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Music News and Features

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…
07 Aug 2017
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For New York hardcore band Sick of It All, this year’s Warped Tour was a homecoming, of sorts: The band returned 20 years after last playing it in 1997. Although Sick of It All was the first band to perform on the Hard Rock stage at the Pomona stop, just after noon on Sunday, the band had a great crowd—including many people who were seeing them for the first time. Later in the afternoon, frontman Lou Koller smiled while discussing this year’s tour experience, which concluded with Pomona’s show. “Twenty years later,” Koller said. “It had its ups and downs, but it was great. We wanted to stay away from Europe, because last year was our 30-year anniversary, and we toured the shit out of Europe. Our only other option was getting real jobs this summer. But luckily, (tour founder) Kevin Lyman called us and said he was slowly easing…
01 Aug 2017
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As the Desert Daze festival has continued to grow, so has its profile and, therefore, so has the quality of the lineup. Well, the 2017 lineup was announced today—and it’s downright fantastic. Desert Daze announced that Iggy Pop would be the festival’s headliner. The Joshua Tree festival will also feature performances by BadBadNotGood, Ty Segall, Sleep (performing the album Holy Mountain in its entirety), The Gories, and Cigarettes After Sex. This year’s Desert Daze will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15. These additions to the lineup joined already-announced acts including Spiritualized, John Cale, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Eagles of Death Metal, among many other well-known acts. Shortly before the announcement, Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone spoke to the Independent. When asked whether booking the festival is getting easier as it grows, he hesitated. “I don’t know if it’s ever going to be easier,” Pirrone…
20 Jun 2017
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When I played local artist Kelley Ryan’s new album, Telescope, I was blown away. Although the songs seem simple, there is a lot going on: They are layered with instruments and sounds. For more than 20 years, Kelley Ryan has been working as a singer/songwriter, and she’s built a career as an independent artist who continues to evolve musically. During a recent phone interview, Ryan explained that the life experiences of friends, family and herself inspire her music. “I’ve been writing songs since I had a guitar in my hand when I was 12,” she said. “Everyone has their way, and this is sort of my way of expressing things I see and feel—through words.” Ryan splits her time between the Coachella Valley and Ireland. “My husband and I have had a house here for about 10 years. I was born in Portland, Ore., and moved to Los Angeles when…
19 Jun 2017
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The Flusters have achieved big things locally. Now, the band is working to achieve big things beyond the Coachella Valley. On June 1, The Flusters began an all-or-nothing, 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 in “seed money” by June 30. The goal is to boost the band as the members leave their day jobs to embark on a six-week, 20-city national tour, as well as release the Flusters’ second EP in the fall. The crowd-funding campaign has a lot of perks offered to those who donate, including new limited-edition merchandise and a copy of their new EP once it’s released. The campaign’s updates have included video footage of a private performance for a teenage girl, graduating from high school, whom band members called their “biggest fan”; the release of the music video for their song “Your Arms”; and a video of a mural of the band being painted by local…
24 May 2017
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A few years ago, metal band He Films the Clouds was starting to gain attention in the Coachella Valley music scene. Then the band just disappeared—only to resurface fairly recently. In fact, the reconstituted He Films the Clouds released a full-length album in April, titled As I Live and Breathe. During a recent interview in Palm Desert, front man Xavier Hernandez explained what happened to the first incarnation of the band, formed by guitarist Jacob Garcia, and talked about how he ended up becoming the band’s vocalist. The band also includes bassist Jordan Prince and guitarist Cameron Homa. “Jacob (Garcia) formed the band four years ago. He took it off the ground for a bit, and the band just fizzled out from member changes,” Hernandez said. “He ended up deciding to take a step back and focus on producing for a while. He was writing for a couple of years,…
16 May 2017
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In 1995, the Warped Tour was born. There were a handful of touring festivals then—but within a decade or so, all but the Warped Tour were gone. Now in its third decade, the punk-themed Warped Tour will visit more than 40 cities in 2017—with more traditional punk and hardcore bands on the lineup than in recent years. The Pomona date on Sunday, Aug. 6, is slated to include Adolescents, T.S.O.L., Hatebreed, Goldfinger, CKY, and Sick of It All—as well infamous metal band G.W.A.R. Kevin Lyman, the tour’s founder, sounded excited as we talked during a recent phone interview about the tour’s history, present and future. “We’ve built up a community,” Lyman said. “We haven’t changed the tour a whole lot, and it still feels like a backyard party for a lot of people. … We have so many three-day festivals, and we work on trying to make it economically available…

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