Cake @Belly Up Tavern 11/30– Weekly Show Recommendation

In 1999, I was a 11-year-old, junior high student ripe with awkwardness and puberty. My music taste was still commercial and flat and I had just survived a embarassing obsession with The Spice Girls. I even had Britney Spears and Usher in my collection of regularly played CDs–it was a sad time in my life.

All the coming-of-age stresses and the fresh sense of independence derived from the junior high lifestyle opened my eyes to a world of choices. On top of that, Santa Cruz’s tattoo-clad subculture that rebelled against pretty much anything mainstream and put punk on pedastal which wiggled it’s way into my stream of consciousness.

Punk was all about throwing out all the rules, throwing out everything society had taught us was normal. It was about making your own clothing, making a statement through electric blue hair and celebrating the strange. So I embraced the strange, but some of the punk was too gruff after my bubble gum days and The Dead Kennedys were still unrelateable.

Honoring my newly founded rebellion, one day I found myself snooping in my older brother’s room and came across his music collection. I instantly ripped a bunch of the CDS that called my name and quickly fell deeply in love with Cake’s 1998 album, Prolonging the Magic. I put that ripped CD in my discman and listened to it on repeat for hours and days and eventually those turned to weeks and I still could never seem to burn myself out.

Cake’s sound is odd; it is unconventional and off beat–and that’s exactly what I loved about it. John McCrea pulls apart our traditional concept of lyrical sound and surprises fans with monotone vocals that still manage to be engaging despite the intended dryness. The lyrics themselves delve into the structure of relationships and use a repetitive chorus to create a hurricane of thoughts all pointing directly to themes of a higher social consciousness.

Beyond McCrea’s unusual vocal sound, the instrumental structure took apart conflicting genres and shook them back together with a modern brightness. The blend of punk, folk, hip hop, mariachi and country created a never before sound that has been forced into the wide and commanding genre of alternative rock.

After several years obsessing over Cake the band released their fourth album, Comfort Eagle and gave me something new to admire. Not only did I become obsessed with the new album, but it inspired me to look backwards at Cake’s previous work. As a fan, perhaps I am biased, but it seemed Cake could do no wrong.

Cake continues to do well and have announced a new album to release in the upcoming year. With a history that began in 1994 up to this moment Cake has been one of the staples in alternative rock making consistently memorable tracks with an unparalled sound. Their live shows are full of energy and there’s a guaranteed that hard core fans will show up to chant along with all their classics.

So have your Cake and eat it too; see Cake live at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach this Sunday!

cake band

San Diego Mixtape #9 11/26-12/2

There are some wonderful surprises in store for you this week in San Diego. Despite the ususal holiday lull, there are an influx of inspiring underground artists coming to town. Shows to look forward to this week include Cake, Chet Faker and Thomas Jack.

Check out the latest playlist featuring the best artists in town. This week there’s a definite electronica vibe that will get you grooving behind the wheel, your desk or your in front of the bathroom mirror!

Flying Lotus @North Park Theatre (11/13)–Weekly Show Recommendation

I’ve been a huge fan of Flying Lotus since I first heard “Zodiac Shit” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program. The creepy, glitched electronica instantly crawled under my skin making my ears perk up in delight. The physical reaction that it evoked was unexpected and thrilling as not too often I discover myself stopped in my tracks trying to trace down the root of a new music find.

What Flying Lotus AKA Steven Ellison creates is beyond the traditional concept of a song. He creates a atmosphere that would more traditionally fit the underscore for a film or the soundtrack for the weirdest day of your life.

His talent lies in production and genre mixing which is used to create a never heard before sound . His work is commonly described as experimental electronica, but that is far too simple for the complexity of his music.

With beats arranged with jazz hooks, hip hop breaks and indie rhythms there are no presumptions, no expectations and no boredeom in the the music.This freshness is forethcoming and intoxicating as it forces listeners outside of their comfort zone. It forces a new path of thought and new approach to listening as you can’t just tune it out and turn it into background noise, but you fall deep into the rhythm as it literally drags you through the murkiness of the unknown mind–you see yourself in places you’ve never been, you find your mind wandering into emotional depths you had never before precieved.

In the very least Flying Lotus can be described as interesting. However, from my personal experiences at his live shows, it has always been so much more. The palpable energy that flows out of Ellison is fun and truly gets you lit. He jives with the audience, grinning his studdly grin, making you feel like you just met your new best friend.

If there’s one show you go see this week, make it Flying Lotus at The North Park Theatre and get ready to be stoked.


San Diego Mixtape #7 (11/12-11/18)

As much as I dread it, it’s that time of year when the music scene begins to slow down in San Diego. Maybe it’s the upcoming holidays, midterms or the cooling weather, but the often thriving scene seeems a bit less adventerous than the preceding months. However, this follows the somewhat predictable scene that occupies SD that finds it’s subtlty matches the weather. Don’t fret though it’s not hopeless thanks to some of the newer venues that have churned up popular acts.

This week’s playlist highlights the best in the scene featuring artist like Flying Lotus and Inspired and the Sleep!

The Black Keys @ Viejas Arena–Weekly Show Recommendation (11/9)

With a plethora of electrifying, goose bump-arousing bands and DJs in town this week ranging from hard techno to downtempto R&B to indie rock, selecting “the best” seems like pulling teeth. This week, deciding what to do in San Diego is madness.

The mysterious and new Rhye with a chilling soul-pop is performing tonight in North Park. Owning decades of experience with the quirks of indie rock The Features performed last night at The Casbah, but what really grabs my gut is The Black Keys who are booked to perfom at the Viejas Arena on the SDSU campus this Sunday.

Grit and grim are ultimately what my vote come down to. The swanky, teeth-baring rumble of modern blues meets garage rock make this duo undeniably potent. You would never expect such an enveloping sound to come from two lanky, plaid-bearing hipsters (no offense, of course).

Established in 2001, The Black Keys is comprised of Dan Auerbauch and Patrick Carney who united in Ohio of all places. The eight and most recent album, Turn Blue released earlier this year on Nonesuch records which has garnered them ever increasing recognition for their talent.

Highlighting the rhythmic pulsation of blues with the grit of garage rock (thanks to the mastered guitar ladden with effects pedals) and adding some psychedelic twists for a modern ADD generation has equated the perfect storm of hodgepodge rock. The sound is smooth without being sweet, mucky without being tawdry and hypnotizing without being catchy(the most bland of all compliments).

The Black Keys are capable of bringing out your naughty side making your walk a touch more seductive with a little swagger in your step. The James Dean-hipsters of the world lean against brick walls, smoking cigarettes when “Fever” blasts on the radio. It’s music for those who appreciate the simplicity of life and find greater joy in shared experiences than bragging rights.

If you only have time for one show this week, see The Black Keys live at Viejas Arena

the black keys