I’ve been hooked on the bluesy garage rock of Tucson’s Katterwaul ever since 2014’s Desert Kats crossed my path. Their freshman release was going to be difficult to top but Katterwaul comes through with high shine on 15 Forever. From the gritty rocknroll of the opening track, “Sacred Thing”, the album moves into the slow-down, but no less powerful, title track. The album has some spaced out, desert psychedelic moments infused into their brash yet soulful style. I suggest “Sound of my Name” if you’re looking for a clear example of this. Other tracks like “The Sister” show more of the band’s barroom brawl energy. Frontwoman Brittany Katter has that edgy coolness that emanates from everything she touches, most especially Katterwaul itself. Add to that the musical prowess of Ben Schneider on drums, Laura Horley on bass, and Jeff Lownsbury laying down some stellar guitar work. The new release was recorded by Jordan Prather of Commercial Appeal Records. We like to see the label keeping it eclectic with this new edition to its menagerie. If you head down to Tucson, there are plenty of chances to catch Katterwaul live. Let’s hope they’re planning some Phoenix shows in the not-too-distant future. Until then, you can preview and purchase 15 Forever (and see show dates) here.
The self-titled release from PRO TEENS has been a much-anticipated addition to my local music catalogue. Maybe that has something to do with the with the fact I’ve seen them perform more than a dozen times since their inception. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’ve gone against the contemporary current getting into the studio as soon as the band finishes writing their first few songs, so I’ve had to wait a little while for this one. The PRO TEENS full-length opens with “Control”, the first single from the album (which you can see the video for here). There is something dismally modern (and I mean that in a good way) about PRO TEENS’ retro-revamped style. Sometimes it seems like the music is moving towards you in sludgy waves, forsaking the crispness other artists pursue when incorporating a throwback trend. I think this is an interesting permutation on the retro-restyled bands that have been popping up on the scene of late. A little more honest if a little more hopeless. That being said, “One of these Days,” one of the album’s more optimistic tracks, is one of my favorites from PRO TEENS. Tracks like “Gjeez, Kjinny” and “Mona” have incorporated a bit of a lounge-act feel that I can definitely get behind while songs like “Lisa” and “Randal Can’t Handle” lean more to the surf-pop side of the beach blanket. Throughout the album there are subtle shifts in style that can be heard within the overarching PRO TEENS sound. Fans will not be disappointed. Listen to PRO TEENS by PRO TEENS here. I also suggest heading out to Valley Bar on Nov. 25th to catch the band live. Once again, you won’t be disappointed.
The psychedelic garage pop of Tucson’s Harsh Mistress has an effervescent quality that lifts you out of the dredges of daily life. The album opens with “Black Moon” and I thought I was in for just another collection of resurgent rocknroll, albeit, a really rad collection. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that I had stumbled across something truly special. Harsh Mistress offers something refreshingly unique. Listen to “It’s A Bright Clear Day” and see if your life doesn’t get better. It’s hard to pick a favorite track although “Why Can’t You Be Serious?” and “Neva Hadda” are definitely in the running. “Static Castle” completes this nostalgia-tinged album with just the right amount of sentimentalism. Matt Rendon and Jeremy Schliewe are the musical partnership behind Harsh Mistress, two names those familiar with Tucson music might readily recognize from projects like The Resonars (Rendon) or The Freezing Hands (Schliewe), amongst other musical endeavors. Harsh Mistress’ self-titled debut is available on cassette from Burger Records here. The album is also available for preview and purchase through Bandcamp here. I guarantee it will get you dancing.