Award worthy performances in San Diego this week

So the Oscars are this weekend. That’s happening. But there’s also a slew of shows that you cannot miss, all with some musical acts that I’m sure even the Academy would find pleasing. So without further ado, we present to you the top shows that YOU need to see this week.

Continue reading Award worthy performances in San Diego this week

Forget Valentine’s Day: Here’s what you should do this week

If you’re single this year, don’t fret. Not everything is about chocolates, champagne and cheesy cards. There are a slew of amazing shows happening in San Diego, and you need to check them out. Who knows,  maybe the person of your dreams will be waiting in the crowd? (Too cheesy? Yeah, let’s just focus on the music.) Continue reading Forget Valentine’s Day: Here’s what you should do this week

DJ Carnage comes to San Diego’s Harrah’s Rincon Casino

Don’t have plans this weekend? Then you must not have heard about the multitude of dance and hip hop acts that will be in San Diego. Please make sure you don’t miss out on any of these great times; you don’t want to be that friend come Monday morning, do you?

Friday August 23rd: KYLE at Porter’s Pub

A fresh new talent in the hip hop world, rapper KYLE is heading off on his first headlining tour and stopping in San Diego on Friday. His quirky and playful approach to music makes his latest album, Beautiful Loser, the perfect mixture of songs to dance to. And if you’re not a good dancer, you’ll be more than entertained with his lyrics alone. Don’t believe me? Check out this interview I did with him for more proof of his awesomeness. (All Ages Show, For tickets, click here.)

Saturday, August 24th: DJ Carnage at Harrah’s Rincon Casino

The DJ who brought you the inventive and unique genre called “Festival Trap” never disappoints, and Saturday will be no exception. The fact that he’s performing at Harrah’s Adult Swim Saturdays means you can make a day of it — so bring your 21+ friends for a little gambling before dancing away at what is sure to be one of the hottest pool parties this weekend in SD. This DJ is creative and has already put his own personal stamp on the EDM world, making him an act you just don’t want to miss. (21+, For tickets, click here.)

Sleeping Giant Music offers new recording possibilities in San Diego

studio-header-SGM-sleeping-giant-music-the-indie-sdContinuing to place its stamp on the SD music scene is Sleeping Giant Music, San Diego’s only licensed music agency, who just launched a premier recording facility following their open house on August 21st. The grand opening featured tours of the state-of-the-art facility and even prizes to win free studio time.

Designed by SGM co-founders, Freddie Hard and Mike Beltran, Auralex Acoustics and Professional Sound and Music, this has been a long standing dream for the music industry veterans.

“We book over 350 shows locally a month and all these artists were working out of their home studios. We realized there was a demand  for a recording studio with a professional quality live and control room,” said Mike Beltran.

For more information regarding control room and live room specs, along with studio rates, please visit

Rips Entertainment and FILTER say bring your Comic Con gear, get in free

This week is going to be a very, very busy experience for San Diego locals and tourists alike. One of the best parts of Comic Con week happens outside of the convention center doors, as music venues, bars, and restaurants open their doors to all sorts of characters and fans for music and art events. Many can argue that Comic Con has become warped from what it once started as; however, on the plus side, the convention always sparks a fiery interest in the arts among San Diego’s culturally conscious scenes.

Below are a few events taking place tonight and later this week. So if your week was looking a little boring…consider these events your remedy against monotony. Enjoy!


FILTER Wine AbJo Burn One DJ sets San Diego Comic Con eventsRips Entertainment Presents: FILTER: Music and Art Event at The Merrow (formerly The Ruby Room)

Rips Entertainment is featuring Filter, a showcase of art and tunes from some of San Diego’s most intriguing acts this Thursday, and best of all, the event is free in your Comic Con attire or with your Comic Con badge. From the vast musical tastes of Southern Cali DJ act Burn One, to the atmospheric pulse behind AbJo’s style (seriously check out The Art of Refixing below, and tell me it doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster.) — not to mention the art that FILTER events are known for, this is going to be one of the best ways to spend a Thursday night. The entire event will be covered and streamed live on (as well as The Griffin event below!) if you can’t be there in person. Oh yeah, I did mention it was free, right?


Animals of Kin Sarah Roemer Ryan Donowho The Griffin Comic Con FridayRips Entertainment Presents: The Griffin Comic-Con Friday with Animals of Kin, Hills Like Elephants

Comic-Con isn’t the only place crawling with celebrities this week. The Griffin is opening its doors to convention goers with a set list featuring A-list indie acts. SD favorite Hills Like Elephants always brings the indie party and never disappoints. Actors Sarah Roemer, Ryan Donowho, and Tim Jo paired up with bassist Joe, drummer Chad, and Steve Saba to round out Animals of Kin, an indie folk band that calls The Mamas and Papas a musical influence. (And rightly so!) There’s plenty of other amazing acts on this bill — Goodnight Ravenswood & Seawall — plus a little art to make sure you’re culturally well-rounded. My mouth is watering at the indie goodness!

Miami Horror Hotline Comic Con Music

Hotline Comic Con with Miami Horror

It’s an 80s dance party this Friday Downtown, as Hotline Miami hosts its own little video game-themed mini Con, complete with DJ acts and music inspired by and from the indie game of the same title. However this event is not for kids, since it’s a 21+ drinking party with a headlining DJ set by Australia’s Miami Horror. Dancing shoes? Check. Video games? Check. Amazing DJs? Check. Sounds like a Comic Con after party heaven.

Let us know if you’re attending any of these events! Get out there and shake your Con Cons, amigos.

Easy Killer Records promises diversity and dedication

easykiller_logo_white_the_indie_sd“We are defined in life by how we respond to defeat.” Truer words were never spoken, and these words say a lot about the latest record label on the musical scene, Easy Killer Records, featuring acts such as Night Verses, The Company We Keep, and Brian Marquis. With owners Mike Judy and Kevin Gales behind the wheel, this music-making vehicle is bound to break some speed limits (and top charts.) Both owners have an extensive background in the music industry, but it’s their personable and dedicated approach to the label that makes their experience all about the music. According to a press release, The Company We Keep stated, “We’re very excited to have Easy Killer in our corner as we finally release an LP. It’s comforting to actually know the people in charge, and we trust that we will be able to do big things together.”

Big things are bound to come their way. We got the chance to chat with Mike and Kevin about their new venture, and Kevin shares some deeply personal events that have helped to mold the way he sees life. Read on if you’re curious about the inner workings and the story behind how much of your favorite music comes to life!

TheIndieSD: Tell me about the “mantra” of Easy Killer. What kind of artists are you looking to share with the world? What kind of themes do you want your label to be about? What do you want “Easy Killer” to be synonymous with?

Mike Judy: Honesty. Diversity. Musicianship. We want to bring in artists that are genuine about honing their craft, regardless of the genre they choose to perform.

Kevin Gales: Damn. That’s an outstanding question. When you’re committed to resourcing artists to bring their message to the world, some of those messages are gonna conflict with one another. Resourcing good musicians to do good work, no matter the style of genre….that’s what we’re about.

TISD: Has starting a record label always been in the plans for your music careers?

MJ: Kevin has run a few labels in the past, so this isn’t his first time doing something like this. Me, I’ve just always known that I want to do something in this industry. Booking shows for the past decade or so has certainly aided me in gathering the sort of knowledge ya need to pull off something like this.

KG: This is my third label released through a major, so yes, I think there is definitely a place for a company to help and resource good musicians. I enjoy that role, definitely.

Easy Killer Records artist, Night Verses.

TISD: Mike, since you’ve worked as a concert promoter, you must have some awesome event ideas in store for EK. Any upcoming features and/or events that we can look forward to seeing (and hearing) from EK Records?

MJ: We’ve spoken about a few EK tours, since we’re lucky to have a roster of talented artists that respect one another. It’s really developed into a family atmosphere, especially over these past few months. You’ll also be seeing some rad stuff going on from the four artists of ours who are on Warped Tour this year.

TISD: Tell me about your “process” with a new or potential artist. How did you go about choosing your current, diverse roster? Once signed, what kind of elements do you focus on with the artists on your label?

KG: Almost everyone we look at signing, we try and figure out what it is they’re needing help with. (“Everything!”). So ok, but really. Is it touring? Is it recording? Are you set on every front, but you just don’t have a van? That’s first and then we see how [we] could help, and see if our level of commitment lines up with what they’re thinking and needing. After signing, it’s all about getting that music out there..however we can.

MJ: Like I mentioned earlier, we seek out honest, talented musicians and really focus there. Once we have someone onboard, we just want to make sure they’re active and doing the same sort of things that turned us on to them in the first place.

TISD: Tell me about the best show you’ve attended — any musical experience that really stood out to you and helped shape the way you see music and the music industry.

MJ: Oh geez…So many to choose from. This may not be something that helped shape the way I saw things, but I’d say my favorite show that I’ve attended was in October of ’11 with Thrice, O’Brother, La Dispute, and Moving Mountains. On one hand, there was Thrice, (who I had considered my favorite band for over a decade at that point),  O’Brother, who are close friends of mine, and La Dispute/Moving Mountains, who were two bands that I had really been getting into at the time. Just a stellar tour. On the other hand, it was the night of Game 7 of the World Series, in which my beloved Cardinals were involved. Long story short, the Cards won the World Series that night (I lifted a confused/terrified Michael from O’Brother about 4 feet in the air after the last out) and I got to watch them hoist the trophy during the set of my favorite band. Great times.

Side Note: The tour manager that night was Brian Southall, who I didn’t know personally at the time but is now part of the EK family as a member of The Company We Keep. Small world indeed.

KG: Your readers may not know these bands because they’re all from Canada; this is when I was living there. But I managed and signed a band called Means, back in the day. They had left for their first US tour, and came home just in time for their CD release show in their hometown in Regina Saskatchewan. Not sure how many people were there, but it was for sure a 500 cap venue, and we quit selling tickets after 2000 people. That show was Means, Far From Ruin, The Holly Springs Disaster, and The Fortunate. And it was complete hardcore insanity. Really enjoyed that night. I was there with my daughter who was about  13 at the time. She was scared to death, but she also LOVED the energy and all the crazy fun.

Mandolyn Mae, an Easy Killer Records artist, has a sweet and sultry acoustic sound.

TISD: Can you divulge in, or at least hint to, any new artists that we may see added to the roster in the upcoming months?

MJ: Sure! All I can say is we’re absolutely keeping with the theme of diversity. Extremely excited to have these guys aboard.

KG: Keep in mind…diversity!

TISD: “We are defined in life by how we respond to defeat.” That’s a beautiful quote featured on your Facebook page! Can you tell me if there is a story or specific meaning for the both of you behind that quote?

KG: It takes very little to be a good person or good man when things are going well. But whether we like it or not, we are all measured by our dialogue with failure and loss. Not many people know this, but I have daughter with Downs Syndrome, and I also had a son who died when he was 9 months old. These weren’t failures, but when Joseph died, it was surely a loss. After his death, Hannah was born, and when we realized she’d be challenged, we couldn’t help but feel a certain type of defeat. If I’m being totally honest, I failed Hannah miserably in that very first day or two. But Hannah is an amazing person, God, just love her to death, and she’s key member of our family, and a huge person in my life. There’s no real story attached to that quote, only that Mike and I believe it whole heartedly.

MJ: It was Kevin’s quote, and while it doesn’t apply to one specific event, it can apply to many different times in life. It’s something to remind you that it’s when times are the worst that you can show your true colors, and come out for the  better because of it. The origin of the name “Easy Killer” is relevant here as well. It of course means to take it easy, don’t get too bummed when things are going rough. “Take it easy, killer. Things will get better.”

TISD: Was starting the label a difficult or easy process? Were there any major hurdles that threatened to get in the way of creating your business?

MJ: I think the largest hurdle was really pulling everything off the way we wanted to initially, and that was to make an instant splash. In order to do this, we needed to establish a full, diverse roster right away. This was a bit tricky since we were trying to sign everyone before we were a publicly launched entity, and they had to aboard with the concept of initially signing to an invisible label. Luckily, we were able to garner heavy trust with all of our artists in the early going, mainly due to past experiences (me booking them, Kevin recording them as a producer, etc). Now that we’ve gotten over that hump, the fun part has started. We’re thrilled with where we’re at right now.

KG: I don’t think there’s anything particularly tough about starting a label. Keeping it running and such is much more difficult. I think our launch was unique in that we wanted to come out of the gate with a fully established roster. Doing that took a ton a resources up front, lots of work, lots of planning [and] coordinating. And it’s still hard, but it’s great and we believe in our artists, our company, and each other for sure.

For more information about Easy Killer Records (and Apparel!), definitely check out their official website.

State Champs talk exciting tour with New Found Glory


State Champs have been a driving force in the pop punk music world for years, and they’re keeping the momentum alive with their new tour, opening for New Found Glory. We spoke with the band about what music they just can’t live without, and the changes they’ve seen for pop punk as a whole.

TheIndieSD: You guys are in the middle of a really exciting tour that even includes some amazing festivals! What has been your most memorable performance on tour so far?

State Champs: We played BLED FEST in Howell, Michigan and it was amazing. The fest is held at an old school. We played in a classroom on the floor and it was intense. Kids piled in until they literally couldn’t fit anymore kids in the classroom and once we started everyone pushed forward and Derek was fighting to keep kids from toppling amps and keep himself from crashing into the drum kit. Needless to say, it was amazing. Those intimate sets are generally the most memorable and fun!

TISD: Speaking of memorable moments on tour, what has been your most memorable show ever? Have you had any embarrassing experiences on tour?

SC: One of the most memorable shows for me was our first time at chain reaction in Anaheim, CA. It was our first time in SoCal and kids set it off for us. To go to an area for the first time and have kids screaming your words and throwing their bodies off the stage to your music is unparalleled. There’s a bunch of other memorable shows but this one just came to my mind. As far as embarrassing experiences? Sure, sometimes rip your pants jumping or lose your balance and fall into a wall or smash your microphone into your own mouth. :(

TISD: How have you been enjoying touring with Cartel and New Found Glory?

SC: It’s been unreal. To be able to tour with bands we’ve looked up to for years is so crazy. They’re all incredible people and great musicians that we have a lot to learn from! I’m still not sure if it’s clicked yet that we’re out here playing alongside these bands. I’m sure when I look back ill be like “0.0 that happened.”

TISD: So, I’m assuming you’re fans of Cartel and New Found Glory!
SC: Yes we are!

TISD: What is your favorite song by these artists?

SC: Cartel – anything off of Chroma, “Faster Ride”, “Deep South”  and “Let’s Go”.  New Found Glory – everything.

TISD: What can you not live without while on tour? What do you always bring with you or always have to have?

SC: I can’t live without my ear plugs, my laptop, my iPhone, and a book. Being able to block everything out and staying occupied will help you keep you sane on the road!

TISD: What is in heavy rotation on your playlists right now? What artists or bands can you just not live without?

SC: My playlist for this tour includes The Menzingers, American Football, Nirvana and Promise of Redemption. That’s just me though! We listen to a wide variety in the van. Everything from Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J to Valencia to Skrillex.

TISD: You guys describe yourselves as a “DIY Pop Punk Band”. How did it feel to be signed by Pure Noise Records?

SC: It feels good? Haha. PNR is a very family based operation. It’s literally one guy. It’s great because he lets you be yourself. He doesn’t try to tell you how to sound or what to do or how to look. Pure Noise also lets us have a hand in stuff like our album art and pre-order options and stuff like that. Nothing is predetermined for us. Sky’s the limit!

TISD: Being in the genre for quite some time, how do you feel about some of the changes in the bands and styles of pop punk?

SC: I feel like they’re good because things need to evolve to remain relevant. If everything remains the same, why would anyone even start new bands? I think some of the current pop punk bands are the best in the genre (not to discredit any older bands!)

TISD: Do you see and feel a difference when performing on the east coast as opposed to the west coast? Do you think west coast audiences are more excited for pop punk, or is it relatively equal?

SC: It all depends on what city. Some of the better shows we play on the east coast (providence, RI. Albany, NY. NYC) compare to SoCal shows or Seattle shows. I’d say it’s relatively equal!

TISD: Pop punk is a really fun genre that creates very dedicated and appreciative fans. Do you see the band continuing in the same direction, or do you plan to branch out into other, sometimes hardcore influences, like some other pop punk bands in the business?
SC: If we’re going to be branching out, it would be in the poppier direction. While we love hardcore, the poppier side just makes more sense for us.

TISD: I love the album,  Apparently I’m Nothing. It plays on some very smart and deep elements. Can you tell me about your writing process for that album? Did you take any different approaches when creating the material for  Overslept? (Overslept  is really good too, by the way!)
SC: AIN was written when I was 18-19. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing I was just trying to write songs while balancing college and a job. With Overslept, I spent a lot more time trying to write better songs and paid attention to keys and drew from a wider set of influences.

TISD: Your music tends to talk about feelings and emotions in a completely relatable way, as opposed to some genres which make music about very over the top themes (wealth, fame, adventure, etc.) Do you feel that it’s important for music to be relatable to the listener?
I don’t think it’s extremely important. Personally, I find it more appealing when I can relate to it though. However I do like songs that I later found out were ghost written or not actually true stories. They kinda lose their touch but I still like them!

According to their official blog, State Champs recently finished a full length album. While you patiently wait, check out this video playlist of the EP Overslept.

Minus the Bear with the New Limb: Indie Spectacular

minus the bear the new limb ucsd price center san diego the indie sdEvery once in a while the ideal band combination comes around, and that moment has graced So Cal once again. On May 8th, The New Limb will be warming up the stage for headliners Minus the Bear, and it will be a match made in catchy-guitar-riff heaven!

Comprised of five musicians based out of California, The New Limb is kind of like an indie folk child if that child ran off and had a wonderfully adventurous affair with a rock star. With just the right amount of upbeat velocity and driving drum beats, coupled with an occasional penchant for electric riffs, this group creates one of those “sounds of the summer” — their mix tape INCONSISTENCIES boasts the kind of songs that can go on dance floors and on road trip playlists, alike. Most of the band members take turns tossing around vocals, seamlessly melding their voices in a chant one moment, or crooning over keyboards and tambourines in the next.

They’re quickly becoming a new favorite, and their sound is the perfect complement to Seattle-based Minus the Bear.

Related: Minus the Bear show review from the House of Blues

Definitely not new to the indie music scene, Minus the Bear has managed to amass a bit of a cult following, based partly on their unique sense of musicality, syncopated guitar melodies, and of course, lead singer Jake Snider’s famous affinity for serenading baby-making lyrics. But don’t let the sultry subject matter fool you — in the long haul, Minus the Bear is ready to get you on your feet and dancing, keeping the dynamics fun enough for a party, but mellow enough to simply enjoy the beautiful composition of it all.

You can check out both bands live on May 8th at the UCSD Price Center Ballroom, the biggest indoor venue on the campus. Tickets are available at the UCSD Price Center Box Office, and online at

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Check out this latest animation video for Minus the Bear’s song “Listing”

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The Indie SD Presents: Barbarian, The Lonely Wild, Warships!

barbarian the lonely wild theindie sd

This Wednesday, TheIndie SD presents three amazing bands at my new favorite venue, The Griffin. I think you just figured out the best way to get through hump day. You’re welcome!

If you haven’t heard the dramatic indie folk tunes of The Lonely Wild, please put them on your playlist as soon as humanly possible! I’m completely in love with the entire package of this band, which at times includes just the right amount of driving, folky drum beats and crooning, eerie guitar melodies. Their song “Buried in the Murder” paints the perfect scene for the lyrics “Will we stand up and see eye to eye, once the wild has torn straight through our guards.” Deep.

Barbarian offers just what their name states: an unapologetic, unique display of musicianship that is both messy and exhilarating, connected and yet unpolished. And then there’s Warships, the group that will turn this whole thing into a dance party. With their catchy tunes and upbeat 70s inspired riffs, Warships offers music reminiscent of an extra groovy, atmospheric Two Door Cinema Club. They are sure to get a few feet moving, including mine — no judging my terrible dance skills, though!


To top off all this fun, I have a pair of tickets to give away! Head over to the Facebook event page and RSVP to be entered to win a pair! You can purchase tickets for this event on the Griffin’s website. SEE YOU THERE, INDIES!

All aboard the S.S. Coachella

If you can afford it, board it! I should write the advertising campaign for Coachella’s brand new water version of its sold out, three day, hippie & hipster music lovers’ festival. While the theory seems kind of neat (many artists have done cruises in the past, including Weezer), I’m just going to guess that the only people who can afford this cruise are the same people who bought three day Coachella passes just to listen to two artists and spend the rest of their time drunk in a field. Basically, if you can throw the money away, why not throw it overboard a classy cruiseliner?

I’d be much more excited if the lineup was better — Sleigh Bells and Girl Talk are about the only acts on here that would make this cruise a party, and while Yeasayer and Hot Chip are interesting, are they $700 worth of interesting?

On a side note, it is nearly impossible to hide contraband booze or weed on a cruise ship headed for an international destination. Maybe the high prices are to deter the criminal masterminds from getting detained in the Bahamas because Maui Wowie does not count as a valid proof of US citizenship?

What do you think? Would you go on a Coachella cruise? Let me know in the comments!




Sleigh Bells
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