We love this stuff.
If you haven't noticed, CityBeat gets off on the thrill of discovery. In fact, we've been accused of “lovin' and leavin'”-finding a band, screaming its praises, and then ignoring it. That's partially true, partially stinkin' lies.
We view our function here in the music department as a point of entry. Of all the media in San Diego that isn't a blog or a website run by the kid at the record store, we pride ourselves on giving bands their first shot. That's why you rarely see big MTV-type artists who sell out venues in our pages-they don't need the love.
We view ourselves as the people who “pull bands up” into the spotlight. After which we turn our attention back to the cracks, crannies, holes, dives and dingy spackle-divots to find other good musicians to yank onto this wild ride they call media. Some musicians want us to keep screamin' and screamin' about their bitchin' music. Understandable, but not really fair to the good artists who haven't gotten any real estate in these pages.
Granted, we're snobs. We're only talking bands that we consider good-regardless of how many hot chicks show up to their shows. It's subjective as all hell, but for music writers, subjectivity is all you have to go on.
The Great Demo Review Session is our ultimate exercise in rooting around in the rough. Each year, we ask every man, woman and gender-reassignment case to send us their music. Last year, we found bands like Kush & Jah Blood Fiyah Angels, Wilderness Survival and That Mad Ahab. This year, we admittedly found fewer artists who tickled our pickle. Still, we have identified five “EXTRASPECIALGOOD” bands you should go out of your way to hear.
This year is also a poignant case of “it's all in the packaging.” Our writer Seth Combs was the first to sift through the piles of demos sent to the CityBeat offices. As such, he took all of the CDs with classy cover art.
Using the “looks are everything” mantra, he found the best albums. This should speak volumes to young bands thinking about putting out their first CD. Save up, do it right, make it just plain cool.
As we said in our advertisements for this issue-we didn't promise to be nice. This isn't about blind encouragement. This is about being real. It may sting, but if you only got feedback from your mom, you'd still think macaroni-based art is cutting edge.
So we hereby present to you the Great Demo Review Session, Class of 2006.