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.

West Fest 2018 Performer Application Is Open!

Calling all musicians & performers!
West Fest 2018 will be held on Friday, February 23rd from 4-6:30pm.
The application for prospective performers is now open to the public.
The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 14th.
We hope you take this opportunity to share your music and we look forward to reviewing your applications!
Spread the word 🙂

Apply:  West Fest 2018 Performer Application

This Is Radio Clash: International Clash Day Feb 7, 2018

Now, more than ever, the world needs The Clash.

On International Clash Day (Wed Feb 7, 2018), KZSC joins radio stations all around the world in highlighting the band’s activism and musical magic.

KZSC has special programming all day for For International Clash Day (Wed Feb 7, 2018)

  • Lani B will surpise a lot of listeners with how she’s marking the day on Wiki Wiki Wednesday, 6 to 9 am.
  • Dr. T’s Vinylorium is packed with rare Clash live recordings, demos, dubs and more, 9 to noon.
  • Artists on Art, at noon, will feature an interview with author and filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio, the director of Let Fury Have the Hour: Joe Strummer, Punk, and the Movement that Shook the World (2012). We’ll also check in with the folks making International Clash Day happen in Kent, Ohio.
  • DJ Gata will re-constitute Suburban Relapse for a day, sharing her punk mixtape dedicated to The Clash, from 1 to 3 pm
  • Instrument Journal will focus on the guitar for a day, celebrating the musical meeting of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and Paul Simonon and their post-Clash projects
  • Art O’Sullivan‘s The Golden Road has Bob Weir doing a Clash cover, and the Grateful Dead’s take on “I Fought the Law,” plus Clash rarities, Big Audio Dynamite, and many more surprises!

Living In The ’80s” airs Saturdays 4-6pm on KZSC, Santa Cruz. Here is The Clash Day playlist from Feb 3rd.

 

We also celebrate all of the world governments that have declared International Clash Day an official holiday: The City of Seattle, The State of Washington, The City of San Francisco, The City of Kent, Ohio (two years in a row!), The City of Vancouver, BC, The City of Austin, and many more on the way!

City of San Francisco Proclamation:

On Feb 8th, 1979 The Clash chose the City of San Francisco for their second show in the United States and returned to perform in San Francisco a total of eight different times throughout their career as a band.

Be it resolved that Edwin Lee, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco in recognition of their artistic achievements and socially conscious music do hereby proclaim Feb. 7, 2017 as INTERNATIONAL CLASH DAY in San Francisco!

10 Bay Area Musicians You Should Look Out For In 2018 by RIZ aka RSD

10) Trippy Talii / 9) KBGOCRAZY

8) Robbioso / 7) Gary Junior

6) Larry June / 5) RBC Bugzy

4) Jammy / 3) JT The 4th

2) Remedy / 1) CALEBORATE

Fierce New Apparel for our 50th Anniversary!

For your fashion pleasure and just in time for pledge drive, check out our brand new, limited edition, 50th Anniversary t-shirts!  

This spirited new “Tiger” design is the result of our recent t-shirt design contest, where we called on our community of listeners to show their love for KZSC in the form of art.  We received numerous submissions from all over the country, and it was amazing to see so much talented effort from listeners coming through.

Out of many beautiful works submitted by passionate students and off-campus community members alike, we chose this brilliant design by student artist and loyal listener Nila Devaney to usher in the Golden Anniversary of student run, community radio in Santa Cruz (KZSC’s semi-centenary, or semi-centennial—for you word nerds).

Nila is a recent graduate from Bennington College in Vermont, studying art with a focus on social justice.  She currently lives in Philadelphia.  About her hand-drawn design, she says “public art” is very important to her, and a creative collaboration with her favorite community radio station seemed like a great idea.

The sleek design is printed on a Gildan Heavyweight black 100% cotton t-shirt, accompanied with our new station logo on the breast. Don’t miss out on our historic Golden Anniversary T-shirt; you’ll look great and feel comfortable when you represent KZSC, Santa Cruz’s community radio station.  You can pick up your own in our pledge drive shop today!

2017 Rolling Loud Bay Area Review

If you follow any hip hop news outlets, it’s been pretty hard to avoid Rolling Loud coverage. The festival has been getting quite a bit of attention, mostly focused around Lil B getting jumped backstage, and XXXtentacion attacking a fan during his set. KZSC hip hop DJs Jinx, Elbo and RIZ aka RSD were on site for both these events, but we also saw some incredible performances that should be getting just as much attention. We’ve heard about the scandal, let’s hear about the music!

While Rolling Loud has been around for 2 years now, this October was the very first time it took place in the Bay Area– and from the looks of it, we have no doubts it will be back. As usual, the Bay did not disappoint and both the artists and crowd were hyped. We rolled up from Santa Cruz around 3:45 on Saturday, just in time to catch the last of Nef the Pharaohs set, specifically jamming from the security line to his hit song, and a personal favorite of ours, “Bling Blaow.” With our press wristbands on and ready to dance, we headed into the festival.

SOB X RBE

The next set we were especially excited about was Vallejo’s finest, SOB x RBE. Arguably, the best and youngest rap group in the whole country right now. SOB X RBE has improved performing live, as they have started to engage with the crowd more and actually perform. Their official DJ Xslapz educated those in attendance and played his fire set of Bay Area music. It was no doubt that a majority of the Bay Area fans came for SOB X RBE, who was one of less than 10 Bay Area artists on Rolling Loud Bay Area’s lineup. SOB X RBE showed up and showed out.

XXXtentacion

At 7:30, XXXtentacion came onstage, and with nothing else to see at the time, we decided to hop over and see what he was all about. Before we get into a review of his performance, I think we should recognize the fact that he was even performing at Rolling Loud to begin with. Convicted or not, X has been accused of a horrific and disturbing sexual assault, and it’s alarming that Rolling Loud would choose to ignore these accusations and have him on their bill anyways. It’s an extremely prevalent and recurring event on so many different platforms (music, film, politics, etc.) that society chooses to value whatever the perpetrator is putting into the world over the disgusting crime that almost all of us can agree was wrong. Despite the entire audience being aware of what X had done, everyone was there, unphased, ready and excited for his set. It’s situations just like this that we must ask ourselves, how much can we justify separating a person from their art? To what extent can we condemn a person’s actions while continuing to consume what they’ve created, and in turn contributing to their success? Something unique to XXXtentacion as a figure is that his violent and aggressive nature is part of what makes him appealing. He doesn’t try and hide it, in fact he’s proud and unapologetic about his behaviour. At his Rolling Loud performance, he played no more than one song before stopping to say something along the lines of, “I know I have a lot of haters out there. I respect that. If you have a problem with me all I have to say to you is come at me” He then proceeded to step off the stage on another man’s shoulders and enter into the crowd, encouraging anyone to hit him, essentially trying really really hard to start a brawl. When a few people took him up on the offer, he hit them back without hesitation. At this point it was pretty clear to us and everyone watching X wasn’t there to perform anything, he just wanted to make a scene and hold up his violent reputation. Almost everyone in the audience was disappointed– many were booing, and while it was frustrating to see such a stupid performance, it was also satisfying to see someone I have such a distaste for give a universally horrible show. Keep it up, X!

21 Savage

In the car driving home, we discussed who we were impressed by, who we wished had given a better performance, who we under/over estimated, and who we would see again. Without any argument, we all agreed 21 Savage was 100x more impressive than we expected. Judging from the media, 21 Savage is associated with the “trashy” “mumble rap” we so often hear as an insult, but after seeing him live we all agree: whether his style is your taste or not, the dude’s got talent. Unlike some of the other performances, 21 didn’t waste any time rambling about nonsense or yelling at the crowd to make a moshpit. He came onstage prepared and energized, hitting his set off with his most recent hit off his new album Issa, “Bank Account,” on top of legit performing most of his songs acapella with the beat dropping at the right time.

21 Savage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Scott

“Protect Lil B at all f*cking costs, mothaf*cka (gunshot noise)” was Travis Scott’s message between each song during his whole performance, on top his performance generally being lit af. Travis Scott had the whole crowd alive as he was jumping around on his giant mechanical flying bird. The crowd was loud in response as Travis Scott gave a mind blowing and unforgettable performance. It was certainly a great way to end the night.

 

Day 2, Sunday 10/22:

We got to the festival grounds a little later on Sunday, arriving around 6:15, and already the second day had a different feel to it. To start off, it felt like there were at least 25% more people in attendance, and despite (or maybe because of?) the events that took place the day before, the crowd felt wilder. Generally, it seemed like people were more excited about the Sunday lineup than they were the Saturday one. We met up with UCSC photographer and film student Keanu Ramos, who gave us some cameras so we could get access to the photo pit during the performances, which made our Sunday experience unique to our Saturday one.We got exclusive media photo pit access for Young Thug, Isaiah Rashad and Lil Wayne.

Lil Yachty

The first performance we saw on Sunday was Lil Yachty, which we caught up to about 10 minutes into his set. While most of Lil Yachty’s songs are bangers (I have no shame in admitting this & if you do you’re lying to yourself) the first thing you think when you hear his music is probably not “this would be really good live.” Which is why we were pleasantly surprised when we showed up and found that he sounds just as good on stage as he does recorded. Of course, it was his classic Yachty energy that really took the show to the next level. Something I love and have always admired about Lil Yachty is his ability to radiate pure joy in everything he does, and Rolling Loud was no exception. With a big smile on his face, Yachty jumped around the stage with Lil Pump, braids going everywhere, splashing water bottle after water bottle on the excited crowd. He killed all his hits, including Peek-a-Boo, One Night, and On Me.

 

Young Thug. Photo by Keanu Ramos

 

Young Thug

One place where Rolling Loud went wrong was scheduling Young Thug at the same time as Lil Wayne. Many people found it hard to choose between watching Young Thug and Lil Wayne, including ourselves so we just chose to jump back and forth throughout both sets (a pro to having the two stages ridiculously close to each other). Young Thug energized the crowd and it was surprising to us that he actually sang his entire set with no autotune and was hitting every key on point. Young Thug brought it back a couple times and played some of his songs from when he was first coming out such as: “Stoner,” “Hookah.” and “Lifestyle.” Overall, Young Thug gave an incredible performance and we really have no complaints.

 

 

 

Lil Wayne. Photo by Keanu Ramos

 

 

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne was the last show we saw at Rolling Loud, and it was quite the finale. As the oldest and most experienced artist on the bill by a long shot, he felt like the godfather of the festival. He entered the stage with grace and ease, and you could tell the second he took the mic he knew exactly how to work a crowd. After performing his first song, he paused for a moment to look earnestly at the audience and remind us with his hand over his heart, “I need you to remember two things: y’all ain’t shit without the man above, and I ain’t shit without all of you.” After all these years, he seemed genuinely grateful and content to be exactly where he was in that moment. The audience could feel it.

 

Overall, Rolling Loud Bay Area was a great experience. We saw a number of incredible shows we would have never seen any other way, and we were very pleased with the whole festival. If you ever get the chance to hit this fest, do it!

 

— written by RIZ aka RSD & Neroli Devaney