3 Solo Sonic Savants

solo sonic savant 01Hug of War

Emancipate Your Ears! 5000 Years of Global Music Domination Exposed​!​!

“One of the best pieces of advice I got from a book was from Role Models by John Waters. He advised the reader to go to thrift stores and seasonal Halloween stores the day after Halloween when everything’s on sale, and pick out a uniform of defiance. These words of wisdom have served me well!” So states Jason Kron, aka Hug of War, when asked about his impeccable style sense and wardrobe. However, I feel this”uniform” can be applied to his songs as well: one-of-a-kind, left of the norm hip-hop/dance tracks. Opening with “I Need Music”, Jason throws down on the subject that saved his life and what “we must do to save its life.” Using Garageband and Logic, Kron goes “for a specific kind of cheesy sound” but the effect works well. Kron creates old-school sounding jams you can’t help but bob your head to. “Down With Parents” may seem like a tongue-in-cheek rant on first listen but peek a little a closer and you will see that it’s a serious statement on not forcing your children to conform to ideas and mindsets already ingrained in your misguided head. “Between mommy and media, of course Pee-Wee’s a deviant/Could be brilliant, but you prefer obedient/DOWN WITH PARENTS!” An ode to the one-and-only Space Alien Donald (with whom Hug of War has shared a mutual musical affinity), is featured on “My Best Friend From Outer Space.” If you’re unfamiliar with Space Alien Donald, Jason breaks it down for you: “I am a space alien, I rap about robots and cocks/Question everything, and don’t forget to sing/It’s not enough to think outside the box.” Boy, we are going to miss Donald, who recently passed, as well. On “Treat Me Sweetly Until We Die” Hug of War tells the story of Bruce and how, unfortunately,  his life is not going very well. Fortunately, however, “Love makes it alright,” even if you have to love someone from afar, without reciprocity. Hug of War states that: “Though this may seem like yet another harmless album for mindless consumption, it contains subliminal instructions on how to break down the mental barriers set up by those in power. With the help of these righteous anthems, you will reach your full potential and achieve all of your dreams.” And you know something, I believe him. My biggest complaint is that I wish there was more! Listen to Emancipate Your Ears! here.


solo sonic savant 02Local Wizards


One of the first releases on Rubber Brother Records this year was Business by Kendall Humbert, aka Local Wizards, and it is definitely an album you want to check out. After surviving on singles for a couple years, Business is a welcome feast to say the least. It’s just so good. Minimalist, sample-based “chipfolk glitch,” 98% of the samples are instruments Kendall played himself. Using Logic, Humbert samples himself playing something once and then loops it “forever and ever.” The effect is ear-catching, for sure. Kendall has a genuine ability to write interesting, melodic vocal lines to accompany the glitch as well, contrasting the two to great effect. “Riches” opens the album with synthesized, a capella harmonies that lead right into heavy bass and airy drums. It’s one of my favorites on the album and sets Business off right. “Thorns”, another favorite, was one of the aforementioned singles and I’m glad to see it get placed on the album. Featuring some beautifully sampled piano, Kendall begs the question, “Do you want to be my friend?” “Franzia” brings the tempo down a bit before “Thorns, Pt. 2” picks it back up with its bell-pattern drum beat and “outdoor concert” guitar solo. At least that’s what I feel when I hear it. “Matthew McConaughey” is my personal favorite on the album. “They say a lot about the modern generation/ A lot of plastic kids in a plastic life…I hear a lot about the international way of things/ but I can’t seem to find myself across state lines.” The track builds and builds before ending with harmonious keys and then a sample from 3:23 onward that you just have to hear for yourself (“Guys bein’ dudes”). “Milk” is another single I’m glad to see made Business. Humbert’s ability to write a drumbeat is staggering, something I first noticed with his 2012 release, The Signal. He stated that he has “a kind of hip-hop way to go about making indie music, assuming that doesn’t sound stupid.” No sir, it doesn’t. “What U Did,” “Let’s Go Out,” and “Itadakimasu” close out the album and, while I enjoy the songs immensely, the “glitch” effect on the music becomes a little more than my ears can handle. They must be deteriorating at a rapidly accelerated rate. Listen to Business here.


emeralds 01Emeralds

It Was Only You

Sean Magruder, aka Emeralds, makes instrumental, experimental music on the chill end of the aural spectrum. Released last October, It Was Only You definitely made me stop and check out everything he was laying down. Opening with “YouInReverse”, the chord structure and tone remind me of Angelo Badalamenti and a lost track from Twin Peaks. Great place to start. Electric guitar provides the main melody on the second song “SeasonsOver.” Although Sean uses Pro Tools to create his sounds and “almost all of my music,” he again incorporates his electric guitar on the third track, “WhatCanIDoToMakeYouUnderstand”, with great success. I believe it to be a good thing when stating he would like to implement his guitar more. After the sample-centered “Attention/Affection” and the piano-lead “Interlude” (which sounds like the ending-theme to a retro television program – despite the modern hi-hat), the album closes with “EyesLikeEmeralds”. Part crypt, Lynch, and synth, “EyesLikeEmeralds” encapsulates the entire Emeralds sound and is a favorite from It Was Only You. Give the album a listen on Bandcamp here. For some newer tracks check out the Emeralds SoundCloud page. Rumor has it a new album is due out soon!

5 Fantastic Fundraisers

Send Jerusafunk on Tour!!

We love that local funktrain Jerusafunk is raising needed tour funds the old-fashioned way with a knockout event certainly to live emblazened on the minds of all attendees for years to come. You should be there. Really. You want to be there. The fundraising spectacularama will be happening on May 17th at Lawn Gnome Publishing. Jerusafunk has planned an all-day BBQ extravaganza featuring bands like Boss Frog, Supa Joint, Pro Teens, Casual Encounters, Fairy Bones, Fathers Day and many others. More information on the event (including the complete list of performers) here.

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Help Fund Shining Soul’s European Tour

Phoenix hiphop artists known as Shining Soul is taking their music to Germany! The act has a sixteen day tour already planned for this June but they can use a little help making it happen. Contributors can earn some rad schwag like band t-shirts and hoodies.  And you can rest easy knowing you helped put PHX HipHop on the world map. More info here.

Shining Soul - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog


Related Records’ Compliation “Everybody’s Looking At Their Phone Project”

Some of you might remember ​“.​.​.​It’s Called A Seperation”: 10 Years of Fathers Day, a commemorative release wherein16 different acts offered up their rendition of “Did I Use the Word Divorce?” to mark Fathers Day decennial. It looks like they’re ready to launch another project of a similar nature, this time covers and remixes of the song “Everybody’s Looking at Their Phone” originally written by Eli Kluger of the band Slacker’s Agenda. They’re asking for a modest amount and you can secure some truly unique rewards (including the opportunity to accompany Kluger on a Goodwill trip). More here

 Help Disappointing Monsters Transition to Print!

The folks behind the webseries known as Disappointing Monsters are ready to release a 5 issue mini-series, but they need a little help! There are some super fabulous original items up for grabs in exchange for contributions, including a spot as an “extra” in Disappointing Monsters. More information can be found here

Disappointing Monsters - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Help Teneia Claim Her Tiny Musical House

Songbird Teneia and her partner in both song and life, Ben, have plans on taking their Phoenix act on the road… permanently. That’s right, folks. They’re going to be living the dream, traveling from town to town, living only by their talents and wit, but they need a little assistance getting the tiny musical house that will carry them from town to town. In exchange for your goodwill, you can earn some awesome rewards – including personalized songs or even a flying lesson. Yes, in an actual plane. More here

RPM Orchestra: Hit On All Sixes

RPM Orchestra 01by Brent Miles
Contributing Writer

One need only look at some of the instruments featured on RPM Orchestra’s latest album to realize this is something different and intriguing from our desert. Hit On All Sixes is a refreshing detour from rote rock and roll.

Conductor Pete Petrisko coaxes otherworldly sounds from unconventional tools such as typewriter percussion, AM and shortwave radio, as well as other assorted noisemakers. Holding it all down are more traditional instruments: Banjo, flute, clarinet, bass and guitar courtesy of Jim Dustan and Jocelyn Ruiz of local stalwarts World Class Thugs. Drummer and percussionist Erik Hunter roots it all firmly in the ground.

What may seem on the surface as random, wayward noise is actually carefully crafted melodic drones. Ambient sound collages give way to Jim and Jocelyn’s haunted harmonies evoking mountain hollers.

Mining a rich quarry of musical history, tracing veins from West Coast lysergic idealism, picking up hitchhiking ghosts from the graveyards of New Orleans, up over the Appalachian Mountains and terminating in East Coast minimalism, RPM Orchestra’s new album Hit On All Sixes features something for everyone.

Featuring live performances recorded at A.R.T.S. Market, Firehouse Gallery and The Trunk Space and released on 56th Street Records, purchase Hit On All Sixes at CD Baby here.


5 Rad Singles from New Acts to Check Out

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogThe Desert Beats

Nothing Without You

The Desert Beats have been playing shows around the Valley for quite some time, but until now, listening to them on your own time was out. I get it. Put in the time to really develop your sound and learn to mesh well as a band-unit. That’s the smart move. But, for impatient listeners like myself, waiting for these singles required large stores of a lacking virtue. If you like Westward-leaning garage rock, check out The Desert Beats. “Nothing Without You” is one of two singles the band made available to listeners in April. You can hear that song here and stick around for “Forgive Myself”.


YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogWarm Gunns

Double Mirror

The band describes their sound as “Psychedelic Fuzzy Desert Jamz”. That’s actually a pretty accurate description, but I might add the words “Awesome” or “Super Fabulous”. Infusing a 60s revivial rock in a warm garage haze, the first single from Warm Gunns in a must-hear track just in time for summer. This act is just getting off the ground, but we’re on the watch for upcoming shows. Until then, give “Double Mirror” a listen here.


Swim GamesYabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

All I Need, Love

Tucson bedroom electropop newcomer, Swim Games, is getting ready to release their debut, Girl, not Pirate!, on June 1st. Before that happens however, Swim Games has offered up a sample of what’s to come. “All I Need, Love” maintains an upbeat danceability along the exact midpoint between mellow and club. I can dig it. You can expect the rest of Girl, not Pirate! in June. Until then, all you electropop lovers should give “All I Need, Love” a listen here.


Crow Quilled ConfessionsYabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

This is the Place

Phoenix’s Crow Quilled Confessions is the musical undertaking of one Daniel Holideigh. Much like the name suggestions, this is a place to find dark confessionals drawn out at shoegazer pace. “This is the Place” is a mellow remembrance tinged with both fondness and regret. Crow Quilled Confessions has released a few tracks online in the past several months. “This is the Place” is the most recent of those recordings. Give it a listen here. Those into the heavier side of rock, I suggest checking out “I’ve Been Waiting” for a feistier Crow Quilled Confessions.


Seabear - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogSeabear


Flagstaff MC known as Seabear has some serious freestyle skills and only a few Iggy Azalea (i.e. “I’ll put a donut on my dick”) moments on his latest (self-titled) single. Jackson Richarson, a.k.a. Seabear, can lay out some stellar skat and that’s what really secured “Seabear” a spot on my current playlist. Check out “Seabear” here and make sure you check out “Butterfree” while you’re there for an easy-going freestyle.

YabYum Seven: Denise Yaghmourian

Denise Yaghmourian 01
All photos courtesy of Denise Yaghmourian

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Denise Yaghmourian and I am a mixed media artist. I work in fibers, found objects, performance and installation and any interesting material I can get my hands on. I work and play in my studio in downtown Phoenix on Grand Avenue. It is damn near my favorite place to be. My daughters enjoy being there on the weekends with me too. I have a few series of pieces that continue developing over the years. My fiber cube series is one and my figure series is the other. As an artist, I enjoy experimentation with new and interesting materials so I’m always playing around with something new. I also enjoy aimless wandering, hiking, and doing long form improv. I perform with Unicorn Warpath monthly at The Torch Theatre in Phoenix.

How did you get your start?

I feel like I got my start when I was a little kid and my Dad took the time to work with me on art projects. My first memory of creating something was with my Dad. It was a frame that we made out of a piece of wood and watercolor paints. We worked together to make a shell collage in the center. My Mom was really into showing me all sorts of historical sites including art and museums. I’m thankful for that. The Armenian side of the family (my Dad’s) were all very interested in creating art. They were painters, wood workers, and would pretty much make art out of anything. That is definitely in my blood. In more recent years, Chandler Center for the Arts gave me my first big exhibit and being an artist at Eye Lounge (years back) created a great opportunity to connect with the arts community.

Denise Yaghmourian 02
“Figure Couple”

What inspires you?

My work explores the connections between things. That is what most inspires me. I am inspired by experimentation and creation involving the use of materials which are new to me and to my development as an artist. It is for this reason that I create my work from a variety of sources and materials. I find inspiration in every aspect of life, but seem to be most drawn to the universal occurrence of pattern. Patterns in nature, in science and math, in the brain, in life and relationships are inspiring and driving forces in my work. I seek to merge naturally occurring and found pattern with my own pattern creation, thereby establishing a collaboration with the selected medium.

What do you like about AZ?

I have lived in Phoenix since 1976 and consider myself just a few years short of being a true native. So, I definitely love the memories I have of growing up in Phoenix before it got really big. That being said, I also have loved seeing all of the changes and growth over the years. I love the smell of the creosote bush after the rain. I love the arts community and being a part of it. I love getting good deals on resorts in the off season. I love being able to hike Piestewa Peak and seeing the city from above. I love seeing the empty streets of downtown Phoenix after everyone has gone home. I love that I can find scorpions with a blacklight!

Denise Yaghmourian 03
Detail of Fragile Life

Where can we see you(r) work?

My work can be seen at Bentley Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Currently, I have pieces in the sculpture exhibit, Minimally Speaking. I recently had work in Feminism Today at the monOrchid. I have work at Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art for the 2nd Juried Exhibition (currently on exhibit) and at Practical Art. I am currently working on an installation for my exhibit Fragile Life in collaboration with Eddie Shea’s exhibit, Krivanek. This collaboration (opening Third Friday, May 15) is happening thanks to the partnership of phICA and Modified Arts. If you travel to France, please visit Bogena Galerie in St. Paul de Vence where I exhibit my fiber cubes and figures. Visit my website to see more of my work and installation and performance pieces from INFLUX and ARTELPHX.


What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I’m damn happy living life each day and getting to do what I love. That’s what I’d like to keep accomplishing. Aside from that I’d like to stick around long enough to see my two daughters continue to enjoy life and do what they love to do. And, OK, silly side note: I would like an old creepy castle in Romania where I have an apothecary shop with all the elixirs that can cure everyone’s ailments. Yeah. That.

What is your mantra?

Ready. Set. GO!!!


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“Red Maneuvers”
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“Imperfectly Perfect”
Denise Yaghmourian 04
Fiber cube 12″ x 12″ x 12″


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Thrill Room at ARTELPHX


Radio Phoenix Podcast with Tyler of Diners

YabYum Music & Arts - Arizona Music Blog

Tyler from the band Diners came down to Radio Phoenix after their tour to join us on the air and play some of their favorite local tunes. You can check out the podcast here. The complete playlist can be found below.


Diners “Good Zone”

Human Behavior “Crag”

Stephen Steinbrink “Trust”

Dragons “Music Magic”

Hags “Whet Moss”

Numb Bats “Am I Right?”

French Girls “Soda Pop”

Human Weather “Darker Clothes”

Joey Kendall & the Freeloaders “A Dream I Had”

Diners “Plastic Cactus”

Filardo “I Don’t Getcha Kid”

Iji “Little Pieces”

Copper Dinosaur “Beam”

Serene Dominic “Unfriend Me”

Recorded and originally aired on January 21, 2015

5 Super Cool 3-Track Releases

It seems like the latest trend happening in music is the 3-track release. More than just a single and a b-side, but not quite an EP, the 3-track offers up a sampling of what artists have to offer. Here are a few new additions to our 3-track collection…

The Lonesome Billies - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogThe Lonesome Billies

The Day I Lost My Life

Out of Portland, The Lonesome Billies establish a fun and feisty honky tonk sound that blends seamlessly with their vintage-styled, darkly-tinged lyrics. This is definitely a band that us desert-dwellers can get behind. The 3-track opens with “Oh My Friend”, a tune that will have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet, preferably on a sawdust-covered barroom floor. The Day I Lost My Life then moves into the title track, a personal favorite from the EP. Closing the album, and completing our theme, is “Die Lonesome” which is a bit more brooding than the previous two tracks, something I can definitely get behind. Give The Day I Lost My Life a listen here and consider purchasing your very own copy.


Merit - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogMerit

The Sun Will Rise

Phoenix emo-rockers known as Merit released The Sun Will Rise early in March before heading out on a whirlwind tour of 15 shows in 15 days. The EP opens with “Drago”, a terse but impactful expression of heartbreak. That pretty much is the feeling in the tracks to follow as well. “Pops” carries a stronger sense of the loss of a parent than romantic discord. “Elizabeth” closes the 3-track, a song that, by comparison to the ones preceding it, is almost-hopeful. Sorry to say you missed your chance to score The Sun Will Rise on record. It was, alas, limited edition with only 25 (in white vinyl) available online and 25 (in purple) available from the band during their tour. Rumor has it, there are a few cassette copies still available, but you can still get the EP digitally here.


Siena Riley - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogSiena Riley 

2015 EP

This 3-track album from Siena Riley was a favorite find of mine this week. Her 2015 EP contains three ruminating tracks delivered in a Riley’s smokey monotone reminiscent of those 90s grrl rockers that stole my teenage heart. Opening with “I am a Stone”, we find a perfect combination of stripped down musicality and a lyricism that expresses dark, complex emotions through the lens of calm reflection. The second track, “Cotton”, continues this association. It is perhaps the most angst-ridden track on 2015 EP  which is saying something given the album’s brooding nature. “The High Song” picks up the pulse before the ending the release. I definitely recommend giving Siena Riley out of L.A. a listen. You can preview and purchase her 2015 EP right here.


YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogJapanese Large

Miles Away

The indie electro-pop trio known as Japanese Large is gearing up to release Miles Away, but you have an early chance to hear (and purchase) this 3-track. The EP will “officially” be available later this month. Miles Away begins with “Western Mile”, a dreamy and ambling number that clocks in at over seven minutes. Seven minutes you will probably not even notice slipping away from you. “Correct, Incorrect” follows, turning up the energy level ever so slightly. “Until the Day” closes the EP on a chill note. Give Miles Away a listen here.


The Rain Delay - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogThe Rain Delay

Carnivals & Funerals 

In order to write this review, I have to admit two harsh truths I’d prefer to keep to myself. First, sometimes a band only has 10 seconds to impress me before I move on to the next album. Sorry. The second harsh truth is this: I was moving my cursor to access a new link when The Rain Delay saved it at the very last second and managed to secure my interest. “Albuquerque (On My Mind)” starts a little rough, but don’t hit the skip button. They’ll come through for you. Emo, acoustic, and rocking, the track has enough aggression to not make you feel like a pansy while you’re emoting. The title song comes in second, mellowing the energy but not the angst before “This Isn’t My Grave” closes the EP on a similarly heartbreaking note. Released on Valentine’s Day, no less, you can hear/purchase Carnivals & Funerals here. The Rain Delay will also be performing live on April 11th at the Nile Theater – and it’s all ages!

Jared & the Mill: Life We Chose

jared & the mill 00

by Frank Ippolito
Associate Editor

Western Expansion, last year’s record from Jared & the Mill, was/is one of my favorite records, like… ever. Seriously. The width and breath of that performance was in a word, epic, and earned them a spot as the opening act for no other than Barry Gibb.

So, upon hearing that the boys were going into the studio to record a new EP, I was baited with anticipation. And following them on Facebook, Twitter, and stalking Chuck Morris III (if you haven’t read his reviews of restrooms across the country, you’re missing out), my excitement built to crescendo.

Someone once wrote that a band’s first record is usually strong (and weak, something I don’t agree with about Western Expansion), because the band finally gets to make the record they have been dreaming about for, sometimes, years – the second record serves to solidify their place in the music universe, the third to mature and experiment.

Life We Chose settles into the second category: completely showcasing Jared & the Mill’s artistry and mastery of their song writing and musical talents.

Throughout the record, Jared Kolesar continues his wonderful ability to tell a story. His lyrics and imagery paint a portrait of the trials and tribulation of life on the road. His vocals are stellar, (again and as usual), and effortless.

“The Mill”, Michael Carter, the III’s Larry Gast and Chuck Morris, Josh Marin and Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, are spectacular as ever. Unlike on Western Expansion the boys are set loose, I mean, not like, shredding solos, but one can tell each of these talented musicians are coming into their own and adding their touch to each of the tracks.

Why you should listen:

Jared & the Mill are what’s really really really good about folk/indie music and with this record they prove that a band in this category doesn’t have to resort to thumping drums and repeating the “hook” (I’m looking at you Mumford & Sons).

What you should listen for:

The maturation of the songwriting. While it isn’t the epic openness of Western Expansion please don’t fall into the trap of, “It ain’t no Western Expansion…” – because the whole of the new record is terrific.

Favorite track:

“Young and Dumb”. Why? Because this song is what I believe we can come to expect from the next record from the guys. It starts off with a blast of organ, guitars, banjo and drums. Love it.

Perfect listening for:

Simply put – anytime you want to feel good.

One more thing:

If you aren’t moved by Life We Chose, you need to check your pulse. It’s a sweeping ballad that speaks about the choices we all make and having to live with the consequences of that decision. It’s a perfect song that can either be about life, or in this case, life on the road – doing what you love and sacrificing the things you love.

Purchase Life We Chose on iTunes or check it out on Spotify.