The SoundDiego Record Club

The SoundDiego Record Club returns with new albums by the Soaks and Hexa

The SoundDiego Record Club features some of the best new musical releases from around the county. Read on and listen in. As always, be sure to support our local artists and purchase their music when possible -- and if you can, go see them at a show.

"Bata Motel" EP
Hexa, released Feb. 8

The debut EP from Hexa, the solo project of Carrie Gillespie Feller (who you may know from her work in Ilya and Lunar Maps), is a wondrous exploration into experimentally forged "darkpop." While I didn't come up with that term (she, or someone else, did), it's fitting: At their core, these four songs are pop songs, sure -- verses generally precede bigger choruses and so forth -- but there's an underlying gothicness to it all, a creeping and ethereal sorrow pervading through even her most straight-forward melodies. Piano notes strike out in ambient expanses; multi-layered vocal harmonies wind and weave around spindly electric guitar lines and squealing synths; and sparse percussion sounds off more like surf pounding cliffs than normal acoustic drums. The tracks' ominosity are often bookended by eerie spoken-word snippets, like on the haunting near-seven-minute "Enyo," where Gillespie Feller's beautiful, swelling vocals come across like a ghost serenading its own funeral procession. When something's this good, there's no choice but to sit back and let it take over. [Listen to/buy it here. See Hexa at the Hideout on March 17.]

"Loser" EP
The Soaks, released Feb. 19

OK, there's "garage rock" -- and then there's the sweaty, insulation-tearing, cigarette-butts-smoldering-on-the-floor, PBR-cans-strewn-about garage rock. On their just-released, seven-song "Loser" EP (via Postmark Records), the Soaks (comprised mainly of guitarist/vocalist Jordan Clark, bassist Jakob McWhinney and keyboardist Priscilla Castro) channel the reckless, anything-goes abandon of the Ramones or the Clash and the scrappy, pop-singalong melodies of bands like Best Coast and FIDLAR. While surf-punk bands are pretty much a dime a dozen these days, the Soaks tap into the grungiest and most authentic version of that whole concept while dishing out an earnest, self-deprecating and rather cynical commentary on love, life and all the bulls--- that goes along with it. Clark (who also plays bass in Mrs. Magician) seems to have had a rough go of the whole romance thing -- and while we feel for the guy, his misfortune makes for some absolutely killer rock tunes complete with hooks galore, vocal harmonies and delightfully acerbic lyrics: "Falling in Love" bursts open with lyrics like "I need a new relationship / Like a bullet to the head," and stand-out track "I Don't Need a Girlfriend" is literally about just that. It's not Shakespeare, but f---, even the ol' Bard himself occasionally romanticized about the foolish pointlessness of love back in the day. Just 'cause something's simple and to the point, doesn't make it any less profound. And to that end, "Loser" is a complete champion. [Listen to/buy it here.]  

Be sure to check out other SoundDiego Record Club reviews:

Dustin Lothspeich plays in Old Tiger, Diamond Lakes and Boy King. Follow his updates on Twitter, his Gear and Loathing in San Diego blog or contact him directly.

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