Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin continues to strengthen his San Diego ties since releasing his solo album, Bolts of Melody, last year on local record label Hi Speed Soul. Franklin's latest project is Magnetic Morning, a moody collaboration with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. Formerly called Setting Suns, the core duo changed the name to differentiate themselves from bands with similar monikers (do I smell “cease and desist”?) and are busy recording their first full-length this month, somewhere in the Deep South. The group released an under-the-radar EP on DH Records earlier this year. Turns out that The Album Leaf mastermind Jimmy LaValle is not only helping record the new album, but is also touring with the band, which heads out on a month-long national tour in mid-October.
They're playing The Casbah on Tuesday, Nov. 4, and the show features an opening set by indie-folk troubadour Drew Andrews, whose debut album is due out on Minty Fresh in the fall. The show should be a mellower affair than Swervedriver's fire-breathing set in May, but no less anthemic, as the band sounds like a darker version of British trio Doves.
Positive buzz is building for good-time local rock foursome The Donkeys, who have recently signed to Bloomington, Ind., imprint Dead Oceans. The Dead Oceans roster has slowly grown to include some of the finest up-and-coming bands in American indie music, including Evangelicals, Dirty Projectors, Phosphorescent and These Are Powers. If press from SPIN magazine and Daytrotter.com is any indication, The Donkeys' forthcoming full-length, Living on the Other Side, is guaranteed to get some serious attention from the blogging masses. Though it's not due out until Sept. 9, the band celebrates its release with a show at Whistle Stop Bar on Friday, Aug. 22, with openers The Sarees. Following the release party, The Donkeys are set to play L.A.'s The Echo on Aug. 26 before heading out on an 18-date national tour, which starts Sept. 1 in Oklahoma City.
Three months have passed since 2008's Coachella Music Festival, and organizers are still trying to connect concertgoers with lost items. How's that for commitment? Among the items to be claimed are keys to a Mercedes, a BMW and a Land Rover, several digital cameras and a royal-blue baseball cap embroidered with the Hyundai insignia—more proof that spending your weekend in a sweltering, (possibly) drug-induced haze is a bad idea, especially if you want to keep track of your shit. At least it's good to know that big-festival organizers still care.—Todd KroviakSend tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Enrique Experience
I wasn't feeling all that hot on my way to the Centro Cultural de la Raza for Perry Vasquez's latest conceptual installation. My sinuses were acting up, and all signs indicated a dreaded summer cold (the cruelest of all). Then, between sniffles, I saw my long-lost friend Caleb waiting at a bus stop on Park Boulevard. I honked, he got in and it was on.
Equal parts witch doctor and crazy person, Caleb pulled a vintage Madonna CD out of his crammed backpack and we rocked out. Like the pop diva herself, Caleb would occasionally lapse into a faux British accent. He was wearing an Aztec ring, which he said an Egyptian healer had given him at McDonald's, and in his right jean pocket he carried an amethyst rock the size of a cinder block (“I cured my mom's menopause with this,” he told me).
Once in the Centro, Vasquez took center stage and introduced the crowd to his latest series of silk screens composed of quotations superimposed on popular iconography (superheroes, clip art and the like). Attendees were encouraged to name the art show, using the acronym P.L.A.T.O., and write their own interpretation on cards hung on clothes lines around the gallery. My favorite was Play Lovingly And Turn Over, though Pyro-Limbic Amalgam = Terrestrial Oscillations ended up winning.
“I opened up a pinhole in the universe, and it looks pretty interesting” said Vasquez, dressed in a red Sgt. Pepper-inspired jacket and coordinating lucha libre mask for the show's performance. “I opened up the hole and got inside.”
Meanwhile, Caleb decided to give me a spiritual cleansing consisting of blowing air in my ear, chanting gibberish that he swore was Tibetan and making swooshing light-saber-like noises. “Go ahead and eat,” he told me by the hors d'oeuvres table. “I can see your thyroid healing up.”
Caleb might be a Hot Pocket stuffed with lunacy, but one thing is for sure: By the end of the night, my sinuses cleared up. —Enrique LimónP.L.A.T.O. by Perry Vasquez will be on view at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, 2125 Park Blvd. through Sept. 13. www.centroculturaldelaraza.org.
Girls on top
This story's been told before, but it's one worth telling again and again until shit starts to change: The global music industry is dominated by men. San Diego music isn't immune; in fact, the city seems especially female-free when it comes to the local indie-rock and DJ scene (giving props where they're due: We're aware of and appreciate your existence, Grand Ole Party, Wild Weekend, Calico Horse, Kill Me Tomorrow, DJ Claire and the rest of the local mould-breaking, female-inclusive bands and DJs we can't fit inside this parenthetical).
Tons of social theories attempting to explain the phenomenon have been conjured up—women are too busy getting married and/or having babies; there's a shortage of female rock 'n' roller role models; more men than women are into listening to and learning about music. But, as a single woman sans kids who loves music and owns a guitar but has yet to progress past learning how to tune it, I know firsthand how simple and guilt-inducing the solution is: Lots more ladies just need to pick up those dusty guitars (or keyboards or drum sticks) and start playing.
Frontwoman Cori Rush got into music-making early on in high school but lost her way when she hit college and got married. Once the 26-year-old settled into her work and married life, though, she realized things weren't quite right.
“I missed music, and I really wanted to get back into it,” Rush said.
Her next step was craigslist, where she found Nate Heller, a guitarist, backup vocalist and music producer.“We met and immediately vibed together, or whatever,” Rush explained. “And since then, we've been through a couple of drummers, a couple of bass players and now we have our core members and we're happy.”
So after about two years together, the band—called Wendy Darling after the Peter Pan protagonist who went where not many other girls have gone—is finally getting local radio play, packing the Beauty Bar and other venues for live shows. On Tuesday, Aug. 19, at The Casbah, they'll celebrating the release of their first full-length album, Half-Told Bedtime Stories, before they head off on a West Coast tour.
Wendy Darling's music is all about Rush's strong vocals, and it flip-flops back and forth between poppy indie rock and indie folk, depending on whether Heller's got a banjo or guitar in hand. The sound is low-key, catchy and pretty, reminiscent of Rilo Kiley minus all the intricate guitar playing and music layering.
And if you doubt Rush's control over the boys in the band, listen to the lyrics she's penned and skim through the band's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/wendydarlingrock), where you'll find pictures of the guys wearing dresses.If that ain't female influence, we don't know what is.—Kinsee Morlan
… and more girls on top
On the DJ side of things, Red Sonya, half of the Lady Lush project that's been ushering female DJs into venues across town for the past year, is making sure the club scene isn't just one big sausage party.
Red Sonya's current focus is on Lady Lush VERSUS, a weekly Thursday night event at the Airport Lounge that features two female and two male DJs every week (for the schedule, visit www.myspace.com/ladylushdjs). In her spare time, the house/trip-hop/funk/downtempo DJ is learning more and more about electronic music production, so she'll soon be playing music she's engineered herself.
To all the other gals out there too timid to get behind the turntables, Red Sonya says: “Just get out there and do it. Opening sets at clubs are a good way to get your feet wet, as long as your music fits the vibe, of course. Bring a posse with you and have fun.”—Kinsee Morlan
Shot on Scene
Photo by noisemedia
Efren Ramirez (aka “Pedro” from Napoleon Dynamite) was spotted as a guest DJ last Friday night at Downtown's Minus One Lounge at The Keating Hotel. By the end of Ramirez's mixes and mashups, just about everyone would've voted for Pedro.