3 Ways to Get Your Funk On

Hexs and Miranda

The H&M EP

Dropping that old school flavor within a modern context, the superb combination of beat-master/producer Hexsagon and rap connoisseur Mr. David Miranda results in Hexs & Miranda and their first album, The H&M EP.  Now both of these gentlemen have been in the Phoenix rap game for quite some time but as Hexsagon put it on his Facebook page, “We took a different approach on this project and stepped outside the box.” I believe it shows. With throwback references a-plenty, tracks such as opener “Like The 80’s” and single “Down” are party head-bobbers while “We Go Far” and “Dreams Now” focus on the more serious side of hiphop all while maintaining a chill vibe. “Pushin’ A Benz” and “I Don’t Know” showcase a lighter, comedic side to the duo which I really connected with. With both of them consistently releasing music under their own monikers, I hope to see Hexs & Miranda release more music in the future. Listen to their EP here.

The Stakes 

The Stakes are good. I mean really good. Reminding me of past Phoenix live hiphop act Antedote or even Drunken Immortals and Cousins of the Wize, the Stakes are a full band that definitely shakes things up. I just so happened to catch the Stakes at Bud’s Glass Joint during this past September’s First Friday and boy was I impressed. Comprising of Emcee’s ZeeDubb and Lord Kash, vocalist Beth Jeffress, pianist Ben Scolaro, guitarist Caleb Veazey, bassist Alex Meltzer, and drummer Kevin Phillips, the Stakes lay down that stoned soul picnic kind of music for sure.With smart lyrics and musicianship, I strongly recommend heading to the band’s SoundCloud page to hear a recent live set. With their debut, full-length album set to drop in the spring of 2014 engineered and produced by Clarke Rigsby, this is one Stakes fan that can’t wait!

The Hourglass Cats 


When I first checked out THC’s music on their Bandcamp page, what I noticed first was the extensive use of the number 432. Not only is it the name of their debut EP, the price of the album is $4.32, and it was described as being recorded in 432 Hz. Now I don’t know about you but I had to look into this. So while I put the album on and began grooving to “Sense,” I did a quick internet search on 432 Hz. At least I thought it would be quick. I ended up falling down the rabbit hole of Pythagorean tuning and the conspiracy behind switching the note of “A” from 432 Hz to 440 Hz (and thus every note by a difference of 8 Hz) following the persuasion of J.C. Deagan (inventor of the xylophone, aluminum chimes, orchestra bells, marimba and many other instruments) and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Sounds nuts right? Well apparently music in “A432” frequency provides a natural resonance throughout the body and that the seemingly ever-present degradation of our American society is due to the fact that music for the last 100 years or so has all been in “A440” and it has slowly demoralized our entire state with the universe. By the time I got to “Yoga Butt”, the last track of 5 songs, I was completely hooked on THC’s Slighly Stoopid-esque vibe and neck deep in researching the 432 Hz phenomenon! Thanks a lot, Hourglass Cats. Check out their EP here.

by Mark Anderson
Editorial Staff

Playboy Manbaby Halloween House Show

In the spirit of the season, Playboy Manbaby put together a Halloween house show this past Saturday. Playboy Manbaby has developed a reputation as one of the strongest live acts in the local scene and Tempe house shows are definitely this band’s niche. They brought along Rubber Brother Records label-mate Instructions and the newly founded Twin Ponies formed by former members of Tugboat.

Kicking things off was the band Instructions who put out a fantastic tape earlier in the year on Rubber Brother Records. These guys have no difficulty in getting the crowd dancing. Instrumentally they are reminiscent of 90’s emo with strong bass playing locking in with punchy drums and pretty, melodic, and, at times, twinkly guitars. Take all this, add clean vocals and an up-tempo fun-loving attitude and you get Instructions. The band played a very energetic set that had everyone moving and singing along. They also surprised us with an awesome cover of the Ghostbuster’s theme song! I’m looking forward to any new material from them in the near future.

Twin Ponies are proving to be a very promising, up-and-coming band. Fresh off an excellent new EP titled Pores, they played a very tight set. The band started by creating a very murky atmosphere with a warm, thundering synthetic bass and slow melodic guitars. The tender, reverbed vocals cutting through the instrumentation produced a very haunting mood. Following with a more upbeat song, trading in the synth bass for bass guitar, Twin Ponies showed the crowd that they are not a one trick pony. The hard-hitting drums and faster chord progressions made for a unique, dance-inducing, melodic rock. Their ability to change direction with each song and create very moody tracks along with cheerful, lively songs is pretty amazing. Be on the lookout for these guys.

Finally, finishing things off was Playboy Manbaby; famous in the land of Tempe for their very unique sound borrowing from all different types of genres. Dirty garage rock guitars, pounding drums, memorable bass lines, fierce trumpet playing, and intense yelling vocal delivery create an unforgettable musical experience. They started things off with a brand new song that could be one of their most fiery, fast, and unforgiving yet. Robbie, the vocalist, thrashed about on the floor as he delivered harsh and powerful screams, throwing himself into the audience. The band added some new songs to their set list the past couple months. The new jams are going over great with the audience and already have people yelling the lyrics right back to them. I’m praying Playboy Manbaby is cooking up a new release for us. Until then, make sure you catch the band live if you have failed to do so already.

by Miguel Guzman
Contributing Writer

Live Music… Sorta

We don’t usually include live videos when we share music videos with you folks. Today, we have a special collection of videos to share: songs performed live… you know, on video. 

Sara Robinson & the Midnight Specials
“Real Good Time”

Numb Bats
“Dr. 5”

Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers
“Whisper My Name”

The Thin Bloods
“The Paper Knife”

5 Albums to Get Excited About

As October winds down this week and we all face the impending chaos of yet another holiday season, we’d like to take a moment to remind you that there is plenty to look forward to before the year comes to her close. Mainly, new albums from some established Arizona artists we’ve been eagerly anticipating follow-ups from… Check ’em out and share in our excitement.

Dry River Yacht Club

El Tigre 

Um, yes, Dry River Yacht Club has been hard at work on their latest album set to drop on November 16th at the Crescent Ballroom. This should be more than enough information to have fans in a tizzy of fervored joy. Now, I’ll go on to also mention that El Tigre has quickly established itself as my favorite DRYC album ever. A couple early tracks from El Tigre can be heard here. Listen and love and then we’ll see you at the album release, more info on that event here.

The Hill in Mind

The Hill in Mind

This Friday at the Rogue, help The Hill in Mind celebrate the release of their self-titled debut. The EP comes in at four tracks of thoughtful construction and composition by Joshua Hill and performed by Hill along with Max Knouse, Sir Jonathan Lang, Jacob Eary, and Nat Theobald. Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket Recording produced, mixed, and, of course, recorded the project. Listen to the first single “Spider-Shirt” here.

Stephen Steinbrink

Arranged Waves

I love love love Stephen Steinbrink and I know I’m not alone on this. I have listened to I Drew A Picture (released in June 2012) more times than I could possibly count and I’m ready for my next installment of melodious, beautiful, modern folk a la Steinbrink. It looks like that time is almost upon us with the first single from Arranged Waves, his forthcoming album, now available online. Listen to “Now You See Everything” here.

Mouse Powell

These are the Good  Times

The first single from Mouse Powell’s soon-to-be-released full-length is chalk full of nostalgic warm-fuzzies. Its name, taken from the show where everybody knows your name, Cheers, brings to mind after dinner tv time with the folks as a youngster. That’s the era from whence “Cliff Clavin” came. These are the Good  Times is due on on November 12th. Until then, enjoy the first single here.

Manual Sex Drive

Music is Dead

Manual Sex Drive has a new album underway and an early track from the impending release have made their way online. An early single, “Black Jack”, is both gritty and lively – a combination I just so happen to favor. Rockabilly with an extra layer of punkrock grime with a twist of maniacal laughter thrown into the mix. The new album isn’t due out until next summer. Listen to “Black Jack” here and join us in the long wait for Music is Dead.

Arizona Rollergirls Throw Down in Mesa

The Arizona Rollergirls out of Mesa took on the ladies of Yuma Roller Derby on October 12th. Contributing photographer Raymond Vestal was on hand to capture the action. Make sure you head out to a bout this season. Next game is November 2nd when the ZOM-B-Team takes on NAZRD at Pioneer Park.

For more information on the AZ Rollergirls, or to keep tabs on the upcoming bouts, here.

All photographs by Raymond Vestal.

For more sets of Ray’s work, check out his Flickr.

Calabrese: Born With A Scorpion’s Touch

Arriving just in time to give your Halloween Party playlist a swift left to the jaw, Calabrese’s newest (and arguably best) album Born With A Scorpion’s Touch will paralyze you with venomous wonder.

And yes, I do realize that with each subsequent Calabrese release we end up saying it’s their best effort yet, but I mean c’mon, have you heard this thing? It exemplifies what good artists do: refining their ideas, image, and craft into an ever-better version of themselves. With each Calabrese release, the audience discovers just truly what these brothers are capable of in the “horror-core” genre. This isn’t just music, this is their life.

Consistent themes bookmark Scorpion’s Touch. With tracks such as “American Rebel Death Riders”, “Ride With The Living Dead”, and “There Is An Evil Inside”, you get the idea that these songs are meant to “reveal the shocking truth about motorcycles, rebellion and the occult!”

But it’s not campy. For those that think this is too tongue-in-cheek to be taken seriously or that it delves into the realms of the trite, you just haven’t heard good ol’ fashioned “American Rebel Rock and Roll.” The brother’s themselves are lighthearted, any follower of their social media can see that. However, when it comes to music, these boys are all business.

And what a business. With each album release there is a full website re-design, new cross-country tours with exclusive t-shirts, new music videos, and a whole host of goodies added to the Official Calabrese Store. These boys have been doing there thing for 10 years now and it shows. Like any band they want to continue to please the fans they have all while broadening their base –  and they do a good job too.

Still, when the brothers’ Calabrese sing “I Wanna Be A Vigilante” or “Born With A Scorpion’s Touch”, I believe ’em. When you hear them croon “I Ride Alone” or belt “Loner At Heart” you feel the path Calabrese has chosen to take. The music doesn’t lie.

With a couple of show dates at the end of this month including Nightmare in Mesa on Fri. Oct. 25th and in Tucson’s Plush Sun. Oct. 27th,  now is your chance to get bloody with Calabrese!

Calabrese – “Born With A Scorpion’s Touch”

by Mark Anderson
Editorial Staff

Behind Closed Doors: Small Leaks Sink Ships

The Band: Ryan, Jim, London, and Judd (minus Raphael).

I was very excited for an opportunity to go Behind Closed Doors with Small Leaks Sink Ships. We at YabYum have been fans since Ryan handed us a cd with a couple tracks on it outside of the Rogue in Scottsdale oh-so-many years ago. We’ve been hooked ever since.

We met the band at a house on Oak Street where the band has set up a recording space in, yes, the basement. Fans of Small Leaks Sink Ships might recognize the title of the band’s EP implied somewhere in there (see Oak Street Basement). London met us at the door and led us downstairs.

Jim and Judd were aimed at a computer in the studio picking through tracks. Old coffee cups litter nearly every available surface. Jim has a recently procured cup of gas station brew sitting between his knees. Judd might be working on anyone of a dozen cups sitting on his desk. I think an intervention might be in order.

Ryan and his dark roast.

Usually when we meet up with a band in their rehearsal space they’re getting ready for an upcoming show, but today I find out that switching between recording and performing modes can be a bit arduous and this week they band is focused on recording. If you’re familiar with Small Leaks’ sound this probably doesn’t surprise you. Complicated arrangements, richly layered and vibrantly dynamic, take thought and time to develop and deliver. Also, Small Leaks never delivers the same show twice. For the super fans – the ones that know the all words and come to shows as often as they possibly can and actually buy your album – seeing the same set a dozen times can wear down your enthusiasm so changing things up a little here and there can help keep it interesting. SLSS usually commits three to five hours a day to preparing for a live performance beginning a few days before the event. The rest of the time, they have their caffeinated attention  latched on to one thing: making the new album.

We were offered an early sample from the impending LP. As we’re listening to the track, Ryan makes his way into the recording space with, I kid you not, an inhumanly large mug of fresh coffee. London is drawn in by the smell and makes a grab for the cup. Ryan obliges and the conversation turns to dark roast while the song played on. Coffee fiends, every one of them.

I guess that’s what it takes to make a masterpiece: time, vision, and coffee.

I’m told the only missing member today is Raphael. His absence has something to do with a slew of children. He apparently has between 5 and 15 depending on which band member you ask but I think these might be exaggerated figures. He doesn’t miss the shows or the days he’s needed for recording, but the hours devoted to the painstaking process of mixing are the contentions of the rest (mainly Judd).

The impending release can be viewed almost as a continuation of Oak Street Basement, the EP we all (should) know and love. The songs currently underway in the studio were initially planned as part of a 16-track album that included the songs from the EP as well. However, when unexpected events altered the trajectory of the band, they decided to remain adaptable and changed their release plans.

The band members agree they try to keep their progression organic. That’s probably the best plan anyone can have. A clearly laid-out path between where you are and where you want to be can be swell, but only if you allow yourself to remain pliant and adaptive because you never know what diversions and obstacles will disrupt your life plan. Small Leaks Sink Ships has certainly had more than its fair share of obstacles over the years but they’re continuing to move forward.

As it stands, they have ten months of work already invested in their full-length album due out sometime next year. Mixing proves a bit more daunting (and time-consuming) than recording. Small Leaks Sink Ships will be taking a very brief break from recording for a short tour in November, but then they’ll be back to the basement, coffee in hand, to finish up the album. They’ll be performing at Last Exit Live on November 21st as part of that tour so mark your calendars!

Before that, however, you can catch Small Leaks Sink Ships at the Firehouse in Phoenix as part of First Friday Night Live: a monthly event featuring sketch comedy performances and live music hosted by Beef Vegan this November 1st. We hope to see you there!

Judd from his production room throne decorated with coffee cups. See? We weren’t exaggerating. 

Treasure Mammal – Ten Years and Counting

Treasure Mammal

10 Years of Treasure Mammal Cumming Full Circle Featuring D.R.U.M.B.

Treasure Mammal is more than a band. It is an immersion study in your own id. Not the scary place we must seek to repress but the colorful, mystical, sexual cocoon we should all explore a little more and maybe the world would then be a better place. They recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary with the release of 10 Years of Treasure Mammal Cumming Full Circle Featuring D.R.U.M.B. with the help of Phoenix’s Related Records.

In addition to long-standing favorites from the group like “Amethyst” and “Stevie Wonder to the Bullshit” we also get to hear newer tracks like “Best Friends Forever 4 Mark Erickson”. I’m particularly taken with the Brokeback Remix of “Bromance” – always a classic no matter the form.   And, we can’t forget T. Mammal’s cover of 311’s “Amber”. It’s amazing.

We must tip our metaphoric hats to Abelardo Andre Gill III: ringleader, musical mastermind, and originator of the Treasure Mammal movement. Also part of his current cast of hedonistic rabble-rousers are Dave Driscoll, Jef Wright, Matt Wood, A Claire Slattery, and Ryan Stephensen, to probably leave a couple out. It’s a hard crew to keep up with.

To coincide with the anniversary, the members of Treasure Mammal also participated in a group art show hosted by The Trunk Space to commemorate this historic occasion. Make sure you head out to see it before November 3rd! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the album here.