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Music News and Features

19 Apr 2018
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Rap music is arguably the most popular music genre in America—but it’s been slow to take hold in the local music scene. However, that’s starting to change—and one of the artists leading the way is Al Rossi. He’s quickly picking up followers on Spotify; his music shows clarity and quality—attributes of possible future hits. During a recent interview, Rossi explained where he’s at in terms of his music. “I’ve been doing music for the last eight years,” Rossi said. “Now I’ve been taking it more seriously since I’ve been getting a lot of new listeners, and people are starting to know who I am now. It runs in my blood. A lot of my older cousins had their own little projects among their friends, and I picked it up. My grandfather was a blues musician, and I have a bunch of equipment I don’t even know how to use, because…
10 Apr 2018
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Frank Eats the Floor stands out in two ways. First: It is one of the strangest band names in our local music scene. Second: The astonishingly young members show as much passion for music as anyone else in our local music scene. We aren’t kidding when we say “young”: Bassist and lead vocalist Matt King and guitarist Aleks Romo are both in high school, while guitarist Joseph Beltran and drummer Frank Altamirano are in their first year of college. So, what’s up with the name? During a recent interview, Altamirano explained it. “Joe (Beltran) and I used to be in a band called The Power Strangers. It was literally just us two, and we sort of became this passion project that would invite other people to come on board,” Altamirano explained. “In our junior year of high school, we found some members who were willing to commit. We needed a…
07 Mar 2018
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Shortly after the new year, a new band arrived called Mega Sun—and thanks to a great sound that comes straight out of the desert-rock scene, the group has become something of an overnight success. The band first played at The Hood Bar and Pizza as part of the CV Weekly Music Showcase back in January—and in February, the group returned to The Hood, opening for Se7en4. Mega Sun consists of Jeremy Parsons (bass, vocals), Chris Rivera (guitar) and Tyler Ontiveros (drums). When I showed up to interview them at Rivera’s home in La Quinta, they seemed astounded by how much buzz they’ve received after only a few shows. “What’s crazy is our early practices … were so spread out,” Parsons said. “We’ve been kinda making stuff up for months, and it would go for one practice—and four weeks would go by, and then we’d have another practice. Then we decided…
16 Nov 2017
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Not a lot of people have heard of the local band High Fantasy—but that’s likely to change in the upcoming year. Orlando Welsh and Ryan Jovian, both of whom were in the now-defunct rock/electronic band Metroid, have been creating an interesting blend of indie-rock and dance music, including releasing some material on SoundCloud. During a recent interview with Welsh in Cathedral City, he explained why he and Jovian took their music in a different direction. “A lot of it had to do with Ryan,” Welsh said. “He has a completely different music taste than I do. He’s an indie-rocker, and I kind of tend to lean more toward pop music and punk rock. He’s always had the coolest music collection of anyone I know. So he came up to me and said, ‘Hey, man, I have this idea for this band; you just have to trust me.’ “Before, in our…
25 Oct 2017
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A while back, Independent contributor Baynard Woods put out a call for alternative publications across the country to share information about musicians who are writing and performing protest songs in the era of President Donald J. Trump. The response was amazing: More than 20 publications—including the Coachella Valley Independent—did writeups on protest songs created in their markets. Many of them are fantastic. Here is the compilation—and we’ll start off our abbreviated list with the Independent’s contribution. —Jimmy Boegle The After Lashes, “We the Sheeple” Coachella Valley The After Lashes is a new all-female punk band that features Ali Saenz, the wife of former Dwarves and Excel drummer Greg Saenz. Frontwoman Esther Sanchez explained the inspiration behind the band’s song “We the Sheeple.” “‘We the Sheeple’ was an easy song to write, because it came from a place of frustration and growing resentment toward the current powers that be, and, of…
05 Oct 2017
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Longtime desert-rock fans are a breed all their own. We were created from the desert sun and sand and raised up by Mario Lalli, who spoon-fed us so much off-the-wall crazy music that we thought the entire world was as hip as we were. Alas, not everyone knows who Mario Lalli, Fatso Jetson, Kyuss or even Queens of the Stone Age are—but we cut our teeth on that stuff, so you have to dig pretty deep as an artist to get our attention. Here in the desert, genres are defied, and originality is not only common; it's expected! Later in the mid-’90s, when the Lallis opened Rhythm and Brews in Indio, our musical world expanded, and our palette grew even more sophisticated. Black Flag, Fu Manchu, Agent Orange, Bad Brains, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Jello Biafra—so many shows live on in our memories and helped make our musical upbringing special. Today…
28 Aug 2017
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If you’ve never heard of punk-rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, you’re missing out on a lot of hilarity. The San Francisco-based band is fronted by Spike Slawson, of the Swingin’ Utters, who is normally joined by Fat Mike, of NOFX, on bass; Chris Shiflett, of the Foo Fighters, on lead guitar; Joey Cape, of Lagwagon, on rhythm guitar; and Dave Raun, also of Lagwagon, on drums. The band has released some hilarious themed albums, including 2006’s Love Their Country, featuring country songs—covered punk-style, of course. At It’s Not Dead 2, frontman Spike Slawson was dressed as if he was going to a disco, with white pants and a gold microphone. During an interview, he explained where the band gets its inspiration for albums. “It’s generally Fat Mike (has an idea), and then we end up chasing our tails to meet some unrealistic expectation or standard,” Slawson…
07 Aug 2017
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When Jackass first aired on MTV, it not only made stars out of its cast; it brought attention to the band CKY. The music of CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) was featured on the show, and the band played the Warped Tour this summer. On the final tour date, yesterday in Pomona, members Matt Deis (bass) and Jess Margera (drums; the brother of Jackass star Bam) sat down with the Independent for a brief interview. One subject: The release of the new album The Phoenix, which was recorded at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree. “As an East Coast boy who grew up in winters with 4 feet of snow on the ground all the time, being able to go out there where it was almost 120 degrees each day, that was pretty nice,” Deis said. “It was beautiful. There’s this energy that just seems to hang over Joshua Tree…

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