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A San Diego snapshot

Staring at the Sun Vol. 6
Staring at the Sun Vol. 6
By various artists

Black Cherry Group / Beach Music Mafia: 2008

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This review first appeared in the September 11, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Bart Mendoza has teamed up with The Grams' Chuck Schiele since Vol. 5 of the "Staring at the Sun" series, and on this collection, the men have taken in an even broader swath of the San Diego music scene than previous entries.

Volume 6 takes in everything from the punkish strains of Circa Now to the Brit-pop of Dave Humphries, the country roots of Action Andy & His Haunted Honky-Tonkers to the soaring pop of Down With Leo, the contemporary acoustic of Lee Coulter through the country of the Mark Jackson Band. It also pays equal attention to the established and the up-and-coming, from veteran power poppers Mark DeCerbo & Four Eyes and Mendoza's own longtime modsters The Shambles as well as veteran but still young singer Anna Troy.

High points inlcude Simeon Flick's '70s-flavored power rocker "Choice," the new romantic throw-back fun nof the Echo Revolution's "Safety First," the bubbly pop of "For the Good of the Armor" by the Modlins, and the alternative-tinged "Beautiful Sky" by Chris Leyva.

With more than 600 bands in San Diego County actively playing out these days, it's impossible to have a homegrown album that captures the entire San Diego music scene. But the Staring at the Sun series is an accurate snapshot of what's going on, and a good place to get started on hearing what's going on locally.