We really need a new name for this pseudo-weekly collection of things found around the interwebs from AZ bloggers and websites… suggestions are welcome.
Did you know you can peruse a considerable amount of what the Phoenix Art Museum has available in their collection online here? You can! I lost half my morning clicking my way through the Modern and Fashion Design collections. I found this piece by O. Louis Gugliemi… good times.
Dee Wallace of the The Spec takes a look (listen?) at the Lunchtime Concert Series held in Downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park. The event takes place every Wednesday through December 12th so make sure to get out to a concert before they’re over for the year!
ASU student Gabriela Rodiles of Gourmet Gab has spent three months abroad in Sevilla. She took a moment to reflect on the cultural differences that make the Spanish lifestyle what it is. Coffee made the list.
The CityScape Phoenix Tree Lighting Ceremony and Ice Rink opening happen this weekend. We know this thanks to Paulina Pineda of Exploring the 602. Get into the winter spirit!! The above picture does not actually go with this event but I thought it was a much more exciting ice skating picture so I borrowed it from here.
I can’t believe I couldn’t make it to the final show of Andrew Jackson Jihad’s tour in Phoenix nonetheless! Thankfully, Jayson Chesler of Metronome managed his level of suck much better than myself and made it out. If you missed the show, at least you can read about it here.
Well, here it is, another round of AZ music videos! We collected a bunch of good ones for you this time so check ’em out!
There are so many great new releases out! We’d thought we’d cover the gamut and showcase 3 albums from around the state that completely sound different from one another yet are all awesome. Take a listen!
Things As They Are
Tuscon has its very own supergroup, Saint Maybe. Featuring Oliver Ray and Winston Watson, as well as Chris Sauer, Boyd Peterson, and Lesli Wood, Saint Maybe’s debut is an ethereal wonderland. Turntable Kitchen brings us the exclusive album premiere.
Vagabond Gods EP
The long anticipated release from the brothers Vazquez has finally arrived. Bryant’s work in the Flagstaff music scene has long been known to us, and we are definitely fans. This album represents a new sonic direction for Bryant (i.e. it ROCKS HARD). Maybe his brother Chris has him all riled up!
Listen to Vagabond Gods here.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Cary Miller, and I’m a bit of a Swiss Army Knife…I’m the lead singer / songwriter for the rock band Terrible People (based in PHX), and I also produce, engineer, mix, and master records professionally (Tobie Milford’s Alyosha being an EP the readers of this magazine might be familiar with for example), outside of being a studio rat, and artist, I also founded and co-own Surface To Air Records.
2. How did you get your start?
I became a lifer pretty much straightaway. I was 16, living in New Providence NJ (where I grew up), and teaching myself how to play guitar on an old Takamine Acoustic I had bought at a flee market for $100. After many attempts at songwriting power pop/rock kind of tunes, I wound up with a song a called ‘A Long Walk Home’ which eventually became the first recorded demo for my old band Fashion Victims a scant few years later. Because of a hell of lot of Napster downloads of this old demo, playing a ton of illegal punk rock shows all over the tri-state…and a lot of networking in NYC, PA, and NJ, this led to a life of total misadventure. We were always doing something that managed to plague my existence, either trying to get signed to a major label…touring, or generally ruining my life. But as much as it was always a struggle, I never stopped writing songs or working in recording studios as a result. FV even got to be on a Pixies Tribute with OKGo and They Might Be Giants before we called it quits for good in 2006. A little over a year later I found myself on the other side of the glass working with Shelly Yakus (Mixing Engineer for Phil Spector on John Lennon’s Imagine) as an audio engineer, and last year Terrible People did a music video for our first single, ‘Bill Murray’ with my friend, director Lionel C. Martin (Boys II Men, TLC, Jay-Z, LL Cool J) so honestly I have no complaints. I consider myself to be insanely lucky to get to do what I do and call it a career.
3. What inspires you?
I’m a firm believer that your life will imitate your art if you pursue it professionally. And that if you’re not careful your art will start imitating whatever “life” you lead as a result. The new Terrible People LP Wireless Generation was recorded in our friend (Surface To Air co-owner) Jason Jagoda’s house while it was undergoing foreclosure after his divorce. This was the same home a close friend of his had passed away in a few years prior from cancer…so I think…being around his life and his struggles really influenced both the topical and personal nature of the album for the better. Usually there are journalistic aspects from my day to day in a biographical context when I’m writing lyrics for songs, but…I don’t really have a formula for writing them; they’re all different. Melodically, I tend to “hear” basic structures and vocal melodies in my head before I play them. I space out and usually something “clicks” into place that gets me humming (schizophrenics get medication for this I believe, artists are totally screwed!). Lyrically, I’m always trying to keep things fresh. Sometimes I reference books, poems, movies or even other songs I love if it has something to do with what’s going on in my life at the moment. I also scan the news for headlines that stick out to me…and I collect quotes…If someone I know says something that really resonates with me or I read or hear something that really stands out, I always jot it down (so don’t be too loose lipped around me if you’re shy!). I keep a word document that’s literally been around since 1998 called “The Graveyard”. It’s filled with thousands of bits and pieces of things, all time dated, sometimes with notes about what I was doing at the time (yes I am aware that I am insanely OCD). You’d be surprised how often a little blurb or stanza rises from the dead to exact revenge on the world by finishing something I’m working on piecemeal. Also I think of songwriting as a craft that needs to constantly be honed. Sometimes I’ll go through a few months where I’m struggling to finish anything that I really feel is worth its salt. But I make myself sit down and write for an hour or so every day anyway. The repetition keeps me sharp, and thinking about lyrics, lyrical themes, and the emotional intelligence within the simplicity becomes the game. Lastly, as much fun as it is to write songs with a dry sense of humor, (IE: ‘Bill Murray’ and ‘All My Friends Are Vampires’), I’m always trying to sneak little messages or social commentary into my storytelling too. But when it’s all said and done…I have to admit that the most organically creative years I’ve had, usually revolved around terrible heartbreak in one way or another as the inspiration. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. There have been times in my life where the songs wrote themselves essentially as an emotional response to something difficult and usually those tunes are the ones I’m most proud of in one way or another.
4. What do you like about Arizona?
I’m totally paraphrasing here, but Jim Adkins (From Jimmy Eat World) once told me in private that he thought there was some kind of a “scorched earth” aspect to the music industry these days. That the strong will somehow survive. I think Arizona has a lot of people who are tougher than you’d think from looking at a glance, and I respect that immensely. I also love a nice fall day where it’s below 70 degrees but it looks like summer outside. Oh, and there are some great restaurants if you know what to look for.
5. Where can people see you work?
Terriblepeople.com, Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Facebook….finding Terrible People is easy, all you need is Google to be honest. And other artists or companies I’ve worked for in a technical manner can usually be found the same way. We’re even in Bill Murray’s Wikipedia!
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I would love to do a world tour of some kind, full band with Terrible People, even if it’s only smaller venues, but using primarily Green transportation methods on the ground. I have this fantasy of just playing in every country at least once. Also I have a script for a film I’ve been tinkering on for a year…it’d be nice to see that get made.
by Mike McQuillian
At its foundation, life is a collection of tenuously-connected mysteries. What do I do with my life? What happens when we die? What happens next?
On her first EP, Kristina Moore (formerly of Finding Grampa’s Monsters) addresses these questions. Recording as Where Are All the Buffalo?, Moore doesn’t try to answer the questions. Instead, she brings them to light with gorgeous music, making the mysteries of life less scary.
Moore dives into these questions on opener “In the Summer, I Woke Up.” Accompanied by guitar work from AZ musician Dylan Pratt, she leads off the EP by asking “But do we ever really know/where we are going?” The instrumentation and Moore’s delicate vocals make Joanna Newsom comparisons unavoidable, but the songs on the Where Are All the Buffalo? EP make such comparisons an afterthought. Listening, I find myself far more interested in how good they are than their influences.
|Photos by Esther Ruth Photography|
Moore pulls out the accordion for “Skylar Was Right,” a blistering tune about claiming independence from those who would hold her down. “I refuse to be a marionette,” she sings. She taunts an ex-lover (?) by seething “I have learned to stand on my own two feet/ without you holding me up/and I never needed it.” This is the EP’s strongest track, by far.
Nature’s importance is a theme throughout the Buffalo EP. Piano ballad “Brow Blossom, Head Garden,” exemplifies this. It veers from dancing in the summer rain to lamenting the logging of cottonwoods.
Moore ends the EP on “Video 16,” a tribute to setting aside life’s challenges and having some fun. We end the release with visions of Moore “running wild,” enjoying herself despite life’s unsolvable mysteries.
The Where Are All the Buffalo? EP is a promising start for Kristina Moore. Using fantastic musicianship and the familiarity of the questions we all face, she creates the beginnings of a mythology for herself. It’s a testament to her songs that this mythology is not only interesting, but leaves listeners wanting more.
To our beloved readers,
We’re thankful for all our wonderful readers, both the ones who have been with us from the beginning and those who have found us in since changing to our new blog format! We’re thankful for all our contributing writers, now and over the years! Especially, Mike McQuillian who has been with us (and amazing) since the get-go and Jofrin Pezzati who supremely helped us transition to a blog! We’re super thankful to be part of this amazing, vibrant art community in Arizona! We’re thankful for all the awesome publications/blogs/websites that help create a network of coverage to promote the arts! We’d love to cover everything that comes in but we can’t so it’s great that together a lot of great projects get press (and opinions vary)!! We’re thankful for all the awesome bands making the AZ music scene better than ever!! We’re thankful for all the movers and shakers who keep the art scene bumping!! We can’t wait to thank everyone next month in our annual awards!
If we here at YabYum ever throw a music festival, we’re going to ask Anamieke Quinn to host it for us. After spending the weekend at her supremely organized, yet ever so laid back festival in quirky, adorable Bisbee, I can honestly say this was my favorite event in all my time with the publication and I’ve seen some amazing things in my three plus years here.
Maybe it was the setting… I’d never been to Bisbee before despite my wide-ranging Arizona adventures. It’s long been on my bucket list. The town did not disappoint. The eclectic community sits socketed into the rises and falls of the mountainous terrain. When mining gave way, Bisbee found new life as an artist colony. Anamieke has a special love for Bisbee so she already knew some of the best spots in town and made arrangments to incorporate different venues throughout the downtown into the Sidepony Express Music Festival. Just heading through the festival’s schedule meant a fairly decent tour of historic Bisbee.
|Ruca performing with Anamieke, our bassist of the ball, on the left.|
A lot had to do with the bands… If I had to put together a list of bands I love to see and bands I’ve been meaning to see it would have looked a lot like the lineup for Sidepony. And, as an added stroke of genius, most bands were scheduled to perform more than once so you didn’t need to agonize about whether to go to the 3 pm Ruca show or Doctor Bones. Both had different sets slated at different times. This was an especially nice consideration for the performers as the festival was all about camaraderie. If your band was slated to be on at the same time as another act you’ve been meaning to check out. No problem. Catch the other time slot. Anamieke thought of everything.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing for me personally was the fluidity of the event. Everyone was friendly and timely. Over three days in six venues with dozens of bands playing and more than 75 performances scheduled, everything was relatively on time. No one tumbled into the adjoining time slot. If I showed up to see a band play at five, they would be there. This might not seem like a big deal but, as a writer who covers a lot of music events, it is. What is it about a person that as soon as they acquire a guitar, they can’t manage a wristwatch? I just don’t understand.
|Baretta Lynn of the Pübes in her victory stance
(see video below).
Throughout much of the event, Anamieke was a cheerful blur on the streets rushing between performances. Maybe because she’s friends with most folks on the bill everyone became friends by association for the weekend. A vaguely familiar face on the street meant that person was likely in town from Tempe/Phoenix for the festival. It was safe to ask, “What band are you with?” if you didn’t recognize someone right off the bat. Instruments criss-crossed town and people nodded at each other in passing. It just so happened that a Steampunk ball was scheduled for the Saturday of the festival so music fans mingled with cos-players in the streets of Bisbee. A light rain kept things festively chilly (for everyone but Anton who didn’t bring a jacket).
Bisbee is full of little inns and hotels. I was fortunate to secure a room at the Copper Queen for the weekend. I have a special place in my heart for haunted hotels but sadly report I have yet to encounter any strange occurances. Maybe next time. I’m definitely going back next year!
|Field Tripp performs at Poco.|
|Bisbee street art.|