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Stories by Jay Allen Sanford

Old concerts for a new world

I kind of feel like I unknowingly prepared myself for the entire world changing, as the past few years have been unlike any other period of my life. Up until the 2000-teens, I not only ...

March 20, 2020
Daily DVD & Download: Capsule reviews before you buy or binge

I've got over 1000 DVDs I can watch during this stay-at-home shutdown, including several crates I recently purchased full of obscure horror movies, recent blockbusters, plus plenty of grindhouse oldies, including a 1983 Chuck Norris ...

Go ahead, see a live concert tonight - online!

"We're having a virtual Seaport Sessions show this evening, live streaming on Vimeo," says Casbah operator Tim Mays. "Dirty Sweet and Low Volts will be performing live in studio at Seaport and you can watch ...

March 19, 2020
UCSD jazz stars and other locals worth knowing

The Mattson twins say their father introduced the boys to artists such as Art Blakey and Lee Morgan practically as soon as they could walk and talk. While their older brother achieved indie rock stardom ...

March 19, 2020
Local music news from Hot Snakes, Justin Pearson, Reverend Stickman, and more

Rick Froberg and John Reis have spent most of their adult lives playing together, from Pitchfork in the ’80s through Drive Like Jehu, and then Hot Snakes, which Reis formed while his band Rocket from ...

March 12, 2020
Fiddle folk

When I first heard the music of Umphrey’s McGee, it was on a radio station that failed to identify the band, leaving me to assume I’d just heard one of the best Rush tunes since ...

March 12, 2020
Quentin Tarantino meets the Doors nodding to Dick Dale

“Our music has been described as Quentin Tarantino meets the Doors, with beachy elements nodding to the late Dick Dale,” according to Mdrn Hstry, which started blending live music and performance art in 2017. “This ...

March 5, 2020
Underage and underground

Ignant Benches was founded in 2014 by Chula Vista 8th graders Anson Kelley (guitar, vocals) and Andy Tistoj (guitar), who wanted to play that year’s school talent show. Subsequent gigs were scored at the Casbah, ...

February 27, 2020
Rookie Card: four more years

“Since our last Leap Year show in 2016 at the Whistle Stop, we’ve only played a couple of sets in a Carlsbad park for a friend’s picnic,” says Adam Gimbel of Rookie Card’s tendency to ...

Elevator music you can twerk to

Founded in 2009, Parade of Horribles is a hard rock-punk duo featuring Jason York of Civic Unrest (bass and vocals) and Chris Mazzola (drums). They say their songs are an “experimental sound disaster best described ...

February 20, 2020
Rediscovered working at College Grove’s Jolar porn shop

You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story details the life of the eccentric indie-punk pioneer best known for his 1977 LP You Think You Really Know Me, recorded in the basement of ...

February 13, 2020
Psychotic Waltz: nearly as big as David Hasselhoff

“The band was over, obituary written, done,” says Psychotic Waltz bassist Ward Evans. “It stayed that way from 1997 to 2008 or so. There was minimal contact between any of us during that time. Everyone ...

Tapping strings like piano keys

Mortiis began as a Norwegian side project enabling former Emperor bassist-lyricist Håvard Ellefsen to put on a costume with a weird face mask and create pounding electro-goth concept pieces with elaborate stories: basically Peter Gabriel-era ...

February 6, 2020
Hey, man, nice ponytail

The last time I had an actual haircut was March 1983, when I was so new to North Park that I accidentally booked myself by phone to get my ponytail whacked at a nearby African-American ...

February 6, 2020
A big honking deal in the great white north

Jazzy psychedelic rockers Le Ra features members based in Tijuana, San Diego, and L.A. The lineup includes Mónica Mendoza (lead vocals, guitar, keys), who founded the group in 2010, alongside Milka Luna (drums, vocals) and ...

January 30, 2020
Belladon’s last show with Anastasya

“One side will have all our dream pop songs, and the other has our gothy nasty ’80s songs,” says Belladon’s Aimee Jacobs of the band’s upcoming Dreaming/Dreading EP. “Both sides will have a collection of ...

Quentin Tarantino meets the Doors

Originally based in Pacific Beach and known as Lad’s Holiday, indie-alternative group the Frets formed in late 2015 when founding members Liam Wilkes (a native of Manchester, England) and Cody Seeger met via Craigslist. Their ...

January 23, 2020
Live Five: La Jolla High alumni

“Avenue Army relocated from Saint Paul, MN to San Diego specifically because they felt that their sound would fit nicely in Southern California, and because they strongly felt that this was the place to build ...

January 16, 2020
Big in Spain: The Loons and The Rosalyns rock León

San Diego acts remain big in Spain, a longstanding trend that arguably kicked off when the Zeros stormed out of Chula Vista in the late 70s. The influential punk band has a new single on ...

Moving and grooving with San Diego Autism Society

Most bands favored by Deadheads are content with providing psychedelic spinners with the requisite groove to get their tie-dye twirling. Chadwick Stokes likes to use his folky jam band style to educate, engage, and yeah, ...

January 9, 2020
Renegade country stars

Local concert attendees now pushing their fifties still swap war stories about the times that T.S.O.L. (which stands for True Sounds of Liberty) played around town at punk-friendly places like the Adams Avenue Theater and ...

January 2, 2020
Mrs. Henry, Jack Daniels, and Dr. Feelgood

“It was sponsored by Jack Daniels, who put up money and booze so we could do this thing, and as you can imagine that night was a whiskey-soaked endeavor,” says singer-guitarist Daniel Cervantes of Mrs. ...

Mission Hills – don't be fooled

Book-lovers chew the fat at the Mission Hills Library His watch tells him 6:45. This Mission Hills branch stays open tonight — it’s Monday. He slaps the book closed, reshelves it, glances to his left. ...

Vision of a Sweaty world

An El Vez show is like a cross between an Ike and Tina Turner Revue, a Tom Jones Las Vegas gig, the LSD episode of Dragnet, and Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback special. The self-proclaimed “Mexican ...

December 25, 2019
Christmas Cash

Jeff Berkley and Calman Hart, aka Berkley Hart, have long been staging occasional themed concert programs. “We do it just to put a different spin on things,” says Hart. “For New Year’s 2001, we did ...

December 19, 2019
Murderers of Love Motel EP based on the short stories of guitar maker Creston Lea

Based in Carlsbad, Americana band Murderers of Love features singer-songwriter and graphic designer Jaimie Muehlhausen, a one-time open mic host at Drowsy Maggie’s (which helped launch Steve Poltz and Jewel). His new five-song EP Motel ...

All-female, non-fictitious band

Second Chance San Diego will be raising funds and awareness to stop the cycle of incarceration and poverty with a packed bill that includes Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Hurricane Kate, Black Cat Sabbath, and headliners ...

December 12, 2019
DJ GarGar’s unconventional San Diego band samples

“I made a new record with Talls from the KneeHighs that we’re releasing December 6,” says Edgar Alminar, aka DJ GarGar, one half of the Beautiful State. The duo builds multilayered hip-hop tracks from recorded ...

Prison songwriting workshops

Astra Kelly began her singing career after taking note of Chicago’s subway performers while en route to her job. Already trained in classical and jazz guitar, and with a few pointers from a veteran subway ...

December 5, 2019
Tribute to Billie Holiday

The San Diego Jazz Fest & Swing Extravaganza runs November 27 through December 1, with multiple stages hosting over two dozen acts, including Dan Levinson, Molly Ryan, John Royen, Katie Cavera, Carl Sonny Leyland, Marty ...

November 28, 2019
Spiritual Motels: making sense of the world with Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans

“Our music draws from singer-songwriter, indie-folk, country, spoken word, and electronic influences,” says singer-songwriter Amy Day, one half of the Spiritual Motels. “Our sound has been compared to the Head and the Heart, the Avett ...

Spandex-filled

Female-fronted heavy metal death rockers Beekeeper came together in 2010 when Ally Levine (Sumu Pitchayan) and Dylan Marks (Eukaryst) found themselves bonding over albums like Slayer’s Show No Mercy and Sepultura’s Arise. Citing other influences ...

November 21, 2019
Tie-dyed and squinty-eyed music of the Grateful Dead

“This will be our first full-length album, which we have assembled as a sort of concept album,” says Ben Ringgenberg of the Lost Monarchs’ release party for Eye on the Sun. “The album title takes ...

November 14, 2019
Local guitarist debuts as new Black Crowes member

The Black Crowes played their first show in six years on Monday, November 11 in New York City, with the founding Robinson brothers now backed by an all-new flock of Crowes including local Earthless guitarist ...

November 13, 2019
Kate Bush Dance Party

SDSU’s Jewish Studies Program presents a concert in celebration of the intersection of Jews and Blues. Local performers, well versed in ethnic music and the blues, will be playing songs with lyrics sung in both ...

November 7, 2019
Tron-meets-Devo style insectoid

The Locust, who recently reunited and played their first gig in four years at the Desert Daze Festival, released a typically bizarre video for their track “Recyclable Body Fluids in Human Form.” The band also ...

November 7, 2019
Soda Bar 10 Year Anniversary celebration

Specializing in metallic prog perfect for a smoked-out fog, Old Man Wizard was founded in late 2011 by singer/guitarist Kris Calabio and bassist/guitarist/violinist/singer Andre Beller (both of Platypus Egg), along with drummer/keyboardist/singer Francis Roberts (Dread ...

October 31, 2019
Pedigreed B-listers

The talent lineup for this year’s Peter Tosh Birthday Celebration may be populated with second stringers in today’s ever-growing reggae scene, but at least several are pedigreed B-listers whose roots date back to Tosh’s own ...

October 24, 2019
Inspired by movies, Mrs. Magician’s Jacob Turnbloom releases first solo LP

“This is my first official solo studio recorded LP,” says Mrs. Magician singer-guitarist Jacob Turnbloom. “Started writing in summer 2018, started recording on October 19th. Ten original songs and one cover [Squeeze’s ‘Up the Junction’], ...

Elizabeth Borg’s birthday gig

Alt-country blues rockers the Drug Hunt were originally known as Bad Vibes. After releasing their album No One’s Safe, they signed to local Blind Owl Records earlier this year and changed their name to the ...

October 10, 2019
Ambassador of the Beatles

San Diego keeps turning up in the Beatles story, from George Harrison’s part-time residence at a North County meditation retreat (as well as staying with Ravi Shankar while working with the sitar master in Encinitas), ...

Confronting our collective sickness

Island reggae band Safety Orange was founded in 1996 by singer/bassist Sol Turpin (40 Oz. to Freedom), a San Diego native, with guitarist/vocalist Greg Karlo (who once played with Turpin in a Cure tribute band). ...

October 3, 2019
Notes from Kaaboo Del Mar’s Discovery Tour

Sweet Tooth is not to be confused with Matt Silvia’s defunct San Diego band once known by the same name. This fairly new Sweet Tooth is a trio featuring Jacob Schrimpf (vocals, guitar), Trevor Barber ...

September 26, 2019
Cathryn Beeks’ 20 Years Here ode to San Diego

“I moved to San Diego in November of 1999, and I’ve absolutely loved living and working here. I found and married the man of my dreams here,” says Cathryn Beeks, who played with the Gandhi ...

September 26, 2019
The Barbra Streisand of rock

It can be hard to take Lenny Kravitz seriously. It didn’t help that, straight out of the gate, the first thing most of us heard about him in the late ‘80s (when he was still ...

September 19, 2019
Something akin to a live action Disney movie as imagined by Salvador Dali

Although this column tends to focus on homegrown acts, and Diego’s Umbrella certainly sounds like a locally coined band name, the gypsy rockers are actually from the Bay Area. Still, they certainly wouldn’t look out ...

September 12, 2019
SSI release Resurrectionem Ex-Mortuis on Shepard Fairey’s Obey Records

Electronic rockers Sonic Solutions Inc features two Encinitas brothers from an earlier band called Physics, John Goff (drummer and bagpiper for Crash Worship) and Will Goff, who plays guitar and keyboards. When Physics split, Jason ...

As I Lay Dying dropped from Resurrection Fest

Spanish organizers of the 2019 Resurrection Fest have dropped the reunited As I Lay Dying due to negative backlash over singer Tim Lambesis’ conviction and imprisonment for trying to hire an undercover police officer to ...

September 5, 2019
Happy birthday John Cage

Since 2000, the UC San Diego Library has hosted the Toy Piano Festival to pay homage to the birthday of experimental composer John Cage, who wrote “Suite for Toy Piano” in 1948. Its Geisel Library ...

September 5, 2019

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