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5 Songs To Discover In San Diego In July

Detail of the cover for Jelani Aryeh's album, "I've Got Some Living To Do," forthcoming on July 30, 2021.
Courtesy of No Matter
Detail of the cover for Jelani Aryeh's album, "I've Got Some Living To Do," forthcoming on July 30, 2021.

We're listening to new music from Jelani Aryeh, Julianna Zachariou, Irenie, SD State of Mind anthology and Rain on Fridays.

We're listening to new music from Jelani Aryeh, Julianna Zachariou, Irenie, SD State of Mind anthology and Rain on Fridays. Plus, two upcoming shows, and a bonus cassette-only album of self-released San Diego bands.

'Overexposed' By Jelani Aryeh

With a new album set to release July 30 and a forthcoming appearance kicking off the 2021 KPBS Summer Music Series, I am in full Jelani Aryeh hype mode. So is the rest of the world, according to 1.2 million monthly streams on Spotify. Aryeh, who identifies as Filipino/African-American, grew up in the inland suburbs, and an indistinct sense of being stifled by this suburban sensibility runs beneath the surface of some of his music. The latest single, "Overexposed," is chock full of honest, questioning lyrics like the repeating first line, "Why do I do the things I do?" Sonically, rich textures and layered vocals evoke acts like Frou Frou, but Aryeh's originality shines through. There's yearning, there's hope and there's also a ton of resignation — it's a type of wisdom beyond Aryeh's relative youth.

'Becky' by Julianna Zachariou

Performing July 24 at Soda Bar.

"Becky" is a brand new single by artist Julianna Zachariou, just out in late June, and she is putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming album. The somewhat recent transplant from Nashville writes dreamy, indie pop that's as earnest and grounded as it is whimsical and romantic. "Becky" is an homage to a steadfast type of love and all the quiet riches that come along with it ("We got so much working for us / we got so much, Becky"). Plus for a mini San Diego scavenger hunt, check out her recent video for "By The Morning." Zachariou will headline Soda Bar on July 24, just the second weekend of shows at the soon-to-be-reopened venue.

'Night And Day (Some Nonsense Helps)' By Irenie

Performing with Thee Sacred Souls July 11 in Oceanside.

Digging into the archives a bit to this 2018 track by local singer-songwriter Irenie. Her vocals toe the line between delicacy and strength — all with an incredible range. Irenie's writing is creative and fascinating, and this track is worth revisiting to get in the mood for her upcoming show (and to keep her squarely on our radar). Irenie will perform at High Tea, The Hill Street Country Club's upcoming gala on Saturday, July 11. The outdoor event will be held at Goat Hill Park in Oceanside, and also features Thee Sacred Souls, Chulita Vinyl Club, T. Rexico, H/lf and The Renters.

'For The Culture - Remix' Feat. Kahlee, Ralph Quasar, Ric Scales, Cali The Dreamer, Real J. Wallace, Miki Vale, Apollo, Beto Perez (Explicit)

The SD State of Mind Vol. 1 anthology features sixteen tracks from San Diego hip hop artists. It's a great listen and picking a standout track was no easy feat. I landed on "For The Culture," with performer and creative credits that read like an all-star batting line-up. Each artist brings their own style — like Miki Vale's sardonic comparison to kombucha — but it never feels disjointed. A hypnotic refrain and some ethereal descant vocals ground the track. I first heard the original song on a fall 2020 Kahlee x Ralph Quasar release, and this remix feels just as essential.

'No Feet Mailman' By Rain On Fridays

Rain on Fridays, a Solana Beach-based self-described "female-fronted emo rock band," just released a new single in June. "No Feet Mailman" is a little absurd, a little fun and a little bit sad. This track is on the heels of their March release, "Hey Man," which is a full-throttle rocker. I'm here for the kids taking over the music world, especially in the form of irreverent girl rock. The band was in the midst of seemingly constant performances right when the pandemic hit, so I'm looking forward to some shows on the horizon from Rain on Fridays. In the meantime, you can get a partial, virtual fix: the band recently recorded a full Fresh Squeezed live session, just released on YouTube.

BONUS: Dust Off Your Tape Decks

"A Fistful of Sand Dollars" is a new cassette compilation full of self-released music from San Diego artists. You can also buy the digital album in two long tracks (one for each side) from Bandcamp — an upside for those of us without reliable access to a tape deck. There's something charming and intentional about a cassette, and the music is a diverse and wild listen. Featuring songs by Richard Bowen, Deer, Los Alacranes Mojados, Sonny Voss, Jeff Harmon and tons more.

For a playlist of all these tracks — and more monthly playlists — you can follow KPBS on Spotify.