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Stories by Dryw Keltz

Bacon, lettuce, and tornado

Looking for an off-the-wall gift for your white-elephant holiday party? Get to Lou’s Records in Encinitas and pick up one of their random mystery boxes. Each box costs $5 and contains around 30 compact discs. ...

Rocking the half-pipe

Cass McCombs is a road dog. On tour, he has witnessed a mix of cultures across the U.S. and often travels solely for the sake of learning about a new regional music scene. Though he ...

Need a good face-melting?

Purling Hiss was spawned in an incestuous Philadelphia music scene. It was just another band in the stew. Whereas other scenes would fall apart with too many cooks, the City of Brotherly Love apparently embraces ...

More punch to the gut

Ben Johnson holds the unique position of watching rock shows for a living and occasionally gracing the same stage. He has walked through the door at the Casbah hundreds of times to clock in for ...

Chad “Guitar Dork” Meatbody

After honing his chops as a touring guitarist and bassist for the likes of Mikal Cronin and FUZZ, Chad Ubovich decided to throw together some songs of his own. The first unit out of the ...

Not quiet on the set

Millions worldwide are utilizing smartphones to capture concert footage these days, but few are producing anything worth watching. These clips often capture truncated versions of songs, and the video quality is shaky at best with ...

Derailed by dentistry

It’s tough to believe that the New Pornographers have been chugging along for 15 years now. During this tenure, bandleader Carl Newman and company have delivered their infectious blend of sugary indie rock to the ...

Blitzen Trapper’s evil plan

Blitzen Trapper released VII about a year ago on their new home, Vagrant Records. The songs on the album blend the band’s country-rock standards with a dose of funk. So, how did these Portland boys ...

For Temples it’s venues

“Our hometown feels like it’s as far away from a city, or any place of culture, really, as far as you can go. It gives you that space away from everything. If we were based ...

The Baseball Project swings through town

Veteran-rocker supergroup slides into Soda Bar

The Baseball Project squeezed in a San Diego show before the end of the regular 2014 MLB season. The lineup for this evening featured the usual gunslingers, Scott McCaughey and Steve Wynn, alternating lead guitar ...

Everything comes back to the game

In 2007, members of REM, the Dream Syndicate, and the Young Fresh Fellows united for a common cause — to write songs about baseball. “We wanted to do an ice-hockey band but had been beaten ...

Worst. Headache. Ever.

Ben Bartel is the 29-year-old singer/guitarist for local acoustic-rockers Mayfield, a group whose sound Bartel equates to “a guy and a girl arguing with each other musically.” The argument almost came to a crashing halt ...

The Hold Steady hold up

...despite the missing piano man

Cheap Girls got the crowd warmed up for the Hold Steady. The trio from Lansing, Michigan, fueled by Ian Graham’s crooning vocals, was a throwback to ’90s alternative rock, most notably the Smoking Popes — ...

Mr. Kilgour’s SoCal holiday

When you think New Zealand, quality rock isn’t usually what comes to mind. Back in the early ’80s, though, a small label called Flying Nun Records began churning out stimulating releases by bands such as ...

Hold Steady Deathtrap

After a four-year hiatus, Brooklyn-based alt-rock band the Hold Steady is back on the road supporting a new disc, Teeth Dreams. They’ll be at Belly Up Thursday night, July 31. The band toured relentlessly during ...

Muff for life

Kim Shattuck pummel you, too?

“It would be weird having my grating, aggravating-sounding voice on ‘Here Comes Your Man.’ It would be really awkward.”

Guided by Voices is back on beat

Indie stalwarts deliver rock-and-roll salvation to Belly Up

There is an old saying in the music biz that a band is only as good as its drummer. On this evening, Kevin March proved that theory. March recently replaced another Kevin (Fennell) on the ...

More punk than the punks

Devo in the Southland

The intergalactic anomaly known as Devo is due to land at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on Monday, June 30. It won’t be the first time the band has stormed the shores of ...

Where punk rock and comedy commingle

Black Fag and Meatmen split a bill at Soda Bar

While watching the “absolutely fabulous” Black Flag tribute band “Black Fag” at the Soda Bar, the major flaw with the current touring version of Black Flag finally dawned on me. There is no joy in ...

El Camino breakdown

Last year, Camper Van Beethoven released the first of a pair of California concept albums. La Costa Perdida set its sights on Northern California and is, overall, the brighter collection of songs. In a twist ...

Blistering band, bleeding ears

Girls and boys, the Men!

Over their last three albums, Brooklyn band the Men have evolved from their punk roots to more traditional rock. In fact, their most recent effort, Tomorrow's Hits, feels like a classic-rock album covered by a ...

Wasted Years, by OFF!

The second official LP by the blessedly angry OFF! is a hell of a ride. The group is taking the foot off the gas every once in a while, and the newfound dynamics pay dividends. ...

Local cops have a soft spot for pop-punk?

San Diego may never get the national recognition of being a trendy musical hotbed alongside the likes of Seattle, Austin, and Brooklyn, but for the adventurous fan seeking quality indie and garage rock, the city ...

Wiggin' out at Casbah...

...with Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

Similar to Stephen Malkmus’s old band, Pavement, there is a Replacements-like quality to the Jicks’ live sets. They can be the best band in the world on one night, and they can be the worst ...

True band love

For fans of ’90s indie-rock, Speedy Ortiz sounds like more than a throwback. They come across as an authentic representative of that musical era. The tangled guitar lines, which always seem to find their way ...

Jim’s got Jimbo’s number

When Jim Heath adopted the name “Reverend Horton Heat” in the ’80s, he didn’t have high hopes for his particular brand of “rock and roll influenced by mid-century American music, especially rockabilly.” “When you’re in ...

Sun Kil Moon's Benji

Recording as Sun Kil Moon, Mark Kozelek’s new album, Benji, walks a fine line between tear-jerk confessionals and R. Kelly–style stream-of-consciousness stories. The everyday recollections of “Ben’s My Friend” feel kind of like Kozelek’s own ...

What goes around...and around

Return of the cassette tape.

Just when you thought it was safe to throw out that old cassette deck, it appears as if magnetic tape is making a comeback. Nestled in a nook in the southwest corner of M-Theory Music ...

Broken Bells' After the Disco

Wondertwins James Mercer (the Shins) and Danger Mouse (recent producer of every band in the universe) have once again transformed into Broken Bells to deliver full-length number two to their eager listeners. Unfortunately, this one ...

Hypnotic Califone

Califone's show at the Soda Bar fell on a Sunday night, five days after New Year's Eve. The event was a mellow "last hurrah" for the holiday season. A subtle transition into the standard workweeks ...

Don't think Parquet Courts is a silly band

Donuts only

Andrew Savage says his band Parquet Courts is no joke, but they like to joke around. He says he never thought Light Up Gold would be reissued and they’d be touring it.

Dear Santa...

San Diego musicians are asked what they want for Christmas. Among desires: guitar pickups, Pabst Blue Ribbon, skateboard, Harley-Davidson, a four-week Tahitian vacation…

Bad Religion's Christmas Songs

If you want to put a little skip into Santa's step this holiday season, throw on Bad Religion's new album, Christmas Songs, to greet him as he slides down your chimney. You read correctly, Bad ...

File under “Genuine”

How did the band X come to establish an annual holiday show in San Diego? This year they play the Belly Up on December 8.

Pearl Jamming Viejas, intimately

You know a band is gigantic when they refer to a concert at Viejas Arena as being “intimate.” When Eddie Vedder announced this to an audience of 12,000 fans, he was not joking. Circa 2013, ...

Meat Puppets: Just a band

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, the Meat Puppets were originally a hardcore band when they formed in 1980. From the start they mixed a little country weirdness into their sets, and, soon enough, this weirdness became ...

One less bad rock band

Primary influences are cited as being “hard times, shitty jobs, and crappy girlfriends.” Add to this concoction the dynamic duo of Merle Haggard and the Replacements and you have the basic formula for El Monte Slim.

Worship rock

Hailing the Lord and rock and roll at the same time.

Musicians Bill Maeda, Kenrick Buchanan, and Anthony West play in bands at San Diego churches. It is believed that worship rock is here to stay, due to the youthful congregants’ interest in music.

Quadra-guitar party jam at Soda Bar

Whereas the early ’90s were all about 20-somethings drowning in a sea of grunge, the onset of this decade seems to find its youngsters awash in a sea of folk and indie-pop. So it was ...

Tickled Again by Rocket from the Crypt

Rocket From The Crypt played a small, secretive show at Bar Pink earlier this year, but their concert at the Del Mar track was the first RFTC reunion show in San Diego truly open to ...

Bread & Salt & Bonnie

The Wright stuff — Fresh Sounds in Barrio Logan

Musicologist Bonnie Wright moves her cutting-edge Fresh Sounds series to artsy enclave Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan.

I Hate Music, by Superchunk

In 2010, Superchunk came back from an "extended hiatus" with the aptly titled Majesty Shredding. Now, after a three-year hiatus, the Chapel Hill fearsome foursome returns with I Hate Music. Apparently the hatred of music ...

I make me nervous

Former 91X DJ Marco Collins is nervous about the upcoming release of The Glamour and the Squalor, a movie about the early ’90s rock scene in Seattle, which he helped usher in.

Pythons, by Surfer Blood

In the world of Surfer Blood, major-label maturity seems to mean stripping away the reverb that drenched your first album and, lyrically, graduating from middle school to high school. Anybody who bought this album on ...

Steve Miller — the dude abides

The first stop of Steve Miller's 2013 summer tour at the San Diego County Fair was everything one could ever wish to witness at a classic-rock concert — bacon-wrapped foodstuffs, random horses, fair-game carnies, nine-dollar ...

The Thermals burn through the Casbah

A decade into the game, the Thermals have become an afterthought, taken for granted by many rock critics and musical outlets. They never had a radio hit or took risks with their sound. And yet ...

Something in the air

Interview with Jason Farnan (aka Lieutenant Facemelter, the 2010 and 2012 San Diego air-guitar champion) about this year’s U.S. Air Guitar competition.

Rookie vamp

Interview with Encinitas resident Nathan Young about his storytelling showcase called VAMP, held at the Whistle Stop in South Park.

Jamming econo

San Diegans Chris Wilson and Joe Cardillo raised $6029 on Kickstarter to finance a low-frills tour of the U.S.

The Terror by Flaming Lips

What does a Flaming Lips album written and recorded in a matter of days sound like circa 2013? Pretty much as one would expect: loose, psychedelic, jam-heavy, and LOUD! For all the complaints leveled at ...

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