San Diego...the place that I've rested my head for much of my life...has been the home of a myriad of great bands. The music scene here has always been somewhat eclectic, from the low-fi goodness of Truman's Water, to the rock-n-roll spectacle of Rocket From The Crypt. Once labeled "the next Seattle" by some moronic journalist, San Diego has continually been a hotbed of musical talent, some of which have slogged it out locally, and some who have been catapulted into teen-aged stardom. When I was in high school I was able to see bands like Blink 182, and P.O.D., in their infancy...years before Mtv and the rest of the world began to notice. I also had the opportunity to witness, first hand, the musical brilliance of Drive Like Jehu, Three Mile Pilot, and No Knife, destroying stages and leaving audiences (and myself) with the feeling that they had just witnessed something truly special. So here is my list...my nominations for the top 7 rock records to come out of San Diego. Maybe it won't be definitive...and maybe some San Diegan's will find it mediocre at best...but these are my picks and I'm sticking to them. Enjoy...
-Rocket From The Crypt - "Scream, Dracula, Scream!": This is rock-n-roll in it's purest form...it's primal...manic...and it's huge amounts of fun. If The Stooges had been a "Motown" band I think they would have sounded a lot like RFTC. If this album was any more "fun" it would be illegal.
-Pinback - "Blue Screen Life": For me, this record defines what good "indie" rock should sound like. Catchy songs, intricate percussion/beats, and smart lyrics. Very few bands do an adequate job of mastering the art of subtlety, and Pinback trumps them all.
-No Knife - "Riot For Romance": This record is angular, full of big guitars, and never delves to far into the realm of math-rock inaccessibility. Never derivative, No Knife truly hit their stride with this record...a post-punk classic that could easily rival anything on Dischord.
-Drive Like Jehu - "Yank Crime": This is what punk rock should sound like...It's loud, aggressive and dissonant. This record spawned a thousand bands trying their best to recreate this album, and all of them failed miserably.
-P.O.D. - "Satellite": P.O.D. had been doing the rock/rap thing since the early 1990's...so when they finally broke into the mainstream their sound was no surprise to me (or the legions of SD fans they already had). This album was a mix of everything I liked about them (heavy music/epic choruses/faith) without any of the nu-metal stupidity that went a long with most of the bands they were compared to.
-Three Mile Pilot - "The Chief Assassin To The Sinister": Epic in stature...it's an experimental trek...an emotional ride that will totally blow your mind and leave your jaw permanently stuck to the floor. It's heavy, it's quiet...it is "progressive" minus the overwhelming sense of "suck" that is associated with anything "prog".
-Delta Spirit - "History From Below": A great record that teases the listener with country, bluegrass, and rock...propelled by "Bushwick Blues"...a delicious slice of songwriting brilliance from these San Diego natives.
Buy these records...thank me later.
Note: This list was difficult because with each album I posted, I thought of another record I wanted to include. "Lists" are tough...so here are some San Diego bands that also deserve a mention: Lucy's Fur Coat, Rust, Convoy, Superunloader, Dryve, Loam, Buck-O-Nine, Hot Snakes, Reeve Oliver, Fluf, Tristeza/The Album Leaf, and The Rugburns.