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Davis, California

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Couch Concert: Agraria, Godfuck!, Mom Cars

Local bands entertained an energetic crowd at Turtle House


By ANA BACH — arts@theaggie.org


On June 2, The California Aggie collaborated with Turtle House, a longstanding hub of the Davis music scene, to host a Couch Concert —  a house show bringing together community members to enjoy local music. Each of the acts featured spoke with The Aggie to provide readers and music enthusiasts a glimpse into their sounds. 

The first band in the lineup, Agraria, is a Davis-based group composed of lead singer/guitarist Clariss Bolanos, lead guitarist Morgan Henry, drummer Zelalem Bernhanu and bassist Isaiah Heidrick.

Morgan Henry, a fourth-year environmental science and management major, discussed balancing the weight of schoolwork with band commitments. The soon-to-be alum is currently taking 21 units whilst performing, writing and developing Agraria’s music along with his bandmates. 

“It’s a lot, but it’s worth it in the end,” Henry said. “It’s a lot of fun and it brings me a lot of joy to perform. Amidst all the stress of school, there is still a passion and need to create music that perseveres.” 

When asked about the Davis music scene and the group’s integration into the environment, Clariss Bolanos, a third-year psychology and linguistics double major, spoke about her appreciation for the quaint environment. 

“I really like the Davis music scene,” Bolanos said. “Compared to where I grew up in, this is my first time being in an environment where there is a thriving music scene. Everyone kinda of knows each other and it’s very welcoming.”

Henry describes Agraria’s sound as “surf indie rock” with a touch of “dream pop.” 

“I get a lot of my influence from artists that I can learn from but also where I feel like I could write something similar,” Henry said. “My favorite band[s] — Her’s and Mac Demarco — [are] where I would say I take most of my inspiration from.” 

In addition to The Aggie’s Couch Concerts, Davis is home to a thriving arts scene. One of the other events held here is the much-loved Eclectic Collective, which took place at the Tri Co-operatives on June 3. Agraria discussed their experience playing the event, which Henry described as “an absolute blast.”

“Clariss lives at the Tris and we all know each other,” Henry said. “It’s a large group of friends and a blast to just feel everyone’s presence in that way.”

The next band to perform, Godfuck!, is an alternative rock group made up of three UC Davis students who are down to “jam,” as they would say.

“If you’re just playing music and having fun with it, not necessarily working to create something, it makes it feel fresh. It makes it fun while making new songs,” said Zain Taylor, a third-year environmental science and management major and the band’s drummer. 

Jonah Calmar, a second-year environmental science and management major, describes the band’s sound as “all over the place.”

“I like how it’s our personalities in instruments,” Calmar said. “We are always just trying to jam and have a good time. We aren’t following a strict procedure or anything trying to make music.”

Evan Sandler, a third-year cinema and digital media major and guitarist/singer for the band, offered a unique description of Godfuck!’s sound. 

“I like colors with songs, especially [in regards to] album covers — it changes how I see a song,” Sandler said. “I feel like our colors are purple. I think that’s because when we play shows here, we have this light and it’s purple, which I think defines our sound to me.” 

The band members also touched on the controversial nature of their name — which, true to the band’s easygoing nature, has no real significant meaning.

“One of us stubbed our toe and said something like [Godfuck!],” Sandler said. “There is no meaning really except that it kinda stuck and we all really liked it. We also needed a name for the upcoming show.” 

When asked about the balance between the commitments of the band and being a full-time student, Sandler mentioned the powerful nature of having a creative outlet.

“Music is funny,” he said. “It’s kinda like drugs except it doesn’t deteriorate your mental health. It’s really addicting and it can really make other things matter less.”

Closing out the show was Mom Cars, a band made up of four members who went to high school together in Auburn, a town outside of Sacramento. The group is composed of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Brendon Le, lead guitarist Cole Winters, bassist/vocalist AJ Derise and drummer Jacob Thrasher.  

 The band was formed through a last-minute act put on for their school’s talent show, where they mainly performed songs by the British Modern Rock group Catfish and the Bottleman. 

Due to the limited number of musically inclined individuals in their small hometown, the band members were aware of everyone who was in the music scene there, which ultimately led to the formation of Mom Cars. 

“I knew that these guys played music, but I never thought we would be in a band or anything,” Derise said. “But there weren’t that many people at our school who played music to begin with.”

They also mentioned that the name came about because each member drove a car that fits into the trope of a typical “mom car,” such as a minivan.

After experiencing success at the talent show, Mom Cars began more seriously figuring out their sound, which they described as similar to Backseat Lovers. Eventually, the group was booked to play at a bigger show.

“A year later, we got offered a show in Santa Cruz, and then after we played that show, there was a realization that we could reach out to bands from everywhere and get shows going,” Le stated. “It’s really cool that we can do that kind of stuff.” 

Their start in Davis came about through a connection with Decent Action, another Davis-based band, who reached out to the group asking if they wanted to do a show at The Domes.

All of the bands featured at the Couch Concert have new music coming that will be announced and made available through their social media platforms. Even if you can’t make it to a live event, there are still plenty of ways to support these local artists, such as by listening to their music, interacting with their social media or even spreading the word about future concerts they do play at.


Written by: Ana Bach — arts@theaggie.org