“I’m putting out a new album this month,” says Bigfellas co-founder Charlie Recksieck, aka Chuck Charles. Bigfellas is known for bawdy tunes like “I Wish That I Were Gay” and their offbeat banjo cover of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” Recksieck’s Hiya album features a cover of the Killers’ “Read My Mind” and 14 new Chuck Charles songs, including “My TV Friends” (“I think five of the best ten people in my life are actually just TV characters”), “Key To a Door” (“a Bigfellas staple for years, but never recorded”), “Ugly Butterfly” (“a trippy jam to Ludwig Wittgenstein philosophy”), and 11 verses about the nuances of Bob Dylan’s career called “Like a Maggie’s Positively Leopard-Skin Homesick Blues. “The album was recorded in a combination of my home studio and at Big Rock Studios with longtime producer Andy Machin, who played on a lot of this record,” he says. Though guest players from Bigfellas and Leaders in the Clubhouse appear, Hiya is entirely self-produced and self-released. “I’m doing all of the mailing, spreadsheets, envelope stuffing, contacts, schmooze, and small campaigns to give this album its day in court. Tiring and a little thankless, but I’d rather swing and miss than just be a musician with ten boxes of CDs, lamenting why don’t people discover me while doing nothing.”
“The concept of the band goes back 20 years, but the first single was released during the Covid era,” says Marmoto mainman Chris Prescott. “All songs will feature two or more drummers, and all musicians will vary between songs. Each lineup is unique. Parts are recorded remotely and then assembled and mixed. The goal is to collaborate with as many music comrades as possible and help build community during this time of separation.” Prescott was born in San Francisco in 1972 and moved to San Diego ten years later. Before becoming a drummer, he began playing piano at age four and cello at age seven. Among his local band projects are Pinback, Montalban Quintet, Systems Officer, No Knife, the Jade Shader, Fishwife, and a brief late ‘90s stint with Rocket from the Crypt. Marmoto singles released so far include “Voter Impression,” “Garden Below Flat Earth,” “Polygag,” and “Truth and Imagination.” Among the collaborators are James Reader (formerly of Red Dye No. 5, currently recording with Dewey Defeats Truman), Kristian Dunn, Chris Reba, Geoff Hill, Kenseth Thibideau, Armistead Smith, Mike Dawson, Jesse Charnow, Eric Schlosser, John Cota, Kris Poulin, and more.
Based in Spring Valley, Michael May is a hip-hop MC who launched his Off Da Wall MusiQ label in 2006. “My hip-hop alias Meidai, pronounced Mayday, means 'a very strong individual' in Greek,” he says. “It’s also a three-headed horse-ram-dragon.” Releases to date include Death Before Dishonor (2011), Legendary (2014), Emdotmay (2015), Poetry Musiq (2016), I Scare Myself (2018), Professionally Unprofessional 2 (2019), and a full-length called Rashad that dropped earlier this year. Meidai’s new 12-track full-length Project L.S.D. was recorded from March 2020 through just recently at local Off Da Wall Studios. Due November 8, guests include Big June, None Illa, Cashis, L.E., and the late Ryan Bowers, who was shot by police last year during a suicide attempt and who did kill himself earlier this year. “The album is about dealing with depression, anxiety, and your own internal thoughts and conflicts,” says Meidai, “controlling one’s own emotions and, in my case, the fallout from friends, family, and relationships, on top of everyday life and losing a good friend in Ryan Bowers to mental health issues. Each song is a glimpse into the internal and external struggles of everyday life.”
Hailing from Tijuana, DFMK is influenced by American hardcore, surf music, classic garage rock, and Argentinian punk bands, in particular the Stooges, MC5, the Ramones, 2 Minutos, Flema, and Fun People. The group sings about existentialism, nihilism, and drug abuse, spinning lyrical stories about living in what the U.S. government calls the hemisphere’s most dangerous city (as chronicled on singles such as “Ciudad de Nadie,” or “City of No One”), playing dive bars, long nights of travelling, hangovers, and broken hearts. The group has launched both successful and disastrous tours that found them facing drug cartel confrontations and having their van burn up while on tour in California after an oil leak caused the rear tire to catch on fire. They lost the vehicle and all their equipment and personal belongings. The band has a new 15-track self-titled album, produced by Tyson “Chicken” AnniCharico of Dead To Me and due this month via La Escalera and various label partners. The lead single “Mal Presentimiento” is streaming online, and a 12-inch vinyl version of the album will be available in opaque pink (250 copies) or translucent pink (250 copies).
Calling their music “blood harmony rock,” family band Daring Greatly relocated from Calgary to San Diego in 2015. The group is fronted by Dail Croome and his two sons Patrick and Liam, who’ve been playing on stage with their father since they were five and three years old, respectively. After signing with an L.A.-based booking and PR agent, they played their farewell show in Canada and relocated to San Diego, where they hooked up with locals like occasional auxiliary guitarist Greg Douglass, best known for playing on and co-penning radio hits with classic-rock acts Elvin Bishop and the Steve Miller Band. Their five-song debut EP My Ecstasy was followed in 2016 by an 11-song full-length called Cornerstones and a 2018 sophomore album, Works of Art. The band, which includes longtime drummer-singer Brayden Tario, earned a huge profile boost when, using a video from a show at the Whiskey in Los Angeles as an audition tape, they won a contest to open for Bon Jovi in Las Vegas, with Greg Douglass also guesting on guitar. The group has a new single and video for their track “I Run,” off an upcoming third album.