Belle and the Dragon
Belle and the Dragon, featuring P.O.D. drummer Noah “Wuv” Bernardo and members of Flyleaf, took an impromptu tour of the streets of San Diego for the music video for their track “Trees.” “We shot this in Barrio Logan, San Diego on March 6, 2020, before the lockdown,” says singer Sameer Bhattacharya. “Wuv introduced me to Salud! in Barrio Logan when I was looking for some killer vegan tacos. Being down there felt inspiring, so I decided to shoot footage for ‘Trees’ there, not really knowing what was going to happen. The colors and the vibe in Barrio Logan are inspiring. I took the footage and tried to make it feel surreal, almost dreamlike — the cognitive dissonance of seeing the forest through the trees.” Belle and the Dragon’s debut album Birthrights was produced by Dave Hidek (Flyleaf, Sting) and recorded at the Professor Bombay Sound studio in San Diego, with a vinyl edition available autographed by all three members. The band has been performing virtual concerts and hosting live conversations every Friday at noon on Facebook and Instagram.
The debut full-length from local indie rockers Hey, Chels, Everything Goes, premiered online for free on May 1, with a vinyl edition planned for later this year via Brainworm Records. “Our reasoning is that we don’t feel right asking for money right now with the current state of everything,” says the band. “If you feel like helping the band out, share us with a friend, add us to a playlist, share us on your socials. We would very much appreciate it.” Hey, Chels was founded by Jacque Mendez (New Way On) on vocals and electric piano, Kevin White (Squarecrow, Londons Falling) on guitar, Ricky Schmidt (Western Settings, Caskitt) on bass, and Stephanie Presz (the Newports) on drums. Their debut self-titled EP, produced by Patrick Ryan Heaney (Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, the War On Drugs), was released on vinyl last year via Via La Escalera Records, Wiretap Records, and A-F Records. Everything Goes was recorded by Pat Hills at Earthtone Studios in Sacramento. A music video is streaming online for the album track “You’ve Got You Now.”
Nights Like Thieves
This is a town full of thievery, with bands called Thieves Like Us, Thieves and Liars, Thicker Than Thieves, Baptism of Thieves, and now Nights Like Thieves, nominated Best Alternative/Indie Band at the 2020 San Diego Music Awards. Their third EP, The Forgotten, debuts online May 8 and features guests including singer Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.), Scott Sellers (Rufio), Jared Woosley (Fivespeed), and Angel Flores (Painting Promises). “The Forgotten is a collection of songs that we’ve been sitting on for the last two years,” says frontman Mario J. Rivera. “We started off with 22 song ideas and came down to 11 songs that we were planning on putting out as a full-length album. We then decided to split it in half and release two separate EPs.” The second EP, The Lies We Tell Ourselves, is due within the next three to six months. Rivera founded the band after moving to San Diego in 2016, having fronted Albuquerque’s Left Unsaid. Rivera’s comedic hip-hop band Monster Paws was heard on Jersey Shore, Real World, and a Ford commercial. The debut Nights Like Thieves EP, Light the Fuse and Run, was released in 2017 via La Escalera Records.
Based in PB and OB, reggae rockers Sandollar can be heard on Netflix’s recently premiered action-adventure treasure hunt series Outer Banks. The song “Up Up,” from their 2013 album Roller Coaster Ride, is played approximately 11 minutes into the first episode of the teen-themed series. The band, which has charted as high as number seven on the iTunes Reggae Chart, started off in the early 2000s with a couple of high school buddies jamming in wood shop. After their debut, Plane Rides and Hillsides, a self-titled album was released in 2011, with a cover photo showing the band leaning on their car known as the Beast, a beat-up 1986 Suburban. After being singled out as San Diego’s best unsigned band and taped for an appearance on the web TV series Indie Across America, they signed to their current label, local Pacific Records, with a selection of music videos available online, including “Pouring Down.”
Poway’s most famous drummer, Blink 182’s Travis Barker, joined up with pop superstar Post Malone on April 24 for a livestream Nirvana tribute set to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts that earned some digital stroking from Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love. “Goosebumps!” posted Love on Instagram after the show. “Go have a margarita @postmalone. Nothing but love from here. Congratulations. 2.6 million bucks for covid 19 relief.” Post Malone performed his portion of set from his home in Salt Lake City, UT, joined by Barker, guitarist Nick Mack, and bassist Brian Lee for the 75-minute, 15-song performance of hits and fan favorites by the Seattle band. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic also tweeted during the set. “@PostMalone and crew are killing it! So proud of @PostMalone and crew. Everyone so good so talented. I am moved! I don’t think these fellows can play any better. They are on fire…I am holding emotions back the whole show.” Barker has a new DTA Records label, a joint venture with the Elektra Music Group to explore cross-genre collaborations and develop new artists. Its debut release is one of his own tracks, “Gimme Brain,” featuring guests Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.