Browsing Tag

San Diego

Fatmowf created an odyssey of romantically die-hard soul-pop fantasy with ‘Imaginary Lover’

Get lost in the romantically die-hard soul-pop odyssey, Imaginary Lover, from the up-and-coming San Diego artist Fatmowf, who established himself as a rap artist before wearing his heart on his hazy RnB vocal lines in this pastel-hued daydream of a release.

Just as we constructed imaginary friends in childhood, who helped us to feel more assured and connected in an alienating world, the tendency to create idealised romantic relationships as our needs become more amorous is more prevalent than we acknowledge.

Who can truly say that the mere idea of someone has never created an obsessive tailspin that becomes all-consuming as a perfect future is depicted while the other person is completely unaware that they’re the co-creator of your sticky-sweet fantasies that will never materialise?

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all dealt with the subsequent disappointment when we note the disparity between idealism and realism. Fatmowf is just in the minority of people willing to admit it. The breezy indie R&B euphonic melodicism of the track is just the added bonus to his vulnerably magnetic candour. Ironically, we are now obsessed.

In his own words:

“I made the song after I met this girl at Starbucks. I got her phone number and started daydreaming about her…. a lot. Probably way too fucking much to be honest. But I did. And the crazy part was I barely even knew her! I knew her name, what she did for work (obviously) and the fact that she likes cats. She could have been a serial killer for all I knew but I was so attracted to her. Wrong, I was attracted to the idea of her, and the person I wanted her to be…”

Check out the official video for Imaginary Lover, which premiered on July 7th on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

On a Hill: Highline Trail pays the price on that warm summer evening on The Pressed Man

Known best for their award-nominated track from 2022 Emmie, Highline Trail hikes up the torturous mountain and shows us their impressive progression with the top new single to sing with on loud, The Pressed Man.

Highline Trail is a San Diego, California-based indie folk-rock band that fuses infectious soul and funky harmonies which might put all listeners into a trance-like state.

With a hugely extraordinary anthem to forge communities together, Highline Trail looks toward the top of the cliff and has a style that will shake the trees and bellow briskly a message to savour.

The Pressed Man from San Diego, California-based indie folk-rock act Highline Trail is a cinematic experience which takes us into a different world and embraces an old-school mentality. There are so many aspects to love about this fine release, which might put shivers down the spine of all eager listeners.

If you like music with a hauntingly exquisite aura, this is a song like no other.

Listen up on Spotify.

Find out more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Your presence is costing me: Kiana Flowers is in no mood to have her valuable time wasted by clowns on Get To The Money

Sensing like love is a curse for her right now as she looks for a business model which will give her everything she ever wanted, Kiana Flowers drops a cash-filled track to sizzle up the sauces to gaining so much more than wack minimum wage on Get To The Money.

Kiana Flowers aka Mary Kiana Strayhorn is a San Diego, California-born indie hip-hop artist who grew up in Indy and has a self-motivated attitude which will calm the minds of those who are looking for something real.

Slicing away the nonsense like an angry butcher, Kiana Flowers lets it be known that she understands her value. Sick of big stories and even larger lame egos, she breaks away from anyone who has dodgy energy and races towards the bag instead.

Get To The Money from the motivated Indy-based indie rapper Kiana Flowers is a spirited soundtrack to encourage those who needed a reality check in finance building. Rapped hard and with purpose, we are shown the way through the vault door and away from Brokesville. Brilliant stuff really. An underground rap song at its purest.

Hear this fine single on YouTube.

See her growth on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Interview: Cheyenne Benton tells us more about her exquisitely Beautiful Chaos

Telling us more about upcoming shows and all the hard work and dedication required to be one of the best around, Cheyenne Benton leads us into her Beautiful Chaos and delivers with one of the most honest interviews we’ve covered so far in 2023. Featuring stress baths, the anarchic nature of the process and how it all started in 2019, this is a brutally eye-opening interview to bookmark forever.

Hi Cheyenne, goodness me we’re so happy to chat with you. How have you been coping with life and how do you usually start your day?

Thanks for having me – I’m grateful to have the opportunity to chat with you! That’s quite an interesting question – how I’ve been coping with life… with bi-weekly therapy sessions, writing new music, and stress baths. My mornings typically begin with being awoken by a boisterous vocal performance from my orange cat, Pony. I suppose lead singer disorder runs in the family.

Please tell us all about the creative process and vision behind your new album Beautiful Chaos.

The creative process was about as anarchic as the album title, if I’m being brutally honest. The ideas for this album came about in early 2019, I knew that I wanted to produce the record myself and I wanted to thematically explore the challenges I was facing at the time – unpacking heartbreak, existentialism, substance abuse, mental illness, self-discovery, and what it means to be a young woman in the western world. The record was tremendously crucial for me in that sense – the entire project itself was self-exploration for me, not only as an artist, producer, writer, and musician – but as a person.
If you listen to this album front to back, it tells the story – the journey from codependence to independence. It’s about everything you lose along the way, and everything you gain when you find the courage to let it go. Sonically, I wanted to explore different micing techniques, different musical influences, different creative ideas – so it really is a melting pot of everything I learned during my time in school for audio engineering, blended with what I was listening to heavily at the time and this new version of myself (both in my artistic life and personal life) I was trying to create.

We love live shows! What do you have cooking for June 1st, June 8th and June 13th for us all to get excited about?

We’re performing the full Beautiful Chaos Live set for the first time! This is a show my band and I have been working hard to perfect, and we are excited to bring these songs to life on stage in a live setting.

We are opening for the band Cub Sport on June 1st at the Casbah (7:30pm), and June 8th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the Garden Stage (9pm). Both of these are San Diego shows.
We’ll also be performing as a stripped-back acoustic trio on June 13th at the Hotel Cafe as a part of the Writer’s Block Showcase (8pm) in Los Angeles.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Back when I used to perform in musical theater as a teenager, I remember one of my directors speaking to the cast at the time and sharing this word of advice – it doesn’t matter if it’s before, during, or after you exit that stage – you are always auditioning.
That has stuck with me and served me in so many ways throughout the years. I think a lot of people, especially in the music industry, forget that others are impacted by your words and actions – both in and out of the studio, on and off the stage. You’re constantly being observed and studied, often by people you don’t even know. So say what you mean, treat people with kindness, and just be aware that whatever you say and do in the dark will eventually be brought to light. If you can’t defend your behavior when the spotlight is on you – maybe there’s character work to be done, maybe it’s time to look inward.

I’m currently 42 and can’t imagine what it’s like being a 20-something inside this confusing world with so much potential. What feelings have been most abundant lately would you say?

I really have been enveloped in an all-consuming rage. Sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it’s loud. But it’s pervasive and ever-present. There is an abundance of potential, but also an abundance of injustice that I’ve felt on a universal level, but more recently in ways that have impacted me personally – ways that have been intrusive to my sense of self, my womanhood, and my peace. It’s a bit of a pendulum swing between succumbing to absolute nihilism and working on what is in my control – to be the change the world needs right now.

Where are you based and how is the local music scene in your area?

I’m based in San Diego, California. The music scene is dominated pretty heavily by bands with a lot of hard rock influence, which is neat. I don’t always feel as though I fit in as the feminine indie pop, synth pop, alt rock, flowery little gremlin I am, though. However, this past year or so I’ve felt more embraced by the community than I have in previous years – getting to perform at some really cool venues and even earning a San Diego Music Award nomination for Best R&B, Funk or Soul Song. I appreciate the niche following I am building here, and the local industry veterans who are willing to give my music a listen and a platform.

Last, what are the goals for the foreseeable future and where do you see your sound headed in the next few years?

I’m already underway on my next project – which I can only describe as caustic, scathing, and sardonic. I’m looking forward to leaning into more unpleasant feelings I’ve shied away from sharing in my music. I think I have this habit of always trying to look for the good. I think sometimes, it’s okay to admit that a situation was harmful – it doesn’t have to be wrapped up in a positive bow. I’m excited to embrace that, both lyrically and sonically in this next chapter – and eager for you to hear it.

Listen up and educate the soul on Spotify.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Fearless San Diego DJ Erick Diaz drops thrilling 2nd single Closer to Love

After previously spending a year in silence so that he could fully comprehend the power and beauty of a whisper, Erick Diaz thunders in with an emphatic performance to summon all energies back into the light on Closer to Love.

Erick Diaz is an experienced San Diego-based DJ, art director and music producer who is also a much-respected poet, artist and music philosopher.

A veteran DJ of many years, Diaz has shared stages with top DJs and producers of the present and past from Duke Dumont to Test and many more.” ~ Erick Diaz

Replenishing our ears with a new direction from his previous work, Erick Diaz kicks sleepy speakers back into shape and shall create a dynamic spirit within us all. Goodness me this is good. Really good.

Closer to Love from the San Diego-based multi-skilled music maestro Erick Diaz is a seriously fine tune to soak up rather radiantly and with that extra passion needed. Soaked with smooth vocals and taking us back to that first meeting when everything is so new and loving, we find a stunning song to treasure forever and forever.

When there are no fake games, true love is actually possible after all.

Turn this up on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Get your body beat to the blistering hot deep house drop from Freshcobar & Lavelle Dupree, ‘Story of My Life’.

It may be too early to call the deep house drop of the year, but Freschobar & Lavell Dupree set the bar euphorically high with their body rocker of a bass-drenched earworm, Story of My Life.

Deep House hits that allow the lyrics to bite as hard as the beats are few and far between; clearly, the San Diego DJs and producers Freschobar and Lavelle Dupree sharpened their lyrical teeth before making a meal out of the radio-ready edit and the extended mix.

Prior to producing the cuttingly contemporary track, the two artists who have become staples in the San Diego scene have toured the world, tearing up stages between stamping their passports. We can’t wait to see where they take their dynamic collaboration next.

Story of My Life will officially release via the San Diego label, No Ones Safe (NOS), on March 3rd; check it out here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Mike Wilkins delivered riff-driven vindication in his latest hard-rock hit, STRANDED

San Diego-hailing guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Mike Wilkins is back on fervid form with his latest hard rock hit, STRANDED, inspired by the cathartic freedom of cutting toxic ties.

It is a sure-fire hit of vindication for anyone who has had to disconnect from negative bonds. For people who need a little extra convincing to step into their own light away from the shadow of insidious others, the face-melting riffs, reminiscent of the ones carved by Glenn Tipton, George Lynch, and Phil Collen, will give you a positive shove forward with the force of a juggernaut.

With hints of 80s hair metal in the riff-driven hit, the choruses are easy to get caught up within, while the monolithic breakdowns crafted by the one-man powerhouse, who has previously worked with Tim Owens (Judas Priest), bind you even more tightly into this breakneck helter-skelter ride through virtuoso-level talent and relatable emotion.

The official video for STRANDED is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


A Beautiful Glitch on the Radar of SoCal

Imagine you’ve got the innovation of Richard James (Aphex Twin) mixed with the Latin American flavor of Ozomatli and you’ve got a little bit of an idea for the sound of Teratoma Girls. A duo from Southern California and alumni of UCSD, Erin Jimenez and Nia Camacho respectively; they bring a mix of Mexican styles to EDM in a way that is gritty, at times noisey, but always energetic.

Their track “Permaculture20K” is largely remixes of other artists but done in a kind-of-collage-meets-mixed-media way. It begins with the standard fiesta announcer, the sort of thing you’d hear in a family-owned Mexican restaurant which caters to Mexican clientele, before moving into a grimy, stylish/stuttering glitch-fest (or maybe I should say “glitch fiesta”). It’s just great, the way these two beat juggle between drawn out triplet figures, static replacing snare sounds, and of course the migration of one track to another. “Permaculture20K” clocks in at about 50 minutes, so it’s ideal for a house party-ready track.

Sadly, Teratoma Girls’ Instagram is scant, currently only featuring the album cover for the aforementioned track. I’m sure most of the readers would love to get an idea of how these creative young ladies look, but as someone who has built a business from the ground up, I know very well how long the “to-do” list gets for media and advertising.

The Alt-90s Cinematically Lives and Breathes Through Agent Envy’s Grungy Industrial Rock Single, No Friend

San Diego artist and producer Agent Envy is fresh from the release of her sultrily fierce single, No Friend, which cinematically amalgamates trip-hop, industrial rock, grunge and metal. Under the wide-spanning influence of acts including NIN, Tool, Massive Attack and Deftones, Agent Envy found her own striking sonic aesthetic that is nothing short of iconic in itself.

Any fans of Warpaint and Wolf Alice will want to sink their teeth into this demurely powerful protest against life’s prolific protagonists who guise their usury entitlement as friendship to take what they can, and guilt trip you when they’ve bled you dry of your empathy but still haven’t quite had their fill.

“No Friend is about finally saying, “enough is enough,” and captures the triumph and catharsis of setting a boundary. The track explores a powerful side of my vocal range not previously featured in my earlier songs, along with the deep, sultry vocals that my audience is familiar with.”

No Friend will be available to stream and purchase on all major platforms from December 9th. Catch in on Spotify & YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Agent Envy Interview: Extra focused and looking to the future

With a roaring sound and so much intense energy strewn through the speakers, we sat down with the incredible San Diego-based music producer/artist Agent Envy. Guiding us deep into the truth and telling us how it is, we find an artist who is ready for the next step.

It’s a pleasure to chat with you today, Agent Envy. First, how have you been keeping and how did you come up with your intriguing artist name?

Agent Envy: Thank you so much for having me! I’m really excited to be releasing my next string of songs and I feel so, so proud of No Friend. This song has been a long time coming and started nearly a year (and a few thousand miles) ago. I can’t believe it’s finally out for everyone to hear.

My artist name, Agent Envy, came as a reflection of my sources of inspiration for my music. I gravitate towards the cinematic, both visually and sonically, and wanted something that reminds my audience of the dark, retrofuturist movies of the late 90s, whose soundtracks had such an impact on my taste in music. My career outside music has taken a bit of a winding path through programming, graphic novels, and private investigation, so all of these things led me to Agent Envy.

Gosh, you’re quite the talented multi-instrumentalist. How did it all start for you in this game and please let us know which instruments you can play?

Agent Envy: I’ve been singing since as long as I can remember, to the point where my pre-school teachers would grumble about me constantly singing to myself. But I struggled with learning other instruments, and I think a lot of that stemmed from having a good ear and relying too much on memorization. Because singing was so effortless, I wasn’t motivated to learn to read music, develop the discipline to practice, or really get my theory down, since I could just hear it and sing it. It’s a habit I still work against regularly.

After years and years of being mediocre on guitar due to a lack of focused effort, I finally decided to take a completely different approach and study it, as if it were any other subject, and that’s when things started to actually click. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to try this sooner since I’m a giant nerd who actually loved studying in school, but here we are. I started reading books on guitar and theory, made myself a little guitar “workout routine,” and sheepishly realized that if I had just bothered to really learn my theory years ago, I would’ve had a much easier time.

So far I’ve gotten myself into guitar, bass, piano, a little mandolin, and some finger drumming. I still have work to do before I’d consider myself an expert in any of them, but I enjoy the process of learning so much that it’s always satisfying to see how far I can progress at a given time. Plus I have the benefit of living with my partner and co-producer, Richie Beretta, who is beyond talented in all of the above; I’ve learned so much from him too, and his fluency in music is a big motivator for me to stay on top of it.

Setting boundaries is so important in life. Please give us more detail about the vision behind your tremendous new single No Friend.

Agent Envy: No Friend started in a bit of an unusual way for me. I usually write most of my songs in my head, melody and lyrics first, instrumentation second. This record started as a production sketch Richie created, the loop you hear at the beginning of the track, with some really chewed-up drums, a hypnotic bassline, and some industrial elements. I heard him working on it and immediately put a vocal sketch into my voice notes. Something about it felt vengeful, and that’s where the subject matter came into play. Most of my songs can be lyrically interpreted in a number of ways, which is intentional. So No Friend is meant to communicate that feeling of saying “back off” or “never again” to something or someone.

Sonically, this was such a fun but challenging track, because my previous releases haven’t featured this aspect of my vocal range. I’ve gotten a number of requests from my listeners for a song where I’m all-out belting, so I’m happy to be able to deliver on this one. I want people to feel powerful when they listen, and I think the vocal melody really lends itself to that as well.

Have you had any luck with sync opportunities or found that certain platforms aren’t worth it?

Agent Envy: Not yet, but it’s something I want to put an increased focus on for 2023. I feel like it’s such a challenge to get your music heard in a sea of equally excellent musicians. You really have to have someone dedicated to pitching your music. But I write my songs with so much cinematic inspiration that I feel like they’re primed for that market. So many of my listeners talk about how they imagine my music in one show or another, and it would be an absolute dream to have something like that happen. Someday soon, I hope!

What’s it like to be a musician in 2022 with all that is going on in the world?

Agent Envy: I think being a musician is challenging no matter what’s going on. Being on social media as an artist is both a blessing and a curse, as it can be a fantastic way to get yourself heard, but it also means you’re subject to the “contentification” of your music. People want things fast, and immediately, and it’s not really possible – or healthy – to deliver new songs in that way. Speaking from experience, it can be very difficult to keep your mental health intact when you feel like the success of your art is tied to a depersonalized algorithm.

Then there’s the added factor that there are so many things going on in the world, so much pain and injustice, that it feels frivolous to promote my music at certain times. I know many people want and need music as an escape, but I try my best to step back and let more important topics take the spotlight whenever appropriate.

If you could share the stage with any band still active, who would it be and why?

Agent Envy: Any of Chino Moreno’s or Maynard James Keenan’s projects. It would be a total dream to share the stage with them, and I think there would be a large overlap in our target audiences. I don’t try to imitate or emulate any artists in my music, that would be rather unoriginal, but it’s the way their work makes me feel that I think aligns well with the experience I want my listeners to have.

Last, where can we find you live next or do you have anything planned for 2023 music-wise?

Agent Envy: My immediate focus for 2023 will be releasing a few more singles leading up to my EP. We’re just about to wrap up production for the songs and finish recording vocals, easily my favorite part of the process. I feel like it’s taken a lot of soul-searching to get to this point, but I truly believe that this upcoming collection of songs is finally the sound I’ve been looking to create. Now that we’re in Southern California, I’d absolutely love to begin playing shows out here, there are so many awesome venues and I feel like the audience here is really motivated to get out and discover some new music.

Listen up to this new single here. See more on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen