California musicians are the producers of some of the most notable and recognizable music in the country. And while many travel to places like Los Angeles or San Francisco to find musical success, the state itself has bred some of the most iconic artists across different generations. In this generation, California continues to hold rank in that category. The following musicians from California are actively pushing the boundaries of sound and performance, creating something you need to see and hear to believe.
Insects vs. Robots
Born and raised in Venice Beach, CA the five members of Insects vs. Robots have created a psych-folk band, implementing unusual instruments including the violin, banjo, charango, harp, kazoo, harmonium, and sitar. They are known for extended off-tempo riffs with high-energy stage shows and mind-bending visualizations. Fronted by vocalist Jacob Micah Nelson, the group has shared the stage with music royalty including Neil Young, Jack White, Primus, and Willie Nelson.
Members: Jacob Micah Nelson, Milo Gonzalez, Nikita Sorokin, Tony Peluso, Jeff Smith
From the hidden hippy town of Topanga, CA, Soluzion is one of Southern California’s best-kept secrets. Their sound is heavily influenced by soul, funk, psych-rock, Afro-Latin, and guitarists like Jimi Hendrix. Soluzion’s smooth vocal tone is laid over snappy drum beats, driving bass lines, heavy-hitting guitar solos, and a tight brass section sprinkled with hot latin percussion.
- THE CORE FOUR: Terin Ector (bass and vocals), Aquiles “Lito” Magaña (guitar), Sebastian Harris (drums), Pedro Flores (percussion)
- SOLUZION FAMILY: Charles “Chuck Boogie” Moore (keyboards), Max O’Leary (trumpet), Will Vargas (saxophone, alto, tenor, baritone) Matt Moss (drums), Marko Sanchez (drums), Akane Tada (keyboards), Eric Lynn (keyboards), Jesse Sharps (alto, tenor, soprano)
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Formed in 2012 out of Malibu, CA, this artsy post-punk band boasts prog-rock tendencies and psychedelic influences with funky rock-riffs at the core. They drew up a following in Los Angeles with high-energy shows influenced by Led Zeppelin and the Talking Heads. Iron Tom toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in May 2017.
Members: Zach Irons (guitar), Harry Hayes (lead vocals), Dyl Williams (drums), Daniel Saslow (keys), Dane Sandborg (bass)
The dexterous fingerpicking of Sydney Lyndella Ward (a.k.a. Sunny War), coupled with her inviting but macabre tone, makes this solo artist someone to look out for. After performing on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, CA for over seven years, she has recently found overdue success, including a write up in both LA Weekly and Rolling Stone Magazine. She is currently with BMI, a performer’s rights organization.
Members: Sydney Lyndella Ward (guitar and vocals)
Deap Vally is a hard-hitting female rock duo assembled in 2011 out of Los Angeles. The two met after guitarist and singer Lindsey Troy took a crocheting class taught by drummer Julie Edwards. After touring both in the U.S. and abroad, they split from their label to finance their sophomore album independently. Taking inspiration from rock, blues, punk, and whatever else they consider necessary, they are not afraid to put their strong points of view in songs like “Critic.” Keep a look-out for this ambitious pair.
Members: Lindsey Troy (guitarist, vocals), Julie Edwards (drums, vocals)