The Red Pears

Hailing from El Monte, a sleepy suburban town just east of Los Angeles, Henry Vargas (vocals/guitar), and Jose Corona (drums), draw their sound from the spectrum between the early 2000s New York indie rock and grunge scene to the cumbia and corridos that soundtracked their childhoods. After cycling through an assortment of lineups, mutual friend and bassist Patrick Juarez (bass) expanded their operation. Now a solid three-piece band, the emerging alt-rockers have come a long way from meeting at a local Battle of the Bands, practicing in their garages, and naming themselves after their favorite color and a pun on the word “pair”— a subtle nod to sonic inspirations The White Stripes and The Black Keys.

The Red Pears first got on the map with self-releases “For Today, For Tomorrow, For What Is,” “For What Could’ve Been and We Bring Anything to the Table… Except Tables We Can’t Bring Tables to the Table,” that led to expansive touring and learning the ins-and-outs of being on the road. In 2019, the band delivered their diversely heartfelt EP “Alicia,” named after “Corona” and Vargas’ mothers, that showcased a polished alt-rock sound without sacrificing the band’s roiling, fuzzed-out garage spirit. In 2021, Henry, Jose and Patrick solidified a new, matured era for the band with their album release “You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open, But We Were Waiting Outside.” The album marked a matured reinvention of their nostalgic indie attitude – as their early sounds and sonic inspirations fused to revive the rebellious spirit of garage rock in fully realized form in the name of friendship, growth and timeless rock ‘n’ roll.

The Red Pears north star continues to be their undying honesty and commitment to the craft. “It all boils down to effort and humility,” says Vargas, “we just want to do our best and make the music we want to make. Now we have more help and resources, but it’s about continuing to push and keeping that humility.”

Channeling the tenacious fervor of their ever growing audience and media accolades, the band has landed notable features in SPIN, L.A. Times and Remezcla channeling them as a band to watch – even landing as cover stars for the L.A. Times x De Los vertical first print cover. With a fluid ease to relocating their moxie to packed stages across the U.S., the bands electric performances, whether on their own several headlining tours to joining bands like Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing and Interpol, have continued to generate buzz and sell out venues nationwide including renowned theaters like The Wiltern, The Novo and The Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Their electric performances have also amassed sponsorships with brands like Fender, as they continue to amass fans gracing coveted festival stages like Coachella, Tropicalia, ZONA Fest, Viva! Pomona and SXSW.

In 2024 the band continues their rise as they release new music, return to Coachella Music Festival in April for the second time, and join Chicano Batman for their first arena show taking place at The Kia Forum in June.

UQ 2022 Press Photo (2)

Ultra Q

One of the most fascinating things a music lover can do is witness the growth of a young artist. It starts as an inkling or a glimmer of natural talent and expands into something vast and formidable.

Jakob Armstrong — youngest son of Green Day frontman Billie Joe — began playing guitar at seven years old and honed his craft privately until about sixteen, then playing in bands in and around Oakland after meeting friends with like-minded tastes in music. Soon enough, with the memories of Ultraman action figures fighting in his head, he and a group of friends he cultivated from those years playing around and pouring over records, formed Ultra Q. Its name is inspired by an Ultraman prequel series; a deep cut for import action series lovers.

Fusing together the skyward lift of Interpol, the clever guitar interplay of the Strokes, the maudlin romanticism of the Cure, and the often impressionistic narrative gifts of Arctic Monkeys, Ultra Q’s growth since their 2019 EP We’re Starting to Get Along (and its 2020 follow-up In a Cave in a Video Game) has been exponential. A traditional alternative rock sound was baked by the California heat, shards of broken glass gleaming in the sunlight, spanning the distance from Berkeley to Rodeo Drive. Over blaring guitars and thunderous drums, Armstrong’s voice is carried by a very familiar lilt, self-recorded by Armstrong on a whim while quarantined, could easily be slotted between the blown-out, lo-fi tones of early Wavves and the works of intentionally harsh-sounding Columbus band Psychedelic Horseshit.

Ultra Q’s earlier work marked the synthesis of a songwriter’s vision and his band’s ability, forged through an invisible existential threat and an ever-changing world, eager to show what they’ve found while we were all inside. But new album My Guardian Angel soars to heights unimaginable for us lowly, earthbound beings.

Produced by Chris Coady, who has helmed classics by the likes of TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Beach House, My Guardian Angel offers a deep sonic palette to match Armstrong’s artistic ambition. Wildly vacillating between widescreen pop-punk (“Klepto,” the impeccably titled “VR Sex”), romantic new-wave (“Rocket,” “I Wanna Lose”), and shimmering synth-pop (“I Watched Them Go”), the album displays Armstrong’s songwriting talents — along with the musicianship of Kevin Judd and brothers Chris and Enzo Malaspina — conceived and recorded for maximum impact.

Emotional growing pains, sleepless nights, the ethereal allure of romance, and the notion of sound being so closely attached to memory are all wrapped up in clever guitar interplay reminiscent of the band’s formative influences, but delivered in an identity all their own. The words are attached to feelings we think are going to slip away from us in the fading and tarnished pallor of adulthood; truth be told, those feelings emerge just as freshly the older we get.

And that is the gift of My Guardian Angel, the implicit understanding that growth is merely a tool we use to better process the past slipping away from us. — Martin Douglas

Photo – Vertical

The High Curbs

The High Curbs are a staple of the Southern California music scene. The band was formed by Ed Moreno and Aaron Korbe in 2013 as young teens in the suburban landscape known as the Inland Empire. They were joined by Alberto Alvarenga when the band began to tour in 2016, he’s remained a pillar to the group ever since. In recent years, the band welcomed Kenny Huerta on bass and Taylor Hecocks of King Shelter on second guitar. The band has put out a massive collection of music throughout the last decade, releasing 3 records, a series of singles, and EPs.

The High Curbs have gathered notoriety over song” Want” thanks to Thrasher’s “King of the road”.

The band is currently working on a new record set to release sometime in 2024.