Some of San Diego’s Finest

Black Box (Vol. 1)

Apparently I’m reppin’ San Diego pretty hard these days, because here comes some more local love…

Back in October of 2007, Golden Hill’s own Black Box Recording Studios released their first compilation album, featuring tracks from various affiliated bands. Seventeen songs deep, the comp’s roster is pretty impressive… in fact, it seems a good portion of San Diego’s most exciting underground talent can be found on it (along with a couple more-established favorites). Black Box Volume 1 manages to span a wide spectrum of rock — from punk rock, to post-hardcore, to math rock and mathy tech-pop, to indie rock, to garage rock revival, to multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter. It even gives us a taste of something you might call sludge-metal-does-80s-pop with Rob Crow’s Goblin Cock project covering “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears. And yes, it delivers quite nicely… even if it’s decidedly less sludgey than most of their other recordings.

There’s plenty of other standouts on the comp, but I’d say my favorite track is easily Fever Sleeves‘ “Maximum Castles”. I may be friends with these guys, but you’ll just have to trust that even if I wasn’t I’d be just as excited about them. Take one listen and I think you’ll be convinced. The overall instrumental complexity of this song is immediately apparent; yet while the interplay of guitar, bass, and drums is intricate and technical, it also remains grounded by consistently strong melodies. And this track certainly showcases a myriad of them (some dissonant, some catchy, some dreamlike, some energetic — all awesome), as the Sleeves disregard “verse-chorus-verse” structure and churn through largely unique song segments in relentless progression. And, to top it all off, the vocal work is charismatic and as varied as the musical framework, with crooning falsetto, throaty screams and a few styles in between. How could you not like this? Plus, they easily have the best “about this song” paragraph in the album insert:

The first time we played this song was in the hourly room at Black Box. It was over 19 minutes long and entitled “Be My Boo Tonight”.

Say what you will about the album art, this is still a pretty bangin’ cross-section of the San Diego rock scene.

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Download: Fever Sleeves – Maximum Castles

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Download: Goblin Cock – Head Over Heels (Tears for Fears cover)

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Download: Transfer – You are the Wolf

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Download: Goodbye Blue Monday – Everyone is Satisfied
Buy: Black Box Volume 1 is available in digital or CD format on Amazon, but I’d recommend sending an e-mail to Black Box and ordering it directly from them.

Check out the full tracklist (with band links) after the jump.

V/A – Black Box Volume 1

1. Transfer – You are the Wolf
2. Goodbye Blue Monday – Everyone is Satisfied
3. Japanese Sunday – Because You’re Still Breathing
4. The North Atlantic – Father in the Sky
5. Sleeping People – People Staying Awake (Feat. Rob Crow)
6.
Hialeah – White Belt
7.
Hostile Comb Over – Misconsumption
8.
Modern Rifles – Manbird
9. Fever Sleeves – Maximum Castles
10. Ilya – Hostile Reader
11. Swim Party – Pariah
12. Vitro – The Infamous Red Dress
13. Long and Short of It – Man of the Century
14. Sirhan Sirhan – Decapitate/Desintegrate
15. The Jade Shader – When 2 Becomes 3
16.
Drew Andrews – Lights and Others
17. Goblin Cock – Head Over Heels (Tears for Fears cover)

2 thoughts on “Some of San Diego’s Finest

  1. The Sleeves song is definitely awesome. I’m also pretty blown away by that Tears For Fears cover. Damn.

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