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“The Seedy Sound of San Diego” featured in Rolling Stone

May 27, 2009 - 3:41 pm


The Facts: As we reported last week, Rolling Stone magazine has done a small feature on the San Diego music scene in their June 11 issue which was released yesterday. The article is featured in the mag’s annual “Hot List” issue, which traditionally came out in the late summer but was changed this year (the cover line reads: “The Seedy Sound of San Diego”). The actual article, written by RS Assistant Editor Kevin O’Donnell is entitled, “A Noise Grows in SoCal,” and describes San Diego as having become “a source of seedy, dangerous noise”  thanks to bands like Crocodiles (who RS gave a great review for their album, Summer of Hate), the Soft Pack, Christmas Island, Wavves and Delta Spirit. It also features venues like The Casbah and the Che Cafe, stores like Record City and local DJ and Art Fag Recordings owner Mario Orduno (CityBeat covered his DJ skills in our April 21 issue).

My Take: Not a very thorough article, but exciting for the scene nonetheless. It’s easy to see why O’Donnell took the “seedy side” angle as I imagine that before he wrote this article, like most who are unfamiliar with San Diego,  he thought of S.D. as some touristy, SoCal version of Orlando except with better Mexican restaurants. He missed the boat in some capacities, focusing exclusively a “lo-fi” scene that includes bands like Wavves, Soft Pack, Crocodiles and… Delta Spirit? I love Delta Spirit but I would hardly classify anything about their sound as lo-fi. There’s no doubt that the San Diego music scene is very exciting right now, probably better than ever before, but anyone unfamiliar with it is going to read O’Donnell’s article and think that we’re all hanging out at Christmas Island’s house skateboarding, fucking and making music together which, I’m here to tell you, isn’t really the case. But here’s what it all boils down to: This is a bad article on a good scene that may or may not be good for the entire local music scene. There’s no sense in discussing the obvious omissions, whether it’s bands or otherwise, but let’s call this article what it really is: A fluff piece about Crocodiles and their friends. Love Crocodiles, love Mario, but there are other noises growing in San Diego and things far more seedier to get up to than hanging out at the Che Cafe.


27 Comments leave one →
  1. Santos permalink
    May 27, 2009 - 11:54 pm 11:54 pm

    I first heard of all these bands on There are a ton more who deserve just at much love as the ones mentioned in the RS article.

  2. May 28, 2009 - 10:21 am 10:21 am

    Plees send direcshuns to this christmas island house will bring my skatebrd and condoms thx also weeeed

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 12:00 pm 12:00 pm

    What a boring part of the scene to focus on.

  4. Phil permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 2:06 pm 2:06 pm

    this is pretty cool….. not the bands i dig the most.
    i’d like to see citybeat or any other rags start to cover bands like Swim Party, Apes of Wrath, Hotel St. George, Writer, Fever Sleeves and Vision of a Dying World.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 4:35 pm 4:35 pm

    No directions will ever be given.

  6. lord permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 4:59 pm 4:59 pm

    wavves is a pretentious little asshole, he doesn’t deserve more ego boosts.

  7. anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 5:33 pm 5:33 pm

    The fact is, these bands are much more known and active outside of San Diego, whether you like it or not.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 7:55 pm 7:55 pm


  9. Anonymous permalink
    May 28, 2009 - 8:26 pm 8:26 pm

    there’s jeff!

    • anonymous permalink
      July 16, 2009 - 1:31 am 1:31 am

      haha funny that you chose to point that out…

  10. May 29, 2009 - 1:21 pm 1:21 pm

    the best part about this is it has nothing to do with the anyone other then the artists themselves. take that, haters….

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 29, 2009 - 2:15 pm 2:15 pm

      Well what ever the case, at least it will get attention on the city.

  11. HeatherA permalink
    June 1, 2009 - 9:40 am 9:40 am

    This article has an incredibly narrow scope. I dig some of the mentioned bands but am bummed to see hardworking, top notch local bands like Apes of Wrath, Vision of a Dying world, etc. didn’t get so much as a mention.

    • Tim permalink
      June 19, 2009 - 5:14 pm 5:14 pm

      Who are Apes Of Wrath?

  12. HeatherA permalink
    June 1, 2009 - 9:44 am 9:44 am

    Also, Lady Gaga looks tore up on that cover! haha

  13. ChiLLeD OuT SoCaL TouRisT DuDe permalink
    June 1, 2009 - 11:46 am 11:46 am

    So does Rolling Stone do this with every city to make sure people from that city buy their dying publication? Actually, that’s a good idea.

    Seth Combs Writes: “(the readers will) think that we’re all hanging out at Christmas Island’s house skateboarding, fucking and making music together which, I’m here to tell you, isn’t really the case.”

    The party moves to a few different houses, but essentially it’s the same party. I went to the party that night, it was the same people I’ve seen at every party I’ve been to in the last 3 months. I was at this party 8 years ago. But I agree, it’s a dumbed down version of SD and I do think San Diego is getting a little better. I don’t know what to expect from a 1 page article though.

    Yeah Lady Gaga looks pretty f-ed

  14. June 1, 2009 - 9:03 pm 9:03 pm

    i go to christmas island’s house every night, without fail.

  15. Seth Combs permalink
    June 1, 2009 - 9:07 pm 9:07 pm

    Can I come with you next time?

  16. Anonymous permalink
    June 2, 2009 - 3:32 pm 3:32 pm

    So um…. seriously? That’s how S.D.’s music scene got represented? Wow. I would like to hope at some point soon Rolling Stone does another article about S.D. Only this time, It includes the other 95 percent of the scene.

  17. alex permalink
    June 2, 2009 - 4:31 pm 4:31 pm

    full disclosure: I’m in a local band, not mentioned in the article.

    That being said, I agree with a lot of what seth wrote. I think the article doesn’t portray the San Diego scene in a bad way, it just way under-represents the “scene.” It reads like the scene they describe is the only scene, but all in all, I for one am glad to see some national press taking notice.

    as per the anonymous comment above about the bands in the article having exposure outside of SD, absolutely. RollingStone’s not going to decide to do a story on a city where they know nothing about any of the music, they just don’t have the time or resources, and more importantly, they probably think their readers don’t care about it unless there’s at least something the readers can relate too. they’ve heard of crocodiles/GOP/et al. so that’s their “in” to our “scene.”

    Do I wish it was more thorough? of course, but i’m pretty happy with the coverage none-the-less. they could have easily picked a different city that has their own bubbling scene.

    Oh, and i’ve never been to a Christmas Island party, but I’ve had plenty of parties in my own pants every night.

  18. Seth Combs permalink
    June 2, 2009 - 9:59 pm 9:59 pm

    Well said, Alex. And not just because you said you agree with me and that I, also, have a party in my pants.

  19. San Diego Is A Hell Hole For Local Music permalink
    June 10, 2009 - 5:44 pm 5:44 pm

    First off, fuck Wavves. More people in LA and Chicago know about that weed-obsessed fuckface than anyone in San Diego. Right after this fuckuppery of an article printed, that goddamn talentless hack primadonna took e and threw a hissy fit meltdown at Primavera. The dude from the Black Lips had it right that he should just quit making music and move back in with his parents. Just about anybody in their right mind with musical ambition would give it all to be out there, touring the world, playing in front of thousands of people and pretty much having a guaranteed captive audience due to Pitchfork’s zombifying effects on the hipster masses, and he just throws it all away. He couldn’t even self-destruct in a decent way, either. Sure ain’t Pete fucking Doherty.

    Secondly, Crocodiles can go to hell for effectively lifting the riff from “Head On” by the JAMC for “I Wanna Kill”.

    Thirdly, the only good thing about local San Diegan music not made by John Reis or Rob Crow (and even half of their side projects don’t rate) as it stands right now is Grand Ole Party. And maybe the Album Leaf. It’s either that or garbage like As I Lay Dying or P.O.D.

    Lastly, Rolling Stone knows fuck all about shit.

  20. Anonymous permalink
    June 16, 2009 - 11:46 am 11:46 am

    Jesus…. hate much? While I share Your feelings about Wavves and the Come out of nowhere band Crocodiles. San Diego has a hell of a lot of talent other than Rob Crow, John Reis and Jimmy Levelle. It would be great if it actually got the attention it deserved.

  21. Tim permalink
    June 19, 2009 - 5:08 pm 5:08 pm

    This article seemed to be about a scene. Crocodiles, and their friends have a scene. It lives in San Diego. It has garnered attention from the nation, coast to coast. If you or your band isn’t involved in this scene, who cares? If nobody is paying attention to your music it is your problem and you should try harder to make your music better or continue living and existing on a “local” level. Music is global, local is boring. P.S. I’ve not heard Crocodiles, but I sure want to now.

    • Bob permalink
      June 27, 2009 - 8:15 pm 8:15 pm

      You should get out more, and you would realize how awesome local music is. I guess a lot of people just accept what is given to them by the corporate world as the best stuff out there. Its typical unadventurous complacency. A lot of the best stuff is right under your nose. Bands are recognized mainly by networking, marketing skills, and luck. You gotta know the right people to make it. Quality of music is the smallest part of that equation.

  22. I.M. Effan permalink
    September 12, 2009 - 1:58 am 1:58 am

    re: SD is Hell Hole’s comments: ever notice how it’s ALWAYS those without any sort of quality body or work or acheivement who post empty, hateful “criticism” of those who have been recognized for their art?

    of course, music’s intrinsic quality is completely subjective and the media covering it completely arbitrary and often misinformed. that said, some folks just can’t get over the fact that they aren’t as great as they think they are — and never will be. It must be an intensely frustrating existence.

    And it rarely sheds any light on the topic under discussion, does it?

  23. I.M. Effan permalink
    September 12, 2009 - 1:59 am 1:59 am

    sorry, that should have read “quality body OF work”…

    you can have any kind of body you want and still make great music or comments on music, for that matter!


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