2013 CAMMIES nominees

All the bands Chico can handle

Visit www.newsreview.com/cammies and vote for your faves. Voting ends at midnight, Sunday, April 14.
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OK, we admit it. We have a problem. We just can’t stop at five bands per genre. It doesn’t seem right to exclude an act that is one vote shy of being our selection committee’s fifth choice. So that’s why some genres have more nominees than others for the 2013 Chico Area Music Awards. And with this year’s Acoustic/Folk category, the voting was especially tight, so we let in 11 nominees! Of course, the Punk genre, as always, is a come one, come all egalitarian free-for-all of communal goodness, making the eighth edition of the CAMMIES our most band-packed celebration of Butte County’s energetic and eclectic music scene ever. Read through our little snapshots and get out to the showcases this weekend, and go to www.newsreview.com/cammies and do your part by voting for your faves.


The Blue Merles: This country quartet embraces the Bakersfield sound made famous by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, which is to say the best kind of country music. Of course, they crank it up a bit. But if you close your eyes, you’ll be magically whisked away to the Crystal Palace.

Broken Rodeo: This two-piece country outfit keeps things sparse—guitar, mandolin, suitcase percussion—which leaves more room for their yarns of love lost and life on the road. It’s enough to put a tear in your beer—which calls for more beer.

Gordy Ohliger: This self-proclaimed “musical Mark Twain” is about the only person on the planet who can get away with calling himself a “banjo-ologist.” He performs all over—both solo and with other players—and partakes in speaking engagements at various museums. Ohliger also has also been called a Local Bad-Ass … not self-proclaimed.

Low Flying Birds: Made up of longtime local Americana and jam-band musicians, Low Flying Birds call themselves “An Original Acoustic California Outlaw Grass Dance Band.” Fair enough. Whenever these picker-grinners are involved there’s going to be lots of dancing on grass.

Three Fingers Whiskey: The elder statesmen (and woman) of local country, Three Fingers Whiskey continue to play originals inspired by the Highway Men and good ol’-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. And whiskey. And fingers. What else really needs to be said here?

Michelin Embers: Post-atomic porch music for the people living in the woodwork. These twangers have played punk clubs as well as atop flatbed trucks in more off-the-beaten-path podunks. It’s all about hard-livin’ and broken hearts.


Clouds on Strings: Math is never fun. Math rock can be tolerable. But these lads out of the Chico State music program know how to make a three-over-four hemiola a real kick in the pants. This adds to the probability that there is a god. Not to mention they like King Crimson and Steely Dan, both pluses.

French Reform: These oldies but newbies are sort of a United Nations of local indie rock, featuring members of The Yule Logs, Shabby Car and a former member of Into the Open Earth. As French Reform, they divvy up pop that’s precious and precocious, with lots of synthy doodles that draw a line running from MTV-new wave to Franz Ferdinand.

Pageant Dads: A band with a concept … now there’s a concept! Pageant Dads play along to a fictitious backstory of four fathers who met at their daughters’ pageants. Quirk and drama ensues. And the storyline keeps growing. The band even wrote a Valentine’s Day musical comedy. Musically, they recall Zappa playing through the stock speakers of a 2009 Sebring.

The Shimmies: Still shimmying their way through Chico’s laid-back music scene, the brothers Galloway (reared on Simon & Garfunkel and Nirvana) continue to write songs that are lean and mean, and immediately catchy. Live, they take on even more gravitas. Offstage, the members are cuddly, furry little men that just want a hug.

West By Swan: These dinosaurs will definitely make the Earth shake. You might not find a louder, more ferocious band with such Zen-like members. West By Swan’s music is thick and heavy, much like their beards and their beers.


Boss 501: Ska and reggae have been effectively shunned by hipsters over the past decade in order to make way for chill wave, or whatever flavor tastes good that month. This eight-piece bucks the trends, keeping blue-eyed ska on the radar, at least in Chico, which makes them more punk rock than most punk rockers.

Dylan’s Dharma: Dylan Seid has been making his way to Zion for years now in various incarnations of Dylan’s Dharma. As Chico’s hippie culture continues to twirl, Dylan’s Dharma adds reggae flavor and pop-rock sensibility to the lost art of slow-groove breakdowns, keeping local dance floors alive in 2013.

Ha’Penny Bridge: Mark McKinnon mixes the Old World with new age with his Celtic ensemble, Ha’Penny Bridge. Fastidiously recalling Irish history and lore, McKinnon spins it into yarns that keep it real here in Chico, unlike those green-beer specials of yore.

Los Caballitos de la Canción: This nine-piece made up of some of the finest local musicians—including bandleader Jo Chavez—are bringing a little Latin culture to white-bread Chico. The music is acoustic and really quite lovely. Their six-song EP is a good place to start, but live is where it’s at. It’s like having our very own Buena Vista Social Club, but, you know, more white.

Soul Union: The name says it all. Or maybe not? We do know the vocal delivery of Johnny Dutro is frantic as he spits inspirational lyrics. And it’s a funky bunch of percussion-heavy world styles guaranteed to get people to kick off their shoes and incite massive drum circles. We do know that.

Wolf Thump: OG MoHips drummer and The Loyd Family Players percussionist Mike Wofchuck brings us another samba troupe, a rag-tag collection of lively drummers called Wolf Thump.


Furlough Fridays: What do you get when you cross NOFX, Smashing Pumpkins and Alice in Chains? It’s Furlough Fridays, which are all about big, fat riffs, all gussied up by vocalist Minnie Mental.

Gentlemen’s Coup: Scott Barwick continues to harness a good acid trip through Gentlemen’s Coup, a band that pays especially close attention to out-there, within-the-lines pop of the Plastic Ono Band. It’s heavy on Mellotron and piano, with enough spacey voyages to ensure a far-out trip.

Perpetual Drifters: Fronted by songwriter Garrett Gray, the Perpetual Drifters lie on that intersection between early Byrds and the later twangy, hazy influence of Gram Parsons. There are hooks aplenty that will get lodged in your ears, and clever lyrics to give your gray matter a good kneading.

The Hambones: Garage rock never gets old, and The Hambones, with their collective love of old R&B and rock ’n’ roll, seem poised to spike the punch bowl at the sock hop with their timeless, fun and catchy sound.

Surrogate: Chris Keene has been fronting his band Surrogate for five years, quietly putting out tremendous pop records. The band’s latest, Post Heroic, is their most energetic yet. These cats are somewhat enigmatic though—you won’t see them play out very often, but if you put the record on during your next party, even your hippest guests will be impressed.


Bogg: Featuring members of local prog-rock band Clouds on Strings, Bogg takes an avant-garde approach to jazz. You’ll hear a little Zappa, hip-hop, and even Star Wars influences in there. And their out-there sounds are welcome in a musical style steeped in tradition.

Chico Jazz Collective: Featuring some of Chico’s best-known names: D’Augelli, Winslow, Delgardo, Chico Jazz Collective is brimming with so much talent, it’s as if Zeus put together his own house band. Kraken beware!

Christine LaPado-Breglia Trio: CN&R Greenways/Healthlines editor and stand-up bassist Christine LaPado-Breglia fronts her own jazz trio, which takes a quirky approach to jazz standards, melding bluegrass and jazz together with Chris Wenger’s fun vocals.

Eric Peter: This impeccable guitar player has been performing in and around Chico for more than three decades. Peter knows jazz and the blues like the back of his calloused hand. When the mood strikes he can also be spotted playing some mean slide guitar on his seven-string with a Budweiser bottle and/or a beer pitcher.

First Monday Jazz Series: With so much local talent, it’s insane that jazz has been relegated to a background lilt for dinner crowds. CAMMIE Award-winning bassist Jonathan Stoyanoff brings together a rotating crew of local players for the weekly First Monday Jazz concert series at Café Coda as a way to move the emphasis away from people’s plates and back onto the music.


Alli Battaglia & the Musical Brewing Co.: Alli Battaglia leads her 2012 CAMMIE award-winning Musical Brewing Co. through originals that bring to mind the easygoing early ’70s, and the dusty vinyl records that period has left in thrift stores across the country. No shirt, no shoes, no problem!

Black Fong: From the dirty mind and immaculate bowels of old-school funkmeister Jack Dammit comes the dirty funk of Black Fong. No matter what the funk you think of them, Black Fong is here to funk, and funk all night long. So go funk yourself.

GravyBrain: The words “gravy” and “brain” together conjure up all kinds of tasty images. But “funk and fusion” is how GravyBrain envisions what they’ve cooked up. This four-piece is more than funky; they could pass as the Burning Man house band. GravyBrain has a song called “Kung Fu Grip” that clocks in at almost nine minutes for the recorded version—live, it’s probably still playing.

The Jeff Pershing Band: Guitarist Jeff Pershing has spent as much time studying and teaching music as he has playing it, giving him the distinction of being the Zen Buddha Jedi of Caribbean funk. The tunes will whisk you away to the deck of a tropical pleasure cruise, where only The Jeff Pershing Band and a piña colada will keep you cool.

Swamp Zen: The Ramones had leather jackets and ripped jeans. KISS, cod-pieces and platform boots. Swamp Zen keep it light and airy with flip-flops and tie-dyed shirts. Ringleader Doug Stein has been at it in Chico for more than 20 years.


Big Slim: Last year Chico MC Big Slim (aka Sleezy Sleez) wrote 101 songs in as many weeks. That’s a lot of tunes. It’s all documented at www.new-music-monday.com, his New Music Monday website. Of course, in that time he’s also made a name for himself in Chico’s hip-hop scene.

The Hooliganz: It’s a House Party 3 marathon when these cats are around the milk bowl. “Way That I Be” is the official soundtrack to every backyard party from here to North Cherry Street. The Hooliganz can play your party, too … if you don’t mind dancing, scantily clad women, a spilled Corona or two, or penguin costumes.

Lynguistix: Ryan Walton settled in Chico after years of moving around the Los Angeles area. “Mathematix” is a prime cut, and the video showcases the rapper’s smooth delivery and his even smoother threads.

The Resonators: Since Himp C joined The Resonators in 2008, the group has upped their game while holding down their corner of Chico’s hip-hop scene. One of the true old-school rap groups in town, The Resonators have kept things alive, conscious and thumping in this little burg.

Twisted Strategies: The self-proclaimed “best live hip-hop band” in Chico embodies the Beastie Boys’ early frat hijinx and the reggae-punk of Sublime. We know Chico likes to party … well, here’s the city’s house band.

TyBox: Beatboxer extraordinaire TyBox is the alter ego of rapper Tyson Harris. This year has seen a steady flow of songs and demos—both solo and collaborations. His cut “Green Thumb” is a sticky little number about the green stuff everyone loves. Money? Beans? Frogs? I give up.

Electronic (DJ)

DJ Becca: She’s been deejaying house parties for more than a decade, and in the process DJ Becca’s love for electronic music has grown into a regular presence playing house, techno, nu disco and indie-dance music at underground warehouse parties, outdoor full-moon parties and occasionally local clubs.

Eyere Eyes: Atmospheric and strange, bass is only part of the equation. The rest is a swirl of robotic sounds with occasional string samples thrown in the mix. It sounds like a Philip K. Dick novel come to life.

Simple Science: Beneath the cold, metallic beats beats a heart of rock ’n’ roll. Billy Hopkins—aka Simple Science—creates a sound he’s dubbed “rocktronic.” I suspect if this kid can bring rock music and drum and bass together, he could bring peace to the Middle East.

Electronic (producer)

ALO: This punk-rock-metalhead-turned-producer has been curating the Friday-night BassMint electronic performances along with fellow CAMMIE nominee Eyere Eyes at Peeking Restaurant for some time now. It’s given electronic music of all sorts a proper home.

Billy the Robot: The artist formerly known as MANIC ONE has been manning the ones and twos for nearly two decades, which means he probably has an incredible vinyl collection. BtR is known for his mashups, often combining hip-hop with dance music from the ’80s and ’90s. Fun facts: He is neither a robot, nor named Billy.

Kezwik: This 17-year-old prodigy specializes in dubstep; but first and foremost Kezwik is all about keeping the party lively. (Although the dancing must not include grinding, and hands must remain on waist and shoulders at all times, and we’re keeping a close eye on the punch bowl.)


Aubrey Debauchery: Aubs Debauch hasn’t released a proper album in a while, but she’s kept busy writing and playing her tell-all folk-punk songs about heartbreak, hangovers and small-town drama. And now, with five years of seasoning under her belt she’s heading into the studio to record 25 new songs with fellow CAMMIE nominees Bogg.

Bunnymilk: This banjo-and-guitar duo describe themselves as “two drunken songbird angels.” Sounds accurate. Their song “Dire Stand” is a sad and stunning number that will do a number on you. Which is to say these women know what they’re doing.

Envelope Peasant & the Scientific Orchestra: Sean Harrasser is about as good a songwriter as you’ll find in Chico. The former Harvester front man couldn’t resist adding a band to his longtime solo acoustic-pop project. Leave it to the effusive wordsmith to add a Scientific Orchestra when we’re still trying to figure out what an Envelope Peasant is.

Evin Wolverton: In just under two years, Evin Wolverton has emerged as a true talent in the local folk scene. His songs are of the spiritual country variety, and they take off on the back of his soaring, wide-ranging vocals.

Fera: Fera is an artist. With an ear for detail, he’s given his bedroom folk songs a big, dramatic sound. His 2012 release, Sobriquets, is a moody collection of extended folk experiments that push the envelope of the genre.

John Paul Gutierrez: The former Goldmind guitarist has struck it rich on his own, winning the KZFR songwriting contest a few years back. As of late, he’s added a trio of backup players to augment his funky folk.

Kyle Williams: This big teddy bear of a man with a tangle of dreadlocks and sweet voice will melt your heart. His latest release, She Is, brings to mind the easygoing, surf-inspired pop of Jack Johnson. The soundtrack to your hot Chico summer.

Lish Bills: The alter ego of metal wunderkind Kirk Williams, who lends his shred skills in CAMMIE nominees Armed For Apocalypse. His solo boozy country is perfectly captured in the song “The Booze”: “Let’s start making some mistakes / We’re living the dream and drinking our lives away.”

MaMuse: The voices of Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker are something special—otherworldly even. They are the queens of the house-show circuit, but expect bigger things in 2013. Mansions?!

Pat Hull: No one sounds like Pat Hull, and his otherworldly voice is in fine form on his latest LP, Shed Skin. It’s folk with a good bit of California pop in the vein of Fleetwood Mac. Minus the coke.

The Railflowers: The sisters Knight were raised on Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell, which explains The Railflowers’ nod to early country and folk. But what explains those angelic, harmonizing voices? We don’t have that kind of time.


Are there really 26 punk bands in town? Yes! In a nod to the community-minded spirit of the Pyrate Punx who host the marathon CAMMIES Punk showcase every year at Monstros Pizza, we’ve once again included every single punk band we could think of on the list of nominees: Animal Cruelty, Badger, Baghdad Batteries, Big Tree Fall Down, Born Into This, Brass Hysteria!, Cody K & The Thundertrain Express, Disorderly Event, Fight Music, Filthy Luke, Frankie Doppler’s Nuclear Sunrise, Icko Sicko, In Reach, Jay Decay, Jorge Jonze, Kasm, Mom & Dad, Nothing Left, The Oisters, Pintlifter, The Pushers, Ryan Davidson, Season of the Witch, Severance Package, The Suspects, Zabaleen.

Hard Rock/Metal

Amarok: Slow and low, that is the tempo. Amarok’s latest release is a 20-minute song called “Survival.” And if you make it through it alive, you win free heart palpitations and the Earth will stop rotating.

Armed For Apocalypse: A4A are a lean and mean metal machine. Armed with loads of Herculean riffs and an even more Herculean drummer, A4A is inspired by ’90s metal heavyweights like Crowbar and Pantera, but with a few of their own tricks up their tattoo sleeves.

Cold Blue Mountain: From the land of sky-blue waters comes the powerful, sludgy, epic and soaring supergroup of sorts that is so goddamn heavy, they could actually qualify as a super-duper group. Their music will definitely parch your ears.

A Holy Ghost Revival: These dragon-slaying metalheads from Oroville combine European black metal with NWOBHM and all of its American descendants. And they speak fluent Tolkenese. It’s melodic and well-produced, and the piano and synths get these guys extra points in the epic column.

Into the Open Earth: Into the Open Earth sounds angry. And their Doomfruit EP might scare the pants right off you. Imagine an alien invasion and a zombie apocalypse happening at the same time. Enjoy!

Teeph: Teeph are semiretired, semi-serious and they come at you with the force of a semi. It’s like Porky’s-meets-Friday the 13th, with sordid tales of murdering hipsters and soliciting sex at deer pens, all set to the soundtrack of Saw III.


Ira Walker: Ira Walker could probably fit into several of the CAMMIES genre categories. The singer/songwriter is as much a folk, country and rock musician as he is a purveyor of smooth blues. With influences from Jimmy Reed to Buddy Guy, Walker’s brand of blues is probably better described as Southern soul.

Big Mo and the Full Moon Band: Since moving to Northern California from Germany in 1989, Maurice “Big Mo” Huffman and his band have pretty much ruled the roost here in California and beyond, blending blues with southern rock and soul. This guy should be mayor of Paradise. He’s definitely the king of blues in Chico.

Sapphire Soul: Front man and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Arthur’s beard is the first thing you’ll notice. Then you’ll hear the boogie-woogie blues that’ll make you wanna boogie oogie oogie on the dance floor. Then you’ll marvel at the beard again. Rinse. Repeat.

Second Hand Smoke: Blues at its roots, Second Hand Smoke also digs into everything that came after. Their stockpile of covers include “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Strange Brew” and even “Margaritaville.”

Swamp Daddy: These Daddy-O’s go for the heart of New Orleans (N’awlins, if you’re nasty). It’s a steaming cauldron of musical gumbo with a little of this and a little of that, but not so spicy that it will frighten off the wallflowers.