Phoenix local music picks: Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Wyves, Young Mothers, the Sink or Swim
This month brings its usual assortment of record release celebrations on the local scene, including Technicolors, Paranova, Sara Robinson Band and People Who Could Fly. Here's a look at those and other highlights of July in local music.
7/20: EDGE Happy Hour with Young's Modulus
Their name is a term that defines the relationship between stress (force per unit area) and strain (proportional deformation) in elastic. In their Facebook bio, they promise “an eclectic set of songs that suggest wide-ranging influences such as Bob Marley to Pearl Jam, Rancid to the Smiths, Stone Temple Pilots to Catherine Wheel, Social Distortion to R.E.M., and Pink Floyd to the Old 97's.”
And you can definitely hear the elasticity that comes from such eclectic taste on last year's "Somnambulist." The opening track recalls the more infectious pop side of the Foo Fighters' best work and by the second track they've settled into the moodier territory of a Pearl Jam or Temple of the Dog, which is followed in turn by the hypnotic swagger of the cowbell-rocking "Snow Globe." And it helps that guitar-playing singer Mike Johnson has the voice to make it sound as radio-friendly as those frames of reference.
This performance is part of a happy hour series at Tempe Center for the Arts.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. 480-350-2822, tempe.gov.
7/20: Young Mothers
If you like your indie-pop on the sophisticated side but wouldn’t want to see ambition compromise the value of a solid pop hook, you'd do well to check out the single Young Mothers released last month, “They Were Right” and “It’s Hard.”
The description on Valley Bar's website name-checks Nilsson for a reason. And it helps to have a guy with Zach Toporek's vocal chops to bring those hooks to life. An erstwhile member of Through & Through Gospel Review and Diners, Toporek has revived Young Mothers after a three-year break with drummer Jason Roedl of Mergence and bassist Jess Pruitt, who also plays in The Bittersweet Way and used to be in Field Tripp.
As sunny as the hooks can be, Toporek's lyrics bring a darker edge to the proceedings. Young Mothers' website sums up "They Were Right," for instance, as "a sunny-sounding rumination on the stupidity of consumer capitalism, depression-fueled isolation, and analysis-paralysis." And that all ties into the three-year break.
As Topoerk explains, “I let crushingly high expectations stop me from releasing any new music, which soured my outlook on everything. Sometimes when you bully yourself into shutting down because you’re not as good as The Beatles, you somehow end up feeling entitled to criticize everybody else to death.”
They're joined by the Rifle and a Counsel Bluffs, a new group bassist Jason Patrick Woodbury describes as "noisy indie-rock kinda stuff" made by former and current members of A Technicolor Yawn, Hands on Fire and Cardiac Party."
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $7; $5 in advance. valleybarphx.com.
7/21: SURF release show
”I can honestly say that at the start of the year we had no ambition to make another record,” says guitarist Aaron "Surf " Tijerina, “considering we put out three albums last year without a break in between). But we had been working on a few new songs and just added our new drummer (Chad Koenig) and thought we should record some scratch tracks. Also, we had an itch to do a record outside the studio. A DIY-style record.
They ended up recording the “Unifying Ideas” EP at bassist Matt Uhler’s house, where they practice.
“The soft concept for the record was to show the band’s diversity and musical ability and to use the new songs we'd been working on,” Tijerina says. “I feel the record turned out well (considering the fact that we only had three microphones, one of which was from a kid’s karaoke set) And a home PC from 2005.”
If the band name has you thinking surf-rock instrumental, you should know that surf is merely one of several ingredients. “Fresh Grooves” is an instrumental blend of surf-rock and exotica, but four of the EP’s five tracks feature vocals, including a bittersweet ballad titled “Verse 3” whose understated sense of atmosphere should speak directly to fans of the Velvet Underground’s first album.
The single "Lost and Found" is about a dream that Tijerina had about his girlfriend and the idea that when they die they might not end up in the same place. “I spend the entire dream trying to find her,” he says.
The EP will be given away for free to the first 10 fans at the show, which starts at 8 p.m. with Old Star. Then it’s the Apaches, SURF, Belinda Esquire and Psychedelephants.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, July 21. Rogue Bar, 423 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale. $7. 480-947-3580, facebook.com/theroguebar.
7/21: The Sink or Swim
These local-by-way-of Ohio rockers made our best March singles playlist with "Arizona," a funky blues-rock track boasting some stellar guitar work. Where they really grab you is the chorus hook, which sets the funk aside for a wide-open chorus so timeless, it practically feels like they’re channeling some old singer-songwriter hit from the '70s, with harmonies to match.
Last month brought "Dopamine," a trippier affair with an even more electrifying lead guitar break and a reverb-laden sense of atmosphere that definitely underscores the psychedelic nature of that chorus hook.
And they're heading back into the studio later this month with the $5,000 they raised in a crowd-funding campaign to cut an EP called "Oasis Unknown" at Full Well Recording.
They're joined at this show by the Ricky Fitts, Good Boy Daisy and Nothing on the Moon.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $12; $10 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.
7/21: TAAGG Sessions with members of the Stakes
Tempe Art A Goghgogh has lined up members of the Stakes (ZeeDubb, Lord Kash, Kevin Phillips, Alan Acosta and Luis Martinez) to scale things down a bit and host what Evan Liggins says will be “a loose jam session” that’s “partially improv to keep it raw.”
The Stakes are joined on stage by DJ KNS while DJ 1Period rocks the lounge and Haboobs contributes live art.
I-Dee, who normally collaborates with them onstage, is scheduled to participate alongside labelmate and sometimes collaborator Eddie Wellz. And Liggins’ “cherry on the top” is a guest appearance by Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra leader of rituals Camille Sledge.
“Camille is a vocalist,” Liggins says. “But i wouldn't be surprised if she matched wits with the MCs. It’s that unrehearsed.”
Details: 9 p.m. Friday, July 21. Yucca Tap Room, 29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe. Free. 480-967-4777, yuccatap.com.
7/22: Wyves release show
To anyone who's followed Wyves at all, the only sane response to the news that they're finally hitting the streets with a 7-inch singles of "B---h Has Got Problems" as a single is "What exactly were you waiting for? A written invitation?"
Singer Corey Gloden says they had, in fact, originally planned on making it a single "based off the crazy crowd interaction at our live shows, getting the occasional hashtag and local bands like Banana Gun and Sink or Swim covering it in their live sets."
Then, when the album was done, they went with "Puppycat" instead, followed by "Spoils Of War" in "an attempt to build our reach and following," Gloden says.
When they finally came around to "B---h," Gloden says, "the dudes and I decided to go back in and re-record all guitars, bass, drums, sax (Kyle Scarborough from Banana Gun) and percussion (Bob Hoag) at Flying Blanket, and kept the original vocal tracks of mine and Cassidy Hilgers from the album version that was recorded by Curtis Grippe at Stem Studios."
Although they did their best to keep the band tracks the same as the original recording, Brenden McBride wrote a new bassline for the second verse and outro that, as Gloden says, "adds new life to the song."
The idea, Gloden explains, was to "get a sonically stronger representation of this song that we feel has the potential to increase our buzz within and outside of Arizona."
They're releasing the single on white vinyl (which comes with a digital download card for the turntable-impaired). The B-side "Jump Into the Water (Boogie Woogie)" is an alternate recording previously spotlighted on azcentral.
There's a video in the works with Cory Davis of Yellowbox Films.
The release show also features Vista Kicks, Banana Gun, Bear Ghost and Mind Upside.
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $15; $10 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
7/22: The Shrine: A Weekly Afro-Soul Ritual
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra launched this free, late-night series over Memorial Day weekend.
As David Marquez explains it, “Fela Kuti's main venue in Lagos, Nigeria, was/is the Shrine, where he held marathon concerts and town-hall style meetings regularly with the local populace. We are in some way giving homage to what he did by creating an event to share more of what we celebrate and honor musically (Afrobeat, soul, RnB, funk, EthioJazz, etc.), bringing like-minded individuals together to have movement and discourse together weekly at a designated time and place. To foster such an environment that we want to go to to lift our spirits in what can be the doldrums of a Phoenix summer.”
Details: 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. Free. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
7/22: I, Pariah release show
They're releasing a debut EP full of melodic yet hard-hitting, socially relevant death-metal anthems titled "War Machine." With Animus Complex guitarist Jeremy Davis handling the production, the five-song EP makes its way through such punishing highlights as "Demagogue," "Kingdom of Lies" and the EP-closing title track.
"Jeremy was great to work with and really helped us the sound we had envisioned," singer Steve Poff says. "The idea behind this band and our album was to write visceral, aggressive, politically charged music. It was important to all of us to not just write music we all enjoyed, but to make sure there was a message behind it as well. This album will set the tone for things to come for this band, and we have no intention of letting up when it comes out."
There are no punches pull on "War Machine." In the video, "Kingdom of Lies," for instance, Poff growls, "Welcome to the kingdom of lies / A monument to his ego / A sea of ignorance / All hail Armageddon's new king."
They're joined in celebrating the release by Murkocet, The Exiled Martyr, Kruffix, A Lapse of Ethos, Path of Exile and Before Giants. As Poff says, those are some of the heaviest bands in the Valley and they're "honored to have them on the show with us.'
Details: 6 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa. $10-$12. 480-258-2733, clubredrocks.com.
7/22: Return of the Open Mic Hip-Hop and Art Showcase
This showcase features live performances by Montique, Glad2mecha & Ill Treats, Orangubang, Black One, Unorthodocks, Recipe and Steez (Krump Session).
The featured DJ is J20 but Big Red and Speakerbox will also be spinning. And there's live art by Joey DEADHAUS, Liz Lucas, Fin89, Dapper Dan, Stomik and Spydee (CTS Crew).
Orangubang promises "a night of hip-hop of the highest caliber where we combine all the elements of the culture for a night of fun with lots of sub-genres represented." They'll even have an open mic at the end of the night for anyone who wants to make a case for why they should have been included in that lineup.
Details: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Chop and Wok, 10425 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Free. 480-483-1939, chopandwokaz.com.
7/25: Dominick Provenzano release show
Provenzano was trying to capture something reminiscent of the classic singer-songwriter albums of the 1970s while adding a rock-and-roll and psychedelic element to the mix. You can definitely hear that in the finished product, from the wistful country-blues of "All My Flowers," a highlight that swaggers and sways with the bleary-eyed grace of the '70s Stones, to the Petty-esque lilt of the bittersweet "Cruel."
"I'm really used to working within a band context while playing and recording," Provenzano says. "So having to make all the arrangement decisions and mixing choices was really freeing and terrifying. It was great working with all the talented musicians who played on this album and working closely with Jalipaz at Audio Confusion. We had some fairly intense mixing sessions and I'm sure at a couple points he thought I was insane. But all and all, we made a great team and I'm super pleased with how the record turned out."
He's joined here by Carrie Lynn Van Winkle, Cameron Degurski and Korbe Canida.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $15; $12 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.
7/28: The Darts
The Darts are a relatively new all-female foursome fronted by the Love Me Nots’ Nicole Laurenne on vocals and Farfisa, also featuring Christina Nunez (of the Love Me Nots) on bass, Michelle Balderrama of Brainspoon on guitar and vocals, and Rikki Styxx on drums.
A raucous first EP that more than lived up to the sum of their assorted reputations earned the Darts a deal with Dirty Water Records, the in-house label of a legendary London club night named in honor of the Standells' "Dirty Water."
I recently published a list of the 13 best albums of the first half of 2017, which sucks for them because if I’d had time to take the list to 20, they’d have definitely been included. It’s that good, assuming you like rock and roll to sound exciting.
And speaking of exciting rock and roll, they're joined by the Freeks from L.A. and White Demons.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, July 28. The Lunchbox, 1615 E. Catalina Dr., Phoenix.
The shows below this point already happened but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read about these artists just to see if you might want to see them next time. They'll be back. They're local.
7/7: Technicolors release show
When Technicolors entered Flying Blanket Recording in May or June of 2016 to work with producer Bob Hoag on what eventually became an album titled “Metaphysical,” the goal was fairly simple: To record an EP.
They overshot that goal.
As Brennan Smiley, Technicolors’ front man, recalls, “Instead of coming out with five songs, we came out with seven finished and an eighth one on the way. And it was pretty clear that it was turning into something larger and we had a little more in us than we thought.”
So they booked another session.
“Walking out of Flying Blanket after that first session and seeing not only how much we got done but how much depth there was to what we finished,” Smiley says, “it didn’t feel like the EPs that we had made before, where we had tracked them very quickly. There’s a depth we thought that was sort of a signal. It didn’t feel like we’d recorded an EP plus a couple of B-sides. It felt like we hadn’t finished the record yet. And I think what we were going through at the time, being an independent rock and roll band without a label, without anyone really telling us what to do but also without the funds to always do what you want to do, those things were definitely present within the lyrics and our attitude. And that’s an idea that seemed like a theme that was a little too big for ‘Oh, let’s just do another EP.’ We wanted it to feel like something you could really sink your teeth into.”
Being in an independent rock and roll band, which is not, as Smiley notes, “the most popular style of music to be doing right now,” is a concept Smiley thought about a lot while working on the album and it seeped into the process.
“We were sort of feeling this push and pull and riding the line between creating something we feel is authentically us but then dabbling in the realm of creating something outside of us that’s a larger idea than ourselves,” Smiley says. “It’s sort of the push and pull of when you’re trying on different masks and sort of playing with ideas that shouldn’t be relatable but making them relatable and also writing songs that are coming from a genuine place.”
They called the album “Metaphysical” because, in part, the word kept popping up as they worked on the record.
“And as it kept coming around, it just felt right,” he recalls. “And as it starts to feel right, you start to question, ‘Does this mean what we want it to mean? Does it communicate the idea we want to communicate not only for this record but for us as a band right now in 2017?’ And it seemed like this all-encompassing idea that represented our songs well. Every song on this record has a little bit of that playing with the other side.”
Stylistically the album is, in many ways, a logical extension of their previous releases.
“I think stylistically, we are the same people,” Smiley says. “I don’t think our character has changed too much, or what we’re trying achieve in the melodic part of our songwriting. I think the way we recorded is the biggest difference. We tracked most of these songs live to tape, which is a different medium than we have worked on in the past and I think there was a magic quality to doing them that way because it really brings you into the song.
"Going into a live recording session, I feel like your first few takes are like, ‘Oh, it’s live. I can’t really fix anything so I’d better play it perfect.’ When you shake off those cobwebs, there’s this freedom that comes with the whole situation that really brings something special out of you. We didn’t do the entire thing live but the core of it was live. So the record has a live energy and character that we’ve never been able to capture before, which that’s something we’ve always wanted to do.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $12. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
7/7: Paranova release show/ tour launch
These Phoenix heavy rockers are releasing a full-length debut called “Hyperhollow” at a show that doubles as the first night of their tour with locals Gold Season.
Bassist Erin Sperduti says, “We formed initially (in 2015) based on similar music interests all around. After over two years of writing music together, we came up with 10 songs that we feel represent exactly who we are and what we are trying to say as musicians. We have put all of our effort into writing this album, and are super proud of the result. It tried each and every one of our musical abilities, but as with every challenge, it truly made us better in the process.”
Sperduti says she and her bandmates attempted to write in a range of different styles and techniques, “with the focus put on bettering ourselves as musicians in the process.”
Lyrically, she says, “we discuss a wide spectrum of themes, and even crafted a concept between the last two tracks. A big part of the album is an analysis of how humans disregard their best interests in favor of shallow, fleeting feelings and actions. This theme is where the album title and main track ‘Hyperhollow,’ came from."
Some aspects of the album surprised the bandmates.
“When we listened back to all the final cuts, there were certain moments where we looked at each other somewhat in shock that we were capable of writing the kind of music that we thoroughly enjoy listening to,” Sperduti says. “Writing this whole album has been the highest point of being a band thus far, as we have discovered talents and abilities that previously seemed impossible.”
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa. $10-$12. 480-258-2733, clubredrocks.com.
7/8: Dogbreth homecoming show
OK, technically, these guys aren’t local anymore, what with them living in Seattle. But that's what makes this a homecoming show.
Their first album on Asian Man Records was featured in Stereogum, NPR and Spin magazine, whose critic noted that “the power-pop quintet writes confident, witty songs that are tinged with a Picasso gray-cobalt, even in moments of pure celebration.”
That was certainly the case with “Cups and Wrappers,” whose singalong chorus features Tristan Jemsek sighing, “Rock and roll won’t make it all OK / But it used to seem that way” before they hit you with the kind of lead Thin Lizzy might have played and suddenly it seems that way again. They made our best June singles list with “Hoarder House,” which I said “rocks and jangles like some great lost relic from the days when guys in skinny ties were taking power-pop to the masses by letting the hype-men call it New Wave.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. $10; $8 in advance. thetrunkspace.com.
7/11: Crescent Jazz Society with House of Stairs
The short description on their Facebook page calls them "a jazz-based collective that draw from funk, soul and pop influences to create a distinct progressive soundscape."
That's all true. But what it fails to mention is that they top those soundscapes with the sultry vocal stylings of Holly Pyle, whose presence on their "Step One" album frequently recalls the early work of Erykah Badu.
The singer claims to be "keeping the 'verb' of jazz alive by incorporating improvisation and continual music evolution into as many different genres as possible."
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 11 and 25. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. Free. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
7/12: Night of Neuralgia #11
As local noise enthusiast Scott Mitting, who curates the series, explains it: “Night of Neuralgia is an experimental and avant-garde music showcase for the growing noise-music scene in Arizona, ranging from gentle electronic music to found noise pieces, harsh experimental textures and shoegaze." The point, Mitting says, “is to show off similarities in acts from various scenes to try to introduce people to new genres, but we would also like to provide a home for touring experimental artists to have a good experience when they come to Phoenix and come back more often.”
This edition is topped by Echo Beds from Denver, with Xiuhcoatl from Parker, Arizona, as well as locals Skymall, Depressive and Earwiig. As Mitting explains, this particular bill is “a mix of the harsher electronic range of artists to support the industrial-influenced music of the Echo Beds.”
Details: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. $6. thetrunkspace.com.
7/13: 93.3 Alt AZ's Homegrown with Mo Local Showcase
This is the third edition of Alt AZ 93.3’s Homegrown with Mo Local Showcase, featuring Escaping Phoenix, Soft Deadlines and Stinkeye.
The bands are selected by audience votes. As Mo explains the process, “Each band that gets featured on Homegrown With Mo (11 p.m. Monday-Thursday) has an opportunity to be voted for a Friday Replay. If the band wins the Friday Replay, not only does their song get a second spin, but they’re invited to play our new local showcase the following month. Right now, the local alternative-music scene is thriving and there’s a ton of great bands to slip in your ear holes. You could discover your next Jimmy Eat World or even the next Kongos, but you’ll have to come and check out our first show to find out. Plus the ALT AZ A-Team will be out there with a ton of swag and last-minute chances at tickets.”
Escaping Phoenix are a pop-punk band from Phoenix (apparently still in the midst of escaping). Oliver Lemke of Soft Deadlines once described their sound to me as doing their best to get people excited by combining the best of pop and punk “but without being pop-punk.” And I haven't heard Stinkeye, but Mo's description has me pretty sure I'm missing out. "They've got this great Beck-meets-Primus hash-rock sound," she says. "Like a musical mushroom trip."
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13. Pub Rock, 8005 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. $5. 480-945-4985, pubrocklive.com.
7/13: Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold
This banjo-rocking duo made the most of securing an opening slot on the main stage at McDowell Mountain Music Festival this year by turning in a wildly entertaining set that more than lived up to the promise of the self-titled debut they dropped in 2016. It helps that singer Tyler Matock is a charismatic kook on stage and Jesse Gray has developed some serious chops on banjo. It also helps that they opened with “Orange Blossom Special” and brought things to a climax with Skip James' "Hard Times Killing Floor Blues" and a very rowdy "Killing Floor" by Howlin' Wolf. Their take on “Killing Floor” is on the album, where it sounds amazing. But it’s all good, really, from the bluegrass swagger (an expression I have never used before) of “You Never Loved Me” to “No Good Blues,” a whimsical, old-timey folk song – with kazoo! – that sounds like it would fit right in on early ‘70s Kinks album.
This is Matock’s birthday show, so there’s a chance he could be even loopier than usual, which can only be a good thing. Also playing: American Longspurs, War Admiral and Hostile Work Environment.
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, July 13. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $10; $8 in advance. valleybarphx.com.
7/13: Hip-Hop V3
The third installment of the local hip-hop showcase at the Trunk Space that kicks off with Hesperus, a hip-hop trio with MC/DC on the mic, JD on guitars, keys and drums and Gimpheart on sampler. Their Facebook page says they’re “creating some of the most chilled-out, lyrically lush, rhythmically palpable rap music in the Valley." That chilled-out yet rhythmically palpable essence definitely shines through on one of the two tracks they shared on the Soundcloud page, "The Relaxed Rapper." But the other track, "Aggression," shows them capable of a much more, for lack of a better term, aggressive sound as well.
Hesperus will start the show, followed by 30Spice, Simply Damon, Tru Vonne and Jet Grind Mobb.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. $6. thetrunkspace.com.
7/14: People Who Could Fly release show
This is the third EP these Phoenix indie-pop sensations have released since forming in 2013. This time around, says James Mills, they were aiming to "capture our inner youth and living in the moment."
Musically, the EP finds the trio moving in more of a synth-driven, dance-pop direction, leading to highlights as ripe for getting bodies on the dance floor as "Fire in Your Eyes," where the opening line is "shaking all the walls just to feel the beat," and "Something to Believe In," where the synth work appears to be channeling New Order in their prime.
As Mills explains, "We leaned towards modern, dance-y vibes with this record, drawing influence from artists like Fitz & the Tantrums, the 1975 and Two Door Cinema Club, with our own melodic and instrumental twist.
"We experimented with a lot of new sound design when laying down the synth tracks. I love the energetic, in-your-face sound of a lot of EDM music, and I wanted to mix that feeling with our organic instruments to create something that piques the audience's interest. I want to keep them on their toes with a variety of fresh sounds."
The writing of the songs took a little less effort than that.
"Believe it or not, we wrote this whole record in just four days," Mills says. "I decked out my garage with a bunch of cool lighting to get the creative juices flowing, then we got down to building the main structure for these songs."
The release show also features Gabe Kubanda, Naked Walrus and Weslynn.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 14. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $12; $10 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.
7/14: First or Last release show/ tour launch
These Sunnyslope skate-punk revivalists are releasing a debut EP titled '...kinda, but seriously' at a show that also marks the launch of their Southwestern tour. The EP was recorded at the Saltmine Studio Oasis with Andre Nelson engineering and mixing. And he's done a brilliant job of capturing the essence of reckless abandon on which this kind of music thrives as they blaze through such highlights as "Dreams," "Not Today" and "A Way Out."
"We were going for that nostalgic 90's skate-punk feel, something with a message that you can sing along to," says drummer Chris Fleischhacker. "We couldn't be happier with how it turned out, and feel like we really captured that feeling."
CDs and digital downloads will be available at www.fol.band, where you can also find upcoming tour dates.
They're joined by LightSpeedGo, Rundown Roommates and Alex Squared.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, July 14. Yucca Tap Room, 29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe. $10. 480-967-4777, yuccatap.com.
7/14: Boy Oh Boy tape release and last show ever
It’s a bittersweet night for the members of Boy Oh Boy, saying goodbye with the parting gift of a farewell cassette whose brand of lo-fi should suit the occasion nicely.
Singer Maya Maldonado says, “I love this project with the entirety of my heart. It was my first really developed music project and although I would've loved for it to grow even more, my bandmate for Boy Oh Boy, Julia, just got accepted to her dream art school Pratt. We decided when she leaves it's best to just let the project die. It's our last show because it's the last time me and someone I’ve been making music with for two years will ever get to perform together as Boy Oh Boy. It actually makes me really emotional. Boy Oh Boy was an amazing outlet for me at a time in my life where I feel like needed it the most. I definitely see it as me and Julia’s musical baby, and it's a little hard to let go, but time moves on.”
The new release, the singer says, “is a goodbye tape essentially. It's a compilation of all the music we have ever released that was put together by an amazing friend at Good Sadie Media in Philadelphia. The tape is honestly kinda hard for me to listen to. It reminds me of a more painful time in my life, which is what I think people will enjoy about it. Not necessarily me and Julia's pain, but the honestly and genuineness of the music we made together. This compilation we're releasing is about growing up.”
They’re joined on this occasion by Diners, Cooper's Revenge and Willetta.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday, July 14. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. thetrunkspace.com.
7/14: Exploding Oranges
Exploding Oranges ask only that you, “Imagine if Elliott Smith, Neil Young and Nick Drake got together with the Grateful Dead and Crosby Still and Nash. The Beach Boys and The Beatles stopped by to play too!”
But the music on “Unpeeled,” a 2-year-old record I discovered just before I wrote this, is more whimsical and charming than those frames of reference suggest. Except the last two names. And those are filtered through the more endearing quirks of the Elephant 6 Collective.
If that means a thing to you, you’ll love it. If not, you might love it anyway. That’s half the charm of charming. The opening track is driven by a ukulele. In a good way! And they sign off five songs later with a haunting tribute to “Abundant Sunshine.”
Exploding Oranges are joined at this show by the great Andy Warpigs and Elna Rae.
Details: 9 p.m. Friday, July 14. Time Out Lounge, 3129 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. Free. 480-968-6491, www.facebook.com/timeoutlounge.
7/15: The Sugar Thieves tour kickoff/release show
Together since 2006, these local roots-revivalist are kicking off their latest tour with a record release show at their stomping grounds, the Rhythm Room.
The album, “2 Cups,” is their first for Fervor Records, recorded in stripped-down arrangements, the better to spotlight the talents of Meridith Moore (lead vocals) and Mikel Lander (guitar, vocals).
As Fervor CEO, David Hilker, explains of their reasons for tracking it that way rather than full-band arrangements, “Meridith and Mikel are incredibly gifted musicians, vocalists and songwriters. We thought the best way to showcase their remarkable talents was to throw any aspect of studio wizardry out the window. There’s magic in the true authenticity and believability of these songs and recordings. We’re excited to be a part in the next chapter of the band’s long running, and well established career.”
Details: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $8. 602-265-4842, rhythmroom.com.
7/15 Sara Robinson Band release show
The Sara Robinson Band will release a debut called “If I Cannot Fly, Let Me Sing” with opening sets by the Woodworks and Elizabeth Rose.
The album is the sort of gritty blues-rock we’ve come to expect from Robinson, a powerful singer whose more explosive moments have been known to drawn comparisons to Janis Joplin. Highlights range from the smoldering blues of “Muse” to the suitably sultry delivery of "Real Good Time," which also features some incendiary lead guitar work. But the track that really grabbed me was the wistful balladry of “Love Love,” whose atmospheric verses puts the spotlight on a more vulnerable side of the singer’s range (which only makes the soaring climax that much more intense).
Details: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Last Exit Live, 717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix. $10-$15 (includes digital download and a sticker). 602-271-7000, lastexitlive.com.
7/15: Red Tank!
Come see the members of Red Tank! off on their first East Coast tour as they prepare to hit you with a great new single called "Things Fall Apart," a cathartic explosion of punk hooks and chaos inspired by William Butler Yeats' “The Second Coming.” They're releasing that track Monday.
In the meantime, they've premiered a stylish video for “Minuet of Stone,” among the many highlights of their latest album, "BIO/FEEDBACK," which was named the best punk album of the year by Yab Yum Music + Arts. It's a great-looking performance clip offset by scenes of Clipper Arnold jotting down ideas in his journal and Red Tank! loading in to play, directed by Shanice of Malakai Creative, who makes it look more like an indie film.
The song deals with imagery relating to romanticizing a monastic lifestyle.
They'll be joined at the tour launch by L.A.’s Justus Proffit (described on the Facebook event page as “the fuzzed-out reincarnation of Elliott Smith”), Captain Samurai (“emotive bad boys”) and Hesperus (“lyrically complex noisy art rap”). That event page also sums up Red Tank! as being “dystopian punk for Millennial scum.”
After the Lunchbox, they're headed to Austin, the first stop on a tour that also features dates in Boston, Providence, R.I., New York City and Erie, Pa.
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 15. The Lunchbox, 1615 E. Catalina Dr., Phoenix.
7/16: Micah Bentley
Bentley's Bandcamp page sums up his music as “ambient indie southwestern rock,” and that all checks out if you listen to his “Tired Ways” EP. But there’s also a definite chamber-pop vibe to the sophistication of the song’s arrangements.
Highlights range from the wistful, acoustic-guitar-driven “Little Curious One,” which sounds a bit like Neil Young in “Harvest” mode wandering onto the set of a Spaghetti Western, to the richly textured ambience of “What’s the Worry.”
He’s joined by Ryne Norman, Saddles and Alps.
Details: 8 p.m. Sunday, July 16. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $8; $5 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.