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Music News and Features

18 Nov 2020
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Folks lucky enough to have enjoyed a live Pescaterritory show understand how tenacious the band’s sound is—and folks who haven’t been as lucky are now able to experience all that the young band has to offer via a brand-new self-titled LP. Pescaterritory includes vocalist Aiden Schaeffer, drummer Nick Willman, bassist Gavin Lopez and guitarist Jason Zembo. Pescaterritory, which was released on Oct. 31, is a nine-track, 41-minute explosion of ’70s-style rock with a modern edge. Tracks like “King Street,” “Running Away” and “Rise” show how the group’s tight rhythms, harmonies and spotlight guitar bridge rock music from various decades. I recently spoke to the band members over Zoom about recording the debut album at the newly established Sondy Studios, operated by Jake and Luke Sonderman. “Jake had a little bit of experience before working with us,” Willman said. “It was really great. Jake has been a longtime friend of ours.…
22 Oct 2020
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The title of “successful musician” is often elusive. Many bands and musicians try and try, yet they never reach a level they’d consider “successful.” Then there’s Bob Gentry, who has had not one, nor two, but three periods in his career that most would consider “successful.” The Palm Springs resident is known from his days in the ’90s rock group Moisture; a solo career in the 2000s; and a comeback starting with a brand-new EP, which will be released Oct. 28. Back on the Horse is Gentry’s first release since Seconds in 2010. The debut single “20 Years to Life” shows off Gentry’s singer-songwriter roots, as the track is twangy, poppy and all-together smooth. I chatted with Gentry over the phone about his unique career. “I started when I was a kid; I was always around music,” Gentry said. “My stepdad played the banjo and played crazy bluegrass stuff. I…
12 Oct 2020
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While many bands struggle to develop a sound that is both unique and comfortingly familiar, L.A. Witch seems to do it with ease. L.A. Witch is a power trio from Los Angeles whose music hits you like a 90-mph slap to the face. The band includes Ellie English on drums, Irita Pai on bass and Sade Sanchez on guitar. Each member contributes to a sound that stretches among rock ’n’ roll, punk, psych and garage rock. The band in August released Play With Fire, a follow-up to the group’s self-titled debut in 2017, and 2018’s Octubre EP. The album is packed tight with jams that, well, feel like you’re playing with fire. Each track sizzles into the next, with Sanchez’s piercing guitar and vocals backed by lightning-quick and heavy grooved back beats from Pai and English, shining bright on tracks like “Fire Starter,” “I Wanna Lose” and “True Believers.” I…
18 Sep 2020
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Before COVID-19 arrived, the valley’s music scene was celebrating the relatively recent introduction of a space for music that combined local talent with bigger bands on tour—right in the heart of Palm Springs. The Alibi Palm Springs is one of the newest and best music venues in the desert. It has hosted local acts like The Flusters and the Yip Yops, as well as national acts such as Best Coast and The Midnight Hour. For a while there, it was like the Coachella Valley had our own little slice of L.A. “My business partner, Melanie (Tusquellas), and I have been in the L.A. music business for many years, and we were originally looking for a spot in L.A.,” said owner Elizabeth Garo during a recent phone interview. “A friend of Melanie’s told her about this beautiful, amazing, historic building in Palm Springs that was available. We saw it and thought,…
07 Sep 2020
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Most musicians dream of one day collaborating with their idols—but only a select few will have their dreams come true. The ever-talented Esjay Jones is one of the fortunate ones. Now based in Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, Jones first made waves in her home country of South Africa as part of the band Stealing Love Jones. After No. 1 singles in South Africa, Jones shifted into a producer role, and over the past decade has engineered music for acts such as Sean Kingston, Nile Rodgers, Jeffree Star and Alien Ant Farm. While still an active producer, Jones recently returned to the frontwoman position with her new project, (We Are) PIGS, which combines hip hop and metal. Jones introduced the project to the world with a cover of Slipknot’s “Duality,” a unique take on the original featuring Jones’ singing/screaming over a heavy guitar and bass, backed by trap drums. “I’ve…
28 Aug 2020
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Some bands struggle to find a sound and reach an audience; others are greeted with success almost immediately. The latter was the fortunate case for Out From Under, a local four-piece with Tarah Risnes on vocals, Josh Carbajal on lead guitar, Joel Reyes on drums, and Josh LaCroix on bass. The group released a three-song demo via SoundCloud on Aug. 1, and the three songs have already received more than 1,000 streams combined. “We got together about a year ago,” said Carbajal during a recent phone interview. “I sent Tarah a video of me playing guitar, and she said that we should start a band. So we did!” Added Risnes: “I had just been kicked out of a different band a month prior. I didn’t have much creative control in the band, and they didn’t care to listen to any of my thoughts. When they kicked me out, I knew…
25 Aug 2020
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To say that I miss live music is a gross understatement. I write about music. I play music, with two bands and as a solo artist—and, of course, I enjoy going to concerts. One of the biggest parts of my life has been pretty much nonexistent for almost six months, and I’m hurting. So, too, are the country’s music venues. The Save Our Stages movement is an online petition by more than 2,000 independent venues—including Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace and The Alibi—calling for support from Congress. The movement is led by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose mission is to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.” The goals are for Congress to provide long-term assistance to shuttered businesses, offer relief through tax credits, and continue unemployment-insurance benefits. While the desert is home to a variety of music venues,…
18 Aug 2020
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During normal times, backyard shows throughout the Coachella Valley are packed with younger people enjoying hidden musical gems—such as the band Koka. Koka is a four-piece consisting of Edith Aldaz on vocals, Sebastian Camacho on bass, Ricardo “Ricky” Saavedra on drums, and Ubaldo “Uba” Norzagaray on guitar and synthesizer. The band’s indie-pop music is rather unique, mixing vibes from Clairo, Soccer Mommy, and Crumb into their own sound. Koka just released a new single, “Did You Fall Asleep Yet.” It’s a three-minute dance-along that features a pulsating, Blondie-esque beat and vocals. I recently spoke with the band members about Koka’s genesis. “During my senior year of high school, my plan was to just go to college and live a boring life,” Camacho said. “It wasn’t until my English teacher, Mr. Jonathan Adler at La Quinta High School, had a conversation with the class about doing what you love. That was…

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