Author: Emily Savage

TRAVELING AS A PACK | Complicated Animals to bring indie bossa nova to Ojai Underground Exchange

Mônica da Silva, 32, has always made music a family affair. The singer-songwriter was once part of a childhood sibling band. Currently, she’s one half of Complicated Animals, touring the country with two beloved dogs in tow. The now-L.A.-based indie duo, which consists of da Silva and her fiancé, Chad Alger, 30, boasts an otherworldly sound that’s inspired by indie pop, 1980s synth pop and bossa nova, the latter of which is rooted in da Silva’s background. The singer-songwriter’s mother is Brazilian, and the family split its time between the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and chilly Grand Rapids, Michigan....

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PAST, PRESENT AND THE POPES | The Smoking Popes bring an emotional pop-punk time machine to Camarillo

“It’s cool how songs can take you on an emotional time machine back to a place and let you think about certain things when you hear those songs,” says Josh Caterer, 46, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of renowned Chicago suburbs-born pop-punk band the Smoking Popes. “It gives you a mental and emotional picture. We get to do that every time we play our songs.” Despite the emotional time machine members have been riding since forming in 1991 —hiatuses, splits and lineup changes, new faith, growing up, having children — the band still has a core of brothers at...

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POLITICAL THEATER | Ministry with Chelsea Wolfe at the Majestic Ventura Theater

Neon vintage TV sets, floating skull heads atop custom microphone stands with multiple prongs, and two giant, inflatable swooped-gold-hair presidents with crossed-out swastikas on their bloated bellies flanking the band on either side of the stage — there’s nothing subtle about a Ministry show. And why would you expect there to be? The experimental industrial metal band has spent more than 30 years, on and off — first formed in 1981 by Cuban-American rocker Al Jourgensen — pushing buttons and taking down authority figures, artfully and loudly, of course. If you go to a Ministry show, you know there...

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OPEN WIDE | Emo indie rockers Tigers Jaw coming to Camarillo

When you’re a particularly beloved band with emotional, heartstring-pulling lyrics and forever catchy melodies, you tend to have a devoted fan base. For Scranton, Pennsylvania-born, emo-tinged indie rock duo Tigers Jaw, those fans have stayed by their side through thick and thin, from the band’s 2006 debut, Belongs to the Dead (Summersteps Records), up through last year’s full-length Spin (Black Cement), produced again by Will Yip, known for working with a wide array of talent from Lauryn Hill to Title Fight. “It’s really cool to know that there are people who have been with us and continue to support...

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS | Choir goes punk in Ventura

The raw, bloodied energy of punk rock and studied, upbeat precision of a capella choirs might not seem to blend well in theory — but local composer Evan Sponseller, 31, has a vision. “I grew up in Ventura playing guitar in punk rock and hardcore screamo bands. Then I went to college and studied music there and fell in love with classical music, specifically choral music,” he says. After studying at Ventura College and California Lutheran University, he worked at a church for a few years, overseeing the music, but there was a concept always in the back of...

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