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Music News and Features

16 May 2019
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After I saw Thoughts Contained perform at The Date Shed back in January, I left in awe of both the duo’s beats and message. During an interview in Palm Springs, Savier1 (Sal Gomez) and Zeke Martinez talked about their recently released EP, and the group’s evolving hip hop sound. “We started around 2009,” Gomez said. “We were a full band. We had a bass player, a drummer and two guitarists. It was too hard to keep it going.” Added Martinez: “It was really hard to keep it together and work out schedules with everyone.” Thoughts Contained’s self-titled album has a lot of positive and uplifting messages. One song that grabbed me in particular is called “Life Savings,” that talks about saving money, and appreciating life instead of material objects. It includes the lyrics: “It’s not how much you make; it’s how much you keep.” “We like to talk about stuff…
16 Apr 2019
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J. Patron often wears clothing with the slogan “Puro Oro.” This translates to “Pure Gold”—and that’s exactly what J. Patron is in the local hip-hop scene, as an artist who has opened doors for many others. J. Patron (Camilo Gomez) came to the United States from Colombia when he was 4 years old and grew up in the Coachella Valley. Local hip-hop artists Provoked and Willdabeast have talked to me in recent months about J. Patron’s hip-hop talents, which developed at an early age during high school during rap battles. In recent years, J. Patron has toured the United States and Latin America, including a SXSW appearance in March. During a recent interview, Patron explained how he grew up listening to Latin music—and how that went on to meld with his hip hop. “It was everywhere!” Gomez said. “It was all my parents listened to. There is a cool little…
12 Feb 2019
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“Everyone talks about rock these days,” Keith Richards once said. “The problem is they forget about the roll.” Well, local musician Cody White has most certainly not forgotten about the roll. White and his band, the Easy Ride, are now gigging regularly in the high and low desert, and have started to stand out with a ’70s-inspired rock ’n’ roll sound. During a recent interview in Desert Hot Springs, White seemed laid back and smiled a lot while talking passionately about his music. “It’s a lot of the old rock ’n’ roll I love,” White said. “I’ve been known to say that I was born in the wrong decade, because ’70s rock ’n’ roll is my bread and butter. Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and that kind of stuff is where I gathered upon when I was a young guitar-player. I’m also a fan of Radiohead, and I…
16 Jan 2019
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When three friends involved in the San Francisco punk-rock scene moved to the desert, they decided they needed to get together and have some fun. The result of that fun is the Hot Patooties, a newly formed band that consists of former San Francisco musicians Nettie Hammar (vocals), Beth Allen (guitar) and Shawn Smith (drums), as well as Yucca Valley bassist and former Gutter Candy member D.D. Gunz. We chatted at Beth Allen and Shawn Smith’s home in Morongo Valley after an alcohol-infused dinner party. “We’re from Morongo Valley, where the morons go,” Allen joked. “Shawn and I are in a band together called the Wastedeads, and we’re a two-piece. Nettie also moved to Morongo Valley. Nettie and I are old friends from way back, and I thought, ‘Oh shit, we need to be in a band together.’ The Hot Patooties were born after that.” D.D. Gunz was recruited after…
09 Jan 2019
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When I met with Daniel Sullivan, who goes by the stage name of Provoked, he brought a portfolio that chronicles his history in the local music scene. A couple of nights before, he’d performed at The Date Shed, celebrating the release of his new album, One Life. The portfolio included write-ups from publications including The Desert Sun and Desert Entertainer, information on his history with local television and radio, and news about music releases from more than a decade ago. I asked him about the gap in his history. He sighed and then spoke publicly for the first time about what happened—a felony assault charge. “I made a mistake that I’m remorseful for,” Sullivan said. “I went to prison. I was gone for five years. I had a lot of time to think—spiritually, mentally, physically and all of that. I feel that it was really the best thing to have…
17 Dec 2018
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John Marek is a jewel in the local music scene. Not only is he a great guitarist and songwriter; he’s also one a hell of a showman. In recent years, Marek played in War Drum, and he had a band called Ideation. Now he’s with his new band, Plastic Ruby, which includes Isidro Corrales (guitar/keyboards), Julio Corrales (bass) and Eddie Airada (drums). Plastic Ruby released its first, self-titled EP earlier this month and has been playing shows locally since mid-2018. The band has a classic rock ’n’ roll sound—with some psychedelic groove to it. Whether you like to dance or simply enjoy musical fusion, Plastic Ruby is a band you’ll appreciate. During a recent phone interview with Marek, he discussed his reasons for ending Ideation. “I just wanted to start all over,” Marek said. “I developed a new sound over time.” Considering Ideation had some fantastic songs that showcased Marek’s…
05 Dec 2018
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Two decades ago, a group of friends who grew up together started a band called The Hellions—and they’re still rocking the local music scene today. Although the Hellions have endured lineup changes at various points, the current group—Angel Lua (vocals/guitar), Bob Llamas (drums), Jamie Hargate (guitar) and Travis Rockwell (bass)—has been around for a while. The Hellions will be receiving the Best of Coachella Valley Legacy Award on Wednesday, Dec. 12, During the Best of Coachella Valley Awards Party at the Copa Nightclub in Palm Springs. During a post-rehearsal interview at Bernie’s in Rancho Mirage, I asked them how they’ve managed to keep playing, rehearsing and writing for 20 years as marriages, families and career moves have taken place. “That was all part of the plan,” Hargate joked. “You never start something hoping that it’ll end,” Lua said. “We had a common taste in music, and we thought, ‘Let’s do…
19 Sep 2018
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The local metal scene has been going through a transitional period, with many longtime bands calling it quits—and one of the bands rising from the figurative ashes is When Tides Turn. Slowly but surely, the band has been getting its name out there, playing consistently at venues such as The Hood Bar and Pizza, Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, Club 5, and Kilo’s Cantina. During a recent interview in Palm Desert with the band members—except for lead guitarist TJ Cazares, who was not able to make it—they shared some amusing stories about their inception, their shared history, and how they all pitch in to support their recording and travel costs. The band’s name is actually a reference to most of the band members’ hometown of Blythe. “We were trying to find something that no one else had, because every name in the world is taken,” guitarist Thomas Lambert said.…

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