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Paddle for Clean Water Sep 21, 2014 Hundreds of surfers and ocean enthusiasts paddle around the Ocean Beach Pier in an effort to raise awareness about the need for clean water and healthy coastlines. There will be yoga classes, free breakfast for all paddlers, guest speakers, live music and more. 68 other events on Sunday, September 21
 
Check 1, Check 2 | Music & nightlife
Band plays live for first time in 20 years
Concerts
Bands coming to town and just-announced shows
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New indie from Lenny Abrahamson tops our coverage of movies screening around town
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Lying signature gatherers add to undemocratic referendum process

 

 
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Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014

The Great Demo Review of 2014

You sent it in, and we reviewed—whether you like it or not

By CityBeat Staff

Danny and the Tramp
All in 

Decently produced ska-punk-pop music for youngsters to jump around to in their bedrooms. The lead singer, Danny, blows his blink-182-style pop-punk lyrics into bubblegum bass lines and guitar riffs to produce an inflated sound that should appease only listeners who are content with hot air. dannyandthetramp.com

—Joshua Emerson Smith


Day-Go Produce

Come Ups 

This rap trio has a polished, mainstream sound with lyrics that concern mostly wealth and hedonism. To wit: “Fuck a 9-to-5, and now I party all night.” The beats are tightly produced but a little cluttered. There’s not a lot of innovation here in content or style, but the group’s clearly put in a fair amount of practice time. daygoproduce.bandcamp.com

—Joshua Emerson Smith


Daze
Blurred Vision 

Nineteen songs of weak beats, weaker rhymes and frat-boy-ready choruses. Wow, a rapper who rhymes about loving weed, loving bitches, loving money and how great he is at rapping—what a novel concept! It’s a wonder no one’s tried that formula before. liftedmuzikrecordings.com/wp/artists-daze

—Seth Combs


Deadbrokedown
“Shine” 

With an awkward portmanteau of a name like Deadbrokedown, I can’t say I had high hopes for “Shine,” especially when it came with a public service announcement about hopes and dreams for children and regrets and how you should always hold on to those special moments because one day they’ll be dead, or you’ll be dead, or something. Anyway, as much as I’d like to be able to get behind the sentiment, the execution—which falls somewhere between Staind and “Cat’s in the Cradle”—is about as cornball as it gets. reverbnation.com/deadbrokedown

—Jeff Terich


Def Shon
Hypebomb University 

By looking at the front cover, I can tell “Hypebomb University” is actually SDSU, but it’s also a 23-track concept album by rapper Def Shon. He had me early on with Track 2, “Turn it Up.” Its punk-rock “Fuck you” attitude, snarled over totally rad ’80s keyboard, made me an instant fan, but from there he transforms Hypebomb U into the halls of wackademia. There are too many Auto-Tune effects, long-ass sketches between songs, mentions of Beyoncé, tone-deaf attempts at harmonies and unnecessary covers. His rendering of Snoop’s “Ain’t No Fun” ain’t no fun, and you guys don’t even want to know what he did to Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.” Also, the back cover put my LASIK to the test with the track listing laid out in two-point font in one long-ass paragraph. Then, there’s no info about the personnel, so I have no idea whom to thank for any of the booty-controlling keyboard parts. Def Shon doesn’t make the honor roll with this CD, but he doesn’t flunk out, either; ”Turn it Up” would be great as a 12-inch vinyl single, and I would totally spin that shit. reverbnation.com/defshon

—Diana Death


Jason De La Torre
“You Can’t Teach an Old Dog to Be Happy” 

With only one song submitted, it’s hard to get a handle on whether or not I enjoy Jason De La Torre’s music. Based on this morose, pianoladen track, I’m inclined to say yes. With light handclaps softly plotting the beat, the song is heavily dominated by De La Torre’s clear yet somber lyrics. The song meanders a little, wearing out its welcome a bit with a five-minute-plus running time. But a sudden clip of a child’s voice and laughter near the end gives it a chilling and memorable finish. More please. soundcloud.com/jasondelatorre

—Jen Van Tieghem


The Dialog Project Band
Rough Demo 

This is quite possibly the most epic arena-rock / gypsy /prog / fusion circle-jerk I’ve ever heard. With ’80s reverb cranked up to 11, the guitarist does his best Joe Satriani impression while the drummer plays as many fills as possible and the keyboardist ties it all together with some moody Middle Eastern ornamentations. The only thing missing? Songwriting. dialogprojectband.com

—Peter Holslin


DJ L
Mixtape 

Dude submitted six hours’ worth of DJ mixes (!), so I listened to the 37-minute “disco mix.” He can scratch, and he’s alright at using the cross-fader and spinning the same old songs in a new way, but, I mean, c’mon—he’s only playing the hits. Oh, God, and cuts from Grease. Won’t be hiring this dude for my wedding reception. facebook.com/pages/Dj-L/120959507975659

—Peter Holslin


Dre Trav
Dualism 

Solid hip-hop mixtape with roots in everything from J Dilla and De La Soul to Outkast and Madvillain. Anyone who follows indie rap will recognize much of the instrumentals on the 15 tracks offered here (9th Wonder, El Huervo, Elaquent, etc.), but Dre is more than capable of rhyming over what’s a hugely diverse selection of beats. In a small, but underrated local hip-hop scene, I fully expect to hear more from this guy. watstoday.com

—Seth Combs


Down Big

Bandana 

The third song on Down Big’s foursong EP Bandana is titled “Fluf,” which at least tells me that the band’s done its San Diego alt-rock homework. And truth be told, pretty much everything on the record sounds like it could have been released in Southern California in the mid-’90s, from that song’s grungelite sounds to the dizzy jangle of “Hair” and the bluesy reggae-rock of “Combat.” There are glimmers of inspiration here and there, and the band’s members can play their instruments well enough, but a bit more character or personality would go a long way. downbig.bandcamp.com

—Jeff Terich


Dropjoy
18 

Dropjoy—“San Diego’s local rock group,” per their email—have some solid pieces in place. The guitar tones on this recording are good. The chord progression is pleasing to my ear. The lyrics need work, but there’s some raw angst happening here. For some reason, the lively and mildly addictive nature of “18” brings to mind an old Nirvana demo for a song called “Opinion.” I’m not saying Dropjoy are Nirvana. But they should keep at it. facebook.com/DROPJOY1

—Ben Salmon


Dr. Seahorse
Go 

Most of Dr. Seahorse’s six-song Go is exactly the kind of slickly produced, syrupy electro-pop that gets added by radio, played in mall dressing rooms and is hand-picked for television. Singer / songwriter Trevor Davis and producer / alchemist Mark Suhonen have given themselves a legit shot at the mainstream, but (someone stop them) then comes the Genesis cover—no shit, a synth-heavy contemporizing of “That’s All.” Duuudes. reverbnation.com/drseahorse

—Scott McDonald


Dub Fuego
“Prosper” 

With a name like Dub Fuego, I’d have thought I was getting some serious roots-style dub reggae, but this is more like sing-along pop-reggae in the vein of UB40. This guy’s got pipes and a voice that often resembles Anthony Hamilton, but it’s wasted on music that sounds like Fisher Price: My First Reggae Song Made on GarageBand. dubfuego.blogspot.com

—Seth Combs


Dunekat
What Happened 

This nine-track, starry-eyed ambient instrumental album recorded on an iPhone and computer mic is unmoving as a whole. And track titles such as “Dumb,” “Happy” and “Robotalk” don’t really fit the sonic moods of the tracks. The artwork is cool, though. dunekat.bandcamp.com

—Dita Quiñones


EXTRASPECIALGOOD

Ed Ghost Tucker 
Sophia 

I've been a fan of Ed Ghost Tucker for a while now. That said, the first time I saw them play live, I thought they had a ton of potential but were all over the place. They obviously draw from varied influences, and I felt they were trying to pay homage to all of it at the same time. But their dedication and hard work have paid off, as they've honed their sound considerably. This new single is far more of a synthesis than a tribute, and, as a result, it really ends up sounding more like Ed Ghost Tucker than anything else. soundcloud.com/edghosttuckerband

—Jackson Milgaten


El Corko
Demo

When access to recording equipment becomes easier and easier, and when irony saturates music, it’s harder to tell what bands are truly provocative and what bands are just bad. There are moments on El Corko’s demo where the country-tinged blues and haunting vocals feel transcendent, and the dissonant guitar solos give the songs a level of complexity that you won’t find in commercial country. And then you realize you’re listening to a track called “Eatin’ Hooker Pussy and Drinkin’ Beer” and it sounds like all the musicians are playing a different song, and you’re all, “Oh wait, this isn’t provocative. These guys just kind of suck.”

—Ryan Bradford

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