Kirk Hofsetter Is the Weird Secret Ingredient in Porkchops and Applesauce

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Shawn Belmont
The bass-drums duo Porkchops and Applesauce strips punk rock down to its essence: playing whatever you want whenever you want to play it, owning it the whole time without apology. For the sound and attitude, the Minutemen come to mind, but this band's sound is even more minimal--quirky but visceral, weird and varied enough to captivate an audience the whole set through.

On lead bass we have Kirk Hofstetter, hailing from Fullerton. Playing the part of Applesauce is whomever he's jamming with on drums, which may change nightly. Hofstetter says he has been through 40 drummers since forming the band in 2005. In fact, he prefers when drummers have minimal familiarity with his material, finding comfort in musical strangeness, thriving on the energy that results from a first-time musical hook-up.

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Build A Machine's Reggae-Rock Brings Boston to the Beach

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Courtesy of Build A Machine
In OC, reggae-rock trio Build A Machine are known as "the Boston boys." In New England, Mike Serra, Tom McCarthy and Tyler Saraca comprise "that band from Cali." Either way, the Huntington Beach-based group is releasing their debut EP, The Desert Sessions, today and they believe it's sound is strung enough to pacify both coasts.

"We really wanted to put out a serious album, not just throw it out there like 'Here it is.' That's why we only did a six-song EP instead of a full album. Every song is different and special," says McCarthy, Build A Machine's bassist and singer. "It's a rockier, funkier reggae with a lot going on. It's a very complex sound. There are a lot of harmonies, but there are also hip-hop beats going on. It's a little bit of everything."


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Stick to Your Guns Reminds Outsiders Not to Fuck With OC

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Jonathan Wiener
Stick to Your Guns
Stick to Your Guns singer Jesse Barnett will always take delight in demolishing people's false perceptions of Orange County. He finds that crowds in other cities sometimes need to be reminded that a land of sunny beaches, Botox and Disneyland is not reality for a band of surly hardcore veterans who are fully capable of ripping your face off.

"There are misconceptions about bands from OC; people think we're all stuck-up, that there's not enough street cred out here or whatever, but it's all bullshit," he says.

Of course, there are rough neighborhoods here, just as in any other area of Southern California, and back in the day, for the hardcore punk scene, it got crazy. "Even Roger Miret from the band Agnostic Front attested to how nuts the OC punk scene was in its heyday," Barnett says. "If you don't know anyone from OC or have never been here, then your only window is the media's version."

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Half Goon Terrorize the Local Hardcore Scene

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Alix Johnson
Half Goon
By: Candace Hansen

Half Goon are a weird, hardcore hybrid that's tough to put your finger on. Sporting a more visceral sound than most bands coming out of Long Beach or OC lately, the fiery four piece have been tearing shit up since playing their first 15-minute set at Alex's Bar in August of 2013.

The band started out with bassist Erik Varho and drummer Colin Knight "jamming on some weirdo heavy noisy stuff because that's what we figured out we actually enjoyed playing" says Varho. Zach Willett came in shortly after, bringing his one of a kind grating-spaced-out guitar tone, solidifying their sound. The three wrote "TERRORIZER" as an instrumental before asking vocalist Adam Sepulveda to join. "We wanted him because he was one of our best friends from high school and [we] had a feeling he could go really wild. We didn't have a PA when we would practice so we pretty much had no idea what Adam sounded like or was saying until he recorded vocals for the first EP."


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Evan Stone's Psych-Jazz Circus

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Ernestine Lona
Evan Stone
Going to a Translucent Ham Sandwich Band show is akin to watching a miniature Burning Man unfold in your living room. The wildly improvisational outfit have filled stages with an uncountable lot of avant jazzers, acrobats, dancers, poets and freaks. The carnival of sounds and arty showmanship threads through psychedelic rock, jazz and any other genre that opens itself up to the moment. But drummer Evan Stone is always the guiding light for the prismatic jam band. With his cast of characters huddled around him, he remains zen, even as his arms flail and pound while sporting a dragon kimono get-up or some strange hat dug out of the closet. And after years of having the catchiest name in the OC music scene, the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band celebrate the long-awaited arrival of their official debut album at Diego's Downtown in Santa Ana on Thursday, Feb. 26.

The release party for Music From the Future will be one of the last events at the venue before it closes its doors because of a change in ownership. "It's going to be kind of a free-for-all," says Stone. "[The closing is] a little bittersweet, but there's such a good vibe there. We're even more motivated to make the album-release party a special one, and I have a feeling it's going to be a magical night. People have a hard time listening with their ears, so our live shows are meant to stimulate as many senses as possible."


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OKT's Brand of Reggae is All Over the (Ouija) Board

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Aryn L. Berg
By: David Garcia
Getting drunk and having fun with a Ouija board is often the gateway to a good time. In the case of OKT, it was the start of a band. "Some genius told us to try it out and ask it what the band's name should be," recalls vocalist Phil Montano. "We got as far as OKT before freaking out, so we just stuck with it."

Though they've given up on communicating with spirits since then, their formation has led to some spirited music in the OC reggae scene. OKT are a four-piece with a sound that's just as diverse as their home city of Anaheim. They aim to break the mold of what is considered reggae-rock with their psychedelic/punk/rockabilly/ska/soul style, drawing their musical influences from Jimi Hendrix, Sublime, Blink-182, Otis Redding, Slightly Stoopid, Korn, Lamb of God and the Wu-Tang Clan, among others. Formed in a garage by Aram Gonzalez and Jesse Gonzales (a.k.a. Jesucio) at the age of 12, OKT were "just a couple of mocosos [boogers or delinquents] making noise in the garage," says Montano. "Aram started on drums and Jesse on guitar before switching roles when they were in high school."

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StillWater Fights to Keep Live Music in Dana Point

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Courtesy StillWater
StillWater stage
When Damien Collins bought the building that would become StillWater Spirits and Sounds in 2012, he decided to turn the historic '20s building into a prohibition inspired bar. With black and white imagery, hay-hook lights and a forever evolving menu it became one of Dana Point's well known hot spots--and most notably, a mecca for live music and entertainment.

Sitting near the corner of Del Prado Ave. and Golden Lantern St., the venue hosts charity events for Surfer's Healing, Surfrider Fountain and The 5th Marine Regiment. They play an instrumental role in the music community, holding concerts for Los Rios Rock School, Danman's Music School and Kenny's Music Store with over 800 students cumulatively. StillWater is enjoyed by local musicians and music lovers alike. Last April the Dana Point Historical Society nominated StillWater to receive the Historical/Cultural Preservation Award from the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. Yet on June 25th, 2014 when Collins contacted the district administrator for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) with a request to modify the conditions of operation, he didn't know he would be putting live music as well as the fate of his employees and business in jeopardy.


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Shoos Off Overcame Tragedy and Prepare to Kick Out a New Album

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Melissa Espiritu
After a bad breakup with his first band, Patrick Killeen thought his second outfit, Yogurt Brown, were poised for success. Formed with a few friends, Yogurt Brown had an EP and played a packed show. But just as the band was beginning to pick up steam, Killeen's father passed away, devastating him.

Unable to commit to making music after his loss, Killeen quit the band. He then decided to give standup comedy a try as a creative outlet.

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Nuclear Comics Still Caters to Today's Comic Book Fan

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Kenny Jacobs
Nuclear Comics in all its glory
At 24 years old, OC native Kenny Jacobs acquired a small business loan, enabling him to buy the barebones of a local comic shop. It hasn't been an easy journey, selling comics over the last two decades. The first year and a half that he owned the store, he worked at Trader Joes and when the economy crashed in 2009 he began working there again to keep the store alive. Despite the ups and downs, Jacobs still lives and breathes comics. Feel like having a stimulating conversation about characters, plot and art? Jacobs is the man to see.

On Dec. 1, Nuclear Comics in Laguna Hills officially celebrated 20 years in business. In honor of the shops big birthday, Jacobs talks with us about the resurgence of OC comic book lover's in the last decade and what makes a good comic preparing us for Wonder Con, coming to Anaheim in April.

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Adam Lasher: OC's Dark Horse on American Idol

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Jackson Belcher
Adam Lasher is a contestant on this year's 14th annual American Idol series hosted by the infamous Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. He began playing piano at 5 but it wasn't until he picked up the guitar in 6th grade that his love for music flourished. Lasher taught himself to sing in high school- it was a slow a painful process he notes. For college he attended Berkelee School of Music in Boston studying guitar, music theory and most notably meeting the future Adam Lasher Band. There's no question that his appeal is wrapped in a combo of talent, gumption and good genes (did we mention Carlos Santana is his Uncle?).

For the last 5 years he's lived throughout Orange County and LA playing a hybrid of rock, latin and jazzy blues at Tommy Bahama, The Cliff and Mozambique. You might have also caught him playing at last year's Decadence event for the Weekly. The humorous singer/songwriter has over 20 songs on iTunes with another album slated for release in 2015. Tune into American Idol, January 22nd, and become entranced with his performing of Rhianna's "Stay."

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