Sundressed Shines with New Works (Including an Exclusive New Video)

by Frank Ippolito

Local band Sundressed bathes its music in a little folk-y jangle with furious moments of punk plus terrific lyrics and vocals. And thanks to that combination, guitarist/vocalist Trevor Hedges, lead guitarist Tyler Kees, bassist Evan Kees, drummer Garrett Tretta and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Osterman are building quite a following and are ready to take their popularity to the next level.

The guys took a couple of seconds to answer a couple of questions for me.

Frank: What was the most gratifying thing about recording your new record, Whiskey with Milk?

Hearing it back at the end and having it sound exactly like us! Jalipaz (of Audioconfusion) had the ear for what we needed and made it happen, couldn’t recommend that guy more!

This is a very personal album for you, right, Trevor?

Yes, Some of the lyrics were even written long before Sundressed formed. Lyrically it’s a culmination of addiction, getting clean and sober (4.5 years sober now), heartbreak, bouts of spirituality, etc. It’s hard for me to write songs that aren’t personal; I’ve never been good at telling someone else’s story.

You guys play a lot of shows, how has the response been?

We’ve had some killer shows over these two years and the response has been great! Especially playing with more notable touring bands recently like the Front Bottoms, we’ve gotten to reach a new younger audience – it’s been awesome!

Tell me a little about your new video.

Well, we picked “Paper Cups” based on popular demand. We had wanted to do a video with Cory Davis (the man with the yellow box) for quite a while now and we finally booked him once he got back from Warped Tour. It’s a very simple video, which showcases Cory’s incredible camera work and editing. Not to mention, he had a rough edit for us the morning after we had been filming all night! The guy rules!



Where did you guys shoot it?

It was filmed at Mind’s Eye studio in Mesa. Shot and edited by Cory Davis.

How much fun was that?

It was super fun! Cory kept telling us to make sure our guitars were tuned, even though we weren’t even plugged in! You can’t see it in the video because its dark, but the room had some strange decor, like nets of mutilated Cabbage Patch Dolls hanging from the ceiling. It was pretty metal.

What’s next for you cats?

We are currently rehearsing new songs for another EP that will be put out on vinyl early next year, and then we will be going on our first tour to the east coast. Lots of details need to fall into place, but we have some pretty sweet stuff set up already [and] cant wait!

Sundressed will be playing at the Crescent Ballroom on September 12th.

Check out their brand new video “Paper Cups”!

Sundressed can be found here.

Show Picks of the Week!!

In addition to the odd mix of fabulous shows we’re sharing this week, Saturday is also YabYum’s own Summer Spectacular at Long Wong’s and we hope to see all of you there! Chop ‘n Wok is also hosting a tribute to Hollywood Alley starting tonight with Truckers on Speed and JJCnV. This Friday is also the three year anniversary of Tempe Art A Gogh Gogh at the Sail Inn. Saturday at the Trunk Space (for those of you who can’t make it to Tempe for our celebration or who want to double down on shows for the night), the Trunk Space has a special offering for local fans: Space Alien Donald, Treasure Mammal, Diners, and Back Ted N-Ted.  Tuesday, the Plainfield Butchers are joining up with The Riverboat Gamblers and others for a punk rock night at the Yucca Tap. 
For more upcoming shows, head here.

3 Eclectic Albums To Check Out

by Frank Ippolito

Films

The Technically Almost Half-Way Illegal EP

Guitar fuzz, incredibly glassy guitar hooks, and terrific vocals are what you can expect from FILMS on their new EP, The Technically Almost Half-Way Illegal.

This trio of John Tracy, Tim Sammons, and Patrick England surprised me with each subsequent track. The opening track “Cell Block” sets the tone for this The Strokes/Cold War Kids-inspired EP, (that’s a good thing in my opinion). “Drunk Girls” is marvelous, “I Can’t Think For Myself” conjures up a great sense of urgency and “Films”, my favorite, goes from a Moog hook opening and marching drum snare to a sweet guitar chorus – it doesn’t sound like it would work but the track has just the right combination of genres to keep the listener interested. Oh, did I mention it was recorded on a borrowed 8-track?

Steve Lufkin

Invade My Heart

Okay, I have heard maybe one, maybe just half of a Christian album: I simply don’t seek-out those types of artists. So when I got a chance at actually giving a worship record some quality time, I jumped at the chance – and I’m glad I did.

Singer/songwriter Steve Lufkin’s, Invade My Heart, is a delicate disc of worship that even if you don’t agree with his message, provides a very good collection of songs.

Lufkin has a voice smooth and whispery in the mold of John Mayer, and his musicianship is front row center on every track. From the rhythmic strumming, lead hooks float in and out of his vocals and well-constructed instrumentation from keys, to yes, clapping. As to the writing? You know what, I liked it. Generally speaking, when your subject matter is “praise” it is very easy to get stereotypical, but he’s done a great job at making the music accessible – regardless if you’re a Christian or not.

Straight On ‘Til Morning

Demo EP

Armed with only GarageBand, Straight on ‘til Morning has recorded a pretty damn good demo.

“Oi!,” the first track is full of angst and the trials of tribulation of youth. It’s punk in the tradition of Blink 182. Maybe it’s Jaren Shepherd’s voice, which has an unnatural resemblance to Mark of Blink, but regardless, it fits their style. “Endless”, features faux screamo guttural vocals, which tells me they don’t take themselves too seriously, but then they come back with “J Don’t Like It,” that features genuine screamo guttural vocals that fit perfectly into the half-spoken ala Cake lyrics like, “I’ll scream you out of me if I have to.”

My favorite track is “28”. Starting off with lullaby keyboards and falling off the cliff into straight out punk-ish riffs and angst-ridden vocals.

A special shout out to Kash Filbum for programming the drums – they are awesome, and next time, don’t apologize (a notation on their site) – no one would have known the difference. This is do-it-yourself at its best.

Jared & the Mill: Expanding Westward

by Frank Ippolito

As Jared & The Mill get ready to release their debut album, Western Expansion, and embark on their most extensive tour of their existence, their horizons have never been this expanded and their future never brighter.

With a September 17th album release date set, Jared & The Mill plan to kick off their tour at The Sail Inn on September 19th with the support of some favorite local bands. And from the look of things, Jared Kolesar, lead vocals/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Michael Carter, lead gutarist Larry Gast III, Chuck “Bassman” Morriss III (electric bass/upright bass), percussionist/drummer Josh Morin, and Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (accordion & piano) are ready to embrace this new chapter in their career.

“Our band will be reaching as far east as Austin, Texas and as far north as Seattle, WA. This will be our longest adventure to date and we couldn’t be more excited to share our tunes with the rest of our great western family,” said singer/songwriter Jared Kolesar.

Western Expansion features Jared and the Mill’s signature musical style. To say it’s engaging would be an understatement. The 12, count ‘em, 12 tracks are individually punctuated with folk, bluegrass, Americana, and rock starting off with “Breathe Me In”.

A love letter of pleading and redemption, “Breathe Me In” begs a lover to look past all the imperfections that all of us can relate to, and asks, pleads, not to give up because deep down inside the writer of this letter knows their heart is good.

Damn. A very good way to start a record.

“Returning Half” further intrigued me with its roaring guitar riff, perfect harmonies and terrific clapping breakdown. “In Our Youth” couldn’t be more fun: staying up late, boozing, talking – all wrapped lushly in a blanket of banjo and driving bass.

More please.

And just as J&tM got my feet tapping, “Ides of Fall” explores the difficult and sometimes tumultuous child/parent relationship. Again, seriously, the storytelling here is brilliant. That combined with a whispery banjo lead line that leads into a hopeful hand-clapping ending to an unfinished saga. And, what would an Americana record be without demons? “What Would You Do” is so relatable that I, you, he or she could see ourselves in the story. Then, without warning, the guys turn up the tempo and turn the song into an anthem of hope.

The title track, “Western Expansion”, tells a story, (and if I keep repeating “tells a story” I apologize, but Kolesar knows how to tell a story). Although on the surface this is a story of going West to find fortune, for me, it’s an analogy for looking for something better even though you may have what you need right where you are.

“Love To Be Found” is a song full of hopefulness. Regardless how hard a relationship can be, as long as you’re together with the one you love, well, in Kolesar’s words, “And with your hand pressed to mine I’ll be fine.”

I’m going to stop now and let you discover the rest of the album for yourself. But make no mistake you will not be disappointed. There is something in this record for everyone. My favorite, and I have many, is “Wrecking Ball”. Not that it is the most rocking, but again the story of finding oneself, with someone important to you, just resonated to me like a wonderfully written short story.

The aspect of the record I enjoyed most is the way Jared & the Mill go from down tempo to an absolutely furious pace – fueled by Carter’s banjo. But without Morin’s pounding drums and triplet snares and Morriss’ thumping bass, it wouldn’t have the same warm feel. And Hall-Rodrigues’ work on the accordion and piano ensure that the music stays afloat and light.

Truth be told, this is what Mumford & Sons wishes it was. The storytelling on Western Expansion far exceeds the other bands in this category. There’s a depth and substance to the lyrics, there’s polysyllabic words, J&TM don’t settle for the easy rhyme like, well, you know whom.  This is a thinking person’s folk: thoughtful words, interesting stories (I mentioned it again), and, quite frankly, although the music is folk-y Americana, it breaks through in this category and manages to free itself of genre.

I enjoyed listening to Western Expansion, if you couldn’t tell, and next up for me is The Sail Inn on September 19th for the live performance. Oh, and you still have a few days left to contribute to Jared & the Mill’s Kickstarter campaign. The band has already been successful securing the funds needed for their album but you still have a chance to score the early release as well as some other cool swag from the band.

RAW Phoenix Presents En Masse

RAW Phoenix brings local artists of assorted mediums together for a night of fabulous festivities. Just imagine a posh mixer where everyone loves art or loves looking fashionable amid an artsy crowd. Either way, everyone is there for a lively evening full of interesting sights and sounds. If you haven’t been to an event hosted by RAW (we’re fans of both Phoenix and Tucson branches), make sure you get to one sooner rather than later. Music, photography, filmmakers, make-up artists, and some of the most styling men and women of the Valley. Check out some of the images from Saturday’s RAW En Masse…

Vocal artist Moyosolu belts it out for a captivated crowd.
Tina Marie getting ready to perform.

Art, art, everywhere.
Sean David Wright next to his remarkable sketches. 

SFX make-up artist Autumn Lewis prepares zombies and bludgeoning victims to wander the crowd.

Free makeovers also available for non-zombies attending the event. 
Bands performing downstairs. DJ upstairs. The music never stops at RAW. 
Actress Chelsea Claire (modeling for Autumn Lewis) poses with event-goers. 
We added a few images to our Instagram from RAW En Masse just in case you needed more RAW!! 
For more about the artists who participated in RAW En Masse, head here
RAW Artist Events happen every month. Stay tuned for the next one!

Fall Music Festivals

Oh, Fall… the threat of heat stroke fades as the crisp autumnal evenings settle over the state; Valley of the Sun included. It’s our time to fall in love with the desert all over again. In my opinion, one of the best ways to reassert the Arizona love you might have tucked away for the summer months is to get out for some live music and what better way than an all day (or multi-day) festival?! Here are some of the Fall Festivals happening around our state…

Kaleidoscope Kamp Out  – September 6 & 7  –  Flagstaff

Okay, so early September is not quite Fall, but it’s close enough to count. And the weather in Flagstaff always feels like Autumn to us Phoenicians anyway. The Kaleidoscope Kamp Out offers a mix of local and national acts ideal for your inner urban hippie crying out for some nature time. Where else can you see Summit Dub Squad and Dry River Yacht Club on the same bill? For the full line-up and tickets, head here!
Gumption Fest  –  September 7th & 8th  – Sedona

Two stages for two days of music, art, poetry, and community in beautiful Sedona. Did we mention that the event is all-ages and free?! This is Gumption Fest’s eighth year in the running and this year the event’s bill is restricted to just artists from the area (Cottonwood and Sedona) so you can expect some great acts like decker. and Jake Payne to perform. For more information (no need to purchase tickets) head here
Lushfest  –  September 13 & 14th  –  Tempe

The long-awaited debut from Future Loves Past doesn’t just get a release show. No, no, they’ve planned a whole weekend full of fun to commemorate this grand occasion. Both stages at the Sail Inn will be featuring more local acts than your ears can possible take in with Future Loves Past closing down the outside stage on both nights. Head here for more info about Lushfest and the complete lineup. 
Southwest Terror Fest  –  October 10 – 13th – Tucson

Four days of metal at its loudest and grimiest. Genre-uniting Southwest Terror Fest has a steadfast following that any die hard metal fan should consider joining. With a total of 65 bands, this just might be the largest independent music festival happening the season. A four-day wrist band and t-shirt package are available for only 50 people so you might want to get yours today (here). For more information about the event, head here

Apache Lake Music Festival – October 18 & 19 – Tortilla Flats

Definitely one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Apache Lake Music Festival offers perhaps the best line up for full-blooded local lovers. ALMF has achieved an almost cult-like status as the festival for locals and it just might be the best two day party that happens within our borders; a party where everyone lays down to take a nap and then gets up to keep rocking out. The line-up will be announced on September 3rd, but if years past are any indication of what’s to come, you’re going to want tickets. For more information, head to the ALMF website here or check out the event’s page here.

Night of the Living Fest  –  November 2nd  –  Tucson

Old Tucson Studios is opening their space up for Night of the Living Fest: an all-day festival offering not just music but also food, vendors, and entertainment (like live art installations and custom designed miniature golf courses). Really, though, it’s all about the music and Night of the Living Fest has really wrangled some amazing bands to join in their soiree including The Meat Puppets, Deerhoof, NOBUNNY, Lenguas Largas, Acorn Bcorn, Cherie Cherie, and many more! Early tickets are available for $25 for just a few more days so save yourself some dollars by signing up early. You’ll  be glad you did. Head here for more info.

Sidepony Music Fesitval  –  November 15 -17th – Bisbee


The Sidepony Music Festival was just about the best goshdarn time we had last year in one weekend (you can read all about our fabulous time here). Quaint, intimate, friendly, eclectic, and rocking. The hostess pairing of Sidepony’s Anamieke Quinn and Bisbee make for an incomparable getaway. Wander between charming venues listening to musical guests selected by someone who really gets local music. The best part? The event is free. Get a room and stay for the whole weekend. More about the festival here.


Shona Crawford Answers the YabYum Seven

Catskeleton

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Shona Crawford, and I took up the term “visual communicator” a while ago to describe myself and what I do. I graduated with my BFA in Printmaking in 2012 and I am kind of a weirdo with a taste for the macabre.

2. How did you get your start?

When I was a kid I had this VHS tape on how to be a cartoonist. I used to watch it over and over again. It was my first somewhat realistic career endeavor. Even then, pens and pencils and creating characters with lots of detail made sense to me. I still love cartoons.

3. What inspires you?

My ever growing cabinet of curiosities, waking up early, iconography, tattoos, hermeticism, nature, early 20th century art movements, balance, and horror flicks.

Creature




4. What do you like about AZ?

I’ve lived here for about 10 years now and so far Sedona is my favorite part of Arizona. I love hiking and rock collecting up there. It’s such a nice, quick getaway and I love the fact that my favorite artist Max Ernst used to live there, which adds another element of inspiration to the already beautiful surroundings.

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

I have been a bit of a hermit lately as I have been in over my head in commissions for a variety of artwork for bands, both local and national. However, I do share a studio downtown off of Grand and 15th Ave. with my friend Charissa Gutierrez, who is an awesome painter, because aside from drawing I love screen printing and that’s where I print! Our studio will be open for the Grand Ave. festival on October 19th from Noon-5pm. Until then, I can be found on Facebook.

Chalice




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

I’d like to see Machu Picchu in person, make a stop animation film, decide on what kind of dog I want to adopt and be the best dog mom ever, and the rest I can’t say because I am a little superstitious of sharing my big plans with others until they are in motion 😉

7. What is your mantra?

I am definitely a Golden Rule type of person, but after that I keep in mind the famous words from Dune: “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration…”

Hands-Future
Triptych
Sky Fruit

Show Picks of the Week

We have some rad shows lined up this week. Starting us off on Friday we have the French Girls record release party with Man Hands and Naked Pizza at Tempe Tavern. Or, for you folks in Phoenix, the Senators are playing Last Exit Live with Hunter Johnson and Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold. Saturday you can join our editorial staff at the Grandest Event of the Season celebrating Dan Somers. Also, happening that night is the first annual “El Dub” Music Festival at Long Wong’s. And, on Thursday, the Prowling Kind unleashes their much anticipated album at the Crescent Ballroom. See you kids out on the town! 
For more Upcoming Shows, check out our Upcoming Shows page. 
To have your show considered for our Show Pick of the Week or included in our Upcoming Shows, just email us your flyer at yymeditors@gmail.com

Musical Grab Bag

by Frank Ippolito


Myrlin 

The Funky Autopsy

Drawing on theme such as life, love, friendship, family, with a little bit of politics thrown in, Myrlin has created an album that moves from the opening track to the next. Poet, emcee and teaching artist Myrlin Hepworth has written and performed across the United States. He also coaches the Phoenix team at Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. There is no doubt that this cat can write – and sing, rap, and beat poet his heart out. The trick here when it comes to spoken word is the music, and lemme tell you, I’m digging it. There’s something here that will get your groove on. Hip hop, trance, and throw me some of that Motown, will you? There’s 17 tracks on the record, my favs, Don’t Ever Be Lonely, To The Rescue, a song about how music is life and visa versa, Tu Sabes Poplar Trees, part of the song is in Español, I loved that and wish there was more. Seek this artist out. You won’t be disappointed.




Here Come Cowboys

Here Come Cowboys

In my opinion, today’s Country music is so absolutely over-produced, packaged and glossy, it hardly resembles the approachable and genuine music Cash, Nelson, Cline, et al, created. Flying in the face of convention, the Here Come Cowboys’ self-titled record is a stroll down Grand Ol’ Opry lane. Great harmonies, storytelling – and yes, gimme some horns, this record is nostalgic Americana without being schmaltzy. “Back in My Bed,” “Shape of My Brow, and especially “I’ll Be Home Before You Know,” are keepers. Ya’ll.

Medicine Tent

If swing is your thing, then Medicine Tent is your cure. This six-piece band easily sounds like a whole lot more. This is desert swing, hep cats. The bass and drums will keep your moneymaker shaking, the punch of brass keeps the music swinging and Kenyata, the lead vocalist, has perfected the 40s-style vibe and yet, keeps it real without getting cartoon-y, which is real easy to do in this genre. I definitely enjoyed the live recordings that are available to stream and judging by the audience reaction, Medicine Tent has got the cure to what ails them. Listen here.

You Know This Moses

Although You Know This Moses only has two songs available on their Sound Cloud, you can hear the potential of this melodic, indie, lo-fi project Zach Wade and Casey Kyle have put together. “Mangy,” the first track, has open drums, terrific bass, and even though the song’s theme is a bit melancholy, the captivating jazz guitar hook signals hope. “Strange Beauty,” my favorite track out of the two, goes from a simple love song, with a simple melody, to a musical breakdown – a tirade of desire and hopelessness. If you don’t know this Moses, you should. Listen here

Jen Juniper and Tres Ikner wrote, recorded, and played all the instruments on their newest release. Okay, they might have had just a little help from Steph Griffin (who played trumpet and Akayla Lee who played cello on the track “Starseed”. “Hey”, the first track on the four track release, immediately took me by surprise. The combination of Juniper and Ikner’s vocals add up to a superb re-imagined sythn pop. “Outlaw (Making The Scene)” and “Pomp and Circumstance” follows suit with a very good multi-instrumental buffet – and again, Juniper’s vocals echo a kinda early 90s dance diva vibe. “Starseed” features Ikner on lead vocal has a dance-worthy guitar lead and is a great effort. Dare you not to dance. Dare. You. Listen to Persephone’s Picnic here.