Stuff by: Steven Ward

Senses Fail at When We Were Young Fest -- Photo: Steven Ward
Santa Ana gets the gritty rock festival it deserves with inaugural When We Were Young festival

As the bedrock venue for a large portion of the burgeoning punk rock and rap scene of Orange County’s counter-culture, the Observatory in Santa Ana tapped into its first niche audience with the 90’s/early 00’s R&B, soul, and hip-hop tailored Soulquarius late last year. Mosh heads and hardcore lovers wouldn’t have to wait long to earn […]

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An interview with Jay Som: talking DIY tendencies and being solicited for drugs in LA

At 22-years-old, while most people Jay Som’s age are graduating from universities or trying to make ends meet, Bay-area native Melina Duterte has two albums under her belt and has already finessed a loyal following for her lo-fi, bedroom rock confessionals. Her most recent release, the sublime contextualization of that very realization titled Everybody Works, has left her leaping […]

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Crystal Fighters at the Observatory by Steven Ward
Crystal Fighters bring the Basque hills to Orange County for an alluring evening

Originally from London, the cultural fusion that is Crystal Fighter’s is something of a contradiction when held up against the urbanness covers not only the city where they started but many of their stops on their current tour. On one such stop, which took them deep into the grid of office buildings and warehouses that criss-cross […]

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Allan Rayman at the Troubadour shot by Danielle Gornbein
Allan Rayman brings his midnight confessionals to the Troubadour

With a croon that is as unique as Alt-J’s hoarse howler Joe Newman, the shadowy music of Allan Rayman is as much a reflection of his own low-profile emergence less than two years ago. Caught somewhere between the soulful inflections of R&B and hip-hop, wrapped-up ruggedly into a dark folk storytelling of his alter ego […]

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Hair-raisingly haunting, Charlotte OC makes her debut with Careless People

There exists a bit of a trope in music that deals with the haunting wails of a generously ranged vocalist singing over blackened synths, eerie atmospherics, and those tell-tale drum machine claps. A few names immediately come to mind: Lykke Li, Phantogram, Lapsley, etc. Every one of them very much different than the other, but […]

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An Interview with Crystal Fighters: using music to fuse differences in an ever polarizing world

  Words: Steven Ward Boasting an original story worthy of its own television miniseries, folktronica band Crystal Fighters owes its very name and early inspirations to the unfinished opera penned by vocalist Laure Stockley’s grandfather in the last years of his life. Recovered by Stockley when cleaning out her grandfather’s reclusive home in the Basque countryside, […]

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Andy Shauf at the Regent shot by Danielle Gornbein
Andy Shauf murmurs his way through intimate Regent show, Aldous Harding leaves fans unnerved

Tuesday was a night of quiet at the Regent Theatre, as Canadian singer/songwriter Andy Shauf shared his little tales of regret and heartbreak with a sold-out show. Known for his unfiltered, stripped-down acoustic tunes, Shauf’s quivering croons are softly texturized by the presence of his clarinet backings that accompany him live. At times a haunting addition […]

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Wire band
Not looking back: the U.K.’s Wire still going strong forty-years into their evolving sound

Words: Steven Ward  Even if you’ve never delved very deep into the historical roots of the budding punk scene that developed in the UK during the 1970s, chances are if you’ve been a fan of rock music in the last four decades, you’ve had a taste of Wire. Attributed to expanding the sonic limits of […]

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The Kills at House of Blues Anaheim - Photo: Steven Ward
The Kills consecrate new House of Blues Anaheim with 15th Anniversary show

If rock was ever deceased at some point, The Kills are it’s unruly resurrection. Celebrating their 15th anniversary with a slew of shows that included a stop at the newly opened House of Blues in Anaheim, duo Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince consecrated the legendary venue with their rhythmic shredding. A band of dualities, The […]

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Wu Tang Clan at House of Blues Anaheim
Wu Tang Clan sets new House of Blues Anaheim ablaze

Filled with the riotous anticipation of fans, some who had waited years for this moment, the House of Blues at the Anaheim Gardenwalk reached a fever pitch in the hour preceding Wu-Tang Clan’s performance. A quick slew of openers sought to hype up the crowd, with both rappers Hugh Hefner and Killer Priest giving short but riveting […]

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