Be Right Back!!

We’re taking a week (maybe less… fingers crossed) to prepare and launch our new re-designed website for all you feisty followers of YabYum!!

Check back over the week to find out when the new site is up and running – or just to remind us that you’re thinking of us because we’ll be thinking of you…

If you get desperate for more YabYum Music & Arts goodness during this week please check in with our social media accounts to stay in touch! And, don’t forget to keep sending us your artwork, music, and kind words to yymeditors@gmail.com.

Find us on Facebook — or Twitter — or Instagram!! 

5 Stellar Music Videos

“When You Burn (You’re Gonna Scream)”
“Highwaves”
“Wide Range”
“Stand in the Rain”
“All of My Opinions”

Top 5 Shows of the Week!!!

Some seriously awesome shows here, people. Don’t miss out. Someday, after the world as we know it has collapsed you will tell stories of the shows you saw this week.
For more Upcoming Shows, head here.

5 New Weird and Wondrous Singles

Emby Alexander

“Sleeping In The Library”

Claiming to be the SOUND OF PHOENIX, Emby Alexander (for right now anyway) might just be right. If “Sleeping In The Library” is any indication as to what is to come from their new album Frontispiece, get ready for a percussion-fueled, rollicking good time indeed. Part indie, part experimental pop, all fabulous, Emby is starting a Western US Tour on June 5th at the Crescent and plans on bringing “the sound of Phoenix” to at least 6 other states. Check out “Sleeping In The Library” and pre-order Frontispiece here.

The Chihuahuas of Maryvale

“I Like Demons”

One of the two tracks available from The Evan Piggybanks EP, “I Like Demons” is self-described as a “love song for B-Movie horror films.” And it is exactly that. With fun, macabre lyrics atop folk punk musical stylings, “I Like Demons” is quite progressive within it’s six minutes. I hope for more good things to come from Tempe’s Chihuahuas of Maryvale, you can listen to “I Like Demons” here.

Tom Walbank

“Karma Chroma”

The latest single from Tucsonan bluesman Tom Walbank is a track I could just listen to over and over again. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Walbank, this multi-award winning harmonica player has been laying it down in Tucson since 2000. A singer/guitarist as well as sound engineer, Tom can lay down a mean groove and produce it well too! With “Karma Chroma”, Mr. Walbank tones it down considerably, just the haunting melody of the mouth harp and voices of the living behind it. Beautiful stuff, listen here.

Aron Bron

“XIS ARP”

We first covered Aron Bron in our New Electronic Sounds article back in January of 2013 and, needless to say, Mr. Bron has been busy since then. With a multitude of tracks released within that time, Aron Bron is further capturing/defining his guitar driven, ambient take on electronic music. While most of Aron’s tracks are either undownloadable or very modestly priced, I enjoy that “XIS ARP” is $200 to add to music collection. Well played, Aron Bron, well played. Chill out to “XIS ARP” here.

Jason Villacourt

“Go Away”

It honestly took me a couple listens before I got the message: “Jesus, you are my best friend.” Jason Villacourt has seeped his Babylon mystery religion into poppy EDM and I absolutely love it. Underneath the dark, slithering synthesizer of “Go Away” there also lay a deep, reverberating church organ backing the lyrics “You’re never gonna go away from me.” See what he did there? Genius. I wish Jason the best in all his endeavors and highly recommend listening to “Go Away” here.

Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

 

3 Releases That Are Too Cool For School

The Wavelengths

The Wavelengths

From the very initial interplay of instruments on the Wavelengths’ self-titled track from their self-titled debut, you know this is going to be a cool album. Maybe it’s the psychedelic surf sound co-mingling with a jazzy sense of movement. Or maybe it’s the organ. Either way, I was sold. I was turning up the volume before the second track, “Hot Box”, launched into the summery beach pop still stamped with that distinctive Wavelengths’ sound: something a little bit trippy with a distinctive vintage nod. I bounced around on favorite tracks, but right now I’m divided between “(Oh Man) It’s a Drag” and “Lenses”. Preview the album here and definitely consider making that purchase so you can score that elusive eighth track “Ikemad” and keep the album with you when the internet finally fails us all.

Samuel L Cool J

Slip and Slide

Samuel L Cool J has a hip and soulful sound that pairs perfectly with sunshine and beach vacations. It wasn’t that long ago we heard from the band when they released a cassette through Rubber Brother Records.  This time ’round they opted for slick vinyl for their single. “Slip and Slide” will have you shimmying around your swimming pool all summer long. You’ll be rushing to flip the record to hear “Killing Me” on the B-side. Samuel L Cool J takes retro seriously. They don’t throw the wrenches of modernity into the mix but maintain the fluidity of true homage, right down to the do-wop girls. You can preview Slip and Slide here or through Spotify. The album is available for purchase through iTunes here.

Idol Eyes

Space & Visibility // Geocities 

This two-track single from Idol Eyes is available on limited edition, lathe-cut vinyl and contains just shy of six minutes of experimentation with soundscape that is actually worth listening to. Really. “Geocities” was originally released by DEEPWHITESOUND on the compilation DWS100: One Hundred: Here, a Boundless Sound (which can be downloaded here). “Space & Visibility” has an ambient quality that moves the listener through dream space, changing structure and form along the way. The aforementioned “Geocities” embraces a livelier course through electronica, one that might set the soundtrack for Hunter Thompson’s Circus Circus adventures. Listen to both tracks here and score your own copy on 7″ while supplies last.

Mona Watkins Passes the Torch

All photos by Dave Blake of Blues Alley Photo

Rhythm Room’s Mona Watkins Steps Down, Gets Fitting Tribute from Local Musicians

Since its birth in 1991, The Rhythm Room in downtown Phoenix has been a popular club playing host to a wide variety of blues and other musical groups. In the capable hands of passionate people like general manager Mona Watkins, who has been on staff for the last 17 years, The Rhythm Room has become known for showing respect to everyone, from nationally renowned acts to local artists across the Valley, as well as the faithful fans and patrons who fill the crowds.

But now, Watkins has passed the torch, ready to move on to a different job. Before she left, however, the music community of Phoenix, and many of The Rhythm Room’s popular repeat performers, gave her a tribute concert event to remember.

Watkins said it was very humbling to have a farewell concert thrown in her honor – and to have so many acts play the event pro bono, just for her.

“When they started talking about me leaving the Rhythm Room, I got messages from bands, managers, everyone,” she said. “They were sorry to see me go. It hasn’t made it easy, but it was very, very humbling. I always did my best – it means a lot to be appreciated.”

Watkins said the most rewarding part of her tenure with the venue was the friends she has made over the years.

“The bands, the tour managers, even the merchandise managers – it’s such an awesome feeling,” she said. “When Coco Montoya comes back to the Rhythm Room, and the first thing he does when he walks in is look at me and say, ‘Oh, Mona, it’s so good to see you again,’ and give me a big hug… It’s such a good feeling.”

This speaks to the relationship she tries so hard to build with the performers and patrons she comes across. She called the Rhythm Room an important part of Phoenix culture, and a unique, important stepping stone for local bands.

“The things I did at the Rhythm Room… I helped cultivate relationships with bands and with promoters – a live music experience,” Watkins said. “The Rhythm Room is a music venue first, a bar second. There’s a lot of ways I managed the club to bring it to where it is now.”

The biggest thing she wants to leave as a legacy when she departs is hospitality, she said.

“My employees know this,” Watkins said. “For bands, the Rhythm Room is home. For customers, they feel like a part of the family. They need to feel taken care of, like you would a family member.”

Watkins said she felt she took the venue as far as she could, and it was time for a different aspect of management, so the Rhythm Room can continue to grow. She is taking this opportunity to try something new – heading over to lend her skills to Perk Eatery, a local restaurant owned by a friend.

But the relationships she made during her time at the Rhythm Room will stay with her forever.

“I talk a lot about relationships between me and the musicians,” Watkins said. “But those fans, who follow an artist their whole lives, and they finally get to meet their hero… The Rhythm Room can provide that, the people light up. To be able to bring that together for people… it’s pretty incredible.”

Bob Corritore, the owner of the Rhythm Room, said Watkins has been a precious part of the venue; a greeting face to countless bands and patrons over the years.

“She poured her heart and soul into this club,” Corritore said. “We hate that she’s leaving, but I think it’s best for her… She could probably never fully sleep without Rhythm Room things that needed to be done on her mind. But Mona will always be a part of the Rhythm Room. She’s loved, and her contributions are many – and they will remain.”

Corritore said the club is standing strong in her absence, and a number of people are taking parts of what she did and making it part of their responsibility.

“We are finding our way, post-Mona,” he said. “We feel good about our future, and we wish the best for Mona and thank her for her great contributions to the Rhythm Room.”

The concert in her honor, held April 20 at the Rhythm Room, packed the house with performers and patrons alike who wanted to thank Watkins for all she has done.

“It was really nice to get the call, to be picked to be included in her tribute,” said John Chavez, lead guitarist and vocalist for JC & the Juke Rockers, a popular Phoenix blues group. “Mona’s a great gal. My hat goes off to her. She deals with so many great national artists, and still shows respect for local schmoes like me.”

Chavez and his crew have been performing at The Rhythm Room for around 10 years. They began by entering in a local blues competition, and played more often as time went on, growing in popularity. Chavez worked up to holding his own blues showcases on weekends, giving up-and-coming blues performers another way to work their way up the music scene, and into the spotlight.

Chavez said Watkins always went above and beyond to help anyone she could. From giving a bottle of water to a stranger on a hot day, to showing up in the afternoon hours before the night’s show to help a group set up, she was very invested in random acts of kindness.

Chavez said he wishes Watkins the best of luck in her new endeavors – her new job is lucky to have her.

“Thanks for all the support for local musicians over the years – making us feel like stars,” he said. “You’ve seen a lot of national acts, but you still make us local cats feel welcome. There’s a saying in the business: you’ve got to leave town to get treated nice. But not here; not with Mona.”

Matt Marn
Staff Writer

YabYum Music & Arts Hour Podcast: Mitchell Hillman and Jeff Moses

yabyum music 00We had an extra special show in April featuring local music writers Mitchell L. Hillman and Jeff Moses. For the complete playlist, look below. And, don’t forget to tune into Radio Phoenix at 8 pm this Friday for the next installment of the YabYum Music & Arts Hour!!!

Petty Things “Bored”
Small Leaks Sink Ships “Yellow Bird”
Bear State “I’m Stupid, I’m Dumb, And I Have No Brain”
Genre “East Coast Sunshine Blues”
Treasure Mammal “She’s Leaving Home”
Numb Bats “Angry Woman”
The Hourglass Cats “Too Damn Rude”
Playboy Manbaby “Falafel Pantyhose”
Wolvves “Static”
Vial of Sound “Myself with You”

Our Big Announcements

We’re super excited.

Dear Readers,

YabYum Music & Arts will be celebrating our 5 Year Anniversary on June 1st. We wanted to take a moment out of our hectic schedule to thank you for your continued and growing support. Our goal at YabYum is to bring together all of the diverse elements of Arizona art and music into one central hub to keep you informed about all the wonderful things happening around the state.

During our first five years we’ve moved from monthly coverage to daily, bringing you more everyday and, more recently, we started working with Radio Phoenix to expand our modes of delivery to include the airwaves.

Today, we’re excited to share a few big announcements with you about what you can expect from us in the year to come.

First of all, we’ll be continuing our work with Radio Phoenix, not only on the monthly YabYum Music & Arts Hour every Fourth Friday, but a new weekly music hour was introduced every Wednesday called RISE!. We’ll be working with RISE! to bring you more local listening and this summer we’re hoping to move from our internet-only listening option to a real, fancy, can-be-turned-on-in-the-car radio station.

To celebrate Year Five, we’re launching our grand re-design project here at YabYum. Expect a brand-spanking-new site come June 1st of this year. We will be taking down the website during the last week of the month while we undergo all the changes we have lined up, but we’ll be back and better than ever in time for our birthday!!

And, finally, we are going to be expanding our coverage area to include bands and artists from nearby states. We’re hoping to increase not only our readership, but the interconnectedness of our region. We recognize that the majority of our readers are musicians and artists here in Arizona. We’re hoping our expansion can assist with others by connecting to new areas which can help with tours, finding new fans, and learning more about what the region has to offer. You’re going to love it.

Sincerely,
The YabYum Crew

5 Rad Music Videos!!!

Andrew Jackson Jihad
“Temple Grandin”

 

NERDZERKER
“Jurassic Fart”

 

Calabrese
“I Want to be a Vigilante”

 

The Hourglass Cats
“Keep Steppin'”

 

Wall-Eyed
“Insults and Polemics”

Top 5 Shows of the Week!!

Sister Lip releases their EP, Blunt Club celebrates 12 years, and Former Friends of Young Americans bid adieu to the Valley… we don’t envy the decisions facing you this week. The Rebel Set, our radio guests from Rise! on Radio Phoenix, will be playing a Rogue show before heading off on tour next month. And, the Crescent Ballroom packs a powerhouse show with Katterwaul, Wooden Indian, and more! For more Upcoming Shows, head here.