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Diablo Playlist

Have your playlists gone stale? Check out these promising East Bay musicians making a splash in a wide range of music scenes.



Cass McCombs


Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari calls this Las Lomas grad “the most underrated man in indie rock.” McCombs’ haunting ballads would be perfect accompaniment to a David Lynch movie. Check out his two outstanding LPs from 2011, Wit’s End and Humor Risk. cassmccombs.com.

Essential Tracks:

“Dreams-Come-True Girl,” “The Same Thing”


Alma Desnuda


This Danville-based quartet made such a big splash with its recent single, “Life We Got,” that Apple decided to promote the band. The band’s new album, Riders, has a mellow, Jack Johnson-in-the-East Bay vibe. 4nakedsouls.com.

Essential Tracks:

“Life We Got”


Amber Rubarth


After releasing several indie albums, this sweet and quirky 29-year-old singer-songwriter—who attended Pleasanton’s Foothill High—took top honors at NPR’s Mountain Stage New Song Contest, which landed her a Grammy-winning producer and duet with Jason Mraz for her latest, A Common Case of Disappearing. amberrubarth.com.

Essential Tracks:



Radical Something


Former Monte Vista High football star Mikey Costanzo fell back on music after a knee injury sidelined his gridiron career. Fortunately, his band, Radical Something, has taken off in a big way. The band created a soundtrack for a short film by famed photographer Bruce Weber and is getting ready to drop its first album, We Are Nothing. radicalsomething.com.

Essential Tracks:



Poor Bailey

Folk Rock

This Oakland quartet’s sound brings to mind early ’70s Neil Young: It even has a cut called “Out on a Weekday,” a clever nod to the opening number on Young’s Harvest. happydead.com.

Essential Tracks:

“Angel in Disguise”


Forrest Day


Lafayette-raised Day’s crazy original sound is a blend of hip-hop, rock, jazz, and funk. Live shows by his band and his debut album (titled Forrest Day) have received raves throughout California’s indie music scene. forrestday.com.

Essential Tracks:


Q & A:

Dan Vickrey

Lead Vocal and Guitars, Tender Mercies, Lead Guitar, Counting Crows

In 1993, Danville-raised Dan Vickrey was a young songwriter playing tiny clubs. Then, he landed a dream gig, joining Counting Crows. Vickrey recently revisited his original material, recording a gentle, soulful new album with his new band, Tender Mercies.

How does this project compare to the records you’ve released with Counting Crows?

This ranks very high. I love these songs. A few of them showed up in Crows concerts over the years, but most had just been sitting in my back pocket.

The secret to how organic this record sounds is that we really weren’t trying too hard: We recorded it in a bedroom in my house. The Crows’ management heard the tape and flipped out. They said, “We have to release this!”

You’ve toured for nearly 20 years. Share a rock star memory.

There’s nothing quite like going to London and playing Royal Albert Hall, or playing The Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

I was watching a film about the Who the other night, and I thought, “They don’t make ’em like them anymore.” Then, I remembered, “We toured with those guys!”


For videos, downloads, and a list of live dates, go to diablomag.com/music2012

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