Mraz: He’s like a fine wine…

I swear I’ll get back to San Diego musicians very soon. Besides, he might not be from SD, but he does live here and that counts for something right? Jason Mraz, in my opinion, just gets better with age and his latest single proves this point. Forget calling him a “pop” musician, forget Geek in the Pink and his other forays into whimsical, light-as-air fluffy songs. Just sit back and enjoy the beautiful lyrics and the near perfect delivery of melody in Mraz’s latest single, “I Won’t Give Up On Us.”

For folk and indie lovers, it’s probably going to please you. For others, you might need a little bit more convincing. But the single does prove that Mraz may be harvesting an even more mature sound, and it definitely works for him. What do you think about this new single? Are you expecting a great fourth album to come from this?

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Guilty Pleasure of the Week: Girl Talk + Dance

Girl Talk, courtesy of PitchPerfectPR.com
Gregg Gillis, aka 'Girl Talk', is a sampling machine. Logo courtesy of PitchPerfectPR.com

What is it about our culture? We love random dancers. We like to dance in the aisles of grocery stores and we like to break out on the corners of streets, complete with pieces of cardboard as our stage. Whenever you add the talented skills of modern dance and put it in the middle of the streets, it’s kind of a recipe for greatness.

I’m not the only person who loves this stuff. Just give in to your guilty pleasure already and check out this video and post, Girl Talk Meets Girl Walk. While you’re there, relish in the musical love child of Ludacris and Phoenix that plays in the background; a mixture that could only be brought to us by the sampling frenzy of Girl Talk.

I think I just got a new guilty pleasure. But it’s not really guilty if I’m proud of it, is it?

Streetside Sessions: Social Club

When we rolled a piano out onto the streets of San Diego with local band Social Club, we weren’t quite expecting what would happen next. These guys (and one gal) graciously offered to be the guinea pigs of Streetside Sessions, a video feature that you’re only going to get here on the Indie SD. At least, you’re mostly only going to get it here. You can always check out Social Club’s website to hear more from the amazingly catchy yet refreshing pop rock band, and try to catch a show or two since they’ve proven that it’s never a dull moment backstage with these guys.

Social Club opted to grace us with an acoustic performance of their song “Debris” and since it hasn’t quite been recorded yet, consider this an inside look into the beauty of the band. With an acoustic piano, bass, drum set, and acoustic guitar all out on the streets of San Diego, we shot this band with the backdrop of  downtown in the distance – complete with the international airport’s aircraft overhead — don’t miss Southwest Airlines’ free promotion – you’re welcome, SW!

Tower XVI: The new trend with San Diego bands

Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean.
Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about San Diego since being here, it’s that the music scene can be a little one sided.

Did I say a little? What I meant was the musicians in San Diego can try their hardest to beat you over the head with one style of music, whether you like it or not. Sometimes this can be a really good thing: (for example, Chicago and its extremely inspiring jazz scene.) But in San Diego’s case, the music scene doesn’t prove to be very inspirational; instead, it proves to be run down by facsimiles of people who label themselves and who either only listen to screaming, or only listen to vegan-inspired obscure folk players who also happened to go to their high school and only plays coffee shops that you have never heard of.

Before you start yelling at me from through the computer screen, begging to prove the opposite of what I’ve just said, let me first say that I get it. I get San Diego’s music scene and no matter how stifling it can be, I wouldn’t change it for a thing. The reason is because there are a new breed of local musicians who are also noticing this limited array of San Diego style, and they’re also willing to prove my point wrong.

This little city by the bay is slowly building up creations of bands that exemplify a smorgasbord of musical influence and talent, and these bands will not be silenced! Local musical chameleons Tower XVI, for instance, have a style that they’ve self-described as having something for everyone. And when I went out to their show to see the guys in their most comfortable habitat I have to admit, they weren’t lying when they said that.

With an impressive energy-driven set list that varies everywhere from pop-punk tunes to reggae-inspired, bass heavy dance jams, this band is on a mission to get the party started while simply doing what they do best. I didn’t know exactly what to expect next when it came to their eclectic set, and this was both refreshing and ingenious. The issue with trying to encompass several styles into one band is probably doing it without sounding like you just couldn’t make up your mind; however, with a band like Tower XVI, they seamlessly deliver music that touches the palates of many types of music lovers, not just one.

Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean
From left: Dustin Jenkins, Mike DiBernardo, Brian Rash, Rob Smith. Photo by Jeff McLean.

And they’re not the only band that seems to be branching out and doing this. I’m seeing a trend in San Diego, and that trend is spurred by musicians who are tired of being overlooked in a sea of cookie-cutter duplicates. Musicians who are tired of doing their darnedest to exactly emulate As I Lay Dying, City & Colour, or blink-182. Not that there is anything wrong with those bands — I love Dallas Green just as much as the next person. But most of the people out here are not those bands.

Tower XVI is its own band, and that alone will allow them to blaze a path of glory as they continue to build their fan base in San Diego. At their live show, it was apparent just how much fun the fans were having, a trend that is sure to continue after they record their next release next year. When you have the energy of drummer Brian, singing along as he puts his all into each hit, it’s easy to have fun. And when you combine the musical prowess of bassist Rob and guitarist Dustin, who seem to be right on line with each other as if they were born playing together, it’s easy to appreciate the talent behind the music. Top it all off with Mike’s brutally honest and sometimes downright uplifting vocals and lyrics (for reference, check out “Dream Big” below), then the mix is eclectic and kind of perfect. San Diego needs more bands like Tower XVI; more bands that are interested in fusing their musical style to not just fit San Diego’s music scene, but also kick it into a brand new gear.

Becoming a Part of the Social Club

Green room full of feather boas, stage lights and sombreros? Check. Oddly placed hanging decorations on the walls? Check. Contraband liquor smuggled in backstage? Check. When you’re hanging with local San Diego band Social Club, it’s never a dull moment.

Watch the Social Club Interview video. Click the HD button to watch in High-Definition.

I honestly never thought I’d see the green room of PB bar Typhoon Saloon (nor did I actually think that they had a green room), but I have to admit I’m impressed. The props that are stored back there make it an interesting place already, and after adding a few lights, me and my camera-savvy friend Thierry corralled all of the members of Social Club together for what proved to be a very interesting interview.

It’s so easy to relax and have fun around Thea and the three J’s (John, James, and Jeff — and yes I mixed up their names at some point that night.) And dubbed one of the “prettiest” bands on their label, they’re not too bad to look at, either. On stage or off, all of the band members have a unique energy: John with his searing emotions in each lyric and each point he makes about the band; Thea with her gentle mysteriousness; James and the famous faces he flashes on stage – when he’s not smiling brightly from ear to ear behind the scenes; and lastly Jeff, the energetic adventurer of the group who probably doesn’t need that double shot of espresso in the morning: he’s just naturally that energetic.

Yes, you’ll see the typical questions but one thing is evident; this band is full of unique and diverse personalities that show in their music as much as it shows in their personal experiences. Their sound is a huge catchall of everything good that just somehow makes so much sense. So basically, if Dr. Frankenstein had created musical life by adding a bit of punk rock, a bit of mellow singer-songwriter, some modern age hip hop influences here and there and sprinkled it all with a pinch of classical background, the creation would have been Social Club — only way more interesting and much more beautiful. Maybe they haven’t been compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein before. I swear that comparison made sense in my mind.

Don’t leave it up to me to describe their sound. Listen for yourself!

The very first Streetside Session

“PLEASE do this more often!”

That was only one of the many things that were yelled out at pop-rockers Social Club, as we filmed for the very first installment of Streetside Sessions. If you don’t know what a Streetside Session is (or you can’t guess from the extremely obvious title), then hang tight, because a video will be around here soon. And when it does get here, you’re welcome to swoon and ahh at the brilliance that is performing on the streets of San Diego. To say this shoot was fun would be an understatement. The day was spent in Bankers Hill and included balcony-spectators, rolling compliments, and even a five dollar bill from the window of one woman’s car. Drive-by donations, anyone? The video isn’t here quite yet, but in the meantime, enjoy some behind the scenes shots of the shoot.

I know, I know, we are such a tease.
Click photos to launch full-screen.

On Tour: Jimmy Lightly Snack on World!

I’ve never had so much fun with a Twitter Trending Topic as #lessexcitingbandnames. Which might sound a little bit like the name of a porno if you look at it too quickly and the first word you see is “sex”. Not that I’m saying that’s the first word I saw…

Here’s the genius answers that I came up with, and bonus points if you can guess the band.

Jimmy Lightly Snack on World

Foster Home the People

Death Cab for She Has a Great Personality

Head Manual

Princes of Leon

haha

Very Low Class Rut

Minus the Teddy Bear

Peanut Butter and Pearl Jam

The Stationary Stones

Walk-DMC

Everytime I Leave This World to Enter the Next

Safety-Scissor Sisters

Snowflake Patrol

Asthmatic

The Slightly-Darker-Than-Gray Keys

and

Black Eyed Legumes

What were some of your favorites? Rolling Stone Magazine Online indulged in a few of their favorites as well.

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