Residents, bums, surfers and drunks in Pacific Beach may have noticed the well-placed billboard hailing the release of Slightly Stoopid's new album, Everything You Need . Apparently, that's also the marketing credo of Encinitas-based Surfdog Records in promoting the hell out of the Ocean Beach punk-reggae-dub-rock band. Stoopid's no newbie on the scene-they've been bad spellers for years. Between the time they started jamming in San Diego's hippie haven and now-selling out 'Canes and getting radio play on radio stations like 91X, 94/9 and L.A.'s KROQ-the boys no doubt went through a few thousand Ziplocks of chronic and a curio of bongs-er, water pipes. We're not predicting world domination on this one, but regional success is enough to raise the bar on the party.
ELEKTRA NIXES TOUR
We are predicting world domination for The Troys. The duo of hottie teen songwriters-now fully made-over by Elektra Records' cool hunters (aka "style consultants")-have just finished shooting the video for their debut single. I shared a Southwest airbusride with their father-local attorney Sandy Troy-on the way back from South-by-Southwest, the annual music industry summit in Austin.
"You're the first press to hear this," the former Deadhead said, handing over a watermarked advance copy (read: it's coded so Mr. Record Label knows if it was you who uploaded it onto Kazaa) of their album. Papa Troy looked over his shoulders conspiratorially, apparently viewing the CD as some sort of knock-you-on-your-ass contraband (like a good father should). After one listen to the punked-up Avril Lavigne-esque tunes, I returned the album to its rightful owner.
Mr. Troy casually asked for my take on the album, to which I replied: "It's everything I rebel against in music. They've taken good songwriters and made them mall-approved. But it'll sell 500,000 copies, and I'm stoked for them."
"We're hoping four times that amount," he chuckled with the confidence of a man who just figured out Bill Gates' PIN number.
Bill Gates, no. But the girls may soon be pocketing John Mayer's digits and they'll be able to go dutch to a swank, star-strewn enclave of eats on one of the right boulevards in L.A.
Something that affects both The Troys and Jason Mraz (aka Toad the Wet Sexpot) is that their record label is actually being responsible during these times of missile-studded skies and international shit storms. Elektra Records has postponed all international tours for their artists because of the war in Iraq, to the shock and awe of the rest of the music industry, who would just as soon send their new star into Saddam's Palace of Peace to perform a birthday gig if they thought it might push a few more units.
CAGE IN COMICS
Local hard rockers Cage will be the subject of a 56-page rock 'n' roll comic book being put together by the New York-based Fyre Productions, proving yet again the strange cosmic truth that heavy metal and rap are the only two genres that are able to do the whole comic-geek thing without losing any cred. In fact, the violence and sex therein usually boosts their stock among the sexually-charged misanthropes of the world.
Local band Hot Like (A) Robot-talented rocker tykes still looking ahead to their 20s-have had a little bitter with their sweet lately. Last month, some cretin jacked $3,000 worth of bass equipment from their van while they slept. Now, however, they're in promising talks with Island Records.
It sounds like they're entering the strange "lemme buy you dinner and take you record shopping" stage of major label courting, when A&R "cool guys" (young, hip faces the labels send-armed with company credit cards-to make friends with the band but have absolutely no power within the corporate structure) convince the kids to sign early and sign poorly. This is all jaded conjecture, of course, because all the band has told me is that Island Records is putting on a showcase for them April 25 at SOMA. Star-shaped weenies hang in the balance...
The new EP for Rochelle, Rochelle-the stellar local rock band that seems to be the subject of one "major label signing" rumor after another, without payoff-has just landed upon my desk, and it's a doozy. If Dave Grohl hadn't been the effeminate member of Nirvana, he might sound this melodically forceful. We have word from God's personal Reuters service that if this record doesn't get the band signed to a deal that spreads their gospel on a national level, the big J.C. will hurl all the rock stars that he begrudgingly allowed into heaven down in one big-ass hail storm of dead souls.
Ilya, the local melancholy atmospherists with the amazingly hot and disturbingly polite frontwoman Blanca Rojas (how hot is that?), have signed a deal with the Japanese record label, Spark Musiq. SM will put out the band's Poise is the Greater Architect album in Japan, which most rock 'n' rollers know is the holy land of adulation. The Japanese, while creating some great bands of their own, still treat American musicians like royalty; a following in that country ensures free noodles, fish and drugs for eternity. You can also get Ilya's Japanese "mini-album" locally at M-Theory Records, Lou's and Off The Record.
We don't really understand how this happens (why you be cherrypickin', Los?), but a San Diego musician has been nominated for "Guitarist of the Year" at the 2003 Los Angeles Music Awards. Raymond DiGiorgio of local band RDG is nominated. Apparently, the category is for "the top five guitarists in the United States." We congratulate DiGiorgio on the nomination. The geographical vertigo is just one more example of how L.A. has selflessly built its legend by making other cities seem much cooler than their own.