Steve Soto

Photo by Keith MaySoto is a member of 22 Jacks, Manic Hispanic and a whole mess of other bands; newest member of Punk Rock Karaoke, which will be doing some local shows this month and the Warped Tour next summer. >Rocket From the Crypt, Group Sounds. RFTC just might be the best band out of SoCal since the Beach Boys. Most definitely the best live show I've seen in years, and their records rock just as hard. Thank God their stint with Interscope didn't lead to their demise. In most cases, a spin through Majorlabeland costs a band its soul; RFTC seem to have emerged intact. The new record, Group Sounds, rocks as hard as it's supposed to.

>Foxy. My old punk partner Greg Antista has been delivering some solid music with his new rock combo, Foxy. I've had a chance to hear the demos for their new record, and it looks like the band just might have outdone themselves. Keep an ear out.

>U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind. I parted ways with U2 when their lofty enthusiasm seemed a bit out of place, during my oh-so-jaded mid-20s. I chose to stumble through songs about loneliness, heartache, rejection and the pointlessness of idealism while they went off to change the world. Well, we meet again years later in the middle, kinda-sorta older and wiser. It's been said that saving the world is a thankless job (one that must lead to loneliness, heartache, rejection . . . ). This record, though, is amazing. I'm glad they took a little time off from the crusade to make it.

>The Replacements, Tim. Speaking of loneliness and heartache, this is ground zero. This record is still one of the best damn things to have ever happened in music. In true, mythic form, the 'Mats never really got their due, but whatever. And for all you die-hards hanging on for that great Paul Westerberg record to make everything all better, let go of the dream. Go back to Tim. It's never gonna get any better than this, but that's just fine by me.

>Barfly. Local rock promoter Alex Hernandez has opened his own bar in Long Beach. This is a mighty cool place—lots of room, a great jukebox, cool bartenders and an all-around good hang. Although Alex made his mark promoting amazing rock shows, he restricts the live music to special occasions, which makes this place perfect when you've seen too many bands in one week and just want to relax with your friends.

>Linda's Doll Hut. I booked this club for years, and even though I no longer work there, it will always be in my blood. Linda has done more for the OC music scene than any other promoter in town. It's such an awesome place to see bands up close and sweaty—which is how rock should be properly consumed.

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