Is Chico on pause? It might feel like nothing is happening, and that there’s nothing new to report beyond infection rates (1,321 confirmed coronavirus cases in Butte County as of Aug. 14) and the tally of lies (20,055 by the U.S. president during his time in office—as of July 9), but in recent days Arts DEVO has come across some fresh developments, at least on the arts and culture beat:
Christian Garcia just shared a rad video online (created by Loveland Film & Photo) of a newly installed piece of his called “State of Affairs” inside the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA). It’s a recreation of an abandoned storefront and is a focal point in MONCA’s new virtual exhibit, The Changing Landscape, which opens on its website Saturday (Aug. 15). The show features new works as well as pieces from the museum’s permanent collection and “is designed to exhibit the many complex ways the current global ‘landscape’ is being altered because of COVID-19, racial tensions and identity issues.”
Longtime Chico musician and DJ Chris Zinna (Triple Tree, Boss 501) has just released a new digital album under his solo moniker, Esco Chris (aka The Reggae Imposter). The Singles Collection Quarantine Recordings was recorded over two weeks at the end of July and released as one “single” at a time via social media. The complete album features 10 tracks of original instrumentals inspired by early reggae, rocksteady and roots music, plus a cover of The Reggae Boys’ 1969 single, “Ba Ba.” Name your price and download from his Bandcamp page.
Local rock gods Surrogate have been similarly teasing a future album (Space Mountain), but their singles have been coming out at a more deliberate rate than those of Esco Chris. In May, the band released “Covid – A Love Song,” the sixth track since 2008 for the forthcoming album and the first to be accompanied by a video and a guest vocalist—“Lorna Such as the wary love interest of a man stuck at home, alone with his bad habits.” It’s a lovely bossa nova pop tune, with irresistible keyboard and guitar melodies that you won’t be able get out of your head. Also: This week, Such’s band Lo & Behold uploaded a couple of new videos (created by local singer/songwriter Max Minardi) featuring the group performing “My Own” and “Gone” at its rehearsal space inside Bethel AME church).
And here are two more promising local developments that are so new they haven’t quite arrived yet:
● KitKats Records: A new cassette-only label started by Seana Watkins and punk musician/engineer and founder of Zerox Records Miles Claibourn will make its debut with a new album by local mathy guitar wizard Mathew Houghton, aka Cat Depot, set to come out by (hopefully) Sept. 1.
● Panini Machini: Two out-of-work sound engineers—Daniel Nelson (of the Sierra Nevada Big Room) and Joel Matzinger—are using their COVID-induced downtime to start a new venture: a panini food truck! The menu is still being finalized, but you can get updates on Panini Machini’s debut by visiting its website or following it on Instagram.