Sand Section
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Sand Section

Manhattan Beach, California, United States | SELF

Manhattan Beach, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



" Sand Section Digs into Music Scene with Summer Tour--"

"We're finally out of debt!" the band's blog reads. But that's all about to change as three Manhattan Beach residents in their early 20s prepare to borrow money to buy a used RV for their summer road tour, all for the sake of a stab at a professional music career.
"Our strongest asset is our vocal harmonies," said Tony Gonella, surf school instructor, Mira Costa High School graduate, college grad and member of Sand Section, a Manhattan Beach-based trio giving the big time a go.
To get to the big time, the band is working hard to get its music circulated and heard.
The trio's strongest musical entry to date is a new self-produced CD called Truth Over Harmony that can be downloaded for free at the band's website. And if you want to make a donation, that's OK.
Today, Sand Section is playing a 7 p.m. show at the Manhattan Beach Teen Center and one June 26 at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach for its CD release party.
After that, the members plan to embark on a summer tour that will take them to Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, South Lake Tahoe, Roseville and San Diego, then on through Texas and perhaps to the East Coast.
The band's music is a mix of reggae, punk rock and metal with distinctive vocal harmonies as a standout feature. Jeff Nisen says he and Gonella "got addicted" to harmonizing as members of a popular college band called Moss.
Sand Section's new CD reflects the guys' back-to-basics approach to harmonies. As Gonella explains, "Most harmonies are recorded using the singer's own voice over his original harmony because your own voice is best suited to harmonize with itself." But Sand Section wanted to be able to sound live as it does on CD so the guys harmonized together without using their own voices on a second track. This is the way the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash made records, and Nisen and Gonella cite these groups as influences.
The CD was recorded at Loyola Marymount University as a school project. Doing so saved Sand Section about $20,000 and "allowed us to experiment because we weren't on the clock. Being on the clock is a horrible way to be creative," Gonella said.
The band then spent about $10,000 to have the work polished at Total Access in Redondo Beach, where No Doubt, Sublime and Pennywise have recorded.
Last summer, Nisen and Gonella honed their vocal harmonies four nights a week at places such as Barnacle's Bar and Grill, Watermans Hermosa Beach, the Shore Restaurant and Lounge, Baja Sharkeez and Shark's Cove. They still perform at Barnacle's on some Wednesday nights as they try to log 10,000 hours of vocal harmonies before they hit the road.
Gonella also hopes the band cracks the Asian market so it can tour in China, Japan and Thailand, among other countries. Sand Section's website even includes a page of the band's lyrics in Mandarin and Korean.
For the moment, the trio is excited about its pending RV purchase. "Sitting in a van with three stinky guys just wasn't appealing," Gonella said. "The RV is a game changer." -

"Rock’n Beach Cities - Sand Section happy to be rocking back at the beach"

Fusing the sounds of rock, reggae and punk, Sand Section is on a mission to show its South Bay peers what a good rock band sounds like. The band will be performing in many clubs around the area this summer, but will start it off at Sangria in Hermosa Beach Thursday, July 16.

To most local residents, the term “sand section” refers to an area of houses located close to the ocean in Manhattan Beach. To the guys in the band, these are the neighborhoods they have called home their entire lives. Jeff Nisen (guitar, vocals), Tony Gonella (bass, vocals) and Sam Mandelbaum (drums, percussion) started Sand Section nearly 10 years ago in a family garage. They spent their days after school banging out punk covers and playing for friends.

Raised on punk rock, they have been heavily influenced by many local bands like Pennywise, Slackstring and the Descendents. The South Bay has been a huge part of the band’s sound and attitude about life in general.

“We really appreciate where we have grown up,” said Mandelbaum. “We all went to college away from the South Bay and we’re always so stoked to just come back home. It’s also a great place to come out with original music.”

Now that they have mostly all graduated from college, Sand Section is ready to get the train rolling. The band is already making its mark around town at clubs like Saint Rocke, Brixton, The Shore, Shark’s Cove, Sangria, Patrick Molloy’s and Venezia. It has also become popular with the younger beach crowd and frequently is asked to play parties.

“We have gotten a pretty good response from the high school kids and are always getting asked to play parties by the beach,” Gonella said. “Now that we are playing bars, it seems we have to throw in more covers though.”

Sand Section’s original sound tends to lean more toward a 311-meets-Pennywise tone, but that is something guitarist Nisen said they are starting to stray away from.

“We are going to be putting out a record by the end of this year, and are really trying to get away from the reggae/rock sound and sway a little more toward blues/folk music,” Nisen said.

Mandelbaum added, “We are not trying to sound like anyone else. The sound comes from living by the beach and growing up in and around the people of Manhattan.”

The band will be performing all over the South Bay this summer and prepping for its debut record release. Currently, the band is talking with a lot of producers and hopes to be in the studio soon. The band’s upcoming schedule can be found at
- By Shaun Hague (The Beach Reporter)

"Sand Section's 'Truth Over Harmony' Set to Blow Minds"

Sand Sections experiential new album, Truth Over Harmony, is just that, a total package of the South Bay Beach experience. From the spry tight back beat of drummer Sam Mandelbaum steeped in punk and ska, to the thoughtful and deliberate grooves laid down by bassist Tony Gonella meshed with the tonality of metal and rock that oozes from the guitar of Jeff Nisen, you can feel the sun on your face and the salt on your skin as the air drifts towards thoughts of summer. The uniqueness of vocal harmonies are seldom heard in young bands and this is not your everyday run of the mill young band only interested in a good time. It’s literally the Truth behind the Harmonious expressions that have driven songs out of Jeff tackling “real life issues, for the people,” juxtaposed with the deeper personal insights revealed by Tony that give this debut album such great integrity and character. The material is achieved through hard work and dedication to their craft and it comes streaming out of each and every track. The lads are quick to point out that this was a collaborative effort, from the work of Billy Klein who helped produce the tracks at the studios of Loyola Marymount University to the blending and soulful keys of Steve “Shaggy” Aguilar that add shape and color to each track.

Truly understanding Sand Section is to know that they are three souls teaming with talent and have been together since grade school. They have weaned themselves on a steady diet of punk, jamming covers in Sam’s garage, much to the chagrin of the neighbors. But through each members own personal growth the band has flourished musically and has steadily evolved from punk and bloomed into harmonies that soothe and scintillate and grooves that set your feet to tapping weather you like it or not. “It’s now at the point the neighbors actually enjoying hearing our rehearsals,” quips Sam. You get a sense sitting with them as they complete each others thoughts that this is a band with a common goal and purpose, spreading Truth Over Harmony wherever they choose to go and that plan includes going global. “We really want to spread the South Bay vibe all over the world especially in Asian markets,” states Tony. And spread it they will. “We are going to get to everyone,” Sam sparks and Tony and Jeff close it out, “Playing everywhere…”

Their web site is up and the album is available with a release party at Saint Rocke on Saturday, June 26, tickets are on sale now.
This is a South Bay event not to be missed, get your tickets asap as this show will sell out.
- By Kevin Sousa (Swoop Magazine)


'Truth Over Harmony' LP Released May 2010



SAND SECTION takes its name from the area of Manhattan Beach, California where the band's members grew up. In recent years, "sand section" has become a term used by real estate agents to denote the primo lots that abut the town's vast sandy beaches, but in the case of this ambitious four-piece band, the sand section is the border -- Where the suburban sprawl of greater Los Angeles gets pounded every moment by the deep blue Pacific Ocean-- Where a relaxed sun-soaked lifestyle collides with the infinite power and possibilities of the sea. Hence, the band's eclectic and melodic mix of bright coastal music combined with the dark undercurrents of the storm-out-at-sea punk music they played when they first got together ten years ago in middle school.

Jeff Nisen (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Tony Gonella (bass, vocals, percussion) and Sam Mandelbaum (drums, percussion) came up playing in various bands, including MOSS which had successful gigs at venerable L.A. clubs like The Roxy and The Whiskey. They formed Sand Section in 2008 and spent a year commuting between monthly shows at UC Santa Cruz (Tony’s alma mater) and UC Santa Barbara (Jeff's alma mater). After graduation in 2009, they got down to focusing full time on music. Toward that end, they've been playing every show they can beg, borrow or steal in the South Bay cities of Manhattan, Redondo and Hermosa Beach, often sallying forth into L.A., including a March, 2010 show at the House of Blues in Hollywood and a sold out show at the Roxy in April. These gigs have enabled the band to hone in on their signature sound, and establish a solid local following. They have also been fortunate enough to share the stage with bands such as Pepper, The Dirty Heads, Ballyhoo, Slackstring, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Iglu and Hartley, Common Sense, Sashamon, Tribal Seeds, and many more over their nascent career.

If you ask them their creative influences, it's best to have a full pint in front of you because you're going to be there a while. Although rooted in punk bands like Green Day Pennywise, and Cigar, their music branches beyond punk to feature lush harmonies, blistering guitar solos, melodic bass lines and a unique drum feel. Among their favorite lyricists are John Lennon and Paul McCartney as well as Greg Graffin of Bad Religion.

Although Sand Section tends to draw upon all genres of music instrumentally, their signature sound is attributed to Nisen and Gonella’s soaring vocal harmonies. Whether it be a piano ballad or a hard rock jam, Sand Section’s vocal harmonies are the backbone and major characteristic of just about every track.

These harmonies were ultimately influenced by artists such as Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, and Dispatch. Nisen’s guitar playing is attributed to a combination of Slash, Randy Rhoads, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, while Gonella draws upon the busy bass lines of Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones combined with both Cigar and the Deviates’ speed-driven punk rock.

Sand Section has often had trouble being classified within the vague taxonomy of genres, and has always focused on making good music for the sake of good music, rather than to fit any sort of idealistic standards. "If we feel like making an acoustic album with all sorts of weird experimental instruments, we want to be able to do it without pissing anyone off," Tony said recently. "Above all else, we want to remain a group of everyday guys making good original music." Beyond that, the band’s potential is as vast as the Pacific.

Sand Section’s debut album, Truth Over Harmony, is set for release in May 2010, and represents the culmination of over a decade of perseverance. It aims to showcase their abilities as not only musicians but songwriters as well. After spending over 6 months in the studio, the band is confident and ready to hit the road and take this world by surprise.