I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and in the vein of all year-end best-of/worst-of, most-least-likely-to’s, and honorable mentions I wanted to put together a geographical best-of list of my own. One that takes place in my current residence: San Diego, California. Since being here, I’ve discovered a wellspring of creativity, mostly in both form and content of young people quietly and steadily doing what they love, in a community that takes place, often, in the living room and surrounding areas of the Habitat House- or other unlikely grounds for performance, be it venues, galleries or attics. It is here where people are propelled to engage with the mysteries of the expanding formation of dirt and sea and tacos, a people with a desire (beyond all) to create and build. So without further hyperbole, I extend a special thanks to Zack Nielsen/Sezio for introducing me to some of my new favorite bands. In no particular order:
Boomsnake encompasses everything I ever wanted in 2010- reverb-drenched minimalist sounds, looping harmonies, group vocals. Formed by Gabe Rodriguez, formerly of Say Anything and Weatherbox. Judging from his musical foundations- this is a stretch, effectively leaping across genres, graduating to a more matured, experimental sound. Their album ‘Give and Take’ was definitely one of my favorites.
Mrs. Magician is a newly formed band that features current members of Drug Wars, Northern Towns, and Boomsnake, as well as former members of Please Mr. Gravedigger and First Wave Hello. Their debut track “there is no god” is a spooky lo-fi rock track that sings in playful ‘la la las’, super catchy. The album artwork is a photo of a 1930’s flood victim, I can’t look at it for too long.
Range Rover reached out to me a few weeks back, they told me they were a couple of teenagers from San Diego that had a few tracks for me. I love it when teenagers send me badass stuff as a subtle reminder that I totally wasted my time running track in high school- when I could’ve just started a punk band. Fuck! Their stuff is super distorted and fuzzy, mostly about soda and other things that teenagers like.
I’ve been meaning to tell you all about Bryan Bangerter for quite a while now. Allow me to clarify that Bryan leads a troop of musicians called ‘The Whole Shebang’ which I think is really endearing. It’s safe to say that the name is fitting- there are A LOT of members. With an impressive ensemble, Bryan and his gang “incorporate child-like gang vocals, strings, horn sections, melodica, harpsichord, and more” The result is everything from R&B to folk to jazz- laced in unique narratives that are entirely original.
I first heard about Chairs Missing at Sezio’s Four Day Weekend, and soonafter asked my friend Zack what their deal was. Their performance was incredible. I found out that this band is a side project from Tape Deck Mountain, another great band. It’s just really sweet sound psychedellic pop music with a really strange name.
If I say anything more about how much I love this band, it’s just going to get weird. Writer has been a recent favorite of mine with their latest self-titled album that I haven’t stopped playing. Tracks like “Barefoot Art” and “Miss Mermaid” make me think they should meet and be friends with Faces on Film then say, hey- we kind of sound the same and we’re both amazing. I hope that happens one day.
I’ll be honest- I just recently heard about Little Deadman (Recently being, today) But I enjoyed the tracks I heard so much I wanted to add them to this list. They’re also playing tomorrow at the Casbah, so I’m getting familiar. I like what I hear so far.
Another find from Sezio’s Four Day Weekend- Cuckoo Chaos, which includes musicians Jackson Milgaten (Vision of a Dying World), Craig Barclift (Beaters), Jeremy Scott (The Paddle Boat) and Dave Meade (Cousins). I’d mentioned before what a huge fan I was of The Paddle Boat, and it’s a real shame that they’re done. But Cuckoo Chaos sounds like a resurrection, a re-interpretation of that style, super minimalist bedroom pop, songs about love singing, “need me, want me, love me!” Everything you could ever want a boy to tell you. Perfect.