Wordsmith Mark Gonzales Asks Us to Wage Beauty Amid Terror in New Book

Categories: books, interview

Mark Gonzales, chief storyteller
A better world begins with a better story for Mark Gonzales. The acclaimed poet, teacher, and writer has traveled the globe's five continents over the years witnessing the trauma of displacement and the human spirit of survival that defies against all odds. These experiences are folded into the pages of his new book In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty. Gonzales finely crafts prose that reads like a manifesto for the wounded warriors of the world. An elder in the making, he subversively sculpts ideas that ask us to consider anew what we thought we knew about power, language, values and healing on both an individual level as well as a collective one inherited through generations.

Gonzales recently returned to Riverside City College where he attended as a non-traditional student in his late 20s. The campus brought him back, this time as a closing keynote, to talk with youth from different community colleges about leadership. He expanded on the thoughts of his new book with the Weekly before taking the stage.

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Matt Skiba's in Another Band, But It's a Sekret

Courtesy of Matt Skiba

It'd be totally understandable if Matt Skiba wanted to take on a side project to give himself a breather from his decades of singing, writing, and playing guitar for Alkaline Trio, but that's not what he's doing this time around.

If you ask the frontman, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets are here to stay, and their new album certainly doesn't sound like a side project. Kuts sounds like an album of yesteryear, more similar to a record out of the '80s than something out of the iTunes digital download era.

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Dustin Kensrue's Solo Career Finally Comes Into Focus

Categories: interview

Myriam Santos

As Dustin Kensrue sips his coffee in a small Santa Ana cafe, he might not be the same young man he was over 13 years ago when his voice began to win over fans and critics alike on Thrice's second album, Illusion of Safety, but one thing's remained consistent. He's always kept his music true to his own life.

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Morgan Delt Proves That Good Underground Music is Ageless

Categories: interview

For most of his life, Morgan Delt has been quietly making music. Unlike others, Delt has rarely let what's created out for the masses to hear. In 2013, he released Psychedelic Death Hole on cassette before the formal release in 2014 via Trouble In Mind, and the sound is exactly as kaleidoscopic and hazy as one would expect. He also caught the attention of fellow psych rockers the Flaming Lips who brought him on tour and to record with them.

"It was scary getting up in front of so many people," he recalls. "Our first show with them was like our sixth show ever."

Since then, he's signed to Sub Pop and is working on a follow-up album. But first, Delt has a few live shows upcoming, like at the Observatory this weekend for the Indigo Music Fest. We caught up with him to hear about his new album, Sub Pop and why he enjoys working as a one-man wolfpack.

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Jhené Aiko Isn't Letting Grammy Nods Go to To Her Head

Categories: interview

Over the past year, Jhené Aiko moved from a local PBR&B favorite to headlining her own tour with appearances at major festivals in prime slots. The 26-year-old has been around music for a while, with her first opportunity to release music coming when she was just 15. Since then, she's gone through many ups and downs, including the death of her brother several years ago. But she says the journey was a part of allowing her to grow.

"It's about what you experience that make you more colorful and I take everything as being a good thing for me, even the tragedies," she explains before a show in the Bay Area. "When something bad happens, I always know something good is around the corner and I don't think that anyone deals with anything they can't handle in the grand scheme of things."

Though we saw her earlier this year at Coachella and at a pop up show at a medical marijuana dispensary in L.A., Aiko is more excited about her local shows. Before playing the Observatory tonight, we caught up with the singer where we discussed her first L.A. show, her feelings about her Grammy nods and what the immediate future has in-store for her.

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Speaking to The Voice Behind vōx

Ax + Apple.
Vōx (pronounced wohks, and usually spelled all lowercase) is the new moniker of Los Angeles-based musician Sarah Winters, who possesses the vocal inflections of Imogen Heap with the quiet forcefulness of Lorde--minus the pseudo pop-goth vibe. Winters caught the internet's ear with her melodic covers of Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love."

"I've always felt like my music speaks for itself," Winters told us. "Either that, or it's the curse of a musician and you never really know how to sell yourself."

Winters must have been doing something right because her talent caught the ear of Yoni Wolf, the lead singer of Why?, which led to a year-long international tour with the band as their keyboardist and opening act.

Here's what the 23-year-old musician divulged about her forthcoming debut EP, Put The Poison In Me, and her mesmerizing NSFW music video for the EP's lead track, "Better".

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The Icarus Line Rise Again With One Hell of An Album

Aric Lorton
The Icarus Line
When we talk about the dividing line between music and art, The Icarus Line's 2013 full-length Slave Vows and this year's follow-up Avowed Slavery are most definitely in the latter category. That said, these records ain't meant to be hoisted on a wall because the songs are present, immediate, primal and important.

And why shouldn't they be? Since 1998, the Los Angeles group has been creating a harmonious cacophony that would make Iggy and Nick Cave proud. You'd think being placed into that sort of rock royalty would render The Icarus Line a household name, but it hasn't. Instead, the band -- led by singer Joe Cardamone and featuring bassist Alvin DeGuzman, drummer Ben Hallett, keyboardist/saxophonist Jeremy Gill and guitarist John Bennett -- have been presumed dead by many since 2004's Penance Soiree, which might explain why Slave Vows sounds like a group with its back to the wall, swinging, not going down without a fight.

Slave Vows is a challenge, an artistic peak for a group uncomfortable with familiarity. You might love it or you might hate it, but you'll definitely have an opinion. And that's what makes for great art.

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How Dorian Wood Became a Frenzied, Soul Folk Preacher

Categories: interview

Zoe-Ruth Erwin
Dorian Wood dust!
Described as a purveyor the dark, hybrid sounds of Soul Folk, Dorian Wood began experimenting with his haunting, pulsating concoction making the rounds performing at queer bars in Los Angeles. Before that, the Tico-Nico, born to Costa Rican and Nicaraguan parents, refined his music studies by going to Conservatorio de Castella in Costa Rica.

The traveling singer-songwriter is coming to OC for the first time fresh off a European tour. Wood's latest EP Down, The Dirty Roof released in September follows last year's inimitable full-length Rattle Rattle. His voice remains boisterous, charismatic and soulful as evidenced on the title track. A true tour de force, Wood's daring, rapturous arrangements are an experience to behold.

He's set to play the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (OCCCA) alongside French Blues singing phenom Edith Crash this Saturday, but the Weekly caught up with him to ask about his transformation from shy choir kid to frenzied Soul Folk preacher.

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Peter Hook's Tribute to Joy Division Trumps His Beef With New Order

Categories: interview

Daniel Kohn
For the better part of the past decade, Peter Hook and his former bandmates in New Order have been at each other's throats over the details of the bassist's departure. In between arguments, both sides have been on the road, albeit in different forms.

Since 2010, Hook and his band, The Light, started playing Joy Division material to pay tribute to the 30th anniversary since the band's demise after singer Ian Curtis' death. Those performances gave fans a chance to hear classic Joy Division material live by one of its members for the first time since then. At his shows, the bassist tapped into the itch for nostalgia by playing the Manchester band's two albums in their entirety. On his current run, Hook has taken that a step further by including several of New Order's biggest albums. Estranged from his former band, Hook isn't afraid to take a jab at his long time collaborators. Before he played a show in Chicago that saw Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder of Smashing Pumpkins join Hook for "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and ahead of his upcoming show at the Glass House next Monday, we spoke to the bassist about his current tour, his on-going feud with Bernard Sumner and the odds of a New Order reunion.

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Meet Skittles, the Master of Gloving

Courtesy of Plurlife.com
Davis Duong aka Skittles at the first IGC
Originating in the early rave days, the first well known instance of gloving could be credited to Hermes who put 10 Rav'n lights into a pair of white gloves. Few could've guessed that the simple act of making his fingers dance in the darkness would be the beginning of an entire scene in today's EDM culture. Today, companies like EmazingLights sell millions of gloves, orbits, poi and other light show related items in a plethora of colors with much more advanced variations and modes. Aside from bringing gloving in the hands of consumers, Brian Lim (EmazingLight's CEO) and his company are pioneering the gloving movement into the skillful expression of art and dance that it is becoming today.

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