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The horror, the horror of love 

HorrorPops are scarier than Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now

click to enlarge RETURN OF THE LIVING HORRORPOPS:  Punk, rock, and psychobilly act HorrorPops returns to Downtown Brew for an all-ages show on Aug. 30. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HORRORPOPS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF HORRORPOPS
  • RETURN OF THE LIVING HORRORPOPS: Punk, rock, and psychobilly act HorrorPops returns to Downtown Brew for an all-ages show on Aug. 30.

# It was love at first sight, I guess. In 1996, Peanut Pump Gun and Nekromantix were both playing the 1996 PopKom fest in Cologne, Germany. Pump Gun's singer/guitarist Patricia saw (no doubt through streaked eyeliner and tears of psychobilly joy) Nekromantix' stand-up bassist Nekroman, and m'wah! It was Euro love'n'kisses after that.

Even though both bands hailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, the two lovebirds had never met, but when they returned to Copenhagen a few weeks later, they found their mutual love for music like Blondie, Depeche Mode, and Siouxsie and the Banshees was enough to form a new band: HorrorPops.

Nekroman taught Patricia the basics on playing the upright bass and in return Patricia passed on to Nekroman her guitar skills. So they swapped instruments, wrote some songs, found a drummer in Patricia's longtime friend Niedermeier (of Strawberry Slaughterhouse), and HorrorPops officially became a band.

Apply copious amounts of black eyeliner, write songs with titles such as "Ghouls" and "Psychobitches Outta Hell," take the Copenhagen club scene by storm, then Berlin, then the world.

Finally they arrived in SLO Town, where they've become touring favorites. Every chance Numbskull Productions gets to book 'em, they book 'em, which is why, due to numerous requests, HorrorPops with Stevie Nix & the Cute Lepers returns on Thursday, Aug. 30, to Downtown Brew. Also on the bill is opening act The Briggs. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. advanced tickets (at Boo Boo's) are $14.50 and the show is open to those 16 and older.

Weird is good
When I think of Garry Eister, I think weird, weird, weird. The experimental composer has created several strange pieces ("Screaming Bunny," anyone?) that strain many listeners' aesthetic sensibilities. So when I heard that he has a new CD of solo guitar songs called Galloping From Versailles, I was intrigued. Are these, like, normal songs? I don't know, because he didn't send me a copy, but you can find out when he plays a recital for guitars and steel drum on Friday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m. in the Steynberg Gallery.

click to enlarge THEY LOOK SO NORMAL :  Weird composer Garry Eister will be joined by steel drummer Patty Dee on Aug. 31 at the Steynberg Gallery for an evening of original guitar and steel drum compositions. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY EISTER
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRY EISTER
  • THEY LOOK SO NORMAL : Weird composer Garry Eister will be joined by steel drummer Patty Dee on Aug. 31 at the Steynberg Gallery for an evening of original guitar and steel drum compositions.

# Eister will present a recital of original music for guitars of various kinds, as well coffeehouse songs by others, including Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel, John Lennon, and Paul Simon. He'll also be joined by special guest steel-drum player Patty Dee for the premier of his probably weird new compositions "Music for Pan and Resonator Guitar" from The California Dreambook and his Three Miniatures for Pan and Charango.

Eister's music has been heard on CBS, PRI, and NPR, at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall in London, the L.A. Microfest, the Sommernachtspiele in Germany, and numerous other concert and broadcast venues around the world. The Emerson String Quartet, Linda Ronstadt, conductor Kent Nagano, the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival Orchestra, the San Francisco Guitar Quartet, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and many others have recorded his compositions, and his recorded music appears on Sony Classical, Archer Records, Cold Blue Records, and his own Eister Music label. He's one of our local hidden treasures.

 

Patty Dee has played the steel drums at Carnegie Hall, the Live Oak Music Festival, and with the San Luis Obispo Symphony with her steel drum band, the Sizzling Pandoliers. She owns and operates Aircut Music, a Central Coast steel drum teaching and performing studio. In addition, Dee plays viola with the San Luis Obispo Chamber Symphony and teaches music at Mission Prep. She studied with internationally renowned pan players Tom Miller and Andy Narell.

Admission is $10. For more info, call 547-0278.

Orange you glad they moved from South Africa?
Just Jinjer is South Africa's largest-selling rock band in history, with more than four million copies of their albums sold, and they're quickly becoming international sensations as well. (South Africa only has 47 million residents, so four million copies is a lot!) The contemporary rock band has appeared on radio stations worldwide and increasingly appears on online download charts.

click to enlarge OUT OF AFRICA :  Just Jinjer, fronted by Art Matthews, is South Africa's best selling rock band of all time, and now they reside in Orange County and will play Downtown Brew on Aug. 31. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JUST JINJER
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JUST JINJER
  • OUT OF AFRICA : Just Jinjer, fronted by Art Matthews, is South Africa's best selling rock band of all time, and now they reside in Orange County and will play Downtown Brew on Aug. 31.

# Best of all, you don't have to travel to Africa to see the band because they recently relocated to Orange County and they're on their way to Downtown Brew to play on Friday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m.

I checked out the band's MySpace page (www.myspace/justjinjer) and discovered a highly polished, anthem rock outfit fronted by Art Matthews, whose soaring vocals may remind listeners of Bono.

Storytyme will open the show, and this is their first time back to the venue since it was called SLO Brew. The band plays '70s-classic-rock-inspired original, hard-driving rock'n'roll.

Doors for this 21-and-older, $11.50 advance tickets show open at 7:30 p.m. Check it out, peeps.

 


Cough up the dough

I listen to "Morning Cup of Jazz" on KCBX 90.1 FM every weekday morning, except Tuesday when the County Board of Supervisors helps insomniacs finally get their much needed rest by boring the crap out of listeners, so I'm one of the thousands of local residents who makes use of the public radio station. I also like "Freedom Jazz Dance," "Night Train," and "A Prairie Home Companion." Sometimes I tune in for "Click and Clack" or "The Minstrel Song Show," and I've even been known to listen to classical music because I'm extra cultured not. But I'm trying. Anyway, the point is, if you're like me, you count on KCBX, a commercial free station that depends on donations and fundraising. Here's your chance to give back to the station that's given so much to you.

On Saturday, Sept. 1, Morro Bay's Coalesce Bookstore will host the "KCBX Fall Fundraiser Concert" at 7 p.m. Your $25 ticket gets you an evening with on-air personalities and musical entertainment, including "Minstrel Song Show" host Sonnie Brown, Glenn Horn with the band Better Late Than Never, DJ and musician Rob "Little Robbie" Kimball, and special guests. Call 772-2880 to reserve your spot.


Gumby's banjoist
He's scored animated films and Gumby episodes. He's a master of banjo, guitar, and mandolin. He's been returning to the Central Coast for 30 years. He's Tim Wiedenkeller, a virtuoso acoustic musician who's received international acclaim for Milagros, his collection of original classical works for the five-string banjo, which is regularly featured on National Public Radio.

click to enlarge HE MAKES GUMBY SOUND BETTER :  Banjo, guitar, and mandolin virtuoso Tim Wiedenkeller who's scored episodes of claymation creation Gumby plays the Red Barn Series on Sept. 1 and Monteleone's Rock on Sept. 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM WIEDENKELLER
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM WIEDENKELLER
  • HE MAKES GUMBY SOUND BETTER : Banjo, guitar, and mandolin virtuoso Tim Wiedenkeller who's scored episodes of claymation creation Gumby plays the Red Barn Series on Sept. 1 and Monteleone's Rock on Sept. 2.

# Wiedenkeller began as a teen bluegrass prodigy on banjo, later turned his interest to guitar and voice, and became a recording artist, spending 15 years performing, writing, producing, arranging, and recording with the best musicians and studios in Los Angeles.

When he plays on Saturday, Sept. 1, as part of the Red Barn Community Music Series, Wiedenkeller will showcase his cutting-edge acoustic music, "journeying through a boundless mix of classical music, bluegrass, jazz, rock, and traditional music, and incorporating exotic styles inspired by his travels around the world."

The show starts at 7 p.m. in Los Osos' South Bay Community Center, but as usual there's a 6 p.m. potluck and old time jam. A $10 donation is requested for the concert.

If you miss that show, check him out at Monteleone's Rock in Morro Bay at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2.

 

 

Steel cage death match!
More singer-songwriter competitive action awaits on Sunday, Sept. 2, when Linnaea's Cafe hosts another evening of the West

click to enlarge THE CONTENDER :  San Francisco folksinger Nina Jo Smith will be among more than a dozen songwriters featured the next West Coast Songwriters Showcase Competition: Sept. 2 at Linnaea's Cafe . - PHOTO COURTESY OF NINA JO SMITH
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF NINA JO SMITH
  • THE CONTENDER : San Francisco folksinger Nina Jo Smith will be among more than a dozen songwriters featured the next West Coast Songwriters Showcase Competition: Sept. 2 at Linnaea's Cafe .
# Coast Songwriters Showcase Competition. San Francisco folksinger Nina Jo Smith will be among more than a dozen songwriters featured at the 7 p.m. competition, which is free and open to all ages.

Smith performs political tunes, humorous numbers, children's songs, and love ballads. "Woody Guthrie meets Joni Mitchell in the Velvet Underground" is how she describes her sound.

Guest judges are former A&M recording artist Craig Nuttycombe and professional singer-songwriter Craig Kincaid. Painted Sky Studios of Cambria has donated two hours of recording time to the Best Song winner. Cliff Stepp, host of the syndicated radio show "Grapevine Radio," is the emcee.

Other performers include Loren Radis, Jackie Morris, Deborah Kirk, Matthias Clark, Jennifer Neetz, Nathan Martin, and Brian Keel.

No mercy!



Goodbye Tomorrow
Well, it looks like SLO punk stalwarts New Tomorrow may be calling it quits.

click to enlarge SAYONARA TOMORRA :  SLO Town punk act New Tomorrow is threatening that their last gig ever is at Downtown Brew on Sept. 3. Mosh them into submission. - PHOTO BY SHANE HOWELL
  • PHOTO BY SHANE HOWELL
  • SAYONARA TOMORRA : SLO Town punk act New Tomorrow is threatening that their last gig ever is at Downtown Brew on Sept. 3. Mosh them into submission.

# "We're having our last show ever, as far as we know, on Sept. 3," said singer Brandon Wood. "Maybe we're just taking a break, but it could be permanent. We definitely wouldn't start back up until next summer."

If they break up, it won't be from lack of trying. SLO's hardest working band in show business has completed five full U.S. tours and released two full-length self-released CDs all in the last couple of years.

"What we're doing is taking some time off of live shows to write an album that we all love," Wood continued. "We're going to record 18 tracks and pick 16 for the album, and we're going to try to keep all of the tracks fast and loud, and make it a solid punk rock album. We also hope to put it out on a label, if possible, but that's up in the air."

Say it ain't so, Brandon! One of the things I always loved about New Tomorrow is the band's fuck-you-we're-having-fun-and-we-don't-care-what-anybody-thinks attitude. Even though I found a lot of their music nearly unlistenable, the band's live show energy was undeniable. I'm not sure it could translate well to a recording anyway, but what the hell, find a label? That's not punk rock!

"We're going to be on a compilation that comes out on Nov. 13 on Pirates Press Records, sharing space with Anti-Flag, Street Dogs, and Loved Ones," Wood said. "We're very excited about that, so when the album is done, if we like it and all goes well, then we will start playing shows again."

Uh oh! They're doomed. (Just kidding maybe!)

See New Tomorrow's maybe last gig ever on Monday, Sept. 3, at Downtown Brew beginning at 7:30 p.m., all-ages, $8 at the door. Opening acts include The Action Design, formed by former Tsunami Bomb members Emily Whitehurst and Matthew Mckenzie, The Lucky Stiffs, and The Excuse.

More music
Can you feel that blues train a-coming? Don't worry, it's just the Jerome Washington Express rolling into Cayucos for a return engagement at the Old Cayucos Tavern for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. The trio rips through a variety of blues idioms beginning around 9 p.m.

Mismaluna presents Victor Martinez and Oaxaca Vital, which will bring contemporary Oaxacan music (rooted in the folk rhythms and traditions of southern Mexico) to the Clark Center on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 489-9444.

Jazz ensemble The Pat Cormick Group is bringing L.A.-based flutist and vocalist Libbie Jo Snyder to the area for a couple gigs this month. They'll play on Sunday, Sept. 2, and Friday, Sept. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at a brand new venue: It's A Grind Coffee House, located at 1506 Froom Ranch Way in SLO, in the Home Depot shopping center. Call 269-0230 for info.

On Thursday, Sept. 6, Norwegian concert pianist Knut Erik Jensen will present an evening of Grieg's life and music, combining a piano recital with spoken words, at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church. A suggested donation of $15 ($10 for students and children) is requested. A hundred years after his death, Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) remains Norway's most beloved composer, having drawn inspiration from the folk music of his day. Born in Hell (!), Norway, Knut Erik is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music in Trondheim.

Music news
For those of you keeping track of such things, L.A.-based performer Justin Hopkins won the third elimination round in the summer-long Winery Music Awards competition among independent, original music artists. Hopkins automatically advances to the final competition to be held on Sunday, Oct. 7, at the outdoor amphitheatre at River Oak Hot Springs and Spa in Paso Robles.

Singer-songwriter Shannon Curtis (also from L.A.) won the June round while the July round went to SLO rockers Dominic Castillo and the Rock Savants. Two wild card performers currently Amber Norgaard of Tucson, Ariz., and Debra Arlyn of Portland, Ore. will also have a chance to compete in the final.

The last group before the finals will compete on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Paso Robles' Silver Horse Winery. Artists include Fair Trade from Sacramento, Paper Tiger from San Francisco, Vanessa Van Spall from San Francisco, Holiday and The Adventure Pop Collection from San Diego, and Jane Bolduc from Los Angeles.

Artist performances are judged on originality, musicianship, and marketability to the prime wine-consuming market (men and women aged 25 to 54). Tickets ($40) for any of the remaining rounds of the Winery Music Awards concerts are available by calling 1-800-838-3006.

 

CD Reviews

 

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators Keep Reachin' Up

With the recent release of Amy Winehouse's Motown-influenced bad girl album and the forthcoming arrival from deep-funk sensation Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, the sound of retrosoul is finally percolating up into the American spotlight. -

click to enlarge 20070829211250_l.jpg
# Funk and soul acts like the Bamboos (Australia) and the Poets of Rhythm (Germany) have been captivating the attentive ears of an international audience with their brand of old school soul, with little appreciation of our mainstream airwaves. You may never have considered Finland as the next location of soul superstardom, but one listen to the Soul Investigators, and you'll accept the fact that this Finnish outfit is sitting on loads of classic Motown and mid-'70s soul cassette tapes. Fronted by New Yorker Nicole Willis, who occupied the ranks of the Brand New Heavies and Dee-Lite, the bite of Keep Reachin' Up is immediate. Opening with a disco-tinged groover "Feeling Free," the Soul Investigators continue forth with orchestra arrangements reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield's middle period. A perfect soul revivalism album.

Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."

 

 



Tiny Vipers Hands Across the Void

An acoustical project of Seattle singer/songwriter Jesy Fortino, Hands Across the Void collects seven acoustically quiet and darkly dreamy songs crafted with the simplest tools. With very

click to enlarge 20070829211839_l.jpg
# little besides the strum of a guitar and the occasional addition of atmospheric texture, Tiny Vipers is built for campfire surroundings. With a voice that hesitates with the singing enunciation of Joanna Newsom, Fortino powers her records with raw vocalized harmonies that are as sparsely haunting as a walk through an abandoned house that's been re-occupied by nature. A sense of edge arrives halfway through the album with "Forest on Fire," as it crescendos from a few lazily plucked guitar notes into a wash of brash reverb distortion that ends just before your nerves are wrecked. But past this, everything is sparse in arrangements and easy to sink into. If you prefer your folk music with a slightly darker edge, this is an adventure waiting for you. ?

Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."


Glen Starkey likes your crooked little smile. Tell him about how your parents spent a fortune on braces at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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