Another music column

Lips of Renegade

Lips of Renegade

Local bandwagon Nothing gets me more stoked than hearing a new local band that plays something catchy and also kind of noisy and dirty. And since we’re in this local-band issue, I want to shine a light on the catchy, noisy and dirty recordings of two new local crews that are currently stoking me most: Lips of Renegade and Skin Peaks.

Lips of Renegade is a two-dude, two-chick band of high school friends whose members say they are “influenced by Nirvana, Pixies, White Wives, Aubrey Debauchery & The Broken Bones and more” yet (somehow) sound like they’ve been listening to old-school Chico female-fronted noisy/jangly bands like 28th Day and Vomit Launch. (Listen to “Blood-Shot Eyes” at

North and Kanye West

And while it would not be surprising if the one show that Skin Peaks has played ends up being their only show, the practice recordings left behind by the super-sidegroup of busy local musicians—Elliot Maldonado (Trox & the Terribles), Kerra Jessen (The Shankers, The She Things) and Lisa Marie and Kelly Brown of Bunnymilk—are rad! Go hear ’em at—the surf-beatin’ “Tell Me Why” will send chills up your spine.

Always open Tonight, Has Beans Coffee & Tea in downtown Chico will celebrate 15 years of hosting the weekly Open Mic-full. Current host (and frequent performer, and helluva super-sweet dude) Dan Casamajor said that the weekly event averages 20-30 performers, which adds up to tens of thousands of individual performances contributed to the local music scene. For the anniversary, Casamajor said that organizers will be putting on a special edition to celebrate: “There will be no signups. … It’s an invitation-only all-star show. We have roughly 20 performers lined up, from singer-songwriters to spoken word, to didgeridoo and elegant classical guitar.”

Here’s to another 15 years of keeping the mic open. Thanks for giving Chico’s musicians a venue and a voice.

This: Kanye West is one of the most important artists in America, probably the most important artist of the last decade. PERIOD. Argue in circles all you want about his douchiness, his lack of tact when the cameras are on him, and his choices in mates, but if we’re just talking music, there is no arguing that by every current measure for success in American music—record sales, critical acclaim, music awards—he is across the board considered one of the best songwriters, producers and performers in the world. Yet as definitive as that argument is, it’s not even why I respect his work. What matters most is that he’s a consistently fresh voice in a mainstream scene that is typically lacking in artists with the courage to try new things and make a bunch of mistakes along the way.

Of course, many people don’t give his music a chance—maybe because they don’t like hip-hop, maybe because they don’t like black men who voice strong opinions, or maybe because they’ve given up on giving new things a chance—and all of that is fine if that’s where you’re at. But if you haven’t even attempted to understand, why should anyone listen to you when you join the discussion?