An Insider’s Introduction: Ryan Avery

ryan avery 01by Senior Editors

Ryan Avery is majestic.

The oddball vocalist who practically grew up in the Phoenix scene and now runs a weirdo/specialty label, Related Records. Not only is it an avenue for his own musical projects, he’s released a bevy of albums by some awesome Arizona acts including Dinosaur Love, Human Behavior, Serene Dominic, Space Alien Donald, and Treasure Mammal to name but a few.

And who can forget the compilations? A master curator, Ryan has released such classics as Everybody’s Looking At Their PhoneWhere’s The White Shadow? (a tribute to the hardcore and punk catalog of the Beastie Boys), and SELF: a compilation of music that is self aware and self absorbed., again, to name but just a few.

Sure, he’s had a documentary film made about him, played over 1,000 shows, and sometimes DJs — yet he remains the humblest of men. Ryan took the time to catch up with us and fill us in on some history, what’s happening now in Camp Avery, and offer a sneak peek forward to some future endeavors. Read the full interview below…


YabYum: What first got you interested in music?

Ryan Avery: I can’t remember a time when I was not interested in music. My oldest brother Matt was always into pretty cool music and he shared it with my siblings and me. It was always a pretty big variety of music too, but the stuff that has made the biggest impression on me has been They Might Be Giants, R.E.M., The Dead Milkmen, and The Violent Femmes. Matt took me to my first few shows and took me to buy my first few cassettes and CDs when I was 8 or 9 years old.

When did you first start playing for audiences?

My first band to play shows regularly was a band called Locking Your Car Doors. Our first show was July 2003. We all dressed as the Unabomber, our shows were fun, messy and obnoxious. The band consisted of anywhere from two members to a dozen each show, sometimes we played instruments, and sometimes we played a mix CD of party music and did karaoke over it. Pretty much every time we played we made a mess. We were banned from most venues in the Phoenix area (some of which before we even got a chance to play). Our last show was May 2006 and we made everyone sign a waiver before entering the building because we drove a car into the building (show was at the phix which was an old auto-body shop converted into an art gallery on Grand Ave.) and demolished it in a small space. It was awesome and terrifying.

Before that band though, I played drums for a handful of ska and punk bands (most of which never played live) and DJed high school parties between the ages of 12-16.

So what musical projects do you currently perform with?

I am currently just performing solo under the name Hi My Name Is Ryan. All my other projects are on hiatus or in the works.

How long ago did you start Hi My Name is Ryan? What was your very first musical endeavor?

Hi My Name Is Ryan started at the end of 2004. The first bands I started were in elementary school. They never really left the school-yard or went beyond writing songs and drawing artwork for albums I never recorded. The first band that played a live show called The Putties we played one show in 2002, then broke up.

And, for our readers who are not aware, a film was made documenting you called Hi My Name is Ryan, correct? How old were you at the time of filming?

Hi My Name Is Ryan was filmed in August 2006 and premiered at Cine-Vegas in 2008. It is a film about all the different musical and artistic projects I had during that time and about the music and arts scenes I was involved with in Phoenix. It toured film festivals from 2008-2010 and eventually it was put on the shelf. I put it up on YouTube on April Fools Day a couple years ago as a gag for a day, I took it down after getting yelled at by the producers of the film and then quietly put it back on YouTube for Christmas that same year.

ryan avery related logoRelated Records has been in operation for how long now?

Related Records has been in operation since 2013.

What initially prompted you to start the label?

I thought for years that before I could start a label I needed a lot more money, organization or connections. Then while I was going to school for music business it just hit me “I can do this, anyone can do this, WHY AM I NOT DOING THIS!?” So I got started, I only told a handful of people that I was working on it until the first release was ready. I didn’t want it to end up being one of those things I never actually would have seen through.

Does Related Records have a mission statement?

Not an official one. The mission of Related Records has always been to put out music that I love and believe in. Every release is also limited to less than 500 copies to make them extra special and more valuable.

How do you usually find bands to work with for your label? Is it usually people you know personally? Or that you’ve seen perform? Or do people submit music to you?

Every artist has a different story for why I am putting their music out. With only a few exceptions, I have known these artists for a while and in every case it’s an artist I really love and admire.

I know you got started younger than a lot of folks in the local music scene but it seems like you’ve been part of #PHXMUSIC forever now. Has your perspective on the music scene (or on music-making) changed a lot since those early teenage days?

I used to run which was a local ska music website where people could find out about old and current ska bands and where they were playing. I also made flyers for shows that were not being promoted “good enough,” made Help Wanted flyers for bands when they would lose a member, had a message board and list of cool/safe people who would provide rides for people to and from shows (it was called a skarpool).

Towards the end of that I started with my friend Emily Spentrino-Murtagh and it was a show listing/promotional company that only had 3 rules:

1. All shows are all ages.
2. All shows are under $15 (most were under $5)
3. All shows are shows we would actually like to attend.

I had a big list of websites I would scower for information, a list of artists, promoters and venues that I would call every month to find out what was happening and put it all in a simple text based website that just had a big list of shows for the whole state of Arizona. The website also had a list of cool promoters who were booking shows that fit these restrictions that touring bands could contact if they wanted a show.

It was a lot of work and was a full time job for 1 person, and I was able to do it because I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities, only worked part time, and was passionate about the scenes (I was a part of) being healthy and active.

I still care a lot about the scenes but over 10-12 years of running AZSka and The Good Shows (plus working with a bunch of other promotional companies, venues and galleries that I didn’t get into here) I realized that most people didn’t feel the way I did and things that are important to a scene or community come and go. When I say that I don’t mean to sound like caring is a waste of time, and I feel like the time and effort I put into things helped and were really rad, but I just don’t want to do that anymore.

I use to get so mad if certain people or friends didn’t come out to a show or support a band or something and it hit me that I was expecting these people to care like I did and that’s unrealistic and shitty. So now I just do my own thing and if people care about it, that’s great–if they don’t that’s fine too because I don’t do it for them and when I really think about it, I never did.

My perspective on music making has always been: You have an idea > you do it > if it’s terrible so what? > if it’s great — that’s great and people will usually recognize that it’s great > but you gotta express every idea otherwise you’re suppressing thoughts and feelings and they will mostly likely manifest themselves in a terrible way.

As I’ve gotten older though, I have enjoyed putting more thought, time and energy into my music then I did when I was a kid, but I still try to see through every song/recording/artistic idea I have without worry or fear of what others will think.

I know you spent some time living in Los Angeles. Sooo what were you doing out there? Working with a radio station? Meeting/signing LA acts? Learning where all the good vegan restaurants are? Inquiring minds want to know…

Sara and I moved to Los Angeles to live closer to her family and to be closer to the industries and things we like. I worked at the Bootleg Theater 1-2 times a week; worked full time for a breakfast spot/tourist trap called Eggslut and then later for a delicious bakery/dessert spot called Valerie. I was planning on working on a musical I started writing before we moved called “Meningitis: The Musical” but never had time alone to focus on it because of all the working + driving + living with in-laws. I was a guest DJ a couple times for KXLU, played a couple solo shows and met a grip of cool artists and people. We were there for almost a full year, before moving back to Phoenix.

ryan avery selfYou definitely have an interestingly direct approach to music-making: have an idea, follow-through. I think that places the emphasis on the act of creation rather than the finished product. Was this a philosophy that you just naturally acquired? Or was it by trial and error that you adopted it? What I mean is, were there a lot of projects that you thought about and never moved on before you thought, “This is dumb, I should just do it.”

My approach to making music is just the way I have always felt about it, partly motivated by seeing brilliant artists and friends come up with ideas and never finish/document them. (i.e. Emily Spetrinos old art punk band The Children of Hell or James Fella’s guerilla show project Very Nice Person) Partly inspired by artists who have a ridiculous catalog of music they have released. (Examples include Jason Polland, They Might Be Giants, Drew Danburry, The Residents…) While I do admire and understand the artist(s) that work on something until it’s perfect before releasing it to the world, I still look back and think about everything in between that they never finished and sometimes feel sad. I have lots of projects still that I haven’t completed or focused on that I still want to do and hope to accomplish someday. (Meningitis: The Musical and HECK are a couple recent examples) And then there are other projects that I know are not very good right from the start and I see them through anyway because I will be upset with myself if I don’t. (Macy Gray’s: Jagged Little Pill)

What are some of the differences between the LA/PHX music scenes that you noted? Anything you would like to see PHX do a little differently? Or anything that you really missed about the music scene here while you were off on adventure?

Something I thought was so cool about the people in Los Angeles in general is everyone is thirsty for knowledge of things that are new and cool. People want to be up to date on everything and want to feel like they are a part of that something. There is some of that in Phoenix for sure but it felt like everyone had this type of energy in LA and that was really inspiring and has kept me motivated to keep discovering/researching new artists. The thing that I missed the most about Phoenix is how easy it is to start doing something here and something I both love/hate about Phoenix is how unprofessional things are. It’s kind of like the pros and cons of working for a corporate company vs. an independent mom and pop shop.

You mentioned that you have some projects in the works. Anything you can mention to us?

I don’t really want to mention anything about my current projects (aside from Hi My Name Is Ryan) until there is more to them. But if anyone wants to start a band or musical project with me I am currently down for trying new things and working with new people…


5 Radio-Ready Pop Singles

Stela Cole

“You F O”

This sassy summer pop single has a hook so catchy, it might eventually be the jumping off point for a new Urban Dictionary definition for U.F.O. But, it’s Stela Cole’s sultry vocals that really sends the track outta the stratosphere. “You F O” is the second single from the Atlanta songbird this summer and I think she’s perfectly matched to the season. Bright and buoyant musicality but the attitude (and vocals) are bold and brazen. Check out “You F O” from Stela Cole below or head here for that digi-download for your personal playlists.


“Miss Me”

The Portland alt-pop songwriter Shae Williams might be better known by her onstage moniker, SHAE ALTERED. Working with producer Justin Abel, SHAE ALTERED crafts a moody but spirited soundscape on her new single, “Miss Me”.  There are some interesting experimental permutations in the soundscape while the confessional lyrics are delivered in a bold, unabashed voice that I find rather refreshing. If you dig “Miss Me”, I also suggest delving into SHAE ALTERED’s debut EP, Sleep Talk, which came out in December. But, first, start with the fresh new single from SHAE ALTERED below…

Alice Gray

“Pink Cadillac”

Yep, this is the track you’re going to turn up the volume on in your car when you’re all by yourself so you can belt out the lyrics. Now, if you’re first thought was, “That doesn’t sound like me at all,” maybe you should just move on. Alice Gray might not be for you. But, if you were, like, “Yasssss! New car ballad!” then you’ve come to the right place. In “Pink Cadillac”, Alice Gray puts the emotional energy on slow simmer before helping you channel the hurt. Dive into the electropop angst of Alice Gray below or head here to score you’re own copy of the single.


“Strange Places” 

This alt-rock band is making waves in SoCal with their atmospherically uplifting soundscapes. Skyterra fuses ethereal vocals with expansive instrumentals in the style of alternative artists like Radiohead and Portishead… you know, the head-y bands. There’s a little bit more of a dreampop litheness to on “Strange Places” and, fair warning, it just might echo in your head long after that first listen. Make sure you stick around for the full track because a second voice kicks in after the 2-minute-mark that gives the single a unique balance; a grounding or tether, if you will, to the more angelic tones of other vocalist. Check out “Strange Places” from Skyterra below…


“I Love It I Love It I Love It”

The Canadian alt-rock act x+o has some contagious pop energy on their single, “I Love It I Love It I Love It”. I mean, they’re soo enthusiastic they have to say it three times (well, 25 times to be exact). But sometimes it takes that kind of enthusiastic momentum to force yourself over the humps and hurdles of the day-to-day. x+o is here to give you that shove toward a better day with the fuzzy and super fun “I Love It I Love It I Love It”. Add this one to your morning mix for more energy than any stupid latte. And a little artist support for the download is a heck of a lot cheaper.

New Album Premiere: God of Death by Officer Jenny [premiere + interview]

officer jenny 06Stephen Cope is the songwriter behind Officer Jenny; a musical project with a playful name and serious sound.  Officer Jenny emerges from the murky, merging waters of weird folk and baroque pop like a dark Venus in some Southern Gothic swamp.

At times, the music heard on his new album God of Death, is strange as it slowly trickles beneath Cope’s haunting voice. At other moments, the emotional currents join together fluidly with orchestral instrumentation to create a powerfully mood-altering force.

Sink into God of Death from Officer Jenny and make sure you check out the interview with Stephen Cope about the music, the melancholy, the moniker, and a whole lot more below. But, first, the album…

Is Officer Jenny the name of a band or is it the moniker you perform under on your own?

Yeah, Officer Jenny is like a catch-all name for my various musical projects! I’m not great at sticking to a musical concept or aesthetic, so it’s helpful for me to like contain everything under a moniker, I think? I play with bands sometimes, but there’s never like a consistent lineup or instrumentation.

Is Officer Jenny your first musical enterprise or have you released music under different names or with different bands?

Officer Jenny is my first serious personal music project, definitely. I play organ in a really awesome band called Quiet House and run a recording studio so I work with a lot of different musicians and do a lot of fun projects like this marathon album I wrote and recorded with a ton of friends in 24 hours (Kuiper Light Drive) and these children’s songs my friends Stuart, Jesse, and I wrote (I really want to revisit and expand this stuff, it’s like really fun and beautiful!).

So, are you originally from Provo [UT] or did something bring you to the region?

I grew up in southern California and moved up to Provo to study music about ten years ago. I’ve grown pretty attached to the area!

There is definitely a pensive feel to the new album, almost a melancholy, I would say. Is that more a reflection of your own nature or more a tone that was in place on this particular album?

Hmm, yeah, I definitely wanted to draw on a pretty specific aesthetic and overall vibe for this record. A lot of my stuff tends to be pretty dry, irreverent, self-loathing pop shit, but I wanted this to come from a different place. It’s more somber and hymn-like so there’s a lot of kind of meditative modal droning and the instrumentation–winds, pump organ, nylon string guitar, mellow piano shit–and a lot of the lyrics act like prayers of sorts, I think, especially “Gardens of Gold”, “Child of the Crows”, “Dawn on Me”, “Cradle My Head”…

I did notice that you listed Vashti Bunyan as a personal influence and, I must say, she’s a personal favorite. What other songwriters do you feel have influenced your own songcraft?

Yeah, I definitely love Vashti Bunyan. Probably my biggest musical influence in general is Elliott Smith! He was a fucking incredible songwriter. Nothing has ever really moved me the way Figure 8, XO, and Either/Or do.

I also REALLY love Disasterpeace’s soundtracks for Hyper Light Drifter, Fez, It Follows, The Floor Is Jelly, and this really beautiful generative music tool he made called January which you can download here and I like HIGHLY recommend it.

Also the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, the Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker soundtracks, the Kentucky Route Zero soundtrack. I think a lot of my melodic and harmonic sensibilities probably come from playing those games and listening to those soundtracks!

Tell me a little bit about the new album. Where did you record it? Did other musicians make an appearance on it?

Yeah! So I wrote the album about a year and a half ago and have slowly been piecing tracks together with help from a few friends. Jesse Quebbeman-Turley, who just released a gorgeous album called NAPS, played drums, Stuart Wheeler who fronts the band Quiet House that I mentioned played piano on a few tracks and a little trombone, and Alex Vincent played bass on “Child of the Crows”. I have a recording studio in my friend Chance’s basement where I recorded it all.

As a songwriter, where do you find inspiration?

This album in particular is lyrically centered around some respiratory shit I’ve been dealing with the past couple of years, but I find inspiration from a lot of places. I have a lot of really awesome friends making cool-ass music all around me and every time they release something or I see them play I get excited about creating music. I’m working on a new record right now using the text from a beautiful kind of zany section of Mormon scriptures. Video games honestly inspire the hell out of me. So much incredible art and music and storytelling.

Okay, the webmaster will be upset if I don’t ask… Favorite video games?

God, don’t get me STARTED. I love the classic LucasArts and Sierra point-and-clicks–Secret of Monkey Island, Loom, Fate of Atlantis, etc. Also old text adventures like Colossal Cave and Zork and more recent ones by Emily Short and Andrew Plotkin.

I got to teach a two week class at the high school I teach at where I introduced all my students to all those old adventure games and helped them make their own using Twine. It was fun as hell!

There’s a more recent graphical text adventure game called Kentucky Route Zero that has kind of American magical realism vibes and it’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played.

OH, everyone should check out this Twitter bot I’m working on called Whispy Glen! It generates events in a small Twin Peaks-esque town, kind of feels text adventurey! Still a work in progress, but I’m really excited about it!

officer jenny 4Just curious if there is a story behind the name Officer Jenny?

Yeah, so Officer Jenny is actually a character in Pokemon which is goofy! That’s kind of the origin of it, but it’s been nice for me as a nonbinary femme person to have this traditional woman’s name to record and perform under.

Can you tell us a little about the scene in Provo? Any particular genres of music really popular? Favorite places to perform?

Provo’s music scene is like pretty small but cool! The more popular local stuff tends to be like Imagine Dragons or like Mumford and Sons arena pop & folk stuff, but there’s some really good pop and folk music that I’m much more interested in that, unfortunately, kind of flies under the radar or is maybe outside of the realm of interest of college students and local gatekeepers. There’s basically one venue in town called Velour that has a really beautiful aesthetic and curates some really good shows, but when I do play shows, which is pretty infrequent, I generally just play at my studio or other houses around town or up in SLC at Diabolical Records, Kilby Court, or Urban Lounge.

And where should touring bands stop in town? Maybe to eat or to buy records or see the world’s biggest ball of yarn? Where would Officer Jenny send visitors in Provo?

OK, there are SO MANY good places to eat here. Good-ass tacos and other Mexican food at El Mexsal, Taqueria El Vaquero, and Don Joaquin. Noodle King has great Vietnamese food. Bombay House is an incredible Indian place and honestly maybe the best restaurant in town. Hruska’s Kolaches are these incredible like $2 buns stuffed with breakfast foods. My favorite spots in town are probably Block 100 Antiques when Sharron and Russ are around, Boxcar Studios when Jake or Nick are throwing a party, Velour when there’s a show I’m interested in. Also my studio! If touring bands ever want to swing by Dada and have a beer and listen to cool local music they can totally text me!

What’s next for Officer Jenny? Tours? Music Videos? Working on new material? The people want to know….

Yeah! So I’m working on a couple of new records, one that I mentioned earlier, a darker mixed-modal maybe kind of doomy, gazey folk record (I guess I haven’t really settled on the aesthetic) using the text of Abraham 3 from the Mormon Pearl of Great Price. I’m also working on a more kind of video gamey, ostinato-based record involving some musician friends of mine that hopefully pans out! And yeah, maybe a music video for one of the God of Death tracks? I’m talking to an awesome filmmaker friend about concepts right now, so definitely look forward to that!


Follow Officer Jenny on Facebook.

7 Rad Music Videos: The Folk + Americana Edition

Courtney Marie Andrews

John Murry
“Wrong Man”

Steve Benjamins
“Purification Ritual”

Simon Alexander
“Won’t Be Found”

The Lonesome Wilderness
“Stay Out of the Sun”


Murder Murder
“I’ve Always Been A Gambler”

YabYum Seven: Kris Kollasch

kris kollasch 01
All photos courtesy of Kris Kollasch
Who are you and what do you do?

I am Kristine Kollasch, a full time artist making a living creating for over 20 years. I have a business, Fine Art & Creative Environments, LLC established in 1997 after leaving an 11 year career at Habitat, Inc., a Tempe based design firm. There I built architectural and topographical scale models, and managed a department creating all things 3D, primarily for marketing centers for new housing developments. Since then, my business has focused on fine art, murals & themed environments, as well as public art.

My fine art ranges from playful and whimsical to highly finessed abstracts. I work in acrylics, mixed media, ceramic and steel. I don’t like to limit my possibilities. Not only am I a full time artist, but I am also involved in the Phoenix community through Valley Leadership and other non profits I believe in.

I also actively participate in the art scene through curating First Studio’s Gallery in the historic first TV Studio in Phoenix. I work directly with youth through Free Arts of Arizona, helping kids in shelters and group homes heal through artistic expression. I also support GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network on a variety of levels.

A long time Phoenix resident, I was born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Colorado, settling in the Valley of the Sun over 30 years ago. I live with my life partner and quite a menagerie of critters in our home in Central Phoenix where my art studio also exists. In my spare time…hmmm, what’s that? I do like to hang out with friends, enjoy live music, sing & dance and play when ever possible.

kris kollasch 02
“From the Fire Grows”, 48″ x 36″
How did you get your start?

I got my start through my 11 years working at Habitat, Inc. I have a degree in Art Education, but got involved in a very creative design firm fresh out of college. There I was given the experience and guidance to learn the skills needed to start my own business. But before that I had parents who believed in me and my art, and teachers who did too…and the talents I have from somewhere deeper than my own doing. That’s really where I got my start.

What inspires you?

What inspires me? Everything! Nature, love, war, color, the sky, the wind, the rain and sun.

What do you like about AZ?

I do love Arizona! I love the potential it holds and what it has given me and I think there is a lot of opportunity in this state that is constantly growing. Politically AZ’s always (since I’ve been here) been a bit crazy, which stirs opposition and expression. It’s still the wild west, where a person can carry a gun and once you’re out of the city, heck even sometimes in the city, horses are a common creature. I like the diversity of climates within the state. And I like the heat. Paint dries real fast most of the time, and I like that.

kris kollasch 03
“Love and Other Things”, 24″ x 24″
Where can we see you(r) work?

You can see my public art all around town with projects in Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria. Much of my public work is ceramic/ tile based, often with accents of steel. You will also find my work in any Adelante Healthcare, from pediatric interactive works to fine art throughout the lobby spaces.

The majority of my fine art you will find at First Studio in Central Phoenix on 631 N 1st Ave. Usually my work fills the upper gallery space, with other shows rotating through the first level space. You can also see current work on my business FB page or my website.

What would like to accomplish before you die?

Before I die…that’s a tough one. Not planning on it any time soon. I like to make the most of every opportunity, so it’s hard to tell what that might be in this lifetime.

“Wilderness”, 16″ x 16″
What is your mantra?

I have a couple mantra’s… “if it’s not moving, I can paint it”… “there’s not too much we can’t fix”… and “until further notice, celebrate everything!”


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“Complicated Conversations”, 37″ x 24″
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“Love Grows 2″, 24″ x 24”
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“From the Fire Grows 2″, 30″ x 30”
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Pinkspiration process
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“Wild” (detail)

7 Fresh HipHop Videos

DJ Polique ft. Snoop Dogg
“Dimes Only”

New ZephLand
“Kill Me Baby”

Toya Delazy
“No Follow”

Point Nine
“Gotham City”

Tok Sik
“Sol (Rock with You)”

Quincy Davis
“Be Brave”

Young Bull

5 Rad Alt Rock Singles

alt rock singles 500

The Sink or Swim


Who couldn’t use a little more dopamine these days? The Sink or Swim write a sort of love letter to that beloved neurotransmitter with a slinky rhythm and a vocal approach that brings me back to those grunge days of youth. The track is dynamic and, for all those musicians who keep emailing us but seem to have no idea what that means, dynamic means the soundscape changes as you move through it. It’s not just about landing a few catchy bars and repeating those ad nauseam. #BringBackMyDopamine with the new single from The Sink or Swim below or get your own copy of the track here.

Bel Heir

“Washed Up”

Bel Heir inked a deal with RCA and then spent a couple years writing and recording an album that has yet to be released. Did they let their Behind-the-Music story get them down? Fuck no. Instead, they channeled their unique beach-punk sound into a secondary release. “Washed Up” is the title track from that effort which dropped in July. The Philly trio fuses crisp, contemporary alt-rock with a little L.A. slouch for a sound that is fun and feisty. Give “Washed Up” from Bel Heir a spin below or head here to snag the complete EP of the same title.



This alt-rock act from Newcastle-upon-Tyne broke onto the scene last May with their demo track, “Not A Problem”. Heavy guitars and garage rock fuzz settle in adjacent to the pop slant of the lyrical delivery for a fresh sound that will put some boogie in your step. Penguin creates a catchy summertime number with “Fiction” that will have you bouncing around with each dynamic shift in the soundscape. Give the track a listen below…

Mind Choir


This four-piece psych-rock band from Pennsylvania is ready to trip you out with their new single, “Glow”. Now, the title of the track might imply something bright and effervescent, but you’ll find something a little darker and a little more brooding once you hit that play button. “Glow” is a musical meandering through dank underground passageways of sound. It is a heroin half-nap on a rug in need of a good vacuum. It is that weird acid trip that forced you to calmly enter the dark and hidden corners of your character that needed a little dusting out. Listen to “Glow” from Mind Choir below…


“China House”

Eldoradio hails from Sweden but their mashup of NYC club punk and garage rock sounds like it could easily hit with American audiences. I mean, hell, they even talk about Coca-Cola in their new high-energy single, “China House”. This track marks the first single from the band’s forthcoming EP which is due out on Welfare Sounds & Records later this year. Catchy lyrics and rambunctious alt-rock make “China House” a must-hear song for summer. Check out the single from Eldoradio below…

On Tour with Jerusafunk!

jerusafunk 002
All photos courtesy of Jerusafunk

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Phoenix Klezmer-funk fusion band Jerusafunk packed up their members (and their instruments… and their wardrobe) to hit the road for a North American tour to help spread the J-Funk gospel across the distant horizon. Of course, as soon as I caught word of the whole Jerusafunk crew crammed into a van for more than two weeks, I lit a candle for the band’s safe return and tried to envision the four-wheeled chaos that was about to roll through unsuspecting towns.

But instead of just imagining the antics, I asked the band to take us along for the tour and J-Funk’s Jessie Demaree was kind enough to oblige with both photographs and observations. Check out the images from Jerusafunk’s cross-country adventure and read my Q&A with Jessie about the tour below…

jerusafunk 013YabYum: Okay, let’s start with the basics… how many shows? in how many cities? in how many days?

Jessie Demaree: 11 shows! 11 cities! 18 days!

Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind is how on earth could Jerusafunk possibly fit in a tour van? Were you all crammed into one vehicle? Or was it more like a carnival caravan?

Well, we wanted to go in one big van, but it was probably a bit too optimistic and our plans were dashed the morning of when the van filled up with only gear and no people!

Luckily, Jessie had her car ready to go as plan B, so we filled her car with all of the personal gear (which was also packed to the brim) and headed out. It was 7 heads in the van and 3 heads in the car, and we did the best we could to rotate people around.

jerusafunk 012So, I know it’s hard to play favorites, but were there any really special shows that stood out in your mind?

Every show had something unique about it, whether it was playing to a near-empty club or a packed mountain town bar, we got something special from each place. Although Cambridge, MA definitely stood out. John E Funk & the Skunks took in all ten of us at their home, bought us pie and watermelon, and chummed it up over lots of Brandy and libations. Real swell guys. We played at an Irish pub that night called the Plough & Stars and we really felt welcome. The bar was thin and cozy, the people were rambunctious and enthusiastic, the employees were kind and helpful, the beer was abundant, and Cambridge loved the funk, and we made some money, which is always a plus, haha.

What about non-tour-stops? Did you make some pit stops at any interesting places?

Bailey (bassist) turned 21 the day before our first show in Little Rock, so the whole band went out to the Foul Play Cabaret show in Hot Springs, which was absolutely fabulous. We had a nice break in Gettysburg with a good friend from Flagstaff, Matt Miller. Got high on a bunch of dead folk, shared some music, and his lovely mother made us breakfast in the morning. Chris’s father’s friend Joey let us stay at his family’s lakeside compound by Pleasant Lake outside of Syracuse. We spent two nights out there partying, shot some music video footage with the drone, got chewed on by some mosquitoes, and just enjoyed some serenity and recharged. Peeked at Niagra Falls for a quick minute, and walked around Chicago and stumbled into The Greenmill, Al Capone’s old hideout.

jerusafunk 009Now, I want the hard details of the J-Funk road crew. How many people were along for this ride? And where did you all sleep?

We had the full 8-piece band, plus our friends Amanda and James came along to help us sell merchandise and shoot some footage. We were about half and half on motels and hosts, rotating from beds, floors, the van, hammocks, air mattresses, and couches. We stayed in a really amazing airbnb house in Nashville – my personal dream decor. In Chicago we all crashed in the basement of a music hostel called Earphoria in Logan Square. It’s a communal DIY space that’s run by musicians and they only asked for 50 bucks and a couple of chores to stay there. To other musicians: They offer play & stay option if the timing is right, so hit them up if you want to play a diy space and stay for free!

Favorite tour snack? Was it endless amounts of Atomic Fireballs or maybe Hot Cheetos? The people need to know.

Porkin’s Tom’s Pork, white cheddar popcorn, cold spaghettios, cigarettes, gummy bears, Dunkin’ Donuts (for DAYS!) cheesy munchies, PBJs, milk, beef jerky, peebeebubub pritzles, twixxlers, meat, plibts, scrilps, chups, brown bean water, and REDBULL.

jerusafunk 014Did you run into any unexpected challenges on tour?

East-coast maneuvering and parking. We knew it was going to be bad. It was really bad. Getting into NY and parking that van in Manhattan was the biggest headache of the trip. We thought Chris was going to take his life trying to park that boat. Luckily that was the toughest hurdle and a typical rookie mistake… lesson learned: buy an ez-pass and consider parachuting in to NYC.

Any new bands that you discovered on the road that you want to share with your AZ homies?

Dr. Jungle Cat from Nashville, Red Feather from Richmond, The Jawn from Philly, Endless Taile from Philly, John E Funk and the Skunks from Boston, Pineapple Jam from Boston, Funkwagon from Detroit, Enema Squad from Detroit, Bonzo Squad from Chicago, BiFunkal from Chicago, Origin of Animal from Chicago, and The Sextet from Kansas City. Every band was so different, everybody could at least like one of them, CHECK THEM ALL OUT!

jerusafunk 007What was your favorite part of being on tour? And, of course, what was your least favorite part?

Our favorite part of being on tour is always traveling and sharing new experiences with new people. For many of us this was our first time witnessing the beauty of the U.S. east of the Mississippi, and that was life-changing. Being in a car for the 20-hour dash home was rough, and definitely waking up in the morning was always a chore. We have maybe two morning-people in the band, so it got a little touchy with the grumpsters before Dunkin’ Donuts! But most of all, what made this tour so special was getting tighter with the bois and making weird music in strange places. It’s a joy that not many get to share.

Now that you’re back on home turf, what’s next for J-Funk?

We’re planning a fantastic show for the December 1 Alwun House Lights Out exhibit! We’re trying to get a new music video together, complete some new songs, brainstorm another tour, and maybe collaborate with some designers to get us some sexy new outfits! We’ll also be trying to release The Hierophant on vinyl. Presale coming soon!


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7 Strange + Wondrous Music Videos

Herbert Walker
“Paycheck Song”

 Absolutely Not
“Strictly Top”

Jesus on Heroine

Rozy, Miko and Machi
“Free Willie”

“Eh Fille”

Dinosaur Love
“Kill the Illuminati”