Arts Devo

A new Chico mix



The scene is rad While talking to people this week about the closing of LaSalles and its history as a live-music venue in Chico, Arts DEVO was reminded a few times of those so-called good old days of the local scene. You know, sometime between the early 1980s and mid-/late-1990s (depending on who is making the case), when you could throw a Pale Ale in any direction and hit a great rock, punk, jam or indie band setting up on an equally awesome local stage (LaSalles, Juanita's, Blue Room, Whispering Clam, Lava Lounge). But I have to say, for the last year or two it's felt to me like there has been a steady re-ascension of the local original-music scene. There are a lot of really good bands here right now, as many as we've ever had during my 26 years of paying attention to music in Chico. So, I'm making a mixtape column with links to 19 samples of today's great local acts to prove it.

A new Chico mix
Blaster Dead: It's punk, as advertised, but the two-piece's self-titled EP is more about crazy-hyper melodic rock in the vein of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (but much, much dirtier). Track: “Poma” at

Donald Beaman & the Spirit Molecules: I've heard snippets of Beaman's soon-to-be-released album, and I anticipate it being something special. For now, the demos of his dreamy, poetic, lonesome-sounding tunes will have to do. Track: “Glass Bottom Boat” at

The Vesuvians: Maybe any cock a doodle do? Track: “Walk, Walk, Walk” at

Surrogate: Best songwriting in Chico or most anywhere else—pop-rock perfection. Track: “Lovers” or “Blank Page” (from Post-Heroic) at

Solar Estates: More pop perfection (add a lot more keyboards). Track: “Repetition” (from The Quiet Season) at

Bunnymilk: The way-after party, after the party has gone and there's only one beer left for two lonesome singers to share. Track: “Daytime” or “Plant Toxins” at

She Fetus: A truly unique voice. Folk music of the fearless, intense, poetic kind. Track: “Sweet Dream, Holding My Baby” (via video) at Also, check

Michelin Embers: My favorite band in Chico. Infectious, breezy, unique and fun. Track: “Lookin' for a Hole” at

Severance Package: Good-time garage punk-rock. Track: “101010110” (on What's Yr Function?) at

The She Things: More good-time garage punk-rock. Track: “$hitty $ummer (demo)” at

Sisterhoods: An eclectic mix—electronics, experimental rock, hip-hop, dreamy pop, more. Track: “Cocaine Babies” at

Tri-Lateral Dirts Commission: All the crazy in one-minute bursts. Track: “Super Mullet Destruction Derby” (from Kurmudgeon Ghetto EP) at

Trox & the Terribles: Garage glam that would make Iggy proud. Track: “The Creep” at

SKiN PEAKS: Fantastic blend of fuzzy, reverb-soaked garage noise and harmonizing vocals that might just be the makings of Chico's new best band. Track: “Tell Me Why (demo)” at

Bad Mana: The most beautiful fuzzed-out garage noise you've heard since Skin Peaks. Guided by Bran Crown's voice. Track: “Volunteer/Some Things (demo)” at

Bran Crown: The man. Track: “About Sailin' Through” (on Summer Weaks) at

Fera: Weird, intimate, quiet, noisy. Track “Penumbrous” (from Sobriquets) at

West by Swan and The Americans: More than a decade in, both bands are still creating new impressive, dynamic rock and noise. Tracks: “Yeoman's Dilemma” (from Drought) at and “Kid Cops” (from Hard Data) at