As I Lay Dying
Nobody was surprised in 2014 when Christian heavy metal band As I Lay Dying changed their name to Wovenwar. After all, their lead singer Tim Lambesis had just pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit the murder of his wife, earning himself a six-year prison sentence. But many were surprised four years later when an already-paroled Lambesis reunited with his former bandmates for a new song, “My Own Grave,” a comeback gig at Soma, and their first North American tour as AILD in five years. A new video debuted online last year for their song “Redefined,” followed by a single for “Shaped By Fire,” the title track of their reunion album on the Nuclear Blast label. Proceeds from their new charity single “Destruction Or Strength,” originally a B-side from the Shaped By Fire album sessions, will benefit members of their road crew until the concert circuit can restart, as well as local charity activists Feeding San Diego.
“I have been producing dark wave, new wave, pop, and indie electro music for a number of years, and I specialize in creating dark lyrics with palatable vocal and instrumental hooks,” says singer-songwriter Cara Potiker (L1ght Ra1L), the creator behind the ‘80s-inspired Wsprgrl. The group includes producer Patrick Heaney (Shark Attack, Tiny Telephones) and Mike Delgado (Shark Attack, Scary Pierre). Potiker’s first gig as Wsprgrl is streaming on the band’s Facebook page, providing a fair sample of the icy whooshes and ethereal vibe that melds cinematic contemporaries like Lana Del Rey with first-wave operatic electropop stars like Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson. Their website samples also include quick performances of club-friendly tracks like “Gasoline” and “Higher.” Songs uploaded to YouTube include an unconventional cover version of Andrew Gold’s “Never Let Her Slip Away” that takes the easy-listening pop original and feeds it so thoroughly through the blender that the resultant smoothie seems spiked with LSD, Xanax, and Ecstasy.
Based in La Mesa and North County, Sulcus is an experimental electronic art rock project which began as a quartet with a drummer before distilling down to a trio. “Our music is inspired by cinema, the nearby open spaces, as well as the not so distant ones in deep space,” says the band. “It is mostly instrumental, texture-based, including field recordings, collages of found sounds, spoken words, and tape and keyboard loops.” Their debut self-titled full-length, recorded at Studio Phaser Control 350 in San Diego and mastered in Vista, features tracks that indicate the esoteric nature of their songwriting with titles such as “Zonula Occludens” and “Beyond the Lyapunov Spectrum.” Lengthy epics like “Hydrogen Rebounds” play like the slowly building early masterworks of Pink Floyd (“Set the Control For the Heart of the Sun,” “Atom Heart Mother,” etc). You can also stream their full hour-long Transistor Matadors album, an experience not unlike listening to Hawkwind while clinging to the wing of an airborne jet.
Fronted by singer Nina Tartibi, Chalk Talk is an all-female Encinitas-based group with an indie bedroom pop vibe. Their album Just a Girl Band is highlighted by a single for “Worse Than Steve” that introduces their fluffy pop chops as perfectly suited for anyone who ever wondered what Liz Phair would sound like if Katy Perry wrote and produced all her music. Tracks that have proven popular on Spotify (where they average around 1,600 monthly listeners) include “Seals,” “Grammar Police,” and an ideal addition to any home quarantine playlist, “Bored Games.” The group has been promoting the album with increasingly well-attended gigs at local venues such as Soma and the Che Cafe, earning notice for their willingness to spice up setlists with unabashed tributes to inspirations such as Britney Spears and Angel Olsen. They recently made their House of Blues debut.
Satanic Planet features Justin Pearson (the Locust, Dead Cross, Swing Kids, Retox, owner of Three One G Records), hip-hop producer Luke Henshaw (Sonido de la Frontera, First Power Crew), and social activist and Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves. Their debut album is preceded by a video (just uploaded) for “999” that indicates Pearson has lost none of his Locust-style fondness for making apocalyptic noise that frequently approximates the sound of bees living in your head, nor his penchant for Skinny Puppy-ish over-layering. The flame-filled video is so full of subsonic grunting and demonic groaning that it ends up sounding and looking like the Devil is taking a painful, flaming dump, as seen and heard from the POV of his infernal taint. The video appears as a free feature at the Satanic Temple TV website, which also offers equally apocalyptic music documentaries, livestream events, and original programming.