The Pixies at Cal Coast Open Air Theater

The Pixies are making their way back to San Diego, playing at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater on April 22. When they announced a US tour, especially a show here in San Diego, it was quite exciting news because of who they are and what they mean for alternative rock. Formed in the late 1980’s, Charles Thompson IV (a.k.a. Frank Black) paired up with Joey Santiago at the University of Massachusetts. The duo was determined to form a band. The two friends relocated to Boston and put out an add in a newspaper in hopes of finding a bassist. Kim Deal responded to the add, and brought along her friend and drummer, David Lovering. In 1987, the band released the EP “Come On Pilgrim.” A short time later, in 1988, the group’s iconic debut album, “Surfer Rosa” was released. Throughout the ’90s, the Pixies released three studio albums that seemed to capture the spirit of the decade. They didn’t quite fit in with the mainstream grunge scene, but perhaps that was a good thing, because the Pixies are so much more than just a phase.

They, unknowingly at the time, released albums that would influence many bands, such as Radiohead and Arcade Fire. The album “Surfer Rosa” contains some of the most infamous Pixie tracks: “Gigantic,” “River Euphrates,” and “Where Is My Mind?”. The same goes for “Doolittle.” It is such a captivating album, and delivers more hits, including “Here Comes Your Man,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Gouge Away.”  

In 1993 Kim Deal left the band. That became quite the scandal when rumors circulated, stating that her departure was due to constant clashing with Frank Black. However, the band reunited in 2004 when they toured around the US and the UK headlining music festivals. This lasted until 2013, when Deal left once again. The remaining pixies still toured without her. As of late, the Pixies released a sixth album, “Head Carrier,” in September of 2016, and brought in Paz Lenchantin as a permanent replacement for Kim Deal.

Catch the Pixies play at Cal Coast Open Air Theater on Saturday, April 22.

Sources and Discography

Future Islands: A Brief Album History

If you are not familiar with Future Islands, now is the time to get acquainted. The four piece band just released their fifth album, “The Far Field.” If you like to dig into a band’s history just as much as I do, then this is the post for you. Here is a crash course in a band that is definitely worth checking out.

“Wave Like Home” (2008)
Only nine songs long, Future Island’s first studio album sounds like it was recorded at home, in your backyard, by you, after you discovered your sibling’s keyboard. It has a lovely, vintage, warm tone – the type of sound you hear in your favorite ’80s flick.
Top Tracks: “Old Friend,” “Heart Grows Old” and  “Beach Foam”

“In Evening Air” (2010)
The group’s second release is just as short as the first. However, this is the album where the identifying sound of Future Islands seems to form.  There is a sense of longing in this album that is simultaneously undeniably heartbreaking and dance worthy. Vocalist Samuel T. Herring belts his heart out in the massive track “Inch of Dust.”
Top Tracks: “Tin Man,” “Walking Through That Door,” “Swept Inside,” “Inch of Dust” and “Vireo’s Eye”

“On The Water” (2011)
If “In Evening Air” is where Future Islands was forming their signature sound, then “On The Water” is where they perfect it. It is this album that really hooked me on Future Islands. Upon hearing “Before the Bridge,” I fell in love, and I’m sure you will, too. Besides that, this also happens to be a big breakup album. So, if you’re going through a tough phase, this is the one for you.
Top Tracks: :Where I Found You,” “Give Us the Wind,” “Before the Bridge,” “The Great Fire” and “Grease”

“Singles” (2014)
After a pretty legendary performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on David Letterman, this album and all their newfound attention catapulted Future Islands into the indie mainstream. It was well deserved.
Top Tracks: “Back In the Tall Grass,” “Doves,” “Fall From Grace,” “Seasons” and “A Dream of You and Me”

“The Far Field” (2017)
The latest release from Future Islands is everything a fan would expect. The lyrical content is a hymn for lovers and the melodies are beautifully haunting. When each track can stand alone as a featured single, you know it is a solid album.
Top Tracks: “Beauty of the Road,” “Ran,” “Ancient Water,” “North Star,” “Shadows” and “Through the Roses”


Featured Image retrieved from here.

The Return of Depeche Mode

From 1977 to 1979, three English school-boys by the names of Andy Fletcher, Vince Clarke and Martin Gore were forming their own respective bands. From No Romance in China, to Norman and the Worms, neither found success. Eventually, Fletcher, Clarke and Gore would come together to form Composition of Sound. In 1980, Composition of Sound gained a new vocalist, Dave Gahan, and underwent a name change – now known to the world as Depeche Mode. Things took off quickly for the band after that, despite only having one tape to show to record labels. After releasing a couple singles without much of a response, they released “Just Can’t Get Enough,” and it instantly made the Top Ten chart in the U.K.  In 1981, they released their debut album, “Speak and Spell,” and continued to be successful from then on. Shortly after this, Clarke left and Alan Wilder filled his position as the band began to leave their futuristic pop sound and experiment with darker, ambiguous melodies. Fast forward to 1986, when Depeche Mode released “Black Celebration,” followed by “Music for the Masses” in 1987. Songs such as “Strangelove” and “Never Let Me Down” really captured the spirit of the new Depeche Mode. The group had a unique and alternative sound that distinguished them from the mainstream music of the ’80s. Just as the ’80s came to a close, the band released “Violator” in 1990, which became a triple platinum record. In that record lies perhaps one of the greatest songs of all-time: “Enjoy the Silence.”

Four years later, in 1994, Wilder departed and Gahan struggled with addiction. However, being one of the most successful bands of its time, Depeche Mode made a comeback in 1997 with the album “Ultra.” From 1997 on, the band released an album every four years. In between, they completed massive world tours and even released a DVD called “Live in Berlin,” directed by famed photographer Anton Corbijn.

In March of 2017, the band was trending because the vocal white nationalist Richard Spencer called them the band of the alt-right. Of course Gahan shut that idea down in an interview with USA Today, calling Depeche Mode “weirdos”  and the “exact opposite of the alt-right.” Graham’s statement was easily backed up with the release of their new album, “Spirit,” from which they used the track “Where’s the Revolution?” as the main single.

Unexpectedly, Depeche Mode announced their Global Spirit Tour and now has thousands of fans freaking out (myself included). Luckily, they will be making a stop in San Diego, exactly four years from the last time they were here. If you’re lucky enough to find tickets, I suggest making a swift a purchase because it is an event that shouldn’t be missed.

Discography pulled from here.

Hillcrest is For Record Shopping


Vinyl records are a medium that is, technologically, considered outdated. Even so, they have been making a comeback in the last few years, and are now trendy. There is something about owning a physical copy of one’s favorite music that seems to make it more personal and meaningful, a feeling that a person can’t really get with streaming or digital platforms. Sure, records can be pricey, and aren’t convenient if you’re on the go, but that might be a positive. It’s a positive because records force you to spend quality time with them. Listening to music becomes a process; you have to open the sleeve, pull the record out while being mindful of not touching the grooves (which can compromise the sound), place it on the mat, find the right RPM, and finally, place the needle, sit back and listen. That is certainly more involved than just clicking play, right? In any case, if you’re new to records or already have a well rounded collection, here is a short list of great record shops in Hillcrest for you to enjoy. If you stop by, I’m sure you could get the shop owners to tell you why they think vinyl is better. 

Record City

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Record City is my go to place for records, especially on Record Store Day. They have a large collection that is pretty neat and is organized by genre. They have plenty of records in every catagory, and you can find some pretty rare gems for as little as a buck. This store has a great oldies/blues selection that you can browse through for hours, but they stay current too. They also have a pretty big selection of CDs and DVDs. Record City is right on 6th Avenue, waiting for you to check it out. 



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This store is located on the main street (Washington St.) that connects Hillcrest to Mission Hills. M-Theory has a really good collection of indie favorites, and they carry new music from underground bands that you may not be able to find at any other record store. But, like Record City, they have a great selection in all genres. Plus, they occasionally have in-store performances.


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Unlike the rest, Taang! is actually its own record label, operating in San Diego. Located on 5th Avenue in Hillcrest, Taang! is much smaller than the other two shops. It’s usually not as organized, however, this makes you dig around, which can lead to surprising (and fun) discoveries. Taang!’s specialty is definitely punk, but they also have a large selection of rap and hip-hop.