San Diego CityBeat - Music feature <![CDATA[Royal Thunder sheds their skin - Atlanta-based hard rock outfit’s path of personal growth]]> Before writing and recording new album Crooked Doors, Mlny Parsonz, frontwoman of Atlanta-based hard rock outfit Royal Thunder, went through a pretty intense period of life change.]]> <![CDATA[Ex Hex work hard, play hard - Washington trio hold their power pop to a high standard]]> On Ex Hex’s debut album Rips, released last year on Merge Records, you won’t find a single note out of place. Each of its 12 tracks is concise and streamlined (not a single one pushing the four-minute mark), and there are almost no sounds on the record that weren’t made by guitar, bass, drums or human voice.]]> <![CDATA[The Sonics are still booming - Pioneering garage punks back after crazy hiatus]]> Even on the phone, Larry Parypa’s natural cool is unmistakable. The guitarist and founder of ’60s garage rock pioneers The Sonics is direct, devoid of pretense and unfazed by his band’s astonishing resurgence in recent years.]]> <![CDATA[Lightning Bolt’s empire of noise - Providence duo are busting eardrums for the long haul]]> Staying fresh as a band for 20 years is difficult, no matter what you sound like. But when you’re a band like Providence, Rhode Island duo Lightning Bolt—with all their frenetic, high-energy sounds coming from just bass, drums and vocals—the challenge grows all the more daunting.]]> <![CDATA[Waxahatchee keeps it like a secret - Katie Crutchfield creates a world of lush, intimate songs]]> It’s not all about Katie Crutchfield. The 26-year-old Philadelphia singer/songwriter, who performs and records under the name Waxahatchee, has released three albums of detailed and intimate indie-pop songs that sometimes feel like closely held secrets.]]> <![CDATA[Young Fathers go pop - Mercury Prize-winning Edinburgh trio challenges the mainstream]]> Kayus Bankole has a bone to pick with pop. In a Skype call from Edinburgh, the musician, who makes up one-third of U.K. eclectic pop/hip-hop trio Young Fathers, vents about the narrow conception in media outlets (radio, TV music channels) of what pop should be. ]]> <![CDATA[Father John Misty sings about love, warts and all - ’I Love You Honeybear’ about “the horror show of human experience”]]> It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and Josh Tillman is in a glade. A lemon glade, to be exact. The 33-year-old songwriter, better known as Father John Misty, is speaking to me by phone from another part of the country.]]> <![CDATA[Sure Fire Soul Ensemble bring funk to San Diego - Nine-piece group provides a soulful soundtrack]]> Nine-piece instrumental funk outfit The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble doesn’t share much in common with blink, Mraz or Bob Marley, but since forming in 2012, they’ve been offering their own unique soundtrack to their home city. ]]> <![CDATA[Pile is a band of perpetual nervousness - Boston band mixes volume with anxiety]]> Listen to “The World is Your Motel,” the first track on Pile’s You’re Better Than This, and you’ll hear a lot of intense sounds exploding from the band’s instruments all at once.]]> <![CDATA[Quantic pursues a love of 45s - New York DJ embarks on a vinyl-only journey]]> Will Holland, aka Quantic, was born in the small English town of Bewdley. Located near the Wyre Forest Nature Reserve in Worcestershire, Bewdley boasts a population of fewer than 10,000 and is a good 130 miles away from London. But it does have a record shop. ]]> <![CDATA[Restorations infuse punk rock with earnestness - Philadelphia band evokes arena-rock ambition]]> One of the most heroic rock songs of 2014 wasn’t written by Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen. And you won’t likely be hearing a Coachella headliner cover it anytime soon. It’s “Separate Songs,” the second track on LP3, the literally titled third album by Philadelphia’s Restorations.]]> <![CDATA[The introspective epics of Yob - Oregon trio play massive doom metal with a human touch]]> For many people, Mike Scheidt is Yob. Gentle and hirsute, he’s the face and the versatile voice of the Oregon doom-metal trio.]]> <![CDATA[Falling in love, with Lucinda Williams - Veteran songwriter enjoys resurgence of creativity]]> Lucinda Williams’ 2007 album, West, was a revelation. Mining the impossible emotions of losing a parent, and guided by her new relationship with Overby, Williams wrote enough material for two albums.]]> <![CDATA[Juicy J’s secrets to success - A step-by-step guide to achieving fame and fortune from the godfather of trap]]> I recently spoke with Juicy J over the phone, and he imparted some hard-earned lessons that are certain to help us all find success in this fast-changing world.]]> <![CDATA[Pharmakon captures the sound of real horror - Margaret Chardiet transforms trauma into industrial epics]]> Pharmakon doesn’t make music for the faint of heart. It’s discordant, punishing stuff, built from mangled structures and distorted melodies.]]> <![CDATA[You Blew It! rise up from the basement - Florida indie-rock group rides the emo-revival crest]]> You Blew It! started as a side project in 2009, and the band’s gone through a lot in the six years since—including something like 12 lineup changes, Jones says.]]> <![CDATA[The pernicious visions of Cult of Youth - New York group showcases an accessible darkness]]> In early 2014, when Sean Ragon was writing the songs that would become Final Days, New York post-punk group Cult of Youth’s fourth album, he was struck by an eerie and overwhelming feeling—a feeling that everything in his life was about to go suddenly, horribly wrong.]]> <![CDATA[Russian Circles practice heavy diplomacy - Chicago group celebrates 10 years of burly bummers]]> Chicago post-metal trio Russian Circles don’t so much write songs as build them, piece by piece.]]> <![CDATA[Eric Church is an alternative to bro-country - His new album ‘The Outsiders’ is more rock, less schlock]]>

Eric Church certainly has room for growth ahead of him, he’s already left a heavy impact by offering an ambitious alternative to mainstream country.

<![CDATA[The best albums of 2014 - Eight CityBeat writers pick their albums of the year]]> Punk rock has always supposedly been the voice of the maligned, yet it’s always generally catered to the straight, white, aggro male. Transgender Dysphoria Blues—the first record Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace wrote since transitioning to a woman—truly delivers on the potential of punk rock’s promise.]]>