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Stories by Dryw Keltz

Punk-rock stable Milo Aukerman

Descendents frontman chucks the UCSD science degree and rejoins the band

When most people go to college it’s not a huge deal. When Milo went to college it changed the world of punk rock forever. His institution of choice was our own UCSD. Besides hitting the ...

Mekons in the woods

A Ship in the Woods brings the British cow-punk band to town

San Diego is in for a treat when cow-punk band the Mekons plays in Escondido on September 25 at the new home of arts collective A Ship in the Woods. Mekons singer/guitarist Jon Langford figures ...

Out of the Redwoods, into the Midnight Pine

New self-titled record shows growth for the dark-Americana artists

The local Redwoods music collective merges the creative energy of the Elephant Six movement with the hired-gun musicianship of the Wrecking Crew. All the Redwoods projects, however, are anchored by the words of percussionist/lyrical scribe ...

Punk dreams come true

Punk Rock Karaoke's Greg Hetson talks about his human jukebox

Greg Hetson cut his punk-rock teeth playing in Redd Kross and the Circle Jerks before embarking on a nearly 30-year run with Bad Religion. Hetson recalls shows at the local Jackie Robinson YMCA as being ...

Guided by Pollard

At over two hours with two encores, you got to wait for the GBV nugs

In 2014, five guys played the Belly Up under the moniker of Guided by Voices. A pair of these musicians was present at this year’s show — Robert Pollard (singer) and Kevin March (drummer) — ...

Welcome to the Pearsphere

New Orleans punk four-piece sets up at Soda Bar on Saturday

New Orleans–based quartet Pears is a modern spin on the punk bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s — groups such as the Victims Family, Nomeansno, and My Name, bands that employed the Minutemen’s ...

Corporate (park) jams

Pitbull Audio puts its gear where its parking lot is...and lets bands play it

Pitbull Audio opened their National City storefront in 2014. They’re an independent musical instrument and pro-audio retailer that has to compete with big-box chains, such as Guitar Center and Sam Ash. One of the methods ...

This Broncho has a reverb tank

Tulsa quartet tours through town behind this year's sticky 'gazer Double Vanity

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Broncho has traded in the new-wave sound prevalent on their last album, Just Enough Hip to Be a Woman, for a reverb-drenched collision of ’80s synth-rock and dreamy shoegaze. With three LPs out, ...

Half-hour of free Descendents therapy

After 12 long years, SoCal punks return with Hypercaffium Spazzinate

The first Descendents album since 2004’s Cool to Be You blasts out of the gates with a pristine five-song run of classic ‘Dents goodness. The cream of the crop is “Victim of Me,” an 97-second ...

One hot Headache

Aussie pub-rockers Royal Headache get Soda Bar bouncing

Before Royal Headache started their set, I spotted their bassist, Joe, taking a stab at the NFL Blitz ’99 arcade game nestled in the club’s main room. Perhaps he was using it to learn the ...

Erg-onomics

Mikey Erg gets back to writing and rocking his own music

For eight years Mikey Erg played drums and wrote a bunch of songs for the Ergs!, a hyperactive punk band born and bred in New Jersey. Since their breakup in 2008, he has spent most ...

Between Hell and the Bollocks with Chica Diabla

“Every time we get momentum going, my stupid cancer thing happens and I’m, like, ‘Oh, my god!’”

Chica Diabla vocalist Elizabeth B. and bassist Rachel Bunz had a homespun, three-song demo of material in the can when their future drummer happened upon a posting they had placed on Craigslist. “I moved out ...

Royal Headache and festivals for fuel

Aussie indie act storms our shores on the way to Pitchfork

Though they come from “the land down unda,” Australia’s Royal Headache has been growing a loyal following in the states. That’s not bad for a quartet two LPs into the game. The group is about ...

Fun things to do in San Diego

A million things under the sun — we offer a few (some indoors)

County Administration Center Waterfront Park In 2014, 12 acres of former parking lots were converted into a public park facing San Diego Bay. Running both north and south of the county government headquarters established in ...

Nothing like a headbanger

After a mugging in Oakland, Nothing's Nicky Palermo releases his best record yet

Domenic “Nicky” Palermo began recording songs as Nothing about five years ago in Philadelphia. He was depressed and in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Nothing’s initial demo couldn’t be deemed a “bedroom project,” as ...

Shadowy shows

From Kids in the Hall to the Hideout — follow the Shadowy Men

The instrumental trio Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet are best known for penning the theme song to the Kids in the Hall sketch comedy TV series. Even though the Shadowy Men were in the ...

Nanana — Chica Diabla do what they want

Local punk'd-rock quartet drops a dilly of a debut

Have you spent years lamenting the fact that this city doesn’t have a worthy Joan Jett/Runaways/Donnas-style female-fronted rock-and-roll juggernaut to call our very own? Well, lament no more. Chica Diabla has arrived and they have ...

Alt-rockers still paddling despite "Nada Surf"

New York–based band was told their brand came with "a certain lack of success"

Nada Surf first gained national recognition in 1996 when the video for their song “Popular” went into heavy rotation on MTV. As a result, the group toured their debut album, High/Low, heavily, but when it ...

California Beach Slang

Two live acts with Casbah written all over them...

Before Beach Slang played, patrons at the Casbah were treated to a new supergroup of sorts in the backroom. The trio brave enough to call themselves “California” includes one member of Green Day (Jason White) ...

Beach Slang campfire test

Philly quartet rides a rising new record into town to play Casbah Friday night

After releasing a pair of EPs, Beach Slang dropped their debut album, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, last October. A couple of months later, the band watched as it ...

The Ramones of post-rock

Jazzy Tortoise takes The Catastrophist to Belly Up on Tuesday

Jeff Parker officially joined Tortoise on January 1, 1997. He had been playing in an unofficial capacity with the band for some time before that. He sat in during hometown gigs in their native Chicago ...

Dispensary rock

Hard-rock Canada band Black Mountain returns with IV

Black Mountain is back in action with a new record, IV, after a relatively quiet four years. The group was last heard from in 2012 on their soundtrack to the post-apocalyptic surf film Year Zero. ...

Stay out of East Miramar

Hikers, bikers, beware

Please: More signs on the edge of the Marines’ Miramar base.

Forest friends

Al Howard among the Redwoods

The prolific Alfred Howard has started yet another band. The new project has been christened “Cardinal Moon” and is a collaboration between Howard and singer/songwriter Dawn Mitschele. “Dawn is a tremendous songwriter and lyricist and ...

The synesthetic Splavender

San Diego prog-pop quartet plays for beer — literally

Danny Ellis attended Valhalla High School, where he sang tenor in the choir. It was a rewarding experience, one that sent him to Europe three times. “I sang at the Vatican, all around Rome, Germany, ...

Scum, Rise!

Post-punks Protomartyr pack Soda Bar

Detroit quartet Protomartyr delivered a blistering set of post-punk goodness to Soda Bar. The band performed selections from all three of their albums, which the packed house lapped up like enthusiastic Rottweilers. Vocalist Joe Casey’s ...

Getting personal with Waxahatchee

Indie hit Katie Crutchfield talks full band versus rolling solo, and writing on the road

After releasing two lo-fi solo albums on independent label Don Giovanni, Katie Crutchfield delivered her musical project, Waxahatchee, to a larger home. Her first release on Merge Records was last year’s Ivy Tripp — a ...

This city is brutal

Booking = Gambling

Soda Bar booker Cory Stier put it best when he described his job as akin to running around like headless poultry. Look for the following five decapitated chickens to continue to run their butts off ...

Protomartyr's beauty amidst ruin

Post-punk quartet rocks songs that resemble its hometown of Detroit

Before Protomartyr was a band, Joe Casey would build up a little whiskey courage and sing a couple songs with one his favorite local Detroit acts, Butt Babies. The younger musicians had befriended Casey and ...

Return of the River

Americana band Drag the River's shows may drag on, BUT YOU LIKE IT!

Even though Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price both grew up in Missouri, it was Colorado that eventually brought the two together. In the mid-’90s, Price’s band, ALL, relocated to Fort Collins — where Snodgrass happened ...

Expiration dates are for suckers, not Supersuckers

Eddie Spaghetti talks country, walks rock and roll

The Supersuckers have drifted back into country mode on their new album, Holdin’ the Bag. It’s the first time the band has released a country collection since 1997’s Must’ve Been High. “We were on tour ...

A man called Car Seat Headrest

Bedroom rocker and internet hit Will Toledo on tour

Car Seat Headrest is drawing comparisons to underground band Guided By Voices for the stage-via-bedroom (in GBV’s case it’s a basement, actually) nature of their music. Guitarist, singer, and band mastermind Will Toledo has been ...

What did you get?

San Diego musicians remember weird gifts past

’Tis the season for giving and receiving. No matter what your holiday is — Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus — gifts are bound to be exchanged, though levels of merriment may vary. Often gifts will be ...

Cracker, Camper, and the Sharknado debate

Camper will be tackling its 1988 album Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart in its entirety

David Lowery’s dueling musical outfits, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, are in town to play their annual year-end concert at Belly Up on Sunday. The decade-long tradition, however, features a twist this year. Lowery tells ...

Seven Grand returns to its whiskey atmosphere

North Park bar unplugs and refurbishes

One of the unique gems of the North Park music scene has gone dark. The stage in the back room of Seven Grand is no more. “I felt our music program was amazing, but we ...

Clashing at the Office

Undercover crew and a variety of local singers do Joe Strummer proud

The Office’s undercover series attacked the Clash on the chilly last night of November. The hologram of Joe Strummer was unavailable this evening, so a variety of local singers took on the role of the ...

Zoom Zoom

X guitarist Billy Zoom is back in business after cancer scare

X guitarist Billy Zoom was diagnosed with bladder cancer this past July. The band performed summer shows with Texan Jesse Dayton (who’s played guitar for Willie Nelson, among others) sitting in while Zoom commenced treatment ...

San Diego rockers invade Spain and Italy

Robert Lopez and friends bring a Schizophonic Little Richard to Europe

Last month, a San Diego traveling circus invaded Spain and Italy to perform a run of shows. The three-act tour, which featured the Little Richards, Schizophonics, and Diana Death y Sus Novios, benefitted from the ...

James and the giant bass

Yo La Tengo's James McNew talks "stuff like that there"

In 1990, Hoboken natives Yo La Tengo released Fakebook — an album composed of cover songs, reworked tunes, and a handful of original compositions. 25 years later, the band is revisiting that template with Stuff ...

Chango voodoo

Local indie act Botanica Chango plays a record-release at the Irenic on November 4

Josh Becker (aka Chango Chango) from the group Botanica Chango sums up his band’s sound as being “voodoo pop.” What is voodoo pop? Well, let’s examine “BB and the Beat,” currently available on the band’s ...

Space-age gunslinger rocks SDSU

My Morning Jacket's generous set

My Morning Jacket’s Jim James looked like a space-age gunslinger on this evening at SDSU’s Open Air Theatre. He sported a black leather trench coat throughout the show. It was outlaw badass and the perfect ...

Belegarth is an interesting beast

Sign a waiver, grab a sword

Going Medieval in North Park.

Mudhoney likes it small

Seattle grunge band plays Casbah behind their new record, Vanishing Point

Steve Turner met Mark Arm in the fall of 1982. They were introduced by a mutual friend (Alex Shumway) at a concert. According to Turner, Shumway said, “Stevie, this is Mark. He’s straight-edge too,” which ...

My morning walk with Jim James

My Morning Jacket frontman talks Waterfall, recording gizmos, and walking for inspiration

In late 2013, My Morning Jacket set up camp north of San Francisco in Marin County to begin recording the collection of songs that became The Waterfall. The band selected a new studio called Panoramic ...

May the Force be with Titus Andronicus

...and not the police force

The Titus Andronicus van rolled into town on the same night as the Foo Fighters traveling circus. Whereas Dave Grohl and Co. most likely played to a sold-out Sleepy Train Amphitheatre, Patrick Stickles and his ...

Dangerous bike spots + safer routes

Cycling out of harm’s way

There's nothing wrong with taking the long way home.

Stickles's march to the sea

"If the guitar is not loud enough, then my brain is louder, and it’s not gonna work”

"Tell the world my story. Nobody believes me. They think I’m bullshitting them.” The story Titus Andronicus mastermind Patrick Stickles is referring to is a complicated one. Much of it is peeled away within the ...

You are what you eat

...says Gateway Drugs, who have dad's "knack" for rock

When you think of family bands, groups such as the Osmonds, the Bee Gees, and the Jackson 5 come to mind. A young quartet from Los Angeles has emerged on the sibling band scene, though, ...

Wavves' slavves come out to play

Nathan Williams brings the band home for one night in North Park

A rainy night in North Park failed to keep the punk-rock masses away from the Observatory for Wavves’ San Diego tour stop. After a rollicking set by Chicago rockers Twin Peaks, Nathan Williams unleashed his ...

El Niño from hell

Wavves plays psych-rock for the surf and skate set

The seas may have been calm for Wavves in 2014, but the San Diego band is about to hit the West Coast like El Niño from hell, with a new album, V, hitting the shelves ...

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