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This weekend, the convergence of six DIY organizers will mark the ninth iteration of San Diego's AwesomeFest. And for an event that started in 2007 as a joke in Riverside, it's certainly picked up steam.

Hosted over three days, AwesomeFest will be spread through four eminent local venues: The Hideout, The Soda Bar, The Office, and U31, all of them equally vital to the growing SD music scene. With over 60 homegrown punk acts from across the country playing, including Hilary Chillton, The Stupid Daikini, Stymie, and Upset, you can bet that this event will be absent of any corporate sponsorship. No Heineken Dome, no Toyota Charging Station, and no free bodypainting booths. On the other hand, if you're into loud garage bands, cold brews, and one of the most flagrant displays of DIY community strength over Labor Day weekend, this might just be the festival for you.

Awesome Fest 9 happens September 4-6, at venues between Washington Street and Robinson Ave., in San Diego. Set times available here. - Ryan Mo

August 31, 2015
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Complimenting her first single, “She Talks Too Much”, Elohim's latest, “Xanax”, creates a stimulating, relaxing emotion similar to the effects of the actual medication. Elohim has taken on a whole new meaning to the original text as the electro-pop artist takes a step into the luxurious spotlight of true LA creativity. After closely listening to both singles of the AA-Side single, released July 24th, I have come to the conclusion that there are conscious similarities with “She Talks Too Much” and “Xanax”. One dealing with a girl who obliviously talks too much, and the other dealing with panic attacks and taking a drug that calms you down. Hop in the car, roll your windows down and cruise to The Rickshaw Shop on October 2nd in San Francisco to see her live. - Kayla Hay

 

August 31, 2015
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The dreamgaze-y quartet Last Canyon (fka Nightmail) released their newest EP "gold, sight, and silver" yesterday in an El Cid performance with post-punk revivalists The Electric West and the bright-eyed melancholic surfpop of Little Magic.

It's been three years since their debut self-titled EP, an abrasive yet melodic spectrum of synth and oscillating guitars, and the group certainly have not lost their sharpness even as they announced a name change last October following singer-keyboardist Tammy Herrera's departure. However, small changes to sound were in order: the halcyon voices of bassist Dvin Kirakosian (ex- Courtney Love and the Chelsea) and drummer Brian Ramirez now intertwine as they fade in and out of focus. Nick Nevlin (light fm) and Gabriel Fernandez (Facts on File) trade line for line on the guitars, re-imagining the nostalgic tones of 90's dreampop with new romanticism, new sincerity, and new conviction.

"gold, sight, and silver" is available to stream on the Last Canyon's Soundcloud. Listen to it below, starting with the sublime first track "Daymoon". - Ryan Mo

August 31, 2015
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Vocalist/bassist Sera Timms is ready to show the fruits of her labor with Black Mare, who last played at The Complex mid-May, and featured new songs "Fighting Birds" and "Babalon's Fold" for fans who had little chance to see the songwriter since her previous show with Glaare, Lightsystem, and He Whose Ox is Gored almost one year ago. The former member of critically acclaimed Black Math Horseman, Timms' project expands on the atmospheric post-metal qualities of her previous output: drifting, evolving folk dissonance in blank verse. It's characteristically minimalist, yet retains craftsmanship and aesthetic reminiscent of ISIS, Chelsea Wolfe, and Emma Ruth Rundle.

Black Mare performs at The Echo on September 13th with visiting SF bands Them Are Us Too and Chasms. Listen to "Low Crimes" from Black Mare's split with Arizona's Lycia. - Ryan Mo, image credit: David Lee Dailey

August 29, 2015
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This year’s slew of local talent at FYF wasn’t as unpredictable as other years, seeing as the festival booked many familiar faces who happened to be promoting either recent or new releases. Though it left something to be desired, bringing back proven talent does provide a sense of camaraderie and loyalty to an event that is increasingly advancing into the upper echelons of Summer music festivals.

Take a look at some of our highlights from this year’s festival, some of which we’re sure will make future appearances if you’re kicking yourself for having missed them this time around.

Day 1:

The Los Angeles band JUNK opened the festival, christening the Trees Stage with a whirlwind of garage indie rock from their recently released single “Like A Cop”, the first pressing of FYF’s side-venture FYF Records. Despite slaying the night before at Non Plus Ultra with Broncho and Shitgiver, Evan Weiss & co. had lots of energy to burn even though their set was less than 30 minutes. - Words: Ryan Mo // Photo Credit: Carl Pocket for FYF Fest

On the other side of the festival grounds, classic singer-songwriter Kevin Morby also opened the festival at the Lawn Stage with a serene, methodical set that exhibits his zest for soothing, reflective folk melodies. His words were few but his presence was felt, bringing a cool vibe to a sizable amount of attendees who were ready to absorb some pleasant, sun-drenched melodies. - Words: Juan Rodríguez // Photo Credit: Chris Carrasquillo for FYF Fest

Mikal Cronin took the Lawn Stage with opener “Turn Around” from his newest drop MCIII, a blend of scorching fuzz chords and 1960’s pop hooks for sweating fans. Cronin’s start-stop “Apathy” and MCII’s “Weight” hearkened back to his debut performance at 2013’s FYF, right before the festival changed from the Historic Park venue to Exposition Park. - Words: Ryan Mo // Photo Credit: Carl Pocket for FYF Fest


 
South Bay’s Joyce Manor has become a staple for FYF, taking a slot every year since 2012, and no one is complaining. Performing at the Main Stage just before Dinosaur Jr., the pop punkers drew from their entire discography, from first album hits like “Leather Jacket” to songs from 2014’s release Never Hungover Again like “Christmas Card”. To top it off, Joyce Manor closed out with a cover of Weezer’s “You Gave Your Love to me Softly”. - Words: Ryan Mo // Photo Credit: Todd Seelie for FYF Fest

Slated for a late-evening set, avant grade producer Shlohmo bought back his searing, beatmaking talents to an audience that was yearning for a refresher after Goldroom’s sprightly set. Utilizing a full band, he managed to surprise the crowd with abstruse, though rhythmic dynamics that can stimulate both body and soul. A veteran to the festival, it was a revelation to see him come into his own as such a confident performer, one whose dark electronic passages always emit a chink of hopeful light. - Words: Juan Rodríguez // Photo Credit: Chris Carrasquillo for FYF Fest
 
Day 2:

If you weren’t keeling over from dehydration and exhaustion, you probably received an early greeting from Girlpool at the Lawn Stage. Fans matted the grass as the LA-to-Philly duo lulled onlookers with hits from their album Before the World Was Big. - Words: Ryan Mo // Photo Credit: Carl Pocket for FYF Fest

After a set cut short from New Yorks’ experimental trio Battles, HEALTH took The Trees by force with“STONEFIST”, the second-track banger of their newest album Death Magic. Jupiter Keyes pummeled the bass as the crowds violently convulsed, moshing and headbanging to the “DIE SLOW” and “GOTH STAR”. Their set was unfortunately cut short after the slow-moving “LIFE”, prompting HEALTH to finish with the half-minute dissonant freakout “GIRL ATTORNEY”. - Words: Ryan Mo  // Photo Credit: Chris Carrasquillo for FYF Fest

August 26, 2015
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It's Tuesday. You've recovered from your FYF haze, and now you're itching to get out and see some more kickass bands.

Hopefully the tinnitus has gone away, that is, if you didn't accidentally forget your earplugs for two days straight. If not, you're gonna want to remember to bring them to this show, because it's a killer. And if you were disappointed in the lack of local acts this FYF (you probably didn't wake up early enough for JUNK), don't worry — you can compensate tonight!

Local show organizers FineTime is holding a three-course performance tonight (event link here) at Vega's Meat Market with delicious servings of full stop rock, creamy dreamy pop, and ethereal electronic apértif.

Up first to whet your sonic appetite is mAsis, the Glendale act that floats and pulsates serenely — fans of The XX and Odesza's chilled tones will be pleasantly surprised to hear these guys.

Then, OC's agitatin' rock band Media Jeweler changes the pace with full-force hits from their debut album $99 R/T Hawaii, out now on Fire Talk Records. The songs are meaty, filling, and will leave you feeling bloated — everything a main course strives to be.

And ending the night is BALMS, the dreampop trio from San Francisco on the tail end of their summer tour through the Southwest coast. These guys made a recent appearance at Los Angeles' DreamGaze Fest, showering attendees with their billowy lo-fi pop jangle — a great way to end the evening, unlike that molten chocolate lava cake I had at Chili's.

Tickets are still available online via Ticketfly, but this isn't a bougie event; there will be door sales, too! Show starts at 7:30 pm, so mind the horrendous LA traffic. - Ryan Mo

August 25, 2015
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