Haster Gathers a Storm of Alt-Rock Potential

Categories: local bands

By: Rachael Mattice

Bad weather is rarely something we have to deal with in sun-laden OC. But after getting stuck in the middle of a severe downpour on a drive to San Diego, Huntington Beach native David Heida knew "Haster"--meaning a violent rainstorm--would be a perfect name for his budding alternative rock Orange County band.

"The storm came out of nowhere, and I immediately knew it was the band name," Heida said. "It seemed like fate."

Adding the letter "H" in front of the "Dexter" television show character name "Aster," lead guitarist Heida and drummer Brian Tew couldn't let their favoritism for the name go when they decided to form a band in early 2010. After jamming with different musicians for six months while completing nine songs, Tew and Heida met vocalist Jarrett Stockmar and quickly went into the studio to record Haster's first EP Searching. The final lineup was set in stone, however, in 2013 adding guitarist Patrick Nolan and Bob McCool on bass.

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Chicano Batman Love the Challenge of "Latin Psych Soul"

Jessica Augustine
Chicano Batman
When new, exceptionally talented bands without a previously categorized sound come out, writers all over from Pitchfork to regional publications tend to throw any label at them that will stick, from "coldwave" to "afro-indie." The taxonomy behind music is something journalists and writers spend countless hours hammering away at, but when a band like southern California's Chicano Batman arises, Rialto-raised guitarist Carlos Arevalo has inadvertently discovered the best way to describe his group's relentlessly eclectic sound: a Venn diagram.

"If there was a Venn diagram with Latin and psychedelic soul, that middle ground is where we'd exist," he says.

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OCMA Showcase, Night 2 - The District - January 14, 2014

Categories: local bands

Bridget Arias
Annie McQueen
OCMA Showcase, Night 2
The District

Last night, the OC Music Award's showcase series came to its annual Folk/Americana chapter on the breezy outdoor stage of the District in Tustin. Historically one of the more mellow shows in the series, it would've been easy to prep for a low key night of sipping coffee, and watching stool-sitting singer songwriters while trying to avoid freezing your butt off. Thankfully, not only were most of the acts plenty fired up, the weather wasn't even cold at all!

The lineup for Tuesdays showcase included The Hicks Canyon Band, David and Olivia, Annie McQueen, Live Oak Revue, and Me and the City.

[Full disclosure: I'm one of the judges for the showcases that will select a winner to move on to the OCMA Live Showase finals, so this is more of a recap than a critical review]

See also: OCMA Showcase, Night 1 - Yost Theater - January 7, 2014

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Wink Musselman:Long Beach's Debonair Lounge Legend Returns

Wink Musselman holding the press at arm's length.

Back in the '90s and early '00s, there was no question who the star performer was in Long Beach. Wink Musselman, lounge singer extraordinaire, would definitely be the first to confirm that he, Wink Musselman, was--correction--IS the star wherever he goes.

He's a little Oscar Wilde, a tad Engelbert Humperdink, a smidge Gary Coleman of 'Different Strokes.' But know this: Wink Musselman is all fabulousness.

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Audacity Are Scrappy, Loud, And Not Quite as "Weird" as They Think

Categories: local bands

Bryan Crowe
Kyle Gibson says the word weird a lot. The Audacity guitarist/vocalist uses it at least 10 times in our conversation, mostly in referrence to his band's aesthetic choices, especially the music they started playing as kids around the age of 11.

"We were learning how to play together; [our band] didn't really resemble anything close to normal music," Gibson says. "It was like shitty little-kid symphonies, with never-repeating parts and no real choruses or verses--just a bunch of different parts thrown together. I mean, we listened to Blink-182 and Green Day back then and still do. But it wasn't exactly a little kid pop-punk band. It was much more deranged and nonsensical."

Technically, they weren't Audacity then. Sometime in 2001, while Gibson and guitarist/vocalist Matt Schmalfeld were in sixth grade, they formed a group with some now ex-members, calling themselves Non-Toxic. That Fullerton-rooted outfit would evolve into the Plaid, the Attachments, the Audacity and, now, officially, just Audacity. "It was always the same band," Gibson says. "It was just [us] going through different shitty names until we got stuck with the current shitty name."

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Burger Records' Caravan of Stars Rolls Deep In a Nursing Home Shuttle Bus

Categories: local bands

Photo: Steele O'Neal
Gap Dream's Gabe Fulvimar
By: Harley Oliver Brown
Gap Dream's Gabe Fulvimar has had a surreal couple of years. Last December, he emailed a sample of his lo-fi glam pop to Fullerton, California's DIY visionaries Burger Records, who offered to put out his self-titled debut on cassette; after his song "58th St. Fingers" was featured on Pitchfork, "shit hit the fan" and he moved halfway across the country from Cleveland to live in a storage space at Burger's warehouse, which includes the label's record store and office space. "It's a very odd thing to make music for a long time where no one knows who you are, except for your buddies and people who think it's a joke, and suddenly people are interested in it," he tells me over the phone from a gas station somewhere between Portland, OR, and Salt Lake City. "I'm trying not to let it freak me out," he says, even when some female fans drew a picture of his face and posted it to Twitter. "I never thought that would happen."

See also: The Burger Records Guys Are Opening a Store Full of Vinyl and Cassettes. In This Economy?

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Ruby Castellanos Experiences the Healing Power of Trova

Categories: local bands

When Ruby Castellanos' older sister, already suffering from diabetes, suddenly died of a heart attack at the tender age of 13, it set the singer on a path toward music as medicine. In the wake of the tragedy, her mother, by then a single parent, decided to quit her factory job of 15 years and the long work commutes from Riverside to Newport Beach in order to spend more time with her children. That meant selling off the family home and traveling through Mexico. "When all this happened, it was a big eye-opener on how fragile life is," Castellanos says. "My mother didn't even hesitate in selling everything and going off and buying a motor home."

The Santa Ana-based singer was around 10 years old when her mother took the family on a two-year vagabond journey through Mexico, finally settling in Aculco, a provincial town a few hours away from the nation's capital. Music was deeply woven into the social fabric of the small, colonial locale. It wasn't long before Castellanos wanted to learn how to play instruments herself.

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The Colourist Are Stamping Their Passport to Rockstardom at Coachella

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Communication between band members is one of the most important yet often-overlooked aspects of being in a band. Just ask the Colourist's Adam Castilla and Maya Tuttle. Their previous outfit, Paper Thin Walls, won a contest to play at a Led Zeppelin after-party in London in 2007. It sounded great in theory, but when Tuttle forgot to inform the band she entered them in the contest, it caused some minor problems closer to the date.

"We found out about the Led Zeppelin show a week before it happened," singer/guitarist Castilla recalls. "I didn't have a passport, so I had to get one in literally 24 hours and it cost $500. If nothing else, when we formed this band, we made sure everyone had a passport ready to go."

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Bettman and Halpin Turn Folk Into Fine Art

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To the high-class culture hounds of OC, the Soka Performing Arts center is typically synonymous with suit-wearing symphonies, renowned jazz giants and cultural dance troupes. But duo Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin don't fall under any of those categories. In fact, their folk/Americana sound and spirit already make them an anomaly of the venue's concert schedule when they hit the stage on on April 11. But trust us when we tell you that their show will allow even the stuffiest classical buffs to walk away accepting the fiddle and mandolin as instruments of fine art.

Known by their fans as simply Bettman and Halpin, the two had a  vision to utilize their long list of musical talents to create a solid, historical sound throughout the years. On paper, Battman and Halpin are the quintessential opposites: Stephanie is classically trained in opera, violin and voice, and studied at the Oberlin Conservatory. She's also a former aerialist. Luke is self-taught - at the age of 8, his dad handed him a mandolin and a Mel Bay book and said "learn how to play, you're in my band." Despite their differences, once they met they became inseparable.

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Five Indie Breakout Bands from SoCal Worth Following in 2013

he met her.jpg
Jena Ardell
He Met Her

Five bands worth following this year.

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