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Music News and Features

03 Jul 2015
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Desert summer is upon us, and it’s hotter than Haiti outside! Many of our local music venues are on auto-pilot—but there are a lot of great live shows and music festivals not too far away that will allow you to escape the heat and get your live-show fix. As for me … well, stoner rock and way-outside acid-jazz are in my immediate future. I am escaping the desert heat and heading up the Sierra Nevadas into beautiful mountain surroundings for the Yosemite Music Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11. The Atomic Sherpas, Green Machine, 3 Leafs and others are scheduled to perform; a weekend pass is $40. Past performers have included Hungry Bear, Fatso Jetson and Hawks. Also on the bill this year is San Francisco-based stoner rock band Golden Void. The band’s latest release on Thrill Jockey Records is firmly rooted in melody, and the…
22 Jun 2015
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One performer that received a lot of attention at the kickoff of the Vans Warped Tour in Pomona was Kosha Dillz. The New Jersey Israeli-American rapper has been the talk of the rap world. During an interview after his performance on Friday, June 19, he discussed where his name came from. “It came from the pickle jar. It’s basically the combination of being Jewish, business, being a hustler, sex and food—all my favorite things!” said Kosha Dillz. While some have accused Kosha Dillz of being a gimmick, he said his recent success—including being included on the entire Warped Tour—proves he’s legitimate. He conceded his name does bring him a lot of attention. “I’m on Warped Tour, and they could have picked anybody. I think that says a lot,” he said. “Whatever people say, we know what we’re doing, and we’ve been doing it long enough that we love to keep…
22 May 2015
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Jam in the Van is an Internet music program that’s taking the music world by storm. It is quickly becoming as recognizable as the giant music festivals to which it travels. What MTV was to music videos in the early ‘80s, Jam in the Van is to music festivals and independent artists today. The van is a moving piece of art, covered with colorful portraits of rock legends and wallpapered in memorabilia from shows gone by. It is also a solar-powered recording studio that travels to the hottest music festivals. Parked outside of Bonnaroo, High Sierra, SXSW and Bottle Rocket, JITV entrepreneur Jake Cotler and his crew invite performing artists inside for a three-song set, documented with state-of-the-art recording gear by pros who are passionate about capturing the magic. The concept was born in 2011 in the expanded consciousness of Jake Cotler. In a psychedelic haze at the Bonnaroo Music…
15 May 2015
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If you’ve ever heard a set by local DJ Pedro Le Bass, you’ve noticed his name is appropriate: There’s a lot of bass involved in his sound. The fierce but friendly DJ is a transplant from Seattle and has been part of the local music scene for a while now. You can catch him in action Tuesday nights at the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club. Pedro Le Bass recently discussed his moniker. “Pedro is my real first name. Le Bass—well, I like bass music, and house. Anything with bass in it catches my ear, as long as you can dance to it,” he said. “I used to go by DJ Pac Man, but I had to give that up, because I wanted to do something different.” Pedro said he was inspired to take up DJing after watching a video. “I was at my friend’s house in high school, and he…
12 May 2015
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To some, the success that Little Red Spiders enjoyed in April—the band won a slot at the Tachevah block party, and played on the Coachella stage during Weekend 1—seemed like it came out of the blue. However, the band has actually been around for a while, and two members are in the well-known Desert Hot Springs band Slipping Into Darkness. During a recent phone interview, bassist Nigel Dettelbach talked about Little Red Spiders’ origins. “There was a band a few years back called The Dead Suites. Our former lead singer, Anthony Taboada, passed away last year, and Jesse (Williams), who is now the singer of this band—they would sing together. We had a different drummer at the time, and now we have Nigel Carnahan. So it’s basically the same band with a different lineup. We play one or two of the songs from back then in dedication to our former…
08 May 2015
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Steve Rowland wondered why I wanted to interview him. Well, he has an impressive acting résumé from the ’50s and ’60s. He was the frontman for The Family Dogg, and produced albums and songs for Sarah Brightman, Rodriguez and the group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. Finally, he discovered Peter Frampton—and today, he calls Palm Springs home. So that’s why I wanted to interview Steve Rowland. He was born into an entertainment-business family in Los Angeles. His father was a film director, and his mother was a writer. He found early success as an actor, with credits including Battle of the Bulge, Crime in the Streets, Bonanza and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. “I left Hollywood in 1963 to go co-star in a film in Spain called Gunfighters of Casa Grande, and four films later, including Battle of the Bulge, I decided I didn’t want to…
05 May 2015
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Otis Link has spent his life at the center of the hard-core punk-rock counterculture that bloomed in California during the ’70s and ’80s. He developed stylistically at a time when the underground art scene was exploding in Los Angeles—when the same California subculture that gave birth to punk-rock rebellion also created a demand for lowbrow art, where pop-art and surrealism collide. Long before desktop computers and Photoshop, the technologies of the day were spray glue, collages, copy machines and cut-and-paste. Punk art used outrageous images and crude text, and could be shocking, yet hilarious. Lowbrow art finds inspiration from comic books, graffiti, erotica and surf culture; it can be anti-political, anti-establishment, psychedelic, thought-provoking, raunchy, gory and horrific. The music and the art of this period represent a generation that stood up against a fractured society. “We are a really fucked-up culture now,” Link said. “The reason we have war is…
27 Apr 2015
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The Podunk Poets performed in the Honkytonk tent at Stagecoach—and they felt right at home. “I think for all of us, being invited into a festival that’s so massive—Stagecoach is a dream,” said Podunk Poets’ Kelly Kidd; he and Cindy-Lou Jollotta chatted with the Independent the day after the band’s Friday, April 24, performance. “We’re still independent, so were like the band that keeps taking baby steps.” The Podunk Poets are not new to the area; the group has performed in the past at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. “There was lots of love there,” said Jollotta. “The crowd there was happy, receptive and energetic. That’s what it’s like at Pappy’s: It feels like a stamp of approval to play there.” Kidd agreed. “It has such a history, and it’s so nostalgic. In the Americana world, you sort of have to pay homage and pay your dues at Pappy and…