Leave a comment

Friday Find – San Diego Music Award Nominees – 9/12/14

The end of voting season for the San Diego Music Awards is in sight – it closes Monday, Sept. 15 to be exact. And while I devoted a much bigger section to this last year, this year seems to have snuck up on me. So this Friday Find is dedicated to some nominees (and snubs) that myself and fellow SiSD writers would like to recognize. Check out the tunes and dates to see the bands – some of them will be popping up this weekend for San Diego Music Thing.

Screen shot 2014-09-11 at 10.09.46 AM

Vote here for your favorites and we’ll see you Monday, Oct. 6 at Humphreys by the Bay for this year’s award show.

Our picks…

Best New Artist – The Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio – by Sandy Myskowski

Looking at the nominees this year for the San Diego Music Awards, there are some tough decisions to make. One for me however, is pretty easy: Best New Artist. While I adore more than one band on this list, I’m casting my vote for The Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio. So for this week’s Friday Find I’m featuring my favorite tune, “Pack Your Bags,” off their album “Shorthanded.”

These talented local boys, each musically trained in SoCal, show how well the Left Coast jazz scene can hold its own in the genre borne over a thousand miles away. Drummer and front man, Matt Smith, paints an elegantly complex backdrop with each stroke on those skins. While Ed Kornhauser’s sway of sweet piano melodies tickle eighty-eight keys, with a touch as strong and tender as the man. And Mack Leighton’s five-finger runs through the frets of his bass could steal and steady a heart’s beat along any road.

Matt Smith’s polyrhythmic compositions are stunningly executed in this trio’s sophisticated, synchronized groove, creating delightful modern jazz that inspires a mind seeking adventure and a spirit willing to dance.

Catch them free every week, hosting the Sunday Jazz Jam at 98 bottles, 2-5pm.

Best Live Band – The Burning of Rome – by Jen Van Tieghem

I must concur with Sandy that some of these categories make for terribly tough decisions. Best Live Band is an interesting category in that there are so many different genres in the mix. The mesmerizing qualities of one nominee (see enchanting jazz/soul singer Whitney Shay) are diametrically opposite another (see wild campy surf/rock theatrics of The Creepy Creeps, who look to repeat after winning last year’s prize).

This year my money is on The Burning of Rome- the band put out a killer album in May, have been touring at a break-neck pace with some big name artists, and pour out their heart, soul and blood (the lattermost, literally) at live shows. With the most nominations overall, they better be taking home a few of these suckers – this one has their name all over it. It’s nearly impossible for a video to do the band’s charisma justice, but I’m fond of this recent snippet from The Troubadour which captures the climactic finish of “Animal” from their latest “The Year of the Ox”:

In reality you should really just see them live if you haven’t (Adams Avenue Street Fair, anyone?)  and if you have…. well, you probably already voted for them. HIGH FIVE!

Our snubs…

Best New Artist – Viva Apollo – by Jen Van Tieghem

I don’t envy the group that puts these nominations together, and yet here I am questioning their choices. The Best New Artist category has some great selections, but one topping my list would be Viva Apollo whose EP Skeletons showcases a wide-range of talents of a band on the brink. More on that here. Take a listen to “Earthquake” with all its haunting power:

After you write this band into your ballot catch them at The Merrow on Tues. Sept. 16 with a couple other great bands, Saint Diego and Social Club.

Our confusion…

Best Live Band – Tough call… – by Natalie Watson Webber

Tough call to be sure,-there are so many amazing, talented, high energy, engaging bands that perform here in San Diego night after night. Some of them are:

Rocket From The CryptSchitzophonicsSlightly StoopidThe Burning of RomeThe Creepy CreepsThe FrightsThe Silent Comedy and Whitney Shay.

While others were tragically omitted such as The Touchies, Shake Before Us, The New Kinetics, Gloomsday, Badabing, duping the public, The Mittens, Uniform Victor, Chess Wars, Neighbors to The North, Transfer  and one of my all-time SD faves The Baja Bugs.

Now, I get that this can’t be a catch-all category and it can’t be a million nominees long but if it really *is* “an honor to be nominated” then this is the category to open the barn door for- in my opinion.

From what I gather musicians do what they do because they love it. While some shine in the studio, some are lovely lyricists and some are masters of melodies- during live performance is when the magic happens.

From what I’ve seen the process to get to the stages takes a lot of hard work in rehearsal, getting the gigs, and then you’ve gotta convince folks to actually come out and see you. After you promote, promote, promote and create the right set list you gotta knock it outta the park musically and win over audiences with charisma and passion. If that weren’t enough while you’re at the gig you need to worry about how to get patrons to stay for your set if they’re on their way in or out from seeing their friend’s band. (I probably haven’t even scratched the surface but I hope I did some justice to all the hard work you all do.) Finally it’s in the magical moment when the artist shares their creations with the rest of the world when it *now* becomes all of ours.

Tragic is the band that are masters in the studio, but fail to enrapture an audience and get them up on their feet or let alone tap their toe (*hint to you guys: don’t quit the day job). Live performance is where casual listeners turn into, not only fans, but advocates for your band. It’s where first love blooms, old love is given a second, third, fourth chance, it’s why we’re all out there to be a part of something that is just a bit more than guitars, a bass and a drum, keys and an amazing “frontperson”.

We’re all in it for the magic that music makes us feel when it is shared with family, friends, strangers, or even strangers who may come to feel like family someday. And these feelings of community and serendipity only happen live. There’s an intangible give and take, an ebb and flow, a unique energy that sparks between performers and audience members that makes us all hunger for more, which is why we care, why we support our scene. It’s why this category is tough because we’re lucky in this town,-we’ve got a lot to be thankful for- we’re blessed with wordsmiths and people who are craftsmen at their instruments and have charisma to spare. San Diego is brimming with talent.

This “live” stuff ain’t easy and each genre has it’s own super stars I’m sure of it. Why not have sub categories like they do for all the others? Can you see any point in comparing say Joshua White’s  genius at the piano with the blunt-hurricane-force that is Pat Beers (Schitzophonics) on his Stratocaster of mass destruction? Yeah me neither.

But I still voted and you should too and don’t stop until Monday, Sept. 15! Click here to do so. If you’re looking for inspiration check out any of the bands that I listed above- you can’t go wrong.

For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Friday Find – “Figure It Out” by Shake Before Us – 8/29/14

The first single, “Figure It Out”, off Shake Before Us’  sophomore effort, Radio Time Bomb is an absolute “must hear” that leads into a hook-filled record (that’s right you can actually get this on vinyl!!) that leaves you wanting more. And guess what? You’re in luck…the record release party for Shake Before Us is TONIGHT at Casbah (for more info check out the event page).

Joining Shake Before Us for tonight’s revelry are San Diego favorites, SchitzophonicsThe New Kinetics, and the newly reformed, The Stereotypes. Tickets are still available for a super low price of $7 here or the old fashioned way at the door.

Either way, make sure you make your way down to the Casbah tonight for an explosive night of new tunes and great times!   Doors @8:30 p.m.- don’t be late!

Follow Shake Before Us on twitter: @ShakeBeforeUs


And take a lookie here! Shake Before Us are among some of our favorites (Don’t see your faves? Write ‘em in!) are nominated for a SDMA (voting is super tough this year).

Seeya tonight!!!!!


For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Listen in: Blackout Party’s “Go Easy, Louise”

With perennial San Diego Music Award nominees Blackout Party set to drop a new album, “Float On Towards Our Doom,” this fall — the band has shared their second single from the upcoming full-length with us: “Go Easy, Louise.”

A different animal than the recently released title track, the band aims for heartstrings with this one rather than the jugular. Leaning into nostalgic sentiment about the impending death of a loved one, the group settles into an buoyant mid-tempo ramble while tackling a formidable subject which could weigh down even the savviest of songsmiths. Instead, it sounds more celebratory than mournful — pounding drums prop up soaring choruses and when the bridge hits, a ripping electric guitar splits time with an explosive slide lead.

According to lead singer/guitarist Brian Holwerda, “I wrote this one for my Grandma Louise right before she passed a while back. Most people can probably relate to this subject, dealing with a loved one trapped in their physical body — wishing they could be released and finally find peace. We were able to get a clip of her speaking to me on the phone and used it in the intro here; one of my favorites off the new record.”

The local quintet have also recently announced an IndieGoGo campaign to help them with mixing, mastering and pressing the new album. Please go here to lend a hand (and be sure to buy that swirly “swamp green, wizard purple” vinyl!).

Want to touch the vinyl... Aaaaaawooooo!

Want to touch the vinyl… Aaaaaawooooo!

For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Friday Find – “Dirty Mirror” by the touchies – 7/25/14

Showing the sensitive side of their punk rock roots the Friday Find showcases the touchies’ “Dirty Mirror” from their latest record Mess With The Unicorn…Get The Horn has me from the first line:

“Makes me look ten years younger..”


HELL Yeah touchies!! Seriously,-if you’re here in San Diego, wanna have a great time and your heart can keep a beat, your toes will start tappin’ next thing you know you might end up dancing or moshing with Dino Touchie in his signature Luchador mask .


Bottom line- you don’t wanna miss a single show that this terrific trio deliver every time. Frontman, Stanze Touchie, is charismatic and is as relentless with his Fender Jagstange as he his with his swift and witty lyrics, and from the first show you’ll ever see he’ll make you feel like an instant old friend. Bassist, Mishey Touchie, wails away while joking with the audience and sings harmony punk rock style, which is to say that she’s completely awesome. Drummer, Von Touchie, deliverers rhythm that just won’t quit at punishing speeds to his skins that holds this trio together. For another glimpse of what the touchies are like, I recommend “GO!” also found on their Reverbnation page http://www.reverbnation.com/thetouchies.

The Touchies are playing something akin to one of their dream-come-true-shows TOMORROW night at the Casbah  with The LoonsPleasure Fix, and the iconic pop punk powerhouse, The Muffs, tickets are actually still available for $12 but I’d get a scurry on it here.

Get there early this is one show you won’t wanna miss.


For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.




Leave a comment

Friday Find – “We’re Gonna Get You High” by Grand Tarantula

The long wait for new tunes by Grand Tarantula is (almost) over. Their Slime Times EP will be out at the end of July and to end June they’re playing a kick ass show hosted by our friends at OfShowsAndBurritos.com. This Saturday, June 28 at Ken Club with the likes of Teenage Exorcists (another Friday Find alum) and Trips.

Grand Tarantula livin' large. (Photo by Marissa Mortati.)

Grand Tarantula livin’ large. Photo by Marissa Mortati.

GT’s sound equal parts pop and punk with enthusiasm and catchiness in spades. Just try not bobbing your head to the beat! To get you even more effing pumped for this show check out GT’s killer new video directed by OSAB‘s own Marissa Mortati. It features lots of things you already love- pizza, beer, navels, chest hair, girls with tattoos, confetti… what more could you want? A new favorite song? Ok, it’s got that too. Enjoy! Ya dig? See you Saturday!

Leave a comment

Friday Find – “Something to Lose” by Second Cousins – 6/20/14

I’ve been impatiently waiting for Second Cousins to release some music since catching them live last year. And it’s finally time! The young quartet will celebrate their EP release next Wednesday, June 25 at the Belly Up with Inspired and The Sleep and Taken by Canadians (a previous Friday Find artist).

The first single off the EP “Something to Lose” is a gentle folk-ish tune that has a dreamy quality to it. The kind of song that’ll make you want to kick back with a cold cocktail on a warm summer night. Singer-guitarist Austin Burns has a delicate rasp to his voice which gives it an old soulful feeling (despite his young age). In style and sound it reminds me a bit of Nick Drake. But enough blabbering… get to listening:

See you at Belly Up!


For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Friday Find – “Can’t Take It” by The Schitzophonics – 6/6/14

“I’m sorry sometimes our shows are like this…” mumbled laughing frontman, Pat Beers.

“AWESOME?!?!?!?” answered an enthusiastic audience member last Wednesday night at The Soda Bar.


This exchange occurred after The Schitzophonics, in between songs riffed, joked around and ‘prolly created another smash- in front the fans that stuck it out to be swept up in the tsunami of sound the band is well-known and ardently loved for.

If you haven’t seen The Schitzophonics you’re in luck –  they’re playing Art Around Adams (8PM Blindspot Records Stage) this Saturday, June 7.

Frontman and guitarist, Pat Beers, plays as if his very life depends on the quality of each note that he either rips out or gently cajoles from his guitar.  To watch Beers and his guitar is something akin to a storm and a war between the two of them yet the outcome is just about the most impassioned guitar playing you’ll ever hear not to mention the man has the moves.  If Beers musical mayhem can be simulated to war and he the General then he has the best two Lieutenant Generals at his side and the other side had better surrender -and quick.  Tom Lord provides high energy and swift bass lines that never fail to compliment nor compete with Beers intense showmanship.  Furthermore adding Lord as backing vocals was a strategic move worthy of Gen. Patton himself.  The backbone of the Schitzophonics is the rock-steady, flawless and fearless Lety Beers. Mrs. Beers has to have one of the toughest gigs in San Diego or in music alone with the high-flying improvisational solos her guitarist keeps coming her way- and she kills it every show!

If you wanna hear more from The Schitzophonics check out their latest single here on their latest single “Can’t Take It” here.

See you at Art Around Adams tomorrow! Click here for the full lineup.

For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.

%d bloggers like this: