There’s a sound growing in the undercurrent of San Diego -- something removed from the palm tree daydream postcard vista, something grittier, rustic and potent. This music draws from the well of previous generations; it is touched by the desert and our proximity to the border, yet as it leans on the influence of yesterday and our distant surroundings, it keenly glances into tomorrow and beyond.
A lot of this music has recently been born in a location called the Lost Ark Studio. This edifice, located against the backdrop of the Pacific, is as much a recording studio as it is a philosophy. No jingles get recorded there, no modern auto-tuned pop, just great musicians playing great songs. The equipment is top-shelf, vintage and vast. The producer/engineer, Mike Butler, has one of the finest ears in town. The room has been designed specifically for the capture of sound. And the studio’s first compilation is on the verge of a release and eight of the ten songs are available for listen and download.
Nena Anderson’s haunting tremolo-laden country noire "Kiss You Goodnight" is a highlight, with sprawling, high-desert tones and tasteful guitar work. Old Tiger deliver on their Motown-meets-Jim James romp "Free." Joined by Archie Thompson on organ and the MLK Jr. Community Choir, the sound of the three-piece has been expanded to reach a fuller potential.
Low Volts takes on a new dynamic on his song "Girl in Café," which conjures some Elvis, tests his falsetto and tones down his driving boot stomp to a tempered howl. The Blackout Party have the most recently released track, "The Grape & the Grain." The verses have a back-porch feel, but the chorus explodes with multiple guitars reminiscent of the better aspects of '90s rock.
These are some of San Diego’s finest bands, each setting and raising the bar for the sonic endeavors of their peers. Lost Ark will be releasing free singles of this caliber on their Facebook page on a regular basis for the magic price of free. For every new like the Facebook page gets this summer, a dollar will be donated to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Check out the first eight songs of the compilation here.