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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

Trying the Farm:
Soda Pop's farmhouse is fertile soil for punk rock

KZSC DISC JOCKEY and music director Andy Pittman took his weekly Reverend Brady's Rock 'N' Roll show off-campus this week in his heroic ongoing quest to broadcast and record local music. Soda Pop Fuck You played over the airwaves in a "secret undisclosed location," the address of which the band promptly announced some minutes into its set. Motives for the unconventional situation were varied. Some implied that UCSC's students were awash in finals, immersed in deep, silent study that could not be disrupted. Others claimed, with some pride, that the band was banned from campus due to mischief at a previous show.

Whatever the reason, the results were surprisingly good. Playing in its cramped but familiar rehearsal space seemed to relieve it of any inhibitions whatsoever (no, Soda Pop didn't play naked, but let's hope the FCC wasn't listening too closely, anyway). Singer Cristina Armijo showed remarkable vocal control as usual, though she threw quite a few impromptu lyrics into the mix. The band's musical lapses were swiftly repaired with humor as it rolled through an album's worth of ska-punk. The album, incidentally, is complete and should be available soon for indulgence during life's more whimsical moments.

Outside Soda Pop's farmhouse on Sunday, Buddys Riot and Puke played to a small crowd in the afternoon, paving the road of drunk punk for the Indolents, visiting from Sonora. I was instantly impressed by the few songs I caught by this youthful four-piecer. Its singer, in dirty jeans and a sleeveless T-shirt, rivaled Gabe Lucas from Puke in the quest for Darby Crash-like stage presence, spitting out pissed lyrics while hunched over, too intoxicated or lazy to remain upright. Apt comparisons to Black Flag and Adrenaline OD floated around--the band certainly captured the circa-1982 L.A. punk thing, a sound missing entirely (to my knowledge) from the local spectrum. If some legitimacy was lost when no incoherent bodies were found in the gutter, well, perhaps that's for the best.

Tape Review: Vessel

If you are in the habit of skipping your Santa Cruz Sucks CD to Vessel's track, you'll be happy to hear that the band has a new five-song, self-titled tape available from guitarist Jim (423-9243). The demo includes the song on the SC Sucks CD and others with similarly heavy, melodic, bass-heavy tendencies. The demo also plays up Vessel's more upbeat potential with faster, more funk-inspired songs like "A Lick Goodbye." Still, even at its fastest, the repeated downscaling guitar patterns keep the music slow but hypnotic enough for headbangers--though no one in the band has enough hair to be classified as truly metal.

Upcoming

On Saturday, check out an unpredictable evening at What Is Art? with Eli Salzman and Matthew Embry, plus supporting musicians including Zack Olsen from Slow Gherkin (2044 North Pacific, 8pm, $3-5).

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From the June 12-18, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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