UPDATE: Tera Melos, Fever Sleeves is at Black Box!

Tony Fever Sleeves just let me know that the Tera Melos, Fever Sleeves and Witt! show has been moved to the venerable Black Box Studios. Let Google Maps, not Peter Frampton, show you the way.

Incidentally, what’s up with 80s songs using key changes interchangeably with, I don’t know, writing another part of the song?

“And then what?”

“How about a bridge.”

“Nah, let’s just do the chorus again transposed up a fifth.”


Livin’ on a Prayer does this. Countless others do, too. What the hell?

Black Box Studios robbed…

Rosey just posted on this over at sddialedin.com. This story just make me furious. Living across the street from Black Box, I’ve gotten to know Mario and Mike pretty well. I’ve developed a lot of respect for them, both for their willingness to share their rehearsal and recording studio as a venue and for their work in putting together the Black Box compilation. Stealing from people like them, as a musician, is ultimately counter-productive. I hope the deal they got for pawning all of this stuff was worth poisoning the well of good will.

This is a repost from MySpace, posted on Saturday Night:

Tonight between the hours of 7:30pm and midnight someone entered Black Box and took everything out of our hourly rehearsal room. That included: a Soundcraft P.A. , a Peavey P.A. Speaker, a Cerwin Vega P.A. Speaker and 2 sm 57s with mic stands. They also made off with some of our most beloved artwork and our christmas tree. It’s a sad day when we have to re-assess the trust you have for people. If anyone has any info on any of this equipment please contact us ASAP! 619-788-3240
Black Box

Recapper: Sirhan Sirhan, Swim Party, Japanese Sunday, Vitro @ the Casbah

Ah, the Black Box compilation. A long, loving, hard-earned ode to the power of music and community. Not terribly surprised to not see any other music journalist types in attendance–though, truth be told, I left early. Some day after my dissertation is done, I tell you… I’m not saying that a comp CD is the end-all-be-all of human existence. Just saying it wouldn’t kill us to recognize hard work from some of our own, especially when it features many of the bands that are currently doing the hard work of repping our fair city across this great land.

Vitro was up first. They play 50s and 60s garage pop with a smattering of soul, trashy psychedelic skronk and bluesy swagger. The crowd at this point was relatively sparse but appreciative, with a few brave souls flaunting convention and doing a little twist. I don’t particularly care for self-conscious “revival” stuff, but Vitro was honest and unpretentious in the way they went about it. Good for them.

Japanese Sunday was up next. Their album, Tap Tap Light Out, was one of my favorite surprises of 2006. It distills the best parts of MBV, Mogwai, Hum and Interpol into one challenging, engaging listen. Tonight Eric’s voice seemed a little hoarse, but the band sounded good and their guitar interplay was impressive as always.



Swim Party is a band I’ve known of for a long time. JR’s girlfriend, Melissa, knows them, and has always spoken highly of them. Her tendency to be effusive about these things may have delayed my checking their out by four or five months–which means four or five months of missing the boat for me.Whimsy isn’t something to which a lot of boys (outside of the fey, indie pop circuit) with guitars aspire. Swim Party has it in spades. They also have strength, integrity, and blindingly good songs. I was very happy to hear that the EP I’d just purchased had the song “Sunlight and Sprawl,” which really had me floored. I can’t remember the last time I thought of 764-HERO. I also can’t remember the last time I thought of the Cure, the Format, and Ian Curtis at a child’s tea party, smoothed out by Paxil and really digging on the high society conversations of teddy bears and china dolls. In fact, I’m pretty sure outside of myself–and maybe Swim Party–the thought is a completely novel creation. I’m instantly a fan, and am relatively convinced that their 20 minute set in the Atari Lounge was one of the first sets I’ve seen in a long time that really made me smile. They even played a Yo La Tengo cover. My buddy (and presumed reader) Kelly Wurtz and I always chide each other because he loves the indie pop and I’m too closeted to admit that I admire its charms. I think Swim Party may be the sacred territory over which we bury that particular hatchet.




Homeboy’s bass playing reminded me a lot of Zach from Pinback. That’s a good thing.

Sirhan Sirhan was up next. Sirhan Sirhan is like the weird D&D kid from high school that disappeared into an engineering degree and weightlifting in college, only to emerge whip smart and scary as hell. Though I only got to see their first five songs (mom and grandmom are in town, and their itinerary starts early), they were sufficiently strangling to suggest that not a beat was missed due to drummer Alex Organ’s recent exile in Kansas City. It boggles the mind that the Bronx are up the street in LA and turn out 200 lunatics each time while Sirhan’s right here in town, kicking ass and taking names. Makes a man want to reach for a gun.

All in all, a great night. Thanks to Mike and Mario for making it happen.

TONIGHT: Black Box Comp Release Party 1: Goblin Cock, Japanese Sunday, Vitro, Swim Party, Sirhan Sirhan

I’ve been remiss to not mention this sooner: tonight is night no. 1 of the Black Box Studios Compilation release party. Since MusicMatters doesn’t seem to keen on making web content available, I’ll share a little of what I’ve had  to say about the comp in that magazine:

If you think that the there’s no musical community in San Diego, you haven’t been to a show at Black Box Studios.  On a recent night, members of the Locust, Sirhan Sirhan, Sleeping People, Pinback, Mr. Tube, The Long and Short of It, and a host of others crowded into Black Box Studios to see local newbies Barfer? (Brandon Relf of Sleeping People, Jason Hendrix of The North Atlantic and Mikey McCardle of Business Lady) performing in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Between acts, musicians, fans and friends tossed back beverages and enjoyed each other’s company. It speaks to the faith that co-owners Mario Quintero and Mike Pereira have in the power of local music to build communities–and of local musicians to shape the music-making environment. Moreover, it says volumes about said owners’ hospitality and generosity, turning their investment and pride and joy–which has rehearsal spaces and a full recording studio–into a hub of Golden Hill culture.

According to Quintero, Eric was the first to recognize the potential for a compilation featuring bands that have recorded, rehearsed and/or played at Black Box.  “We thought it would be cool to throw something together with bands that are all involved with each other,” he says. “We all play shows with each other, and talk to each other.”  The lineup would eventually swell to include Transfer, The North Atlantic, Sleeping People featuring Rob Crow, Sirhan Sirhan, Manuok, and Hialeah–Quintero and Pereira’s band with drummer Justin Jay, who also plays in Japanese Sunday–along with relative newcomers like Modern Rifles. “We went the San Diego Music Awards, and there were a bunch of bands we wish we saw nominated up there, like Modern (Rifles)–great bands that didn’t we thought deserved to be recognized.”

Get on down there. Show is 8 bucks and starts at Casbah time.


Your chances to not give a rat’s ass about this band are dwindling.

The North Atlantic: drummer leaving the band (you heard it here first)

The July 27th show, at Black Box Studios in San Diego, will be my last hometown show with The North Atlantic. Our performance at Denverfest, over Labor Day weekend, will be my last show with the band, period. I’m closing in on a finished dissertation and will be setting my sights on contributing to the world through scholarship, journalism, and playing music in and around my hometown (San Diego for the present). I’d like to invite all our friends and fans in San Diego to join us on the 27th, and help us welcome our good friends Ghost Buffalo to town.

It’s fitting that my last shows will be at Black Box (in SD) and Denver, as that venue and that city really affirm my faith in the power of music to be the foundation for a community based on mutual respect and admiration. This year’s Denverfest will, I’m sure, wind up being one of my fondest memories.

Since getting started eight long years ago, Jason, Jason and I have worked to write inspired music, share it with our friends and fans and form lasting fellowship with other musicians around the country. In my opinion, we’ve been very successful at all three. I love the two of them more than I could ever adequately describe, and I wish the two of them success, courage and brilliance in all their future musical endeavors. Whatever becomes of The North Atlantic in the future, you can be sure I will be their number one fan.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of the people who have sustained our musical pursuits, in ways large and small. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Oh, and touring bands, don’t worry: my living room is still in the game!


Christie Front Drive: reunited, will it feel so good?

This post has almost nothing to with San Diego, though it has a considerable amount to do with awesomeness, which is my overriding concern. Punknews.org scooped me on this one, but only because I keep confidence with my good friends–which is probably why this “blogging project,” as a friend calls it, is destined to fail.

Christie Front Drive, one of the seminal emo bands to come out of the 1990s, is reuniting for Denverfest III. Denverfest, you will come to find, is my favorite DIY fest in the country. It’s about the best time a band can have, and represents all that I believe is missing in the San Diego scene (though there are people, like Mike and Mario at Black Box Studios, that are trying to change that): comaraderie, friendship, and an abiding desire to grow a community of musicians that bond over friendships rather than musical affinity and cross-marketing opportunities. The North Atlantic have played both Denverfests so far, and this year will be no exception.

I hear murmurings that Mastodon, Cursive, and several other heavy hitters may be involved as well, though at this point I really can’t confirm. We shall see what we shall see.