Düüns and cliffs.
New band pages are added each week to the Reader's Local Music Database. It now numbers over 4900 entries, each with custom written bios, discographies, a local Video Jukebox, over 1,300 playable MP3s, more than a thousand upcoming local gigs, links to related Reader articles dating back to 1972, and more. We listen to the newest music from them all, and found these to be among the most notable up and coming acts. Not that notable always means good...
Based in La Jolla and formed last year, Plunderbund (defined in the dictionary as “a league of commercial, political, or financial interests that exploits the public”) is a power trio playing alternative and power pop tunes. Their bare bones video for “Home” is built around a Foghat-style blues riff, with their female bassist-singer Lisa Brackmann confessing how she will “overstay my welcome and never make the bed,” building up a nice head of steam until launching into a scorching guitar solo.
Also recommended is Plunderbund’s ReverbNation track “New Age Parody,” which kicks off the hilarity with its opening line “Come out of that basement, ‘cause way down there, you’ll lose your hair,” following up with a rising chorus of Beatlesque harmonies that, though somewhat crudely recorded, clearly show a love and command of the sort of pop psychedelia trafficked in by likeminded and far more well-funded ensembles such as Tears For Fears and XTC.
Düüns is a psychedelic rock band formed in 2016, featuring North County natives Marc Montez, Mikey Sykes, Nathan Gentry, and Luke Cottrell. Coming of age together listening to the likes of CAN, the Velvet Underground, and Pink Floyd, Düüns says they are “informed heavily by reflection of the past, and a limitless desire to explore the future.”
The quartet recorded their Saturated EP over three nights straight to tape on a Tascam 388 at Lavender House Records in Vista, with members alternating instrument positions for each song. A new single appeared in April, “Escape/AWOL,” previewing their upcoming album U.S.S. Death Express, which sports a cover painted by singer-bassist Luke Cottrell, who wrote the title single.
Düüns, "Oh Shit! The ship is sinking"
“Our first gig ever was for this DIY festival in the desert near Joshua Tree called Gran Roca,” Mikey Sykes tells the Reader. “We camped out the night before and through the day of, and as the day went on, we got restless and got too high before we went on. We played a pretty fucked up set to the most bizarre crowd of tweakers and random desert people.”
“I guess we were entertaining enough to get invited back to play the next year.” Düüns appears June 1 at Soda Bar, June 8 at the Pour House, and June 25 at the Casbah, opening for Featherstone and Loom.
We're also always adding data about vintage acts who were part of San Diego's storied music history, like the Donkey Show, a 1980s ska band that played Caribbean-sounding rock, later cited as an early "third wave of ska" act. Sporting male and female lead vocalists with Kym Clift and Ray Campbell, the definitive lineup also included bassist/songwriter Thomas Zambrano, Bronco Farwell on trombone, and Dave Hillyard on sax.
Donkey Show, "Jump To Dance"
Their 1988 7-inch "Mr. Brown" was followed in 1989 by the Bali Island EP. They supported Fishbone's 1989 Truth and Soul Tour. Some members of the band backed Buster Bloodvessel of Bad Manners on a California tour as Buster's All-Stars, and Skatalites saxman Roland Alphonso made his first solo trip to California in 1989 to record and perform with the Donkey Show. They played their last concert in 1990 at Berkeley International Ska Festival, in front of nearly 15,000 people. A compilation was released in 1998, Just Can't Get Enough Of....
Dave Hillyard went on to play with Hepcat, the Slackers, Stubborn All-Stars, and his own Dave Hillyard & the Rocksteady Seven. Drummer Kent Graves and guitarist Chris "Creedy" Bates later played with San Diego's Unsteady. Matt Parker moved on to Chicago political soul-ska band the Adjusters, while Thomas Zambrano ended up in L.A.'s Hoodlum Pharaohs.
Named after the rural east San Diego town they came from, Jamul is one of the most jaw-dropping - and oddly forgotten - folk/blues/hard rock bands ever to come out of SoCal. They played frequently at venues like National City's Club Pleasure, performing originals and covers of tracks like the Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash." Gary Puckett (of the Union Gap) championed the group, helping them land a label deal with Gabriel Mekler's Lizard Records.
In addition to turning up on the KGB-FM Homegrown album series, Jamul earned nationwide airplay with singles like their cover of “Tobacco Road,” as well as originals like “Movin’ To the Country,” and “Sunrise Over Jamul” (named a Newcomer Pick of the Week in Cashbox magazine). Their self-titled debut LP hit number 93 on the Billboard album chart in 1970.
"We did very well packing the clubs and ended up making an album produced by Richard Podolor with Gabriel Mekler as executive producer," recalls drummer Ron Armstrong (formerly of the Misfits, who opened in San Diego for the Rolling Stones) on his website. The same production team also produced Steppenwolf and 3 Dog Night.
"Little Richard heard that we recorded one of his songs on our album, 'Long Tall Sally,'" says Armstrong. "We were playing at the Whiskey, in Hollywood. He told our leader and lead singer, Bob Desnoyers, that he liked our four piece band better than his big band and asked us to back him for his first video, produced by Barry Richards, and also play one of our songs in Washington DC...this became part of Barry Richards TV Production."
Jamul, "Tobacco Road" (Barry Richard's Turn-On)
Surviving video footage includes Jamul playing part of "Tobacco Road" in 1970 alongside Little Richard. Another amazing clip of the same song appeared on YouTube a couple of years ago, with a performance and interview taken from the Barry Richards Turn-On TV Show Collection DVD.
Jamul split in 1974, having been extant around six years. Armstrong went on to found Little Rock in 1975 with Cajun singer and accordion player/guitarist Joel Sonnier, Michael T Lawson on bass, and Stan Welsh on lead guitar.
Then there's San Diego hip-hop artist Hayden Ralph, aka Haydo (unrelated to Hayden Johnston aka Haydo, the hip-hop artist from Wheeling, WV). Local Haydo has self-released titles like Under the Sea (unrelated to the same-named Little Mermaid anthem) and Trapmatic (unrelated to the same-named song by V Cha$e, or the Algerian band by that name).
Haydo's other tracks include “Unpredictable” (unrelated to the same-named song by Louisa Johnson & Olly Murs), “No Time” (unrelated to the same-named songs by the Guess Who and Lil' Kim), “Canopy” (unrelated to the same-named songs by Kim Churchill, Susie Suh, and the Dear Hunter) featuring Boi Fre$h.
A new single appeared in early 2018, "On the Low," unrelated to the same-named songs by Logic, Common Kings, Phresher, Hope Sandoval, etc.
Another single was released in late February, "Turnt Up To the Max," unrelated to the same-named songs by Erod, F1JO, Hollywood Mickey, KinG7, Stixxx, and Dev x Ovaní, or to "Turnt Up To Da Max" by Kaemor, or to "Turnt Up To Da Max" by Big Hoot ft. Phunk Dawg, or to "To the Max" by DJ Khaled ft. Drake.
That was followed in March by "Water," unrelated to the same-named songs by Ugly God, Jack Garratt, Pentatonix, New Hope Club, the Who, John Frusciante, Kodak Black, etc., and "Waves," unrelated to the same-named songs by Kanye West, Dean Lewis, Mr. Probz, MTNS, Tonight Alive, Phish, Ryan Oakes, Metric, Jacquees & Dej Loaf, Miguel, Joey Badass, Electric Guest, etc.