In an age where major labels seem the last and least likely place for new talent to develop, it’s a surprise when a big concern like EMI Nashville actually backs a winner that nobody saw coming. Eric Paslay is the kind of “new country” singer-songwriter just as likely to pull out a Hendrix or Pixies cover over the usual downtempo Dylan rework, with more than a little of his rocker side peeking through the twang on singles like “Song About a Girl,” “She Don’t Love You,” and “Friday Night.” Sure, those three tracks pretty much cover the entire spectrum of his subject matter - weekends and girls – but I found a bit more substance in the 34 year-old’s earlier tunes, like “Never Really Wanted,” dating all the way back to 2011 and evoking the same honky-tonk travelin’ man tone of the hit single he co-wrote for Jake Owen, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” There’s a thoughtfulness to the lyrics and delivery that gives weight to everyday moments that might otherwise go unnoticed and unsung. Hey, moments like that happen a lot with girls. On weekends. To Eric Paslay, anyway. In advance of his June 20 appearance at Observatory North Park, “I’ve seen y’all asking about the next album, and I promise it’s in the works” he tweeted last week, vouching more “music that’s made for having fun.” Especially with girls. On weekends.
- Saturday, July 7, 2018, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
$17 - $20
Prepping this column, I like to listen to the newest music from each act, as well as sampling older tracks and videos, in an attempt to get a feel for their sound. I was already somewhat familiar with electronic tripster Daedelus via the Dublab website, where he takes random collections of thrift store vinyl and Frankensteins them into experimental dub tracks that sound for all the world like the noise Salvador Dali would hear in his head if he dropped both ecstasy and acid. I was less familiar with his solo releases and holy cats, he has a lot of them. Like, every time he replaces a lightbulb, he has a new album or EP, over thirty releases, and that’s not even counting his stuff as Adventure Time, or his work with the Long Lost. He mostly specializes in lengthy, instrumental sojourns through space and time, so I’d guess that his July 7 set at Soda Bar is unlikely to include his 2010 collaboration with former local the Gaslamp Killer, “Impulse,” given its in-your-face vocal track, which isn’t bad if you like really angry robots yelling at you. There’s more singing on his fairly recent Labyrinths album, as well as several guest players, which is apparently somewhat rare on his own releases, but it’s unclear if he’s bringing any kind of live backing players or vocalists to San Diego. The bill includes his Dome of Doom labelmate Wylie Cable.
Ellen DeGeneres is one of the most influential musical tastemakers this side of Pitchfork and Stereogum, with more power in her pantsuit than famed heyday DJs like Murray the K and England’s John Peel ever dreamed of wielding. You can either thank or blame Ellen for pretty much the entire careers of everyone from Justin Bieber (whose first national TV appearance on her show in 2009 predated his debut album) to Philippine star Charice Pempengco, pop singer Charlie Puth, and 7 year-old piano prodigy Anke Chen, currently blowing up online after returning to the program in February with a jaw-dropping performance of Chopin’s “Puppy Waltz.” You can perhaps add to that list of Ellen-made celebrities country/R&B crooner Anderson East, who performed the first single from his new Encore album, “All On My Mind,” on her show last October, earning so much subsequent press and praise that he’s now embarking on a well-touted headline tour coming to Harrah’s on August 23. If you follow Miranda Lambert, you probably already know he sings on her track “Pushin’ Time” and co-wrote a couple of other songs with her, “Getaway Driver” and “Well-Rested,” so the 29 year-old – who’s reportedly dating Lambert – isn’t exactly new to the rodeo, as it were. I found demos going back to 2010, with most of the songs I sampled harkening back to early pop-country crossovers like Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus, and I don’t mean that as a dig. It may be somewhat paint-by-number, at least by contemporary standards, but at least those numbers can almost always be counted on to produce some pretty little pictures.
Over the past four years or so, British electro-duo Honne has excelled at fusing the cold sound of machines with hot R&B grooves more akin to Marvin Gaye than Moby. It’s not easy being soulful through multiple phase shifters, but Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher have managed to pull it off multiple times since the release of their debut single in 2014, “Warm on a Cold Night,” which had already landed on countless blogs and playlists before the duo made their concert debut later that year. A remix of that tune appeared in 2017, featuring American rapper Amine, followed by a single called “Just Dance” that sports a beefed-up full-band bombast also heard on the first two releases from their upcoming Love Me/Love Me Not full-length, “Me & You” and “I Just Wanna Go Back.” That huge wall-of-electro-soul should be in full effect at Observatory North Park on September 21, where the duo will be backed by a live bassist, drummer, and backup singer.
- Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$15 - $27
Oakland indie punk rockers Shannon & the Clams have been making regular stops in San Diego for over a decade now, working their way up the local venue hierarchy from the Ken Club in 2008 to the Hideout, Til Two, the Casbah, Observatory North Park, and now the Belly Up on October 10. Their sixth album, Onion, produced by occasional Black Key Dan Auerbach, continues their campy penchant for crossing Sha Na Na with Syd Barrett, featuring singer-bassist Shannon Shaw belting out tracks with the kind of power and authority that makes Florence and the Machine seem almost timid by comparison (and pretty much rendering the few lead vocals by guitarist Cody Blanchard superfluous, and best ignored). It’s not all costumes and fun, with one powerful track concerning the deadly 2016 warehouse party fire in their Oakland hometown, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Never fear, though, the album title Therapy doesn’t mean they’ve grown prone to introspection and reflection. There’s still more outrageous stuff to say and crazy gigs to play, and everyone’s counting on the Clams to bring the party to Solana Beach.