By Julie Horner
The New Horizons forthcoming album Kaleidoscope is what band founder, drummer and bass player Jimmy Palafox calls “a mashup of all my inspirations.” Featuring 12 tracks, their first full length album came out on January 12, 2024 and features original compositions by band members past and present. The official release party is March 30, 2024 at the Kaleidoscope Music Festival at the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Hall featuring The New Horizons, Flat Sun Society, Floratura, Santa Cruda, and the Santa Cruz Latin Collective, of which Jimmy is also a member. “A lot of people have been waiting for this,” Jimmy said. And it marks a full circle moment for The New Horizons: they performed their very first show at the Vets Hall in January 2018.
The 24-year old singer-songwriter was into indie bands like Beach Fossils and Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala out of Australia and classic bedrock influences like Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, bands he grew up listening to. A practicing musician since an early age, he became swept up in the progressive underground music scene in Santa Cruz in 2016 and 2017. He put some original songs together, “initially just psychedelic indie rock,” he said, and started sourcing out for musicians. Jacob Bayani, Caleb Riley, and Owen Drew jumped on as original crew, and from there the music took on a mind of its own. Jacob brought the 80s metal. Caleb delivered the reggae. Owen could channel the blues. Course plotted, Jimmy said they were heading for the studio. The title of the album, Kaleidoscope, represented the variety of musical colors that each band member brought to the project.
Change is Gonna Come
The group released “No Rich Man,” an original by Caleb and Jimmy, and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train” to online streaming services in 2019. The single “So Long Shotgun” was released in 2021. Unfortunately Owen and Caleb would end up leaving the band before Kaleidoscope was fully recorded. It took a while to regroup. “Five years in the making,” Jimmy said, “it’s been really tough. We had to start from scratch.” Quinn Becker (bass, vocals), Aiden Santa Cruz (keyboards), and Oscar Estrella (guitar) from the Santa Cruz Latin Collective, and bassist Noah Moger were onboarded to help complete the recording. Quinn, who lives in Boulder Creek, was 18 and had just started at Cabrillo College when he met guitarist Jacob Bayani. “I joined the band halfway through the original recording of the album,” Quinn said. “It was Idea after idea. Texas Blues turned into a completely different song, turned into an alien love song…” Variations of an improvisational theme that The New Horizons was building a reputation for.
For his part in Kaleidoscope, Quinn said that some of the songs were recorded in a shipping container studio in the Soquel area but that most everything else they recorded at home on a college student’s budget. The advantage is that they had more freedom to come up with new ideas, there was less pressure. They worked with audio engineer Olav Tabatabai of Noise Eater Recordings, mixing in Joe Clements’ Compound Recordings studio in Ben Lomond.
“Kaleidoscope, the title track, it’s my favorite,” Quinn said. Fun, bouncy and high energy, Quinn got to write a lot of the lyrics and he sings vocals. Jimmy sees the title track as a synthesis between all the other influences and a bit of Pink Floyd.
The core of The New Horizons is currently Jimmy, Jacob, and Quinn. The Kaleidoscope Music Festival celebrating the album of the same name will feature musicians that have been in and out of the band or have been studio support musicians. Stay tuned!
The New Horizons perform at the Kaleidoscope Music Festival:
Date: Saturday, March 30 | 4:00 – 10:00
Place: Santa Cruz Vets Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz
Tickets: Advance $25 | Door $30
Listen to The New Horizons ‘Kaleidoscope‘ on Apple Music.
Photo contributed: Quinn Becker, Jacob Bayani, Jimmy Palafox, Aiden Santa Cruz
Julie Horner writes about art, music, and the local business scene in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
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