Fuck 12 Since 1492 – War Of Icaza

By: Vall Floresfuck 12 since 1492

Decolonizing and reclaiming  is War Of Icaza’s image. War of Icaza is a band that does not follow the standards nor likes to fit in. Their music varies from Hip-Hop to punk to metal to rap. They are a group of native artists with different racial backgrounds, but the group is from Northern CA.

This 17 song album titled Fuck 12 Since 1492 defines what resistance through music truly means. WIth songs like Nazi’s Had A Badge Too, Agua Florida and Protect & Swerve.

A little background on why the album is titled Fuck 12 Since 1492, well 12 is a number that refers to law enforcements. In the year 1492, Christopher Columbus’ voyage took place and here is where Columbus invaded land and enslaved people which he brought back to Spain.

This album is pro POC (people of color), pro womxn, and values culture. In the song Melanin lyrics like, “Brown mamas, this is for my black mamas..Embrace your skin, embrace your features, fuck the media we are perfect creatures,” acknowledges the beauty within POC. On a similar note, No More Mayo, “My momma used to say,”Jerry, you know that we got to dress white,” I said fuck that shit momma I’m wearing ponchos every night. I’m brown, proud and loud.” Here the vocalist of the band explains a reality many brown families experienced when trying to assimilate with American culture.

With the degrading of people of color especially with Trump’s election many want to scream, protest and let out their anger this album is a great medicine for that. It also alludes to many of the struggles ongoing today for instance, the Dakota Access Pipeline affecting many indigenous tribes, as well as the BlackLivesMatter movement, and other POC struggles.

War Of Icaza’s latest work is different from all their other previous albums and you can hear that in their beats, which are raw and unapologetic. They’re different. Each member offers distinguishing elements that make this album far from the ordinary. Different genres, are creatively mixed to create what I like to call: activism hip hop. We can hear these sounds in songs like Trap It Up and Masa Masa.

“This government never loved me,” a famous line in Xinga La Chota that expresses the injustices within the system.

War of Icaza incorporates indigenous language: Nahuatl, within their music and song titles which goes back to the theme of decolonizing. This album is looking at the role the new generation of activists play through a hip hop lens that demonstrates how revolutionaries proudly share their roots and their history.

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The Adventures of Prince Achmed – Morricone Youth

By: Ryan TubbsR-9051579-1473927497-3111.jpeg

Rocking out of New York, New York, Morricone Youth stand out as the epitome of a timeless and limitless band that is bound by no musical standards or lack of talent. Ever since their forming in 1999, Morricone Youth has been dedicated to writing, performing and recording music specifically written for the big screen, a.k.a. film and television.

Currently composed of six artists—whom vary from past members of Fruit Bats to past members of Wilco—this band has an incredible amount of talent, which can you hear throughout their entire new EP, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (2016). This band is like no other in that they are constantly evolving and mixing and matching members, as they currently have 13 past members.

What separates this band from the rest and allows them to stand out like a rose among thorns is that they specialize and focus solely on composing and performing original music for projected films; some from as long ago as 1922. Their latest EP—released in September of 2016—is named The Adventures of Prince Achmed, after Lottie Reiniger’s film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1925). Reiniger’s German animated silent film is actually the oldest known surviving animated film and Morricone Youth did it justice with their production for it.

Throughout the entire EP, you are constantly being whipped around from a surf rock vibe to a bossa nova feel due to their garage-rock guitar riffs and abundant use of saxophones, trumpets, clarinets and flutes. One moment you feel as though you’re cruising down Venice Beach and then the next as though you’re in a small café deep in Brazil.

This is a great EP for anyone whose music taste doesn’t lie inside the box or anywhere near it. For anyone who feels like tripping, on music, this is a go-to album. It’s psychedelic feel and foreign sound combines for something you’d only hear in a 1925 German animated silent film; so it’s safe to Morricone Youth nailed the EP.

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Abbey Road from the Uncle Dads Art Collective

The Beatles are a goliath in the music industry. Having released 13 studio albums and being the seminal band of the 1960’s their legend status is well earned. Covering any of their songs is seen as the musical equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Yet Uncle Dads art collective took it upon themselves to not only cover an entire album, but also capture the essence of the Beatles. At first glance it seems like the collective has bit off more than it can chew, but in the end was pulled off masterfully.

Uncle Dad’s is a fairly new entity in the Chico art community, having been founded in 2013, but have already done a lot to foster and grow the arts. Having done similar performances for Michael Jackson, Prince, and Queen Uncle Dads had set a bar for themselves a bar that they aimed to surpass. Abbey Road is another performance in their series of paying homage to iconic performers of the past. But instead of paying homage and playing covers they want to also highlight the art community within Chico. It is not just musicians covering songs, but instead a melding of many different types of art. From dance, acrobatics, aerialists, costumers, visual artists, and play writes Uncle Dads aimed to highlight all of these as well as the music.

The performance played a majority of the tracks off of Abbey Road ,and other Beatles corner stones such as “Black Bird” and “Strawberry Fields”, but also featured a Alice in Wonderland-esque narrative. The story began with “The Dreamer” (Played by Courtney Osteen) waking up in a world that mirrored the art style of  “Yellow Submarine” and began with the whole cast playing “Come Together”. Osteen was mesmerizing with her movements and embodied the emotions of not only the song but also the narrative. Osteen was a key piece to the performance and without her the performance would have just felt like a standard concert affair. The set was perfect. It captured the psychedelic aesthetic that the 60’s were known for, but still had a vividness that resembled a dream. The costuming varied in style as well. Rooted in some realism with the hippie fashion but also in the psychedelic with those of the dancers dressed as monsters, the Sun King, and other fantasy archetypes. It had a simplistic style, but works in the grander scheme of things due to the nature of the dream. The visual effects also extremely enhanced the entire performance. From psychedelic light shows, a universal trip, and an under sea garden the visuals made the performance feel alive.

The music and the acrobats were the massive highlights of the performance. Madeline Mathews had a fantastic performance of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” the modernization of “Getting Better” by Mad Tantra, and the R&B/Soul rendition of “Hey Jude” by KLEZ the spectrum was wide. The first act as a whole was narrative driven. With the songs serving as a narrative device for Yang to tell a story through her movements, but the second act was driven more by the music. Kyle Williams performed a fantastic and sweet rendition of “Strawberry Fields” that floored the crowd. Pat Hull was the standout. His cover of “Blackbird” was phenomenal, by keeping to the original song, but allowing his voice to change the song for him. By the end of the performance the entire crowd was floored and would have asked for an encore if they could. By the end of the performance the crowd was won over and Uncle Dads had given a fantastic performance. The crowd gave the cast a standing ovation and the excitement of the crowd carried over into the night.

Uncle Dads is an extremely positive force for the Chico art community. Not only have they proved they have the capacity to put on extravagant performances such as Abbey Road but they can also put on more intimate performances. There Listen Up series at the Naked Lounge helps local artist hone their live performance skills in front of a crowd in a no cell phone environment. Uncle Dads will most likely continue to be a mainstay in Chico and I hope it is. Chico needs an art collective like Uncle Dads that can help foster young talent and put on giant performance because local artists need that support. Look out for their future projects and any artist associated with them.

By: Carlos Rodriguez

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