5 Stellar Singles

1Brian Lopez

Crossfire Cries

I don’t know what I love more about Brian Lopez: his voice or his musical sensibility. On “Crossfire Cries” you can hear the perfect merging of the two, a promising sign for his forthcoming album, Static Noise, which is set for release in September from Funzalo Records. Lopez takes a step further from his early ballad work as a solo artist toward a beautiful entanglement of this earlier sound and Tucson dreampop with a vintage nod. Let the countdown to Static Noise commence! Listen to “Crossfire Cries” here.

2Perry Allen

take my bones to the valley

I consider myself pretty well informed about what’s going on around town, musically speaking. Until, that is, someone like Perry Allen crosses my path. As soon as I heard Allen’s single “take my bones to the valley” I was scouring the internet for the next possible opportunity to catch the musician live (FYI, it’s 7/10 at the Rogue with Whiskey Shivers and Mr. Eastwood, tickets here). Listen to “take my bones to the valley” here for a stellar example of desert folk at its finest.

3The Riprats

Sher Nuff

I’m loving the Johnny Cash-esque, garage folk of The Riprats for its south-of-the-border flair despite the band’s Denver address. Opening the two track single titled Sher Nuff, is “Snakes” – a desert dittie with a wry twist. I can’t stop playing this song. It’s a problem. The following track, “Fancy Mexican Spiders” holds to similar themes but the humorous aspects are definitely moved to the forefront.  The band is breezing through town to play The Trunk Space on August 28th with Wolvves, a local fav. Listen to Sher Nuff here.

4Diamond Down String Band 

On the Way

This bluegrass concoction from this Flagstaff five-piece will have you stomping your foot, clapping your hands, and asking for more. With that in mind, we have some good news for you… this single from the Diamond Down String Band is just a sample of their forthcoming album which means more is a’coming! “On the Way” is a lively number that tells a story of unexpected detours (to jail, etc.) that remind us that trouble is inevitably on its way. The vibrant interplay of strings and the catching vocal harmonies (see if you don’t join in), define “On the Way”. Listen for yourself here.

2Strange Lot

Upside Dwners

The distortion-heavy garage pop of newcomers Strange Lot had me hooked right away, but I’m a sucker for beach-revival psychedelia filtered through the lens (speaker?) of a post-punk modernity. That being said, “Upside Dwners” is my current summer single. Hats off to Dominic Mena, the man behind the music, on this one. Listen to “Upside Dwners” here and check out the first single from Strange Lot – “Walk of the Sun” – while you’re there.

5 Fabu Musical Fundraisers

Who doesn’t love a good fundraiser? We all should know that only by supporting our local art and music scene can we hope to see it survive and thrive. Here are five fundraisers you can stand behind!

Fund Hasty Escape’s Full-Length –The Filthier Things

I don’t know how excited you are for this album, but I am very, very excited. The Hasty Escape contains some talented players and the forthcoming album promises to be a must-hear. Supporters can earn early downloads of The Filthier Things or even a “Thank You” in the liner notes from the band! Contribute here.

Help Scattered Melodies Record their Second Album!

The rhythm-section-turned-community-project known as Scattered Melodies is ready to call together their brigade of musical merrymakers once again for a new album, but they’re asking for a little help making that goal a reality. The duo is asking for a very modest amount and they’ve sweetened the deal with the offer of a Summer Sampler for your donations. Learn more and contribute here.

Help South Paw Launch EP

The four-piece indie rock outfit from Provo, UT is set to record a six-track EP and are currently seeking a bit of funding to launch this project. The songs are already recorded and just waiting for some distro cash to move the project along.

Fund Lili Blessing’s First Recording

This Austin songbird is ready to undertake the daunting task of recording her first album but she could use a little listener support. Earned signed copies of the album, photos, and more for your contribution to the project. Learn more and cough up some cash here. To sweeten the deal, we have her music video for “Salvador” to share.

Help Wooden Indian Vinyl Press their New Record 

Wooden Indian is set to release their latest record and they’re trying to raise some funds for that undertaking. Rather than a big fundraiser, the group is relying on their fans to come through… one single purchase at a time. Yes, you can purchase the first single “Savage Grass” from the forthcoming album for a mere $2 to show your support, but you have to do it TODAY! Wooden Indian will be pulling down the single later today and you’ll just have to wait for the official release every other schmuck that didn’t make the cut-off time for this early preview. Listen and purchase “Savage Grass” here!

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3 Indie Albums

by YabYum Staff

prmr

PRMR

Antennae

Antennae is an appropriate name for the long-awaited new album from PRMR (formerly The Premiere). It sounds like the product of an alien race’s attempts to emulate the best of  our hip-hop radio and indie rock blogs. The result, with its off-kilter mix of elements, is hugely compelling. And catchy as hell.

David Jackman and Adam Wilkey took their time with this album, and we’re the better for it. Antennae has something to get your ass moving anytime you need it, from anxiety-ridden opener “Killing The Langoliers,” to the Reagan-era dance party “Spacebar.”

Give Antennae a shot. It will feel alien at first, but you’ll wake up one day to find it’s in heavy rotation in your playlist, and you can’t imagine it anywhere else. Beam Antennae here. –Mike McQuillian

youYou

Ambivalence

Albuquerque has quite the secret music scene if word on the street is to be believed. And New Mexico band You is set to dispel the rumor that Albuquerque is anything but rad with the release their first full-length Ambivalence before bringing their “DANCE JAMS OF ENCHANTMENT” to more than 15+ states starting June 25.

I must say You is pretty badass, although I had my doubts when I first started listening to Ambivalence. They definitely have their own sound going, but starting the album with an extended jam clocking in at over 5 minutes doesn’t cut it for me (however, the orchestral string arrangements found on “Anesadora” were quite nice).  The fourth track “Young Witch/Eternal Gliss” takes the cake as the ultimate jam however at 13 minutes and 50 seconds.

With tracks like “Saturday Night”, “Soul Eater”, and “I Should Be Drunk Right Now”, you have the makings of something fabulous. The final two tracks – “Circle In The Trees” with its sweet National sound and “Altar Call” with it’s undeniable rocking awesomeness – are my personal favorites and really marked the album for me as one worth remembering. You should listen to You here. –Mark Anderson

 

4The Porch Horses

Americaneris

Americaneris marks the first full-length release from the Flagstaff duo known as The Porch Horses: Jeff Breshears and Michael Regan. For the latest album, they were joined by Eddie Horn on bass, rounding out this trio. The group has a lofi indie rock style better suited to the bar than the coffee shop. Rustic and rowdy, The Porch Horses has a raw sound that can occasionally be a little grating (especially with the vocals) but ultimately comes through with a warmth and charm all its own. Remember that even the vocal stylings of Bob Dylan and even Stephen Malkmus have been met with initial distaste for many. There is something definitely authentic about the untrained ballad belt-er behind The Porch Horses, but for many of us it might take some getting used to.

The ten-tracks of Americaneris kicks off with “Not Coming Down” and I was instantly reminded of the rockers that defined the Tempe scene in the 90s like Dead Hot Workshop. A power trio in their heart of hearts, The Porch Horses are not afraid to lay it all out for a feisty jam which you can hear on songs like “30 Pack” and “Danny”. The Porch Horses offer more of a kickback style on songs like “Creek Song” and “Cigarettes Butts & Chewing Gum”. Closing out Americaneris is my favorite track from the album, “Mia”. Mellow and sing-songy, “Mia” has a campfire feel that will have you clapping along.

Listen (and purchase) Americaneris here for some Flagstaff, bar-band flavor. –Lenore Lanova

Special Ticket Giveaway from SMoCA!!

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photo by Bill Goodman

Our love for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art runs true and deep so when we heard that an anonymous donor bought up all the remaining tickets to the Lit Lounge event on Thursday, June 26th, with the intention of sharing with the greater community, we were almost giddy with joy. The event will be held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and features the talents of two Valley favorites: Where Are All the Buffalo? and There is Danger.

Two stellar bands in one of the Valley’s best venues for live performances? And free?!

“This remarkable one-time offer is driven by the desire to build a diverse audience for SMoCA and to make this exceptional Lit Lounge event accessible to all through this generosity (while supplies last).”

FREE TICKETS can be obtained online here or by calling the Box Office at 480-499-TKTS (8587) –or, if you think you’re fast enough, the public is also welcome to do a walk-up to the Box Office at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts while supplies last.

El Gato Azul in Prescott

ElGatoAzulSome mornings I wake up and the hot breath of the desert that encases me in a sticky film of loathing threatens to initiate a murderous rampage that will decimate everything in sight. On those days, I try to get out of town and cool off in some nearby locale where summer doesn’t equal hell.

Prescott has long been a favored destination of mine for the summertime rages brought on by the unrelenting heat of the Valley. Picnicking on the the lush lawns of the town square, antiquing for knickknacks, or romping along a nature hike, Prescott has enough small town quaintness to chase away any big city blues. And, recently, I discovered another gem tucked into the heart of our friendly northern neighbor – El Gato Azul.

Serving lunch, dinner, tapas, and (on some gentle evenings) Jazz, El Gato Azul is Prescott’s home to hip that will have visiting foodies, jazzhounds, and localistas all buzzing. I was casually walking the downtown area of Prescott on a rage-to-sage adventure up north when I heard live jazz of the smooth variety merging with the sounds of trees and wind. Following the sound, we ended up dining al fresco at El Gato Azul where the performance was engaging and the tapas selection rivaled any big city establishment.

Salmon Bruschetta with Goat Cheese & Almonds, Herb Crusted Lambchops with Balsamic Reduction, even Escargot can be found on the menu. And, they offer an extensive array of vegetarian tapas (which we’re big fans of here) including Saffron Croquettes and Baked Brie Nachos. El Gato Azul’s Chorizo has earned a bit of a local reputation so if you’re a fan I suggest trying the Chorizo Meatballs with Parmesan Au gratin or Barry’s Chorizo Hash.

Now would also be a good time to mention Barry, jazz aficionado and restaurateur.  We first noticed him because he was singing with the jazz ensemble while we were taking our seats and and ordering tapas. When the band took a short break, he was talking to folks and bringing out dishes from the kitchen. Only then did we discover that El Gato Azul, like the famed Chorizo, is Barry’s undertaking. We’re just thankful that this man of many talents has a public forum to showcase both his musical and culinary skills.

Make El Gato Azul you’re cool get-away this summer. I recommend stopping by on a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday when they usually have a musical performance. Jazz on Sundays is a personal favorite. For the complete menu and performance schedule, check out their website here.

The Rubber Brother Round-Up

rubberby Mark Anderson, Senior Editor

Holy crap. It’s been a frickin’ year since Rubber Brother Records appeared outta nowhere (not quite) and completely changed the game of the Tempe/Arizona/entire DIY music scene, and I must say, I am continually impressed with these young folks and their relaxed determination. I mean for crying out loud, they released 50+ tapes in one year! Gage Olsen, Robbie Pfeffer, and the hosts of volunteers/supporters that help manage this 1 year old label deserve (at the very least) a tip of the hat, a wink, and a handshake.*

A trip over to their website will show you that they are indeed not flashy and definitely not trying to impress you. You just gotta get it, man. We at YabYum certainly smelled what they were stepping in and unashamedly have written many an article on the RBR Crew including (but not limited to): Rubber Brother Records Bringing Back the Tape TradeRubber Brother Charges OnRubber Brother Dropping Tapes Like Skittles, and during our Awards month Most Innovative Undertaking: Rubber Brother Records. I knew we weren’t the only ones showing the Rub Bruv love, so I wanted to find out who else had been showering praise of the all mighty glory that is Rubber Brother.

Of course The Phoenix New Times and their blog Up On The Sun released a bevy of articles on Rubber Brother (although they each release the articles separately with differing headlines): Rubber Brother Records Wants to Help Local Acts Help Themselves/Rubber Brother Records Gives Fans and Bands Something to Be a Part Of by Troy Farah as well as No Rubber Brother Fest’s Cassette Releases Aren’t About Nostalgia/”Why Buy Cassettes in 2013? They’re “Trading Cards for Your Favorite Bands” by Serene Dominic are quite informative reads. Jeff Moses also contributed to Up On The Sun with PHX FMLY FEST – Downtown Phoenix – 12/27/13 a great piece about the RBR-hosted mega-concert event.

Speaking of Jeff, he also wrote Rubber Brother Records: DIY Kings Of Phoenix for Modern Times Magazine. Valley Hype’s Sarah Edwards gave us ‘Rubber Brother Records’ Robbie Pfeffer Talks His Label and the Phoenix Music Scene. Phoenix-music main man reviewer Mitchell Hillman let us know Rubber Brother Records Takes The Crescent! while Kylie Gumpert of The State Press had the first article about Rubber Brother Records I could find: Rubber Brother Records is new face of local punk music from May of 2013.

Think we’re done? Hardly! TourKidd, a relatively new service and “online platform for members of the independent music community” co-founder Khayree Billingslea reported on the New Found Sound | Rubber Brother Records {desert wierdness on cassette} while Examiner.com contributor Joseph Bartoleit revealed Rubber Brother Records: cassette tapes for a modern ageB-Sides Magazine‘s Marna Kay delivered the Gage Olsen interview “Rubber Brother Records: Sweeter (and smellier) than sloppy, wet puppy kisses!” although, it’s only available in print form. 

And while Cassette tapes enjoying a comeback, thanks to Tempe group in the Wrangler News written by Chase Kamp caught me off guard, perhaps the most surprising is the not one but two articles found on azCentral about Rubber Brother – Tale of the tape: Cassettes making comeback locally by Ryan Van Velzer and another Serene Dominic piece Plugging into Phoenix Music: Rubber Brothers festival.

Good god, man! I have seriously lost track as to how many articles that is. And please keep in mind that these are articles written solely about Rubber Brother Records’ label itself. Articles written about the actual bands/releases that are associated with Rubber Brother must by now be in the hundreds and span around the globe.

The funny thing is that I undoubtedly missed some of the press that came out too, there’s just that much of it. With current releases from The Daddyo’s, TK and the Irresistibles, Sundressed/Owl & Penny, and the final album from Of The Painted Choir, Rubber Brother Records assuredly shows no signs of slowing down or stopping anytime soon. I look forward to Year Two!

~

*Or perhaps an engraved knife?

rubber1

3 Feisty New Albums

Nerdzerker1

Rage Quit

Nerdzerker makes music for the gamer raging in your soul. The punkrock three-piece is signed to Phoenix’s 56th Street Records, home of others acts known for combining the quirky with the feisty like Andy Warpigs, HotRock SupaJoint, and Bacchus & the Demon Sluts. The album opens with “Nothing” and the listener is confronted with a vintage punk sound a la Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains, but as Rage Quit ventures onward, it’s clear the themes are less political and more, well, nerdy. Take, for example, the album’s second track “Jrpg” which dares to ask “When was the last time I saved my game?” or “BIC (Blowing into Cartridges)” which calls to mind a nostalgic moment we can all relate to. “Jurassic Fart” is my favorite track from the album and left me asking for days, why does God hate dinosaurs? Make sure you get with the goodness of Nerdzerker’s Rage Quit. The album can be purchased here or you can stream Rage Quit through Spotify here.

 

2Cottontail / Moon Bandits

Cottontail/Moon Bandits Split

The Savage Wasteland Music Collective is the brainchild of members of Ramshackle Glory but is home to Pat “The Bunny”, Fridge Scum, and other fixtures of the Tucson punk scene. In May the Collective dropped a six-track, split release from Cottontail and Moon Bandits. The first three tracks come from from the folk-punk duo known as Cottontail, including one cover of a Moon Bandits’ song, “Community Love Song”. The B-side features Moon Bandits, a band i hadn’t heard before the split release, but immediately felt enamored by their lo-fi, banjo-fueled, pop punk. And, of course, Moon Bandits tackle the Cottontail song “Put a Name to It” to end the split release for a real sense of sharing through mutual covers. Available digitally and on 7″ vinyl. You’re choice. Listen/purchase here.

 

3Crossbows and Catapults 

Crossbrows and Catapults EP

This three-piece punk pop outfit from Seattle know how to hash out a lively sound on their self-titled EP released earlier this year. Opening with “When You Look Up”, I was immediately reminded of another band known for redistricting the boundaries between pop and punk rock that used to make the Phoenix music circuit, Haggis. I have to admit that I enjoyed the music a bit more before I started delving the lyrics available through their Bandcamp page. If you’re not Mark E. Smith or even Greg Graffin, consider keeping an air of mystery to your lyrical content, punk bands. Sometimes, it works out better for the listener if they have to really spend sometime with the music before discerning exactly what you’re singing about. Just a suggestion. Listen to the Crossbows and Catapults EP here.

 

5 Live Music Videos

Sweet Ghosts

“Sister Sylvia”

Jon Rauhouse

“Desert Luau” on Red Chair Recordings

You Me and Apollo

“Ames on Her Way to the Top”

Sun Bones

“Havest Moon” (Neil Young Cover) at The Folk Shop

The Sweet Nothings 

“I Lied”