Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Music News and Features

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…
19 Jun 2020
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On May 22, restaurants in Riverside County were given the OK to reopen for dine-in service; three weeks later, on June 12, bars were given the go-ahead. However, because the coronavirus continues to spread, the permission to reopen came with restrictions: Tables and/or seats have to be six feet apart. Masks are required when a customer is not at his or her table. And—according to the state guidelines—most entertainment is not allowed. The state of California’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Restaurants, Bars and Wineries, last updated on June 5 and being echoed by Riverside County, states: “This guidance is not intended for concert, performance, or entertainment venues (which are not yet allowed to be open). Restaurants, bars and wineries must discontinue this type of entertainment until these types of activities are allowed to resume modified or full operation. All events or gatherings that would bring together persons from different households,…
13 Jun 2020
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An alternative-rock band gained success seemingly overnight after winning the first round of CV Weekly’s CV Music Showcase last year—and Empty Seat was soon performing at various venues and winning local awards. However, these weren’t overnight successes at all: The band has actually been around since 2000. Empty Seat originally hails from the Los Angeles area. Erin Marie (aka Red, because of her hair) is the frontwoman and lead vocalist, with Anthony Ferrer on guitar, Danny Broussard on bass and Rickey Villalobos on drums. Their take on alternative rock features Marie’s vicious and powerful voice as the driving factor. The band just released “Won’t Wait,” a new single with an accompanying video that is very pop-punk and grunge-esque. Marie’s attacking vocal lines clash with Ferrer’s guitar chords, creating an all-around rock punch to the face. “It’s been almost eight years since we’ve written new music,” Marie said during a recent…
08 Jun 2020
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Psychedelic, dreamy, trance-inducing music performed by four cool guys in suits has been The Flusters’ trade for more than five years now. The band’s unique approach to surf and indie rock landed the group a 2016 spot at Coachella, countless awards—and even a national tour. The band is now shifting gears just a bit with new single “We Were Young,” The Flusters’ first release since debut album Dreamsurf, which came out early last year. It’s a synth-driven, ’80s-style tune that would be perfect for an opening-credits sequence. However, this is still very much a product of The Flusters, as trademarks from the band’s unique sound, such as waves of reverb and danceability, carry over into “We Were Young.” I spoke to Doug VanSant and Mario Estrada about the new song. “When we released Dreamsurf, all of those songs and our name had already been established in the valley,” VanSant said.…
19 May 2020
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While you may not always see his work firsthand, Will Sturgeon is one of the most influential people in the Coachella Valley music world. Sturgeon was first known for his solo-project/band hybrid Brightener, but recent years have seen him take on more behind-the-scenes roles—working with other artists and recording them in “The Sturdio,” and devoting time to the youth of the valley via the Academy of Musical Performance program. But three years after Brightener’s last release, the project is back with a new, four-song EP, Stay Open, slated for a May 20 release. Sturgeon gave me a sneak preview; while Stay Open is by far the most synth-heavy of all his releases, Brightener’s well-known feel-good indie sound shines even brighter on the new EP. Fans of Brightener will see this EP as a modern take on the same sound they love, while new fans will be introduced to the Brightener…
14 May 2020
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Derek Jordan Gregg has been a force in the Coachella Valley music scene for years. Whether it’s through his indie rock band The Hive Minds, or his one-man acoustic guitar-looper show, Gregg seems determined to continually create music. The pandemic and the stay-at-home order have been looming over everyone—but Gregg took the situation as an opportunity to create more. The result: a new single, “House of Cocaine,” as well as regular live-stream performances in collaboration with Jetta King. “House of Cocaine” is a heavy, bluesy and downright-kick-ass tune. Gregg’s yells and intense guitar riffs lead to a ’70s rock feel on steroids. (Check it out here!) “I’ve got a demo’s worth of these new classic-rock-type vibe songs under my belt that I’ve been holding on to now for about 10 years,” Gregg said during a recent phone interview. “I wrote them with just my drummer at the time, in Oregon,…
20 Apr 2020
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I miss being able to go to record stores. When we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, much of my time and money is spent flipping through and purchasing vinyl that I may or may not need. On the plus side, this means I’ve amassed a substantial collection that will last me through the quarantine—but I’m still having withdrawals from visiting Finders Thrift and Vinyl. Finders, as you’d guess from the name, is part thrift store, and part record store, on Calle Tampico in La Quinta. Matt Lehman is the owner who keeps the shop packed with rare finds and classics at great prices. Most of the records I own came straight from his famous discount bin. In recent months, Lehman has been working on taking the record-store portion of his business online, using the name Spatula City Records. Turns out his timing could not have been better. “I…
12 Apr 2020
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The Academy of Musical Performance, also known as AMP, is a music-education program for Coachella Valley students in grades six through 12. Since 2015, AMP has held after-school programs and summer camps, with local musicians teaching students about the basics of learning instruments, stage performance, songwriting and many other facets of music—all of which rely on the ability of people to get together. So how does a program in which students learn by forming bands and performing continue at a time when we all have to stay home? Will Sturgeon, the executive director of AMP, explained how he, his fellow mentors and their students found a way. “We’re currently still running our spring band program, which is ending in the coming weeks,” Sturgeon said. “I’ve been deep in trying to finish that and get the grants that we need to get us through this difficult time. It’s been a unique…