Rhylli Concert Review 6.18.2018 by Melcriada

On Monday June 19, 2018, I attended a local show at the Humanist Hall in Oakland near Broadway to kick off the summer.

Before entering Humanist Hall, they told us that partial proceeds would be going to survivors of the volcano eruption in Guatemala. The show started around 7pm, so before the show started the bands were all running around, geting ready, and talking to the crowd.

One of Oakland’s finest hardcore bands, Khilis began the set with songs from their demo they released earlier this September. Kimia, the lead singer of Khilis, commanded that mic and the crowd with her powerful lyrics and aggressive dance moves. After their first song, Kimia wanted to pump up the crowd and asked us to come in closer as they dealt with some of their technical difficulties. Once the crowd got more comfortable, Kimia and Amanda started to jump around and play with the crowd. The dynamics and the build up between Amanda, Austin, and Ryan when they performed Namak was electrifying and had people amped up. Once they ended their set, we calmed down and went to get hydrated for the next bands. In between, they blasted cumbias, rap, and some hip hop to keep the crowd light-hearted and fun.

Up next was another amazing band from Oakland, Provoke. Most of the crowd started to rush in from the garden to get as close as possible. The lead singer of Provoke, Jenny, seemed grateful to be there and ready to deliver a great show. Provoke performed songs from their recently released cassette Fragment and 6 Songs, which came out in 2016. We were also lucky enough to hear new music that Provoke has been working on and planning on releasing later this year. As Jenny belted out her heavy lyrics from Full Heart to Our Mothers Cry, the croud got riled up and ready to jump around her. A pretty memorable set and band despite being right in the middle of the lineup.

The last band from the west coast, straight out of Southern California, Initiate. Although, not much activity on their Bandcamp, Initiate has been touring around the west coast performing music from the demos that were released in 2016 and 2017. At this point, Humanist Hall was overcrowded the bands that played previously were standing on tables to support on another and everyone standing was jumping around. The lead singer was incredibly raw and she was ready to tear into crowd. To what I remember, she was encouraging the crowd to mosh and dance around.

They were the best band to set the crowd up for the headliner Krimewatch, coming all the way from New York ready to perform their debut album that was just released this April. Rhylli, the lead singer, was ready to shove her crowd. For her opening song, she had her back to the crowd and she let out her first few word she started to push into the crowd. The band performed their newer stuff such as Paranoia, Machismo, Coward, and You Lose, which sent the crowd wild, to the point where someone dropped their phone in the pit and Rhylli helped them find parts of it on the floor. The set was just as long as the previous bands, but everybody wanted Krimewatch to perform one more song because the energy they projected was just so addictive. After their encore, the bands sticked around a little longer to sell their merch and talk to the fans. Overall line up showed me personally that hardcore still has a place in the west coast and that their are bands we should keep our eyes out for.

All these bands can be found on Bandcamp. Khilis also has a few more shows coming up in the bay area. Provoke also a show coming up on July 7th with Cremalleras. Krimewatch and Initiate still has a few more shows in California.

-melcriada

Photos by Michael Thorn from Razor Blades and Aspirin photozine and link to their Instagram https://www.instagram.com/razorbladesandaspirin/

  • Kimia from Khiis
  • Initiate
  • Jenny from Provoke
  • Krimewatch

DJ Fizzi Pop Interviews Boreta from The Glitch Mob!

by DJ Fizzi Pop

You may have heard their other-wordly remix of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, or their iconic collaboration with Daft Punk. You also may have heard their brand new album, “See Without Eyes” that breaks the boundaries of electronic music. Whatever you know about them, The Glitch Mob is a trio that one will never forget. Their experimental eclectic mix of heavy bass, melodic symphonies, and mighty synths all with a swaggy hip-hop vibe is one that is said to be its own subgenre.

Hailing from LA, The Glitch Mob includes edIT (Edward), Ooah (Josh), and Boreta (Justin). With their music background and engineering skills combined, their performances consist of an over-the-top interactive musical journey from start to finish that incorporates live music and electronic maneuvers. The highlight of their shows is the development of their new instrument structure called the Blade 2.0….and it is crazy cool.


I had the opportunity to interview Justin Boreta, ⅓ of the Glitch Mob, who also happened to go to UCSC, and I kid you not, have his own radio show for our beloved KZSC. He was also a part of the Electronic Music Program that hailed other EDM icons such as Bassnectar and Minnesota. You can say that there’s something in the redwoods here in Santa Cruz that sparks musical geniuses.

 

Sit back, and enjoy the wisdom that Boreta gives.

The Glitch Mob just announced their next upcoming tour for late this year to early next year, with tickets on sale now. See the Blade 2.0 for yourself.

DJ Hari’s Dead, a Playlist Inspired by Goth

Tuesday, May 22 marked World Goth Day, and although that was over two weeks ago, it’s all I could listen to for over two weeks. To many people “goth” may mean dark clothes and the Hot Topic at your local mall, but here at KZSC, goth means more than that. When we think of goth, we think of music rooted in dark, introspective lyrics and post-punk experimentation whose legacy inspired later acts by the likes of Danny Brown (check his allusion to Joy Division in his 2016 album, Atrocity Exhibition) and Ariel Pink (whose recent performance at the Catalyst was reminiscent of the solid wall of noise and darkness of Bauhaus).

Emerged from the ashes of the London and New York punk scenes, the sonic aesthetic of goth finds its roots in an array of emotional and droning sounds of 60’s rock. Everything from the Doors’ blues rock, to Alice Cooper’s hard rock, to the gritty experimentalism of proto-punk acts such as the Velvet Underground have provided influences to early goth acts from the late 70’s into the 80’s. Of these, Nico’s sophomore album, amidst the underlying misogyny and lack of artistic control of her critically-acclaimed solo debut, saw her ditching folk-pop for a darker, avant-garde aesthetic. This album, The Marble Index, released in 1968, is widely regarded as the first gothic rock album.

In the late 70’s, the term “gothic” became used to describe the atmospheres of post-punk bands inspired by the gloom and doom of the Doors’ and the Velvets’ stage presence. While there were certainly a slew of sounds that emerged from punk rock, some carried a heavier, more authoritative sound. This included goth hits from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nick Cave’s early work with The Birthday Party, the Cure, Joy Division, and Bauahaus, whose single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is considered to be the earliest seminal goth single. Other punk bands often deemed “horror-core” were also popular among the goth subculture including the Cramps and the Misfits.

The influence of goth expanded from post-punk to new wave bands such as Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, into the eclectic sounds of the 90s and 00s from Portishead’s self-titled second album, to the Cocteau Twins’ emotional dream-pop, to the industrial collages of Nine Inch Nails, to almost genre-less acts of today such as singer Fever Ray and rapper Danny Brown.

Take a listen to my playlist inspired by the goth subculture below:

Be a Boy (Also a quick review of The Garden at the Catalyst)

By: Nicolas Amerkahnian

*Parts of this article heavily blur the lines of satire and actual opinion

Just murdered another yerba mate so it’s time for a blog post. The Garden performed at the Catalyst on May 23rd. The show went smoothly. They played the hits – Banana Peel, All Smiles, Call This # Now – but something was off. At least three different people in the crowd had flashlights on looking for their lost Juuls on the ground. About 45 minutes into the show everyone started coughing. Half the crowd darted out the door – the other half unphased. Someone, whether intentionally or not, had their pepper spray go off in the middle of the crowd. It sucked. At the end of the show, twin brother leads Wyatt and Fletcher stepped off the stage and walked through the remaining crowd out the backdoor of the Catalyst. They were clearly frustrated by their audience leaving.

Watching the two model brothers with their dangling earrings and fishnet shirts walk out the door gave me the first half of a realization, however. The other half came last night when I was watching the music video, “Fake Love” by Korean boy band, BTS. It features the half dozen androgynous super boys in a variety of dramatic set pieces, ranging from explosive cityscapes to a room full of candy bars. The boys were dressed in extravagant blouses and made up to look smooth skinned – both boyish and ghastly. Earrings dangle from their ears, half obscured by the two-block mop top haircuts that they all dawn. Eerily like the boys in The Garden. This brings me to my realization.

Boys are back. Global culture has decided – men are out, boys are in. You may be wondering, “What does that even mean?” If men weigh in at 100% masculinity, boys land anywhere between 1% and 99% masculinity. With boys being back, it means it’s time to shave your beards and embrace any sort of androgyny you can. Sell all your stock in sports, uninstall Fortnite (or maybe install Fortnite, as actual 8-to-35-year-old boys do seem to love that game), whatever it takes to get rid of at least 1% of your masculinity. 2018 is the year of the dog, and the year of the boy. All your favorite alt-right heroes – Ben Shapiro, Paul Joseph Watson, Alex Jones, Jordan Peterson – seem to agree that masculinity is dead, at least that’s the headline that I read on the side of my Facebook newsfeed. So, the solution is obvious: embrace boy-dom like all the great heroes of our time, and many great heroes of the past.

DJ Fizzi Pop Attends LIB!

BY: DJ Fizzi Pop

The sun was setting, the floats were floating, and the musical vibrations from the loud stages were pumping through our bodies. Not a single face in sight had a frown on their face, and pure bliss was in the air. This is my experience of Lighting in a Bottle 2018.

Being my first LIB, I had no idea what was coming my way. I had camped at smaller festivals before, but not for 5 days in a row (meaning I did not bring enough spare sunglasses). I had arrived Wednesday night for the Early Entry pass, and hundreds of people already had their campsites up and ready, music blasting and friends in the making. I had previously dreaded the rumors that Bradley, CA is blistering hot and would be suffering most of the time, but surprisingly the temp stayed in the mid 70s to low 80s the entire weekend and was thoroughly enjoyable to walk around the campsite the explore.

The drive was only a short 2 hours to the campgrounds, so we were ready to set up and explore by sunset. There isn’t much music on the bigger stages until Friday, but the Pagoda and Favela Bar stages were poppin’ with smaller (but big sound) artists. At night, the festival grounds turn into a blacklight wonderland, where all the art structures glow (and are even interactive!). It was nice to get a feel of the grounds before all the commotion started; I recommend to anyone to get Early Arrival passes to get the full experience because there is way too much to explore and you just might miss an Easter egg!

Friday was the first big wave of music to hit the festival. Before we ran to the stages, I got to experience a short but wonderful session at the Yoga Luna exhibit, where yoga and flow classes were held all weekend long. Not only were there yoga exhibits, but you could walk into a random structure and there would be a meditation session, a hooping class, a cooking class, you name it. If you needed a break from the music, there was always something else to experience. Around 3 o’clock we headed to the Woogie stage, which is one of the favorite stages of LIB. Surrounded by enormous neon butterfly structures that refracted lasers off of them, the overall vibe was welcoming and groovy. The main theme of this stage was house and techno music, where we caught the last part of Walker & Royce’s set.

On our way back to the main grounds, we decided to check out the Favela Bar, which is a stage that has interactive treehouses surrounding the dance floor, and a gigantic disco ball that twirls during the night. To our surprise, 2 members of the Glitch Mob were having a secret set at this stage (and we got to meet them after!).

Before getting dinner, we headed to the infamous Meditation Mountain to catch the gorgeous LIB sunset. As the sea met the sky, every attendee unleashed their fellow animal and let out a howl to the sun. Practically everyone on the grounds partook in this spiritual moment!

To start the night off, we ran to the Lightning stage to get front-row views of sets by Sofi Tukker, the ultimate party groove master Griz, and the almighty Glitch Mob (all 3 of them this time). This by far was one of my favorite consecutive sets I’ve caught at a festival. The party was nonstop!

On Saturday, I ran between the Thunder and Lightning stage to catch sets from Edamame, Partywave, Tokimonsta, Tipper, and Anderson. Paak. All their sounds are super different so I wanted to keep it within variety! Each stage has a certain theme, but I wanted to jump out of the loop and check all the different music out. My favorite out of this day was definitely Anderson. Paak for his funky vibes, but Edamame also had a beautiful chillwave sound to his set.

On Sunday, I got to spend most of the day on the beautiful Lake San Antonio which was right by our campsite. There were probably 300 different species of animal floaties bouncing off each other, and house music was bumping all day long. Sunscreen was passed around, and so were the laughs. Everyone was sun-drunk in love with the beautiful atmosphere the lake had to offer. By the evening we got to check out Dirtwire, the folk-rustic-electronica group that features members of Beats Antique. We also got to check out Monolink, Beats Antique (their 10th time playing at LIB), Clozee, Zhu, and Emancipator. This lineup was stacked, and I was so happy to see such a great mix of talented artists. My favorite had to be CloZee, for her beautiful world-influenced flow of a set. Not a single person danced like they cared.

Overall, this is a festival I will be returning to over and over again. The atmosphere is filled with bliss, and everyone you meet is in a good mood and willing to share a good story. The art structures are out of this world, and there are fire dancers, flow hoopers, talks, meditations….the festival is PACKED with things to enjoy and maneuver. There is even an art car shaped like a beetle driving around the festival blasting music. The music lineup is amazing in taste, and not a single set was disappointing. I could go on, but it really is something to experience for yourself. The one downside is that the food is a little expensive, but I am personally willing to pay $14 for an exquisite bowl of mac and cheese. I will be back, this time with more sunglasses to spare!

 

A ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ Retrospective

Listener’s discretion is advised.

Recently I was having coffee with an old friend. I was drinking my third cup for the day. He was surprised at my caffeine intake. I hadn’t even realized anything was off about my habit. I wondered where all that energy was going. I think I’ve figured it out.

In celebration of the recent Nine Inch Nails come back, I’ve been returning to their seminal debut, Pretty Hate Machine. It seems that its dark grooves have been syphoning out my negative energy like it’s popping some sort of cathartic pimple. This record is very near and dear to my heart. It is a classic in the genre of industrial music, but also a classic in my personal music canon. Its an album loaded to the brim with emotional energies, despite being composed, recorded and produced solely by Trent Reznor. It has moments of ecstasy, and moments of absolute despair. I am celebrating its 29th year of existence (It turns 30 in October of 2019) by going over some of my favorite bits from the album.

The album opener (and lead single) is “Head Like A Hole.” This track was the world’s first encounter with NIN. “Head Like A Hole” begins with an orchestra of insect-like drum hits. Trent deliberately sequenced every little click that appears in the track, and result is a track that’s as groovy and funky as it is creepy and crawly. This is a recurring theme on the record. Its music is wrong but so right, evil but so danceable, owed in part to all the wonderfully 80s drum hits, but also the arpeggiated synths that appear on later tracks like “Terrible Lie” and “That’s What I Get.”

Third track, “Down in It,” is a dark take on 80s hip-hop, like a goth reinterpretation of LL Cool J. It features samples that accent beats not unlike what a DJ would place into a beat for an MC, but these accents sound like the roar of a crowd in the gladiator arenas of hell. The lyrics and the title reference to at one point feeling as though you were better than something – some behavior, person, or idea – only to find yourself caught up in that very something. Like saying “I listen to everything but rap and country,” only to find your future self at a Florida Georgia Line concert, shilling out 40 dollars for a tour t-shirt. You were up above it, but now you’re down in it.

“Something I Can Never Have” just about marks the halfway point on the record. The track is a Trent Reznor love-ballad, with all that that descriptor entails. Trent has a few of these types of tracks in his discography, all of which stand out in different ways. His most famous is “Hurt,” a track off his third album, The Downward Spiral. The track really blew up after Johnny Cash covered it during his come-back sessions with producer Rick Rubin. Trent really isolates a specific human emotion with “Something I Can Never Have,” as the title suggests. At the center of the track are Trent’s vocals and a dissonant piano part that repeats unending throughout the track as synthesizers swell around it. The track captures the longing for that which you depend on – love, drugs – that empty feeling; an unfillable void. The track is one of Reznors magnum opera, capturing a feeling that he continues to portray years later in NIN as well as his soundtracks for several recent David Fincher films (Gone Girl, The Social Network).

The second half of the album returns to the pace set by the first four tracks. “Kinda I Want To” brings the drums once again. It chops up classic breakbeats sampled from jazz records and intersplices them with synthesizers that evoke a capsizing Starship Enterprise. Combined with Reznor’s aggressive vocal delivery, a bouncy and distorted anthem of desire is birthed from the fire and brimstone. “That’s What I Get” is another highlight of the album. It beautifully contrasts hectic drum sequences and synthesizers of the other tracks with sparse instrumentation and Trent’s vocals on the verses. The standout moment on the track for me is the bridge where Reznor laments: “Why’s it come as a surprise – to think that I was so naïve // maybe didn’t mean that much, but it meant everything to me.” This bridge, where the isolated vocals and synthesizer really shine through, keeps me coming back to this track.

Just as the track swells to a climax, the album takes you in a different direction with the penultimate track, “The Only Time.” This track is a lyrical highlight if you enjoy pure and unrefined edginess. I won’t quote any of the lyrics as they are a bit raunchy, but the track has a sinister sort of lust to it that does not fail to entertain. The breakdown around the 3-minute mark of this track is another highlight of the album, with an ascending baseline and punchier than punchy drums as Reznor barks “This is the only time I really feel alive” repeatedly.

The album is bookended by “Ringfinger” on the original release of the record (I mention this because on the remastered version there is a B-Side repurposed as a closing track that follows “Ringfinger”). “Ringfinger” is an industrial-house classic. Its driving 4/4 bass drum and syncopated synthesizers form a foundation for Trent to work his black magic over. It features distorted guitar stabs, sustained square wave synthesizers, and panning record scratches, and of course Trent’s vocals. The track, and the album, fizzles out into glitchy feedback, evoking the digital Dante’s Inferno that seems to characterize every track of this album as it cycles through the different circles of hell on each track, from limbo to treachery.

So, as finals season approaches once again, next time you feel like you have too much negative energy, purge it with a listening of Pretty Hate Machine, available to stream or purchase on all your favorite platforms.

Written by Nick Amerkhanian