los Angeles, The Fox in Colorado, and our own Catalyst Atrium.

Their sound is of one that is notably unique in its style of combining hip-hop style electro beats and soulful, funky jazz elements to create an ethereal, soulfully harmonic aura throughout each track. They are known for their collaborations with artists on Lowtemp records, and have even done projects with notable artist such as Gramatik and Gibbz.  Every one of their albums tells an instrumental story, as if the different elements are conversing with each other. The contrasting musical styles of smooth and hard bass mesh together like cogs in a machine to create a smooth ride into space.

Exmag’s new single, One Two, came out earlier this year just in time for their tour to begin. Following their 2017 album Part 1, there are hopes that this single could mean a Part 2 is in the making. They had just finished playing Gem & Jam Festival in Arizona, and are planning to play more in the future.

These guys gave me the ultimate pleasure of letting me pick their brains about their musical talents and endeavors—even letting me take them out to Funk Night at the Crepe Place for their last night in Santa Cruz in celebration of the funkiest holiday known to man: Mardi Gras.

You can check out the full interview here! :

Concert Review: The Frights at the Catalyst Atrium (2.23.2018)

Review by: Lily Nauta

With their first album debuting in 2013 and their second and most recent in 2016, indie-rock band The Frights are a quickly growing group. The band picked up traction quick with lead singer Mikey Carnevale’s captivating vocals, paired with their tight drumming and pristine jangly guitar riffs.

The opening band On Drugs provided a psychedelic experience with the lead singer’s creeping, upper register vocals and metallic guitars. The band also hyped up the audience by unleashing the “Wall of Death”, in which the crowd divided then charged into each other at the height of the song. They’ve definitely inaugurated me into their fan club. The second opening band, Thee Commons, captivated the audience with their groovy Cumbia tunes and psychedelia. Like On Drugs, it was evident that Thee Commons knew how to harness the crowds energy– which they did with their low growling voices and audience engagement.

By the time The Frights entered the stage, the vibe was perfect. And the audience—consisting almost entirely of fellow slugs—was especially hyped after the band entered to a voice recording of them singing “Santa Cruz is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s!”. We slugs appreciate a good pun. Throughout the show, Mikey continued to make reference to Santa Cruz stereotypes; at one point even stopping just to gesture at a large group at the center to say, “Aw I love you guys, that is Santa Cruz right there- just a big group of guys jumping around in a circle.”

From the dense air to the towering “used car-sale blow up” decorations, the venue was atmospherically in tune with the entire room; thus creating an almost ethereal connection between the band and the audience.  The cloud of smoke looming over the audience further swallowed everyone into the bluesy haze during  songs like “Haunted” and “Of Age”. On the contrary, Mikey’s cosmic screeches in songs like “Crust Bucket” and “You Are Going to Hate this” caused the audience to lash out into a beautiful moshing frenzy.

Speaking of moshing frenzy, I (as a relatively small gal) made the poor choice of maneuvering my way into the center of the pit, only to find myself on the ground moments later with several large sweaty men on top of me. As they scrambled to get up, I laid there paralyzed like a little carcass or something and was eventually lifted up by the camaraderie of the mosh pit. Once back onto my feet, I was hugged by a very kind (and very sweaty) fella who patted me on the back to make sure I was okay. I never knew almost getting trampled could be such a euphoric experience. For the entirety of the show I jammed sporadically (this time on the sidelines) while engulfed in the visceral screams and intoxicating melodies of The Frights.

At the end of the night, the band concluded by saying, “we’ve traveled all around the US and you guys honestly are my favorite”. I guess these slugs are bananas.

Giving Day 2018: February 28th

This Wednesday, February 28th, KZSC is participating in UCSCs annual giving day! Giving Day is a 24 hour online donation drive including many on campus clubs, organizations, and programs. Each participant promotes their own projects, collecting donations throughout the 24 hours while simultaneously competing with other participants to win “challenges” set up by the University. To learn more about what giving day’s all about, and what challenges we have the opportunity to win, head to https://givingday.ucsc.edu/index.html

Last year, KZSCs giving day goal was to kick off our KZSC news program and thanks to our generous donors we have now been broadcasting local news every week for a year! We feel very lucky to have such generous listeners who are dedicated to local, community based news broadcasting.

This year, we are asking listeners to help us extend our news program to twice a week– doubling our impact, outreach and quality. With an extra news program in our week, listeners will have the opportunity to be twice as informed about their community, as well as giving our dedicated reporters more opportunities to cover stories most important to our listeners.

We hope you will think of us this Wednesday, and don’t forget to share with your friends and family!

Concert Review: Jeff Rosenstock at the Catalyst Atrium (2.24.2018)

Hot off the release of “POST-” early last month, pop-punk veteran Jeff Rosenstock concluded their tour with a banging interactive experience at the Catalyst Atrium in Santa Cruz on February 25, 2018. With a hefty 24-song setlist lasting almost two hours, Rosenstock set out to provide a nonstop energetic performance with the goal of maintaining the audience’s hype throughout.

Known for his abrasive vocal work and reflective lyrics, Rosenstock’s live set transcends what’s present in his studio albums with an even stronger bombastic performance, breaking the wall between the stage and the audience. From live soapbox rants during song breaks to conversations with the show’s audio technician, Jeff proves his desire to satisfies the audience’s needs of relief from normal everyday monotony.

The audience took note of Rosenstock’s efforts through an unanimously uproarious energy found in both the mosh pit and concertgoers hanging out in the back. There was also a sense of harmony in the venue whenever Rosenstock performed one of his more romantically-driven songs. A highlight from the event was during Rosenstock’s performance of “I Did Something Weird Last Night,” in which a fellow member of the mosh pit joined me in singing the last chorus with gusto.

And then there’s the band themselves, and unsurprising Jeff Rosenstock were on-point for the entire duration. From the frustration-charged “USA” to the self-deprecating “You, in Weird Cities,” the group never once showed signs that their vigor was wearing thin. For each song, the band infused concert-specific quirks into their pieces to differentiate them from the album version, whether it’s the multiple modulated choruses at the end of “Wave Goodnight to Me” or the extended ending for “…While Your Alive”—another memorable moment where Jeff and the audience belted out the concluding line “love is worry” over a dozen times.

The setlist also proved to please a multitude of fans, from those who only recently discovered Rosenstock with “POST-” as well as people who’ve been fans since “We Cool.” As far as which songs the audience resonated with the most, cuts from “Worry” seemed to get people headbanging the hardest, which may have been because of the album’s infectious melodies and traditional pop-punk mentality.

The flow from song-to-song also worked well, orchestrated in a fashion where one can mistake the setlist for a professionally sequenced art piece. It helps that almost a third of the setlist includes five songs from the melody sequence featured in “Worry,” though ending the initial set with “Let Them Win” from “Post-” was an off-kilter choice. The three-song encore of “9/10,” “You, in Weird Cities,” and “We Begged to Explode” worked well as a closer, featuring songs from Jeff’s three latest albums.

Thankfully the group translated the charisma from their LPs onto the stage with glowing results. If you’re a fan of power pop-punk, go see Jeff Rosenstock next time they’re on tour.

Review: Kero Kero Bonito – TOTEP (EP)

Departing from their established dancehall electro-pop sound, Kero Kero Bonito returns with TOTEP: a noise pop-rock EP on February 20, 2018.

Whereas 2016’s Bonito Generation aimed to promote positivity through its slick production, infectiously peppy hooks and emphasis on wholesomeness, TOTEP instead indulges in introspection and self-realization through a low fidelity backdrop.

“The One True Path”—the EP’s opener—features a prominent dirty bass synthline accompanied by occasional high-pitched string samples and synth clings. “Path” establishes various recurring elements present in this brief 4-track set, from a concentration on noise and feedback to aggressive instrumental breakdowns.

Despite this, vocalist’s Sarah Midori Perry still manages to convey KKB’s known sense of hopefulness, albeit in a more low-energy, somewhat depressed fashion. The album’s promotional single, “Only Acting,” perfectly captures this pessimistic optimism through lyrics about trying hard in an effort to fulfill a desire to put on an extraordinary performance for an awestruck audience.

Producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled supplement this wanting for belonging through adolescent sound effects (strongly reminiscent of Generation) and the horrifically glitched breakdown near the end of the track, embodying the EP’s themes of underlying melancholy hidden within its neurotypical lyricism.

Similar motifs appear on the garage rock, twee pop-inspired “You Know How it Is,” although to lesser success. The lyrics on attempting to find happiness in another works well with the ultra lo-fi sound—its washed-out abrasiveness clouding the melody’s positivity—though it does comes off a bit half-hearted. KKB’s intent may have been to call back and subvert expectations on the all-girl power-pop sound of the 60s and 70s, but its realization is akin to more of a cheap Peach Kelli Pop imitation.

That said, its place in the tracklist flows well into the EP’s closer. Differing from the rest of the songs, “Cinema” combines elements of contemporary shoegaze and Japanese city-pop mixed with slick production. Sarah also provides her most inspired vocal performance yet, singing about the mundanity of everyday life in a stream-of-consciousness-like fashion. The sweet melodies accompany the chill drum beat soothingly as strategically placed vocal samples add additional flair to the track’s nonchalant coolness.

Although nowhere near as hype as Generation, TOTEP presents an alternate side to KKB’s image. Sarah and co. strives to establish that they want to explore various genres while still providing melody-driven bops. It’s not as developed as it can be—and that’s okay; KKB is still finding their voice and are using this EP as a trial run to see what works and resonates with an audience. At a breezy 11 minutes, it’s definitely worth a mindful listen.