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Music News and Features

05 Jan 2015
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Producer, songwriter, and bassist Dandy Brown is a rock ’n’ roll transplant from the Midwest who has taken root in the artist community of Joshua Tree. He has developed a reputation among his peers for crafting riff-driven, hard-rock compositions, enticing some of stoner rock’s most-innovative players to help him complete his vision. In the late 1990s, with a handful of freshly written songs, he enlisted the gritty, soulful vocals of desert rock icon John Garcia (Kyuss/Vista Chino), the Supafuzzed guitar riffs of David Angstrom, and the unrelenting rhythms of drummer Steve Earle (Afghan Whigs) to found the band Hermano. Later joined by guitarist Mike Callahan (Ear Shot), the group created a musical canvas for Garcia’s penetrating melodies and haunting lyrics. I asked Brown how he put Hermano together. “In ’96, I began producing the first Supafuzz album, and John and Dave had known each other through the deals they had…
26 Dec 2014
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It’s been a busy couple years for Derek Gregg and Sean Poe—better known as the Hive Minds. Their group has gone from being a three-piece to a two-piece. There was a name change, a battle of the bands win, and numerous local shows. And finally, there’s an album. The Independent recently sat down with Gregg (guitar/vocals) and Poe (drums) to discuss The Hive Minds’ new, self-titled album. They began working on it in October 2013, with Jimmy Heil. “It was just not a good fit. We were working on it for a while, and we made a lot of progress, but things weren’t really clicking,” Poe said. Gregg agreed. “A lot of the guitar tones were weird,” Gregg said. “We have nothing bad to say about (Heil). He had a lot of great stuff, like these expensive old mics, reel-to-reel, and stuff like that, but we weren’t able to get…
22 Dec 2014
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You’ve probably never heard of Curses. However, you will be hearing a lot about this new local band soon. Miguel Guizar (vocals), Mani Beltran (guitar), Ozzy Cervantes (guitar) and David Ceballos (bass) have been staying under the radar while they write material and perfect their sound. However, that’s changing: Curses is in the process of releasing an EP and will soon start playing live. The band’s roots date back to a few years ago, when Ceballos and Beltran would jam and write songs together. “We tried to start bands, and it would never work out, because we could never find a singer,” Beltran said. “We would always go through singers left and right, and we never really had that chemistry with them. Then I found Miguel at a show in Coachella, and he came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you’re in that band Curses.’ It was just David and…
09 Dec 2014
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Test Site is a documentary by Jesper Wachtmeister focused on the unique—if not downright odd—life perspectives of 14 interesting characters, all living and creating in North America’s deserts. The film is filled with breathtaking desert landscapes from Utah to our own backyards of the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin. If the majestic imagery doesn't draw you in, the personal stories—offering intimate looks at characters who would fit in a new-age Mark Twain novel—will. Wachtmeister visits with folksinger Katie Lee, James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney; archaeologist David Nichols; Karen “dezert nymph” Reynolds; ex-homicide detective Pat Dingle; writer William L. Fox; Area 51 expert Glenn Campbell; bar owner Pat Laudenklos; artist Bobby Furst; desert-rave organizer Willy (Electronarcosis); musicians Mario Lalli and Tony Tornay from Fatso Jetson; drummer Johnny ”Sticks” Hilliard; and poet Richard Corsano. Each story is extraordinary! Jesper is on a quest to learn about what goes on in the outskirts of…
24 Nov 2014
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Cain Motter has been living off the grid here and there since childhood, when his mother and father escaped a religious cult that didn’t allow members to leave. The family was advised to head for California—which they did. Motter’s father, a blind Vaudeville performer, earned a living by performing at Muscle Beach in Venice, and eventually bought a piece of land near Pioneertown. There, he began working with the infamous UFOlogist George Van Tassel, the man responsible for the Integratron, to build a geodesic dome. When Motter was 14, his mother whisked him and his sister off to Oklahoma. During his years of teenage angst, the strapping young man began a punk band and started challenging the social norms of the day. For example: While performing, he’d wear a pink tutu and Army boots, blowing fireballs with his mouth and belting out lyrics that challenged the limited views of the…
28 Oct 2014
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The desert environment that has shaped and colored the music created here has similarly affected High Desert resident and author Steve Rieman—a fact which his new novel, The Searching Three, beautifully illustrates. Rieman moved to Joshua Tree with his family when he was 5. Pappy and Harriet’s was his home away from home; he remembers sitting on Pappy’s knee as a child. In his youth, Rieman became a skate rat, listening to punk rock and metal. He was part of the desert subculture that attended generator parties at places like the Nude Bowl, outside of Desert Hot Springs, where bands like Decon, Unsound and Crackpot played. He was there in 1995 when the surrounding hills caught fire. “Brian Maloney was playing with Herb Lineau, Brant Bjork and Billy Cordell … and an orange glow appeared in the hills right behind them. Within minutes, bands were throwing gear into their cars,…
24 Oct 2014
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The airwaves of Los Angeles’ KCRW reach into the Coachella Valley at 89.3 FM, so you may have heard the work of Jeremy Sole, a delightfully eccentric DJ who plays salsa, disco, jazz, soul and blues. You may have also heard him at DJ Day’s ¡Reunión! Show, held Thursdays at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Sole is a regular guest. Sole has had an extensive career as a DJ and radio host. He’s performed at Coachella and has been around the world with some big names; in fact, he was the last DJ to open a show for Ray Charles. He’s also worked in the studio with Ms. Lauryn Hill, and has remixed David Bowie, Femi Kuti, Thievery Corporation and many others. During a recent interview at the Ace just before he took over the mixing board from DJ Day, Sole began with the story of his childhood in…
17 Oct 2014
Alex Lomeli and Jeffrey Schoonover met in 2008, when they were both studying at Kaplan College. In 2012, Lomeli (aka Rezident) and Schoonover (aka Scoonz) formed the hip-hop duo PharmTecs. I caught up with them last week, after the two earned first place at the Tilted Kilt’s open-mic competition. Catch them at Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms, on Saturday, Oct. 18. After you watch the video below, get more information at any of these links: