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"Winners at last night's 2006 San Diego Music Awards"

The 16th annual San Diego Music Awards moved to a new venue this year to honor local talent in dozens of categories ranging from Song of the Year to Best Bar Band. The ceremony, held Sept. 18 at the Park at Viejas Outlet Center, featured live performances by Switchfoot, P.O.D., Transfer, Dirty Sweet, AJ Croce, Gilbert Castellanos, Gregory Page, Arabella Harrison, B-Side Players, Greg Laswell and surprise appearances by members of Angels & Airwaves and wrestler Goldberg.

This year's sold-out event raised nearly $40,000 for music education thanks to Taylor's Guitars for Schools program. Top winners included Switchfoot (Artist of the Year), Angels & Airwaves (Album and Song of the Year), Transfer (Best Alternative Album), The Jade Shader (Best Local Recording), Kite Flying Society (Best New Artist) and more (see the full list here and read more U-T coverage here). This year's Lifetime Achievement Award winners were Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham.
Best Alternative Album Transfer, “Faded Signal” - San Diego Union Tribune

"Transfer Abides"

One might also say that Transfer, a group of soft-spoken musicians who’ve slowly risen to the top tier of the San Diego music scene, is the band for this time and place. As such, like The Dude, they abide.

“We try to not let shiny lights distract us from the work at hand,” says guitarist Jason Cardenas when asked if labels have showed interest in putting out the band’s records. “We’ve talked to some people, but we’ll just leave it at that.”

For now at least, Cardenas, singer-guitarist Matt Molarius, bassist Jeremy Chambers and drummer Mike Cooper are set to release their full-length debut, Faded Signal, on their own Obscure Magpie Records.

“We’re really happy with how the album turned out,” says Molarius, who, with Cardenas and Chambers, moved from Northern California to San Diego as part of roots-rockers Ten Pound Brown. That band was more than competent—long jams and Molarius’ hoarse, beautiful wail made them a sort of Mother Hips for people with beards. Like any relationship that’s started when you’re young and have no idea what sort of person you’ll be in two years, they grew apart until someone finally pointed out the pee stain on their cosmic rug.

“It’s easy to throw out drug problems, or personal issues, or any type of excuse where you can point the finger at someone else,” Cardenas says. “Don’t get me wrong, these can definitely be valid reasons for ending a band. [But] Ten Pound was a band where all the members essentially grew up together, but once we matured as musicians, it became harder and harder to keep the same goals.”

With Transfer, they’ve hooked into something more powerful. They’ve learned the power of restraint, which created a kind of slow burn that could remind people of Jeff Buckley, The Allman Brothers Band or even Pink Floyd, depending on the moment. Instead of songs, they go for moods on Faded Signal, with no breaks between the album’s tracks.

“I definitely think there’s a focus with Transfer that we didn’t have with Ten Pound Brown, and it shows in the recording,” Molarius says.

Transfer received buckets of critical acclaim with their first two EPs—2004’s The Guts of My Arm and 2005’s self-titled four-song release. Their song “Waltz” was added to regular rotation at 91X, a step up from the local-music specialty show, “Loudspeaker.” Strange faces began appearing at their shows, singing along.

Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith, former members of Blind Melon, invited the band to their studio to run through some songs. They did just that, though nothing was put to tape.

“We basically set up our equipment in their recording studio and played through most of our material at the time,” Cardenas explains. “[They’re] fantastic guys, and we talked extensively about wanting to record an album together. Unfortunately, our schedules never quite lined up… so it kinda fell to the wayside.”

Instead, Transfer turned to local engineer and producer Alan Sanderson, a high-profile transplant who’s worked with Johnny Cash and System of a Down, as well as locals like Tristeza and The Mark Jackson Band. He and Transfer recorded Faded Signal in seven days at his Strate Sound Recording Studio in Rancho Bernardo.

“We recorded the whole album pretty much live,” says Molarius. “I’m sure if we would have had more time in the studio, it would have ended up sounding a lot different, but we’re extremely happy with how it turned out. I wouldn’t change anything.”
- San Diego City Beat

"Best of San Diego Reader's Poll 2006"

Transfer was nominated for 'Best San Diego Band' San Diego Reader's Poll 2006 - Sign on San Diego

"Out of a jam"

When Transfer guitarist and vocalist Matthew Molarius talks, his voice doesn't sound much different from when he's singing onstage--one of those smooth voices that seems to always be carrying a tune.

The voice on the phone was definitely the one I had heard numerous times on his former band's records--that former band being Ten Pound Brown.

Go back six or seven years and things looked quite a bit different in the Chico music scene. The words "jam band" hadn't yet become dirty words as groups like Electric Circus and Puddle Junction played regular gigs to twirling bodies at places like LaSalles and the downtown park.

It was during that time that Chico's beloved Mother Hips and a young five-piece called Ten Pound Brown were showing the influence of those bands' loosely structured jams while incorporating a more succinct songwriting approach.

Then at the turn of the century things changed. The Hips began calling the Bay Area home before going on hiatus and Electric Circus and Puddle Junction both called it quits after a decade of performing in Chico.

Ten Pound Brown followed suit, relocating to sunny San Diego in 2000 and touring behind its second record, cleverly titled No. 2. After some personnel changes, the band reemerged in 2004 as Transfer, which includes Molarius and former TPB guitarist Jason Cardenas and bassist Jeremy Chambers, and San Diego drummer Michael Cooper.

After nearly a decade of dealing with ins and outs of being in the music business, Molarius still sounds like a guy who enjoys what he's doing--and for good reason. The members of Transfer have found the warmer climes to their liking, having been nominated for two San Diego Music Awards and releasing their first full-length, Faded Signal, on their own Obscure Magpie Records earlier this year.

Not bad for a band that has gone through its share of drama.

The cracks in the façade began to show in 2003. Former guitarist Keith Barker was dealing with personal issues and Ten Pound Brown disbanded. The members went on to work on other projects, not an easy thing considering Cardenas and Molarius had known each other since fourth grade.

"When you split ways with people you play with it really rocks you to the core," Molarius said. "We all kind of dove into this self analysis."

Two months later, Chambers, Cardenas and Molarius got back together and formed Transfer, adding Cooper, who Molarius said "just brought a whole new dynamic" to the band.

With renewed focus, Transfer released two EPs and made a name for itself in the San Diego music scene.

For Faded Signal, the band worked with Alan Sanderson, who had his hand in Weezer's "green album" and Slayer's Diabolus in Musica. The new music retains the earthy qualities of their former band, but with a sharper focus on hooks and structure. The members have also traded in their T-shirts and jeans for pressed suits during live performances.

And things have steadily been looking up from there. Transfer has already filmed a video for the first single, "The Rest of Your Life" and recently appeared on MTV2's "On the Rise" segment. The band also has a song featured on Playstation's MLB 2006 alongside artists like The Black Keys and Dilated Peoples.

The band is working on a documentary and new material that should see the light of day in 2007. In the meantime, the members of Transfer will make their return to Chico this weekend with a performance at The Graduate--the place where they got started so many years ago.

But even as it looks Transfer may be on the cusp of success, Molarius says that the new songs and solidified lineup are making music fun again, explaining simply: "We're writing material that we love and that we can stand behind."

by Mark Lore - Chico News & Review

"'Faded Signal' Review"

"The band, which was nominated for a San Diego Music Award for Best Alternative last year, first released a seven-song EP, only one track of which ("Hard Upon the Eyes") found its way onto Faded Signal. Singer Matt Molarius channels Jeff Buckley's tortured vibrato throughout, while the songs run the gamut from ambient, slide-guitar jams to big, fuzzed-out rockers, a range that should appeal to fans of Built to Spill and Pinback. In fact, Transfer was booked as the opening act when Pinback played a 20,000-seat amphitheater in San Diego last summer. And if the reverb-drenched melancholia that pervades Faded Signal catches on, the band could be headed for an arena tour of its own."
-Maya Kroth, San Franciso Weekly
- San Francisco Weekly

""Sunken Eyes""

"While the San Diego Music Awards won't be announced until the fall, and voting won't even begin until the eligibility period ends June 30 (the SDMA calendar runs from July to June), two albums that ought to be on every local critics' short list are being released this week: Transfer's new EP, "Sunken Eyes," and Steven Ybarra's "Love Love Love."

Transfer's third release finds the band at an absolute peak of creativity. There may be bands in San Diego that have a more polished sound. There may be bands that are more technically proficient. And perhaps even some bands that write better songs. But it's hard to imagine any local bands that combine all three elements any better than Transfer does on its new EP.

With strong echoes of the Beatles and Pink Floyd, the five tracks on "Sunken Eyes" are so well-constructed, so creatively and imaginatively arranged that each is about as close to perfection as music can be.

There's definitely a '60s and '70s kind of spirit about the album, even though the members are all in their 20s and also display punk and alt rock influences throughout. But from the effects boxes that the guitars are run through to the thick-pile vocal harmonies to lead singer Matt Molarius' anguished wails on "Bitter Pill" that recall late-Beatles era John Lennon, this is an album infused with early mainstream rock.

Yet, Transfer pulls it off so well that it never seems an homage or, worse, a ripoff. It's wholly the band's own: This is a breathing bit of classic rock by a bunch of young'ns who are filtering what came before through their own experiences, imprinting it with all that's come since the 1960s opened up the possibilities of melding the still-new rock 'n' roll sounds with classical, folk and jazz, and then trying a bunch of new stuff as well.

It's a heady listen, and certain to be one of the best albums to come out of San Diego in 2008.


---Jim Trageser, North County Times - North County Times

"Up & Coming"

The new sound of San Diego has less to do with overgrown
skate punks and more in common with reverb-drenched psych-rock foursome
Transfer, whose latest long-player, "Faded Signal," impressed enough
SoCal scenesters to win last year's San Diego Music Award for Best
Alternative Album. At their most aggro, the guitar-bass-drums triangle
set up a steadily propulsive platform for the impassioned vocals of
incredibly tall frontman Matt Molarius, but the band are just as
captivating when they're quiet-though Transfer's best songs are always
both. In melody and lyrics, the word "epic" comes to mind, and their
locked-in groove and trippy visuals are probably best enjoyed after a
bong hit. They work the suit-and-tie gimmick when playing live, but that
shiny finish is just a facade for their dirty, stony, Zeppelin-y rawk.
- Seattle Stranger


FUTURE SELVES LP Nov/09Radio SIngles 'Losing Composure", "My Suspicions"
SUNKEN EYES EP released Feb/08
FADED SIGNAL LP released Feb/06
songs available for stream or download @



Exhibiting all the grandeur of British rock, yet rooted in the gritty allure of the American west, TRANSFER beseeches personal discovery; either fully immersed within a good pair of headphones, or, preferably, caught up in the intensity of a live performance. But with the impending release of their second full-length, ‘FUTURE SELVES’, TRANSFER stands poised to win over idle listeners, and to elicit more than word of mouth praise for its remarkably savvy take on the art of rock music.

That rare act that successfully merges evocative songwriting with pristine musicianship, the ambitiously detailed aesthetics of TRANSFER’s studio recordings frequently draw comparison to Bends-era Radiohead, while the personally resonating lyrical content often invokes the specter of Jeff Buckley. However, this is not a group content to feel either bolstered or confined by its influences, and with each new release TRANSFER’s sound has grown more expansive, balancing soulful instincts with wildly charismatic rock.

They recorded their first EP, The Guts of My Arm EP at Cedar Studios with Shaun Cornell, and began playing to bigger audiences at venerable indie rock clubs such as The Casbah and Belly Up Tavern. Energized by an enthusiastic response, they quickly followed up with an eponymous EP recorded by Alan Sanderson, a veteran engineer with a long history of clients including Weezer, Elvis Costello and The Rolling Stones.

The group began to make a name for itself locally and worked to fashion a more modern sound than its rootsy predecessor. But it was the addition of Mike Cooper on drums completed the band’s transformation from local favorite to word of mouth phenomenon. Having toured with hardcore and punk bands since the age of fifteen, Cooper brought a more precise and driving edge to Transfer’s existing compositions. Immediately upon joining the group, he went to work helping to record Faded Signal, which was recorded live and mixed in seven days, with Sanderson once again at the console. Recognized by the San Diego Music Awards as Best Alternative Album, the LP also caught the attention of the industry professionals, and Transfer was featured on MTV2’s “Bands On The Rise.”

With the help of local artist Paul Drohan, they created a singular vision and refined their style and focus, establishing the label Obscure Magpie Records to resist the temptation to stray from their own creative path. In late 2007 Transfer would show the fruits of these efforts with the “Sunken Eyes EP.” Recorded with Mario Quintero at Black Box Studios, the five-song disc shows off the band’s deft arrangements, cohesive musicianship and elegiac imagery while further exploring their new drummer’s dynamic range. On the strength of its release, the band embarked on a tour of the UK, the single “Sinking Sailing” garnering airplay on BBC radio and XFM Manchester, thus taking their music international.

Returning home on a wave of positive publicity, Transfer might have suffered a major setback when bass player Jeremy Chambers announced he was leaving the group to raise a family. Fortunately, old friend and collaborator Shaun Cornell has stepped in to fill the role. The accomplished multi-instrumentalist and producer had remained close with Molarius and Cardenas since recording their first EP, and having witnessed Transfer’s evolution, would prove a natural fit, adding even greater dimensions to the band’s spatial arrangements. His Blue Roof Studios has become the band’s new de facto home, giving them a secluded environment to develop new sounds and material, and affording them the luxury of time to properly craft an eagerly awaited second full-length.

After multiple recordings and thousands of miles traveled, the guys of Transfer don’t sit around wondering if their band is going to “make it” in the music business. They are busy making it every single day, and if recent efforts are any indication, they’re already there. You just might not know it yet.