DeeJaeeBee Baptizes OC With Neo-Soul

Categories: Spare Notes

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DaveAllen
A soulful crooner of immense talent, DeeJaeeBee delivers a musical rite of passage with his debut effort The Baptism. Throughout the album's offerings listeners are immersed in the sounds of Neo-Soul, a genre rare around Juice Town. DeeJaeeBee, who hails from the hip-hop group Locally Grown Collective, initiates OC with his baritone vocals, poetic rhymes, and reflective tales of love's travails.

The singer/rapper assembles a diverse crew of local producers for The Baptism including 4th Beats, Hands Uno, YoKartelli and others. On "Young Man, Old Soul," DeeJaeeBee strike a tone recalling the spirituals as he repeats the track's title over layered harmonizing. His Locally Grown Collective cohorts DaveAllen and Endz team up for the triumphant title track showcasing that DeeJaeeBee flosses proficient rhymes, too. "Love Fades Away" is another Neo-Soul standout beaming with the lessons of breakups that come in life. Towards the end of The Baptism, the realization of just how complete an album it is sets in. Sure, there are tracks that are stronger than others, but the entirety of the effort is a compelling achievement.


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Evan Stone and the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band Perfect the Poetry of Futuristic Funk

Categories: Spare Notes

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Ernestine Lona
How about an Evanescent BLT?
The Orange County-based music performance ensemble of Evan Stone and the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band is a kaleidoscope of creativity. About the only art form not incorporated into its broad experiment is painting though its surreal sounds bring the famed Salvador Dali's "I don't do drugs, I am drugs," quote to mind. Dancers, magicians, jugglers and other purveyors of entertainment get in on the act during live shows. But when the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band decided to assemble its debut album Music From the Future, those elements couldn't be captured on record. That doesn't mean the resulting effort is any less captivating or innovative.

Organized into Side 1 and Side 2, Music From the Future has 10 identifiable tracks--or perhaps the whole undertaking is one long form song? Audio collages serve as transitions as the Translucent Ham Sandwich crew serves up that nasty jam band funk with biting bass lines even cholos can dip to. There's no simple verse-chorus lyrics here, only poetic pontifications about politics and deliveries of the slam variety. Prog rock and the improvisational spirit of jazz is imbued throughout proving that the translucent ones are also transcendent.

The Weekly hammed it up about Music From the Future with drummer Evan Stone.

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DrewID of Speach Impediments Sets It Off on The 4th Letter

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Mavi 'Big Seek' Corral / GhosthouseFX
DrewID beholds the mic of gold
After making the city of Placentia recognize, DrewID of the rap group Speach Impediments is venturing off on his first solo effort. Don't fret, SI fans, the group is staying intact. DrewID, born Andrew Pasillas, is just giving hip-hop-heads some fresh cuts to vibe to in between albums. The Mexi/Irish mic controller enlists Goblinbeatz on The 4th Letter, gracing listeners with eight tracks. For the alphabetically challenged, the title refers to "D," as in DrewID, while bringing Rakim's The 18th Letter to mind.

The EP's first single, "Set it Off," does just that, with LD lacing the song with the illest scratches while Ariano adds his soulful crooning on the hooks. DrewID flexes his lyrically muscular rhyming, "And if you want beef/You can come get you some/All that talk is tofu/ Sweeter than some Cinnabons." Other tracks delve for depth, such as the self-reflective "Fork In the Road" and "It's a Shame."

With assists from Matrix and Abstract Rude, The 4th Letter is a bass-heavy, bump-worthy contribution to Juice County's growing hip-hop playlist prowess.

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Rapper Cecy B's Hard 'Werk' Pays Off

Categories: Spare Notes

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Francis Bertrand
We don't see Chicana femcees like Cecy B representing OC all too often. We'd have a lot more people paying attention to us if we did. With her endless swag, speedy flow and devastating sexy appeal, it's a wonder this former San Juan Capistrano resident wasn't discovered a whole lot earlier. But thanks to new management and a big break opportunity from the legendary radio personalities/producers the Baka Boyz, her latest trap happy single, "All I Do is Werk," is working its way onto FM airwaves from coast to coast.

Even after moving to Miami where she is preparing to blow up, Cecy B's OC roots remain steadfast (she's still got plenty of familia and fans here). On Cecy B's website, the hometown homegirl offers up her Hustle in Heels mixtape for free. The collection features Lil Rob on the brown pride anthem "Mexico." The video for the song got airplay on MTV3. The femcee is currently working on her new album hoping to drop this summer with live shows in the mix. We talked to Cecy B about her new song--which has an extremely hot video that deserves to be viewed again...and again...and again.

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Quique Cruz Is a West Coast Rapper With a New York State of Mind

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Ryan Spencer
Quique Cruz "El Terrible"
Ever wondered what a West Coast Nuyorican rapper sounds like? Look no further than Quique Cruz, whose latest Quique's Rebellion: El Terrible Strikes Back drops lyrical references to both the Santa Ana ghetto and Hell's Kitchen. Built on ample doses of battle rhymes and political manifestos, the 14-track collection displays the Puerto Rican MC's breadth of talent. A veteran of the OC hip-hop scene, Cruz's natty roots go way back to the days of rockin' Koo's Cafe with his Youth International Party crew. He has worked with the likes of LMNO, 2Mex and Mr. Brady. Cruz is a capable producer and drops his Earth Bound Sound brand of beats throughout the new album to prove it. On mic duties, his flow stays smooths in the cut.

Whether it's the political diatribe of "Can't Stop the Resistance" on the album or the storytelling vibes of "Born & Raised," Quique Cruz will have you joining his rebellion.

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The Songery Produces Way More Than Just 'Two Songs'

Categories: Spare Notes

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The Songery
You don't really expect much folksy, female singer-songwriter music to come out of Orange County, and you definitely don't expect that kind of music to float up the Copper Door's stairwell on a random night in the middle of the week. But, thanks to Whittier-based Aly McMahon, "The Songery" when she's performing on stage or in the studio, Downtown Santa Ana might as well have been New York's East Village last Wednesday, when McMahon took the stage at the Copper Door to serenade a modest crowd with her playful, stripped-down brand of piano-backed indie folk.

McMahon's been playing similar shows since October, when the freshly graduated 23-year-old finally recorded her demo, Two Songs a Day Keeps the Doctor a Way, a 13-song collection of raw and unpolished music that she wrote between the ages of 18 and 21. Even McMahon will admit that it was more parts practice and catharsis than magnum opus.

The record was partly recorded to give McMahon some studio experience and something for the merch tables at shows, but what resulted is a graceful collection of feathery, percussive vocals and fragile emotion -- uncanningly like early Regina Spektor. The album skips along at a merry pace, fueled by McMahon's coquettish, plodding vocals and deliberate keystrokes.

Her live performances add an entirely additional dimension to the music, as McMahon's playful banter, whether its based in excitement or maybe a little bit of nervousness, gently forces her audience to smile, or at least grin. Look for her to start showing up in more OC venues.

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¡Aparato! Opens Musical Doors to Other Worlds

Categories: Spare Notes

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Jessica GZ
Intergalactic Jarocho Rock Superstars!
For all the ¡Aparato! audionauts out there, the wait is finally over! The group that masterfully meshes traditional Mexican music with ethereal post-punk sounds returns from a studio somewhere in the galaxy with its self-titled debut album in hand. Anchored by the duo of accomplished musicians Cat Mendez and Alexandro Hernandez, ¡Aparato! sears through six tracks that transport listeners to outer realms. Hernandez summons effects-laden electric guitar melodies that intermingle with the strumming of jaranas while Mendez's voice is enchanting in its richness.

The band, which we named Best Latin Alternative last year, continues to find new ways to innovate. As the lore of ¡Aparato! has it, the name, which means "Machine," was inspired by a Cafe Tacvba song. Notable beat-maker/producer Eugene Toale reached out to them, learned the electronic programming Cafe Tacvba used in its early records and applied it to ¡Aparato!'s offerings!

Before ¡Aparato! beams down to the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (OCCCA) this Saturday, the Weekly caught up with them about their new music!

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Dodge Dart Are Still Punk as Fuck

Categories: Spare Notes

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Ali Corwin
Dodge Dart's Facebook page describes the Orange County quartet as a "very (sic) Handsome" group that writes "excellent songs!" While the former is subjective, the latter is evident on the 17 songs that comprise Lock Your Medicine Cabinet: It's Dodge Dart.

The record displays many traits of classic OC punk, which is to say it's filled with harmonies, three-chord tunes and songs that clock in at less than two minutes. There's even a cover of Simpletones' "Wanna Be Dead" that blends so effortlessly into the track listing you might think it's a Dodge Dart original.

Dodge Dart began in 1994 and has gone through more than 20 members with singer/guitarist Nicky Fidget as the only constant. The group's current lineup includes Fidget, drummer Tanner Parrott, bassist Chuk Dee and singer/guitarist Ef Davis. Lest anyone think Lock might suffer from a hodgepodge of musicians, think again. The foursome sounds so well-rehearsed you'd never know they weren't the original lineup. We caught up with Fidget recently to chat about the band's new record with a few tangents thrown in.

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Justin Abram's Unexpectedly Emotional Ride on 'Miles Away'

Categories: Spare Notes

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Jared Chambers
Justin Abrams wrote Miles Away with sense of passion he'd never experienced before. The eleven-song LP, available January 28, recounts the tumultuous relationship that took Abrams' songwriting career in a new direction. While the subject matter is familiar, the multi-instrumentalist asserts that writing a record full of love songs was an unexpected experience that changed him as an artist. After reuniting with longtime friend and producer Jim Wirt--whose resume includes work with Fiona Apple and Incubus--Abrams set out to record an album that he claims is his most sincere and heartfelt yet.

Abrams got his start at the age of fifteen, as a member of Nickelodeon-based act Drake 24/7. He moved on to form the indie act Beyond Conception with his brother and bass player, Matt Abrams. While he enjoyed the four-album run with his brother, he felt the time had come to branch out and go solo. At the beginning of his musical career, the Laguna Niguel native sparked a friendship with fellow Dana Hills High School alum Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin. The residual advice and mentorship from McMahon helped build his relationship with the piano, which is arguably the highlight of Miles Away.


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Rapper Vally Vicious is Maturing 'Between Takes'

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Vally Vicious on the mic!
Los Angeles can boast a plethora of women ripping mics on the underground scene, but what about OC? The ladies are stepping up to represent and Fullerton's Vally Vicious started the new year right dropping Between Takes, her first studio effort. (Download it here!) Going through a number of name changes, the pint-size rhymer from Abstuxz is poised to make a name for herself as Vally Vicious by mixing tenacious word play on "Bars Over Bullshit" with reflective tones on "Dreams on Truth." She exchanges verses with Vanessa Lynnae, a dope MC in her own right, over a biting, distorted bass laden beat on "Animal Style" that exudes hip-hop culture. All throughout Between Takes Vally V's infectious vocal pitch demands to be heard.

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