Grease It Slick and Grab Your Chick: More Arizona Rockabilly!

Yup, it’s true. There are a bunch, I mean, a ton of really good rockabilly bands around our fair state of Arizona. We felt rockabilly really should be getting more coverage so we decided to cover three more incredible AZ rockabilly acts in our never-ending quest to expose more-n-more true rocknroll! Enjoy.

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Voodoo Swing

Fast Cars, Guitars, Tattoos & Scars

Voodoo Swing has been making records since ’93. That’s 20 years of solid rocknroll, folks. The February 2013 release of Fast Cars, Guitars, Tattoos & Scars certainly lives up to it’s name. It takes years of life on the road and the stories that go along with it to write an album like this. Tracks such “When Death Comes a Callin'” and “If You Ever Want to Come Home” (featuring  local crooner Pat Roberts) suggest a new sort of maturity from the band previously unheard. Not to worry though for fans of classic Voodoo Swing, there’s more rockin’ and rollin’ on this album than in some band’s entire careers. They even close the album with their 20 year old classic, “Chasin’ the Devil’s Hot Rod” followed by the “Hot Rod Hymn,” an eerily-haunting chorale of lost souls. Playing tonight at 6 PM for the Spartan Riders MC annual “Ghetto Blast!,” and throughout the Valley for the month of April. Make sure to catch ’em here before they leave to tour Europe this summer! Click here for songs and showtimes.

Whiskey Kiss

EP

Well, if this isn’t the cutest thing to hit rockabilly since the polka-dot: Whiskey Kiss is led by husband and wife duo Nick and Niki White. She sings lead while he plucks his upright bass. Don’t let that fool you, however, Whiskey Kiss will creep up on ya and plant a fat kisser right to the cheek! With Jason Kay on the drums, Joel Dark on guitar and Bruce Legge on trumpet, Whiskey Kiss mixes in calypso and swing into their more traditional rockabilly sound to form a groove you just have to shake and shimmy to. Click here to find out where to see and hear Whiskey Kiss!


Pat Roberts and the Heymakers

Lonesome and  Blue

Pat Roberts keeps it traditional and I like that. No bull or pretension here, just honest songs. With Paul Thomas on upright bass and Ed Michaels on the drums, Pat Roberts gracefully lays his fine guitar work and crooning vocal style over a solid marble rhythm section. The Heymakers latest album, 2011’s Lonesome and Blue, hearkens back to an earlier sound in rockabilly. Don’t expect boombastic, over-the-top antics here. Instead, you can expect one ‘helluva’ record that will receive constant plays. At least, it certainly does with me. Make sure to catch Pat Roberts and the Heymakers live at one of their many  upcoming shows around town! Plus, the group put out one of our favorite covers to date. Check out their video for “Creep” down below!

Pat Roberts and the Heymakers
covering Radiohead’s Creep

Craftpop

Okay, so we all know River Jones is a pretty happening guy. I mean, he has his own label, his own agency,  he’s part of the Craftpop collective for world domination PR and Artist Development, and he still had time to mix and master the new North Dakota album. Just this month Craftpop released a free digital mixtape from some bands soon to be on the up-and-up! It’s a great (free) way to learn about new artists out there.

Acorn Bcorn from Tucson

I’m part of the mix tape generation so I have a special place in my heart for a well-made (free) compilation. And, at 18 (free) tracks, the CRAFTPOPMIX packs in the indie music good times with its friendly folk and experimental pop. I was able to discover some new acts including Tucson’s dissonant rocknroll duo Acorn Bcorn who made my “must see” list in only one track.

A few bands from River’s label made appearances on the mix as well including Bike Thief, Alameda, and Les Rav – honorary Zonies by our count as their on one of our labels. Get your (free) copy today right here!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!AZ MUSIC VIDEOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tigerface – “Run Right Now”
Jazz and The GIANT feat. E Batt – “Fly Out”
Dylan Pratt feat. Kristina Moore – “Creature on the Sill” (live)
FROGEE – “Fragments Of Yesterday”
Virulent – “The Great Destroyer”

Sharing the Love – Arizona Music Blogs

Sure, we like to think we’re everyone’s favorite music and arts blog in the Zona (eh?) but, really, we know there is way too much awesomeness happening right here, right now, for anyone to cover all the angles. That is why we need a network of local press and YabYum is proud to be part of that web. We’re all part of the same movement – to make Arizona a haven for artists. I feel terrible when a great album comes our way and we don’t have the hands on deck to see that it gets the attention it warrants. Then there’s a great sigh of relief when I know that Sounds Around Town or The Spec provided coverage. Only on the occasion when I’m ready to publish a piece and find out that Mitchell Hillman beat me to the punch by a matter of minutes (okay, hours) do you hear me grumble ever so slightly. I (always) immediately retract my displeasure in remembering how grateful I am to be part of this vibrant scene during such a transformative time, knowing there is enough love and mutual support to go around.
Here are some of our local favs for music/art coverage around our desert state.
For more blogs/zines, check out our AZ Blog Directory.
If you’re part of the AZ music scene and you haven’t run across Mitchell Hillman’s name, you might be going about this all wrong. I’ve always felt a certain kindredness to Mitchell because we’re both writers who love music, not musicians or critics. Just here for the love of the game, so to speak.  Sounds Around Town is Hillman’s chosen forum when not writing for Java Mag.
Tempe Starving Artist and their man-behind-the-mag Robbie Pfeffer are more of a community than a publication. I’m also a big fan of the Tempe Starving Artist shows that happen all over the Valley, from their mainstay at Tempe’s Long Wongs to house parties wherevs, even extending beyond our dusty borders to split showcases with Burger Records out of California. No matter the locale, TSA promises worthy acts on their bills.
When Spike Brendle (PALMS, Sister Cities) and Nicole Parasida launched Echo Cloud in December 2011, their goal was to showcase Arizona’s “extraordinary talent pool on a broader scale.” We enjoy regular features like “The Week In Local” and “Freeload Friday”. Plus, they also started the Echo Cloud Musicians Network on Facebook, a great way for musicians to connect with one another.
Started in 2011 by Alexis Gretscher and Dee Wallace, The Spec offers such delights as the “What I Learned on Bandcamp” feature as well as “Mix”, a collection of songs for your listening pleasure based on varying topics.  
When it comes to visual art in the Valley, I doubt there are few more knowledgeable than Daniel Mills, the force behind Phoenix Taco. Gallery showings, artist spotlights, and the good old-fashioned brick & stucco impromptu muralists that beautify our city streets – the Taco has it all. If I had a dollar for every time I thought, “Damn, wish we covered that,” I could probably afford to hire Daniel full time. Maybe.

4 Albums to Get Excited About

North Dakota

Pat Waggy

My crush on North Dakota has gone way past the hearts-on-my-notebook phase. They are everything feisty and fresh; two qualities sorely lacking in too much art these days. When Michelle Blades, one member of the North Dakota trinity that also includes Mo Neuharth and Emily Hobeheidar, migrated across the Atlantic I feared the worst. Then, the rumors of a full-length album began to assuage my concerns. And now it’s almost here! The band just dropped the first single,  “Hans“, from their upcoming full length (also available on vinyl) which should be out sometime next week!!

Vial of Sound

Substance Organique Volatile 

I don’t know what has us more excited: the impending release of the Vial of Sound EP or the release show itself. The EP promos the group has been putting out (see here) offer just the tiniest taste of what’s to come… throbbing, experimental modernity brought to life using vintage analog synthesizers. The release is set for April 13th at the Crescent Ballroom with so many of the Valley’s most cutting-edge music acts sharing the bill it is a show that cannot be missed. Check out the lineup and R.S.V.P here!

Jacob Acosta

Chants of Diplomacy

With the physical release still weeks away, fans of Jacob Acosta can stream Chants of Diplomacy online before it becomes available in a take-home version. Both uplifting and well-rooted Americana, the official release is slated for April 20th at Plush in Tucson. But fear not Phoenix fans. If you can’t make the drive, Acosta has some extensive touring plans for the summer months ahead. Your chance will come. In the meantime, enjoy listening here.

Jeff Gonzales

The Lights Just Went Out…

The unassuming, earthy folk music of Jeff Gonzales has a western sensibility and all the rustic charm that goes along with it. Some might say I’ve already been enjoying the early tracks available from the forthcoming album, eagerly anticipating the April 29th release. Others might say I’ve obsessively listened to “Trickster” (and the other songs) with an unhealthy fervor. Whatever. Take the songs for a spin and you’ll do the same. Jeff is joined by Matt Banister, Aaron Ott, and Shane Kennedy for his studio solo debut. Check out the early tracks here and pre-order the full album!

Writer’s Writing…

Arizona is on its way to being a hub for the arts. If you’re one of the people getting out to shows, attending local festivals and events, you know, moving and shaking your way around the Valley, chances are you already are aware of the changes a’brewing. If you’re still unclear, you should be reading us with a bit more regularity and maybe, just maybe, hopping off the couch with a bit more frequency.

Well, we know music and visual arts are on the rise but how does Arizona stack up when it comes to literary endeavors? Our preliminary surveillance revealed some exciting things underway. From publishing houses/bookstores like Lawn Gnome and the Poisoned Pen Press to the bloggers looking to carve out a readership in the electronic age, Arizona writers are on the rise. Below we’ve included some links to writing projects and writer’s blogs based out of the AZ. We’ll have more for  your viewing pleasure when we unveil our new, improved AZ blog directory here shortly (hopefully, very shortly). For more on local writing talent, check out the Arizona Authors Association.

Trevor Denton of Sun Ghost fame branches out from his musical endeavors with a new look look on the post-mass-destruction Orwellian world so many of us in the Apocalypse Generation have come to expect. Start with the first episode of Bastardkind and keep reading!
ASU poetry student with a Chelsea Minnis sense of grrrl style, Real Time Poetry with Natasha keeps it short and fierce (and often funny). 

 Hostile and observant, Write with a Fist offers its readers everything from short vignettes to quick ascertainments to angry grammar lessons for aspiring writers.
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Author of two books and blogger at Randomness and Lunacy, Jenn Flynn-Shon runs the gamut of creative writing from nonfiction to poetry and then some.

For more AZ blogs check out our new & improved BLOG DIRECTORY!!

3 New Albums to Check Out

Stellacutta

STELLACUTTA

Stellacutta’s eponymous debut album caught me off guard. “What am I listening to exactly?” Something I still haven’t been able to pigeon hole after weeks of listening. Stellacutta’s album is tagged with “adventure” and that’s what exactly what you get: a musical adventure blurring genres, styles, and eras, seamlessly.  It took three years to bring the album STELLACUTTA to fruition. A worthy labor. Make sure to catch their album release at the Crescent Ballroom on March 31st with FFoYA, Steff Koeppen, and The Hill in Mind. Listen to Stellacutta here.

Muscle
Can music flex? When I listen to Muscle I certainly think it can. At one moment tight and constricted, the next loosed and relaxed. Wicked 90’s grrl pop a la Juliana Hatfield full of kittenish punk mingles with the modern movement toward disembodied, ethereal sounds. From the playful but gritty pop of “Most Compatible Sign” to the murkier “Lesbians”, the band’s self-titled November release should be listened too, loud and often. And why not pick up a Muscle Sack? “Complete with standard Muscle patch, Muscle sticker, Muscle bracelet, and Muscle matchbook all handmade by… Muscle.” Pick up yours here.

The Cold Desert

Woman & God

The Cold Desert definitely has its own thing going on. Just when you think you have them pegged down, the next song from Woman & God comes on and your immediately thrown off track in the best of ways. The Cold Desert is another perfect example of a Valley band breaking the confines of genre. Roots rocknroll fuses to orchestral pop while offering lyrics you can sink down into. Feel like some mandolin/banjo fueled Americana? Sure. How about some distorted thrash, foot-poundin’ rocknroll? That’s here too. Traverse the Cold Desert here.

Show Picks of the Week!

Sure, you could go to the McDowell Mountain Music Festival this week. That would be awesome. Or, you could check out some of the other rad shows going on around town at a much more recession-friendly price. You’re call. Just go somewhere.

It’s getting hot outside, but don’t panic! I suggest an upstate breather.
Doctor Bones and Sun Ghost, two YabYum award winners, are heading to Flag for the weekend!
Saddles & Avery open for Long Beach’s Pebaluna!! 
Roller Derby!!
This line-up just might be the best line-up this week.
And a house show?!

TUSK?!!
I’m there.

New Electric Sounds to Magnify Your Mind Melon

FROGEE

Press Play

For someone like me, the first time you hear Press Play by Phoenix’s FROGEE, you’re hooked. Dubstep+House+Party Music=Success. Synth, wobble and roll baby! Lot’s of oscillations happening on this album. After opening with two all out rockers, “Can’t Control It” and “Press Play,” FROGEE gets serious with “Slender,” a minored key trance number. The action picks back up again with “The Fall of Easter Island,” while  “Fragments of Yesterday” drifts you off and into the ether. Go here and press play.

Balance of Opposites
Chris “The GIANT” Capone and Robert “Jazz” Tyner combine hiphop and jazz in the most poignant of ways. There’s more though. After listening to Balance of Opposites, you can’t help but notice the pop and indie undertones of their music. These boys got big plans, that’s evident. They’re one part in an emerging Tempe hiphop scene that is getting ever more exciting to watch. With the release of their album on Christmas Day of last year, do yourself a favor and check out their album here. You can even download it for free, a little present just for you. 

Filardo

Falling Up

Are you a fan of Brian Wilson or the Dirty Projectors? Are you looking for something new? Then may I proudly suggest to you Falling Up, Filardo’s latest release. Although he may currently reside in Los Angeles, Falling Up was written, recorded and mastered right here in Arizona. Quite honestly, there are too many instruments and sounds to count on this album, all delivered by Filardo himself. From the sunshine pop of “The Shed Months” polka-like romp to the minimal keyboards in “I’m Over Breaking Hearts,” Filardo takes you on a musical journey that covers all spectra. Listen here.

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by Mark Anderson

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