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Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Music News and Features

18 Sep 2020
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Before COVID-19 arrived, the valley’s music scene was celebrating the relatively recent introduction of a space for music that combined local talent with bigger bands on tour—right in the heart of Palm Springs. The Alibi Palm Springs is one of the newest and best music venues in the desert. It has hosted local acts like The Flusters and the Yip Yops, as well as national acts such as Best Coast and The Midnight Hour. For a while there, it was like the Coachella Valley had our own little slice of L.A. “My business partner, Melanie (Tusquellas), and I have been in the L.A. music business for many years, and we were originally looking for a spot in L.A.,” said owner Elizabeth Garo during a recent phone interview. “A friend of Melanie’s told her about this beautiful, amazing, historic building in Palm Springs that was available. We saw it and thought,…
07 Sep 2020
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Most musicians dream of one day collaborating with their idols—but only a select few will have their dreams come true. The ever-talented Esjay Jones is one of the fortunate ones. Now based in Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, Jones first made waves in her home country of South Africa as part of the band Stealing Love Jones. After No. 1 singles in South Africa, Jones shifted into a producer role, and over the past decade has engineered music for acts such as Sean Kingston, Nile Rodgers, Jeffree Star and Alien Ant Farm. While still an active producer, Jones recently returned to the frontwoman position with her new project, (We Are) PIGS, which combines hip hop and metal. Jones introduced the project to the world with a cover of Slipknot’s “Duality,” a unique take on the original featuring Jones’ singing/screaming over a heavy guitar and bass, backed by trap drums. “I’ve…
28 Aug 2020
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Some bands struggle to find a sound and reach an audience; others are greeted with success almost immediately. The latter was the fortunate case for Out From Under, a local four-piece with Tarah Risnes on vocals, Josh Carbajal on lead guitar, Joel Reyes on drums, and Josh LaCroix on bass. The group released a three-song demo via SoundCloud on Aug. 1, and the three songs have already received more than 1,000 streams combined. “We got together about a year ago,” said Carbajal during a recent phone interview. “I sent Tarah a video of me playing guitar, and she said that we should start a band. So we did!” Added Risnes: “I had just been kicked out of a different band a month prior. I didn’t have much creative control in the band, and they didn’t care to listen to any of my thoughts. When they kicked me out, I knew…
25 Aug 2020
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To say that I miss live music is a gross understatement. I write about music. I play music, with two bands and as a solo artist—and, of course, I enjoy going to concerts. One of the biggest parts of my life has been pretty much nonexistent for almost six months, and I’m hurting. So, too, are the country’s music venues. The Save Our Stages movement is an online petition by more than 2,000 independent venues—including Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace and The Alibi—calling for support from Congress. The movement is led by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose mission is to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.” The goals are for Congress to provide long-term assistance to shuttered businesses, offer relief through tax credits, and continue unemployment-insurance benefits. While the desert is home to a variety of music venues,…
18 Aug 2020
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During normal times, backyard shows throughout the Coachella Valley are packed with younger people enjoying hidden musical gems—such as the band Koka. Koka is a four-piece consisting of Edith Aldaz on vocals, Sebastian Camacho on bass, Ricardo “Ricky” Saavedra on drums, and Ubaldo “Uba” Norzagaray on guitar and synthesizer. The band’s indie-pop music is rather unique, mixing vibes from Clairo, Soccer Mommy, and Crumb into their own sound. Koka just released a new single, “Did You Fall Asleep Yet.” It’s a three-minute dance-along that features a pulsating, Blondie-esque beat and vocals. I recently spoke with the band members about Koka’s genesis. “During my senior year of high school, my plan was to just go to college and live a boring life,” Camacho said. “It wasn’t until my English teacher, Mr. Jonathan Adler at La Quinta High School, had a conversation with the class about doing what you love. That was…
16 Jul 2020
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On the surface, Saints and Rebels may seem like a typical punk band—but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the group combines various subgenres under the punk umbrella, including comedy punk, hardcore and even ska. The band is made up of Austin Lawrence on vocals and bass; Cristian Alvarez on vocals and drums; Sam Codero on “screams”; Chris Hernandez on lead guitar; and Benji Gallardo on rhythm guitar. From January up until the closure of bars, the band played almost every Saturday at local haunts, sometimes pulling double or triple duty within a weekend. The group just released its debut self-titled EP, available on SoundCloud and BandCamp—and it is three tracks of fine punk fusion with a lo-fi mix. I spoke to the band over the phone recently, and I learned the history behind the name. “I had been wanting to start a band for a year,”…
13 Jul 2020
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Many Coachella Valley musicians pull double, triple or even quadruple duty—and a prime example of this is Josh Heinz. He plays for both Blasting Echo and 5th Town; he’s an in-demand solo performer; and he regularly plans shows, most notably his annual Concert for Autism, a two-day festival raising money for the Desert Autism Foundation. On top of being a local-music machine, Heinz is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. When I first started playing, he was the host of Open Mic Night at The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert. He was extremely accommodating and answered every question I had; since then, he has been a great friend, and has always reached out to invite my bands to share gigs. Heinz just released his first solo album, Made in Memphis 2003, on every major streaming platform. The record is a post-grunge burner featuring 10 songs with…
29 Jun 2020
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A name like Caeser Pink and the Imperial Orgy conjures up thoughts of fun and perhaps controversy—and the collective certainly delivers, combining vivid and political stage shows with genre-melding music into a riveting, media-blending experience. The group’s music is opinionated, and live shows add projections and other media. Clips on the internet show band members, dressed in every color under the sun, walking onto a stage one by one from the audience; one video shows the band chanting about love … with dildos strapped to their faces. Imperial Orgy came about as Pink’s way to express his creative ideas and feelings. “I had been doing film for a couple years, and I really enjoyed that feeling of being in front of an audience,” Pink said during a recent phone interview. “The concept was really about freedom—to not be limited to any musical genre and to be able to mix any…

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