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[whitespace] Beats and Breaks

The Visionaries wow a Palookaville hip-hop crowd, and Pocket for Corduroy showcases a sound that even record-label executives could love

By David Espinoza

SO APRIL 5's Elephant Tracks CD release party and benefit show for the annual Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA) High School Motivational Conference up at UC-Santa Cruz didn't exactly sell out Palookville. In all honesty, it didn't come close, but raising awareness about Asian Americans' role in contemporary hip-hop is just as important as raising fundage--which the artists on the bill did plenty of. Warming things up was Asiatic Mygraine Explizit, a.k.a. AME, a trio of emcees who have all at some point attended UCSC. Though their lyrics are certainly thought-provoking thanks to their socialist mindset, AME have yet to really get their live act down tight. This may have to do with some of the members going to grad school at UC-Berkeley, but hey, who ever said a musician's life was easy?

If memory serves, the six-member Visionaries opened up for ex-Tribe Called Quest B-boy Fifer last year at Palookaville. The Visionaries were the ones who garnered quite a few laughs when MC 2-Mex (if you were there, you couldn't have missed him), high on life or Budweiser, attacked the walls like a bluejay in front of a mirror. All of that was quickly forgotten at the April 5 show when the Visionaries pulled off a solid set of tunes featuring songs from their first album, Galleries, and the upcoming Sophomore Jinx. Similar to Jurassic 5, the Visionaries take a rhyming-together approach to their style of hip-hop, though with less harmony. Guessing from the enthusiastic reaction from the audience, the next time they come around, the crowd's going to get bigger.

Dissatisfied Boy Music

After foraging through the vast piles of "check us out--we're better than Spinal Tap" band promos left as a legacy from our dearly departed "Notes From the Underground" writer Matt Koumaras, I came across a brilliant four-song EP by Nevada City's Pocket for Corduroy. Yes, that's right, Nevada City not Santa Cruz--for some reason, yours truly thought they were local. Nonetheless, the Committee on Granting Honorary Local Band Status is moving forward on PFC's nomination and may have an answer after Friday's show with Lonely Kings at the Catalyst.

Sources with the band say this could be a career-defining moment for the foursome because record execs are expected to be in the audience. According to manager Dave Park (who worked with the Deftones in their early days), Pocket for Corduroy is being scoped out by a relatively large indie label and a major label whose producers have put out bands that regularly offend uptight parents everywhere (and hence are all over MTV and Rolling Stone). Pretty good prospects for a few guys who only a few months ago played the Stevenson Rec Room. PFC is definitely a band worth checking out, with a sound somewhere between Superchunk and Sunny Day Real Estate. As for the record-exec guys, if you're looking to cuddle up to one, they'll most likely be disguised as hardcore emo snobs, with ties and thick-rimmed glasses--and therefore hard to spot.

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From the April 12-19, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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