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Music News and Features

06 Dec 2016
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Former Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris has always had a lot of fascinating and often dark stories to tell—and now those stories have been put to paper, thanks to his new book, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor. Morris and his current band, OFF!, will be returning to the area for a long-sold-out New Year’s Eve show with Redd Kross and The Melvins at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. During a recent phone interview, Morris said that writing the book with Jim Ruland was not easy. “The difficult thing for me was just getting over the initial situation of having to work with an assigned writer,” Morris said. “We did 70 hours of interviews, and he had to transcribe all of it, sit and listen to everything, and take notes. When you read the book, there’s a certain flow to it, and it’s like…
05 Dec 2016
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Local music fans have been waiting for years for Tribesmen to release some recordings. Back in October, that finally happened—albeit in limited fashion. The band’s new EP has just two songs: “Oceans Ocean” and “Ethos.” The instrumental band from Coachella offers hints of psychedelia, ambient and rock in its sound. The band played at the first Tachevah Block Party in 2013 in downtown Palm Springs, and has developed a loyal following that shows up whenever and wherever the band plays. During a recent interview at Tribesmen’s practice space in Coachella, drummer Freddy Jimenez said “Ethos” was the second or third song the band wrote—about three years ago. “We wanted to save the rest, just in case we get hit up by a label or something. We’ve spent so much time writing and recording,” Jimenez said. “It takes forever to do all of that for us, because we have shit going…
10 Oct 2016
Goldenvoice's first-ever Desert Trip, from Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9, drew tens of thousands of fans from around the world to see Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Sir Paul McCartney, The Who and Roger Waters—and they're doing it all over again this coming weekend. Independent assistant editor Brian Blueskye and photography contributor Guillermo Prieto (Irockphotos.net) were fortunate enough to take in the inaugural Desert Trip—also known by some snarkier folks as Oldchella and Agecoach—from the grandstands. For a recap of day one, click here. For a recap of day two, click here. For a recap of the final day, click here. Here are some images from the grandstands and from around the festival grounds, all by Prieto.
22 Sep 2016
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April is considered the big month for desert-area music festivals, thanks to the many tens of thousands of people who head to Coachella and Stagecoach. Well, October is now giving April a run for its money, as the month is bringing three large music festivals to the area: Desert Daze, the second yearly installment of the Joshua Tree Music Festival, and the two-weekend Desert Trip fest. When Goldenvoice announced Desert Trip for Oct. 7-9 and 14-16 back in May, locals in the know wondered whether Goldenvoice had forgotten that the first Coachella festival, in 1999, was actually held in October—when 100-plus-degree temps greeted cranky festival-goers. However, the stunning lineup of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Who and Roger Waters was enough to make people quickly forget about weather concerns, and open their wallets to get passes that start at $399. The crowd for Desert Trip…
30 Aug 2016
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It’s been a remarkable year for The Flusters. The band has taken the stage at both Coachella and Echo Park Rising, after being voted the “Best Local Band” by Independent readers. Now the band is releasing its first EP. On Friday, Sept. 30, the Flusters will celebrate the release at The Hood Bar and Pizza with The Yip-Yops, Brightener and a special performance by Cakes and Brains. During a recent interview in their new practice space in Palm Desert, guitarist/vocalist Doug Van Sant, guitarist Danny White, bassist Mario Estrada and drummer Daniel Perry all talked about the new EP. “It took three days to record—two days in North Hollywood, and one day in Palm Desert,” Van Sant said. Added White: “There were also about two months of pre-production in getting the songs right.” Much of the recording was done at ReadyMix studios, with Paul Horabin in North Hollywood, while the…
08 Aug 2016
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Desert Hot Springs’ BrosQuitos is going places: Thanks to an indie-rock sound that is as melodic as it is catchy, the band has signed a record deal and will soon be putting out a new record. During a recent interview at his home in Desert Hot Springs, frontman James Johnson took me into the space where he practices with Max Powell (bass), John Clark (lead guitar) and Hugo Chavez (drummer). It’s a nice spot—but it does not have air conditioning. “It’s brutal during the summer,” Johnson said. On the walls are old records by people such as Gordon Lightfoot and Eddie Rabbitt. There’s even a copy of Handel’s Messiah. “I have Beatles records I will not put up, because they’re from the 1960s, and they’re in really good condition,” Johnson said. “These are some of the records I thought were scratched and couldn’t play anymore. There are some soundtracks for…
08 Jun 2016
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Cover bands can be boring and repetitive. Then there’s Gutter Candy The band that used to be known as Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills renamed itself Gutter Candy in 2014 and is as hilarious and fun to watch as ever. During a recent phone interview, high desert singer-songwriter Shawn Mafia, aka Jersey Dagger (aka Shawn O’Connor), talked about the name change. “Basically, I went by that moniker of Shawn Mafia for a decade,” O’Connor said. “I decided to go in a different direction. I lost a few members of the band, and I wanted to give it a new identity. I have a schizophrenic nature, anyway, when it comes to art and creativity, and I thought I’d just become a totally different dude and go by Jersey Dagger.” When O’Connor was performing as Shawn Mafia, his material was completely different than that of today’s Gutter Candy. However, he…
25 May 2016
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Addiction is a crippling disease that afflicts people from all backgrounds, across every economic status But creativity and substance abuse have always gone hand in hand. Many of history’s most prolific and talented artists have dealt with some form of addiction, and within the music community of the Coachella Valley and High Desert, issues with addition, past and present, are well-known and shockingly common. When I decided to write a piece about musicians and addiction, I quickly learned that many musicians don’t want to talk publicly about addiction. More than a handful of local musicians who are now in recovery declined—understandably—to talk on the record about their pasts, fearing consequences at their current jobs, or perhaps wanting to avoid flat-out embarrassment. However, three individuals, all of whom are now in recovery, were courageous enough to share their stories. (It should be noted that even they asked that certain parts of…