ARIZONA METAL

:TWiNGiANT:

Sin Nombre

Translating to literally “Without Name” or “Nameless,” Sin Nombre, the new EP from :TWiNGiANT: really does have difficulty naming it’s brand of “loud-as-shit, heavy music.” With such  influences as Mastodon vocally (lead singer/bassist Jarrod rips his bass while unleashing a mean growl) and even Tool musically (drummer Jeff seems to draw from more worldly influences than some metal bands), :TWiNGiANT: stays true to their sludge metal roots. Add to that both Dave and Nikos on both lead and rhythm guitar and you got the makings for some rockin’ shit! Check out :TWiNGiANT: and a ton of other AZ acts when they perform as part of the “Grandest Night of The Season; The Benefit of Mr. Dan Somers” happening August 24th at the Rogue!

Take Over and Destroy

Endless Night

When I first heard Endless Night I was sifting through a large collection of metal albums hailing from all sorts of Arizona bands. I was also cleaning. You know: doing dishes, vacuuming, straightening up. Endless Night got me moving like no other. It’s fuckin’ rad. Subsequent listening has evoked multiple fists in the air, shouting along with the gang vocals on “Howling House” and general nonstop head-banging. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys even the slightest bit of metal to those who thrive on it. Plus, it’s something you don’t often here from Mr. Bob Hoag and his Flying Blanket Studio!

Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse

A little life lesson that I’ve learned throughout my years: a band is only as good as its drummer. Always keep that in mind, my young padawans. Listening to Nathan Bigelow’s drums during “Cometoid” at the start of Solar Impulse’s self-titled, debut album is earth shattering. I had to look these guys up to make sure it wasn’t a programmed beat back there! Chase Hansel (guitar), John Brady (bass), Matt Hobart (vocals) and Will Dixon (guitar) do a helluva’ job keeping Solar Impulse the true death of all metal. Sweeping, epic guitars carry the listener over a solid, stoic deathbed of a rhythm section. “Drone Contrivance”, “Temporal Abolition”, and “God Particle” top my list of favorites. And what stellar album art done by Colin Marks & Erik Weir! Catch Solar Impulse tonight at Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe!

ColumnIII

The Negation of Life

“Heavy and weird.” That’s the answer to the question, “What does ColumnIII sound like?” To members Alexander(guitar), Ian(vocals), Kazdin(bass), and Josh(drums), trying to pick a genre is a joke. You might as well just call them “noise.” They do. The Negation of Life certainly demonstrates this. From the powerful drone of opener “Rot,” through the succumbing beauty of “Traverse,”  into the erupting finale “Zero,” The Negation of Life certainly does its best not to define itself. For those that need an answer, think along the lines of Isis. This is definitely post-metal and it definitely kicks ass. Catch ColumnIII perform with Deafears, Krampus, and Ruptures at The Spot in Tempe on August 17th.

Behind Closed Doors: Doctor Bones

by Frank Ippolito


Every band has a different process when it comes to rehearsing, and I’m just nosy enough to ask.

When Yab Yum was exclusively invited to sit-in on a Doctor Bones rehearsal, I jumped at the chance. After all, their fans have been waiting for something new from this Valley favorite for months now and, let me tell you, something new is definitely coming.

Starting over for any band is hard. Starting over with a new singer, a relatively new guitar player, and shit-canning 10 songs because, well, it’s a long story, and having a recording session date looming, that’s almost impossible. But regardless of the challenges, Mike Vigil, Jess Pruitt, Hannah Bones(really), Chad Stark, and Zach E West aka Doctor Bones, are headed full steam into the studio.

“A lot of people don’t know this but we had this recording session scheduled before all this shit happened,” said Jess, bass player for the band.

“We had ten songs written but we couldn’t record them,” added Mike, DB’s drummer, “but then we met Zach, (new lead singer and guitarist), and started writing and rehearsing like three or four times a week, and one night I looked at the 5 of us and asked, “Can we write 5 songs and be ready to record by July 26th? Can we do this?”

The answer, “Hell ya we can do this.”

Before we get rolling, the band did want to get out the word that they have started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the new EP, The Secrets of El Cortez – a record of heartbreak, struggle and hope. You can find the link at the bottom of the article.

Now onto the songs. Kinda.

They say that you should practice like you play. And I can definitely say these cats follow this rule with gusto. Serious gusto. In fact, I couldn’t really get a good photo of Jess, due to his energetic playing style, a problem the band said that wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Maybe the vibe was buoyed by the anticipation of the up-coming recording session, but the energy was off
the charts. It just didn’t seem to matter if there was only one person in the room listening or if they were playing to a packed house.

But alas, bound by a double secret handshake, I can’t divulge exactly what the new songs sound like but I can tell you:

• The songs are definitive Doctor Bones, but, in my opinion, better than their previous disc. The spontaneity is still there, if not more – spurred on by Vigil’s drums and Pruitt’s bass, but the structure is much more tight and the guitar and sythn hooks are stupidly catchy.

• Even though Zach and Hannah have only been working together for a very short time, their voices perfectly compliment one another.

• The songs are so new that Mike said, “Let’s do this one.” and started to drum, Chad said, “No, not that one, the other one.” “OK.” he replied, and started another riff. “Yeh, that one,” Chad replied in the affirmative.

• They did break into a couple a very nice grooves in between songs, (which I found out is customary), and sometimes play the theme from, “Home Improvement” that Chad says they have perfected

• In between songs, the band had a discussion about why musicians always use sex as an analogy when it comes to playing music together, but Chad and Hannah wanted to change that to either: “Like eating chocolate cake and being full after one bite.” – Chad, or “It’s like going to Starbucks, knowing it will be good, but it will be the same.” – Hannah.

• Even though each song was very good and I mean very good, I know which one is going to end their set. I mentioned that to the band and they could neither confirm or deny it – they are very secretive. But I still know.

• They do have a show scheduled but, yes, it’s secret.

• I received a pair of ear plugs – and for some reason they didn’t want them back. Weird, right?

Now the questions:

Frank Ippolito: Has Zach been the victim of any “new guy” hazing pranks?

DB: No, not yet, but we did let him know about the “no pants” rule in the vocal booth.

FI: OK, so who’s in charge of this shindig?

DB: Depends on what moment it is.

FI: So what’s the rehearsal process like? Most bands do current then new?

Hannah: Did you say, “Nude”?

Jess: It’s a blend, you know, we’ve been rehearsing these new songs like, three four times a week  – but usually someone brings in a hook or an idea and play it, until it takes shape, structure.

FI: Are there any rehearsal rituals?

Hannah: No, not really. We pretty much get together and go at it as hard as we can and then me and Chad make puppy dog faces at each other and say, “Can we have a smoke?”

Mike: When we were writing we said only one cigarette break or like no cigarettes for at least an hour and half.

DB: It lasted like one day.

<Laughter>

FI: What’s next after you’re through this recording process?

Mike: I just want to get out and play it’s been a long time.

Jess: We don’t really worry about that.

Mike: For me personally, I’m excited with the current form of the band. We have Zach, he plays guitar, plays keyboards, has a great voice and Hannah and Zach are developing a great chemistry singing together. And Chad joined after the last cd, and he’s added a ton.

Hannah: Well, Mike and Jess have been together for like a gajillion years, and it’s nice to finally have a solid line-up.

Finally, if the songs sound as great in the studio as they did in practice, I can’t wait to hear the recording. Oh yeah, I know when their show is so I got that going for me.

Find Doctor Bones here.

Their Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

Behind Closed Doors: Doctor Bones

by Frank Ippolito


Every band has a different process when it comes to rehearsing, and I’m just nosy enough to ask.

When Yab Yum was exclusively invited to sit-in on a Doctor Bones rehearsal, I jumped at the chance. After all, their fans have been waiting for something new from this Valley favorite for months now and, let me tell you, something new is definitely coming.

Starting over for any band is hard. Starting over with a new singer, a relatively new guitar player, and shit-canning 10 songs because, well, it’s a long story, and having a recording session date looming, that’s almost impossible. But regardless of the challenges, Mike Vigil, Jess Pruitt, Hannah Bones(really), Chad Stark, and Zach E West aka Doctor Bones, are headed full steam into the studio.

“A lot of people don’t know this but we had this recording session scheduled before all this shit happened,” said Jess, bass player for the band.

“We had ten songs written but we couldn’t record them,” added Mike, DB’s drummer, “but then we met Zach, (new lead singer and guitarist), and started writing and rehearsing like three or four times a week, and one night I looked at the 5 of us and asked, “Can we write 5 songs and be ready to record by July 26th? Can we do this?”

The answer, “Hell ya we can do this.”

Before we get rolling, the band did want to get out the word that they have started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the new EP, The Secrets of El Cortez – a record of heartbreak, struggle and hope. You can find the link at the bottom of the article.

Now onto the songs. Kinda.

They say that you should practice like you play. And I can definitely say these cats follow this rule with gusto. Serious gusto. In fact, I couldn’t really get a good photo of Jess, due to his energetic playing style, a problem the band said that wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Maybe the vibe was buoyed by the anticipation of the up-coming recording session, but the energy was off
the charts. It just didn’t seem to matter if there was only one person in the room listening or if they were playing to a packed house.

But alas, bound by a double secret handshake, I can’t divulge exactly what the new songs sound like but I can tell you:

• The songs are definitive Doctor Bones, but, in my opinion, better than their previous disc. The spontaneity is still there, if not more – spurred on by Vigil’s drums and Pruitt’s bass, but the structure is much more tight and the guitar and sythn hooks are stupidly catchy.

• Even though Zach and Hannah have only been working together for a very short time, their voices perfectly compliment one another.

• The songs are so new that Mike said, “Let’s do this one.” and started to drum, Chad said, “No, not that one, the other one.” “OK.” he replied, and started another riff. “Yeh, that one,” Chad replied in the affirmative.

• They did break into a couple a very nice grooves in between songs, (which I found out is customary), and sometimes play the theme from, “Home Improvement” that Chad says they have perfected

• In between songs, the band had a discussion about why musicians always use sex as an analogy when it comes to playing music together, but Chad and Hannah wanted to change that to either: “Like eating chocolate cake and being full after one bite.” – Chad, or “It’s like going to Starbucks, knowing it will be good, but it will be the same.” – Hannah.

• Even though each song was very good and I mean very good, I know which one is going to end their set. I mentioned that to the band and they could neither confirm or deny it – they are very secretive. But I still know.

• They do have a show scheduled but, yes, it’s secret.

• I received a pair of ear plugs – and for some reason they didn’t want them back. Weird, right?

Now the questions:

Frank Ippolito: Has Zach been the victim of any “new guy” hazing pranks?

DB: No, not yet, but we did let him know about the “no pants” rule in the vocal booth.

FI: OK, so who’s in charge of this shindig?

DB: Depends on what moment it is.

FI: So what’s the rehearsal process like? Most bands do current then new?

Hannah: Did you say, “Nude”?

Jess: It’s a blend, you know, we’ve been rehearsing these new songs like, three four times a week  – but usually someone brings in a hook or an idea and play it, until it takes shape, structure.

FI: Are there any rehearsal rituals?

Hannah: No, not really. We pretty much get together and go at it as hard as we can and then me and Chad make puppy dog faces at each other and say, “Can we have a smoke?”

Mike: When we were writing we said only one cigarette break or like no cigarettes for at least an hour and half.

DB: It lasted like one day.

<Laughter>

FI: What’s next after you’re through this recording process?

Mike: I just want to get out and play it’s been a long time.

Jess: We don’t really worry about that.

Mike: For me personally, I’m excited with the current form of the band. We have Zach, he plays guitar, plays keyboards, has a great voice and Hannah and Zach are developing a great chemistry singing together. And Chad joined after the last cd, and he’s added a ton.

Hannah: Well, Mike and Jess have been together for like a gajillion years, and it’s nice to finally have a solid line-up.

Finally, if the songs sound as great in the studio as they did in practice, I can’t wait to hear the recording. Oh yeah, I know when their show is so I got that going for me.

Find Doctor Bones here.

Their Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

5 Eclectic Albums

Prom Body 


Michael Fay, the man behind Prom Body, recorded Creep the Strange on a 4-track in his bedroom, a lo-fi musical adventure in eleven tracks. The LP opens with “Cream Theater”, establishing a sound both feisty and dissonant with a fun-loving, carefree feel that carries through most of the album. Singsong vocals and reverb-heavy guitar work make for an ideal summertime listen: angsty but spirited. The beats on the album combine live drums and a Casio keyboard drum setting run through loop pedals. Creep the Strange could easily fit in the weird (or nerd) punk movement currently gaining force. Prom Body manages to score the fuzzy garage pop feel the Strokes sought out for Is This It without the financial backing of RCA. Head here to listen to Creep the Strange. Prom Body is also trying to raise funds for a music video. Check out the fundraising page and maybe contribute a little something-something to the cause.

The Thin Bloods

The Death of All My Friends

The Death of All My Friends opens with the gritty “Breakfast for Dinner”, laying out the unique sound that makes The Thin Bloods a band worth hearing. Experimental blues pop? Arthouse punk-tinged rock? Whatever it is, I’m liking what I’m hearing on The Death of All My Friends. A little background on the title of their album… The Thin Bloods were previously known as All My Friends. Instead of a name change, they butchered their former moniker (and sound) and gave birth to their current incarnation with an EP release. In only six tracks they’ve secured my fandom but the path to my heart The Thin Bloods walked was laid early with David Lynch films, 90s grunge, and X, the band not the drug. All appeal to the art lover in me that seeks things made more interesting by being less than pristine, dark even. “Pretty Señoritas” currently holds title as my favorite track but that distinction has already been passed around a couple of times to other songs. The Death of All My Friends made my list of new favorites even though it’s a little past their April release date. Sometimes, we’re slow on the uptake. Better late than never. Listen to the Thin Bloods here.

Related Records (multi-artist compilation)

America’s Dad

Centering on the theme of the American family, America’s Dad is a compilation made available from Related Records featuring a host of Phoenix bands including Father’s Day and Former Friends of Young Americans. From the compilation, I learned about a few new bands I dig like Thee Bohemian Club and Drew Danburry. I was totally surprised by John Thill’s “Dry Year” because he was an artist I had never heard of before but his song stayed with me long after listening to the album. Former Friends of Young Americans’ “Love, Hope, Doubt” is perhaps the most moving piece on America’s Dad and my favorite track but “College Fund” by Father’s Day runs a close second. The compilation does have its strange moments which we’ve come to expect from any Ryan Avery production. Mr. Attom’s Bombs and Fat Girl Sad both achieved that quality: strange. Strange doesn’t have to mean bad, but perhaps less than approachable is appropriate. I definitely suggest checking out America’s Dad with all its references to shopping, mashed potatoes, McDonald’s, TV sets, and parents. Listen here. Related Records will be dropping another compilation on August 28. Some of the early tracks are already available through their Bandcamp page but we’ll keep you posted about the next comp!

Diners

“Always Room” Preview

The contemporary take on bubblegum pop provided by Diners hooked us here at YabYum early on. That’s part of the reason they won our “Best New Band Award” last December. This album preview accompanied Diners on their recent tour with Dogbreth but, hopefully, it portends of a new album for Arizona and the nation. The preview definitely marks a step up from their 2012 album Throw me a Ten.  The recording sounds crisper, the band more cohesive, the songs still as sweet. Kicking things off with “Hangout with You”, a track that matches the youthful romanticism Diners manages to maintain in this cruel world. “Citrus” shows the group stretching their lyrical fingers with its darker reflections cast in otherwise vibrantly upbeat music. “Cool Kids” closes the 4-track album preview; a track somber in comparison to others on the recording but equally captivating. Make sure you check out the “Always Room” Preview here. Diners should be back to playing shows on home turf shortly and we’re excited to hear the new songs live after their road test.

Pants on Fire

Moonshine and Superglue

Winner of our “Best Album to Get Drunk to in a Parking Lot” last year, Prescott’s Pants on Fire has returned with more debauchery. The honest, unrefined folk of Shannon Wheeler and Auguie Henry (also known as Pants on Fire) reminds me of Kimya Dawson but with a stronger nod toward authenticity rather than ironic affectation. The five track EP opens with “Kindergarten Song” which is in no way the lighthearted ditty the title implies. “Bigger than Tampons” walks that fine line between moderately amusing and downright depressing that I’ve come to know and love with Pants on Fire. Moonshine and Superglue dares to test the question: can one be sad while listening to banjo music? I still can’t give you an answer but I did enjoy my time spent in the convoluted emotional pool of the album. “New, New Song” is probably my favorite track, delivering a couple humdingers – “I’m sorry for being sorry, most of my life” – before kicking into high gear for a solid finish to Moonshine and Superglue. Check out Pants on Fire’s latest here.

Darrin Grandmason Answers the YabYum Seven

Remarkably, humans share a lot of DNA with other animals, plants and microorganisms. Primates top the list, but did you know we share 51% of our DNA with the Fruit Fly?

This close relationship was not lost on Darrin Grandmason. Darrin is the Founder and CEO of DNA on a Shirt, and is currently creating the world’s first affordable, wearable genetic art and is using the sales to help save the world’s most endangered species.

Darrin, this “founding father of genetic art” as dubbed by Newsweek Magazine, is taking on the YabYum Seven…

1. Who are you and what do you do? 

Yes, that is a brass knuckles cell phone case. 

My name is Darrin Grandmason and I’m a Genetic Artist.

2. How did you get your start?

I was doing a study for genetics and I swabbed my dog and ran his DNA fingerprint and created the first art piece

3. What inspires you? 

All 33 million forms of life on this planet have one thing in common: DNA. Showing that connection is important to me.

4. What do you like about AZ? 

You don’t have to shovel sunshine in hell.

5. Where can we see your work? 

DNAonashirt.com

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

Run a successful national companion pet chain for Nursing and Hospice facilities. One group needs love and the other one needs to love.

7. What is your mantra?

Everything is a choice.

~

And now, you too can be a part of helping the endangered Cheetah by donating to Darrin’s indiegogo fundraiser here!

Behind Closed Doors: Russian Arms and Optics

Clockwise: Robby (drums), John (bass), Mike (organ/synth), Liz (lead singer) and Felix (guitar)

by Frank Ippolito

Every band has a different process when it comes to rehearsing, and I’m just nosy enough to ask.

For this edition of Behind Closed Doors, I stopped in for a visit with Russian Arms & Optics as they were rehearsing for their stellar show at the Rockbar in Scottsdale last week.

Walking through the hallways of Perfect Timing Studio, where the band rehearses, their unique sound – a mix of pop, rock and electronica, could be heard coming from behind the door of Studio A.

Stepping into the studio, Liz (lead singer), John (bassist), Mike (organ/synths), Robby (drums), and Felix (guitars), sounded as tight as a band could get, even though they told me they were there to get the “kinks” out.

Frank Ippolito: First, a photo, OK?

Liz: We should stand.

<The band members stood except for Robby, the drummer, and Mike, the keyboard player, who was already standing.>

Frank: OK, so who’s in charge of this shindig?

The band, except for John: John.

John: Well, no one is really in charge, uh, OK, I am. But we are all in this together.

Frank: So you’re rehearsing for a show, what does that look like?

John: Well, we mainly get together to rehearse for a show, so we go over the songs to make sure we remember them.

Felix: Because sometimes we forget.

Mike: Yeah, we do.

Frank: Do you just rehearse the songs, or do you rehearse like you’re performing?

Robby: We don’t have dance moves if that’s what you mean.

Liz: We’ve been playing the songs for a while now so just about it’s making sure they sound tight.

Frank: Do you ever rehearse solely on new material?

John: Well, we booked three hours today, and we have a 30-minute set, so we take some time to work on the new stuff.

Felix: But we’re really picky on what we release, so it’s hard to get new stuff out the door.

Frank: Any juicy studio fights you want to share?

John: No, we never fight. We’re all friends from way back, so we have a mutual respect for each other.

Frank: Who here has some rehearsal rituals?

Liz: Me. I am afraid of germs so I bring my own mike.

Felix: I have to cut my fingernails before practice.

John: I need a clean bass.

Robby: I like to snack during practice. I’m a grazer.

Mike: I don’t.

<The band laughs>

~

For more info on Russian Arms & Optics check out their website or Facebook page.

Show Picks of the Week!

This weekend promises two ridiculously awesome release shows, the next installment of Cover the Crescent, and MORE!! Don’t forget our out-of-town suggestion! For more Upcoming Shows, head here
Looking to get out of town? We suggest Whisperfest… 

3 Super New Albums

The Deer Leader

The Deer Leader

The Deer Leader is one of those bands that we kept hearing about long before we saw them. Then we saw them and we understood what all the buzz was about. Since that time we’ve been patiently awaiting the band’s first album and this week it arrives. Saturday night at the Rogue, the long-awaited self-titled debut recording from the Deer Leader will be available to the masses. The group creates their unique blend of styles to achieve their very own weird-infused blues rock perfect for Primus fans of the next generation. The lyrical propensity toward animal imagery and feel good rocknroll in songs like “Birds and Waves” reminds me of the Presidents of the United States of America. “Angry Birds” has been available through their Reverbnation page for sometime and has earned considerable plays from our staffers. The never before heard tracks (which we recently got to hear) totally live up to the early excitement. The Deer Leader will be joined by Sun Ghost and Dirty Lingo at their release show on the 27th so make sure you mark it on your calendar! We’ve been waiting for an album from this band for sometime.

Good Friends Great Enemies

Random Happenings

Good Friends Great Enemies is ready to drop their four-track EP this Saturday at Long Wong’s with a stellar line-up of some of Tempe’s finest before heading out on their West Coast tour. The trio’s freshman LP put us all on the GFGE’s bandwagon (ha) and Random Happenings looks like we’ll be staying right there. The EP opens with “The Soft Light (or, The Effects of Middle Eastern Culture on American Romance)” and fans of the band will notice some distinct changes between the first album and this new release. Random Happenings has a decidedly Prog feel. The songs don’t immediately sucker punch the listener, but instead, lure you in with their easy(-sounding) musicality and hold you there unaware of the enchantment you’re so completely within the music. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what exactly makes GFGE such a powerful musical force because I listened to the EP a bunch getting ready to write the review. Then I lost the album and had to request another and start the whole process over again. Their music is just so thoughtful. The lyrics reflect an understanding of the contemporary novel in both pacing and structure. There is a moment that becomes a point of departure for introspection rather than telling a story like other “literary” lyricists but also not like a poem. The music has a transformative, free style jazz feeling even though it is well within the confines of rocknroll. Each track singular and unto itself but multifaceted. Check out the sneak peak from the Random Happenings here and make sure you get out to the release/tour kick-off on Saturday night at Long Wong’s!!

36 Cents and a Dream

Lucid Change

The latest album from Tempe rockers 36 Cents and a Dream was released to a full house at Yucca Tap Room last Saturday. Joining them on the bill were the likes of Japhy’s Descent and Ghetto Cowgirl, amongst others. The band serves up a straight-laced rocknroll with hues of other sounds like funk and blues. Lucid Change gets a little bit trippy with its psychedelic guitar leanings. Sorta like the kind of music I would expect hippies to make, but the kind of hippies that get really cool professional type jobs. At 12 tracks, Lucid Change offers fans a hearty helping of 36 Cents and a Dream in the era of the EP. The album opens with “Give Me a Change”, setting the positive outlook that pervades the whole recording. In a time marked by apathy, it’s certainly refreshing to find a message of hope in a sea of angst and sorrow. Check out the first two tracks from Lucid Change available on the band’s Reverbnation page here. If you like what you’re hearing, the full album is available through iTunes right this very minute.

Tucson’s Topaz Releases Dune Drift

by Frank Ippolito

When I first learned about Dune Drift, a compilation of Tucson bands released by Topaz, a community art space, I was pretty excited. I don’t get to Tucson near enough to listen to live music, but the stuff that I have heard from The Old Pueblo I enjoy tremendously.

I feel Dune Drift has something for every musical taste – Rock, Alternative/Indie, Shoegaze, and Chill.

Disclaimer: When I get a new album to listen to, note: listen to, not “review”, I go into fan mode. And the first question I always ask myself regardless of the genre is, “Does the music capture and keep my attention?”

And the 17 tracks on Dune Drift did just that.

There were a couple of tracks that I totally dug and felt, “Yeah, I want to hear the rest of that record!”

Otherly Love

“Aroma” by Otherly Love is a hooky/catchy phrasy/guitar-licky track straight out of the 60s. It’s nearly impossible not to like it.

Lori Lechien & Daniel Lutz weave a terrific story set to a country folk tune with harmonies that are superb. And, even though it’s a cover of the Abner Jay tune, “I’m So Depressed” is a must listen.

Womb Tomb’s “That’s fine” is an assault on the ears that walks the line between hard core and rock. It’s
terrific – and it’s in Spanish. Felicitaciones y buen trabajo, amigos.

And I really liked the ambient instrumental duo Sleep Like Trees. The pop rock jazz fusion thing that they got going on is spot on. And they come in with the longest title of any song known to man, “Don’t tug on that, you may never know what it might be attached to”.

Great sounds from Tucson I must say. Looking forward to catching these bands up here or better yet, down there soon!

Dune Drift can be streamed or bought here.

The Main Stage in Cottonwood

One of the great things about living in Arizona is all the great traveling destinations one can reach by car in just a short time. Ski in Flagstaff, houseboat on Lake Powell, climb the steps in Bisbee (if you know Bisbee you know), meditate at Sedona’s vortex, hunt ghosts in dozens of towns. Despite all these intriguing attractions, folks I know still travel to Vegas every single time they have a chance to get out of town. Why? Because the city comes alive at night. Sure, an adorably quaint downtown and interesting spots might fill your daytime hours, but when the sun sets a town that settles down for the night is, well, boring. You might find a spot for a late night drink with some of the locals, but that doesn’t match the excitement of a vibrant nightlife.

Cottonwood public gardening space

We have the perfect solution to this problem. Plan your road trip around a show. Spend the day doing the tourist thing and follow it with a night of ruckus good times jamming to a band you know and love (and maybe some you might not have seen yet). Now, that’s a vacation.

And, wouldn’t you know it, we just so happen to have the perfect spot already picked out for your next: getaway. Cottonwood! This town has one of the cutest historic downtowns we’ve seen in sometime. Grab a bite at Bing’s Burger Station, a gas station re-envisioned into an adorable eatery. Sample locals wines and olive oil. Cottonwood also boasts Northern Arizona’s largest bead and yarn store. I know some you DIYers just felt a little joyous flutter. Stay an extra day and head up the hill to Jerome.

Rebecca Riffel

After a full day of Cottonwood activity, we stopped in at the Crema Cafe where Matthew fed us scrumptious iced mochas and got the YabYum team all hopped up for a night of rocknroll. The best part of the day was yet to come: a show at Main Stage Theater.

Main Stage is a local listener’s dream. Intimate and immaculate, with pristine sound. The place looks posh but the atmosphere is friendly, small town, even. And, between sets, there is a little art gallery inside the Main Stage right next to the bar. As an ever-recovering smoker, I’m always tempted to meander outside to filch cigarettes from strangers. However, my love of art always overcomes my love of self-destruction and we were able to wander through the gallery checking out some awesome local art by Corey Dibrom and Autumn Zaun.

On the weekends, bands from around the state head to Main Stage, providing fans with the perfect excuse to get out of town to see a favorite act in an ideal setting. We’d been hearing a lot about the venue and definitely wanted to make a trip up north to check out the new digs. Main Stage opened only last May. We coincided the trip with some of local acts we love love love to see live: Small Leaks Sink Ships and Of the Painted Choir. Both bands have that something special (skill? quality music?) that really makes for a stellar performance every time.

Rebecca Riffel is the woman behind Main Stage. Growing up in Sedona, Rebecca knew the joy and burden of traveling to Phoenix or Tucson every time she wanted to catch a great show with friends. Main Stage gives Cottonwood a professional venue that can host national acts as well as giving Arizona performers another spot to add to their circuit.

Of the Painted Choir lights up the Main Stage

A special note for those of you in bands: play at Main Stage. Make it one of your goals. This place was designed to be a player’s paradise. Christopher Robin is both Rebecca’s creative partner at Main Stage and a musician’s musician who has worked and played stages across the nation: a true professional. He had a hand in the design of Main Stage from its early stages. Some of the equipment found at Main Stage even comes from his personal stash.

Main Stage can be as all inclusive as you like. Gunners BBQ Pit serves up food right on the property. Grab a late night bite under the stars at an outdoor table before, during, or after the show. While we talked to the folk behind the counter, some local diners started calling out their suggestions once their heard it was our first Gunners meal.

Everything good about smaller locales held true for our Cottonwood adventure. Charming and friendly, the addition of a music-filled night at Main Stage just makes the town that much more of a worthy destination for your summer travels. Check out their website for upcoming show dates and plan your next getaway!

Editors Note: If you’re looking for a room, the Little Daisy Motel is just across the street so you drinkers (not me) or bad drivers (definitely me) can walk/stumble across the street to bed at the end of your night.

Small Leaks doing their Sink Ships thing.
The Gallery in Main Stage
Art by Morbid
Fred performing with Of the Painted Choir