Singer-guitarist Lando Martinez and his band Hocus haven’t let the pandemic shutdown keep them from recording two new songs, “Damage With Care” (also available as a lyric video) and “Rid Of You.” Both were recorded with Robert Atayde (Coda Reactor) at Sound Savvy Studios in La Mesa. “They are not for the faint of heart, as they instantly get your heart rate up and your body jumping,” says Martinez. “‘Damage With Care’ starts off with a pounding drum intro, followed by a buzzsaw guitar and sneering vocals. The lyrical content was influenced by the current environment of COVID-19, riots, protests, and even the lies spread by both sides of the government and media. ‘Rid of You’ starts off with a dose of melancholy, but then instantly goes into overdrive with high energy and feelings of loss and the frustrations of a relationship gone wrong.” Both songs can be streamed or purchased online. The trio (which includes drummer Rob Atayde and bassist Emilio Martinez) has been performing socially distanced outdoor parking lot shows in Oceanside with other local bands.
Elephants in the Room
Melding jazz and hip-hop, the Elephants in the Room features Edgar Alminar and Parker Edison. Alminar is no stranger to crossing genres, having played keyboards and percussion for indie/psychedelic/soul band Irradio, while also DJing as DJ GarGar for the KneeHighs, 2007 San Diego Music Award winners for Best Hip-Hop Album. Alminar also cofounded Jumbotron with Kneehighs collaborator MC DayDay, and he launched a band last year called the Beautiful State with another Kneehigh, MC Talls. Jack King, aka Parker Edison, came to local notice in Parker & the Numberman, who won Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2012 SDMAs. His collaborative jazz/hip-hop project Parker Meridien was twice honored in the Hip-Hop/Rap category at the 2019 San Diego Music Awards, winning Best Band and Best Album. At the 2020 SDMAs, the Parker Meridien album The Bully Pulpit - pairing Edison with John Rieder and Nathan Hubbard – won Best Hip-Hop. Edison and Alminar are releasing a new Elephants in the Room album on November 13 called E Motion Pictures. “Parker is a cinephile, for sure,” says Alminar, “and I’m one of those losers who thinks he’s artsy. Add those two up and you have the album title and cover.” The band is also releasing a new lager beer in collaboration with Amplified Ale Works. Says Alminar, “It tastes like chicken.”
Photograph by Angel Slaughter
Born and raised in Pageland, South Carolina, Riston Diggs later relocated to San Diego and performed briefly with the Known Unknowns. His debut album PTSD documents his struggles, desires, and ambition following the completion of a nine-year military career (2004-2013) with the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Administrator. After keeping a low profile over the past couple of years, a new album called Riston Diggs: The Second Coming dropped September 7. Guests include Mike Holmes on two tracks, “Overtime” and “American Holiday,” while production was handled on various songs by Superior, Sly Beats, Karolina James, Dave Flavours, Abjo, and Banyon Bachman. “No, there won’t be a release party,” says Diggs. “Too much going on in the world to obligate people to come to a party. I doubt anybody is in the mood to party. The album is my second solo album, hence the title The Second Coming. The cover art [a photo of a purple flower] was taken in Solana Beach…it represents the hope for growth. I have a deluxe version of the album with more songs coming out on September 28.”
Originally from Stonehaven, Scotland, and raised in the UK, singer-songwriter Colin Clyne says “My songs tell honest folk-like stories with hard, raw, bluesy rock guitar. The music is tinged with humor, sadness, and working-class bravado, all rolled into one little Britpop package.” A 2012 winner for Best Acoustic at the San Diego Music Awards, his Doricana album was partially recorded in London with Alan Sanderson (Rolling Stones, Elton John), back before Sanderson relocated to the U.S. and opened a recording studio here in San Diego. Clyne frequently takes jobs aboard fishing boats traveling to Europe, West Africa, and the Arctic Circle, an endeavor that helped inspire his new single, “Where the Ships Go to Die,” produced once again by Sanderson. “I happened across scores of boats and vessels lying on beaches, holes in their hulls, diesel spewing from their tanks, battered, broken, and abandoned. These ships had no future, no hope, devoid of the safety, strength, buoyancy, independence, and serenity we associate with ships. Friendship, family, and love are also a haven for the heart. If we don’t care for them, maintain them, and respect them through the storms of fragility of these unprecedented times, they too may end up dead and abandoned on a beach like those ships.”
Guitarist Devon E. Levins, better known as Devon Goldberg, went to college locally and played in Creedle, Rust, and the Holy Love Snakes. After moving to New York in 1998, he landed in Queens and hosted a Sunday film soundtrack specialty program on Manhattan’s East Village Radio. He co-founded Morricone Youth in 1999, with the group performing their interpretations of actual film soundtracks live as the movies unspooled, later branching into original compositions. The band’s former drummer Greg O’Keefe played in aMiniature while living in San Diego during the ‘90s, and former vocalist Dreiky Caprice was one of three drummers in San Diego’s Crash Worship. The current Morricone Youth lineup teams Goldberg with former San Diegan John Castro, who moved to NYC in 2000 after years of playing bass in the Rugburns. Morricone Youth recently recorded The Last Porno Show Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, composed and arranged by Goldberg. The Last Porno Show film premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, while the soundtrack was released digitally and on CD on July 31, to coincide with the movie’s VOD release. A limited edition 150g black vinyl version is now available as an official Record Store Day 2020 release.