Arts Devo

More Chico for the playlist and the new-style art of old-school Aye Jay

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Chico playlist, part two Cute bands alert! Arts DEVO has been crushing hard on these two incredible local bands for a while now, so having both Black Magnet and Solar Estates drop new music in the same week has me all warm and snuggly as the fall weather begins to flirt with Chico. Let’s pick up where we left off with last week’s local-release rundown:

Black Magnet – Black Magnet: I have said it before, but it bears repeating: Loud music is so much more powerful if it’s not always loud. The four dudes of Black Magnet get the concept, and I am stoked that they’ve pushed the envelope on their debut EP. Opener “Nightfishing” illustrates the band’s approach beautifully with patient, quiet, dark, menacing passages ripped in half by glitchy feedback bursts that introduce heavy walls of fuzz. It’s brutal and glorious. Buy it now at and experience it live at the EP-release party/tour-homecoming show Oct. 11, at Argus Bar + Patio.

End Poptimism – Solar Estates: With every frequent lineup shift of frontman Aric Jefferies’ now five-piece crew comes tweaks in its evolving electro-indie-pop sound. For the band’s upcoming winter recordings, Jefferies says things will be getting more “guitar-poppy,” while on this new four-song EP (available Oct. 12 at recorded as a four-piece, the electronics are already less prominent in favor of a more guitary, densely ambient version of catchy chill-pop. Hot track: the achingly tuneful slow-burner, “Untired.” Release party: Oct. 13, at Duffy’s Tavern.

Art of music I’d bet a copy of Deathstar’s Strike the Earth CD (with 3-D glasses!) that there’s been no more prolific Chico flier artist in the last 25 years than Aye Jay Morano. The in-demand illustrator (Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, Patton Oswalt concert posters, and skateboard decks for days) is long past his days of exchanging rock-poster art for his name on the guest list … or so I thought! Inspired by the upswing in the local music scene in recent years, Aye Jay’s gone on an inspired frenzy of digital flier-making—more than 60 show fliers this past summer—and in the process, helping mark the scene with an instantly recognizable, yet inventive new style of posters. (See that Solar Estates poster up there? That’s another one. In fact, he’s probably made still another in the time it took you to read this far.) Largely eschewing his usual hand-drawn illustration style, he’s instead created seamless (and faster, hence much easier on the artist’s back) digital manipulations of pop-culture artifacts and whatever other imagery strikes him, and just posted them online unprompted to pump up the shows (and if he gets on the guest list, that’s cool, too). He also just created a zine that features 57 of the posters that you can pick up for $5 at Art, Etc.