Radio Phoenix Podcast: Exxxtra Crispy

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Photo by Ricky Smash

Those wild n’ crazy Exxxtra Crispy boys came down to the Radio Phoenix studio and now the podcast is available for all of our listening pleasure. We talked about all sorts of music that they brought down, from AZ and beyond, as well as their new album and more. As always, the complete playlist can be found below!

Check out The YabYum Hour every Wednesday night at 7:00 PM only on RadioPhoenix.org.

Complete Playlist

Exxxtra Crispy “Brain Salad Surgery”

Eugene McDaniels “Cherrystones”

Princess Nokia “Dragons”

Tyler the Creator “Treehome95”

ROAR “I Can’t Handle Change”

MC/DC feat. Andy Warpigs “You Can’t Spell Hustle Without Us”

Bert “Swerve”

Pines of Torrey “Ma”

Ugly God “Booty From A Distance”

Black Flag “No Values”

The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches “Just” (Live Radiohead cover)

Recorded live on September 20, 2017

For the Record: Anabasis by The Rifle

rifle 01by Mark Anderson

The Tucson band known as The Rifle is a welcome addition to the Arizona music scene and their new album, Anabasis, proves a testament to the emotive power of desert rock.

Their new album, Anabasis, is a definite Must Hear. Combining the singing-songwriting talents of Nelene DeGuzman (which were featured recently on her debut solo album Rib to Rib) with the support of the full band’s desert garage sound awash in reverb and alt swag.

Opening with “Kill Your Darlings”, The Rifle throws it back to the very first track off of Rib to Rib — this time with a whole lot more pep thanks to rhythm section of Randy Rowland (drums) and Kevin Conklin (bass). Nelene throws down some serious guitar work too, the final lead sounding like something straight outta surf music’s heyday. It rocks.

“Hidden Knives” breaks the sound way down, showcasing DeGuzman’s blues talent quite nicely before “Lacuna Luna” ramps the energy back up with it’s 60s pop feel. “Rosemary K.” is another personal favorite from the album, showcasing Nelene’s serene vocals as the song builds in tension all around them.

The Rifle re-recorded the first song off their Spill EP as well, this time turning the jangly alternative of “Skeletons” into a 50s feeling melodrama. “The General”, with it’s alternating chorus of “Will you lay down your arms?” and “Will I waste all my days?”, may just be my favorite on the album, that walking bass line throughout completely solidifying my opinion.

There’s plenty of other Rifle tracks to learn and explore so I must insist you dive in and explore Anabasis on your own. But, first, I asked the band some questions about the new album and what’s coming up on The Rifle’s horizon…

YabYum: It’s been a little over 3 years between when we first covered you (and your Rib to Rib album) to now. Tell us what it’s like transforming from a solo bedroom recording project into a full band experience? (Must be awesome.)

[Nelene] It’s been really awesome. There’s been a lot of growing and evolving together. I’ve been lucky to have found our current lineup pretty early on, there were a number of member changes at the very start but for the vast majority of the time that The Rifle has been a band, it’s been me Kevin and Randy. We’ve been able to stay insulated in our little musical world and really find what works for us in terms of collaboration and kind of influence each other for the better.

There are some aspects that have stayed the same though. We usually write the music collaboratively but the lyrics and vocal melody I still write on my own. That part of the writing process, writing and re writing lyrics, singing things to myself and trying to find the melody that feels right, is very much the same.

rifle 01How did you meet your band mates?

[Nelene] I found Randy just from posting on Craigslist looking for a drummer. Kevin and I had been in a long distance relationship for most of the time that I was writing and recording Rib to Rib. After Kevin moved out to Tucson and hung around for every practice, he finally took up the bass and joined the band.

Are you an AZ/Tucson native? Your music falls into a long line of incredible output from the area…

[Nelene] Actually, none of us are Tucson natives. I’m from Redding which is a smaller town in Northern California. Kevin grew up in San Diego but he and I both lived in San Francisco for a number of years before coming out to Tucson. Randy is from Vancouver (WA) and used to play in bands in the Portland music scene.

[Randy] Compared to the Portland scene the Tucson music scene is way more close knit. It feels a lot more like a community and less like bands have to compete with each other.

[Kevin] I’ve never played in bands before but learning about all the cool music and people out here playing music is really astounding to be around.

Do you guys write all the songs together or are they all expansions of your own individual songs? Perhaps some of both? Some of the songs off of Anabasis I recognized off of Rib to Rib! It’s great to hear ’em fleshed out…

[Nelene] For the most part we write songs collaboratively, occasionally we’ve sort of re-interpreted/ fleshed out some of the solo Rifle songs which is always really really fun.

[Kevin] We take extended jams a lot during rehearsal, and record our practices. Little strands come out here and there, and Nelene tinkers at home with them. Eventually we just listen until it sounds right to us.

Would you care to fill us in on the history behind the album title, Anabasis?

[Nelene] I feel like a lot of aspects of my life have changed for the better after each consecutive move I’ve made. I grew up in Redding which is this super conservative, mostly white town in central California. There are lovely people there, as there are everywhere, but the vast majority (or maybe just loudest of the population) were really close minded and espoused the kind of insidious casual racism that I didn’t even fully understand or recognize until I moved away and felt what it was like to not have to deal with constant microaggressions every day of my life.

The liberal attitude and cultural diversity of San Francisco were a welcome change to say the least, but I was also a full time Biochemistry student at University of San Francisco juggling two jobs — one as a barista at a coffee shop and the other as an undergraduate researcher in an inorganic chemistry research lab. The city was an amazing and inspiring environment but I was just exhausted all the time and had zero free time to put towards music and art.

When I finally moved to Tucson, suddenly I had the shock of only working Mon-Fri and having weekends and evenings to myself. That’s when Rib to Rib was made. I just feel like the long process it’s taken for me to get to a really good place, emotionally but also geographically/economically, where I’m able to devote my time and energy to making art that I really really care about has been this crazy journey and a lot of those feelings are captured and reflected on in the songs.

The whole process of writing and recording the album felt like a journey in itself so when it came to naming the album, “anabasis” just felt right (anabasis is an ancient Greek word describing an epic journey from the coast of a country into the interior).

rifle 02You went to Matt Rendon’s Midtown Island Studio to record your second release, the Spill EP, as well as your new full length. How did you connect up with Matt? It seems like some of the best albums coming out of Tucson (and beyond) right now are recorded there…

[Kevin] I had just joined the band like a week before that recording session (Spill EP) so I connected with Matt purely as a reference and I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. I did know that Midtown Island was billed as the most primitive recording studio in Tucson and that he had a knack for analog recording.

[Nelene] I think we just had such a good experience with Matt the first time, he’s such a great collaborator, that we really wanted to do the full length with him too. We just really love him and we love working with him.

I think it’s awesome the tape was released through Baby Tooth, and again, I think they release some of Tucson’s best output. How did you hook up with these cats?

[Nelene] Matt recommended them actually, so I just shot them a message after the first recording session with some of the rough mixes. They were super supportive from the very start. They are just really really awesome people who are passionate about music and they do a lot to foster the Tucson music scene. I honestly can’t say enough about how awesome the Baby Tooth guys are.

How about the album art? Who did it? I think it’s pretty darn rad.

[Nelene] Me! And thank you! I drew the snake/s just with pen and pencil, then scanned the image and did the color and text digitally.

[Kevin] When I saw Nelene drawing the art I was like oooooooh dang. Nelene had me put together the layout for the cassette.

[Nelene] I love the cassette layout.

rifle 03Is there anything about the new album or yourself/band that I failed to ask that you would want our audience to know?

[Randy] We just really appreciate the support we’ve received so far and we’re really excited to start working on the next album.

~

7 Stellar Live Musical Performances

Tow’rs
“Going”

from Sofar Sounds 

Diet Cig
“Barf Day”

Live on KEXP

Alë Jay
“Face Turns Blue” 

from Sofar New York

 Delafaye
“Thinking of You”

Adam Smith
“Where I Wanna Be”

Live at The Listening Room [Phoenix]

Beat Sampras
“Distant Shore”

 Sunset Voodoo
“Testify”

Live at the Crescent Ballroom

4 Rad Singer Songwriters You Should Know

Dominick Provenzano

“Twilight Road” 

Choosing a favorite single from Dominick Provenzano’s s/t solo debut was difficult, but as the challenge required repeated visits, I felt up to the challenge. Provenzano’s stellar songwriting style first made an impression on me back when he was performing with Day Before Plastics and, then, Old Star. So, honestly, I just picked a personal favorite with “Twilight Road” but you really need to lock down for the entire six-track release. You won’t be sorry. Provenzano’s pensive indie folk has meat on its bones. Check out the new EP from Dominick Provenzano here

Cecilia Ebba

“Breathe In Breathe Out”

Swedish-born singer-songwriter Cecilia Ebba now calls England home and it was in her London studio where this solo project first began. “Breathe In Breathe Out” is the second single from that effort. On this song, you’ll hear Ebba’s ethereal vocals are layered over a dreamy instrumental landscape to complete the haunting alt-folk sound. After embarking on her solo endeavor, Ebba began collaborating with Lucas Mendes from The Park Studios. You can hear the results of that collaboration on “Breathe In Breathe Out”. Give the single a spin below or head here to add the single to your Spotify playlists…

Crys Matthews

“We Must Be Free”

Crys Matthews is a songwriter with a powerful message and voice to match. On her latest single, “We Must Be Free”, Matthews delivers a rousing folk anthem a compelling sense of calm. There’s a gospel feel to the supporting vocals on the track that speaks to the songwriter’s North Carolina roots. Let’s hope listeners take the message behind the music to heart or it could may become one of warning rather than empowerment. “We Must Be Free” is just the first taste of what’s to come from Crys Matthews’ latest EP, Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers, which is available for your perusal through Spotify.*

Ian Terry

“Cut”

Delaware songwriter Ian Terry has a sweet-tempered voice and somber sound that wraps the listener in gentle harmonies on his new single, “Cut”. Self-recorded and produced, this track has a warm lo-fi sound that feels as intimate as listening to your friend (albeit an extraordinarily talented friend) strum through a song while sitting on the floor in your bedroom. If you enjoyed the mellow of “Cut”, I suggest delving further into Terry’s online offerings through Bandcamp. But, first, start with “Cut” below…

*Original content was altered to denote that the album was already released and is now available through Spotify. Our bad.

YabYum Seven: Holly Anderson

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Photo by Angela Adams. Images below courtesy of Holly Anderson.
Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Holly Anderson. I have been creating my entire life but it wasn’t until seven years ago that I became a full time, world-collected artist creating large scale, heavily textured mixed media paintings. Painting with acrylics, watercolor, ink, and prefering to use nontraditional tools, I have been fortunate to work with architects, designers, hotels and resorts on large projects as well as creating art for movie sets via Paramount Pictures.

I run my business Anderson Modern online and through my studio in downtown Phoenix. I am a collaborator and have a few side projects, one being Halcyon Fine Art which involves spirit, science & energy. All of the art revolves around water, the universe, and electro-magnetic media with co-creator Jessica Speer.

I also have a side project called Green Girls Life which is a line of eco-art created with all recycled materials or items that would have ended up in a landfill. Each eco piece carries an important message and is my way of educating others through art how to better take care of our environment and how our waste affects domestic and marine life.

When I am not creating art I focus on eco-activism, animal rescue and volunteer with multiple organizations that work with the homeless. You can find me in the most random places picking up trash, beautifying neighborhoods, distributing water and goods to those who live on the streets or bottle feeding kittens in the ICU at the Arizona Humane Society.

I also enjoy playing hand drums, the ukulele, didgeridoo and singing. I love the outdoors, traveling, and archery.

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Autumn Sky
How did you get your start?

I could not work because I was on narcotics and I kept making too many mistakes. For the last 17 years I’ve battled a very debilitating muscular skeletal disease and just had back to back surgeries including a spinal fusion. I did not know what to do, I’d always had a desk job and I could no longer sit at a desk anymore.

Everyone told me I would have to be on narcotics the rest of my life but one day I decided to stop taking them because they don’t fix anything, they changed my personality so much I didn’t even know who I was anymore so I quit cold turkey and wasn’t sure how to deal with the pain.

I had inherited a bunch of art supplies from my grandmother who was a professional artist and art teacher. Plus, I didn’t have any capital to start a business and wasn’t reliable or stable enough to get a “real job” so I started experimenting with paint. Painting helped me get through the pain and was a great distraction. I had no idea what art rules were, what I was doing, what complimentary colors were but I painted and I loved what I had created.

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Eon
What inspires you?

Water, nature & the opportunity to educate others about environmental issues through my art.

What do you like about AZ?

I moved to Arizona from Portland, Oregon hoping for a better life with more mobility and less humidity and I love waking up to a beautiful blue sky and seeing the tops of palm trees. I’ve really enjoy all the places I’ve hiked, I never imagined Arizona could be so beautiful.

holly anderson 02Where can we see you(r) work?

By appointment at my studio, 701 N 15th Ave in downtown Phoenix or my work can be seen at the Vali Homes in Central Phoenix which is a modern eco villa. It is one of the most sustainable homes in North America.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Oh gosh, there are so many things I would like to do. I honestly don’t have an answer as each day I focus on the present, the right here, right now. I strive to be the best human I can be every day and no matter what, always practice compassion.

What is your mantra?

I have two: JUST BE and PUSH THROUGH

~

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Tidewater Glaciers
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Tango
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Water and Light

Songs From the Reading Room: Evan Bisbee

evan bisbee 700Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and all around swell guy Evan Bisbee showed up to the Reading Room with his Wurlitzer electric piano and blew us away with this brand new, heard-no-where-else song. Do yourself a favor and check out “Up Comes The Sun” below and then check out more of Evan’s work on his Bandcamp page.

Evan Bisbee
“Up Comes the Sun”

5 Eclectic Indie Rock Singles

Even As We Speak

“Such a Good Feeling”

Even As We Speak is a band from Sydney [Australia] that formed in the 80s, began rising to prominence on the indie scene in the 90s, and then got caught in the wake of a label collapse. But the loss of Sarah Records resulted in renewed interest in their musical catalogue and Even As We Speak reunited to play NYC Popfest in 2016. The band had so much fun they decided to head back into the studio to record a new EP, The Black Forest, which was just released through Emotional Response Records. Their first single from that release, “Such a Good Feeling”, is the perfect song for everyone caught in 90s nostalgia for the innocence of early indie pop (like me). Give “Such a Good Feeling” a listen below and then head over to Bandcamp to score your own copy of the complete EP.

Weslynn

“Here to Stay”

Weslynn offers a retro nod to rocknroll’s early days on their new single, “Here to Stay”. Incorporating a bit of doo wop flair into the band’s usual alt-indie style gives the new track a wistful feel that pairs well with the clarity of the vocal delivery. “Here to Stay” tugs at the heartstrings without being overly emotive. Take the new single from Phoenix’s Weslynn for a spin…

Velcro Mary

“Chair”

The acoustic indie rock of Velcro Mary is charming in a way that self-debasing friend of yours that can never really seem to catch a break is charming. You desperately want things to work out for him (or her), but you can tell from the tenor of their voice that no one really expects it to. That is sort of the mood of, “Chair”, Velcro Mary’s new single. A little sad, a little tired, but charming in its earnest and humble expression. That mood is well suited to the stripped-down indie-rock of Velcro Mary. “Chair” is the kind of song that can get stuck in your head for a week so enter with warning, but definitely enter.

Ephrata

“Odds”

I super love the Britpop style of bands like Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura so I was immediately enamored with Seattle’s Ephrata. They might belong to a different moody coast, but there is a similar vibe in the aural landscape. Wispy vocals float above vibrant melodies lending the track an innocent sense of wonder and vivifying energy. Ephrata will be dropping their debut LP on September 22nd, but you can check out “Odds”, the first single from that effort, here and now…

Panic Baby

“Heavy”

Panic Baby is the new moniker of the Phoenix 4-piece that previously performed as The Real Fits and they have a brand new single to mark the transition. Shaping out a sound on the rowdier side of the indie rock spectrum, Panic Baby has some serious bluesy rock undertones – and a fierce vocalist to boot. Think Grace-Slick Bar-Rock and you’ll be somewhere in the neighborhood of Panic Baby… or you could just check out their latest single for yourself below. “Heavy” was recorded by Dominic Armstrong at FiveThirteen in Tempe.