Scott Wilson, League of Assholes, Adam Lambert, Bella Kaye, Pall Jenkins
Singer-songwriter Scott Wilson got his start with bands like VFX and Cruel World before moving to San Diego in 1997 to pursue acoustic balladeering. His 2005 CD Kaleidoscope’s End was just re-released in an expanded edition featuring a total of 40 songs, including original demos for eight of the thirteen original tracks, three analog demos for songs that didn’t make the final album, two remixes that were completed prior to the final 2005 mixes, a de-constructed version of “They Don’t Know Their Way,” and more. “When the 2005 version was originally released,” says Wilson, “the streaming version of that album was different from the album/CD version. Two of the songs are longer on the album version [“Psychedelic Lullaby” and “These are the Days”], and many of the songs transitioned from one song to the other on the album version. They overlapped in some cases. The streaming versions were stand-alone songs, with gaps between the songs, mainly because the prevailing assumption is that people generally listen to individual songs on streaming services, rather than listening to an entire album.” Two of the demos have never been released: “If I Should Follow” and “I Know.”
League of Assholes
Marcelo Radulovich’s experimental noise group League of Assholes specializes in offbeat music created with unusual instrumentation, including digital signal processors, effects filters, old radios, and found sounds. Tracks are sometimes built of contributions from individuals across the USA and Europe, offering ingredients from harsh layers of distorted guitar and jagged piano to plastic bags crumpling, strange vocalizations, electronic theremin, digitally altered old cassette recordings of Russian church bells, a sander sanding a distorted bass, screams into phones, and - in the Donald Trump roast “In Ogre Ate” - a 97-year-old woman saying “no, no!” while watching Trump’s inauguration on TV. The band has a new album called Unplugged. “It follows the process and tradition of previous L of A albums,” says Radulovich, “and features new participants and explores this very strange period we are experiencing. Over 30 minutes of sonic acrobatics and inspired performances, recorded by participants in quarantine, assembled by myself at my studio...this album is definitely a popcorn muncher worthy of a few listens.”
San Diego-bred pop star Adam Lambert isn’t letting shelter-in-place keep him from multiple activities. The occasional Queen singer came out of his closet with 15 items of stage clothing he auctioned off to raise funds for the LGBTQ community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The benefit for GLAAD and his new Feel Something Foundation took place on eBay, with the most popular items proving to be stage wear seen on tour with Queen (including a green leather jacket) and on its TV appearances, such as the leopard-print Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket he wore while fronting the band on X Factor. Lambert and Queen have also partnered for a new charity single remake of “We Are the Champions” entitled “You Are the Champions,” a tribute to frontline pandemic workers that debuted in an online performance from the members’ respective homes and was shared on Brian May’s Instagram. Proceeds from the single version will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization (WHO)’s work to solve the spread of the virus and facilitate medical aid.
Born in Chicago, Bella Kaye’s love for singing and performing started at age three. She spent several years as a featured member of the Chicago Children’s Choir, as well as singing solo performances with her school. In 2015, she and her family moved to California to pursue her musical endeavors, which she says are inspired by artists such as Taylor Swift (whose track “Ready For It?” is one of Kaye’s most popular covers), Bea Miller, Madison Beer, and Nina Nesbitt. Last year, the teen (who turns 16 this month) wrote and released singles for “Heartache” and “Fake,” followed in November by her debut EP, Reflections. Currently touting around 50,000 Instagram followers, Kaye has a new single due May 22, “Missing You,” recorded remotely online in April with her producer. "I wrote this song when someone was taken from me unexpectedly, and I wasn’t able to see them," she says. "The COVID-19 pandemic accentuated my feelings, and I spent a lot of time reflecting. I wrote this song as a way to process my feelings and find comfort in being separated.”
It’s been over two decades since the Black Heart Procession was founded by moonlighting members of influential local bands like Three Mile Pilot and the Album Leaf. They eventually became mostly inactive with members keeping busy in multiple projects. Guitarist Pall Jenkins (who sometimes plays a metal saw with a violin bow) is also known from Mr. Tube & the Flying Objects, as well as for collaborations with players like Portland stoner-rock band Red Fang and Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis, with whom he played on Mascis’ 2011 solo album Several Shades of Why. Pall also toured with Kurt Vile, collaborated with Ugly Casanova and Vampire Rodents, and he sang on Black Heart Procession drummer Joe Plummer’s solo album Built in the Sun. Jenkins has provided a new song called “On the Rise” to a compilation album called Love in the Time of COVID, released by the Italian record label VeniVersus and featuring all previously unreleased recordings. The album is available for donations online, with all proceeds going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.