Due August 19, singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau’s The Prairie will feature eight Brosseau originals and a cover of John Prine’s “They Oughta Name A Drink After You.” Guest players include Sheldon Gomberg, Robbie Robinson of Robinson Mastering, Mary Jones, and DLT. A single is streaming online for “My North Dakota Home,” and a tour is in the works for September and October taking him through North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, and California. Brosseau has taken advantage of his quarantine time to release two albums already this year. A Lifetime Ago is a curated collection of the more obscure and unreleased songs spanning the years 2002 to 2019, with B-sides, studio outtakes, and live performances. Live in York is an acoustic concert album recorded in 2019 and featuring ten original songs: seven from various past releases, and three new tracks that were debuted in concert (“Maybe Tomorrow Night,” “Town & Country,” “I Found a Horseshoe”). Episode four of his monthly variety radio program The Great American Folk Show airs August 2 on Prairie Public, featuring bluegrass star Peter Rowan. Los Angeles-based street singer Sunny War, Toad the Wet Sprocket founding member Glen Phillips, and a visit with Mary Beth Orn and her daughter, Medora Burning Hills singer Bethany Andrist.
“‘Trials’ focuses on the power that addictions and harmful ideologies have to transform,” says Cults of their new single. “The chorus walks a tightrope between a metaphor for gaslighting and a despairing worry about the person you still hold out hope for.” Taken from the duo’s upcoming Hosts album due in September, a video for “Trials” was shot by Jeff Strikers. “Cults asked me back in April if I had any ideas for a music video we could make while quarantined across the country,” says Striker. “Via Zoom, we shot Madeline [Follin]’s performance against a green tablecloth from a party store. I started experimenting with an old optical illusion called Pepper’s Ghost, projecting Madeline’s image onto a sheet of glass to create a ghostly, hologram effect. They use this technique on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It was pretty magical, and the whole process was constant discovery and surprise. An ideal creative experience.” The previous single from Hosts, “Spit You Out,” celebrates ending toxic relationships. Co-produced by Cults and Shane Stoneback, mixed by John Congleton, and mastered by Heba Kadry, it’s the band’s first song entirely co-written, performed, sung, and co-produced by Madeline Follin
Former San Diegan Eddie Vedder once made a guest performance covering the Ramones’ “I Believe in Miracles” with the Supersuckers, when they played the final, sold out show on their North American tour on June 19, 2014. That performance was just released as a single, thanks to the audio track being recently discovered. The set was shot with multiple cameras, but the multitrack audio files were found only recently, buried within the hard drive. “Somehow, Eddie had found out about my cancer diagnosis and put the word out that he’d like to come to the show and maybe do something with the band,” recalls Supersuckers singer Eddie Spaghetti, who was about to undergo surgery at the time, “especially with the impending struggle I was about to undertake with the whole cancer fright. The song was extra poignant. After the show, Eddie talked to me for a long time and pointed me in a direction to get my shit cured. He was super helpful with getting me hooked up with a support team of doctors and hospitals that I would probably not have had access to without his assistance. He also wrote a big fat check to help get me through the hard times of not being able to work that was to come.”
The new dark electro-pop rock band Matte Black features Daniel Corrales, whose previous duo PRGRM essentially ended with the death of co-founding singer Tza, aka Tonya Pugh, in summer 2017. The band also includes Alex Gonzales, fresh off working on Julien-K’s Harmonic Disrupter album, and Bidi Cobra. All three had previously played together in the New Division. “We started working on a lot of new material that needed to fall under a new entity that now is called Matte Black,” says Cobra of the tracks that began to come together while the duo was touring with Julien-K’s band. “Some of the songs were written for Harmonic Disrupter and didn’t quite get picked up,” says Gonzales, “but I still had a special place for them and decided to pursue them.” The trio’s debut album I’m Waving, Not Drowning, due later this year, includes a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped” and is so far preceded by a single for “Pure” that proudly displays its New Order influence, and is also reminiscent of pioneering local electronic duo Red Flag. Gonzales and Cobra recently performed a livestream set on Facebook from Gonzales’ home studio.
Based in Pacific Beach, Vokab Kompany is a hip-hop, soul, and electro act that performs with a live backing band, usually including around five to seven musicians. Founder and co-producer Rob Hurt (aka Robbie Gallo) spent his teen years near Lake Tahoe, where he first teamed up with former high school English teacher Matt “Burkey” Burke, singer/MC of Native Root. The frequent San Diego Music Award winners have spun off countless solo projects and collaborations, and members sometimes moonlight by recording commercial jingles such as one of the “Movin’ and Groovin’” TV and radio ads created and paid for by the Metro Transit System (MTS). A 2013 Kia Motors commercial featuring their song “Back to the Past,” from a collaborative album with Crush Effect called VKCE, starred Blake Griffin as a time traveler who goes back to the past to visit his younger self. The first Vokab Kompany album since 2016, Small Viktories, recently dropped, opening with a track called “Like That” which features Denver-based Jpod.