4 Synth Sounds from the Southwest

Social Lovers - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogSocial Lovers

Enjoy the Ride

The Phoenix act known as the Social Lovers released Enjoy the Ride on vinyl through Cherries Records outta Chicago and already the album is sold-out. Before you get too flustered, know that you can still get your internet hands on a digital copy. The lounge-style electronica makes for some funk-infused synthpop on this 6-track release. Opening with “Baby Tonight”, the tracks move almost seamlessly into one another, making for a mellow and ultra-cool listening experience. Songs like “Cosmic Eyes” and the title track shows the band’s sultry, get-down stylings while the ocean effects on “Lover’s Theme” also reveals there is no need to worry that this band is unintentionally crossing into corny. Each step is very intentional and thoughtfully executed. Give Enjoy the Ride a listen here.

 

Technicolor Hearts - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogTechnicolor Hearts

Now We’re Here

The Austin musicians known as the Technicolor Hearts construct a darkly-hued synth sound that might fall more to the psychedelia side of the dreampop spectrum, fusing electronica with stringed instrumentals of the physical realm for some interesting effects. At eight tracks, Now We’re Here marks the awaited follow-up to 2013’s Under The Big Blue Umbrella Sky. The band seems to have come a considerable distance since their last release. The newer songs have a much fuller orchestral feeling as well as greater fluidity within the tracks. Still, I think Now We’re Here might make for better background music at your next gallery opening than an album requiring the focus of singular attention. Decide for yourself. Check out Now We’re Here from Technicolor Hearts right here.

 

OceanearOceanear - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Oceanear

Combining the efforts of Eric Roberston and Scott Shepard, Oceanear from Provo, UT takes a different (and darker) approach to create their own brand of synthpop. Oceanear, the duo’s self-titled debut, possesses a gently moving sound that swells and diminishes in a way that reminds me, not surprisingly, of the sea. The album opens with “Woke Underwater”, to continue our ongoing ocean theme. The track titles, like “Universe” and “Infinite”, had me expecting a collection that was more meditative, but I was pleasantly surprised with the mellow pop pacing of Oceanear. “Sunburn” featuring Mindy Gledhill and “Good Camera” are personal favorites, but overall the whole of Oceanear is worth the listen. Recorded at Pleasant Pictures Studios, give Oceanear a listen here.

 

Waytansea Point - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogWaytansea Point

Many Era

Mitchell Keaney composes and performs some truly interesting electronic collections under the moniker Waytansea Point. It was earlier this year that he released Many Era: a hefty, nine-track album available on cassette through Snorin’ Desert, a local tape label. The release party, however, takes place this week on April 3rd at Double Nickels Collective (more info here). Many Era moves gently through strangely creatured soundscapes, a Wonderland experience for meditative intelligentsia. The music of Waytansea Point is better suited to a gallery setting than a dance club although some of the tracks push the limits of this assertion, like track “Everywhere I Live”, for example. Listen here and, if you’re super cool, I’d recommend getting your own copy of Many Era on cassette from Snorin’ Desert (or, even better, at the release show) while you still can.

JJCnV Premieres “The Prude vs. The Buzz”

JJCnV coverJJCnV just so happens to be one of our favorite punk bands. Ever. So we were super excited to learn they had an EP in the works. Leathered, Weathered, and Feathered is due out later this week. April 4th to be exact. I got a sneak peak of the 7-track release and it promises to be a new favorite.

Fans of the JJCnV will recognize some of the tracks from the band’s live performances. When the trio told us we could pick our favorite for the song premiere, I don’t think they realized the magnitude of that decision-making responsibility. How does one choose between “Crack Baby” and “The Prude Vs. the Buzz”? “This Place is a Lifestyle” and “Gaze Upon Yonder” were also in close contention. The whole thing is far too stellar to choose just one track. But we somehow managed it.

“The Prude Vs. the Buzz” can be heard down below. To get your hands on the complete Leathered, Weathered, and Feathered I suggest heading to the release show happening this Saturday, April 4th, at the Time Out Lounge in Tempe. JJCnV will be performing with French Girls, Shovel, and The Whispering Wires (a band outta Tucson we also love). More info about that event here.

 

A member of the editorial staff – Mark Anderson, not the one that wrote this review – provides saxophone on the track “Real Boy Appeal”. We just wanted to call that one out.

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

YabYum Seven: Josh Louchheim

Josh Louchheim 09
All photos courtesy of Josh Louchheim

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Josh Louchheim and I’m an artist living and working in Scottsdale. I am a disciplined painter working strictly with oil. My paintings are a combination of the natural world and the world within my head. Essentially I am a landscapist and when I begin a piece the first thing I paint is the sky. The sky is what sets the tone for the story that each painting tells. I then block in the lay of the land adding mountains, trees and anything else I feel the landscape needs. Next I begin to add the figures, whether they are animals or people, and the objects they are manipulating. Though each painting tells a story, the story I envision may not be the same as the viewers. Therefore I give each one a title that acts as a guideline for its true meaning.

2. How did you get your start?

I started writing music years ago and put together a band which performed locally. The band eventually ran its course and we broke up; which is the case for most bands. Shorty after this is when I made the decision to focus on an aspect of art I could do souly alone without having to rely on the creativity of others to fulfil my vision. Oil painting was something I had always admired so the decision was an easy one. I dedicated myself to it and I have now been painting consistently for the past six years; the past three of which have been my most disciplined in keeping to a schedule as opposed to just painting when I felt inspired. I first started exhibiting four years ago at Art One Gallery and then branched out to Phoenix where I have shown at MonOrchid Gallery as well as Herberger Theater Art Gallery. My work currently hangs in the homes and offices of various collectors from Arizona to New York.

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“Elephants Searching Shadows of Spheres III” Oil on 35.5″ x 21.25″ panel

3. What inspires you?

I am inspired by the natural world as well as by life and experience; where you come from and what you’ve been through is an intricate part of a person. Without experience we aren’t much at all. I try and use my life experiences combined with the emotions associated with those experiences in every piece I create.

4. What do you like about AZ?

I’ve been here the majority of my life so this is my home. I enjoy the harsh desert landscapes; I find it fascinating how life doesn’t just exist here but actually flourishes. Monsoon season is my absolute favorite part of desert life which is one of the reasons I paint so many clouds. And there is nothing as beautiful as the sunsets we have here in the valley.

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

I will be having a solo exhibition at MonOrchid Gallery in May of 2015; opening night being May 1st. Then the following month at Willo North Gallery where I will be exhibiting in a group portrait show. You can also view some of my work on my Facebook page.

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

I can only hope that my talent and the body of work I leave behind will allow me to live far past my death. While I’m still here I plan on expanding my resume and exhibiting across the country eventually making my way overseas. I also plan on continuing to write music as well as exploring other creative avenues.

7. What is your mantra?

You’re either living or you’re dying. So work hard at what you love while continuing to grow and everything else will fall into place.

~

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“Old-Timer and a Penny-Farthing” Oil on 28″ x 22″ panel
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“Caboose” Oil on 20″ x 16″ panel
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“Ornaments” Oil on 36″ x 24″ canvas
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“Desert Oasis” Oil on 19″ x 39″ panel
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“The Greatest Performance Never Seen” Oil on 25″ x 42.5″ panel
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“A Room with a View” Oil on 20″ x 26″ panel

Radio Phoenix Podcast with The Lovelost

The lovelost - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Phoenix indierockers, The Lovelost, came down to Radio Phoenix at Phoenix Center for the Arts to join us live on the air. They sent along some tracks from their favorite local bands to share and you can enjoy the show right here in podcast form. The complete playlist can be below.

Playlist:

Whiskey Kiss “Dangerous One”

Fairy Bones “Waiting”

Manual Sex Drive “House of Cards”

The Lovelost “Redemption”

EKO “Ready”

Factories “Canada”

Sundressed “Best of/Worst of”

Steff and the Articles “I Want More”

Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta “La Cacharita”

The Lovelost “Foreign”

Young Creatures “Can’t Tell a Lie”

Recorded live on October 24, 2014.

5 Mellow Singles

Stefan Pruett  - YabYum Music & Arts - Arizona Music BlogStefan Pruett

Carefree

Those of us in the Phoenix metro area might recognize Stefan Pruett by another name: Peachcake, a musical endeavor known for its catchy electropop. Pruett made the jump to L.A. and began applying that same skill set to his new project (and his own moniker) to create infectious, indiepop-infused sounds he describes as “DarkwavePajama” music. I don’t know what that means, but I like what I’m hearing. You can listen to “Carefree” by Stefan Pruett for yourself right here.

 

Emby Alexander - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogEmby Alexander

Behaves Like Beehives

In the past, I’ve felt that the “chamber pop” of Emby Alexander was not exactly my brand of experimentalism (I see the irony there), but the first single from their latest release has me singing a different tune. “Beehaves like Beehives” offers fans an early preview of the album to come and foes a chance to reconsider. Listen to “Behaves Like Beehives” here and place your pre-order for the album that shares its name. If the first track is any indication of what’s to come, this is an album you’re going to want to hear.

 

Book of Shred - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogBook of Shred

If You’re Silent

It was less than a year ago that Book of Shred released their debut full-length album, Nobody’s Home. The band wastes no time when it comes to making music. Already we have a new single from the Phoenix indie-rockers signifying a new album in the works. We can expect a new album later this year, but word has it we might get a few more singles along the way. Listen to “If You’re Silent” here and, while you’re at it, maybe take a moment to go back to Nobody’s Home, the band’s 2014 release.

 

Dear Jerome - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogDear Jerome

Oak Tree

Tempe four-piece known as Dear Jerome has an upbeat, melodic style that we can totally get behind. “Oak Tree” is the first single from the EP of the same name and bodes well for the album to come. We were fans of 2014’s St. Claire of Working (which you can listen to here), but Oak Tree promises to be even better if the title track is any indication of what’s to come. Listen to “Oak Tree” here and join us in the wait for more tracks from Dear Jerome.

 

Kontra - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogKontra

Quiet Life

Flagstaff performer (and photographer) Kontra has been releasing some sweet, stripped-down covers for listeners online. “Quiet Life”, one such track, is a mandolin cover of a song by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. Gentle, melodious, and totally engaging, I suggest you listen to Kontra’s rendition of “Quiet Life” here and stick around for more mandolin-inspired renditions of some beautiful songs that might not have been brought to your attention.

 

Alex Benson: Power Strangers

alex benson 01by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Would you think it impossible to produce a whole album in just one day? Well, Alex Benson did just that. And the result, Power Strangers, is pretty stellar too. This multi-instrumentalist (from such known acts as Rough Tough Dynamite and Confetti Club) has thrown down his gauntlet and raised the musical bar. Sure, it may not be music to change the world, but with 10 solid tracks each containing unique melody and voice, maybe it is.

On Monday, February 16, Alex posted on social media: “Alright, I’m gonna write and record an album from start to finish today. I’ll report back with the results. Smell ya later!” We were all aghast. Was this guy serious? Sure, he’s taken on new sonic territory before but this seemed preposterous.

A “14 hour session from 9 AM to 11 PM” saw the album written and recorded. And on Tuesday, February 17, the album was available for download through Bandcamp.  My god. Using live drums, guitar, bass, omnichord, ukulele, lap steel, banjo and synths – lots of synths – Alex created his alternative/experimental/indie/psychedelic/power pop in seemingly record time.

Power Strangers opens with “Head On Straight”, a fun, pop ditty over a playful rhythm. The distorted, stretched-low vocals add much originality and charm. The next track, “Major Flotation” featured Alex’s cat: “She kept walking on my desk and meowing for that one so I just put it in the song, chopped it up and syncopated it.” Rad. “Any Better” is one of my favorite songs on the album. “Can you do any better than this? ‘Cause your life is a mess right now.” I envision the artist knee-deep in a project of this magnitude, self-reflecting and outpouring his innermost fears. Who knows, it may not be written about himself at all, but instead, Benson might be tapping into the universal struggle we all share. Now I want pizza rolls.

The next three tracks – stripped down “Bread and Butter”, digitally haunting “Beast Belly” and personal fav, “Oh No” add up to 4:19 of time – they just fly right by. If you take a moment to listen, you’ll hear Alex’s lap steel get a stellar solo on “Bread and Butter.” “Beast Belly” serves as the intermission, clearing the mind whilst allowing the audience to reflect and mentally prepare for what lies ahead. This all happens involuntarily of course and within the span of 48 seconds. “Oh No” begins with, “Born in the suburbs you never know what’s coming for you. Oh no. Oh no.” The banjo/synth combo works well here, and now I’m surprised I don’t hear it more.

“Stay Okay” picks the mood and tempo back up with funky keys and satanic sounding back-ups. At 53 seconds it’s a shorty but goodie. “Magical Mutation/Aerate” features more of those fantastic synthesizers.  “I love synths,” Alex told me, “especially little cheap ones and old Casios.” And let’s not even start on software synths, Alex prefers to get his hands dirty (as it were) physically playing with his new tech. “I recently got a Pocket Piano from this really rad team called Critter & Guitari – they are just 3 guys in a room hand-making these really rad minimal synths, and there’s so much charm to it. I use that one a lot on this new record. And I finally put this one to use called the Mixtape Alpha. It’s the size and shape of a cassette with touch pads on it in a weird predetermined scale. I’ve had it for a year or so now and I finally made use of it!” Sweet.

“Monsters” is another favorite: “You’re just two monsters, wrapped up in a head. You make a decision day to day driven by monsters.” With it’s low-key drums, guitar, bass and keys, it gives off just the slightest hiphop feel. It also reminded me of the cover so I asked Alex about it. He told me that “Monsters” and many of the other songs on Power Strangers were about “having two forces pulling in different directions in your head all the time. There’s a good side that you’re proud of and feel good about and a bad side that makes you do and say selfish things that you try not to think about. We all have both sides but it just depends on our awareness and control over them. Stuff like that.”

The album closes with the angelic “29th Scroll 6th Verse.” With his lap steel in front of a choir of himself, Mr. Benson elates the listener into a false sense of security before the prophetic scroll is read: “Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.” Now don’t worry, Alex hasn’t suddenly traveled fast down the pessimistic roller coaster, it’s simply a quote/sample from Planet of the Apes – sure caught me by surprise though!

Check out Power Strangers here. Keep in mind it was completely recorded, produced, and uploaded within 24 hours. As you listen, think about your life and how well you spend your time.

5 Stellar Live Music Videos

Rising Sun Daughter
“Sea & Stir” from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest

Teneia
“Something ’bout the Way” from The Living Room Sessions

Jeff the Band
“discotheque”

AlhhlA
“Who Shall Lead” from The Trundle Sessions

Fairy Bones
“Waiting” from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest

 

5 Feisty Singles

YabYum Music & Arts - Arizona Music BlogSundressed

The Dirt

Is it just me? Or has Sundressed really been picking up their game? I seem to like each new single more than I liked the last one. “The Dirt” – the latest single from the band – is no exception. It’s probably my favorite Sundressed track. Ever. I can’t wait to hear the new album and, thankfully, I won’t have to wait much longer. The new EP drops on April 7th. Until then, listen to “The Dirt” here.

 

Horse Black - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogHorse Black 

Popsicles

The first single from Horse Black’s forthcoming EP is here and it is awesome. If “Popsicles” is any reasonable indication of what’s to be expected from People and Places Not to See (due out 4/3/15) then I can say we’re in for one heck of a release. Clocking in at over six minutes, “Popsicles” is not the summertime jam the name might suggest. This is a brooding track that mixes indierock with darker post-punk elements. Listen to “Popsicles” from Tucson’s Horse Black here. Do it. Do it now.

 

No Vacation - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogNo Vacation

Lovefool

San Francisco’s No Vacation achieves a super cool symbiosis of indie and dreampop in their new single “Lovefool”. The song has a touch of the lounge-style singing for that hip and sultry flair that really marks No Vacation as a band you want to hear. Lana del Rey and Feist have nothing on No Vacation. Listen to “Lovefool” here and make sure you hang around to hear “Beach Bummer” which was released last month.

 

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogPaper Foxes

Bologna Pantalones

I’m all about this new track from Paper Foxes and have ostensibly had it on replay for an unhealthy amount of time. Once you get into the gritty rock of “Bologna Pantalones”, you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about. This song begs for the replay button. Lively and fierce, Paper Foxes really deliver the rocknroll on this one. Listen to “Bologna Pantalones” here and make sure you catch this band live. You’ll get your chance on April 4th when Paper Foxes will be releasing their new CD!

 

The Old Storm - YabYum Music & Arts - Arizona Music BlogThe Old Storm

Ain’t Got No Love

Bluesy rockers The Old Storm have a rad new track to share. Well, new to us. It was actually released through Soundcloud several months back, but it somehow slipped past us. Better late than never, right? “Ain’t Got No Love” is feisty and fun. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more from The Old Storm in the realm of recordings. Listen to “Ain’t Got No Love” here.

YabYum Seven: Andy Brown

andy brown 01
All photos provided by Andy Brown

Who are you and what do you do?

I am referred to as Andy Brown, I prefer to spend my time making art and doing things that will inspire making art such as: camping, travelling, meeting new people and having new experiences. Sometimes that means hanging out with a totally different crowd of people, sometimes that means drawing something I normally wouldn’t draw.

How did you get your start?

​Growing up, I used to build forts in the desert and then I would draw in them. Teenage years were spent skateboarding and drawing and the natural evolution happened I guess. I am thankful to the folks that have supported me in recent years because that has allowed me to continue.

What inspires you?

​Having space in life and a free horizon in front. That usually means I’ve let go of previous things.

What do you like about AZ?

​The desert landscape, the sunsets, the fact that you can look up and see so much blue.

andy brown 02Where can we see you(r) work?

​Some mural work is online at soldierleisure.com. ​You can see physical murals and art in many states and some out of country works.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Live life fully as a man and artist.

What is your mantra?

​I have no mantra 🙂 (mean that positively).

~

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