Tag: San Diego CA

WRD Trio is a dynamic and gritty organ trio that features three highly accomplished bandleaders and musicians:

Walter, Roberts and Deitch would often bump into each other at New Orleans Jazz Fest, and in those those meetings, the trio would longingly discuss future collaborations together. Generally fueled by Roberts’ long-held belief that the trio would yield something impactful and interesting, the Leeds-born, Denver-based guitarist realized that with the co-founding of Color Red Music, that it was a perfect time to bring everyone into the studio to put some tracks on wax.

The end result is the trio’s recently released full-length debut The Hit, which was written and recorded in just two single-day sessions at Color Red Studios. Sonically, the album is reportedly one-part Sunday stroll and one-part rocket ship to Saturn centered around their unmistakable simpatico. (Perhaps that simpatico draws from the fact that each member is a Taurus, with each member’s birthday being a week after the other.)

The Hit‘s first single “Chum City” finds the trio collaborating with The Twin CatsNick Gerlach on a funky and strutting number centered around a grinding and muscular groove reminiscent of Chuck Brown-era go-go music and Booker T and The MGs and an arrangement that’s loose enough for all of these talented musicians to deliver some impressive solos. Simply put, this one is just fucking nasty y’all.

New Video: Mackenzie Leighton Returns with a Playful Visual for “Mona by the Seaside”

Mackenzie Leighton is a rising San Diego-born, Paris-based indie folk singer/songwriter and musician. Leighton’s family moved to a small, seaside town in Maine, where she grew up and spent her formative years. Interestingly, the San Diego-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter […]

New Audio: Mackenzie Leighton Returns with a Breezy New Single

Mackenzie Leighton is a rising San Diego-born, Paris-based indie folk singer/songwriter and musician. Leighton’s family moved to a small, seaside town in Maine, where she grew up. The San Diego-born, Paris-based artist can trace much of the origins of her music career to her father taking her to classical piano lessons as a young girl. When Leighton turned 18, she attended my alma mater, New York University — and while in New York, she played in several jazz and folk inspired bands. 

Upon graduation, Leighton relocated to Paris. She landed a day job as a florist and launched a solo career with the release of 2017’s self-titled EP, a singer/songwriter folk effort that was released to praise and comparisons to Phoebe Bridgers and Julia Jacklin. Leighton’s sophomore EP, last year’s Tourist(e) was a decided change in sonic direction that found the rising American-born, French-based artist working with French musicians and producers while pairing folk-inspired songwriting with lush yet contemporary instrumentation and production. Leighton has supported both of her recorded efforts with shows in and around Paris, as well as with tours in Italy, Belgium and here in the States. 

Earlier this week, I wrote about EP track “Un jour la vie.” Centered around Leighton’s coquettish vocals, a sinuous yet propulsive bass line, thumping beats and shimmering guitars, “Un jour la vie” is a playful and infectious invitation to dream of an escape to Italy, to drink endless Aperol Spritzes and to dance the night away without a care in the world. A wondrous dream considering the last 18 months, eh? The EP’s third and latest single, EP title track “Flueriste” is a hook-driven pop confection featuring shimmering synths, a buoyant bass line and Leighton singing the song’s lyrics in a gorgeous and breezy English. The song manages to address the plight of contemporary musicians unable to work — but hoping for a bright future of live shows, and all of things we missed so very much.

New Video: Mackenzie Leighton Releases a Breezy and Escapist Pop Confection

Mackenzie Leighton is a rising San Diego-born, Paris-based indie folk singer/songwriter and musician. Leighton’s family moved to a small, seaside town in Maine, where she grew up. The San Diego-born, Paris-based artist can trace much of the origins of her music career to her father taking her to classical piano lessons as a young girl. When Leighton turned 18, she attended my alma mater, New York University — and while in New York, she played in several jazz and folk inspired bands.

Upon graduation, Leighton relocated to Paris. She landed a day job as a florist and launched a solo career with the release of 2017’s self-titled EP, a singer/songwriter folk effort that was released to praise and comparisons to Phoebe Bridgers and Julia Jacklin. Leighton’s sophomore EP, last year’s Tourist(e) was a decided change in sonic direction that found the rising American-born, French-based artist working with French musicians and producers while pairing folk-inspired songwriting with lush yet contemporary instrumentation and production. Leighton has supported both of her recorded efforts with shows in and around Paris, as well as with tours in Italy, Belgium and here in the States.

musician focusing on the reality of life as an expatriate, torn between two different cultures and hemispheres. And much like its immediate predecessor, Flueriste sonically continues in a similar vein. In the lead-up to the EP’s release, Leighton recently released the EP’s second and latest single, “Un jour la vie.” Centered around Leighton’s coquettish vocals, a sinuous yet propulsive bass line, thumping beats and shimmering guitars, “Un jour la vie” is an infectious invitation to dream of an escape to Italy, where you’d drink endless Aperol Spritzes and dance the night away without a care in the world. Considering the last 18 months, that sounds like a wonderful dream to me.

shot and edited by Celia Marie Petersen and Adrianna Lankford, the accompanying visual for “Un jour la vie” follows the adorable Leighton as she plans for an escape to Italy to drink cocktails, be fashionable, eat fantastic food and dance the days and nights away. That’s life, ain’t it?

New Video: Tape Waves Release an Intimate and Playful Visual for “Invisible Lines”

Charleston, SC-based dream pop duo Tape Waves — Kim and Jarod Weldin — have released three albums through San Diego-based label Bleeding Gold Records, which have garnered comparisons to the likes of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins and Best Coast while receiving glowing praise from the likes of SPIN Magazine, who once described the duo’s sound as “wistful, lens-blurred dream pop to soundtrack nostalgia daydreams and sleepy weekend afternoons.” 

The duo’s two most recent albums were also released through 2670 Records in Japan, where they toured to support 2018’s Distant Light.

The South Carolina-based act’s fourth album Bright is slated for a June 4, 2021 release through Emotional Response Records — and the album reportedly finds the duo combining their long-established sun-drenched pop with the influences of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Teenage Fanclub.

Earlier this week, the Chucktown-based duo released “Tired,” a lush and sunny track equally indebted to dream pop and shoegaze that reminded me quite a bit of Slowdive’s gorgeous 2017 self-titled album. Bright’s latest single “Invisible Lines.” centered around shimming acoustic guitar, gently oscillating feedback, padded drumming and Kim Weldin’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, “Invisible Lines” — and as a result, the track is arguably one of the album’s more contemplative yet dreamy tracks, evoking the sensation of daydreaming on a gorgeous late Spring or early Summer afternoon. (Much like today — May 13 — in New York.)

The recently released DIY video for “Invisible Lines” is an intimate yet playful look into the Weldin’s world: we follow the duo as they ride bicycles down the street, head to a local ice cream shop, play with their cat, pull out the album’s that they love and have insisted them, and of course, play the song in their home.

Charleston, SC-based dream pop duo Tape Waves — Kim and Jarod Weldin — have released three albums through San Diego-based label Bleeding Gold Records, which have garnered comparisons to the likes of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins and Best Coast while receiving glowing praise from the likes of SPIN Magazine, who once described the duo’s sound as “wistful, lens-blurred dream pop to soundtrack nostalgia daydreams and sleepy weekend afternoons.”

The duo’s two most recent albums were also released through 2670 Records in Japan, where they toured to support 2018’s Distant Light.

The South Carolina-based act’s fourth album Bright is slated for a June 4, 2021 release through Emotional Response Records — and the album reportedly finds the duo combining their long-established sun-drenched pop with the influences of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Teenage Fanclub.

“Tired,” Bright‘s latest single is a lush and sunny track, equally indebted to dream pop and shoegaze, centered around shimmering guitars, cavernous drumming, Kim Weldin’s ethereal vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Interestingly, “Tired” reminds me of Slowdive’s gorgeous 2017 self-titled album, complete with a similar sonic depth.

New Video: I M U R Releases a Sultry Pop Banger Rooted in Self-Doubt

Formed back in 2015, rising Vancouver-based indie electro pop act I M U R (pronounced I am You Are) — founding members singer/songwriter Jenny Lea and guitarist and producer Mikey J. Blige and producer/multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher — have firmly established a unique sound that’s a cinematic yet sultry and catchy blend of alt R&B, avant-pop and contemporary electro pop paired with lyrics that tackle personal and often uncomfortable subjects like addiction, recovery, female sexuality, self-reflection, vulnerability and strength, partially inspired by Lea’s early, near-death experience and the strength and resiliency she gained from her recovery.

Since their formation, the act has released a growing batch of critically applauded material:

2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, which featured “Trippin’ On Feet”
2017’s full-length debut Little Death, which featured standout tracks “FFL” “Little Death” and “Breathless.” “Breathless” was featured in SyFy’s Wynonna Earp Season 2 and Freeform’s Good Trouble Season 1.
2018 saw the release of the Thirty33 EP, which featured “Miss You Hate You,” “Should Be” and “Afterglow.” All three of those tracks featured in a number of TV shows including Netflix’s Snowpiercer, Pretty Little Things, Wu Assassins and Workin’ Moms.

Adding to a rising profile, the act has amassed millions of streams globally, which has lead to the band landing on the Spotify Viral 50 Charts. They’ve won an Electronic Music Artist of the Year Award at the 2019 Western Canadian Music Awards — all while receiving critical applause across the blogosphere, including this site. Around the same time, the Canadian electro pop act managed to maintain a busy touring schedule: The act toured in India in 2018. The following year, they made the rounds of the North American festival circuit with stops at Shambala, Bass Coast, Capitol Hill Block Party and Winnipeg Jazz Fest, while playing shows in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

2019 saw the release of two more singles “Fever” and “Lips, Tongue and Teeth,” which I managed to write about on this site. Much like countless acts across the worlds, the pandemic put their touring plans on an indefinite pause; but the act used the newfound free time to write and record their highly anticipated album My Molecules.

Slated for a June 25, 2021 release, My Molecules will reportedly be a deeply personal journey into Lea’s life, centered around a thread of undeniable realness for anyone who’s experienced love, loss, lust and everything else in between. My Molecules’ second and latest single “Sad Girls Club” further cements the band’s penchant for genre-defying yet infectious pop: sonically the song meshes skittering trap beats, Quiet Storm-like R&B and contemporary electro pop in a sleek fashion. Thematically, underneath its club friendliness, the song is one part unvarnished confessional and one part messy cry at your own party because everything is fucked up.

“Sad Girls Club” was inspired by the first month of quarantine, when all of Lea’s daily distractions ground to a halt, and a lot of her personal demons reappeared. Self-doubt, depression and addiction patterns in her life bubbled up when she felt purposeless and adrift. Writer’s block became a harsh reality. “Sad Girls Club was my break-through from the block, but also by expressing my fears in a tangible way, it helped to pull me out of the mud,” Jenny Lea says in press notes. She goes on to explain that “Sad Girls Club is about the trickery our subconscious mind plays on us when we’re feeling low. It’s about Self-deprecation, unworthiness, and being burdensome.” I M U R’s Amine Bouzaher adds “Ironically, a lot of negative thoughts combined to create an epic, dark banger, and we were able to pour all of those feelings into the production of the track. It’s always amazing to see what incredible art and positivity can come from channeling negative thoughts and feelings.” The Canadian act’s Mikey J. Blige encapsulates the overall vibe of the song, by saying “It’s ok at any age to feel like an emo kid that loves pop music AND trap music.” 

Directed and edited by Sterling Larose, the glitchy visual features Lea laying an iron on herself and at other points wearing roughly 80 pound boat chains to symbolize the emotional weight and heaviness of doubt, depression and addition can have on a person. The tattoo that she gets the video is a real tattoo and the footage of her in the shower was part of an hour-long shower she took after. “I think it was the heaviness that sometimes comes along with being real and being honest,” Lea says. “Just because you’re being honest doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be a happy ending Disney princess movie.” 

New Video: Watch JOVM Mainstays Warish Appear on a Trainwreck of a Late Night Show

With the release of their 2019 full-length debut, Down In Flames, the San Diego-based noise punk trio Warish — currently founding member Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals), Alex Bassaj (bass) and Justin de la Vega (drums) — quickly established a reputation for crafting mosh pit friendly, bludgeoning rippers, that bring early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits and others to mind.

The San Diego-based JOVM mainstays’ 13-song sophomore album Next To Pay officially drops today and the album finds the noise punk trio at their darkest and most vicious.“Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” Warish’s Riley Hawk says in press notes. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.” Sonically, the album finds the band continuing to draw from the same influences as its predecessor, but while pushing their sound in a much more forceful — and in turn, nastier — direction, with the album’s guitar sound being heavily influenced by the work of Greg Ginn and Buzz Osborne — i.e., wiry contortions drenched in various chorus effect pedals. “This album is more of an evolution, it’s a little more punk-heavy,” Hawk adds. “We figured out what our sound was.”  

It could be argued that the band’s sonic evolution was informed by a massive lineup changes within the band: The band’s original drummer Nick “Broose” McDonnell plays on roughly half the album’s songs while their newest drummer Justin de la Vega played on the more recently written and recorded tracks. Alex Bassaj joined the band after their debut was recorded, so Next To Pay marks his official Warish debut. 

So far I’ve written about three of the album’s released singles:

“Seeing Red,” a breakneck, Bleach-era Nirvana like ripper centered around Hawk’s howled vocals, scuzzy power chords, a forceful and chugging bass line paired with pummeling drumming that continues a run of mosh pit friendly material — but with a feral snarl. 
“S.H.M. (Second Hand Misery)” another breakneck ripper that sonically reminded me of a gritty synthesis of Nirvana and Melvins — but full of bile and evil intentions. 
Scars,” a piss and bile fueled ripper that managed to sound like a synthesis of
Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica.

“Destroyer,” Next To Pay’s fourth and latest single is a furious and snarling ripper that may remind some folks of Melvins, Nevermind-era Nirvana and others, as its centered around fuzzy and distorted power chords, thunderous drumming and distorted vocals. Much like its predecessors, “Destroyer” is the sort of song meant to play excessively loud and jump into a mosh pit full of sweaty and jubilant humans. God, I fucking miss shows.

Filmed by Lannie Rhoades and Nate Correia, the recently released video throws the members of Warish on a low-budget, train wreck of a talk show, hosted by an indifferent and sarcastic host. The interview segment is cringe-inducing and full of Dad jokes, followed by a live performance of sorts much like a real talk show.

Next To Pay is out now through RidingEasy Records. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley Girls Release a Joyful Children’s TV-Inspired Visual for “Little Things”

Throughout this site’s almost 11-year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls. Currently featuring the band’s founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history — and yet throughout their history, the band’s overall aesthetic and sound has generally been indebted to The Manson Family, B movie theatrics and the occult.

Last year was a rather busy year for the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays: They started off the year with the two-song, 7 inch EP Breakthrough, an EP which featured a cover of  Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song the band originally discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian psych act The Funkees.  Continuing upon the momentum of Breakthrough EP, the JOVM mainstays’ longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records released their fourth album Under the Spell of Joy late last year.

The album deriving its title from a the text on a t-shirt that the San Diego-based heavy psych rock act Joy gave to Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden, who wrote the shirt like a talisman ov er the course of the next five years. “I read it as being about manifesting your biggest dreams and responding thoughtfully and mindfully to everything that comes in your path with joy and compassion first,” Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “There is a lot to be really angry about in the world but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!”

Interestingly, with their fourth album, the band sought to make a spiritual record — what Bloomgarden describes as a “space gospel” — with the intention of bringing people together and creating the kind of participatory musical experience people have in places of worship: Much of the album’s material is centered around chants, choirs and rousing choruses, written with the expressed purpose of encouraging people to sing and shout along. Unlike their previously released material, which found the band connecting to listeners in esoteric means, the album’s material sees the band attempting to tap into an age-old tradition fo connecting with people by inviting them to actively participate with them.

Although Bloomgarden and Schemel knew their intention for the album’s material before they had written a single note, the nature and direction of the music was initially inspired by the Ethiopian funk records they had been listening to while touring — but once they began playing and recording the material they had written, the music, which they claim came from tapping into their subconscious seemed to come from the future. 

Last year, I wrote about three album singles:

The Universe,” an expansive and mind-bending track which featured elements of shoegaze and  Pink Floyd-like psych rock.
“Hold My Hand,” a euphoric track that evokes the swooning sensation of new love — and the urge to improve oneself through deep, personal reflection.
“Under the Spell of Joy,” a hallucinogenic fever dream that’s a rock ‘n’ roll take on the good news, gospel stomp that sonically is a seamless synthesis of part Fun House-era The Stooges, acid-tinged psych rock, Giant Steps-era Coltrane.

“Little Things” Under the Spell of Joy’s fourth and latest single is an ebullient and upbeat take on jangle rock centered around a shout along worthy hook. And at its core, the song is a gently smiling reminder that when life turns shitty — which is more often than not — that you should focus on the little things: in fact, sometimes your dreams can be what keeps you sane. “We wrote ‘Little Things’ for a friend of ours, who has been fighting for his life in physical pain for years,” Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden explains in press notes. “While we talked about how stinky his health and living situation was, he realized how much he still loved dreaming. We both realized that if he shifted his focus to the part of his life he loved — even if it was just when he was dreaming/daydreaming, that was perfectly ok! Focus on the little things!”

Directed by The Little Ghost/Kelsey Hart, the recently released video for “Little Things” is a psychedelic fever dream inspired by children’s TV shows — and it captures the song’s infectious, child-like joy.

“My aim for this video was to reflect the unbridled hope and joy of ‘Little Things,'” The Little Ghost explains. “Bonnie and I discuss our dreams daily, so I wanted to create a cartoonish psychedelic dreamscape that invited everyone to dance, sing, and revel in the optimism of daydreaming! In order to keep the production of this video maximally Covid-safe, I used special effects to bring Death Valley Girls together digitally. I was inspired by Teletubbies, public access TV, and Tony Oursler.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Warish Release a Hilariously Demented Visual

With the release of their full-length debut, 2019’s Down In Flames, the San Diego-based noise punk trio Warish — currently founding member Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals), Alex Bassaj (bass) and Justin de la Vega (drums) — quickly established a reputation for crafting mosh pit friendly, bludgeoning rippers, that would bring early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits and others to mind for listeners.

The San Diego-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, the 13-song Next To Pay reportedly finds the noise punk trio at their darkest and most vicious. “Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” Warish’s Riley Hawk says in press notes. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.” The album’s material sonically finds the band continuing to draw from the same influences as its predecessor, but while pushing their sound in a much more forceful — and in turn, nastier — direction, heavily influenced by the guitar work of Greg Ginn and Buzz Osborne — wiry contortions drenched in various chorus effect pedals. “This album is more of an evolution, it’s a little more punk-heavy,” Hawk adds. “We figured out what our sound was.” 

Along with that evolution, the band went through a massive lineup change. The band’s original drummer Nick “Broose” McDonnell plays on roughly half the album’s song while their newest de la Vega played on the more recently written and recorded tracks. Bassaj joined the band after their debut was recorded, so Next To Pay marks his official Warish debut.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Seeing Red,” a breakneck, Bleach-era Nirvana like ripper centered around Hawk’s howled vocals, scuzzy power chords, a forceful and chugging bass line paired with pummeling drumming that continues a run of mosh pit friendly material — but with a feral snarl.

“S.H.M. (Second Hand Misery),” Next To Pay’s latest single is a breakneck ripper featuring fuzzy, chugging power chords, a rousingly anthemic hook paired with Hawk’s yelps and howls. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me of a gritty synthesis of Nirvana and Melvins, but full of bile and evil intentions.

Edited by the band’s Riley Hawk, the hilariously demented video features edited footage from Barney that features the enormous purple dinosaur and some innocent kids seemingly dancing and singing along to the song. “This video came to mind when I heard the ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ song by Barney playing somewhere while I was in a bad mood and was thinking, this song is kinda evil sounding. Then I went home and instantly started editing the video to the track ‘S.H.M.’ because it’s the polar opposite of ‘If You Are Happy And You Know It.’ It fit nicely I thought, hah.” 

The JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album Next To Pay is slated for an April 30, 2021 release through RidingEasy Records.