Record Review

Record Review

Mainsail – Blue Skies Single Review

May 29, 2019

There are a lot of things that Southern California, specifically San Diego, does better than just about anywhere else in the U.S. Buzzy beach days, tacos for every meal, and pop punk. Mainsail is a band out of Oceanside that adds their name to the ever-growing list of Southwestern pop punk homegrown by the beach. Formed in 2017, Mainsail has already claimed themselves as contenders through radio play on 91X and a set at 2017 Vans Warped Tour. Today, I’m here to talk about their most recent release, their single called “Blue Skies”.

The opening bars of the song call into mind a few of my favorite pop punk songs. Something I like about mid 2000’s to present pop punk is that even though many songs seem to have a familiar and recognizable pattern initially, they hit you with something that is unique to the specific band you’re listening to. For Mainsail, to me the uniqueness comes with the vocals and the blend of East Coast and West Coast influences that take place in the instrumental portions of the song. It reminds me of early Title Fight, a band that is Pennsylvania to their core and was once known for a more hardcore approach to pop punk, and yet it also reminds me of so much of the Southern California pop punk I’ve grown up around. I think the blending of those two styles is something that has become a lot more commonplace from the 2010’s and onward, and personally, I love this sound. Mainsail bring to the table an extremely enjoyable listening experience. Isaac Park’s drumming and Nick Lanari’s vocals are quite the pair. Along with hopeful and upbeat lyrical content, this single definitely gets my approval.

Mainsail have a few shows coming up. On June 1, 2019, they’ll be playing the Art Street Festival. On June 15, they’re playing the Summer Kick-Off Party at Legacy Brewing alongside Sleep Eater and Nights Like Thieves. You can check out their music of all platforms, including this single, “Blue Skies”. Check out the video of their Warped Tour recap if you’d like to get a feel for the guys. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to #SupportTheScene!

– Ari

Record Review

DAB (aka Dogol and the Berrys) – To the Moon Record Review

May 6, 2019

Have you checked out this record yet? Similar to my review of Psycho Carnival by Neurotic Mirage, the band I’m going to talk about today holds primarily metal leanings with similar multi-faceted progressive rock, metal, and punk influences. These two records were even recorded at the same studio, Doubletime Recording, with Jeff Forrest. Hailing from Imperial Beach, I’d like to tell you about DAB (or, Dogol and the Berrys, named for the two Berry brothers and Dogol, the band members) and their record To the Moon.

To the Moon is characterized by particularly booming and melodic vocals, time signatures that remind one of a few of DAB’s key influences, and lyrics that pack a punch. Steven Berry (lead guitar and vocals) has a fantastic capability for singing that would lend itself to many different genres of music, which is something I am always interested in when it catches my ear. His choice to apply his voice to metal makes for a listening experience that may be more palatable and enjoyable for those who don’t like a lot of metal or aren’t very familiar. As far as influences, DAB has cited bands like Rush, Black Sabbath, System of a Down, Pink Floyd, and Tool as some important figures. The classic rock vibe is definitely evident in some tracks (“Double Helix” being one of them) while the more melodic metal side of things takes over in others (“The Mountain” and “The Window”). Overall, To the Moon seems like it would be a good introductory record for someone in your life who may not be all too into metal; it carries enough classic rock and post-rock influence to make an easy transition, as well as being enjoyable, well-produced, and nuanced.

If you’d like to keep tabs on Dogol and the Berrys, you can check them out on Facebook or on Twitter @DABincorporated and you can stream To the Moon on Spotify. As of now, it doesn’t look like they have any upcoming shows. However, checking out their social media feed will be sure to keep you in the know. As always, thanks for reading and remember to #SupportTheScene!

– Ari

Record Review Uncategorized

Neurotic Mirage – Psycho Carnival Record Review

April 14, 2019

Today, I’m excited to be telling you all about the newest release from Neurotic Mirage. Their second record entitled Psycho Carnival (recorded with Jeff Forrest at Doubletime Recording Studios) drops on May 5, 2019 and the band plans on a record release that night at Navajo Live at 8 pm. Neurotic Mirage is a local three-piece that has been active since 2015. Their sound can be classified as living somewhere in the realm of hardcore punk and metal; not quite metalcore, not quite all punk, but a “progressive punk” with varying undertones of metal.

In my thoughts while listening to this record, I can’t quite place another band in San Diego quite like them. Some of their stated influences include Tool, System of A Down, Nirvana, Mastodon, and The Deftones and you can hear many elements of artists like these in this record. In my review of the Rorschach record by Sweet Myths, I made some mention of their aperture of playing around with rhythms and time signatures. Neurotic Mirage also showcases this heavily, but in a fashion that carries a lot more weight to match their tougher style of music. Psycho Carnival ranges from songs with a more melancholy and/or upbeat pop punk vibe (“Follow” & “Feeling You Out”) or heavy 80’s thrash throwback beats and riffs (“She’s an Alien Hybrid” & “Runaway”), all the while mixing time signatures and tempos throughout. From themes of modern-day technology in the world, introspection, self-destruction, and human emotion, Psycho Carnival has something for a wide variety of alt-rock fans. Whether you lean more towards a harder/grungier and more meaty pop-punk, post-punk and metal, metalcore, or any various shade of rough and tumble alt-rock, you will find a lot to like in this record.

Neurotic Mirage’s tunes can be found on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. You can also give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter (@NeuroticMirage), and Instagram (@neurotic_mirage). Their record release party for Psycho Carnival is on May 5, 2019 at 8 pm is at Navajo Live along with Abner and Bitter Kiddos. If you’d like to pre-order the record, you can do so through PayPal on Neurotic Mirage’s website linked here. Thanks so much for checking them out, and remember to #SupportTheScene.

– Ari

Record Review

Sweet Myths – Rorschach Record Review

April 3, 2019

This record came at just about a perfect time to review, as I’ve been on a real kick lately of listening to latin fusion or latin inspired music. Living in San Diego, there is definitely a lot of it. Today, I’m here to talk to you about the latest release from a four-piece called Sweet Myths, a band that definitely isn’t afraid to draw from a wide range of influences in cultivating their diverse indie sound.

Sweet Myths describes themselves as an avant-garde indie band, and I feel that is an accurate way to talk about their music. Their new record, Rorscach, is an absolute reflection of that and displays an immensely cultured creative style. Audible influences like early 2000s east coast indie rock and latin guitar riffs/rhythms come together in songs like “False God” and “Disco Doghouse”, while you can make out the band playing around with math-rock and jazzy jamming in “Fall In Line”. The large variety of clear (and probably unclear, as well) musical influences contained in this record are part of what make it special and on a larger scale, part of what makes San Diego such an incredible city. The rhythm section, however, is what really makes this record for me. Not to say that the lyrical content, vocals, or anything else is lacking; because that isn’t the case. But personally, the beats and flow of Rorscach are my favorite part, with my favorite song on the record being “Disco Doghouse”.

If you would like to check out Rorscach out the Sweet Myths discography for yourselves, you can find them on bandcamp or on Spotify. To keep tabs on what they’re up to, you can follow them on Facebook or on Instagram @SweetMyths. Their next show is on June 6, 2019 at Winston’s in Ocean Beach. Thanks for looking and remember to #SupportTheScene!

– Ari

Record Review

Dead Agents – Aimless Careless Single Review

March 15, 2019

If any followers from the U.K. have been listening in, now is the time to pay attention. Today, we are here to talk about Dead Agents, an alt-rock group based out of the West Midlands. Their first record, self-titled EP “Dead Agents”, was released in 2018. Additionally, they have been recently nominated for a Birmingham Music Award for Best Video for their track “Haters”. The award show will be taking place May 16, 2019, so tune in if you have the chance. Here are some of my thoughts on this single in particular, “Aimless Careless”.

The punchy rhythm of the song is apparent even from the first few seconds; it hits you hard with a heavy rock vibe that sets a mood. The vocals fit this song like a puzzle piece. From the more finely tuned harmonies to the moments of aggressive rock-n-roll wailing, the song never gives away its carefully crafted melody. The lyrics serve as a reminder to the listener to the listener to never surrender their potential for greatness. Even with those things going for it, the instrumentation remains a steadfast and detailed element that blend seamlessly. It is clear that the band knows how to work to each others strengths to perform as a single hard-rocking unit. If you would like to add a new, heavy alt-rock song into your daily playlist, look no further.

“Aimless Careless” drops on March 22, 2019 and can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and YouTube. If you’d like to give Dead Agents a follow, you can check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @deadagents. Their next few shows will be March 23 at The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton, April 13th at Flapper in Birmingham, and April 19 at The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. Thanks for checking in, don’t forget to #SupporttheScene!

– Ari

Record Review

The String Revolution – Red Drops Album Review

January 30, 2019


The String Revolution was one of the very first bands to support Rocktoc and aid us in our mission to support the Southern California music scene and for that, we will always be grateful to them. Additionally, they are the only instrumental act on our roster. Featuring four professional musicians with international accolades (Janet Robin, Markus Illko, Daniel Schwarz, and Art Zavala, Jr.), The String Revolution claim Los Angeles as their hub of production. Their second album, Red Drops, was released on August 1, 2018. Here are some of my thoughts on the record.

My first time listening to this record evolved into playing it on loop two or three times. There is something about the specific style of The String Revolution that captures my ear in a way that a lot of instrumental music hasn’t. The record is rich in rhythm and possesses a melody that is almost lyrical, and I am able to truly appreciate the talent of the musicians and the way that each song seems to describe a different feeling. However specific each song may be, the album itself takes me on a cohesive journey. I find myself wishing it was springtime, as a warm beam of sunlight and fresh air might be the optimal weather for enjoying this record. My personal favorite song from Red Drops is “Tennessee Whiskey, Honey” with its country flair and hint of bluegrass. I was also intrigued when I heard the cover of “Englishman in New York” by Sting, which is not to be missed. Both of these songs have music videos as well (click here for the “Tennessee Whiskey, Honey” video and here for the “Englishman in New York” video). If you are would like to listen to an energetic yet thoughtful piece of art from four incredibly talented musicians, look no further.

To listen to The String Revolution, you can find them on Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Deezer, and Napster. Additionally, you can buy their physical CD on their website, You can follow with them through their Facebook page (linked here) or on Instagram @thestringrevolution. Their next couple of shows are on February 10, 2019 at the Melrose Trading Post Flea Market at 2:00 p.m. in Los Angeles and on March 22, 2019 at the Arts Exchange Underground at 7:30 p.m. in Ojai. If you can’t catch either of those shows, no worries: it looks as if they’ll be playing quite a few shows this spring. Thanks for checking out this review and don’t forget to #SupporttheScene.

– Ari

Record Review

Aviator Stash – Shot Song Single Review

November 21, 2018

“Shot Song” is the second single from Aviator Stash’s newest record, Prescribed. This album is the band’s second release, dropping about a year and a half after their self-titled debut record. Starting in 2014 and hailing from San Diego’s North County, the members of Aviator Stash boast Spoon, Radiohead, The Growlers, and Talib Kweli as notable influences in their sound. “Shot Song” is a great example of the wild ways in which influences from such a large spectrum like these can come together into one listening experience and still be cohesive.

Moody and soulful while also hinting at carefree surf rock vibes, the melody and beat of “Shot Song” can easily be applied to a smoky beach-side party or a sunny weekend drive around town. The lyrics of the song can be taken at face value or quickly allow the viewer to contemplate a deeper meaning. Overall, I find the song pretty versatile for many different listening moods. The band states that their original intention was to “create catchy melodies and colorful vocal harmonies” and they have certainly hit the nail on the head here; the chorus is one you will easily find yourself humming along to even after it’s over.

You can check out “Shot Song” or Aviator Stash’s other singles, “Babe” and “Prescribed Television” or their new record, Prescribed, here through their bandcamp page or on Spotify and Youtube. Check out their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram @aviatorstash. Their record release show is this Saturday, November 24 at Pour House Oceanside at 10:00 p.m. Head out and #SupportTheScene!

– Ari

Record Review

Ready Set Survive – Fight Single Review

June 14, 2018

As a horror fan, when I think of Ready Set Survive, usually their song Everyday Is Halloween is what first comes to mind. I have seen them perform a couple of times now and that song is still what stands out to me most from their repertoire. However, from this point going forward, I am sure I’ll be looking for this song in their set. With a feature from fellow San Diegan and rapper Soup the Messenger, this track is definitely something a little different.

The band’s latest single, “Fight”, is a politically-charged anthem with the middle class in mind. The thought-provoking lyrics call for change in an ambivalent and confusing social climate, and the heavy guitar-based melody echo the intensity of the song’s content and message. When Soup the Messenger’s first line hits your ear, it is somewhat unexpected but welcomed. His flow and delivery are a certainly meaningful addition to the song, as well as his lyrics to match the Ready Set Survive lyrics. If you like alt-rock or pop punk with hefty melodic rhythms and a meaningful message, give this single “Fight” a listen.

If you would like to check out “Fight” and the rest of Ready Set Survive’s discography, you can find them on Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora. For updates on when they will be playing their next show, like them on Facebook, give them a follow on Instagram at @ready_set_survive, or keep an eye on our social media pages to stay in the loop. Thanks for looking!

– Ari


Record Review

Fallen Monuments – Distance and Time Album Review

June 13, 2018

Fallen Monuments is a melodic punk band based out of our very own San Diego. They boast members who are all veterans in the local punk scene and you can tell through their songwriting and tight sound that they’re definitely well-seasoned. When I previously reviewed the latest EP from the band Taken Days, I mentioned that their sound was akin to the melodic punk of Alkaline Trio. Well, Fallen Monuments also takes a page out of the 90’s era of melodic punk, but they find themselves closer to being in the same vein as Bouncing Souls; a bit more skate punk influenced perhaps, and certainly carrying the vibe of the west coast in their tunes.

The band’s debut album consists of nine tracks and boasts confident, bellowing vocals, clean yet large melodies and instrumentation, and personal lyrics with obvious sincerity. The standout songs for me on this album were “Conflicted” and “So Cliche”, as they both contained some of my favorite melodies/choruses on the record. If you are into fast-paced, melody and lyric-driven punk that’s friendly to your ear, give Fallen Monuments a listen.

Fallen Monuments are playing their next show on June 16 at Tower Bar along with Riva Rebels, Hardly Human, and Frank Taco for $5. If you’d like to check out their record, you can find it here on their bandcamp or check out their website. We hope you enjoy it. Thanks for looking!

– Ari

Record Review

Taken Days – 10 More Miles EP Review

June 9, 2018

Hailing from Orange County, Taken Days is a four-piece outfit who have recently released their second EP, 10 More Miles this past May. They have been playing shows consistently throughout Southern California and present a sound that is influenced by 90’s melodic punk and some of the more emo-leaning garage bands of the time. You can even make out bits of more recent heartland punk vibes. They list bands like Alkaline Trio (the first band that came to mind when I initially sat down to listen to the EP), Jawbreaker, Samiam, and The Menzingers as notable influences. Kernels of each of these bands’ sounds can certainly be found within 10 More Miles.

The four song EP hosts a cohesive look at feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and anxiety about the past and the future vocalized through angsty yet catchy lyrics and melodies that certainly have a “throwback” thump. The standout song for me on this EP was the last track titled “Pass the Time”, which certainly reminded me a lot of earlier music from The Menzingers, one of my favorite bands. “Failing Future” made me suddenly relive the distinct nostalgia of playing Crazy Taxi for hours on end and listening to the same four songs by Bad Religion and The Offspring over and over again. Certainly not a bad thing, but it definitely brought me back to moments with those two specific bands. If you are a fan of melodic punk under the styling of any bands that were listed here, I’m sure you’ll find yourself bobbing your head to this EP like I did.

Overall, the moody yet upbeat energy of Taken Days is relatable and probably makes for a great live show. Taken Days are playing their next show on Wednesday, June 13 at 8:00 p.m. at Ham and Eggs Tavern in Los Angeles. If you would like to check out 10 More Miles or their previous EP, Nowhere Slowly……, then go ahead and click here for their bandcamp page. You can find Taken Days on Spotify as well. Thanks for looking!

– Ari