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.

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!