By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Ikey Owens can be found in the dictionary under the word "ubiquitous." Probably best known by most for lending keyboard prowess to prog-rock illuminati the Mars Volta (though some of us are old enough to fondly recall Teen Heroes), Owens also plays with Free Moral Agents, Blow Up Blow, Look Daggers and, if the stars are aligned right, Crystal Antlers. Below, the talented musician/producer hips you to 10 local groups essential for healthy aural hygiene.
1] SATISFACTION.It's rare to see musicians who write amazing songs and also know how to level an audience every time they play. Satisfaction is what I hoped many of my favorite early-'90s power-pop bands would've evolved into. www.myspace.com/satisfaction2] CRYSTAL ANTLERS.I play with this band from time to time. One night, we played a packed show at the Prospector for record snobs and garage-music aficionados. The next afternoon, we played a house party in Westminster, and kids in Pennywise shirts were going crazy for them. This band is a lot of good things at once, if you like rock & roll. www.myspace.com/crystalantlers3] DOGS OF IRE.I don't know how you would classify them other than just heavy. But even that doesn't really do this band justice. They're complex and aggressive, but they also have some really beautiful, surreal moments. If you see them playing anywhere near you, go! www.dogsofire.com
4] BLANK BLUE.At a really good Blank Blue show, it feels like Stereolab is playing in your head, and Dilla is playing in your chest. www.myspace.com/blankblue
5] ARROW DOWN.I saw this band by accident at the Prospector one night. The whole set seemed to go by in 10 minutes, and I remember the feeling more than the sound. I need to see them again to describe them with any accuracy, which is why I put them on this list.
6] PHILIEANO.I was starting to lose faith in live DJ-based hip-hop, and then I saw Philly at the Vault. Easily one of the best shows I've seen all year. www.myspace.com/philieano
7] CREATE!Crazy improv with a rotating lineup of about 30 different musicians. Create! always features Orlando Greenhill, who is one of the most complete bass players around. And from time to time, he plays in war paint! www.myspace.com/wearecreate
8] DUB KINETIC.Rockers unite! This band features Crucial's Sonic Dread, Jah Horns, and about nine to 10 orphaned children of Culture Beat Records.
9] LOS MYSTERIOSOS.The perfect soundtrack for Alex's Bar. www.myspace.com/losmysteriosos
10] THE ALMIGHTY NECTAR.Simply the finest in hop-hop, dub, or whatever Mike Kearns feels like spinning. No Serato, no iPod, just well-mixed and well-selected records.