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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Music News and Features

24 May 2016
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After a busy couple of years—including a performance at Coachella—local favorite CIVX seemingly disappeared, with months passing between local gigs. Then in May, the band resurfaced with not only a slate of local shows, but a brand-new EP, Security Through Obscurity. I recently caught up with frontman Dillion Dominguez and bassist Clay Samalin in La Quinta, and they explained CIVX’s absence and the trials and tribulations of making the new EP. “We did everything differently this time,” Dominguez said about Security Through Obscurity. “We worked with Freddy Jimenez, from Blue Hill Records and Tribesmen. We were in the studio in the most DIY way ever. We had been working with Jesse James from Sourdough Records, but I guess they split and disbanded. I hit them up out of nowhere, and they were like, ‘We’re not going to be doing any recording anymore.’ They split all their gear between him and…
03 May 2016
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Stagecoach celebrated its 10th year in 2016. Since its 2007 debut, it’s become one of the most successful country-music festivals in the world, popular with locals and visitors alike. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have room to improve. Stagecoach has had some truly epic moments. I first attended Stagecoach in 2008 as an employee of Borders Books and Music, which was an onsite vendor. The festival was only in its second year—and having The Eagles play was a solidifying moment for the festival. It was to Stagecoach what Daft Punk’s performance in 2006 was to Coachella. This year’s festival was a definite success. On Sunday afternoon, as EmiSunshine played in the Mustang Tent—moving into the crowd to keep playing for a couple of songs while the power went out across the festival—the Marshall Tucker Band played to a large crowd in the Palomino Tent, while many faithful country-music…
02 May 2016
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Alexa and Avery Roemer are two kids from Orange County with a passion: rescue dogs. They shared that passion with Stagecoach attendees through their band, A. Rae and the Rescue Dogs. Alexa, 10, and Avery, 9, were born into a musical family. Their mother, Kelly Rae, leads the Kelly Rae Band, which also performed this weekend in the Honky Tonk Tent. Their father, Jack Roemer, plays bass in Rae and the Rescue Dogs and is the songwriter. The two girls began performing last summer—but they’ve been singing for quite a while, thanks to their musical family. When the A. Rae and the Rescue Dogs performed in the Half-Pint Hootenanny on Saturday, Alexa explained their mission: “We hope our show inspires you to get a dog,” she said. All of the songs are about dogs, and the girls have even recorded a CD to benefit rescue dogs. They make appearances at…
02 May 2016
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In 2013, I covered Coachella and Stagecoach for the first time for the Coachella Valley Independent—but I had concerns about doing so. In the fall of 2011, I suffered a serious back injury. As a result, I am unable to stand or sit for long periods of time. Thankfully, while on site during Coachella in 2013, I discovered the services of Goldenvoice’s ADA department, which is in charge of accommodating guests with various disabilities. Three years later, the department is doing an ever-better job of doing so. If you’ve attended either Coachella or Stagecoach, you may have seen Austin Whitney, of Accessible Festivals. Austin, in his wheel chair, is seemingly everywhere, and always with his service dog, Ophelia. When I went to meet Whitney at one of the ADA platforms near the Mane Stage on Saturday evening during Stagecoach, he was handling an issue with an ADA wristband holder—with a…
30 Apr 2016
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Dale Watson is a honky tonk hero and a legend of country music—in part because he wholeheartedly eschews the mainstream. Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Watson now calls Austin, Texas, home. He owns a saloon there called the Little Longhorn Saloon, which is home to “Chicken Shit Bingo”—a weekly event during which a chicken is placed on a table with numbers on it. If you have the number on which the chicken does its business, you’re a winner! I chatted with Watson before his Friday Stagecoach performance, and asked him the question: What do you love about country music? “I don’t love country music,” Watson replied. “Not today’s country music—not one bit. I love what used to be called country music. I’m a big fan of a genre called Ameripolitan right now, which is what country music used to be: Western swing, rockabilly and honky tonk music. In that regard, what…
29 Apr 2016
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It is unbelievable how far the band The Flusters has come in such a short amount time. Last Saturday at noon, the members of the band crossed an item off their bucket lists when they stepped onto the Outdoor Stage at Coachella. Each year, a local band or two gets the coveted, albeit difficult slot. There’s usually not much of a crowd on hand at noon, but many locals—including Ian Cush of the Coachella Valley Art Scene, Matt Styler of the Hive Minds, Giselle Woo and some devout Flusters fans turned out—turned out to watch the band play, as did a handful of Coachella early birds who did not know The Flusters. While the Flusters were playing, Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar appeared onstage and took some photos and video of the band with his phone. Shortly after the impressive show, frontman/guitarist Doug Van Sant, guitarist Danny White and new drummer…
27 Apr 2016
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Kal David is a white guy from the South Side of Chicago—but, man, can he play the blues. Kal—aka David Raskin—appears at Oscar’s Café and Bar with the Kal David Trio on Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. for “Blues and BBQ” when he’s not off touring the world. He also plays regularly at the Purple Room. One interesting fact about Kal David: He played in a band called Kal David and the Exceptions, which included Peter Cetera, who went on to join the band Chicago, and Marty Grebb, who went on to join The Buckinghams. “Peter was in my band and was my bass-player, and I like to kid around and say I taught him everything he knew,” Kal David said during a recent interview. “He came to me fully skilled, and we were just kids. I was just out of high school, and he was still in…
19 Apr 2016
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Until recently, brightener was flying under the radar in the Coachella Valley music scene. Then brightener advanced to the finals of The Desert Sun’s Tachevah competition. And then the group was added to the first-weekend lineup of Coachella. Add in the fact that a new album in the works, and brightener’s Will Sturgeon is definitely on the rise. During a recent interview, Sturgeon discussed how he came up with the band’s name. “I had been putting out a bunch of solo stuff for years on the Internet, and there was a period of time when I had an active YouTube following from all over the world,” he said. “At one point, I released a solo record under my name, and some Turkish fans commented on my page and said they called me brightener, because I brightened their day. I kind of liked that, and it meant something to me. So…