After the departure of key members Chris Muench and Michel Bravine (a loss that contributed to the band's decision to drop out of what should have been a high-profile gig at this year's South By Southwest), OC's Killingtons—er, that would be the so-damn-good-you're-a-hapless-puppy-porker-if-you-haven't-seen-them-yet Killingtons—are up and operational again and set for two shows this week: Saturday at the Showcase Theater in Corona, and Thursday, June 7, on a bill with Driving By Braille and the mighty Stavesacre at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Singer James "JK" Thompson and guitarist Mitch Townsend have been joined by bassist Sean Felcyn (ex-CoEd and Pollen) and drummer Matt Horwitz (ex-Adamantium and GiveUntilGone). Townsend says the two new bodies are "perfect. . . . It was weird because the first time the four of us played together, everything sounded right . . . so it made sense from the get-go. . . . Now that things are getting back to normal and Sean and Matt are getting settled in, JK and I have started writing some new songs, which is going great so far." Future plans call for possibly recording a split EP with Crash Cart, as well as some of the new material. "We'd love to get to the point where we're releasing new stuff more often," Townsend says. "Seven-inches, EPs, whatever—as opposed to just going from one full-length to another with two years in between each one. We just want to get back to making music instead of worrying about trying to find our spot in this pathetic excuse for a music industry." (Rich Kane)
What does a cooler-than-cool San Francisco music label do after building a national reputation for raw Latin-jazz acts and critically praised avant-electronic/hip-hop producers? It moves to Orange County. Ubiquity Recordings has been manna for music snobs and good citizens in search of a solid beat since it launched in 1990. But the Fog City's hip rep looks to be in for a fall now that Ubiquity have moved their headquarters to the light industrial district of Newport Beach, close to the factories and stores of designer Paul Frank and surf company Volcom. (Ubiquity vice president Andrew Jervis, who's also a DJ, will maintain a San Francisco satellite office.)
It isn't some weird performance-art joke or an attempt to smuggle good music into Dennis Rodman's CD collection. Rather, label chiefs Michael and Jody McFadin—probably the only husband-and-wife team of record-company owners who remain on good terms—wanted what George Dubya would call the American Dream: a house with a big back yard, good schools for their two toddlers, and the chance to live close to their kids' grandparents. There's also a more practical reason: the McFadins, both in their 30s, were sick of the high Bay Area rents and payroll taxes levied by the San Francisco city government. "It will be a lot less expensive to run a business down here," says Michael. They also want to be closer to their company's talent roster. Most of Ubiquity's acts, such as critically praised Latin jazzier Bobby Matos and acid jazz/hip-hop producer Greyboy (whose album hit No. 1 on CMJ's hip-hop charts a couple of weeks back) are concentrated in SoCal. Also, the largest chunk of sales of Ubiquity CDs, T-shirts and music licensing comes from the Southland. Overall sales have increased 20 percent each year since 1998, according to Jody. But Michael also missed OC's sun and beaches, which he enjoyed back when he was a punk rocker at Huntington Beach's Edison High.
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Michael's nostalgia is our gain. He says his company is in talks with local promoters to open a monthly club akin to the amazing Unite and No Categories parties Ubiquity regularly threw in San Francisco and Los Angeles—a move that would be a great thing for the local DJ/producer talent pool. "We always bumped into good acts in San Francisco, and I'm sure we'll bump into good acts down here," says Michael. So OC could get a little groovier? Why not? "San Francisco has become less bohemian in the past few years," Michael says. "Plus, it's a surprise for me—after being gone for 12 years—how much is going on here." (Andrew Asch)