One of the benefits of a music scene as active as San Diego’s is that new bands are hitting stages on a regular basis. Once a haven for art-damaged punk bands, San Diego’s scene has since become incredibly diverse, with seemingly every genre being represented, and from a variety of different perspectives and approaches. Some of the best bands in San Diego right now are actually those who have only been playing together for a year or two. That doesn’t mean they’re amateurs, of course – there’s a lot of crossover between bands in town, and veteran musicians are seemingly constantly starting up new projects. But don’t count out young musicians, either, who are providing a fresh perspective.
Here are four of the best new bands in San Diego.
The Redwoods Revue/Birdy Bardot
The Redwoods Revue is a fairly new entity in San Diego but the musicians involved in it have been part of the San Diego scene for a long time. The Redwoods Music is a record label started by Al Howard and Jason Littlefield of The Heavy Guilt and Matthew Molarius of Transfer, and the Revue is its house band – a super team of soulful ringers that support the label’s artists, much like Booker T and the M.G.s did on Stax Records in the ’60s and ’70s. One such standout artist on the label is Birdy Bardot, whose self-titled album from 2015 is definitely one of the best local releases of the past year.
Like a lot of the best bands in San Diego, the three members of Le Chateau aren’t exactly newcomers. Frank Green, Erik Visnyak and Laura Levenhagen each put in work in different projects before committing to this one. However, Le Chateau is arguably their collective best band to date, blending a knack for classic pop songwriting with electronic beats and dreamy textures. Their songs are subtle and wrapped in various layers of sonic treatments, but they’re easy to love on first listen.
San Diego doesn’t often get credit for the soul and funk sounds that many of its artists are responsible for, but it doesn’t take too much digging to hear them. Funk and soul quartet Juice Box are on the younger end of the spectrum as far as carving out grooves goes, but they’ve got some mighty impressive chops. Their music is richly textured and easy to love, leaning more toward jazz rhythms than the outsized sci-fi funk of Parliament, but no matter what, they’ll have you moving.
Imperial Beach mod-rock band The Bassics are the 2015 winners of the San Diego Music Award for Best New Artist, so this certainly isn’t the first time they’ve been dubbed one of the best young bands in San Diego. However, despite their youth, the sharply dressed, Rickenbacker-slinging band takes some major influences from bands of the past, including The Who and The Jam. Their songs are short, catchy and rock hard, and they’re best heard in a live setting.