4 Feisty New Releases

YabYum Music & ArtsConsumer

Consumer

I’ve been a fan of Consumer since the get-go, since way back in 2014 when the trio released their first single, “Vassals”. Now here we are, almost one year from when I first encountered the band, and in that time Consumer has been able to surmount countless other bands to become one of my favorite post-punk acts on the scene. Consumer has cultivated their own style of heavy post-punk noise music that transcends the barriers of genre. Not quite punk, not quite metal, not quite noise, all around raging. Consumer’s recent four-track, self-titled release continues to push boundaries of structure and sound to create a furious charge of dark energy that only finds release in thrashing about for a few tracks. After 7 minutes of “I Didn’t Care”, I guarantee you’ll feel that 21st century burden of anger, fear, hopelessness, and horror lighten ever so briefly. Check out Consumer by Consumer right here. I also recently had the chance to catch Consumer live in Tempe thanks to The Underground Foundation (TUF) and I must say that this is a band you definitely want to see perform. And, there should be plenty of chances to see them live because the band has a hectic schedule of shows including two events at The Time Out Lounge on 9/21 & 10/3 and another show at Metalheads Clubhouse on 9/25.


YabYum Music & ArtsAdult Arcade

Sounds that Ate My Brain!

The Phoenix three-piece pop punk outfit known as Adult Arcade released their debut LP this summer. Sounds that Ate My Brain! has all the feisty, fun energy you want from your pop punk in the summertime. Or anytime, for that matter. The LP kicks off with “Lift Off”. I suggest turning the volume way up until you can hear the vitality surging all around you. The following track, “Fallen”, proves the energy won’t diminish as the album continues. Adult Arcade keeps things lively throughout Sounds that Ate My Brain! making it one of my new favorites to turn on when I need a jolt of pep in a dismal day. Ryan Butler of Arcane Digital Studios recorded the new LP from Adult Arcade. The band is opening for Authority Zero on Sept. 19th at the Marquee Theatre with some other great local punk rockers including Lightspeedgo and Contradiktikon so make some plans to catch them live. Until then, you can listen to (and purchase) Sounds that Ate My Brain! from Adult Arcade here.

YabYum Music & ArtsSunshower

Leader of the Cult

Sunshower might sound like a cheerfully bright summer day, but the band that carries that moniker definitely tends to walk the darker path. The Phoenix four-piece released their new EP, Leader of the Cult, back in July. The new release opens with “Blu”, immediately setting Sunshower up as a hard rocking band without the same oppressive angst that seems to define the genre these days. Sunshower picks up where bands like Nirvana left off. tracks like “Sorry” and “Loner Boy” definitely have some Cobain-esque moments. After years and years, and thousands of bands, pushing rock toward the softer side of indie and Americana, I’m excited to hear some harder bands sticking to the conventions of rocknroll rather than crossing into adjacent genres like punk or metal. My favorite track from the new EP is “Slave to the Season” which does have some warmer hues than other songs heard on Leader of the Cult. Sunshower recorded Leader of the Cult at Catalyst Studio. You can preview and purchase the EP here.

YabYum Music & ArtsThe Dirt Bike Kids

Appetite for Construction

Pop punk of the 90s raged in my teenage heart which might explain my excitement when I discovered the Dirt Bike Kids had released (re-released?) Appetite for Construction, a high-strung EP that is as much fun today as it was back when it was first released back in 1998. From beginning to end, Appetite for Construction offers listeners upbeat antics that will have you thrashing around your living room (or car or office or anywhere else you hit play). “More than Anything”, the opening track, contains high school drama surrounded by a thick layer of angsty energy that brings back my earlier music-listening days. The songs on Appetite for Constuction hold strong for contemporary punk rockers. I’ll definitely suggest that fans of the genre check out Appetite for Construction here. Dirt Bike Kids have a reunion extravaganza planned for later this month with Girl Repellent and Keep Away and more. You can find out more about that event here.

Sex with Strangers: Arizona Theatre Company & Stray Cat Theatre Kick-Off New Season

sex with strangers yabyumwestby Lenore LaNova
Senior Editor

To kick off the 2015/2016 season the prestigious Arizona Theatre Company joined forces with the provocative Stray Cat Theatre to bring Sex with Strangers to life. The play, which opened last weekend at the Herberger, was a delightfully witty romp through love and literature.

I found the play to be much more thoughtful than I initially expected given the raunchy title. Sex with Strangers addresses contemporary questions of identity and, more specifically, public versus private personas in the digital age. Of course, there’s a lot more funny, sexy time in these two acts than that previous statement suggests.

As a writer (and aspiring novelist) watching the play made me a little too self-conscious at moments. I had to forcibly ignore the sideways glances from my partner when the dialogue hit a little too close to home. Playwright Laura Eason manages to isolate and identify many of the specific anxieties that plague artists with painful nuance.

Thankfully, there were plenty of comedic moments to assuage any awkward embarrassment or painful revelations. Director Ron May did a superb job of maintaining this delicate balance in his rendering of Eason’s work.

Heather Lee Harper and Tyler Eglen take the lead (and only) roles in the play. Sex with Strangers revolves around a relationship that develops between two strangers who find themselves stranded in a cabin on a snowy night. Harper and Eglen navigate the tension of newly emerging love between two people who really don’t know that much about each other with all the playfulness and awkwardness one might expect.

The moments of anguish and aggression that arise in this modern love story find authentic expression through Harper and Eglen. I only found myself aware that I was watching a play, and not somehow magically witnessing an exchange between strangers, occurred when the characters took a passionate turn. But, hey, it was opening night and the pair was about to spend some serious time in their skivvies in front of a full house.

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Heather Lee Harper and Tyler Eglen star in Sex with Strangers.

Sex with Strangers should be added to the schedule of any performing arts aficionado. It will run through October 11th in Phoenix. For all our Tucson readers, you can expect Sex with Strangers this coming February.

And, as this was the opening of the season, the bar has been set high for both the Arizona Theatre Company and Stray Cat Theatre. I expect wonderful things to follow. It looks like both companies have some interesting works to bring to Valley stages.

The Arizona Theatre Company will be giving life to two Pulitzer Prize winning plays in addition to Of Mice and MenHershey Felder as Irving Berlin and several others. I, for one, am looking forward to The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord. a new comedy written by Scott Carter.

As for Stray Cat Theatre, it looks like the 2015-2016 season will be as lively as ever with Green Day’s American Idiot, Stupid Fucking Bird, and Heathers: The Musical. Yes, people, you heard me. Heathers: The Musical. 

For more information, please check out the following links: 

Arizona Theatre Company

Stray Cat Theatre

For show dates and tickets to Sex with Strangers, head here.

YabYum Seven: Valerie Hunt

Hunt 1
“How old are you deep inside” – stamping of hand

1. Who are you and what do you do? 

Valerie Hunt: Artist, Interior Designer, Professor, Dancer and DJ. Eclectic and always have been.

As a DJ, I focus on engaging guests with dance activities, line dances and games that encourage everyone to get up and dance, along with providing group dance lessons and dance performances at private, corporate, and publicly-sponsored, themed events. Find me on Facebook here and my website here.

As an artist, I select between mixed media, sculpture, painting, performance, video, social engagement and/or installation – whatever it takes to communicate my idea. Let’s focus on my role as an artist for this interview.

2. How did you get your start?    

After high school I pursued a bachelor’s degree in interior design, instead of art, to be certain that I’d make a good living. After graduating from LSU, I practiced commercial interior architecture for 20 years.

Years after graduation, I took a college painting class for fun to create some “Sofa art” for my new home. I quickly learned not to do that! I learned that I had a talent for art and pursued a BFA in painting and sculpture from FAU in Florida. I still wanted more, so I applied and earned a master’s degree from ASU. Since then, I have enjoyed taking ten post-graduate art classes at ASU. Mixed in with all these classes that I’ve taken, I’ve also taught 140 college-level classes in art and design as either full time professor or adjunct.

Hunt 2
“How Old Are You Deep Inside” – Paper playing cards in metal box, 5″ x 3″ x 1″

3. What inspires you?

Inspiration comes from my life experiences, along with social observations and situations. For example, I am finding inspiration in the posts from a Facebook Group that I created: Something Your Parents Told You. I ask group members to post their answer to this question: “Tell me a phrase or sentence that your parents told you as a child. List the first thing that comes to mind”.

This new body of work is a glimpse into what parents tell their children that can become emotional baggage. Some things my parents told me as a child play silently in the back of my head, unrelentingly. Friends and acquaintances are helping me through this predicament by sharing their own memories. I find this fascinating, pairing what was said to “who they are”. I am creating all sorts of artworks with the quotes.

Inspiration also comes from being immersed in a learning environment: observing what other artists are doing, getting feedback from peers, participating in collaborative efforts, being in situations that open my eyes to new things and finding mentors that push me in directions that I would never think of. When I am teaching, my students often inspire me.

4. What do you like about AZ? 

It is easy to live here. I like the weather (for eight months of the year), the desert, the mountains, and being a part of the art scene here. I have also liked every other place that I have lived: Rochester (NY), Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, and West Palm Beach.

Hunt 3
“Mobility” – acrylic sheet, wood and mixed media, 32″ x 10″ x 19″

5. Where can we see your work?

My website is ValHunt.com. For just images of my work, go to my Flickr page here. My Facebook artist page is called Valerie Hunt Fine Art (go to Photos and open the Albums tab to see my artwork).

I have a solo installation at Lotus Contemporary Art, 511 E. Roosevelt, Phoenix in October 2105. The show will feature both new work and crowd favorites from How Old Are You Deep Inside?  It’s from my ongoing series, called Aging Sucks, which seeks to document my personal observations and frustrations of getting older. If I have ever stamped your hand in the past, it will be in the show.

Small affordable artworks of mine are for sale at three venues (as of August 2015): {9} The Gallery, at Solo Trattoria (in the Esplanade across from the Biltmore on Camelback), and in the gift shop at Shemer Art Center.

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

I’d like to continue teaching. It’s my way of nurturing and giving back.

7. What is your mantra?

My mantra is “stay curious” and “live to learn”.

Hunt 4
“Mom is 45 deep inside” – light box with transparency, 12″ x 4″
Hunt 5
“Springs” – acrylic sheet, metal, wood, spray paint, 26″ x 6″ x 28″
Hunt 6
Triped Installation – “Conflict” – clay (45 triped), 72″ x 12″
hunt 8
“Age is Just a Number” – two views, mixed media, 13″ x 8″ x 11″
hunt 9
“Aging Sucks Eye Chart” – mixed media, 40″ x 14″ x 5″
hunt 11
“How Old Are You Deep Inside” – acrylic and plastic on four canvases, 53″ x 48″

Songs from the Reading Room: The Lonesome Wilderness

The Lonesome Wilderness came down to YabYum HQ to record our second installment of Songs from the Reading Room! This stellar Tempe band has that dusty desert sound we love so very much. Check out the video and then make plans to see The Lonesome Wilderness live this coming month. You’ll have two chances: Oct. 7th at Pho Cao in Scottsdale and Oct. 17th at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

Check out the first installment of “Songs from the Reading Room” featuring Andy Warpigs here!

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

 

3 Albums for the End of the Summer

by Joe Golfen
Staff Writer

YabYum Music & ArtsPhantom Party

Stellar

The infectious surf guitar that kicks off Phantom Party’s debut release tells you everything you need to know about this record, in the best way possible. That jittery riff, drenched in thick reverb and dense atmosphere, makes “Catholic School” totally irresistible, and if there was any justice in this world, it would be the inescapable song of summer for 2015. The rest of the record is just as impressive, offering dark surf tunes that should make fans of The Growlers or early Wavves very happy. And like those bands, Phantom Party fills their upbeat tunes with introspective, often dark lyrics, like this verse from “Catholic School”: “I hope that Mother Mary forgives me/ For losing faith when I was seventeen/I got on my knees and I sang a hymn/I was born in purity and I was raised by sin.” This Phoenix four-piece recorded the record themselves in their bedrooms over the course of two days, and this is one of the best local records I’ve heard in a long time. I’m very excited to see what they do next. Listen to Stellar from Phatom Party here.

YabYum Music & ArtsLay-Luz

Lay-Luz

This record sounds like it was custom made for the drive on the I-10 headed to California, recalling the sun-bleached desert and the heat mirage roads, leading to an ocean oasis not far away. With their warm echo-chamber vocals and fuzzy, vibrato-heavy guitars, Lay-Luz have crafted a perfect summer record. The breezy “Adonis” kicks things off right, with a surfy drum roll and infectious “whoa whoa whoas” from singer Hans Miles, bassist Brandon Altopp and drummer Grant Hiiva. The rest of the album keeps a similarly hazy and low-key feel, though they add in dashes of punk intensity and brooding psychedelia. A great listen. Check out the self-titled release from Lay-Luz here

 

YabYum Music & Arts

Surf

Locals

With a name like Surf and an album cover featuring a bleached out photo of palm trees, you’d think Locals would be lightweight, summer jams. But instead, Aaron “Surf” Tijerina has crafted a deeply personal record, highlighting his love of the ocean and seaside towns he frequents for surfing. Backed by little more than a reverby guitar, light drumming and the sounds of the ocean, Tijerina lays out his somewhat mystical feelings about the sea, while the music nods to mellow reggae and funky-folk. The record is perhaps best explained in the opening lines of “National City,” where Tijerina croons “Moving up the coast/Searching for freedom/I think I found myself/Or at least I can see him.” A perfect record for chilled out summer nights or slow drives up the Pacific Highway. Listen to Locals by Surf here.

Why You Should Listen: Unholy Quest

YabYum Music & Artsby Frank Ippolito
Associate Editor

Disclaimer: I never listen to Death Metal. But I will listen to Death Metal if a band covers shitty Pop music in that style. So without further adieu, I give you, Unholy Quest, and their EP of covers titled Death Pop.

Taylor Swift, Jessie J (whoever the fuck, that is), Bruno Mars, and Iggy Azalea, get the royal kick in the teeth from this Internet project. That’s right, the songs were created via the Internet.

Think: crowdsourcing, but in a Death Metal-y way.

Unholy Quest has no less than 15 members, scattered all across the universe (I really don’t know where they are but it sounds pretty impressive). Speaking of impressive, how are these dudes getting everyone on a schedule to get shit recorded, I can’t even get four people into a room without a court order…

To the music.

Why you should listen:

Because any time one of these stupid pop stars getting a pie in the face, especially from a Death Metal band, well, yeah.

What you should listen for:

Well, um, it’s Death Metal, so there’s a lot of growl/singing, which is totally awesome, and it’s a lot of fun to sing along with the lyrics (I mean, once you look them up…).

What they sound like:

They sound exactly like each of these pop stars screaming, locked in a darkened room somewhere in a Black Op camp, while forced to listen to their crappy music.

Perfect listening for:

Smashing each of these artist’s records.

My favorite part:

The “Intro”. It is the perfect commentary on the whole, “Don’t you know who I am?”-pop-star culture. Good for these guys.

Listen to Death Pop from Unholy Quest here.

3 New Releases You Should Check Out

YabYum Music & ArtsThe Wanda Junes

Hi Fi Record Album 

The Wanda Junes, those alt-country sweethearts from the Old Pueblo that first captured our hearts (and attention) with Live at Tempe Stallion Ranch, are back with a new full-length released through Flagstaff’s Emotional Response Records. The new record, efficiently titled Hi Fi Record Album, features some of the songs from their earlier release in addition to several new tracks. “Grand River Saloon” kicks off the album with a downhome-in-the-desert feel. The second track, “Two Birds”, says “I can’t wait to piss on your grave” in the prettiest way possible. The following song, “Bucket”, is a personal favorite I was first introduced to on Live at the Tempe Stallion Ranch. New favorites include “Miner” with its haunting vocals and the dusty number, “Ain’t Born Alone”. Hi Fi Record Album was recorded at Tempe’s 513 Recording and features Valley musicians Lonna Kelley and Matt Wiser in addition to the stellar cast of players that makes up The Wanda Junes. Preview (and purchase) the album here. It would definitely be worth the drive to Tucson on Sept. 19 to check out The Wanda Junes live for the album release. They’ll be performing along with Ex Cowboy and Louise Le Hir, two Tucson favs. More info on that event here. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until Nov. 6th when The Wanda Junes head to Phoenix to perform at Valley Bar. Mark your calendars!

 

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogFlower Festival

Cry Baby 

The dreampop of Flower Festival definitely heads in a more effervescent direction than other shoegaze acts despite a tendency towards depressive lyrics. Cry Baby opens with “What a Sob Story” which makes the listener suddenly want to dance… until, that is, the lyrics sink in. Then a mixture of dancing and crying might be required. “I Don’t Matter” is both lyrically sparse and poignant, offering listeners a meditative experience; mellow and spaced out yet strikingly beautiful. Overall, the EP could be described as such but the underlying theme of self-depreciation makes the music a little too self-conscious to be truly meditative. The excessive modesty extends beyond Cry Baby  to the band’s public announcements of the EP and subsequent singles and videos. For example, Flower Festival annouced through Facebook a “new video for my lame new song” or “dumb new album. cry baby.” The affectation seems a little contrived at times and threatens to downplay the album by presenting more of a gimmick than an authentic of expression of self, but once you listen to Cry Baby you get swept along in the sea of doubt set to the rhythms of dreamy and compelling music. I definitely recommend giving Cry Baby a listen for yourself. You can preview and purchase the new EP from Flower Festival here.

 

Dirt Moon - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogDirt Moon

When We Were Animals

Dirt Moon achieves a striking balance of hard and mellow rock on their new EP, When We Were Animals. Melodic and dark, When We Were Animals secures Dirt Moon a place amongst my favorite local alt-rockers. The album opens with “Speechless” with the aggressive, grungy acoustic rock the Phoenix five-piece is known for, but with a totally pro recording. Fans of Dirt Moon got an early sampling of the second track, “Palinopsia/Wretched Tune”, back in February when the band released an earlier version of the track as a single. The new recording includes an extended piano outro and a slightly different name as well as a smoothed down sound that helps define the EP overallWhich leads me to this: the latest EP from Dirt Moon has a much more professional sound than previous releases. That’s not to say I wasn’t about 2013’s The Cover Story – I was – but I’m glad to see the band stepping it up. And When We Were Animals is a decided step in a good direction. The EP follows suit with early releases from the band and was recorded with a friend (Kyle Francis) at various houses around the Valley. With four of the five tracks on When We Were Animals clocking in at over four minutes (or five or six!), this EP is a hefty listen you’ll want to sit down with or, better yet, drive around listening to with the volume turned up. Get your hands on When We Were Animals (digitally speaking) from Dirt Moon here.