San Diego Mixtape #12 (12/17-12/23)

The week before Christmas puts me (and assumably most Americans) in a merry and nostalgic spirit. I find myself prepping for the inevitable social gatherings and holiday cheer that gives me some relief from my normal routine. It’s a time to put forth that extra effort to show everyone I care via extended company, carloads of presents or platters of food–whatever your joy may be.

However, the pre-holiday stresses of shopping and baking make my general demeanor a whirl emotion that is impossible to predict from one moment to the next–especially in shopping center parking lots. There’s nothing like waiting in traffic just to park that makes a girl feel wild like a coked-out Matthew McConaughey in The Wolf on Wall Street. 

Through all this wild chaos, music becomes the mediator once again. This week’s playlist is dedicated to the emotional overload of social perks and frustrations. The retro vibe of surf rock, the enthusiasm from air horns in ska and the grit and grim from rock ‘n’ roll create the perfect audio for the outwordly rumble of holiday spirit.

Get an idea of what’s happening this week in San Diego with another Tentacle Ear’s Mixtape!

College @ The Casbah (12/14)–Show Recommendation

Sundays in December are supposed to feel cozy, I don’t care where you live–this is a fact. Despite the year round sun and barely evolving mild temperatures of San Diego, I still get that same drive to curl up with a good book in the sun, or wrap myself up tightly in a blanket in my most comforting chair. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate are a must to complete this perfect moment of coziness.

But let’s face it, Sunday is a long day and after sitting too long, restlessness can settle in and it’s time to decide the next course of action to inspire your day of relaxation into a subtle whirl of momentum.

Tonight, College perfectly suits this agenda and that inner desire to be wrapped up and snuggled as if it were actually snowing outside. By College I am not refering to education or studies, but the French synthpop/electronica artist David Grellier who has been making music since 2004. College is one of Grellier’s first projects that recieved international recognition. “A Real Hero” off his debut album Secret Diary was used in the soundtrack for the film Drive which created a wave of inspiration in the synthpop genre.

College’s sound is cascade of airy ambiance that feels simultaneously extraterrestrial and natural like flower blossoming on time-lapse. There always seem to be quick and steady beats that create a feeling of adventure and progress while synthesizers take your head into a dream. It perfectly reflects the beauty of the unknown.

There’s an odd comfort to his sound. It’s a wonderful reflection of ignorance of not knowing. It’s finding pleasure in the ride and not stressing over the objective or end goal. It’s the perfect soundtrack for living in the present and enjoying the moment; it’s ideal for the drive.

So allow yourself to be comforted on this cozy Sunday with College performing live at the Casbah!

college2

San Diego Mixtape #11 12/10-12/16

As the weather cools and the streets in downtown North Park become quieter, it begins to feel more and more like the holidays. Yes, I’m aware that Thanksgiving has already passed, but it’s the final hurrah of the year that brings me utter joy and that down-to-the-core feeling of winter.

In preparation, especially here in mild San Diego, I find myself breathing the brisk night air with deep breathes while still maintaining the joy of Vitamin D consumption through the sunshine lit hours of midday. I also find myself  slowing down and taking one day at a time in an attempt to savor the final days of the year, a year that seems to have passed unusually quick; wasn’t it just Coachella?

In order to fully appreciate this unique time of year and get that end of fall meets end of the year feeling, I find myself becoming more alive at night and the music seems to match. This week we have some stunning blues, intimidating soul and ethereal electronica that will take you through a moment of escapism. Here’s the weekly playlist to get you motivated!

Cake @Belly Up Tavern 11/30– Weekly Show Recommendation

In 1999, I was a 11-year-old, junior high student ripe with awkwardness and puberty. My music taste was still commercial and flat and I had just survived a embarassing obsession with The Spice Girls. I even had Britney Spears and Usher in my collection of regularly played CDs–it was a sad time in my life.

All the coming-of-age stresses and the fresh sense of independence derived from the junior high lifestyle opened my eyes to a world of choices. On top of that, Santa Cruz’s tattoo-clad subculture that rebelled against pretty much anything mainstream and put punk on pedastal had wiggled it’s way into my stream of consciousness.

Punk was all about throwing out all the rules and throwing out everything society had taught us was normal. It was about making your own clothing, making a statement through electric blue hair and celebrating the strange. So I embraced the strange, but some of the punk was too gruff after my bubble gum days and The Dead Kennedys were still unrelateable.

Honoring my newly founded punk-ish rebellion, one day I found myself snooping in my older brother’s room and came across his music collection. I instantly ripped a bunch of the CDs that called out to me and quickly fell deep in love with Cake’s 1998 album, Prolonging the Magic. I put that ripped CD in my discman and listened to it on repeat for hours and days and eventually those days turned to weeks and I still could never seem to burn myself out.

Cake’s sound is odd; it is unconventional and off beat–and that’s exactly what I loved about it. John McCrea pulls apart our traditional concept of lyrical sound and surprises fans with monotone vocals that still manage to be engaging despite the intended dryness. The lyrics themselves delve into the structure of relationships and use a repetitive chorus to create a hurricane of thoughts all pointing directly to themes of a higher social consciousness.

Beyond McCrea’s unusual vocal sound, the instrumental structure took apart conflicting genres and shook them back together with a modern brightness. The blend of punk, folk, hip hop, mariachi and country created a never before sound that has been forced into the wide and commanding genre of alternative rock.

After several years obsessing over Cake the band released their fourth album, Comfort Eagle and gave me something new to admire. Not only did I become obsessed with the new album, but it inspired me to look backwards at Cake’s previous work. As a fan, obviously I am biased, but it seemed Cake could do no wrong.

Cake continues to do well and have announced a new album to release in the upcoming year. With a history that began in 1994 up to this moment, Cake has been one of the staples in alternative rock making consistently memorable tracks with an unparalleled sound. Their ability to inspire and celebrate the strange in a relateable way is what makes them epic. Their live shows are full of energy and there’s a guarantee that hard core fans will show up to chant along with all their classics. I know that after sixteen years, I still perk up every time Cake floods my ears and I can’t imagine that that will ever change.

So have your Cake and eat it too; see Cake live at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach this Sunday!

cake band

San Diego Mixtape #9 11/26-12/2

There are some wonderful surprises in store for you this week in San Diego. Despite the ususal holiday lull, there are an influx of inspiring underground artists coming to town. Shows to look forward to this week include Cake, Chet Faker and Thomas Jack.

Check out the latest playlist featuring the best artists in town. This week there’s a definite electronica vibe that will get you grooving behind the wheel, your desk or your in front of the bathroom mirror!