I immediately fell in love with the subtlety of Mess, an Arizona musical duo formed by Rachel Ludeman and and Tony Nunes. With their own unique approach to indie rock, Mess hearkens back to 90s grrl rock at moments but with a completely fresh take. Only one track and now I need an album. Listen to “Fighter” here.
A week from this Saturday, Banana Gun will be releasing their much anticipated album Love.Instinct to eager fans at the Sail Inn. “Punk/Funk” is the second single from Love.Instinct and it has just a taste of all the feisty, grimy, get-down magic that will overtake you on the full release. The big show happens March 8th with a lineup too fabulous list (check it out here). Until then, enjoy “Punk/Funk” here.
Ukulele folk punk? What’s not to love? “Dina” is the fun and feisty number from tk and the Irresistibles. It is also the first single from the new recording project from the band set for release on March 8th at the Trunk Space. It was only last October that the group released OH YEAH!, their tape through Rubber Brother Records. We like to see the band’s been keeping busy. Listen to “Dina” here.
Ryan Avery is gearing up to release another album under the moniker Hi My Name Is Ryan and, now, the first track from not safe for work. is available for your listening pleasure right here. “Sammy Davis Jr. Had Some Really Shitty Friends” continues the Hi My Name Is Ryan tradition of free form verse set to minimal music. The kicker, as ever, is the unabashed honesty with which Avery seeks to reveal himself to his audience.
The Paper Knife shared a couple live tracks from one of their bi-monthly jazz showcases and I was happy to discover that this is not the first time such a thing has been done. “The Cosmic Latte” is a meandering jazz number chalk full of interesting pacing and adventurous soloing. We’re digging it. Listen here and check out more of the online musical offerings from The Chris Light Quartet as well as The Paper Knife.
We all have heard of First Fridays have we not? But over the years the monthly event has, in my opinion, lost its allure and sense of “festival” once the city commanded the street be open to traffic and kicked, literally, the artists and bands to the curb.
The last Friday of January, I had the great fortune of attending Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh at The Sail Inn in Tempe.
And it was fantastic.
Practically right off the Light Rail, Tempe Art a Gogh Gogh is part art show, part concert, and a whole lot of fun. Walking around the venue, with a beer in my hand thank you very much, I was blown away by the artists that had set-up shop. Paintings on reclaimed wood, airbrush artists creating one-of-a-kind pieces on the spot, jewelry, clothing, and on this night, world beat, Latin and rock music filled the night air until closing. Uh, yeah, pretty neat.
I caught up with Evan Liggins, my host for the evening, to find out more about this monthly event.
Whose brainchild was this?
Evan Liggins: The idea for Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh (TAAGG) came from a small, tight group of people who wanted to promote the art scene.
How long have you been holding TAAGG?
EL: We’ve been putting it on at The Sail Inn for almost four years now. Our anniversary show takes place at the end of our summer break.
What are your plans for the future?
EL: Good question! Change is definitely in our future. We constantly strive to create a path for the event to evolve and sort of reinvent itself. Experimenting with different genres and lineups is one of our more fun ways to achieve this – mix that with a lot of our favorites, and we got a diverse show.
Our overall goal: Bigger!
Who are some of the artists and bands that have participated?
EL: Wow! There are a lot to choose from the past four years…let’s see, Erika Jaynes, James B. Hunt, PK, JonDo & Matty B. are pretty much our extended family. Can’t forget Dumperfoo, Caballero, Salty, Smurf, J& Jess Jordan, they all have been big supporters from the beginning.
Bands like, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. Dry River Yacht Club, Playboy Manbaby, Crusher, Hot Birds, Sugar Thieves, Doctor Bones, Companeros, Inept Hero, Sarah Robinson, & Zero Zero, just name a few, and there are plenty more, have all played here.
And our founding beat makers, DJ SupaVaiza & Resident DJ KNS, keep things bouncing in between sets.
How does The Sail Inn feel about the event?
EL: They love it, we love it. We are constantly getting compliments on the different positive vibes we create at their venue. At our bigger shows, we are able to attract an earlier, younger more diverse crowd. These things don’t go unnoticed. We love it for the space and proximity to downtown Tempe. This helps us keep it a neighborhood, community happening vibe that includes, never excludes.
Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh happens every last Friday at The Sail Inn. If you’re going to attend one monthly event, this is the one to be at – and you won’t even have to dodge a car when you get there.
I was a little nervous just before I hit the play icon for “J-NO”, the first track from Leonardo DiCapricorn’ first release. After all, how can a band possible live up to a name as good as Leonardo DiCapricorn? One the one hand, puns are the lowest form of humor. One the other hand, James Joyce and Groucho Marx both embrace the splendor of a well-timed pun. Vice-Versace is lively, fun, and feisty; everything you could want in garage pop punk. I became immediately enamored with Leonardo DiCapricorn from the get-go of “J-NO” and it didn’t wear off until the culmination of “#5”. The band seem to be a surefire fit with the good people Rubber Brother Records, bands like Playboy Manbaby or Wolvves. It’s house party music meant for sweaty, rowdy people. Listen to Vice-Versace here.
Winter Trance Party
The strange sound that defines Serene Dominic combines equal parts folk, blues, punk, and weird. From the opening of “Friendly Angel Revisited”, waves minimal musicality intermingle with the half-spoken, half-sung vocals of Serene Dominic himself. Released earlier this month on Phoenix’s Related Records, Winter Trance Party offers listeners a dozen trippy tracks. I say “trippy” because there is a psychadelic quality to the album. Songs move as if through water or space, distorted ever so slightly, it would seem, between the speaker and attentive ears. The longer you listen, the more drawn in you’ll find yourself. I definitely recommend delving into Winter Trance Party here. And, if you’re really cool, you’ll score your own copy of the album on tape for a meager $5.
I hadn’t heard about Old Jack City before the album happened my way earlier this week and that’s a damn shame. I would have definitely loved to the join in on the Jan. 31st release of the band’s self-titled EP. Rocknroll with a heavy-handed jazz influence, all the musicians that make up Old Jack City proficient at their craft, something you can definitely hear in the four songs recorded here. The EP’s opener, “Sasquatch”, sets a funky pace as it seamlessly infuses blues and rock. Some songs, such as “Shadow of Me”, could definitely belong to another era while other tracks like “Atom Bombs” have a stronger contemporary appeal. Listen to (and purchase) Old Jack City here.
Genre is the combined workings of Zac Markey and Corey Gomez. The band released The Weepy Omelette EP a few years back and now, with the release of their second EP, fans finally get to hear just what the duo has been working on all this time. Scrape Your Voices on the Stars proves worth the wait.
The album opens with “East Coast Sunshine Blues”, a song that just might be my favorite from the entire Genre oeuvre. The track starts with a homemade electropop sound and then, slowly, it begins to reveal the dynamic force that is Genre.
The next song, “Just Go”, comes at the listener with a fun-loving musicality that keeps the darker lyrics dancing along. The vocals have an untrained quality and may be a little more charming for it, adding a little more quirkiness to the EP overall.
By the time we hit “To See and Be Seen”, the third track, a contention can be heard between the moments of levity and those of discord. The theme continues throughout Scrape Your Voices on the Stars. “Siren” will have you jamming to the summery tune while “Cat Problems” will have you surprisingly somber. It’s dynamic, changeable, more an expression of a period of time rather than a singular moment.
The EP closes with “Wyld Stallyn Music” which is also the first single from the EP. I say it takes a certain chutzpah to release a 7+ minute track as the single from any release. It’s sort of daring any radio station to play the full track. Then again, it certainly offers a more comprehensive understanding of an artist that another track might. And, I do love “Wyld Stallyn Music”. More than just providing the missing, mythological music of Bill & Ted, “Wyld Stallyn Music” gets blood rushing and the feet moving. In truth, the song fades out after only 4 minutes and those that hold out through the short interlude of near silence will discover a shorter, second song that serves as outro.
The strange workings of Calculus Man come to the listener through Δ ∞, an anthology covering the writer/producer’s recording projects over a five-month period. On tracks like “∞Danger Close [Fingernail Biting]” and “_Premonition”, we hear something resembling more of traditional hiphop than we hear on the more experimental songs like “_Scorpion” which sounds like it emerges more from the tradition of noise music. On songs like “DDDDragonborn_2.22 [x] Static [ ] Dynamic (✿ ♥‿♥)/∞” – the album’s closer – we can hear a merging of these elements. The vocals sound like their swimming toward the listener through a sea of dream water. If you’re about experimentation, Δ ∞ is the album for you. Make sure you check it out here!
The three-man crew out of Phoenix known as Earth Born brings old school hiphop to new audiences with their album Lechooga Phunk. By the time the second (and title) track played I was grooving on the sounds found in Lechooga Phunk. “Let’s Rise” proved my favorite on the album. It combines crowd-riling rowdiness with a message we can get behind. Coming it at a whopping 19 tracks, Lechooga Phunk is a hefty dose of serious hiphop, securing a place for the Earth Born as a band everyone should be keeping an eye (or ear) on. Listen to Lechooga Phunk here.
The extended intro to Gross Boy’s latest, Ear Sushi, almost most lost me three minutes into the album, but, thankfully, I persevered. Once I’d settle into the second track – “Ah! Monk!” – I’d realized this was an instrumental album and stopped waiting for Gross Boy to start dropping rhymes. Also known as NKNGS, Gross Boy is signed to One Eyed Nation, an independent art and music collective. The album Ear Sushi promotes an ambient drift of thoughts as you move through the songs. “Lonely People (Sex Offender)” might just be my favorite track from the album, but “If Your Bones Were Braile” is a close contender. The tracks achieve a subtle funk that plays through much of Ear Sushi. Check out the album here.
Some folks might say a giant release show at the Sail Inn is quite a lot of effort to put into the release of a single, but when that track is the famed 9+ minute closer from a band as popular as decker., the celebratory party markings its release seems in order. What can I say about “Cellars” other than it is beautiful and textured and everything you want in an extended anthem meant to leave fans buzzing at the end of the night? Listen for yourself here.
The ambient rock of The Madera Strand really found a perfect match with sound engineer Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket. The atmospheric vocals of d’Averill Demetrulias are reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan at certain moments, capable of competing with the driving musicality. The band is set to release their EP Dam Failure on March 22nd at the Sail Inn so mark your calendars. Until then, enjoy “The Void” here.
Recorded as part of a song a day project called The Crucible, Tucson’s Gabriel Sullivan recorded this slightly eerie, but totally cool, track. Sullivan has that slow, open sound of the desert at night. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more from this recording artist in the near future. Maybe something by way of a follow up to 2011’s None of this is Mine… Listen to “The Hidden Mother” here.
This two-track single dropped earlier this month from Flagstaff group Brain Child. “Coke”, the first track, refers to the drug, not the beverage. We’re definitely digging the experimental indie sound that lies somewhere beyond genre in a muddle of punk, pop, and folk. Make sure you stick around for the song “Nerd” as well. Listen to Herpe’s Wish here.
All you fans of contemporary country can add the name Brooke Lynne to your list of new artists to check out. “Not a Bad Thing” is a fun-loving song; the kind of song you want to turn up and sing along with in the car when no one else is around. Listen to her song here and, while you’re there, check out some of the other tracks available from Brooke Lynne.
We at YabYum have been following the artistic antics of James B. Hunt (or NXOEED) for a little while now, and we’re always impressed by the level of self-determination of this particular artist. So what happens when the painter’s latest show falls through? Why, simply take the art to the streets, of course, and let your fans, or random passersby, use clues or simply their eyes to find the art and even keep it for themselves.
As with many people, the number 23 holds powerful meaning to Hunt so when an event was planned on February 23rd of this year, he knew it would be something special. However, he hadn’t counted on losing the venue. With another location not available until March 12th, NXOEED took it as a sign and took his art to the street.
Hiding his art out in public is nothing new to James, he’s been doing it for the past 10 years. What is new is that they will be in plain sight – hanging on telephone poles and relaxing under trees. So states the artist on the Facebook Event page for 23 BIRDS, “On Sunday, February 23rd at around 4:00 pm, I’ll be hiding 23 paintings throughout the city of Tempe. Watch closely for anything unusual hanging on random alleyway fences or resting against street signs. It’s probably a painting.”
Hunt will begin posting maps, clues, and photographs on his website, NXOEED.com and his Facebook Event page at 4 PM. Keep your peepers clear and survey the streets like a hawk and you may just walk away with a sweet piece of free art from the one and only James B. Hunt!