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Home / Articles / Music / Music feature /  The Great Demo Review 2009 (Part 2)
. . . .
Tuesday, Mar 03, 2009

The Great Demo Review 2009 (Part 2)

The rest of the good, the bad and the ugly

By CityBeat Staff

 

 

Marasol

FuturesFor those about to rock out prog-style, Marasol salutes you. Perhaps a bit too earnest at points vocal-wise, this disc succeeds when the band pushes itself the hardest (“Chin Up”) and fails when it veers too commercial (“News”). Definitely impressive overall, though, and I’m sure these guys bring it live. MS/marasolforall.

—Dryw Keltz

The Material

TomorrowFemale-fronted rock outfit that aims to challenge Evanescence and Paramore for a piece of the action. Despite the requisite slow-then-hard-then-repeat vocal delivery on some tracks, singer Colleen D’Agostino has legit chops. MS/thematerial.

—Scott McDonald

Mayhem and Miracles

Dreamers ArriveIf you’re going for a great-big sound, Garage Band does you no favors. Save up some money and take these tunes into a recording studio. MS/mayhemandmiracles.

—Kelly Davis

M-Double-A-L

Think and Grow Rich MixtapeM-Double-A-L has skills. And I do love me some Barack Obama. But I’m still not quite feeling the former’s ode to the latter, set over a sample of Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” Like Em, M should also try to refrain from singing his own hooks. That said, there’s talent here, and with tighter production, better beats and fewer hyphens, M-Double-A-L might give me some change I can believe in. MS/mackalactickmusick.

—Nathan Dinsdale

Me Me the Moth

The Weirding ValleyA stylistic hodgepodge of sounds and singing that comes across like a Captain Beefheart fan’s wet dream. For me, it was more of a 35-minute nightmare. MS/memethmoth.

—Seth Combs

Microphone Mike

Teen IdolMicrophone Mike is a joke—a character invention by Mike Pereira (Black Box Studios) that falls somewhere between Ali G and Luther Campbell, complemented by a pretty sweet Dick Dastardly mustache. But this isn’t just an overextended inside gag. Pereira’s production chops make this tongue-in-cheeky facsimile of ’80s Dirty South rap believable, if not likeable. MS/microphonemike.

—Nathan Dinsdale

Mississippi Mudsharks

Voodoo DollThe Mudsharks’ swampy, bluesy, dark-themed stuff fits fine with titles like “Runaway Soul,” “Son of a Bitch” and “The Gravestone Lied.” It’d fit even better if everything sounded as raw and dirty as that harmonica.  MS/mississippimudsharks.

—Adam Gimbel

Miz Mandy

Today’s The Day and In The MixMiz Mandy’s having a “Discotheque Emergency” (srsly), and her candy rave blood is gushing all over the place. Somewhere in Malaysia there’s a dance party full of tweaked-out, serotonin-drenched, sunglasses-wearing, extraordinarily bedazzled, old Asian men, all wondering to where their queen disappeared. We just found her! MS/mizmandy.

—Justin Roberts

MotionlessUntitled DemoThis band epitomizes insipid, whiny, self-important, crappy emo-ish rawk that has nothing to say and only a tepid yet thoroughly convincing allegiance to the likes of Jimmy Eat World to guide them. This is bad music so precisely executed that it would not surprise me if they became the most popular band in the country for six months and then vanished back into obscurity. MS/motionless.

—D.A. Kolodenko

The Moviegoers

Be a Man EPJust on the verge of being “extraspecialgood,” this quartet plays a brand of indie rock that comes across like a more pop-friendly Pavement or sugary Sebadoh. With male/female harmonies, I swear I even heard some Low in “Avalanche.” Looking forward to the full-length. MS/themoviegoers.

—Seth Combs

MPIRE

DemoRaw hip-hop and wacky beats that somehow congeal. Dope.

—Paul Saitowitz

The Musk DeerDemo“Do it yourself” is something multi-instrumentalist Joseph D’arcy fully understands, and with nods to idiosyncratic outsiders of the past (see: Young Marble Giants, Minutemen, Sebadoh), he crafts a quiet, surprisingly enjoyable six-track EP. MS/themuskdeer.

—Todd Kroviak

Extra Special Good

Nature of the Beast

Homeland SecurityAny DJ who makes it out of North Dakota to drop the likes of Rakim into backing cuts gets my full support. With a deep grounding in the classics and a healthy appreciation of traditional SoCal style, NotB belongs in the modern resurgence of hip-hop. The recipe: Part Atmosphere, part Blue Scholars, part Del, a touch of classic Ice Cube and Eminem. Mix it up and listen well. MS/notbsd.

— Lucas O'Connor

Extra Special Good

Neat Beats

Science Is My GirlfriendAccompanied by handmade cover art that begs for its contents to be listened to, this EP truly delivers. With guitar, vocal blips, keyboards and beats all sampled and sewn together in an amalgamation of auditory indulgence, Neat Beats provides mellow sounds perfectly suited to smoking indoors while looking out the windown on a rainy day. The single problem I found with the EP? It’s only 19 minutes! I want more! MS/neatbeatsmusic.

—Justin Roberts

Ninja Love

Light Yourself on FireThe kitsch love of ninjas knows little bounds, but Ninja Loves takes it to another level, performing in full ninja gear and using weapons for both props and instrumentation. If that visual goes well with a ’70s power-rock EP vaguely dealing with battling evil animals, this is all you’ve been waiting for. MS/youloveninjalove.

—Lucas O’Connor

Nowhere Men

Pyles SessionsFor me, this is the kind of discovery that CityBeat’s Local Music Issue is all about. Three high schoolers from La Jolla making music that, while under-the-radar, is amazing in both sound and maturity. Our cover model, Tim Pyles, saw soft-spoken frontgirl Lindsay Olsen at a songwriter competition and immediately got her in the studio to record with a couple of her surfer-boy friends. It’s easy to hear from this five-song demo of folky-pop ditties what impressed him so much. Olsen has a voice beyond her years, sounding like a cross between Edith Piaf and Joanna Newsom, which means the often silly subject matter of the songs (communism, constipation and love) sounds as poignant as any band on the scene. The kids really are alright! MS/nowherementheband.

—Seth Combs

Extra Special Good

Northern Towns

Demo, Good as GoldWhat do you get when you drop a Northern Englishman into a SoCal punk band? Equal parts mod rock, street punk and Oi! Northern Towns deliver sing-alongs you can drink and dance to. Strident yet seductive. Frontman Daniel Sant’s favorite subject is nostalgia, which ought to touch a nerve in this city of transplants, but anyone can latch on to lyrics like these: “Finding love behind the bike shed / After school you’re fucking dead / It was just a dream / to turn 18.” When Northern Towns fully integrate the Beach Cities into their sound, they’ll be on to something truly unique, but there are very few duds in this pair of demos. MS/northerntowns.

—Jim Ruland

Extra Special Good

Nowhere Men

Pyles SessionsFor me, this is the kind of discovery that CityBeat’s Local Music Issue is all about. Three high schoolers from La Jolla making music that, while under-the-radar, is amazing in both sound and maturity. Our cover model, Tim Pyles, saw soft-spoken frontgirl Lindsay Olsen at a songwriter competition and immediately got her in the studio to record with a couple of her surfer-boy friends. It’s easy to hear from this five-song demo of folky-pop ditties what impressed him so much. Olsen has a voice beyond her years, sounding like a cross between Edith Piaf and Joanna Newsom, which means the often silly subject matter of the songs (communism, constipation and love) sounds as poignant as any band on the scene. The kids really are alright! MS/nowherementheband.

—Seth Combs
 

The Old In Out

DemoSan Diego has a storied garage-punk lineage, and The Old In Out have revealed themselves as frontrunners for the genre’s next generation with this four-song collection. Bursting with enough aggression to satisfy old punks but maintaining a party vibe, the stuttering drums and staccato chords of “My Turn” and “Blood & Teeth” are stained with Iggy’s blood and sporting Rollins’ sneer. They’re not reinventing the wheel, just fortifying it with spiked rims. MS/theoldinoutbandits.

—Todd Kroviak

Orlando

Special EditionOften-lovely electro-soul, but cheesy is cheesy whether it’s en Ingles or Español. MS/orlandoespop.

—Seth Combs

The Paddle Boat

B-Side of a Life/Everything 7”If a prohibition law were passed in San Diego, The Paddle Boat would clean up shop at local speakeasies. Somewhat of an indie take on old-timey jazz (think a slowed-down version of Django Reinhardt), these two tracks are certainly gimmicky, but as focused and adeptly composed as anything else in town. MS/thepaddleboat.

—Todd Kroviak

Rudy Palos

Honeydew MelancholyHoneydew melons grow best in semi-arid climates, as did this Chicano electronica artist, who describes his sound as “a love letter to some of the music that has inspired my soul.” “Rain” sounds like a badly scratched Muzak CD you’d find playing at Lane Bryant during a Right Fit™ pants and jeans sale, but the title track, true to its fleshy title and thanks to its waxy surface, stands out as the freshest one of all. MS/rudypalos.

—Enrique Limón

Paper Forest

The Pride and the ParliamentI suspect that most of these songs were recorded at a house party where the audience opinion was split between sucks and fucking brilliant. MS/paperforest.

—Kelly Davis

Pillbox Remedy

Go on, Take the Scissors and RunThis four-track demo features an acoustic guitar and heartfelt ballads that waffle between emo and adult contemporary. In other words, four songs too long. MS/pillboxremedy.

—Jim Ruland

Plane Without a Pilot

It’s About TimeBrutally efficient pop-punk. But is it about time? Not quite. MS/planewithoutapilot.

—Jim Ruland

The Plastic Revolution

Planning for ChaosIf I hadn’t read the band bio, I’d have politely dismissed the music as your standard, forgettable, melodramatic emo good only for 14-year-old girls. But TPR’s self-idolizing, mostly nonsensical bio compels me to conclude that this is the worst piece of crap I’ve ever heard and that someone—perhaps his mother—needs to smack that eyeliner off that one guy’s face. Dude, you look like a douche; just play music. MS/theplasticrevolution.

—David Rolland

Podunk Nowhere

Based on a True StoryThis husband-and-wife team takes a two-pronged approach to the singer/songwriter thing and infuse it with Americana, folk and pop. Solid writing and strong vocals, but who’s taking care of the pets? MS/podunknowhere.

—Scott McDonald

Extra Special Good

The Powerchords

…Think I’m GonnaI can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear a young punk band that seems to be drawing influences more from the LP bins at Thirsty Moon than the CD racks at Hot Topic. This disc may not be perfect, but, damn, the highlights are almost too good to be true—especially “Blow,” which sounds like all the best aspects of 1979 punk rock crammed into two minutes and 15 seconds. “Bad Guys” finds the band perfecting the same hyperactive song delivery and vocal trade-offs that made the first Futureheads album so enjoyable. God, they even wrote a song about Tia Carrere.  Seriously, how can you not like these guys?  Perhaps if you hate the Buzzcocks, The Ramones, The Fastbacks, America—that’s right, if you hate America, you hate The Powerchords. MS/thepowerchords.

—Dryw Keltz

Marcelo Radulovich

Summer in WinterSummer is an amalgam of styles and influences that sounds a bit like Soul Coughing channeling Manu Chao on painkillers. An honorable attempt, it suffers from indulging far, far too many whims, both sonically and lyrically. MS/marceloradulovich.

—Scott McDonald

 

Marcelo Radulovich

Vertigo at LunchtimeApparently, this guy sent his entire discography. See above, but I’d add that I found it a bit more annoying than Scott did. MS/marceloradulovich.

—Seth Combs

Rafter

Sweaty Magic EPSweaty Magic is another one of those indie-rock forays into the fabulous booty-shaking world of dance music. Albums like this can divide fans; this one makes me realize Prince is a lot harder to duplicate than The Shins. MS/rafterroberts.

—Dryw Keltz

Derren Raser

Live in Solana BeachAs crisp as a live recording gets. But John Mayer-ish dribble like “We must recover our communication or drown in this current of misinformation” makes me wanna beat my wife. MS/derrenraser.

—Seth Combs

Rembrant

Can I LiveHis bio calls him a “power house of talent” and “famous in his own right.” It also goes on to say that “by 2006 you should be well aware of the artist.” Well, it’s 2009, and I, for one, have never heard of him. His lyrics dab on the usual rap clichés, such as bitches, dice playing and weed, no doubt making his Dutch namesake proud. But dig deep past the Knight Rider theme sample, the Magnum condom and Sierra Mist references and you’ll find a sometimes-vulnerable urban poet talking about his daily hustle, love for his son and an undying desire to successfully break into the game. If he does, expect copycat acts like MC Monet and Little Van-Gogh! to follow.

—Enrique Limón

Revenge Club

9-Song DemoRevenge Club has been one of the city’s better female punk bands for a while, in classic Stooges style with a vocalist who sounds like she swallows her own loogies for breakfast. They won’t make anyone forget Seven Year Bitch, but these songs are pleasant additions to any “S.D. Vag-Punk!” soundtrack. MS/revengeclub.

—Ron Summers

 

The Riders

200 Miles From Everywhere…Adult-contemporary pop that thinks it might be alt-country and boasts a Grammy-winning keyboardist and a Steppenwolf producer. Primed and ready for regular rotation on KPRI. MS/theriders.

—Scott McDonald

River City

Little CagesThere’s something a bit unnerving about 20-something urban kids singing alt-country songs about public hangings and riding horses through the desert—which makes me wonder whether River City should ditch its exploration of Old West mythology and find themes more fitting for its otherwise upbeat—and absolutely fun—tunes.  MS/rivercitytheband.

—Kelly Davis

Janell RockPerformerThis posthumous release of Janell Rock’s final musical project will earn her more comparisons with k.d. lang or Linda Ronstadt than to the Kate Pierson persona on the cover. I picture Rock performing at a piano bar, sidled up to an always-full dirty martini (thanks, bartender!) with the lights down low, singing to a room full of dreamers and lonely hearts. Play on, Janell, wherever you are. MS/janellrock.

—Justin Roberts

Brian Rodriguez

Understand #2Though Brian Rodriguez describes his sound as a possible hybrid of Weird Al and Boyz II Men, it sounds a bit more like a schizophrenic confronting a serious penchant for synth.  Garbled lyrics and hyper beats make practically every track impossible to—yep—understand.

—Sarah Nardi

The Romans

One Hit Wonder Mid-tempo rock and vocals that summon a pinch of Eddie Vedder, tight and solid. They may have a one-hit wonder in them. MS/romansnoise.

—Paul Saitowitz

Tori Roze

No SubstitutionsRanging from the Joss Stone-ish “Sweet Drank” to the 1990s Taylor Dane dance-anthem style of “Like a Rockstar,” Tori Roze is both gritty and soulful. She apparently subscribes to the MC Hammer school of break-ups, as she sings in “Bet’s Off”: “You’re just trying to make me jealous / Better try harder ’cause nobody can touch this.” Her tortured yet self-confident style makes this songstress too legit, too legit to quit. MS/toriroze.

—Enrique Limón

Runhoney

Runhoney EPIf Gwen Stefani were a lesbian and fronted an all-girl rock band, they could easily be mistaken for Runhoney. They seem to be great musicians with an impeccable knowledge of power chords, but something tells me these ladies have quite the rabid female fan base, and I wouldn’t want to say anything negative about the band that might end up being detrimental to my health.  MS/runhoney.

—Justin Roberts

Margery Sauvé

8 song demoLaid-back vocals over solid traditional jazz/rock/latin instrumentation. The technology for a five-and-a-half-minute blues song describing various functions for shoes is something one thought impossible until now. MS/margerysauve.

—Adam Gimbel

A Scribe Amidst The Lions

Sunken CitiesDiversity and darkness reign supreme on this full-length. There’s a ton of interesting, unusual instrumentation, from keyboards to strings, but as much as they’ve crammed in there, every bit of the puzzle pops right out. It recalls the best of Jeremy Enigk’s powerful loud-soft-loud solowork  MS/ascribeamidstthelions.

—Adam Gimbel

Sea Pansy

The Cosmic Flag Is BurningThis is a Sabbath/Kyuss power trio that likes Renaissance cover art and dislikes bass players. Arena-ready chant: “When I say sea, you say Pansy!” MS/seapansy.

—Scott McDonald

Eve Selis

Angels and EaglesSan Diego Music Award winner Eve Selis and her five-person band take listeners through a whimsical hay ride down the dirt road of roadhouse love with “The Gift” and “Touching the Eiffel Tower,” optimistic redemption in “Welcome to Paradise” and, of course, love lost in “Goodbye” and “I Believe in Love,” which made me want to slip into my Snuggie blanket-with-sleeves by the fire, a box of wine by my side, and have a good cry. Don’t you dare judge me. MS/eveselis.

—Enrique Limón

Shady Side Players

Self-titledAnyone who can blend Appalachian twang with Celtic fiddle while resurrecting archaic language (uh, Twain?) certainly deserves a chance. MS/shadysideplayers.

—Sarah Nardi

Andrea Sharp

You Can Call Me AnnieStripped-down demo with just acoustic guitar and the impressive voice of a true blues hound. Some clever lyrics mixed in here, but for those who aren’t blues connoisseurs, this will probably just feel like another trip down memory/misery lane.

—Dryw Keltz

Shrewd Lucy

DemoI’m convinced that Shrewd Lucy aren’t aware of any music made before 1990. This sounds like Three Doors Down doing Alice in Chains covers while getting enemas from Staind’s lead singer. If you can play your instruments this competently, there’s no excuse for unleashing such a watery load of excrement onto the public. MS/shrewdlucy.

—Todd Kroviak

Adam Silva

DemoFor fans of Will Oldham and other quiet tuneful songwriters, just not quite as on key.

—Paul Saitowitz

Alan Silva

Beach SongsAlan Silva sounds like Jeff Buckley—after he drowned. MS/alansilva.

—Sarah Nardi

Silverleaf

UntitledThere’s a bit more indie-pop sensibility lurking here than your usual spare alt-country, which is good. But we could all do without the college-bar-band hooks that always seem to be lurking, because they’re bad. MS/silverleafband.

—Lucas O’Connor

Aren Skalman

DemoSkalman’s rustic slide-guitar licks and blues affectations wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on an old Folkways compilation if it weren’t for his drum-looping techniques and appropriation of dusty Southwestern country. Better still, there’s little irony here, proof that Skalman is the shit when it comes to merging old styles with new ones. MS/cartoontortoisesongs.

—Todd Kroviak

Skipjack

Letters from the FrontlineThis band sounds like the Epitaph all-stars circa 1994. Nice blend of Bay Area punk, East Coast cross-over metal and L.A. South Bay melodic hardcore. This 11-song demo is slick, quick and hard to pin down, and you get the sense there’s very little they can’t do. MS/skipjackmusic.

—Jim Ruland

Somato Sensory

Life on AutopilotAnd you thought Fall Out Boy was from Chicago. MS/somatosensorymusic.

—Nathan Dinsdale

Sons of Zap

UntitledThe wave of terrible music 10 years ago that straddled the fence between hard rock and lite metal taught aspiring musicians a lot of bad habits. Fortunately, it turns out you can blend legitimate chops and an appreciation for what made Sabbath great and come up with something that’s surprisingly listenable. MS/sonsofzap.

—Lucas O’Connor

South Psycho Cide

3-Song DemoNo doubt the four dudes of PSC are street. Much-valued body parts quiver at the prospect of dissing their music. But there’s something self-consciously “hard” about the main rapper’s gruff vocals. They’re good producers who know where to drop bong-friendly beats and insert great soul-sister singers (the kiddish rapper here is also promising). All they need is to lower-case the “G” just a touch to sound more real. MS/sdcp.

—Ron Summers

Species 

Of Questionable Origins The title of this one says it all. A quarter jazz, a quarter blues, a quarter elevator music and a quarter weird—all seemingly coming out of nowhere.

—Paul Saitowitz

Melanie Sponselee

DemoA warbling version of Corine Bailey Rae, Sponselee would do well to stick with the vocal simplicity she puts forth in “Weeping Willow,” a track that either heavily references or blatantly rips off James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet.”

—Sarah Nardi

Street of Little Girls

DemoThe brevity of this pleasantly strange little three-tracker doesn’t allow a divulging of the whole story, but it initially recalls a drug-era Breeders if they’d grown up in Marseilles instead of Ohio. MS/streetoflittlegirls.

—Scott McDonald

Strike the Design

Transcending the Scope of UnderstandingSurprisingly good vocals sadly framed by music you’ve heard before. MS/strikethedesign.

—Paul Saitowitz

Suspects of a Crime

DemoThese suspects are G-U-I-L-T-Y of loving metal, power chords and half-Layne Staley, half-Jack Black vocals. Arrest them at once! MS/suspectsofacrime.

—Scott McDonald

Swim Party

Pixie Dust On The Blood RangeWhen I think of San Diego indie bands, I think of groups that sound just like Swim Party.  Clean guitars, heavy on the pop but kinda experimental, and a subtle Velvet Underground flourish. Will this city ever get tired of the Pinback Jr.’s? Apparently not. MS/swimparty.

—Dryw Keltz

Syndicate

EP1Syndicate’s MySpace headline is “We’re so 2008,” but I’d say they’re sooo 2002. Their influences are clear (Interpol and The Rapture), but a fine rhythm section and some fantastic guitar work make this a great party EP to dance around to. All that’s missing is the cowbell. MS/syndicateus.

—Seth Combs

Tape Deck Mountain

SparksGoing literal with the name, this EP was the sole cassette-tape submission to our demo review. Good thing I keep a relic in my house; I found myself hitting rewind plenty of times to listen to the Pavement-meets-My Bloody Valentine sound blasting from my speakers. Looking forward to the full-length. MS/tapedeckmountain.

—Seth Combs

Team Abraham

Driven by the Mystery… I See EPLovely indie-folk with just the right amount of country and Dylan, circa Desire. The voice may not be the best, and the instrumentation screams Ryan Adams, but it’s still better than the vast majority of wanna-be troubadours out there. MS/abrahamnunez.

—Seth Combs

Titanarum

Spastis Progressivus Aggressiorum 7” EPThe type of music that would have made Beavis exclaim, “Yes!” If song titles like “Your Death” and “At War with Myself” didn’t give it away, this is some killer thrash metal in the vein of old-school Slayer and M.D.C. I see a tour with Cattle Decapitation in the future. MS/titanarumnet.

—Seth Combs

Tornado Magnet

PistoleroTuneful and well-played, but missing an outlaw edge. MS/thetornadomagnets.

—Paul Saitowitz

Nicole Torres and The Affiliates

Out of Harm’s WayIf Christopher Walken were in the room while Nicole Torres and The Affiliates were recording these songs, there are two things he wouldn’t need to ask for more of: flute and sax. The instruments have the unfortunate consequence of lending a dated, Dave Matthews-y feel to what would otherwise be a sexy, soulful effort. MS/torresnicole.

—Sarah Nardi

Triceratron

Four-Song demoWhite boys and their engorged sense of irony. Triceratron lobs a little gay house music and super-fun, awkward Anglo-rap at Was (Not Was)’s “Walk the Dinosaur.” It’s pure Jivewire hipster-boogie, inspiring skinny scarf-people to dance, dance, dance until the post-Iron & Wine depression wanes. It’s kind of awesome. MC/triceratron.

—Ron Summers

Uncle Aaron

The Chronic Chronicling of Chlorophyll As if you couldn’t tell from the title, this might be what happens when frat boys discover Garage Band. To be fair, I’m smoking a bowl while listening to it. (Inhale.) Yep, still sucks.

—Seth Combs

The Unruly Bangs

The Unruly Bangs EPThink early Imperial Teen with a dash of The B-52’s, a hint of Blonde Redhead and a heaping scoop of Sleater-Kinney and you’ll have The Unruly Bangs in your head. Grungy rock, girl vocals and the occasional overwhelming urge to drink cheap beer and get into fights—sounds like a good time to me. MS/unrulybangs.

—Justin Roberts

Vaginals

VaginalsDesigned to confuse, anger and charm audiences in equal measures, Vaginals belong to the head-fuck tradition of pop pranksters The Residents and Frank Zappa, tempering their silliest moments with seriously beautiful pieces like the placid “Sleepless Night.” They’re playful, but clearly serious, musicians. Each city needs a band like this. They even get my unofficial award for best song title of the year: “I Like Cuddle Boner.” MS/vaginals.

—Todd Kroviak

V Child

DemoThe obvious influences here are ’70s classic rock and the Pearl Jam and Soundgarden end of the early-’90s grunge spectrum (as opposed to the Nirvana and Mudhoney end). Guitarist Ken Najbert has a fantastic baritone voice for this style, but the rest of the operation needs to do the tighten-up. MS/vchildband.

—David Rolland

The Verso

Crime Of LoveOverly melodramatic indie-pop that knows its way around a hook and borrows cleverly, if not liberally, from its influences.  MS/theversoband.

—Scott McDonald

The Walking

Wanderings and DistractionsTuneful yet scattered acoustics and noise about love and masturbation. It’s a bit of a chore to get through, but there’s promise in here. Might not be good for walking, but good for walking away. MS/armanaugusto.

—Seth Combs

Wendy DarlingHalf-Told Bedtime StoriesThe information accompanying this disc says lead singer Cori Rush’s voice has been compared with that of Kim Deal, Karen O and Natalie Merchant, among others. The one omission that seemed glaringly obvious is Alanis Morissette. So, think a cooler San Diego version of Alanis fronting an indie-folk-rock group. You can’t do that on television! MS/wendydarlingrock.

—Dryw Keltz

Justin Werner & Co.

Dust in the SunbeamsNice, well-produced little folkie with quality players and just enough tempo variation to avoid being a snoozer. No picture was submitted, but they’d get bonus points if they all sported ZZ Top beards. MS/justinwernerandcompany.

—Scott McDonald

The West Indies

Scratch the SurfaceLocal underground hip-hop with creative turntabling and inventive sampling. It sports an old-school feel that at times brings to mind early De La Soul. Some of it’s a bit preachy, but the humor and deft lyricism elevate this release a higher level than you’d expect for an independent San Diego production. MS/westernindependent.

—D.A. Kolodenko

Joel P. West

Dust JacketIf you’re gonna be an indie-rock troubadour in a town full of them, then take a page or two from West. Lushly orchestrated music accompanied by startlingly confessional lyrics. Equally suited for coming home or cross-country getaways. MS/joelpwest.

—Seth Combs

What Went Wrong

with everythingWhat went wrong? Everything for this band. I wanna yell at this band like a misbehaving puppy that just shit out some bad hard-rock on my carpet. Bad metal! Bad metal! MS/whatwentwrongca.

—Seth Combs

Charlie Wilmoth

Sixteen Sound BitesThis isn’t music you’d listen to for pleasure. It’s dissonant orchestral stuff that Wilmouth, a doctoral candidate in music composition at UCSD, compares with Sarah Palin’s talking points: endless repetition lacking logic. Cool. But not very utilitarian. I’d love to hear something from Wilmoth’s other bands, FOX Japan and “experimental country octet” Go Duo. MS/charliewilmoth.

—Kelly Davis

Patrick Yandall

A New DayThe liner notes boast that Yandall’s smooth- jazz stylings have been used on the Weather Channel. Need I say more? This guy can play the blues, but he chooses instead to drown it in chorus effect and dilute it in a Jacuzzi full of lame. Appropriate for learning that it’s 74 and sunny today. Maybe someday he’ll create the on-hold music for the IRS call center, or the tunes in the elevator to Hell. MS/patrickyandall.

—D.A. Kolodenko

Lindsey Yung

Opal EssenceI want to like you, Lindsey—I really do. You sound like a nice person and a decent musician, all happy with your piano and your angelic voice, but, Jesus Christ, this album is causing me to fight a vicious case of narcolepsy right now that hasn’t previously been diagnosed. Maybe the new diagnosis is what I have to thank you for, Dr. Yung. Can I have my meds now? MS/lindseyyung.

—Justin Roberts

Yung Lyricist

The Listener MixtapeYung’s flow is solid, his lyrics are strong enough and his beats and hooks are hot—both in the sense that they’re good and that, in most cases, they’re stolen (or “sampled”). This isn’t gritty by any reasonable street standards—it’s actually a tad soft at times—but with more originality on the production front, Yung has the dexterity—both in vocal range and lyrical content—to make buzz-worthy hip-hop that stands on its own. MS/ylyricist.

—Nathan Dinsdale

Zank

Without A BridgeOh, man. This sounds like the lead singer of Hoobastank doing karaoke versions of Lifehouse songs. Even worse, there’s a crunchy, self-discovery vibe to the whole thing, as if he’s the only pseudo-hippie to ever sleep in European hostels. If you search “zank” on Urbandictionary.com, it’s apparently used to describe “unusually large testicles.” He must have big stones to pass this disc off as anything but sentimental garbage. MS/zankmusic.

—Todd Kroviak



 
 
 
 
 
 
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