Two album-release parties planned for 10th edition of music compilation organized to get new music to the masses
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
For the last decade, the “Staring at the Sun” album series has helped deliver local music to the masses, and has done it well. This free, semi-annual compilation features some of the best and most promising up-and-coming San Diego bands.
This year’s 10th edition includes 44 tracks, including ones by Neon Cough, Kevin Martin, Coda Reactor and We Are Sirens, among others, as well as newcomer Children of Nova.
To coincide with the album’s release, music lovers are being treated to two release parties. Radio star Tim Pyles of San Diego’s FM 94/9 will be co-hosting the first – a free, CD release show at the Casbah on Sept. 24 – with Bart Mendoza, the creator of the series.
“This is a free show with some of the best talent our city has to offer” Pyles said. The Casbah is located at 2501 Kettner Blvd, with doors opening at 8:30 p.m.
“This album showcases our diverse musical landscape in San Diego,” Pyles said. “The two discs cover everything from country to electronica, and in between.”
Featured performer at the Casbah will be the New Kinetics, who will share the stage with Sundrop Electric, Neon Cough and Children of Nova.
“We love playing the Casbah and plan to give you your money’s worth,” New Kinetics bassist Leslie Schultze said. “I can’t speak for the other bands, but I will say you can expect some dancing, some yelling, some new music and some guitar smashing when we’re out there.”
Children of Nova won this year’s – the first – “Staring at the Sun” contest, sponsored by Pyles’ radio show and Blindspot Records, which Mendoza heads.
“We asked for submissions, then Bart [Mendoza] and I locked ourselves in a studio at the radio station and listened to each and every one,” Pyles said. “We had quite a few discs sent in and the only rule was ‘one song.’” Deadline for the contest was June 6.
Pyles said he describes the winners of the contest, Children of Nova, as “progressive rock in the vein of Coheed and Cambria or Circa Survive,” and that Casbah headliners the New Kinetics are one of his favorite acts on the album.
“The show will be fast-paced,” Mendoza said, “with artists both on the front stage and back in the Atari Lounge, and we’ll have the free two-CD set with wonderful exclusive artwork from Chynna Majors Flores.”
The event at the Casbah will be for ages 21 and over, but a second, all-ages release party takes place at Lestat’s Coffee House on Oct. 6. Located at 3343 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights, the $5 admission charge is being donated to a local animal shelter.
“This is a chance to hear great new music that’s being created right here in town,” Mendoza said. “It should be quite a party, with many of the performers on the album attending.”
Mendoza also fronts the bands the Shambles and Manual Scan, and said he first conceived of the CD series in 1991 with Jon Gire. The original idea was to offer a way to help local musicians, performing at the now-closed Megalopolis Bar and Grill, get their work heard by a larger audience.
“We felt that there were so many good groups performing at that venue that deserved a wider hearing, and this was a way to get the best tunes by a wide range of artists to a music fan in one go,” Mendoza said. “With the second edition, I expanded it into a County-wide compilation, and since the fourth edition, have included the occasional vintage track.”
Mendoza said he hopes this strength in numbers approach will help local acts rise above the murky waters of today’s music industry, where it can be hard for a band to get noticed if it does not already have backing from a major label.
“We want to do everything we can to get new music into listeners hands and stereos,” he said. “You can get a free copy at the CD release shows, and after the shows we’ll announce pick-up points around town. We feel by getting these new tunes into people’s hands hopefully they’ll want to hear more.”
“Staring at the Sun” Vol. 10 track list
Sundrop Electric “The Spark”
Wendy Bailey and True Stories “Tow The Line”
Kevin Martin “TV News”
Neon Cough “Way Out West”
East of Sweden “Faceless Crowd”
We Are Sirens “On The Wall”
So Long Davey “Making Out”
Children of Nova “Erratic”
The Treaties featuring Joanie Mendenhall “0-1-2”
The Social Club “Picture Show”
Tolan Shaw “Tomorrow’s Remedy”
Bart Mendoza & Jeff Berkley with The Rarities (featuring Cathryn Beeks) “The Patron Saints of Could’ve Been”
Jack Tempchin “Waiting”
Lee Coulter “The Rendevous”
Colin Clyne “Into My Garden”
Josh Damigo “Every Night”
Dave Humphries “Tell Her I’m Gone”
The Wayne Riker Collective “110 Yard Dash”
The Taz Taylor Band “Straight Up”
Coda Reactor “Brain Rape”
Death On Mars “Nico”
Skid Roper “One Way Ticket to Palookaville”
Kelsea Rae Little “It Hasn’t Gone Away”
The Mosaic Quartet “Superhero”
Michael McGraw “Here I Go Again”
New Kinetics “Foxhunt”
The Loons “Diamonds, Garbage and Gold”
Scott Mathiasen & The Shifty Eyed Dogs “Oh Misery”
Rich McGee “NY Vertigo”
Michael Inzunza “Bellflower”
The Spring Collection “Rolling Hills and Winding Roads”
Scott West featuring Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton (Double Trouble) “Stevie Ray” (Live at SXSW)
The Trunks – “Anticip/8”
The Comeuppance “Inside”
Roni Lee “One More Chance”
Michael Tiernan “Easy”
Skelpin featuring Patric Petrie “Polkas II”
Mark Jackson “Lost Time On The Old Highway”
Country Rockin Rebels “Riverside”
Chuck Schiele “16 Seconds”
Barry Scott “A Message To Me”
The Jim Ryan Project “Home”
Folding Mr. Lincoln “It Happened Just The Other Day” (Live)