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Guest columnist Brian Kennedy finds a scene brewing around Loves in Heat Records.

By Brian Kennedy

Scene and Heard
Local Indie Musicfest There's a growing indie music scene in Santa Cruz that's just starting to get a little bit of notice outside its close-knit circle. Some of the bands are part of a newly formed local record label started by Depth Charge Revolt frontman Hector Lee Heaviside. Loves in Heat Records has brought together a wide range of rock bands almost exclusively from the Santa Cruz area, which is why the upcoming Loves in Heat Records Music Festival at the Vets Hall is so exciting. It will be a showcase of some of the most talented indie bands on the Central Coast, including Giraffes? Giraffes!, The Vox Jaguars, Birds Fled From Me, Sheena, Mountain Animal Hospital and more. All-female indie-pop rockers the Hot Toddies from Oakland will also perform, and local stoner rock champion Mammatus is slated as the night's headliner. In all, there will be 11 bands on two stages starting at 6pm on Saturday, Dec. 1. The label's sole international act, Noise Clinic, from Tokyo, will also cross the Pacific to perform its grungy brand of New Wave Saturday night.

The festival will act as a way to put all of the label's bands on display while raising some much-needed money to help release new material from the label's roster of bands, including a new release from guitar-and-drums-chops duo Giraffes? Giraffes! due out next week. The night will introduce Santa Cruz to a portion of its own emerging rock talent that is slowly growing in numbers but not often in age as many of the scene's talent moves elsewhere to bigger or cheaper places. Hopefully Loves in Heat Records will help give local bands another reason to stay here and keep our area a hotbed for live music.

Malady Makers
The day after Thanksgiving has earned the name of Black Friday for being the biggest shopping day of the year and the point at which retail stores traditionally move "into the black"—meaning everything they make from here till Dec. 31 is profit. On this year's Black Friday, Americans spent tens of billions of dollars on things such as flat-screen TVs and the latest and greatest cell phones. For those of us completely devoid of interest in hyperconsumerism, there was an oasis of noise and entertainment at Caffe Pergolesi as experimental jazz-punkers A Fashionable Disease played to a handful of scenesters and music nerds who weren't up at 1am in line at the closest big-box store. Instead, they were treated to a band with a frontman who pounded his keyboards so hard they almost toppled over and a tenor sax player who amazingly matched every note of multiple guitar solos. The rhythm section kept the beat, or should I say beats, considering the beat changed at least a dozen times in each song/improvisation. Be forewarned that AFD is not for everyone—their songs are heavily influenced by the noisiest of punk and no-wave from Rudimentary Peni to the Residents and the freest of free jazz. But anyone who has come to appreciate abstract music with a grindcore edge to it will find something strangely beautiful in AFD's nastiness.

Garrett Wheeler will return to Muz next week.

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