Eric Cox Answers the YabYum Seven

Photo by jasonhilldesign.com
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the name of Eric Cox, you’ve probably seen his work. “Welcome to Arizona” and “Wicked Witch of the Southwest”, Eric’s shared perspective on Arizona’s own Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer respectively, were quite a splash as part of “The Joe and Jan Show” at R. Pela Contemporary Art last March. Far from his satirical take on public figures however, Eric’s versatility as an artist extends beyond style and dimension. And he still took time out of his schedule to answer our YabYum Seven.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

You don’t know who I am? I’ve always wanted to say that with a silly accent. My name is Eric Cox and I am a visual artist based in downtown Phoenix. My works dance all over the place ranging from large scale nude paintings to silly portraits of Sheriff Joe.

“Sheriff JoeZo”

2. How did you get your start?

I’m pretty sure it all started with crayons.

3. What inspires you? 

I really hate how vague this question is. It would be better to ask what inspires the Vaginas you make or why do you wear funny hats.

At the moment, I am inspired by the reflection of the poor choices I’ve made from my career to relationships. Perhaps purging some of negativity into the fine art world will allow me to continue to poke fun at myself (insert ridiculous facial hair [joke] here).

4. What do you like about AZ? 

A great deal of the work I create utilizes the dry heat and blistering Arizona sun. Many of my creations would not be possible without 110 degree temperatures. Basically, Arizona is my giant kiln.


“Electrolux”




5. Where can we see your work?

I am represented by 423 West Gallery in Los Angeles, WAAS Gallery in Dallas, and Art One Gallery in Scottsdale. You may have just missed my “Sheriff JoeZo” painting at R. Pela Contemporary Art. I am working on a new series involving ‘How to’ nursing books from the 70’s that will be shown at R. Pela Contemporary Art in September.

6. What would you like accomplish before you die? 

There are many projects that I have in mind that I hope to complete before I kick the bucket, but they are top secret.

7. What is your mantra? 

Keep creating no matter what they say, or don’t say.

~
“Wicked Witch of the Southwest” Oil on canvas. 45″ x 51″
“Captures Light and Consumes It”
“Candy Coat”
“If I Had A Grandpa He’d Be An Investment Banker”
“Fat Legs”
“Old Man Phoenix”
“Biological Clock”
“Welcome to Arizona”
For MUCH more pictures and info visit artsycoxy.com

Show Picks of the Week!!

If you aren’t sending us your flyers you might be missing out your chance at being one of our Show Picks of the Week! And we’ll always post the flyers we receive to our Upcoming Shows page. 
So send us your show flyers (AZ shows/bands only please) to yymeditors@gmail.com!
Some really great shows this week. Embrace the heat and go see something!

5 Worthy Causes

Asher Deaver first came to our attention for his work as a musician and artist. Now it seems he’s crossing our path again facing less fortunate circumstances. Asher recently learned he has a brain tumor and must have it removed through conscious surgery. The procedure and its recovery time are both costly ventures. Most of us recognize that the life of a struggling artist rarely comes with hefty paycheck so when one of us faces a difficulty of this magnitude we all have to come together and help one another out. Asher has been joined by many of his friends in the arts community to offer some pretty remarkable gifts to contributors. Please head here to read more about Asher and make a contribution!
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Local hiphop artist Random, a.k.a. Mega Ran, has some big projects in the works this year. The teacher turned full-time artist has a two-week tour of Japan planned plus an ultimate remix LP plus a documentary, but he can use a little help on the funding side. As added incentive, Mega Ran is offering some cool swag for fans including an opportunity to join in all the fun in Japan for a few truly committed backers! Check out the video below and head here to contribute. 

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Rather than get fed up with the lack of contemporary art galleries in Northern Arizona these NAU students decided to do something about it by launching the Ephemeral Studios Gallery in Jerome. The group of student artists transformed a classroom in Jerome’s historic high school turned artspace with the hopes of hosting their own gallery for a couple of months. After the positive community response the Ephemeral artists received, they are hoping to expand their original two-month plan to keep the gallery running for a full year. Read more about the project and contribute here. You can score some original artwork in the process!


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Artist Mary Ciesynski believes in the sanctity of film and part of her project is aimed at showing the maintained relevance of film in the digital era. Head here for more about the project and/or check out the video below. Interested backers can receive a Learn Instant Photography Kit to begin their own instant film adventure. 

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Get Anna Vivette in the Studio

The opera-infused electronica of Anna Vivette found the perfect pairing with internationally acclaimed visual artist Shahrokh Rezvani who provided the cover art for her album Colortura. In order to raise funds for her next studio project, Vivette and Rezvani have paired up once again. Contributors to the project can receive a signed copy of the album or a signed poster. Additionally, Rezvani has offered to contribute a percentage of his fine art and poster sales to Anna Vivette’s next project. Learn more here.

Suggestions for Submitting to Music Publications

Don’t anger music journalists with some faux pas email act.

At this point in our not entirely illustrious career we receive a decent amount of music submissions every week. We try to check out each and every one that comes into us. Well, almost. Occasionally, we’ll just skip right past one and it’s usually because the words “MAJOR ARTIST SUBMISSION” are in the subject line. That’s my pet peeve. That right there, all in caps announcing that a major artist is about drop some heavy shit on my ears right now. There seem to be a couple of hiphop / indie labels who have adopted this approach for some god-unknown reason much to my dismay.

I started to wonder what really gets to other music writers and how this knowledge might benefit bands. I then reached out to some of rad local music journalists for their personal pet peeves and suggestions for bands ready to enter the Submit-To-Press phase of their musical careers. Thanks to Jason Woodbury, Dee Wallace, Nicole Parasida, Troy Farah, and everyone else who took some time to share their suggestions!

Dee Wallace, The Spec
“I think my personal suggestion for all up-and-coming bands is to set up websites and/or social media accounts. It seems like a big “duh,” but a lot of these newer bands do not have websites or social media accounts, or are inactive on the sites and accounts they’ve created.
I think it’s an asset for any artist to have an online presence in 2013. The Internet is this massive network that makes it easy to reach, and interact with, a broader audience. At The Spec, we’re less inclined to cover bands that do not have websites or social media accounts because, as an online publication, we need to be able to link our readers to the artist we’re sharing.” 
Nicole Parasida, EchoCloud
1. They clearly do not even read our blog based on the email they send.
2. I get emails from friends/fans of bands with no links. They should provide all the links – don’t make me work.
3. We have a song of the week, video of the week, we cover events, host events. Often people submit things to us with no specific purpose. I prefer them tell me what they want.
4. Constantly sending me correspondence either via email, Facebook or both.
5. Posting their music on my personal Facebook page or contacting me through Facebook. There is a reason my contact info is all over echo cloud, I can’t track these things through Facebook. Besides that I am a real person outside of EchoCloud so I’d prefer people not spam my personal page. This also goes for excessive tagging on Facebook for promotions. If we are friendly with each other (meaning we are on first name basis face to face) that’s one thing but if I barely know you it’s probably not cool to tag me on Facebook for your band promo stuff.
6. General lack of professionalism. 
7. My biggest pet peeve is when people do not share our posts that we write about them. It takes 2 seconds to share and it makes a big difference in terms of our reach and people going to our site. It kills me when people ask us to post their content and do not show the least little bit of reciprocity. It’s rude and certainly doesn’t make me care about ever posting about them again. We don’t get paid to do this, the least you could do is share it.
Don’t: Ever write “[insert classic band] had a lovechild with [insert contemporary band] and that child grew up and jammed with [insert weird/offbeat musical reference here]” in your bio. In fact, don’t include any variation of this formula, no matter how funny or charming. Don’t ever say “lovechild” in a press release.

But especially don’t: Call your band “delicious” or any word you might use to describe food.

But most of all don’t: Say “eargasm.” Ever. It’s never been cool to say “eargasm” and it never will be.

Do: Include names of bands you’ve toured with, played shows with, or have legitimate connections with.

Don’t: Include bands that no one’s ever heard of though. Because duh.

Do: Include something really condescending like “I know your blog doesn’t normally cover stuff as awesome as the music we make, but we thought we’d toss it at you in case you feel like pulling your head out of your ass and getting REAL down.”
But only if: Your band is really good. Like, the best band, and you like confrontation.

Don’t: Send a physical CD. Send a download link. Make a Bandcamp site with art, that way you don’t have to sacrifice the graphic element of your aesthetic.
Unless, of course: You’re reasonably certain that the person you’re sending a physical item to will be really into it. Maybe they told you they wanted it. In that case, by all means, send a cool thing. Maybe a cassette if you know they have a tape deck. Vinyl, if that’s what they’re into. But do your best to make sure that your item (and by extension, the money you spent making it) isn’t going to end up in a big pile of stuff that will have to be given to Goodwill when that writer moves.

Do: Be personable. But don’t kiss anyone’s butt.

Don’t: Ever be bothered by what a critic says about you, unless you agree with what they said. Don’t decide whether you agree or disagree right away. Think about it a little. Or don’t. Go with your gut on this one.

Eargasm? Really? Pass.

Do: Send a polite follow-up email reminding someone that you sent them something. Wait a minute to do it though, and remember that they get a lot of stuff. Be persistent but don’t nag. I can’t explain exactly how to do this, but you know what I mean, right?

Don’t: Take it personally if a person doesn’t want to write about your band. Keep being the band you want to be. If you are a good band, there’s a writer out there into what you do. Don’t be upset that the lady or guy writing about about noise music or EDM or free jazz doesn’t want to write about [your] acoustic reggae band or hardcore outfit.

Do: Read the site/publication/blog that you’re sending your stuff to. Read it real hard.

Don’t: Ask someone to do you a “favor” and write about you. That’s insulting. To the writer, sure, but mostly to you, the person making some art. The Stooges didn’t ask you to “do them a favor” and lose your shit to “Funhouse.” No one ever tossed on D’Angelo’s “Voodoo” as a “favor” to D’Angelo. They put it on because they were going to make the moves on a special someone. John and Alice Coltrane didn’t need someone to do them a “favor” when they set out to touch the face of God through their art.
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t treat your art like something that requires a “favor” to be noticed. That’s gross. Have stupid, ridiculous, probably-unfounded-or-justified belief in what you do. If you don’t have that feeling in your gut about your songs, tear them down and start over. If your art can be deterred by someone sending you an email that says “no thanks, not my thing,” your art is lacking. It’s not that person’s job to like your songs. It’s your job.

Do: Have fun. It’s music, you know?

So there’s a few do’s and don’ts. Feel free to disregard any one of these entirely, dear reader, or change a “do” to a “don’t.” They’re entirely subjective, and I will most likely change my mind about some of them/all of them later. Except that thing about “eargasms.” I’ll never change my mind about that.

Troy Farah, New Times
My biggest pet peeve is all the hipster fools calling this thing in Phoenix a “scene.” All we are is a bunch of young adults that enjoy music. It’s not a movement — it’s a bunch of the same people who grew up together or played in bands together or are neighbors or screwed each other or owe someone a favor or have enough money from daddy to afford a turntable or whatever. It’s all very Möbius and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s better to realize that being part of a “scene” is the opposite of cool. In a scene, you have cliques and a certain standard to appeal to. My favorite artists are the ones that work hard at their output, don’t prescribe to the self-serving identity of the rest of the city and don’t take this whole “Phoenix is gonna be the next coolest city” thing seriously. The people that show love and support to their neighbors without having to draw lines in the sand or identify with something or label something — those are the people that matter to me.
Oh, and my biggest pet peeve in terms of writing about it is when people think I should write about their band just because I know them. It’s a little more complicated than that, buddy.
Us again… Um, YabYum

Well,  hopefully that clears some things up and offers everyone a little insight into the realm of press letters. Thank you again to everyone who took some time out of their busy music-writing schedule to send us their input. And, of course, if you’re a musician looking to submit your album, send it to us here: yymeditors@gmail.com. Just please, please don’t put “MAJOR ARTIST” in the subject line or I won’t read it. 
Images Source

Anthony Fama: the Man, the Music, the Mayhem

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I waited for Anthony Fama to arrive for our interview over coffee. To begin with, I guess I expected him to be late. Musicians usually are. I often start most interviews accepting excuses and/or apologies while hoping the artist proves charismatic enough to overcome my initial writerly annoyance. My encounters with Fama have been pretty much only been as a witness to his onstage performances with his former band Doctor Bones. In my experience, an outlandish onstage persona often denotes a brooding or self-absorbed offstage reality. And self-absorbed often means late. Then, right on time, Fama arrives proving my theories wrong for the first time that morning.

Anthony Fama originated in New York but moved to the Valley when he was thirteen. It was in Tucson that he really got a taste for performing, working briefly with a punk band and logging eight years with an improv comedy troupe. Heartbreak led him to a new start in California where Fama “tried to be normal” which I took to mean working a normal day job without some artistic vehicle at the center of daily life before deciding that definitely was not his path and returning to Arizona.

photo by Bill Goodman

Anthony started making the rounds as a musician, playing open mics and performing with his brother Keith. It was at an open mic that Anthony was first approached by Mike Vigil and Jess Pruit who had the concept for a band.

And, that brings us to the Doctor Bones era. Fama worked with the band for a couple of years before an unexpected (for Fama and for fans) breakup on the singer’s birthday. I know I was a little dismayed at the sudden rift in Doctor Bones but since then we’ve seen the remnants of that division move forward musically in new directions. And no one seems to be talking smack. Anthony himself admitted that he can be a little “difficult” in his relationships, musical and otherwise.

I was not alone in my excitement to hear the early recordings of Anthony Fama all by his lonesome.  Fama’s voice has a Robert Smith / Ian Curtis hue that imbues his music with an inviting darkness. Add to that his stripped down, emotive lyrics and you have the making for some memorable songs.

When it comes to character, there’s a grandiosity that allows certain people to believe they have the power to invoke a change in others. These are the people who occasionally enact actual change. Anthony Fama is one such person: willing to make something real or go down trying.

Over the course of our conversation one thing definitely came across. He wants his art to effect people directly, to impact them, and maybe even change them. He wants to remove the division that musicians erect between the self and the performer. According to Fama, the defining quality of our generation is apathy (hey hipsters). Sounds pretty accurate. His goal is directly confrontational with this pervasive tendency toward disaffection. Fama is an artist that values communication and emotional identity, especially in the face of a dramatically changing social and political environment, the age of the internet and separation.

Anthony Fama isn’t afraid to tackle the darker subjects. He knows the many names of depression, poverty, and heartbreak and still believes alienation can be overcome. That alone is admirable in the post-human world.

Onstage, he makes his audience face the things they are taught to look away from. Things like suffering and sexuality. It’s all part and parcel of aggressive art-making. Although his future plans for performing don’t include the clothing removal escapades we saw with Doctor Bones, I’m sure audiences will always find an engaging performance with Anthony Fama whenever he takes the stage.

For now, Fama plans on taking some time to develop his musicianship and work on his already impressive arsenal of songs. He’s also working on being more of a grown-up, something many of us  as “eternal kids” have sought to avoid. Anthony is quick to remind me that the goal is to grow while maintaining our childlike wonder.

Well, this past week I got to spend some time being pleasantly surprised by a morning in the company of a punctual musician waxing philosophical about a generation “collectively self-destroying” and the artist’s power to save it. Or, at least, fill our end days with beauty. I can’t wait to hear what comes out of Anthony Fama – the solo project – in the future.

5 Super Fresh Albums

Albums are good. Bands make good albums….


Blanche Beach

Blanche Beach

Describing the sound of Blanche Beach has become an exercise in contraction; it’s sorta pop and it’s sorta punk but it’s definitely not pop-punk. It’s more rocknroll than anything and occasionally that rock becomes grinding and aggressive like on the track “Strip Mall”. At other times, the music becomes more innocent and lighthearted like on “Science Museum”. Fuzzy guitars and half-shouted lyrics give the recording a lo-fi, house party feel that warms the cockles of my heart. Add to that straight-forward lyrics that are charmingly unpretentious and I’m sold. The trio that comprises Blanche Beach (Isaac Hensleigh, Nathan Leach and  Tristan Jemsek) wrangles a rather illustrious list of local acts when listing the band members’ other musical projects: Dogbreth, Midnight Vitals, Diners, the Tremulants, and it just goes on from there. However, Blanche Beach might gain favor over the bunch in time. I’m decidedly on board with this album. Listen here.

Instructions

Nylon Letdown

This four piece band out of Phoenix has actually been making rounds on the Valley scene for a little while now with album releases dating back to 2011, but it seems as if their most recent release Nylon Letdown has really brought the band into their own. The band has joined the ranks of the newly formed Rubber Brother Records and launched their latest as part of the 5 album release that launched the label last weekend at the Trunk Space (more on that here). The EP opens with “Exiting Tharsis”, an instrumental track that is both driving and dreamy over the course of its very short life before halting abruptly to allow the powerful intro of “Fillmore” to charge in. “Flight Home” serves as a mellow transitory track before the finale “Jeff Gordon”. Nylon Letdown is both halting and fluid, its songs thoughtfully constructed. Another step forward from a promising band. Take a listen here.

Scattered Melodies

A Collective Agreement

Drummer Josh Montag and bassist Jake Johnston, better known as Scattered Melodies, might be better categorized as a visionary team rather than a traditional band. For each track on their album, the drum and bass duo invited different local musicians to participate in the song’s creation. The result is a fluid collection of funky, reggae-tinged rocknroll tracks; each song adding its own color to the atmosphere. Scattered Melodies introduced me to some new names like Tania Warfield and Eric Stewart of Catfish Mustache. I also got to hear some artists  I already dig, like Anamieke Quinn and Danny Torgensen,  in a different platform. In addition to the varied and lively vocals, the album has some truly awesome jam outs which are the boon of a dynamic rhythm section. A couple of the tracks from the album are available for your listening pleasure here. Hopefully, we’ll see the rest of the album available on the interwebs before long for those of you who missed the album release show last Friday (suckers).

Wolvves

Live Forever

Arrogant, affronting, apathetic, and young. The same reasons I listed for loving the tape I picked up at the Rubber Brother Records launch on Friday another staffer listed for hating the album. Garage indie-rock infused with hip hop. The lyrics are alive and real. Just listen to “Dance” and you’ll understand what I’m saying. That tendency coupled with the unrefined vocal talents of Aydin, also known as Aydin the Immortal, invites the Stephen Malkmus reference that isn’t coming. I’d be more apt to say that Wolvves reminds me of the Strokes: lo-fi and high style. And, the lyrics are arrogant, affronting, apathetic, young and amazing. Raw and totally in the now. No surprise the unofficial mayor of Phoenix poetry Aaron Johnson is listed as the band’s manager. Like Wolvves or not, they’re going to make some fucking art. The first EP from the band was released on tape Friday night. If you missed it, you can still check out their single here. We’ll stay posted for the band’s digital release.

Foxchildren

I Want You to Find Happiness and Never Come Back 

Foxchildren makes mellow electro-pop with a nod towards goth and the 1980s. “Boy Culture” kicks off the EP and sets a pensive pace more sway-able than dance-able. The intro gets long and uncomfortable on “Disconnect”, but once you’ve made your way through, the song proves worth the wait. The EP’s first single, “Freedom”, is definitely my favorite track on the EP I Want You to Find Happiness and Never Come Back. The song epitomizes Foxchildren’s brooding, ambient sound. I must warn you: the song intros and interludes become increasingly cumbersome on repeated listenings. When you strip away the unnecessary ornamentation you can hear the real potential of Foxchildren. I suggest you check out the Foxchildren’s EP here.

Matt Micheletti Answers the YabYum Seven

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Matt Micheletti. I am a Sketch and Stand-Up Comedy performer.

2. How did you get your start?

I got my start in sketch comedy with First Friday Night Live at the Firehouse Gallery in December 2011. I started doing stand-up comedy at Firestage at Lawn Gnome Publishing in February 2012.

3. What inspires you?

Intelligent thinking that creates a dialogue. Either personally or in a group setting. As a stand-up performer I find this to be the most rewarding part of what I do. Making people laugh is a rewarding feeling, but truly reaching someone is inspiring to me.

4. What do you like about Arizona?

I honestly love the weather here. Being able to be outdoors year round is awesome. Even in the summer with my pasty ginger skin.

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

I perform stand-up comedy all over the valley multiple nights a week. Some of the places I’ve performed locally include: Stand Up Live, Stand Up Scottsdale, The Torch Theatre, ASU, The Ice House Tavern, Monkey Pants, The Hidden House, Copper Blues and too many places within Roosevelt Row to mention! Starting this fall, First Friday Night Live is going into production again and I am very excited about that. After FFNL I was a cast member with Gary’s Couch.

6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I have had two goals ever since I’ve had a bucket list: to summit the tallest point in all 50 states and to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Outside of that, I’d like to do stand-up comedy in Los Angeles or New York City when the time is right.

7. What’s your mantra?

“When the going gets weird. The weird turn pro.”

~

Catch Matt perform at Comedy on Fire III on Friday June 28th!

MORE AZ VIDEOS

This week we have an amazing new video from Bogan Via plus the new collaborative effort between Running Wild Films and the lovelost as well as the first video from Anthony Fama’s solo endeavors.

Bogan Via
“Kanye”

Vial of Sound
“A Lifetime Passed”

The lovelost
“Ready to Hear You”

“Walls”

“It’s ‘Appening”