5 Songs To Discover In San Diego In June
We're listening to new music from bands in the region, including 10-19 and the Number Men, Accidents, The Verigolds, Maura Rosa and Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra.
'Dog Days' By 10-19 And The Number Men
Local hip hop project 10-19 and the Number Men just put out a new EP, "Spokes," and it's a fantastic listen top to bottom. I'm partial to "Dog Days," a grooving, synthy track that holds plenty of that summery idleness conjured from the title, but also peels away at some bigger topics of anxiety and depression, the flipside of the "dog days" expression. That tone gives a certain heaviness and exhaustion to the track, but it's a complicated, brainy and poetic exhaustion — balanced nicely by a counterweight of a mesmerizing sonic energy.
'La Persona A La Que Conociste' By Accidents
Mexicali-based Accidents is a solo project of César Cossio (known as Kar), guitarist of the early '00s rock band Insite. Accidents released a new album this spring, "En Vivo," and it has a really approachable brand of pop punk, with a dash of alternative, even a little emo. My favorite on the album was actually released as a B-side from another project last fall, called "La Persona A La Que Conociste," which translates to "the person you met." It's a pretty heartbreaking look at how it's difficult to love someone who is struggling, from the perspective of the struggling at least. But there is a little hope, and the song is super catchy.
'Palm Springs' By The Verigolds
San Diego-based indie pop band The Verigolds have brand new music out and you can check them out live this month. The Holding Company in Ocean Beach will host them along with Jesus Gonzalez and Future Sexual on Thursday, June 17 — the first show they'll have on their stage since last March. "Palm Springs" is jaded, summery and wistful, and Jenna Cotton's vocals add some mystery and edge. There's something about the onset of this particular post-vax summer that fills me with a little bit of dread and a little bit of nostalgic summery magic, and this tune somehow seems to perfectly encapsulate all of those feelings. Also, don't miss their other recent release from earlier last month, the soulful (and just as sun-soaked) "Sunshine."
'Inequidad' By Maura Rosa
A new single out by Tijuana's Maura Rosa, "Inequidad," is a curious and beguiling tune, somewhat sinister and somewhat heartbreaking. I love the texture of this track, Latin-inspired mallet percussion, and plenty of fuzzy electronics and synth. And to top it off, Rosa's vocals are breathy and dark, a little distorted at times, a little sweet. This is Maura Rosa's fifth single since we included 2020's "Entra" here when it was released last April — so I'm looking forward to maybe seeing a full-length release soon, following up her 2018 EP "Cama en la Sala."
'Weightless' By Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra
How to begin. Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra is actually not satanic at all. Mike Buchmiller and a robot, SPO-20, make up what is San Diego's best (and most likely only) robot-fronted band. Buchmiller writes the lyrics, then uses an ancient text-to-speech software that went out of business in 1997 to convert them to SPO-20's weirdly soothing and spacey voice. For this reason, Buchmiller doesn't control the cadence or really even the melody of the songs — this is all spat out by SPO-20's speech generator — then Buchmiller builds the rest of the composition around it.
They just released their latest album, "Race to Space," and with outer space-themed tracks like "So Many Switches" and "You Can Call Me HAL," and "Big Tang Theory," it's a lot of nerdery stirred up with some existentialism and some important robotic truths about the human condition. My favorite is "Weightless." It's absurd, yes, but also weirdly beautiful. You can almost sing along.
Honorable Mention: 'Turning Light: A Tribute To Arthur Russell' Compilation
This benefit compilation by Portland-based label Oranj Discs features the music of the late cellist and visionary songwriter Arthur Russell, performed and inspired by close to 30 musicians. I noticed two acts with San Diego ties — Neutral Shirt with "Wonder Boy" and Jordan Krimston with "Big Moon." The covers range from raw and sparse to hypnotically produced arrangements. All proceeds support Black and Pink, an organization dedicated to supporting incarcerated LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive individuals.