Courtesy Solid State Records
Hardcore punk rock band the Undertaking was founded in 2018 by Brent Jasperse (drums), Keith Butsko (guitar), and Austin Visser (vocals), later joined by bassist James Moyer (Mainsail) and singer-guitarist Johnny Mercuri. The following year, they dropped their debut EP Scavengers, produced by Daniel Bourget. The group recently signed to Solid State Records, who’ll release their album Funeral Psalms, produced by the Used’s Joey Bradford, on April 30. A single is streaming online for “No Friends,” which the band says is “A brash reflection on how difficult it is to be a good friend. What starts out as an accusation attacking others quickly digresses into the realization that we so often push people away and create our own walls of isolation. We’ve all had those situations where someone expected too much out of you, and you ended up letting them down. Looking back, your response was to walk away instead of working through your insecurities and making the relationship better. The riffs also just keep punching people in the nose.” Other album tracks carry titles such as “The Problem With Being Included in the Apocalypse,” “Nostalgia Can Be A Nasty Beast,” and “And Everything Worked Out Just Fine” featuring Cove Reber of Saosin.
Based near SDSU, Americana/roots rocker Chris Giorgio, aka Jackslacks, was a founding member of Forbidden Pigs, Hot Rod Lincoln, and Dead Engines. Taking the name Jackslacks from the 1957 Sparkletones hit “Black Slacks,” he embarked on his solo career in 2002. His most recent solo release came out in 2018, Earthling Sessions, which featured an ode to O.B. called “The 92107” and included guest appearances from Billy Joel guitarist Tommy Byrnes and Giorgio’s Forbidden Pigs bandmate Billy Bacon. “I’ve got a new full-length coming out this spring called Inside Out on the indie label Shield of Love,” says Giorgio. “I wrote the new songs during the quarantine, and the title track conceptualizes our world spinning out of control, upside down, and inside out. It mostly leans upon roots rock, like rockabilly, blues, country, and a surf instrumental with my old San Diego guitar-slinging mates Buzz Campbell from Hot Rod Lincoln, Jerry ‘Hot Rod’ DeMink from Forbidden Pigs, and Gig Fortier from the Hooligans.” The album was recorded with Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios in East County and mastered at local Golden Track.
30 year-old Ryan Anthony grew up in Spring Valley and attended school in Paradise Hills. As a rapper, many of his tracks are local-centric, such as “Da[Y]Go,” and he has collaborated with E-40, Tech N9ne, and others. His Barely See the Beach EP was released in 2016, supported with a video for the track “Never Been” featuring fellow local rapper Mitchy Slick, who grew up in Lincoln Park. Anthony recently teamed up again with Slick, as well as singer-actress Andra Day, to release a song and video about living in San Diego called “Southeast Summers.” Neighborhoods earning a shout-out in the track include Logan Heights, Lincoln Park, Paradise Hills, Skyline, Emerald Hills, Mountain View, Lomita Village, and Shelltown. The video features Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winner Andra Day (currently starring in the Billie Holiday bio-pic The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Slick, and Anthony all together at various southeast spots such as Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park, the Willie Henderson Sports Complex, the Skyline Convenience store, and Imperial Fish Market. The trio are seen amidst footage of area murals, graffiti, low riders, motorcycles, neighborhood signs, and locals having fun south of Route 94 and east of downtown. Ryan Anthony’s third album, Barely See the Beach 3, drops this week.
Synth-pop group Glass Spells released their debut single “I Feel It” in 2014, followed two years later by a self-titled album recorded at Emprise Soundlab studios in Mexicali with Gerardo Montoya (aka Letters From Readers, who has also worked with FAX and Maniqui Lazer). All the band members at one time were from Imperial Valley, but the group has since experienced several lineup shifts. When they turned up last year with a video for their track “Mirrors,” members included founding bassist-keyboardist Anthony Ramirez backed by Tania Costello (vocals) and Michael Buehl (drums). “We’re finishing up a new LP called Shattered that will be out later this year through our label, Negative Gain,” says the band. In February, a video for their synth-drenched track “Empty Road” premiered on YouTube and has already racked up over 13,000 views. Scenes shot around San Diego include footage of the drive into downtown, the Mission Beach boardwalk, and the roller coaster at Belmont Park.
Art of Elan
After over a year of virtual programming, the ensemble Art of Elan will combine music, dance, and art for an in-person outdoor garden performance at the Education Pavilion of the Lux Institute in Encinitas. The program is inspired by Lux artist-in-residence Baseera Khan, who identifies as a queer femme Muslim American. Guests will have access to an exhibition of works which employs fashion, photography, textiles, and music to explore how assimilation becomes part of how identity can be hidden. Performances will include the folk music of female Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz and Turkish composer Erberk Eryilmaz, as well as the world premiere of a commissioned work by New York composer LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin), written during the pandemic for Elan Artistic Director Kate Hatmaker and her husband, cellist Alex Greenbaum. This will be the second time Art of Elan has commissioned LJOVA, who created a clarinet quintet in 2017. The program closes on a collaboration with dancers from San Diego’s Disco Riot, performing Jessie Montgomery’s “Rhapsody No. 1 for solo violin” alongside violinist Kate Hatmaker. This collaboration was originally featured in a world premiere video entitled “Reflections,” presented in November 2020 during the ensemble’s year of creative virtual programming. Capacity will be limited to 50 people who will be socially distanced throughout the outdoor performance area, with Covid safety protocols in place.