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New Albums: May/June 2017

Folks! There was a bunch of local music released in May and June of 2017! But I lost my list of all the releases in a freak phone accident. I was done dirty by the iCloud! C'est la vie!

MAY 2017
Elder Devil(Fresno, CA) Graves Among the Roots Genre: Grindcore


Bangladeshi Highway (Fresno, CA)
Take the X Off
Genre: Weirdo indie folk.

JUNE 2017
Amusia1(Fresno, CA)
Mostly Ghosts Vol. 1
Genre: Hip-hop.


Farooq (Fresno, CA)
The Faction
Genre: Hardcore/Punk/Metal.

Three out of four album covers are black! Goodnight!

Community Spotlight: Fuss Fest

Hey folks! Hope this post finds you doing well.  I've been M.I.A. for a bit because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an amazing game that has taken over my life. This is how I've chosen to spend the precious few moments allotted to me on this mortal plane.

Anyway, I really wanted to take some time to give some blog love to the folks over at the first ever Fuss Fest!
For those who don't know, Fuss Fest is a femme-centric music and arts fest that's going on this Saturday over at Yoshi Now in Fresno! To celebrate the event I spoke with its organizers: artist Pris Van Rye, Midwest Moms vocalist and OtherXcore zine author Sam Retton, Sci-Fi Caper vocalist/bassist Emelia Guadarrama, and vintage clothing purveyor Rio Toi. Read it up, share, pack some sunscreen, then head out to the fest! 
**********
Spanspek: All of you are either artists or musicians involved in the Fresno area. Is this your first event of this type, or something that you've done before?
Pris: I …

The Last Spanspek

You read right folks. After 12 years of bringing local music and art to Cutler-Orosi, we will be holding the final Spanspek Music and Arts Festival on September 16, 2017 (sorry in advance to all the Canelo Alvarez fans out there). It's a pretty big deal.

It's a decision that wasn't made lightly. However, we do feel that it's the right thing to do. Music is our first love. We initially started Spanspek so that we could perform our own music in our hometown. Since that time it has grown to become a singular event that has helped us form long lasting friendships, experience incredible music and art, and even contribute to the college educations of a few Orosi High School students. It's been amazing, but it has nevertheless become an all encompassing effort. Though we love Spanspek and the community it has fostered, we want to dedicate ourselves fully to our original and new passions.

All that said, don't expect Spanspek to fully go away. We still plan on promotin…

How to Play the Spanspek Festival

Hey folks! It's mid-May! You know what that means? It means Co-Founder/Director Israel Flores and I awake from our eternal slumber to start looking for bands to book for Spanspek 2017! It's a fun process that involves listening to a bunch of music, going to shows, arguing, and extreme bitterness and resentment. Honestly it's a wonder we've made it this far without murderizing each other.

Of course I kid. We've attempted multiple times but with no success. Maybe this will be our year!

In any case, for any of y'all that have ever asked yourself, "What do I gotta do to play Spanspek?!" rejoice! For today's your lucky day! Here written down for the first time ever are the tips you need to know to POTENTIALLY nab a spot on the lineup for the 2017 Spanspek Music and Arts Festival.

TIP NO. 1 - GIVE US MONEY.

Ha! Just kidding, we can't be bought! But if you do feel like donating to La Causa Spanspek, please give it here Malfoy.

Ok, here's the real…

New Albums: April 2017

What's the word folks!? I'm watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 and everything is peaches! Here's some local music that was released in April 2017!

Ferguson (Fresno, CA)
The Best Democracy on Earth
As noisy and chaotic as you'd expect a riot against government forces to be. Not for the faint of heart.

The Media (Reedley, CA)
The Media
Some smooth reggae tinged alt-rock from a group of talented young guns just breaking into the scene.

The Ramblers Noir (Visalia, CA)
Dive Street Dreams
Pensive jazz rock with a blue streak, perfect for when the neon motel lights flicker in the never-ending night.

Stoneshiver (Fresno, CA)
Character Development
Couldn't find a solo pic of their album cover, so here's a poster of their album release show, going on tonight! With a professional sound reminiscent of 90's alt-rock acts Live and Switchfoot, the band is always a crowd favorite everywhere it goes.

New Albums: March 2017

Folks, I told myself I was gonna watch a movie tonight. But I couldn't decide between Alien or the original Ghost in the Shell. So I wrote a blog instead! Enjoy!
Arkasist (Fresno, CA)
Evolutionary Onset
MEEEEEETTTTTAAAAL.

Crash (Fresno, CA)
Sub Life
Winner of the Cutest Album Cover contest. Is this a thing people do with their kids? I feel like I've seen alot of these elaborately dressed baby photo shoots lately. It is an amazing trend. Plus this album has weirdcore production and legit flows. Basically, come for them chubby cheeks, stay for the good tunes.

Cease (Fresno, CA)
The River
METAL WITH A TWIST OF HARDCORE.

Ensepulcher (Fresno, CA)
No Sanctity in Death
EVEN MORE FUCKING METAL!!!!!
FM Transmitter (Fresno, CA)
95.5 fm
Ay! FM Transmitter, I'm talking to you! This is some WEIRD shit. Like, I'm digging it and all, but that high pitched vocal is kind bugging me out. It's like the little voice inside my head decided to make a freak folk album. It's unsettling. Keep it u…

On Separating the Art from the Artist

On March 18, 2017 legendary singer/songwriter and guitarist Chuck Berry passed away. He was 90 years old. I grew up with only a passing knowledge of Berry's music, never really acknowledging it as something I liked. I played "Johnny B. Goode" on drums with my high school rock band, but otherwise, his music was just kind of in the background, drowned out by Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

As I got older my appreciation grew. Songs like "Rock and Roll Music" and "You Never Can Tell" were always delightful to hear whenever they'd turn up on oldies radio stations. The elements of what would become rock and roll where plain to hear, and for that Berry earned a sort of academic respect. He was an originator of the music I love and for that he deserved a place of honor.

That was of course until I learned that the dude was a straight up sex offender. Anyone familiar with Chuck Berry knows that he did a few stints in jail; once for armed robbery, another for trans…

When Does A Band Make It?

Later this week Fresno band and local favorites Light Thieves will be leaving for a 13 date tour of the western United States. This is the latest of many tours they have taken. Two of the dates are for Idaho's Treefort Music Fest, a gig the band has played four times, and which will be headlined by the likes of Mac DeMarco, The Growlers, and Deafheaven. The band is not signed to a record label. They have a dedicated fanbase that came out strong for their album release show. And they do everything, and I mean everything (marketing, merchandising, distributing, etc.), all on their own.

Per their most recent appearance on the Spanspek Podcast, they are pretty much broke. And as far as I know, each member has a regular job. But let it be known: for all intents and purposes, Light Thieves has "made it". Truth be told Light Thieves "made it" long before any of the above had happened. As soon as the group made a commitment to be a band, perform, and release music by …

Spanspek Album Review: Light Thieves - Future Colors

I'm writing this while at work so lets goooooooooooooooo!
Light Thieves (Fresno, CA) Future Colors
Ay! Did you know that Light Thieves was a prog rock band? Like full on Rush status? I mean, I always knew they had it in them. Their last album, Spirit Homeshas some pretty trippy moments. But most of those songs clock in at around 3 minutes. Not so on the fantastic Future Colors, the expansive and eagerly anticipated new LP from the Fresno quartet. Almost four years in the making, the expert craftsmanship shows in every epic song.   
Each tune is a journey, taking unexpected twists and turns in delightful ways. "Uncle Jerry" sets the template, juxtaposing complex rhythmic interplay with exquisite calm. The groovalicious "Goon Years" similarly balances latin flavored stylings with otherworldly flourishes.  "Stay Present" is by far my favorite tune and the best example of Light Thieves playing around with genre. The song takes on various guises throughout …

New Albums: February 2017

It is 10:36pm and I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open because my son drains the life force from his mother and I. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Do you see that up there? I'm not joking; I fell asleep typing and that shit came out. Alas, if only I'd had my finger on the Z key instead.

Here's the stuff that came out in February 2017 mang. I had more, but my phone deleted all my notes so I lost my list. This is why you should send me your music people! Just send a link to spanspekfestival@gmail.com and I'll put it on the blog!

The Concerned Relatives (Visalia, CA)
s/t
Born out of church band jam sessions, Steven Potorke and Greg Amend (formerly of Visalia's Orcher) lay out a trio of soothing tunes based on …

Local Videos: Light Thieves & Sahab

Hey! How goes it folks? Good? Good! Cause over at Spanspek Headquarters everyone is succumbing to the cold and it is decidedly NOT the business. Why do the Gods see fit to punish us lowly beings, whose only wish is to grace the populace with the knowledge of local music happenings? POR QUE?!?!
Anyway, peeps have been busy when their camcorders! Here's a couple new videos for your faces!
Sahab(Fresno, CA) "Mushi" From the album Safa City.
Sahab continues dabbling in future funk soul on latest album Safa City. Amidst the Delorean glamour shots and altered harmonizations Sahab makes room for some timely economic anxiety; reminiscing about when "gas was hella cheap" and lamenting the lack of jobs. It's an interesting turn from an uncompromising artist who never fails to intrigue.
Light Thieves(Fresno, CA) "Goon Years" From the upcoming album Future Colors.
After a VERY long hiatus Light Thieves are finally making their return with new album Future Colo…

New Albums: January 2017 Pt. 2

Ay! How goes it! It's February and I'm already behind on this shiz! But first things first, please go to this!
Us Spanspek dudes (Israel from Macondo and Cristobal from Werebear) will be joining forces with Kenny Gonzalez (The Eros), and Tony Quintero (Satellite Era) to play some Radiohead tunes for Dead Eyes Shows'90'S SLAUGHTER III!  Our cut of the cash made from ticket sales will go towards funding Spanspek 2017. So if you love 90's music, Spanspek, or lazy eyes, PLEASE GO! For more info, click on this link!

And that's it for now! Here's some fly local music released in the dregs of January!

Daze Baby (Hanford, CA)
The Shimmering Pool of Queen Kool
Groovy indie psychedelia from some Hanford weirdos (which is meant as a compliment).

Santa Mira (Fresno, CA)
The Budapest Smile Club
The latest release from prolific singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Flores, who's been on a creative hot streak as of late.


Tent City Christ (Fresno, CA)
s/t
Reggae inflected folk ro…

On Strange Vine and Their Forthcoming Second Album

Dear Strange Vine,

Hey dudes, what gives?

Last week I was reading Josh Tehee's Fresno Bee article about the recently released lineup for the FresYes Fest. Y'all were announced as the headliners. Awesome! You two are the best! The music's great, the live show is fantastic, and the band hasn't played in a while, so it's a BIG DEAL.

Here's the problem though. The article embeds a music video of yours and states, and I quote, "Here the band plays in advance of the release of its long awaited new album." That's it, right there. The freaking understatement of the year.

So I have to ask: WHEN IS YOUR DAMN SECOND ALBUM COMING OUT?!

Ghosts(your fantastic 1st album) was released over six years ago! That's an interminable amount of time! Sure you've released a few singles here and there, but come on, I'm fiending over here! I've been hearing about the new Strange Vine album for years now and it's starting to feel like the search for Sasqu…

On the Closing of Another Local Music Venue

On January 23, 2016, it was announced that hardcore record store and DIY music venue Dynamite Vinyl would be closing its doors. The stated reason, "A lack of value (in terms of fun)" per the stores Facebook page. This is the most recent in a spate of closings affecting local music venues including the Chinatown Youth Center, Audie's Olympic, and the Arthouse last month. It's made Fresno a hard place to play shows and could spell the death of the scene in general.

Bullshit.

These closings are bad, don't get me wrong. People put blood, sweat, and tears into these ventures, and (controversies aside) seeing them close is always shitty. But I'm not worried in the least for the local music scene. It'll survive like it always has.

Mind you, I have very little DIY bonafides so I'm not speaking from a place of "authority" when it comes to all this. But it's my understanding that DIY means you play music by any means necessary. Don't have a p…

New Albums: December 2016/January 2017

Hey! It's 2017 y'all? How were your holidays? Ours were good; we got lots of rest and plenty of food. But the work never stops here at Spanspek Headquarters, so lets get to it!  Here's some local music that was released in the past couple months.No blurbs this time around, but be sure to check out the music, then head out to a show! And check back with us regularly as we'll have more stuff coming in the 2017! Thanks and goodnight!

DECEMBER 2016
Cortex Tomb/Ferguson (Fresno, CA)
s/t (Big Pharma Records)

He.Cried.Wolf(Fresno, CA)
Evolve

The Trees (Visalia, CA)
s/t

MGAMIKE (Fresno, CA)
The MGAMIKE EP(Waterbox Inc.)

Werebear(Orosi, CA)
Honey

JANUARY 2017
Artesia(Reedley, CA)
Walkalina

Bear Claw Spruce (Orange Cove, CA)
Steel, Strings, & Skeletons

Dr. Ink (Fresno, CA)
A Pocket Full of Water

Jukebawks (Fresno, CA)
Flair

Meet Me In Montauk/sports.(Fresno, CA/Boston, MA)
Highway 2 Shell(Counter Intuitive Records)

What Makes A Time Bomb Tic(Fresno, CA)
Swan Song

Trust Falls(Fresno, CA)
Catch Me If Y…