Noise Ratchet will officially call it quits with a final show at Ground Zero on Dec. 11, but as is usually the case, the implosion of a top San Diego band marks the spermification of another.
According to Antony Bland, director of A&R at Noise Ratchet's label, American Records, four-fifths of the band will emerge next year with a new, as-yet-untitled band.
"The band lost a couple of members this year and the music has changed," said Bland. "They felt this was the time to mark that fact."
Since signing with American Records last year (label head Rick Rubin personally signed the band after seeing a show at defunct all-ages venue, The Scene), Noise Ratchet has been recording their major-label debut, with Rubin on the boards. Then trouble struck: the band lost founding guitarist Roger Molina-he was quickly replaced with former As I Lay Dying guitarist Evan White-and also parted ways with their management.
"It's 'cause we didn't win the [San Diego Music Award] this year," joked vocalist Joel Hosler. "No-we've been going through a lot of crap lately and our guitar player who started the band and the rest of us weren't getting along very good anymore. But no fear, Brandon [Young, drummer], Jon [Jameson, bassist], Evan and I are continuing with a new band and new songs. It's already in the process, so it won't be too long." (We've got our own theories on the breakup, involving the fact that the singer don't speak English so good.)
As far as NR's recordings with Rubin are concerned, Hosler says the new, as-yet-unnamed band will probably re-record a few of the songs for their own debut, which Bland said is planned for a summer 2005 release on American. "They're writing songs at the moment and actually have a good amount of the new record done," said Bland, adding that he's impressed with the new material.
In a posting to their website, Noise Ratchet blamed the split on label turmoil and a diminishing draw at concerts. The final straw was their tour van, which blew up on the last night of their most recent tour.
"It was a tough year for them, and they've emerged a lot stronger," Bland said.
Fans at the farewell show will get a complete overview of Noise Ratchet's career-including the entire Why We Cry EP, material from Till We Have Faces and their eponymous EP, and likely a few of the songs that were planned for Noise Ratchet's major-label debut.
Romantic Mexican pirates
A new Spanish-language radio station has begun broadcasting full time on 105.7 FM. The station sports a "romantic" format, is apparently commercial-free and bills itself as "San Diego 105.7."
While stations broadcasting out of Mexico to blanket San Diego is old hat (several local stations, including 91X, Jammin' Z-90 and Magic 92.5, have transmitters in Tijuana), the fact that the FCC and their south-of-the border counterpart CoFeTel (Mexican Federal Telecommunications Commission) know nothing about it is.
Radio geeks have been buzzing about the station since it began testing its un-modulated, illegal carrier in August. The location and parameters of the station have yet to be pinpointed, but it's known that it's broadcasting from Tijuana, Tecate or a rural area in Mexico. Furthermore, the signal is stronger than Tecate's XHATE-FM (95.3 FM), a Class 1 station, and much stronger than a small Class A facility in Rosarito licensed to operate on the 105.7 FM frequency.
While we're not really sure what the hell Class A and Class 1 mean, one thing is certain-it's a Class BigKickAss signal, nearly as strong as some corporate-owned commercial stations in San Diego. While San Diego is relatively rife with illegal broadcasters (with two full-time pirates on 96.9 and 106.9 FM), the rogue Mexican pirate is by far the biggest to plunder local airwaves.
The FCC works in close cooperation with CoFeTel to regulate shared border airwaves. According to the CGC Communicator (a newsletter published by Communications General Corporation), the signal has been reported to the FCC and its parameters and owner will soon be known.
"Til then, we wish "em buena suerte. Horale!
In other eye patch news
San Diego's RadioActive Radio (radioactive.org), an Internet station whose signal has been picked up and broadcast illegally from unknown outside sources, received their third FCC visit on Nov. 10. According to a press release from the station, federal agents showed up on their property claiming they didn't need a search warrant and demanded they shut down immediately or face a $10,000 fine.
RadioActve stated that it has a non-compliance policy when it comes to the FCC, but the DJ on duty shut down the station. They started broadcasting again immediately after the visit and say they do not intend to cooperate with the FCC in the future.
"The FCC is continuing its campaign of intimidation and fear against people simply trying to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech," a spokesperson for the station said.
In 2003, Senator Dianne Feinstein began a senate inquiry into the questionable legal practices of the FCC, demanding entrance to homes without a warrant after Free Radio San Diego personnel reported a similar visit.
Jesus-more pirate news
San Diego's longest-running illegal broadcaster, FRSD (96.9 FM) recently scored legitimacy points with its inclusion in a San Diego radio exhibit at UCSD's Geisel Library. Among other bits of San Diego's radio history is the mobile equipment the station used during its first broadcast. The exhibit opened in October (FRSD's two-year anniversary) and continues through Dec. 22.
Also, a caller claiming to be mayoral candidate Donna Frye called the station Nov. 13 to thank FRSD and its listeners for support and promising to come on the station in the future as a guest. The supposed "Frye" stated that her first order of business was to move City Council meetings to the beach, the best place in town to "smoke a fatty." Which, of course, means the call was a fake-either that, or Frye has some creative ways to breed harmony among City Council wags.
Perplexed FRSD jock DJ Harpo initially suspected the call might be legit, as he had previously met Frye and she had agreed to call the Saturday evening "Happy Hour" show he co-hosts with DJ Milk. The station extends an open invitation for the real Frye to appear on air.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Dick. www.pirate969.org.
Local band Dorado Gold is one of 10 finalists (from over 7,000 entries) in Takeover Records' "Sign My Band" contest. Winner gets a contract with the label, clothing from Hurley, a full range of merchandise from AI Creations, plus an opening slot on a Yellowcard tour and full support for radio, Internet and street promotion. Voting at www.purevolume.com/takeover began Nov. 15 and runs for four weeks.
As part of their demo deal with major label Island Records, Hot Like (A) Robot recently recorded nine songs with producer Jim Wirt (Fiona Apple, Incubus, etc.), and plans to release the tracks in mid-2005. The band is currently signed to Revelation Records (Christiansen, The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower), which just released their new album, Hurry Up and Die.
According to Swami Records main man John Reis, 2005 will be a banner year for the label, with reissues of San Francisco punk legends Crime, plus new albums from Beehive and the Barracudas, The Husbands and Dan Sartain. One project that will have power-pop geeks salivating is a retrospective of the Nerves, the '70s cult heroes whose lineup included future Beat member Paul Collins, future Plimsoul Peter Case and hit songwriter Jack Lee. The Nerves provided Blondie with "Hanging on the Telephone," one of the blondly ambitious new-wave band's first hits. "I think some of those songs could be hits now or whenever-they're just classic songs," Reis said. "It's incredible music, it stands the test of time."
Bass-less indie-rock trio The Buzzkill Romantics (fronted by former introspective Rookie Card bassist Jason Hee, who is now a London-loving glam boy extraordinaire) hold a CD-release party at the Kensington Club on Nov. 24 for their debut album, Cold Cold Cold.
Because everyone could use another million bucks, blink-182's "Feeling This" gets new life Nov. 30 when it's included on the new compilation Video Game Awards Hits Volume 1. The song had originally been included in the pro-football nerd game, Madden 2004. You can also spot a very serious Mark Hoppus interviewed in a documentary about They Might Be Giants, called Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns).
Cattle Decapitation-they who had their album banned in a few countries due to super-gross artwork-are working on a pair of shirt designs to be carried by Hot Topic mall stores. Expect a cute Got Milk? heifer puking out the glammy remains of Ashlee Simpson or something.
Retro rockers The Apples officially parted ways in 2003 and members joined bands like Pistolita and The Stereotypes. The band has recently begun to perform sporadic shows, all leading up to Applefest on Nov. 27 at Ground Zero. Every band playing contains a past or present member of The Apples, including Horse the Band, JFTS, Paris Texas, The Bandits, Da Bears, Penguin Patrol and the namesake fruitcakes themselves.
KPRI has just released the second volume of their Live Tracks CD series, with songs recorded live in the station's studio from the likes of the Indigo Girls and Duncan Shiek. Also included are live recordings from odd locations such as the Barenaked Ladies at the Museum of Making Music or Jack Johnson at the Stephen Birch Aquarium. Locals represent too, yo, with tracks from the 2004 KPRI Battle of the Bands winners Skanic, Steve Poltz, Eve Selis, Berkley Hart and Nickel Creek.
Local jingle-farm Singing Serpent-an ad-music company run by members of Bunky and Soul-Junk-is looking to hire a few new composers. Seriously one of the better music jobs in town (read: good peeps, good money), but you best be damn good, as members of RFTC, Pinback, No Knife and others have composed jingles for the company. Interested musicians, engineers, producers, etc. should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.