Arts DEVO: Lockdown challenge, plus new Chico music

Arts DEVO makes another list and grooves on new local tunes

Jason Cassidy

Labor Day to Krampusnacht

The only way Arts DEVO is going to make it to the other side of this shelter-in-place (-inside, -in-smoke, insane) with his health intact is to check his consumption—of nightly beers mostly, but also of fourth meals, social media, disaster news and the giant shit sandwich of partisan politics in America—and stick to a schedule of actively engaging in stuff that nourishes body and spirit.

To give myself a reboot and a fighting chance to emerge from the corona bubble in fighting shape, I drafted a personal challenge. According to the Internet, there is a “21/90 rule,” which states that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. So, I did what I do: I made a list. I penciled out all the patterns that I want imprinted and on Labor Day (Sept. 7) set about attempting to follow it for three months. When I did the math for 90 days out, the kismet of it ending on Krampusnacht (Dec. 5), my favorite holiday, provided a huge boost to my motivation (and the promise of a truly epic celebration of all the naughty people).

There are 20 items on the list (I do realize that is ridiculous), and over the first 20 days, I’ve stuck to following six every day: no alcohol; no fourth meal; make the bed; eat very little meat (only seafood and eggs); reach out to one friend or family member; and listen to one vinyl album (today’s selection: The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St.). Smoky days have messed up a planned exercise routine and one adventure per week, or else those would likely be on track. The rest—including a daily at-the-table meal with Mrs. DEVO, no electronic devices after dinner, playing guitar for at least an hour every day, etc.—are works in progress.

I am oversharing (once again) because, besides the CN&R, this challenge has been nearly all that’s occupied my mind for nearly three weeks. And this focus on my health and peace of mind has pushed out a lot of the gunk that was stopping up the works. Highly recommended.

Write all the songs

The music is flowing in Chico. The cooped-up creatives of corona times have been writing and recording (and in some cases filming) and the results from the local scene are are starting to appear at the the online venue:

Seven Mills – “Girls with Pearls”
How does a 17-year-old respond to being locked down? Seven Mills writes cool, smart poetry, sets it to beautiful music and creates a fun music video to share: “There is no relapse/I won’t sit in the laps/Of girls with pearls/Only rings on their fingers/Hoping it lingers.” Look for the entire debut album, Evergreen, in October.

Scout – Don’t Forget The End
The second album of 2020 from the multi-instrumentalist/beat-maker/singer-songwriter Scout Parker is a nimble, playful, self-recorded collection of soulful electro indie-pop that bops.

Cat Depot – Peak Millennial Nostalgia EP
How does guitar savant Mathew Houghton improve upon his gorgeous and complex instrumental soundscapes? By adding Americas’ drummer Casey Deitz’s gorgeously complex percussion to the jams. This is the first release by new local label KitKats Records, which has two more albums coming out Oct. 3—Future Fantasy by local E.E. (aka Erik Elliott) and the latest from San Francisco noisemaker Sadsack.

Jonathan Richman – Just a Spark, on Journey from the Dark
“I’m just a spark, on journey from the dark/And I’m not ready to come home/Is this why there’s such fury in us?/Is this why?/Do we suspect somehow it’s just a lie?/Is this what causes that longing?/Do we know it’s just a show?”

Sept. 1, Chico’s favorite (the world’s favorite?) troubadour Jonathan Richman kicked off a biweekly program of music and spoken word, and it’s being recorded here in town! Local garage-rock impresario Jake Sprecher is capturing the shows at his studio, The Cottage, and Richman’s label Blue Arrow Records is releasing them via Bandcamp for $5 each.

Jonathan Richman (photo by Driely S.)

The Roses – “Resilient”
A supergroup of local female musicians has come together for a video (created by Glenn Tucker of GravyBrain) and a timely cover of Rising Appalachia’s anthem to resilience. Featuring Katie McConnell, Erin Dell’Anno, Alena Fletcher, Anna Meehan, Kai’om Fossum, and Annalise, Kelsi and Zolie Judge.

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