New song reviews & new band reports

This week in the Local Music Database

We get a lot of MP3s sent for review by performers in the Reader’s Local Music Database, which currently features over 3,700 band pages along with related discographies, videos, songs, links to Reader articles, and more. We rarely do single-song reviews, though I do listen to every one of the 1,075 playable MP3s currently found on the site. Here’s my take on the newest to light up my desktop.

Desert Suns MP3

Desert Suns MP3

“I just started a new band a couple months ago and we are really excited about it,” emails Ronald “Woogie” Maggard (Downspell, Revenge Death Ball, Se Vende, Throatcloser) of his new retro-rock trio Desert Suns, pairing him up with Dave Russell (bass, vocals) and Ben McDowell (drums). “I think this band has something special.”

By way of example, he sent me “Burning Temples,” released this week online. “It’s not so much an album as it is a single. We were really wanting to get something out fast for people to listen to…we’re going back into the studio next month to record a followup EP.”

The song opens with a somewhat tinny videogame racecar sample, which quickly blows up and into some seriously heavy Sabbath-style riffing. There’s a glam sheen to the vocals that lends a sci-fi Ziggy Stardust feel to the next six minutes of sonic blasting, or maybe more akin to Marilyn Manson’s take on that genre ala Mechanical Animals. By the time the pounding lets up, you’ll feel like you just heard an outtake from the Heavy Metal movie. If that’s you’re meat, then by all means have a slice.

A free download of “Burning Temples” can be found here.

Cerulean Veins MP3

Cerulean Veins MP3

Cerulean Veins, a new music project from Paper Plane Pilot songwriter Dustin Frelich, released its debut single “Black and White” last September. The newest, “Last Words,” appeared this week on BandCamp and can be downloaded here.

The track begs the musical question “What if REM had formed in Manchester, England instead of near Athens, Georgia?” Or, better yet, “What if U2 had first percolated in Athens?” Kicking in with a synth dripping in new wave drumbeats, sounding for all the world like a Flock of Seagulls anthem, things get a little less MTV Year-One when the vocals roll in, deep throated somewhere between Peter Murphy-creepy and Morrissey-aloof.

Tell me your last words, your new beginning
Heading backwards, from the ending
Show me that you will remain

The ringing guitar weaving in and out of the song wouldn’t sound out of place on a Big Country album, but something about the slavish re-creation of the Age of Skinny Ties brings to mind as many new wave/industrial clichés as innovations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the right age to have plunked down a lotta dolla back in the day to hear the Alarm, Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Art of Noise, and the glum godling himself Gary Numan. But who among them other than Numan has done anything lately that made you want to play it more than once? I’ve yet to give “Last Words” a second spin.

Cuckoo…no, make that Deadphones

Cuckoo…no, make that Deadphones

Another new band, Deadphones, is really just Cuckoo Chaos making their debut with a reportedly new sound. Not that there was anything wrong with their old sound, but you can check out their first show under the new moniker on February 28 at Soda Bar in City Heights.

As for the newest band pages added to the Database, the recently formed Space Shag plays gypsy street music, citing among their influences the Grateful Dead and BB King. They’ll appear at Winstons in OB on January 28 and at the Shakedown Bar on January 30.

Crooks CD

Crooks CD

Pop-punk band Crooks features current and former members of Weatherbox, including that band’s sole remaining founding member Brian Warren, alongside Drew Pelisek aka Drew Bent (Weatherbox, Innerlimit, the Four Kings), and Ryan Hill (formerly of Weatherbox). Their debut twelve-song album Crooks in Paradise was released this week, co-produced by Ben Moore and featuring reworkings of older songs from the band, along with four new tracks, "The Blues," "Leave Me Alone," "Bright Red Hair," and "The Deep End." Guest players include members of Jetpacks, Naruto, and Time Travel.

Bassist/saxophonist Zack Chase Lipton, who just moved to San Diego last year, has formed a fusion jazz ensemble called Brain Tweet with local heavyweights Tobin Chodos and Kevin Higuchi. You can catch their brand new act in Little Italy at 98 Bottles on February 6.

So, do you know or have a band that you’d like to see included in the Local Music Database? To add or edit a page, begin at Band Page Edits.

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