Blue Eyed Lucy's Rock Rolls In Many Different Directions

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Brenda Whitehill
As the four members of Blue Eyed Lucy crowd around a hightop at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, a reggae band sets up onstage. Not only is it Taco Tuesday, but it's also Reggae Night, and despite the middle-aged ensemble not being ready to go on at 9 p.m. sharp, the volume in the bar has already been cranked up.

The band members can hardly hear one another, but that doesn't matter, as they laugh and riff off whatever fragments of sentences they can pick up. "We're actually releasing an EP right here at the Wayfarer on July 23," says Blue Eyed Lucy's singer/guitarist, Armand Lance. "It's the first studio release we've ever done. We're releasing a full-length afterward, but the EP is made up of some older songs that didn't fit. It's a more rootsy, old-school rock & roll sound that we're kind of growing away from, but we still wanted to show it respect."


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Cecy B Is An OC Rapper By Way of South Beach

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Francis Bertrand
The West Coast rap scene wasn't ready for Cecy B. The San Juan Capistrano native born Cecilia Barajas had a tough time getting her peers to take her seriously as she transitioned from a young mariachi singer and ballet folkloric dancer to a buxom OC hip-hop artist eight years ago. Promoters in Los Angeles would often dismiss the Chicana rapper, saying that they'd only call when a female showcase night came about. "This is a really hard industry, especially being a Mexican, being a female, [with them] being like, 'Oh, you're from Orange County? What do you know about hip-hop?'" she says.

But Cecy B never let any of that get in the way of her dreams. Though she's now based in Miami, she never shies away from her OC upbringing and is ready to return home to Santa Ana to celebrate the release of a triumphant debut album that's been a long time coming.
Networking with a new management company and producer, the rapper decided to leave Southern California two and a half years ago. "I just started feeling brand-new. I recorded 'Mexico' here in Miami with a Puerto Rican producer and my manager is from Chile; they were the ones screaming, 'Mexico!'" Cecy B says of her breakthrough brown-pride anthem. "I came all the way to Miami to do a Mexico song and get Lil Rob on it!" she adds with a chuckle.

See also: Rapper Cecy B's Hard Werk Pays Off


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The Trajectory of Tyrone Wells

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Ryan Longnecker
By: Christine Terrisse
"I just dropped my wife off this morning at the airport because we were at the White House, we were invited by the Head of Air Force Operations there and we got to eat lunch in the West Wing ...that was a very surreal experience, really cool," says Tyrone Wells. He is speaking over the phone while on the East coast leg of his "Roll With It" tour.

A quick glance at his Instagram and yes, there he is at the White House, posing with the first dogs. His name is even printed on the lunch menu. It's a long way from the coffee shop gigs where he first honed his craft.

Coming of age in the early naughts in North Orange County, you might have witnessed a vibrant singer-songwriter scene bursting out of downtown Fullerton cafes like The Hub, Plush and McClain's. In the heady haze of nostalgia, those years seem magical. It was a time when live music dominated Harbor Blvd. and when one could still enter The Back Alley through, well...the back alley.


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NoMBe's "California Girls" Is Inspired By Crazy Chic's Like You

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By: Bukunmi Grace
Noah McBeth (NoMBe)
Until now The Beach Boys and Katy Perry have had the last word when it comes to catchy hooks about the cutest girls in the world (not to toot my own horn). But when NoMBe, also known as Noah McBeth, released his single "California Girls" his lyrics exposed the wild side to the lovers of the sunshine, amiss beats worthy of navigating throughout your eardrums. The track begins like any summer fling, effortless and steamy before the tempo picks up and shit hits the fan. As McBeth chants "take it off" the story has unraveled to be the tale of a girl addicted to a lifestyle that will never sustain her. We talked to McBeth (born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany) about what sustains him and his journey with music that has landed him in Southern, California with a viral track-- soon to reach 1 million plays on Spotify alone. Stay tuned for his EP Mood Indigo slated for release later this year.

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Dustin Lovelis Courts a New Sound After The Fling

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Ward Robinson
Dustin Lovelis
By: Jessie Schiewe

When the Long Beach quintet, The Fling, took a hiatus in 2013, front man Dustin Lovelis kept working. He penned songs and produced demos. In time, he met producer and bassist for Everest, Elijah Thomson, and they began working on a record. Composer and session man, Frank Lenz, was added to the mix and then a session at Elliott Smith's former home, New Monkey Studios, was booked. Two days later, an album was born.

On a recent Saturday night, Lovelis' premiered the project, Dimensions, at the downtown Long Beach event space, Howl. Over a hundred people arrived at the BYOB event to hear the vintage-sounding guitarsmith's debut solo album of raw and honest pop ballads. "This is my first effort to do something on my own," says Lovelis. "And I think it's the most me out of anything I've ever released.


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The Great and Powerful Big Oz: Irvine's Afghan Rapper Delivers Battle-Tested Rhymes

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Fahim Farand

It didn't take long for Omar Azizi to establish himself as the biggest presence in a room. He easily outweighed his fellow newborns in a LA hospital nursery, tipping the scales at 12 pounds.

Twenty-eight years later, the Irvine rapper known as "Big Oz" towers onstage, thanks to an imposing 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame. The Afghan-American rapper now stands poised with outsized ambitions to chart a continental reach with his rhymes.

But Azizi's pathway hasn't been without its obstacles. His father, who fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion, loves to sing and play accordion but didn't want his son to live a musician's life. He raised Azizi to be cultured while priming him for a future in politics.

"As a kid, I wrote a lot of poetry," 
Azizi says.


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Tyranis Makes Thrash That Will Melt Your Face and Explode Your Balls

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Courtesy of Tyranis
We first hung with Tyranis outside their practice space in Orange in 2002, swilling beers in the back of guitarist Adam Duncan's sweet El Camino. Thirteen years later, the guys are still griming up the SoCal club scene with their brand of classic thrash. We learned then that with Tyranis, nobody tells it better than they do. So we just let drummer Adam Capilouto preach the metal gospel for a bit--while taking furious notes.


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Carl St. Clair is the People's Conductor

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Pacific Symphony
Carl St.Clair giving conducting lesson at Symphony in the Cities
We all know what a typical night at the symphony is supposed to look like. A dark house full of fancy people dressed to the nines staring at an illuminated stage that's filled with virtuosic musicians clamoring and soloing away. You might even imagine the conductor looking something like Carl St. Clair, an older white man with longish silver hair tussling around as his hand, holding a thin baton, darts feverishly. It's an age-old slice of musical culture and class that many people can identify, but few people below the upper crust of society are actually privy to.

With the exception of student performances, orchestral concerts are usually more within the domain of people with fat wallets. However, on the occasion of St. Clair's 25th anniversary as the music director of the Pacific Symphony, the organization is celebrating with a series of free and low-cost concerts throughout Orange County. Called "Freshly Squeezed Music: Pacific Symphony In Your Orange County Neighborhood," the program is fueled by the conductor's goal "to really instill into the mindset of Orange County that Pacific Symphony is a treasured ensemble that should be protected and nurtured, as well as enjoyed and respected."

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Tartar Control's Drummer is a Robot. He's Also Kind of a Dick.

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Patty Courtland Photography
There's a website called DrumJokes.com devoted to nothing but slagging skinsmen; many punch lines deal with drummers' inability to keep time, their penchant for sleeping with other band mates' partners and not knowing how to read sheet music. These jokes are funny because they're kind of true, which might explain why punk duo Tartar Control doesn't have a drummer. Instead, they have a robot. And its name is Robot.

Using sampled drums since their inception six years ago might lead you to praise singer Robert Selander and guitarist/singer Sean Hart as the smartest musicians ever. However, similar to other drummers, Robot can talk, and it turns out he's kind of a dick. So much so that he stormed out of a recent phone interview after becoming upset when I asked what he did in his spare time. "I get more puss than an animal shelter. I can't help it. I have a magnetic personality--literally."

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Snakebit Drifters Baptize Crowds With Gin From a Gasoline Cannister

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Courtesyof Snakebit Drifters
Poker, alcohol and music. These aren't just the things Costa Mesa's Snakebit Drifters enjoy, but are also why they came together in the first place. In the midst of a long, fuzzy night drinking, Tim Willis, who had recently moved to OC from Hawaii and was desperately searching for band mates, finally had the stroke of luck he needed. Kevin Yoches, a musician who had toiled in the local scene, happened to be at the same after-hours party in Newport Beach. Fueled by beer, Yoches, a drummer by trade, decided to pick up a loose guitar and strum chords. Willis, on his own accord, decided to freestyle vocals to those chords. A bond was instantly formed.

"I found what he was saying to be amusing, and I told him we should hang out a bit," Yoches says, as the band takes a break from practicing ahead of their show at Lido Live. "It actually took us a year to get together, but as soon as we did, we had 10 songs before we knew it."
However, they still needed a bass player. After posting an ad on Craigslist and many auditions later, they welcomed Robin San Jose and his upright bass. The three called themselves Snakebit Drifters, a moniker they came up with at 4 a.m. in a garage after a long night of playing poker.

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