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San Diego

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

The One: Jessamine Barham just wants to escape from this hell on Bow Down

Sensing that she needs to get away from a selfish lover who isn’t able to comprehend how poorly they’re acting, Jessamine Barham is in top form with a sensational single that will find your heart beating faster on Bow Down.

Jessamine Barham is a San Diego, California-based indie dark pop/folk singer songwriter who performs with a tenacious edge that will get you listening intently.

Sizzling with a final goodbye wave to the past, which shall echo from the rooftops, Jessamine Barham is a brave soul who has courageously let us into her deepest emotions. Closing the door on someone who showed their devilish side too often, we are shown a story about having the self-love to walk away before it’s too late.

Bow Down from San Diego, California-based indie dark pop/folk singer songwriter Jessamine Barham is a brave single that will get you dusting off the self-doubts. Sung with a real earnestness that will get your whole body inspired to run far from any darkness, this is a real stunner that is filled with admirable honesty.

Listen up on YouTube and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The Melody Is So Sweet: Jessamine Barham loves that free-feeling in Nature

Inspired by Birdy, Within Temptation, and Regina Spektor, Jessamine Barham shows us her love for the outdoors that shall guide you away from the stifling smokey city that is so far from the peaceful climates of Nature.

Jessamine Barham is a San Diego, California-based indie folk/chamber-pop singer-songwriter and writer who makes beautiful melodies that are rather mood-altering.

Most of my music is either about stories I create or personal experiences or issues I’ve had.” ~ Jessamine Barham describing her sound

Gracing us with something rather special and packed with so much love, Jessamine Barham is rather special and shall hug your ear so sweetly. Everything is so pure and genuine to the max, to help us heal from all the trauma that can only be cured by taking in the beautiful parts of our planet.

Nature from San Diego, California-based indie folk/chamber-pop artist Jessamine Barham is a delightful effort that has been made with that rare class and authentic vibes. Vocally enhanced and kind in every way possible, this is an experience for this whole needs a break from the toxic smog that our busy cities can wrap over us.

When you feel that fresh air inside your lungs, everything in your soul changes for the better.

Listen to this lovely song on YouTube and see more news via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

KANITHA has us gripped in her trauma-bond exploring indie alt-pop hit, VICES.

The San Diego-hailing Cambodian-American alt-pop artist KANITHA (Marjorie Huot) has released her most arrestive RnB pop single to date with VICES, which captures the people-pleasing and co-dependent tendencies that can form through trauma-bond-forming tumultuous relationships.

If you know, you know. If you don’t, VICES will open your eyes Clockwork Orange style to the type of trauma that emotional abuse can bury within us. The lyric, “he only likes me when I’m on my on my knees begging him to give a fuck about me”, is soberingly succinct; few lyrics have captured the nefarious nature of abusers so vividly.

We can’t wait to hear what KANITHA has in store with her upcoming EP; the depth of her emotional intelligence is enough to put most artists on the airwaves to shame. And that is without mentioning the evocative weight of her light vocal timbre against the chamber pop style RnB instrumentals. We’re officially infatuated.

VICES will officially release on March 11th, 2022. You can check it out for yourselves via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

San Diego-based Metal shredder Mike Wilkins knows that no one can stop this brain-crushing journey with, ‘Merchants of Death’ (feat. Tim ”Ripper” Owens)

As they slash the tires and look on in glee as the carnage takes over the streets and spills into the homes of those who least expect it, Mike Wilkins brings the pain on the high-tempo new single that you will either love with all your heart or make you hide away from it all together with, ‘Merchants of Death(feat. Tim ”Ripper” Owens).

Mike Wilkins is a San Diego, California-based indie-Rock/Metal artist and brings in Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (formally of Judas Priest) on this full-throated effort with intention.

Signifying that they mean business and not sugar coating anything for innocent ears, Mike Wilkins rattles our emotions like a plundering earth-mover and sends us into another stratosphere completely here. This is as raw as it can possibly get with glass-shattering vocals and a guitar sound that is reminiscent of those true greats that are ultimately immortal in the eyes of millions.

Merchants of Death(feat. Tim ”Ripper” Owens) from the Californian solo hardcore Rock/Metal artist Mike Wilkins, is a guitar-smashing doom-filled experience from two heavy musicians who have joined forces to devasting effect. They slice the streets down with expert aplomb and send shivers down the spines of us all, with a treacherously explosive presentation that will have parents scared and the youth enthused. Just the way it was intended.

Listen in to this new single on Spotify and see more news on his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Drink From The Bottle: San Diego band Halcyon Club set fire to the night on ‘TLITBF’

Released from their December 2021-dropped 2-track EP called ‘Dance ‘Til The Mourning‘, Halcyon Club is in pursuit of the true purpose in this life that is challenging to bear sometimes with ‘TLITBF‘.

Halcyon Club is a 4-piece multi-instrumentalist alt-rock/pop group that is based in sunny San Diego, California in the USA who seem to assemble those dreamy gems you remember from your childhood.

Sending us a mirror-filled single that is high on quality the whole way through, Halcyon Club is quite a sensational listen and stimulate our senses to hold ourselves to that much-needed accountability. With the bottle easy to reach and addictively consuming – seeing through the darkness and into the light-filled road ahead – is the only way to take yourself swiftly into a meaningful mindset again.

TLITBF‘ from the San Diego, California-based indie alt-rock/pop collective Halcyon Club, is such an incredibly revealing track and might be the anthem so far of 2022. We have lived in a bubble for so long that feels like a B-grade movie you wouldn’t even watch on DVD, as our minds try and break out while we find solace in things that we probably should.

Luckily through top songs like this, we may all feel a bit more comforted and can sing at the top of our lungs to get that frustration out.

Listen to this awesome new single on Soundcloud and see more via their IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen