A new year means new music! ListenSD put together our list of local bands we’re excited to listen to in 2018.

Bad Vibes

With a hit of modern dystopian psychedelia and an absurd work ethic, Bad Vibes are quickly earning an undeniable reputation. Manipulating the poetic weight of folklore, the fury of punk and the force of hard rock, Bad Vibes effortlessly move through time and space like shamanic troubadours. But don’t let the psilocybin references intimidate you, you don’t have to dose to dig Bad Vibes. Their mysticism is anchored in a heavy downbeat, era-less melody and a horde of astral fuzz. And with an EP and a full length scheduled for release this year, 2018 will likely see that undeniable reputation transform into a notorious one.

–Noah Lekas

Buddha Trixie

Following the release Buddha Trixie‘s debut album back in June, the dynamic and unique Stop the Space Age, the psych-rock four-piece are looking ahead to a short tour and the release of an EP. Drummer Daniel Cole says, with the addition of new equipment, “I’d say we’re trying to make our live shows as cinematic as possible.” They won’t move away from their roots, though, as “we’re doing it mostly DIY so we can retain control of tweaking every single piece of it.” From the sound of it, it’s pertinent you keep your eyes and ears out for where Buddha Trixie is heading next.

–Francesca Tirpak


Duuns‘ refreshing surf rock riffs, angsty vocals, and melodic beats will make you feel like having an ice cream on a hot summer’s day and then smashing it in the face of your ex as you rollerblade away. Next time these guys play in town, make sure to check em’ out–their high energy and infectious sound make for one hell of a show.

–Rachel Frank


Making shape-shifting electronica that appeals to the audiophile in us all is no easy task, but Tijuana’s Ethics have steadily crafted a sound with a near-undeniable aural appeal. The singles and EP’s they have released so far have only gotten more and more compelling, with an expressive approach that successfully merges elements of ambient music, synth-pop, and dance. Here’s to more hypnotic underground gems in 2018!

–Dennis Moon

Half Eaten

If you want to take a ride back to 60s psychedelia filled with a room of scantily clad dressed women eating shrooms and cooking you breakfast,than you’ll want to take a listen to Half Eaten. You’re in for a treat if you like the essence of The Growlers and Allah-Las. Take a listen to their new record, Garbage Games, and catch em’ at a show soon–I know I will.

–Rachel Frank

Le Ra

This four piece features Mónica Mendoza of music collective Grrrl Independent Ladies. Le Ra‘s sound brings to mind Brit-pop, indie rock, and even jazz. They plan to release an album, Limbs, early Spring 2018, followed by a West coast and Mexico tour in the summer.

–Lara McCaffrey

Los Shadows

This National City-based quartet made waves last year with the release of their sophomore EP, High Hopes. This breezy, concise batch of no-frills indie rock songs was just about the most positive move Los Shadows could have made to follow-up their 2016 LP Midnight Climax (see the ebullient “Miami”). With more San Diegans beginning to take notice of this homegrown sensation, their carefree live shows have become even more vibrant in recent months. Check out Los Shadows when they play the Casbah this Saturday, January 20th!

–Dennis Moon


Naïveté (pronounced nah-­ee-­vuh-tey) is a brand new indie-chillwave duo formed from the volcanic ashes of local darlings Garden Echo. Catch the eruption of moody, angelic indie pop during their official Soda Bar residency every Tuesday in January. NO COVER!

–Craig Schreiber

New Me

Capturing the 80’s nostalgia of modern indie artists like Ariel Pink and John Maus, New Me pushes the sound a step further. Frontman Jakob McWhinney crafts melancholic yet beautiful post-punk songs that get you dancing with strangers around you. Catch New Me’s second show on Tuesday, January 30th at Naïvetè’s month-long residency at Soda Bar.

–Luis Mireles

PJ Sparkles

PJ Sparkles is the solo project of Soft Lions frontwoman, Megan Liscomb. She’s gotten favorable reviews so far via publications like Impose and SoundDiego. It’s easy to see why: Her 2018 debut, Neon, is a strong collection of folky dream-pop songs reminiscent of Galaxie 500 and Patti Smith.

–Lara McCaffrey

PK Boy
This is the solo project of Fake Tides vocalist/guitarist Luis Mireles. His jazzy pop tunes are reminiscent of the King of Chill himself, Mac Demarco. See PK Boy live at Black Plague Brewing in Oceanside on Saturday, February 10th.
–Lara McCaffrey

Of Ennui

Chula Vista shoegazers Of Ennui are ramping up for 2018 and the February release of a new album, Tone Poems. Expect the four piece to continue with their engaging live shows around town as the year progresses.

–David Israel

Spooky Cigarette

Like the freakiest daydream and the eeriest dance party, Spooky Cigarette makes San Diego their haunting grounds. Their sound is encapsulated in synth hooks and noise punk melodies sure to get you on your feet. A recent shake up in the lineup brought fears of a breakup but they were recently featured on  91x’s The Local Pyle and released a line of trippy band tees. Catch ’em at Moustache Bar in Tijuana on Friday, January 26th!

 —Ty Velasquez

By: ListenSD Staff