Laura Jane Willcock (Tell Mama, the Tighten Ups) and her paramour Thomas Yearsley (the Paladins) founded blues-rockers ThunderLux in 2013, soon joined by Leo Dombecki (Jazmin, Ike Turner) and Emily O’Bannon-Robles (the Tighten Ups, Runhoney). A self-titled EP was released in early 2015, but a follow-up has been a long time coming. Dombecki suffered a stroke in his hotel room while on tour in Colorado and was just getting back up to speed with the group when O’Bannon-Robles fell and shredded her leg, placing the band temporarily out of commission. “When she had recovered, there was one final show before Leo announced his plan to move to Washington state in the summer of 2016,” says the band. “The end of ThunderLux felt too painful to even finish the album, and it lay abandoned on an external hard drive in the vault.” But while the Paladins and the Tighten Ups have been on hold due to the pandemic, the project has been revisited by Willcock and Yearsley. “The 13 ThunderLux songs were right there,” says the duo, “ready for development, mixing and mastering, with a little extra tracking to flesh out a few songs.” Their self-titled album drops July 1.
Based in Rancho Bernardo, thrash/punk crossover band Latex Grenade released their debut self-titled EP in 2010. Their first national tour found them playing at SXSW Austin and headlining at the Winter Snow Show with FM94/9 at Bear Mountain. A new EP dropped in 2018, The Cage, recorded at Bellville Studios in Cape Town, South Africa. Late last year, the band hit South Africa again for their second visit and tour of the country, where they supported the Springbok Nude Girls on their Beautiful Evolution Tour. Two years after the release of The Cage, the thrash/punk crossover band just released a video for the title track. Singer-guitarist Geoff Davis told Underground Press that “The song ‘The Cage’ shows the immense hypocrisy of American politics right now. We currently have a president who has polarized the nation to dangerous levels, throwing gasoline on already tense situations. We have a president who has repeatedly failed to condone Nazis and white supremacists, as countless acts of domestic terror have engulfed many of our communities. We have a system that has failed us, leaving us with two political parties comprised of blind followers and corrupt pseudo-elected politicians put into power by big-money super PACs.”
Rock and roll Americana-pop duo the Mulroys (formerly known as Rollers, not to be confused with local cover band The Rollers) has its roots in Long Island New York, with childhood friends Theron “TJ” Royer (Crash Encore) and Erik Mullin (the Wearies). They specialize in a blend of spirited rock and roll with elements of country, reggae, blues, and contemporary pop. After relocating to San Diego, the duo formed the band Grow, which played on the Vans Warped Tour as well as making the rounds of local venues. When that group split, Royer did time in San Diego bands like Defrost, Tailgunner, and Crash Encore. Mullin moved to the Bay Area and played for several years with the Wearies. In 2017, the duo reunited in San Diego to form Rollers, releasing their debut EP Somewhere Along the Way (produced by Christian Cummings). They spent the next couple of years performing as an acoustic duo, occasionally backed by a live band. They just recently changed their name to the Mulroys, enlisting local drummer Mark Maiggard (Louis XIV) and Michigan bassist Chris Diener to record and release a self-produced album called Splitsville.
Last year, alt-country blues rockers Drug Hunt, originally known as Bad Vibes, signed to local Blind Owl Records and changed their name. “We just released a donation-based video for ‘Live from the Quarantine,’” says guitarist Rory Morison, “that encapsulates the band’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current BLM movement with two songs that will be on our upcoming album. As artists, it is our duty to synthesize the current state of humanity and present our interpretations in the form of an expression worthy of inspiration. This live performance is our artistic response to the grief, anger, fear, and confusion caused by the global pandemic, the senseless assassination of George Floyd, and the activism necessary to bring equality and justice to people of color. For too long, rampant corruption and unchecked police brutality has taken the lives of countless innocent people. We stand proudly alongside our brothers and sisters, speaking out against the deeply entrenched overt and systemic racism that so blatantly infests our everyday lives.” Donations received will be split among entities such as ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, FHCSD’s COVID-19 Response Effort, the San Diego Food Bank, People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), and San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDRIC).
Formed in 2015, Almost Monday is an alternative rock band featuring teen surfing pals Dawson Daugherty (vocals, bass) and Luke Fabry (guitar), later joined by Cole Clisby (guitar). Early recordings were done with producer-engineer Mark Needham (the Killers, Imagine Dragons) and producer Simon Oscroft. The band was booked (along with fellow locals the Frights) to play the 2020 BottleRock Napa Valley festival, running May 22 through 24, headlined by Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, and the Dave Matthews Band. With that event called off, as well as virtually all upcoming tour dates, the band found itself with an unexpected block of time on their hands. As a result, the trio has several new singles available online, including “Parking Lot View,” “Broken People,” and the newest, “Come On Come On.” According to the band, “We wrote ‘Come On Come On’ before quarantine, dreaming about getting a break from the craziness of jobs, school, or whatever you’re doing. Little did we know. We’re hoping this song will be a pick-me-up for people going through tough times.”