San Diablo Allstars
Hip-hop rocker Black Hesher, producer J. Andrew, and Michael Fairchild of the Spice Pistols have formed San Diablo Allstars, with a single for “Hatchback” now streaming. A debut album drops December 4 on 8-track tape, in a run of 100 copies, before becoming available digitally. “We’ve captured a one-of-a-kind sound that screams SoCal from start to finish,” says J. Andrew (aka Jason Nichols of Kavena), “with groundbreaking music, psychedelic flows, and anthem hooks. This will be the first feel-good album out of San Diego in a very long time.” J. Andrew’s newest album Time To Move featured Black Hesher on the track “Energy of 1000,” while Hesher’s recent full-length Sacrifices was mixed by Andrew, who also co-wrote the album track “Body Check.” Andrew is also mixing songs for transplanted east coast rapper Katie Ladubz, as well as releasing a new solo single called “Exposed.” “I’ve been recording some new stuff of my own and plan on putting out a decent sized record in the beginning of next year. I was trying to put something out that kind of stuck to one style, but that ain’t fucking happening. My next album will definitely include plenty of genre-hopping madness.” Michael Fairchild is working on the second Spice Pistols full-length, Spice Train, at local studios such as Emerald Age Recording.
Originally based in Nashville, Marujah blends Latin alternative sounds with punk, ska, and rock. As a songwriter, vocalist Comandante Kalavera, who sings in English and Spanish, is heavily influenced by Latin American existential poetry. The band began to see their audience grow while doing Battle of the Bands showcases at 710 Beach Club, which led to exposure on Tim Pyles’ local music radio show. In 2011, their debut album Lechuga del Diablo, produced by Steven Jacob at Tiger Tracks studios, earned them a performance slot at the Latin Alternative Conference in New York City. Touring in support of the album took the band to South America for the first time. Their 2015 sophomore full-length Gringolandia, recorded and produced by Jake Caldwell at Holler studios in Colmont TN, was preceded by a single for “Ke pasa” which deals with immigration reform and human rights. 2017’s Marujah Rising was produced by John Avila of Oingo Boingo, as was their 2019 album Bad Hombres: Live at Brandos Paradise. The San Diego Music Award winners for Best World Music Album in 2018 and 2020 have a new album due in January, Only the Dead, which includes tracks such as “Mumble Rappers,” “Millennial,” “Disaster Overthink,” “Saturn Waits,” and “Melania.”
Papa Hoodlum & the Hard Truth, the musical alter ego of J.D. Boucharde, premiered in 2016 with an eponymous debut. More Papa Hoodlum emerged last year with a two song single, “Femina” (a duet with singer-songwriter Jill Nooren) backed with “All,” featuring sleeve art with a multimedia painting created for the cover by encaustic nature artist Chris Reilly. “Femina” was also shot as a music video, starring actor Alyssa Latson and created by local artist/photographer Kristy Walker. His new Papa Hoodlum single is “Streets of Laredo (Duet With My Father).” “After my dad passed away this summer, I took an old recording of him into the studio and turned it into a duet,” he says. “It’s the B-side of a single I just recorded called ‘Bullets,’ about guns and gun violence in America. Both will be available in wide release. The timing was interesting, I was all set to record the single, and my father died. I’d always wanted to do something with that song. I’m heading into the studio to record a song about gun violence, and here’s this decades-old recording of my dad singing a century-old cowboy ballad of a man’s dying words after being gunned down in the street. It felt very fitting to release them together.”
Singer-songwriter Jenn Grinels grew up in Northern California, before landing at UC Irvine to study musical theater. After graduating, she moved to San Diego and began performing in local stage productions, appearing in reverse-drag while playing bearded rock musician Yitzhak in the musical Hedwig & the Angry Inch at the Cygnet Theatre, and portraying Janis Joplin in the 1960s musical Beehive, at the Theatre in Old Town. In the years since her debut full-length Little Words dropped in 2007, she’s released several more albums and landed songs on television shows such as MTV’s The Real World, where her tune “Little Words” was featured. Her new nine-song album Go Mine straddles everything from country and folk to jazz, blues, soul, and pop rock. It features tracks such as “Resilience” and “Don’t Let Me Be Understood,” and troubadour Marc Broussard guests on the tune “Evidence.” Music videos are streaming online for “Anytime Soon” (“I wore the same outfit for two weeks straight!”), “Resilience” (“If you need a good cry or a little reminder that we’ll get through this”), and the title track. She also has a new collaborative song with Alfred Howard, “Always On the Run.”
Singer/songwriter Eve Selis used to be in the local cover band Heroes before going solo in the late 1990s. She won Best Americana Or Country at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards, and Best Americana at the 2010 SDMAs. A new video of her performing the Women Arise Collective theme song “Women Arise” is streaming online. “This song, written by Kim McLean amd Sherry Cothran, is very powerful and needs to be shared,” says Selis. “The chorus is my anthem, especially today.” She had help on the track from one of the most celebrated Christian singer-songwriters in the world. “A huge thanks to Phil Keaggy for helping me transpose the song to easier chords and loaning me his Sam Skinner custom guitar, with the caveat that I write a few songs on it.” Selis will livestream a concert performance from her Facebook page on Saturday, December 5. The annual holiday Christmas show will feature several of her Back to the Garden bandmates as guest players: Marc Intravaia (of Kings Road fame), Rick Nash (Soul Pursuaders), and Larry Grano (Big Time Operator).