The Chico scene is in good hands
Post-MySpace rock Arts DEVO is now one of the old guys in the local music scene, having been knocking around Chico in audiences/bands for roughly 27 years. But I try and avoid acting like an old dude when it comes to keeping an ear out for the music being made here (or anywhere for that matter). That’s easy enough to do in established Chico musical circles—metal, jam, and especially punk—because the intimate nature of the local music community seems to breed a tolerance for intergenerational comingling, and new, young bands are welcomed to the party all the time. It’s not uncommon for a group like gothy punks Cell Block, for instance, made up of teens and twentysomethings, to share a bill with gothy pop-rockers The Empty Gate, with members who … let’s just say some of them were performing in Chico bands before any of the Cell Blockers were born. (Don’t feel bad, guys, I’m in the old-enough-to-be-their-creepy-uncle club as well.)
Hearing new bands bubbling to the surface on their own, off the beaten path, takes a little more effort, but it’s almost always rewarded. Take the action going down at the 1078 Gallery that I wrote about for this week’s Local Music Issue (“Picture of a new scene,” page 18). I came to appreciate it slowly. When former 1078 promoter Christina Springer started ramping up the gallery’s live music schedule a few years ago, I’d go stand outside the window and see the skinny young dudes in skinny black pants screaching over tight melodic riffs and say to myself, “Hey, screamo’s still a thing!” And then return to The Goose for another fancy beer.
As the audiences inside the gallery/fishbowl started to grow, my dismissiveness started to fade, and I gradually started to absorb the recordings by these 1078 regulars that were popping up on social media. It turns out, not all (and maybe none) of it is screamo. There’s a wide variety of sounds that run the gamut from pop-punk to melodic metal, and though not all of it is to my taste, I’ve been impressed with how focused and together the recordings are.
The stuff I dig is on the lighter side of the spectrum, with my current fave being Citysick’s uber-emo pop jam, “Bar Tab” (“From picking up the bar tab, and waking up with no one else around/It’s been a year without you, and I think I’m happy now”). Hear that and two more sad-bastard gems from the Thanks For Trying EP at citysickca.bandcamp.com. And look up the rest—The Buried Heart, Ligthfinder, Tionesta, Creekside, Sunny Acres and Gigantes—on Bandcamp as well and hear what the fresh new players are all about. As extra enticement to aging hipsters, if a certain high-energy branch of MySpace-era Chico bands—e.g., The Secret Stolen, Hail the Sun, Number One Gun, Casing the Promisedland—was your thing, this Facebook generation sounds an awful lot like its descendents.
Sorry, not sorry You might as well get used to it right now. David Lynch is my spirit animal and I am going to be following him down the rabbit hole of the Twin Peaks universe in preparation of the new season of the show premiering on Showtime May 21. Each week until then, as I make my way through the original series again, I’ll be dropping a crumb here for you to obsessively follow along:
Pete Martell pours coffee for FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.
Pete: Mr. Cooper, how do you take it?
Agent Cooper: Black as midnight on a moonless night.
Pete: Pretty black.