If you search for albums tagged "San Diego" on Bandcamp, you'll find some interesting stuff. In this semi-regular column, we sift through recent Bandcamp postings and report on our findings.
River Cabrilla, Cold: I don't know how it's possible, but chillwave is being kept alive despite having seemingly exhaled its dying breath a few years ago. River Cabrilla mixes beats and easy-going synths into a familiar and definitely chill sound. It's not altogether offensive, but it's hard to get excited about it when the original wave of artists has already moved on.
SandyCheeks, Endless Bummer: San Diego has so many guitar-based bands that it's hard to know what to do with all of them. But I'm not about to say no to another one as raw and raucous as SandyCheeks. This noisy group kicks ass, seemingly on the verge of coming off the rails at any given moment. That element of chaos—coupled with how catchy they are—is what makes them fun.
Castoff, Acquisition: Castoff have clearly spent some quality time with all of the Epitaph Records Punk-O-Rama compilations. They dispense tons of pick slides, skate-punk rhythms, sociopolitical verses that almost invariably begin with "We" and an earnestness that Greg Graffin would applaud. I can't hate it, but it's also a sound that hasn't changed much in 25 years. A little bit of variation would go a long way here.
Goryl, The Father of Evil Witches: It's hard not to be won over by the title of this one. But this isn't exactly a rip-roaring power-metal album. It's a dark but strangely pretty instrumental release composed and performed entirely on guitar. So it's closer to Earth than, say, Manowar. It's almost meditative in its sustained notes and heavy atmosphere. Maybe not something I could listen to every day, but cool all the same.
Bakkuda, Bakkuda: Now we're talking! This group combines a sultry R&B atmosphere with twinkling synthesizer sounds, which swell up into some epic hooks. It's somewhere between M83 and Aaliyah, and that's an even better combination than I'd ever imagined. Bakkuda is on to something cool here, and based on tracks like "Gravity" and "Missing Piece," I'll be interested to hear what's next.