Tropical Popsicle: Tropical Popsicle frontman Tim Hines is just too damn talented—we ran a feature on his other band, Lights On, in the 2010 Local Music Issue. This up-and-coming post-punk band isn't quite as radio-friendly as Hines' previous bands, but its haunting melodies, hypnotic grooves and dreamy live shows are still irresistible. What's more, they offer a wonderfully dark alternative to trendier strains of indie-punk and retro-rock.
Parker & The Numberman: Hip-hop group Parker & The Numberman are all over the Great Demo Review this year, garnering an “EXTRASPECIALGOOD," submitting a solid collaborative EP with Broken Dreams and collaborating with more local rappers than I can keep track of. With an endless supply of vividly imaginative rhymes and consistently solid beats at their disposal, they always seem to have an intriguing new project in the works.
Mrs. Magician: The guys in Mrs. Magician mean business: For March and April, they've got tours set up with buzz-band Cults and canonical indie-rockers Hot Snakes. If they're serious about anything, though, it's giving indie kids the perfect soundtrack for a ride to the beach. Their debut album, Strange Heaven—which came out digitally via Swami Records on March 6, with real copies hitting the streets on April 17—is as gritty as it is ridiculously catchy.
Kill Quanti: Record label Kill Quanti isn't a promotional venture so much as a small tribe, uniting some of the city's most creative beat-makers and bass-music heads. Run by members of the electro band Illuminauts, the label's put out some solid releases and hosted regular shows at Kava Lounge, helping build a foundation for San Diego's increasingly titillating electronic-music scene.
Black Resume: Hip-hoppers Black Resume have lately been booking big rap shows at Porter's Pub at UCSD, nobly giving fellow local acts a much-needed venue to perform at. But if the tracks they've dropped in recent months are any indication, they haven't been slacking on the musical front: Their flows are sharp, their beats are nasty and their live show is definitely worth checking out.
Cathedral X: A performance-art project featuring former members of Ghost Shores and Tape Deck Mountain, Cathedral X explores ideas of intimacy and introspection with dark, rhythmic grooves, elaborate costumes, hallucinatory projections and other audio-visual elements. Their highly abstract live performances can feel a bit more like sketches than fully fleshed-out productions, but they're arresting all the same.
The Stalins of Sound: Sounding like a cross between Devo and Big Black, robopunks The Stalins of Sound get fists pumping with mechanical guitar riffs and keyboard parts and unrelenting drum-machine beats. But this is no one-trick-pony—their new track, “Rapture in Blood,” shows them exploring deeper, darker, altogether creepier realms of the Goth-rock spectrum.
The Big Thank You: Holed up in their Sherman Heights home, experimental psychrockers The Big Thank You have been working hard at their immersive, weirdly eclectic brand of psych-rock lately, bringing in vocals to give it more emotional pull. They've yet to play a live show (their debut is at The Ruby Room on March 20), and they aren't exactly hip on the latest indie-music trends, but their music can be hypnotic and their sheer weirdness truly refreshing.