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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Sound Spectrum Has Spent Almost 50 Years Waxing Nostalgic About Vinyl

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By: Taylor Morgan
Jim Otto + Wave of Sound Spectrum, Laguna Beach
When Jim Otto opened Sound Spectrum in 1967, it wasn't just to sell vinyl--he wanted to turn people onto the best music in the world. '67 was the year of the Monterey Pop Festival, a three-day event that preceded the iconic Woodstock. Otto still loves talking about watching The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Mamas & the Papas, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, and Janis Joplin perform. In fact, that experience was a huge inspiration for Otto to open his shop in the first place. Since then, the store has seen the music business evolve from records to tapes to CDs to digital down-loads. Though they've tried to keep up to these changes, customer interaction has always been Otto's driving force.

Sound Spectrum also has a proven track record with audiophiles in OC. Sound Spectrum was one of the first indie stores to report to Soundscan which compiles the national sales charts. They also report to KROQ fm and KSBR fm were for the last 25 years, Otto has broadcasted a radio program called the Reggae Showcase every Sunday from 3-6pm. It's also webcast at KSBR.org. We recently spoke to Otto and his long time friend and employee, Wave about how a small, local record store manages to withstand the continuing shift of the music industry.

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Clepto's Crazy Journey From Saudi Arabia to OC

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Chris Evans
Clepto
Mediterranean metal band Clepto aren't exactly from a typical OC burb. They joined forces in the hot deserts of Saudi Arabia in 2000, and since then, you might say we've adopted them. Any band that can survive 15 years of marathon tours, five-hour commutes to rehearsal and a near-fatal bus crash is all right by us.

Clepto's upcoming shows at the Doll Hut (their primary stomping grounds in the county) are a long way from the Middle Eastern country where the four members met. Playing music is frowned upon by Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist Islamic population, and even finding modern music to listen to was difficult.

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Red Undead Are Punk Rockers With a Pirate Mentality

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Delana Taylor-Martin
From left to right: Daniel Jun, Thomas Monroe, Mary Yanashima, Blake Martin
When Red Undead guitarist, Thomas Monroe, first met the band's lead singer, Mary Yanashima, he was leading a poetry group in Mission Viejo. A friend of Monroe's had tipped him off that there would be, as he put it, a real pirate coming to the circle that night. The said pirate turned out to be Yanashima, who left the poetry to the rest of the group and instead chose to unleash a fierce a capella cover of a Yeah Yeah Yeah's tune. At that moment Monroe knew he had stumbled upon his future front woman. The punk quartet unites to play Programme Skate and Sound in Fullerton on Thursday, March 12, in support of their debut, full-length album, Lost Hearts.

"She immediately had a great charisma about her, but I didn't really say anything that first time," Monroe says of his initial encounter with the petite, crimson haired vocalist. "She came back the next week, we bonded over Kirin Ichiban and she sang another song. I asked her if she was in a band and she wasn't -but definitely wanted to be."

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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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