With open mic nights any given day of the week, rock festivals such as Porterpalooza and Rock ’n’ Roll on the Knoll gracing the events calendar, and innumerable outlets to showcase musical abilities, it is no surprise that some talented bands have found their place at UC Santa Cruz.
Two such groups have already started to make their mark on the Santa Cruz music scene, gaining popularity among UCSC students and working their way through Internet fandom. For bands Teenage Galaxy and Animal Spirit, it is about making music and taking names.
Composed of Porter first-year Devin McGuire and his girlfriend Coco Deza, a first-year at San Francisco State, Animal Spirit is an indie-rock duo with soulful melodies and acoustic riffs. Both McGuire and Deza play guitar and share vocal duties in the six or so songs they have released to the public.
“Animal Spirit was formed when I realized Coco could sing and write harmonies really well,” McGuire said. “She definitely has inspiration with amazing female singers like Kimya Dawson, Feist, Jenny Lewis and Broken Social Scene.”
McGuire gets his inspiration from a variety of sources, but most specifically cites his bandmate.
“[My inspiration] is a little confused right now, but I would have to say a big part of it is my love for Coco,” McGuire said.
Animal Spirit is quick to shy away from any labels, describing their style as anything that sounds good to them. A favorite among Porter College residents, Animal Spirit gathered a fan base under the name Corduroy Clouds, but recently changed to their current name to reflect the changes and new direction the band has undergone since forming.
Favorites among Animal Spirit songs include “Lull a Bye” and “Say Hi to Earth For Me.”
“We can’t say for sure, but we might be adding drums and dropping the acoustic aspect, and just running with being a catchy, fun indie band,” McGuire said. “I love [our song] ‘In the Grass.’ Coco and I wrote it together, and it means a lot to us. It’s fun to play.”
The future looks bright for Animal Spirit, with a move back to San Diego (McGuire and Deza’s hometown) at the end of the school year to start their music careers. While they may no longer call Santa Cruz their home, the Spirit will live on.
Take two Porter students, add a tambourine and a guitar and place a tinfoil headband on top, and you’ve formed Teenage Galaxy.
Started by Louise Leong and Carly Frusciante, Teenage Galaxy came into being during a sweeps week episode of “All My Children.”
“I wanted to watch ‘All My Children’ on Carly’s TV,” Leong said. “Our first song, ‘Erica Kane,’ was written in honor of the leading woman and fashion mogul of AMC’s fictional Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. It was truly the upstart of Teenage Galaxy.”
Soap operas may have helped form the band, but it’s everyday life that keeps Teenage Galaxy — or TGax — fresh and full of new ideas. From dining hall food, to Harry Potter and a serious dislike for dementors, to funny stories and a love for love, anything is game for a Teenage Galaxy song.
“Everywhere and everything is a song, it’s the things we love and the things we do,” Leong said. “Carly will say something funny and I will say that it sounds like a song waiting to happen.”
Teenage Galaxy has amassed a following, signifying their fans’ support by making tinfoil headbands for audience members to wear at performances. Leong and Frusciante sell buttons displaying artwork and song lyrics, and hold impromptu shows on campus for the fun of it.
“Hopefully we’ll just keep playing for fun whenever we can,” Leong said, “and continue to live long and prosper in the Teenage Galaxy.”