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Curtis Cartier gets in a froth about an upcoming show of Santa Cruz indie stars Man/Miracle and the Vox Jaguars.

By Curtis Cartier

Indie Anticipation
The sweat on my brow and foam in my mouth means one of two things: either that raccoon was rabid or there's a great indie rock show coming up. Either way, I'll be dancing. And who better to give my maddened flailings cadence than local indie darlings Man/Miracle and the Vox Jaguars? Santa Cruz's prog rock mini-mecca, the Crepe Place, is hosting both local acts along with San Francisco surf rock champions the Botticellis on Sept. 26 for a night of calorie-burning calisthenics, and Mūz will be there in a chartreuse tracksuit.

The Miracle of Man
The four UCSC grads of Man/Miracle, now based in Oakland, are one twangy note away from the big time. Well maybe a full album of twangy notes away, but with catchy clappers like "Pushing and Shoving" it's clear these young men are on the ground floor headed up. Thrashy guitars and impressive drum work rally around singer Dylan Travis' nasally warble, creating enough musical anxiety to give up coffee forever. But despite the tension, the tunes are decidedly positive, and instead of curling up alone in bed like a kid on Valium you'll bounce on the bed for hours like a kid on Adderall. Mūz caught up with songwriter and ax wielder Travis ahead of the band's Santa Cruz gig. He said when it comes to live shows, expect the unexpected. "I'm all about putting as much emotion as possible into our live shows," Travis said. "People will say, 'You should play songs like they are on the album to try and sell more records,' but I get bored to tears if I go to a show and it sounds just like the CD."

Borrowing Mom's Jaguar
Despite an 11pm curfew and Mom at every show to enforce it, indie dreamchild Jordy Topf has become a standard bearer for the Santa Cruz rock scene. And although Topf, along with the rest of the Vox Jaguars, is forced to deal with home-ec classes, high school cafeteria food and detention slips along with the strains of maintaining a rock band, the sound they've created is well beyond their years. Topf sings in a swanky, almost Jagger-esque croon, and, with crisp and quick guitars and loud and minimal drums, the music takes full advantage of his unique vocals. Crepe Place music booker and all-around badass Adam Bergeron sounded off about the Jaguars and their upcoming show, calling them "America's next indie sensation." "I love these kids. I mean, Jordy will call me and say, 'I'm trying to get some extra bands to play with us and I called Death Cab For Cutie but they haven't got back to me yet,'" Bergeron laughed. "Still, I think it's universally agreed that he's the next big indie rock kid."

In a near flawless nod to the Beach Boys, the Partridge Family or some other harmonically perfect outfit, San Francisco's Botticellis round out the Crepe Place's featured lineup. Shimmering guitars are layered on top of ethereal vocal harmony as this quintet tip their caps to the best of surf rock without limiting themselves to all that comes with it. Their new EP Table by the Window solidly complements July's release of OHM and proves the Botticellis are out to bring back a time when surf rock meant more than a kooky live show.

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