For the Record: Don’t Let It Be by Playboy Manbaby

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by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

So, I’ve been a Playboy Manbaby fan since the band’s inception or, at least, since their very first show. And, as I’ve stated before, they keep getting better with every single album they put out (which is really saying something considering the band has been consistently putting out music since 2012).

I’m not bragging when I claim to have loved the Manbabies since they were Babybabies. I’m just trying to qualify the following statement: their new album really is their best album ever, hands down.

Playboy Manbaby will release Don’t Let it Be this coming weekend at The Trunk Space in downtown Phoenix. This much-anticipated follow-up to 2014’s Electric Babyman contains 11 feisty tracks that mark real growth for the band, musically speaking.

The songs on Don’t Let it Be are refined in a way we haven’t heard before from the punk-funk outfit. They go beyond the raw explosiveness of earlier releases to carefully constructed songcraft. And they do so without sacrificing that savage emotional force that made them a crowd favorite early on.

Don’t Let it Be kicks of with “You Can Be a Fascist Too” – the first single off the album which was released just in time for that inauspicious inauguration. Then the second track, “Last Man Standing”, highlights the band’s horns section – David Cosme (trumpet) and Ricky Smash (sax and we know that’s not your real name) – before “Bored Broke & Sober” takes over. “Cadillac Car” is already to be a crowd favorite and is in contention for personal favorite from the album along with the apocalyptic “I’m So Affluent” and the super rambunctious number, “White Jesus”.

The album bears the mark of maturation, not just in the lyrics, but in the instrumentation as well. The orchestration is thoughtful, impeccably timed, and, well, rowdy as fuck.

Robbie Pfeffer, lyricist and vocalist, has a reputation for being a blitzkrieg onstage. Offstage, however, he’s the guy that will pet your dog and ask about your mother. Rather than suggesting that these are two separate and oppositional expressions, I’m putting forth the argument that Pfeffer is the quintessential example of the much-maligned millennial. He’s the meta-millenial. Kind-hearted, community-focused, and facing a world that keeps threatening collapse with a can-do attitude. The existential angst runs high in these young ones, but that’s not going to stop them from cold-crushing outdated conventions with their dad-staches and second hand clothes. They were born to rage against the dying of the light. That mixture of humor and personal fortitude comes through in the lyrics on this album in high shine.

If you go in for the riled-up cross-genre style of music Playboy Manbaby has become known for over the years, Don’t Let It Be might be you’re favorite album this year. You’ll laugh. You’ll dance. You might call your boss and quit your job so it might be best to hide your phone before smashing that play button. This album has that fury in equal measure to that signature Playboy Manbaby humor.

In keeping with the “For the Record” tradition, I had the chance to ask Robbie Pfeffer some questions about the album, the impending release show, and what’s next for Playboy Manbaby.

YabYum: Let’s start with all the details. Where did you record the album? Who helped out?

Robbie Pfeffer: We recorded with Eamon Ford at his old house, then at Chad[Dennis, the drummer]’s house, then at his new house. Lots of different houses. A ton of people have offered me great feedback on this album and helped it become what it is. Also we’re really stoked to have Lolipop and Dirty Water Records help make it a tangible thing!

So, what’s with the title? Do you bear some Beatles’ ill will? 

I think it fits the album pretty well, it kind of sets the tone that this is not going to be a “chill” experience.

With previous releases, the tracks seem a bit more of a cathartic drive. That energy is still very much present on the new album, but it seems like there’s more of a focus on songcraft, both lyrically and instrumentally. Has PBMB shifted their approach to songwriting? Or is this just the natural effects of the maturation that evolves from playing together for several years?

Ever since this band formed we always heard that we are band that doesn’t translate well past the live setting. So we really wanted to make a record that stands on it’s own even if you’ve never seen us. That’s the goal, at least.

On a personal writing level I’m not trying to hide the meaning of what we’re talking about in any way any more. I want to take the most direct path to the point I can find. I really don’t want subjectivity anymore, I want specific meaning. That might change in the future, but for now, that’s how I’m approaching writing.

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Playboy Manbaby – Photo by Peach Girl Photography

One of the things I like most about PBMB is the band’s ability to tap into the current cultural malaise and channel that angst into some sort of purifying flurry. As the principal songwriter for PBMB, would you say that’s an unintended consequence? Or is there some underlying philosophy at work here?

I’m an anxious dude and I try to stay alert to the societal changes around me. Music has been a way for me to work that out without drowning in my own existential dread. Also, I know I’m not the only person who questions what it means to be a person and the dynamics of power that exist in this hyper-active world we live in so if people can know that it freaks me out too, but I’m still trying my best, maybe that’ll be comforting to some people. Really I just want everybody to treat everyone else with a little more empathy and kindness.

It seems like you’re a real nice guy (irl) so my guess is that you just have a real low bullshit tolerance level to manifest the sort of aggression we see onstage. Is there a line for you between the performative persona and the other guy? Or is Playboy Manbaby the place to purge all that aggression so you’re not punching people in the throat? The people want to know.

That’s very kind of you! I really disdain violence of any kind. My hope is that when people are dancing at shows they can respect everyone around them and make sure that while they’re having a good time they’re not ruining anyone else’s good time. Generally people have been really great about this, but in the few instances where it’s gotten out of hand we have no issue stopping a show to make sure everyone gets to enjoy a safe, inclusive environment.

We’re a band of nerds and outcasts and we’re not about to be a platform for macho dudes to beat up on vulnerable people trying to have a good time. If anyone feels uncomfortable at our show for any reason please contact any of us and we will address it immediately without question.

The release show happens this coming weekend and the lineup is pretty stellar. Want to tell the people of the internet what they can expect by way of lineup and location?

I’m super excited about this line-up. We ran into the Thin Bloods dudes on NYE and were excited to hear after they’ve all been scattered across the country and busy with other stuff they happen to be back in Phoenix. We’ve shared a ton of great memories playing with them and they’re one of my all-time favorite bands so that’s fantastic news. Also, super stoked on The Darts, Genre, and Andy Warpigs. All great musicians and great people who bring rad stuff to the community.

What’s next for Playboy Manbaby? Touring? Videos? Sit back and relax for a while as reward for a job well done?

Hopefully, all of the above. We took way too damn long on this record and I never wanna take that long again. We’ve got like 10 new songs that we haven’t recorded and we just wanna make as much art as we can until we collapse.

~

Do not miss the Playboy Manbaby Album Release /// Thin Bloods Reunion show happening Saturday, February 25 at the Trunk Space or you will be so sorry.

An Insider’s Introduction: Brandon Kellum

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All photos courtesy of Brandon Kellum

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Brandon Kellum is a pretty funny guy.

You don’t have to know him personally either. Just follow him or his band, American Standards, on social media and you’ll see what I mean. His band’s music however, is no laughing matter.

Nope, no Flight of the Conchords folk or The Lonely Island hiphop here. American Standards is as raw and brutal as it gets. And you know what? If you don’t like it, you can simply move along. They’re not here to make nice and maybe that’s why they’ve amassed such a following.

I’ve been following the band long enough to know that something was a-brewing in the Standards’ camp so I reached out to lead vocalist, Brandon Kellum, with some questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Read below to find out about the new American Standards album, what’s coming up for the band, and of course, some handy-dandy beard grooming tips.

brandon kellum 02YabYum: How long have you lived in Arizona?

Brandon Kellum: 271,000 hours. Give or take a few hundred depending on when you post this.

When and how did you first get involved with the Arizona music scene? Do you play any instruments as well? I thought I saw an old pic of you playing guitar…

In 2001 my father bought me a Fender starter kit for Christmas. I wanted nothing to do with the thing- I wanted the spotlight that went along with being the singer of a rock band. Although I had a passion for writing lyrics, I soon found out my vocal abilities at the time were lacking, to say the least.

I picked the guitar back up around 2002 and started my first band playing a mix of originals and Deftones covers at places like the Mason Jar. I was immediately hooked and dove deeper into recording, touring and booking bands – cutting my teeth at places like The Trunk Space, Modified Arts and The Phix. It’s almost ironic that over 15 years later I’m answering this as the vocalist of a band.

When it comes to American Standards’ songs is there a principle songwriter or do you guys all collaborate to form new songs? Maybe some of both?

We mostly pray to the gods of post-hardcore’s past then sit around drinking beers till they answer. It’s been quiet for a couple years.

I swear I saw something about a new AS album coming out… I’m just gonna assume something’s coming out because it’s been a few years since Hungry Hands dropped. Where and when did you record the new record or are you still recording it?

It’s been a few too many years since we’ve released new songs, if you ask me. American Standards recorded our new album around June of 2016. It’ll be called Anti-Melody and it’s being released April 15th with a release show at Pub Rock Live. Eight tracks with a run time around 25 minutes. Builds a lot on the media satire, materialism, and other sociopolitical themes that I think American Standards have become known for but it also has a much more personal story than possibly past releases. With the passing of our founding guitarist Cody Conrad, my grandparents, and father all in close proximity- what was once about the growing divide in our society became more intimate and now includes themes of loss and separation at an individual level.

General thought is that a melody is a sequence of notes that come together to make a satisfying sound. Going back to the theme of the album, the content is heavily influence by what pulls us apart.

We tracked everything at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles (The Mars Volta, Bad Religion, Letlive) with Andy Marshall. There was a bit of a hang up in the mixing and mastering, but I’m real excited to say that it will be out in April. We’ll also have a couple singles with videos released prior to that.

Is the personnel the same as your previous albums?

At this point I think it’s safe to say that American Standards has become a collective of artists with similar passions contributing their talents for a couple years at a time… or until they find out we aren’t going to be playing the next Super Bowl Half Time Show (SPOILER ALERT).

Both Corey (guitar) and I have been here since the beginning but we’ve had quite a few drummers and bassists rotate out. The line up we’ve had for the past year is The Monstars of hardcore. If I know anything about Space Jam… The Monstars always win.

brandon kellum 03I know you guys have toured – is there a favorite venue or even a specific show that stands out as one of your favs?

The ones that feed us and/or give us an open bar tab. Locally, places like: the Rebel Lounge, Crescent Ballroom, Joe’s Grotto, The Hive, The Rock and any of the Mantooth-run venues have always been great to us.

On the road, we can’t say enough good things about Metro Music Hall (UT), 7th Circle Collective (CO), The Flux Capacitor (CO) and anywhere that Mike Steezy will have us in New Mexico.

As for specific shows, the smaller ones always exceed our expectations. We much rather play to a room of 50 people that are there to have a good time then 500 that only care for the headliner.

What is your take on the greater Phoenix music scene? The good and the bad from the your perspective.

There’s no doubt that Phoenix has an abundance of talented musicians, great venues and passionate people to support them. I think like any music hub though, that same volume creates a fair amount of over-saturation. Any given night we have 10 shows going and fans have to decide which one to go to. It’s a good problem to have but feels much different then playing in a smaller town that may get a show or two a month that everyone comes out to.

It also creates a bit of unhealthy competition that serves to feed some egos. I think we can take a bit of a step back and find out how we can use this wealth of “musical resource” to our advantage. Support each other and lift everyone up together rather then create all these sub divisions of genres and cliques within them.

What should change, if anything?

We need to stop saying what we don’t like and start focusing on what we do. Too often people bash other bands that aren’t their preferred taste, or venues that don’t host the shows they want to see. If you don’t like it, you have the power to ignore it and move on. Keep an open mind, search out new music and share what you find.

brandon kellum 05What’s upcoming for American Standards? Any touring? I see you’re playing Bisbee in a couple weeks and that show looks pretty frickin’ awesome…

Next on the radar is the album release April 15 at Pub Rock with Eclipses For Eyes and some additional support bands TBA. Soon after, we’ll be doing some touring through the Midwest and East Coast to support it. Definitely sprinkling in a couple local shows- one of which is a pretty awesome reunion tour of a band I know our fans will know and love. Keep an eye on our social media for those announcements.

Bisbee is also coming up February 25th at The Quarry. We love to play new places, especially in smaller towns. Makes for a great day trip or overnight for anyone looking to travel.

Is there anything I forgot to ask that you feel we should know about you or the band?

Nothing that comes to mind. People that know us, know that despite some of the more serious lyrical content we try to stay pretty tongue in cheek at our shows and online. That being said, I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone’s support over the years. Especially sites like YabYum that give us a platform to get our music out to a larger audience.

We had a particularly tough couple years with the passing of Cody then soon after both my grandparents and father to cancer. The band really helped us get through these experiences and the fact that anyone gives a shit about something we’re doing is the greatest gift we could ever ask for.

Your beard is totes rad too btw, I could never achieve something like that. Any grooming tips for all those looking to live the bearded lifestyle?

Thanks! Just use sandpaper (extra coarse) and apply directly to the area where you’d like to see hair growth. It’s an effective exfoliate and available at any local hardware store.

~

Check out American Standards on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and at The Anti-Melody Release Show April 15 at Pub Rock Live.

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Photo by Jacob Reynolds

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Sturdy Ladies

study ladies 00Our regular host, Mark Anderson, came down with a bit of a bug so Senior Editor (and button pusher for the YabYum Music Hour on Radio Phoenix) declared it a Ladies Night with The Sturdy Ladies. Roddy was on-hand to help out and The Sturdy Ladies’ brought some stellar tunes to share. You can find the complete playlist below along with the podcast of our live show.

Complete Playlist:

Sturdy Ladies “Sturdy Ladies Theme”

Whispering Wires “Time Travel Pills”

The Rondelles  “Cafeteria Rock”

Holly and the Italians “Tell That Girl to Shut Up”

The Shaving Party “Sounds”

Bosswitch “Born to Death”

Jumping Bomb Girls “Neptune Married the Treble”

The Real Kids “Do the Boob”

Sturdy Ladies “Cat Olympics”

Krab Legz “Claws Across America”

The Echo Bombs “Mervin Hellville”

Candygirl “Beehive”

The Wilt Family “Death is Unlike You, Baby Bird”

Sturdy Ladies ” Creepy Crawly”

Plus a Special Bonus Surprise Song we can’t reveal here…

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Recorded live on January 18, 2017

It’s a Couples’ Thing: Round Two

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Image Source

by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

“Being in a band is tough. Being in a band with a significant other is even harder – just ask Greg Allman and Cher, Lindsey and Stevie or Liam and Noel (OK, so the Gallagher brothers weren’t really a couple but they sure did act like one). A band, any band, is like a big ol’ dysfunctional family. There’s the creativity. There’s the arguing about what gets written and what gets played. And, musicians are just a handful. Throw in all that and then add the dynamics of a personal relationship and it’s amazing anyone stays together.” – Frank Ippolito, original introduction to “It’s a Couple’s Thing”.

Although I’ve never experienced the situation myself, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being in a band with a significant other. My partner and I do run music publication together so that’s reasonably close, I would say. I’ve also experienced being in a Family Band playing with cousins. Still, not the same thing.

So when Staff Writer Frank Ippolito originally submitted his Couple’s Thing article I was thrilled. Now, here was some insight on the very thought that had oft occupied my mind.

Then, the years drifted by and I came to know my own fair share of couples in bands, bound by the state &/or not-so-casual cohibitants. In honor of Valentine’s Day 2017, I decided it would be fun to revisit Frank’s questionairre of yesteryear with some new participants, including: Ariel and Kalen of Snailmate, Dana and Pete of JJCnV, Stacie and Erick of Citrus Clouds, and Sharon and Frank of both Battered Suitcases and Labor Party.

This Valentine’s I thought it’d be sweet (and a lil’ corny) if we learned a little more about being a couple in a band. And of course, a big thanks to all the bands that participated.

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Sharon and Frank

How long have you two been together?

Battered Suitcases: 32 years, where the hell did all that time go?

Citrus Clouds: We just celebrated 4 years together this February.

JJCnV: We didn’t start living until we were together. So we’ve been together all our lives.

Snailmate: A fucking eternity.

When was the first time you two got together and jammed?

Battered Suitcases:  I first joined Frank on stage at a Halloween show in 1984 performing The Small Faces’ “Get Yourself Together”.

Citrus Clouds: The first time we jammed was at the first Citrus Clouds practice in 2014. We decided to start a band as a fun little project after I bought her a bass for our first anniversary.

JJCnV: Before we said ‘I Do’.

Snailmate: Kalen sat in with Ariel’s old band 4 years ago.

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Stacie and Erick

Were you a couple before that?

Battered Suitcases: Yes, since July of that same year.

Citrus Clouds: Yes we were.

JJCnV: A couple of what?

Snailmate: A couple of weirdos.

When you did decide to be a couple, was jamming together the same or a little weird?

Battered Suitcases: We were already a couple…

Citrus Clouds: Since we were previously a couple, it really wasn’t weird. It was frustrating at first because Stacie was learning the bass but she picked it up extremely quickly. She’s musically gifted!

JJCnV: Once Jeff [the drummer] got over it, it was fine.

Snailmate: Our band started like any other relationship: we had just gone through a bad breakup and we were desperate and lonely.

Does the music ever become bigger than the relationship?

Battered Suitcases: No, we always matter more.

Citrus Clouds: Music is bigger than almost anything. With the Clouds it’s so intertwined that it is never an issue.

JJCnV: Every aspect of us is larger than life.

Snailmate: Music is our whole world. The relationship is a suburb.

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Pete and Dana of JJCnV

When it comes to your music, who is responsible for writing? Pretty sure it’s both of you…

Battered Suitcases: You’re correct, it’s both of us 🙂

Citrus Clouds: Erick usually writes songs on his own then we get together and play them. Some songs like “Imagination” were written really naturally from a jam. Those are special and are celestial gifts.

JJCnV: Both of us.

Snailmate: We each write our own parts and then shit on whatever the other person wrote.

Say someone writes a song about a “relationship” do either you ever go, “Uh, is that about us?”

Battered Suitcases:  Of course now and then… used to happen more in earlier days.

Citrus Clouds: Not really, because it is vague enough that other people can relate to it as well.

JJCnV: It’s best for our partnership if there aren’t a lot of questions…

Snailmate: Kalen writes about the meaningless of existence in a cold, uncaring universe. Ariel writes songs about girls.

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Ariel and Kalen. Photo by Paul HIckey

What advice would you give other couples in a band?

Battered Suitcases: Don’t take any advice 😛

Citrus Clouds: First, enjoy the fact that you get to create sounds with the person that you love. Use music as a way to share and enjoy the unique experiences that playing music offers. Carry her gear!

JJCnV: Eat at the tastiest restaurants you can, always try to out-do each other in the song writing department, and never take yourselves too seriously (unless you’re writing about death).

Snailmate: Put the music first.

~

Make sure to check out Frank Ippolito’s original It’s a Couples’ Thing article and check out the Artist links below –

Battered Suitcases

Citrus Clouds

JJCnV

Snailmate

SupaJoint’s Chakra Khan Leads Listeners in Some Guided Medication

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

All you SupaJoint fans, get ready to get centered because your favorite stoner just expanded from humorous HipHop into some serious shit. That’s right, folks. The performer known as HotRock SupaJoint who made his name on the Phoenix scene with his #weed antics gets downright spiritual in his latest film enterprise: Chakra Khan (A Stoner’s Guided Meditation…).

Chakra Khan, an animated video that clocks in at just under 25 minutes, breaks down esoteric truths into relatable ideas. And that Hotrock wisecracking style is full present to guide you through your chakras. Plus, all jokes aside, there are some valuable messages SupaJoint conveys in colorful cartoon form.

And, with all the misery in the world around us, maybe we could all use the “bubble of sweetness” SupaJoint offers participants in this cosmic journey inward. Let SupaJoint walk you through your chakras and soothe your spirit.

Check out the video down below, but first, we had a little Q&A sesh with the Stoner Supreme himself to find out the more about the #weed guru and the movie-making-magic behind Chakra Khan (A Stoner’s Guided Meditation…). 

YabYum: The video dropped toward the end of 2016, but it seems especially poignant this year, given the current political climate. I’m just curious what initially prompted you to take your act from everyone’s favorite faded emcee to this new spiritual level?

HotRock SupaJoint: Great question, YabYum. So I be gettin high on my porch, chattin wit some yoga homiez who smoke weed out in CA, an we both be all like “Yo, why ain’t there no guided meditation/yoga shit wit the stoners in mind?”

Let’s face it, #weed be big biz, an since jus bout erybody be smokin the shit, there gotta be a market fo this kinda shit. An why I be out there, jus gettin high, I had this vision yo. I think that bud I be smokin be like space-weed or some shit, cuz as I be gettin high, I had this vision a Ms. Chaka Kahn, an I be all like “Yo Ms. Kahn. I be totes feelin all the heaviness a the emotions a all the peeps on the Earf yo, an they be screamin out to find that help homie.” An then Ms. Kahn, who be all done up like that Virgin Mary de Guadelupe from the candles, cept I cud see all her chakras, an they be all charged up an lit the fuck up, she took me by the hand an be all like “HotRock. I feel fo you.”

An then I woke up, but not jus from the vision, I be like WOKE yo, so I wrote this guided meditation an my homie BEEMaster J helped me wit the beats an shit. This a huge step fo me, bein jus a rapper an shit, but yo I think the peeps a the Earf be needin this kinda positivity an shit rite now.


Were you well versed on chakras before beginning this project? Or was there some research involved?

Word. I heard bout them chakras an shit from peeps goin back a few years, but I didn’t know much bout it, so I googd all bout that shit on my phone fo like 20 minutes, an it seem like a great form a expression fo the mo esoteric way the humans be interacting wit the universe an the otha peeps on the Earf, an I be all like “Yo. There some money here yo. An I need weed, so…” BOOM. Help peeps fig they shit out… make some weed$$ in the process. Win win yo.

Give me the deets. How’d you go about making a 25 minute animated video? That seems pretty ambitious.

So like I say befo, I wrote the shit out in one sittin after gettin jus high as fuck an doin a little research. Then me an BEEMaster J watched a bunch a them guided meditations on the YouTube. Got feels fo what them meditationerz an them yoga pant bitchez be lookin fo musically… recorded the vox one day. Spent about four mo days buildin the backbeats an all that musical shit. Then, I remembered I heard bout this program calld “OpenToonz” that jus had done went open source, an that be the program that Futurama used in the early days, so I be all like “I can download this program fo free an learn that shit?”

An then I be all like “Fuck yeah. Free program mean mo cash fo weed,” so I downloaded it, an then jus dived head first in on that shit. The first month I be jus killin it, gettin shit done, but afta a month a hearing music broken up into 24 frames per second all stutters an shit, it started gettin to me an makin me sketch out, so I put it down fo like a month, then I be all like “Yo HotRock, is ya doin this shit or not?”An then I be all like ” Let’s fuckin do this yo.”

I initially wanted to get the shit done by early Nov, cuz I knew the peeps a the Earf an the USA was gonna be all fucked up by this election, an gettin back to the first question… I be kinda high rite now yo, sorry… I wanted it done by early Nov to give peeps the chance to like re-center they shit, but that didn’t happen, but I kept workin an workin an the shit got done by early Dec, an as soon as the shit be done, I was all like “Drop that shit now yo.” Do that answer that question?

For all those TL:DR folks out there, what message lies at the heart of Chakra Khan?

Be cool. Focus on the awesomeness that be you homiez. Help them peeps that need that help yo. Find what gonna make ya a be a better you, an then pack that shit in a bowl an smoke the fuck outta it yo.

One of the things I really love about this video is the way the soundtrack shifts subtly throughout the video as you move through the chakras. Was this just you and BEEMaster J? (P.S. Wanna tell us who BEEMaster J is?)

BEEMaster J yo. B like a bong, or a blunt. An all caps on the BEEM, cuz homie be like a BEEM a hope an shit, but spelt like BEEM, not beam, which he prob got his reason fo an shit.

I knew I wanted to start at like 60bpm an move up 10bpm per chakra, so the listener/viewer feel that energy movin yo, so when we was first recordin the vox, me an BMJ built kick an snare patterns so I can hit shit on the beat why we be recordin my vox.

Then him and me jus be all like, “what a sacral chakra sound like”, an he be all like “It shud have a sexy saxophone or some shit.” So we jus went thru an gave each chakra the music an the love it needed to get that love thru to the peeps.

You always seem to have some new idea taking root and blossoming into fruition. What’s next for Hotrock SupaJoint? And what’s next for the man behind the hotpants?

First off, it a chick, my chick, Baby K that be behind them hot pants. She find me all my dope threads, jus like a awesome fluffer/stylist shud. IDK homiez. I wanna drop some new hiphop on the peeps soon… maybe April. I always be thinkin video now, cuz music only be fo the ears, an I wanna grab peeps by all they senses yo. We’ll see. Hopefully my weedman keep me high enuf to think above all the bullshit an keep this dopeness flowin yo. I’d love to do a TV show or some kinda shit to highlite the awesomeness that downtown PHX be poppin now… maybe Imma get my shit together enuf to make that happen. We’ll see.

Stay high homiez. Aw yeah. #weed

~

Make sure to watch Chakra Khan (A Stoner’s Guided Meditation…) below. You can also follow SupaJoint on Facebook.

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

afrobeat orchestra 01PAO! PAO! PAO! The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra (well, 5/16ths of the band) joined us down at the Radio Phoenix Studios and now you can hear the podcast. The complete playlist can be found below.

Complete Playlist:

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra “Come With Us”

Flower Festival “I’m a Waste of Time”

Nanami Ozone “Wet Mouth”

PRO TEENS “Goodnight Moon’d”

Dungeon Destroyah “Fried Tofu”

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra “Go In Get Out”

Gospel Claws “Walk Me Down”

Jerusafunk “Gateway Movement”

House of Stairs “Silence Won’t You Come Back”

Yojimbo Billions “(Hold On to Your) Passport”

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Recorded live on January 4, 2017

An Insider’s Introduction: Aaron Ponzo

aaron ponzo 03by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

When I think about it, I must have first met Aaron Ponzo when he was 14 years old.

It was during the heydays of Parliament back in 2013 so heck, he could’ve been 13. Jeez. It just makes his accomplishments all the more grand.

Now, producing music as The Expos, Aaron has six, self-released, self-recorded albums on Bandcamp (including the B-sides and “best ‘other’ stuff” album Songs for You: The Other Songs​!​!​!​!); a working relationship with Warped Your Records which not only released The Expos latest album Joy, but re-released previous albums as well; and scores of shows notched on his fur-lined, Herculean leather belt. It’s like the man is rock-god and he’s still just a teenager!

I had a chance to catch up with Aaron and find out more about Joy, what he thinks of our music community, and what’s upcoming for The Expos.

YabYum: How long have you lived in Arizona? Are you a native? It seems like it. When and how did you first get involved with the Phoenix music scene?

Aaron Ponzo: I’ve lived in Arizona my whole life, born and raised in the Grand Canyon State. I’m 17 now. I started getting involved when I was like 14 years old; me and Micah (current live bassist of the Expos) started a punk band called Saba-Oats. My brother playing in local bands helped me get into local bands too. Saba-Oats got a show at Trunk Space a lil’ bit after forming and now, here I am.

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All photos courtesy of Aaron Ponzo

How long have you been playing music in general?

I have been playing the bass since I was in like 3rd grade. Starting playing in a cover band with my brother and my friend Alex, that lasted to 7th grade with fluctuating line ups. At that point after that band I decided to pick up the guitar and just have kept practicing ’til right this second.

How about recording… Have you simply always wanted to record your own songs and are The Expos’ albums the result of that? What’s your setup like and what programs (if any) do you use?

The Expos basically started when I had just got kicked out of my old band and wasn’t really doing a lot with playing music for a few months after that and then I just forced myself to write a song and that song was “Thirstbuster” (off the self-titled album). Then I spent like a week after writing and recording the other songs. I just kept going ’til right now.

My set up on my first 3 albums were just an input, my laptop, and a mic recording into Audacity. Most of the bass is line-in guitar that’s pitch shifted down an octave on those albums. The last 2 albums (Happy & Joy) were just made in my bedroom or my Dad’s office on a Mac with Garageband. I used a lot of midi on those.

aaron ponzo joyLet’s talk Joy for a minute. Why squeeze all your material into 9 minutes? Besides it being a test, I guess, is there any other philosophy behind it? Many times, as soon as I get into the song >poof!< it’s done.. always leave ’em wanting more maybe?

Basically, I wrote the song “South Mountain” with no real plans for it and then after the success of Warped Your Fest, Colin (Bauer of Warped Your Records) asked if Warped Your could put out the 1st Expos album onto a lathe cut.  I declined and countered that offer with a WHOLE NEW ALBUM of only 30 second or less songs. I guess it was testing my songwriting ability to see if i could make a lot of songs that can stand there and not feel weird and be actual songs. There is no really reason for it though, to be honest, just cause WHO THE HECK HAS EVER DONE THAT!!?!?! And also I really like shorter songs.

Who’s in your current line-up of the band when the Expos play live?

The most common live line up is me on Guitar, my brother Seth on drums (Draa, Pent Up), Micah Wiggins on bass (Sun Hex, Pent Up), and Colin Bauer on second guitar (Closet Goth, Warped Your Records). But the Expos also have had Tyler Broderick on Bass, Matthew Hainlen on Bass, Alexis Molina on Keyboard, Alex Brown on Drums, Tim Bomberg-Roth on Saxophone, Zach Nelson on Drums, and Garret Baugmarte on Drums as well.

What’s your take on the music scene we have here? Anything you’d like to see change?

I think Phoenix music is at one of the best points I’ve seen it in awhile. So many good spaces, plus my favorite bands to ever exist here exist like Diners, Amateur Hour, Doomed to Bloom, Sun Hex, and Captain Samurai. I guess, just start more bands. Write more music. Don’t settle, make the best possible music you can. Drink more water. Look at the desert. Listen to more music. Never stop. Drink more seltzer too. Have more fun. Music. Book more weird shows at unconventional spaces (in the process of booking a show on top of South Mountain… shhhhhhhhh). Love the desert. Understand the importance of cacti. Go to the Botanical Gardens. Look around. Drink More Water. Hike more. Take time to stop and smell the creosote. Make Weirder Bands. Not all bands gotta be two guitars, drums, and bass (even tho the Expos are, for now). And gosh darnit, STOP TEARING DOWN PLACES AND MAKING THEM APARTMENTS, I’M LOOKING AT YOU, PHOENIX. That’s the change I want to see in Phoenix. This probably didn’t answer the question but I’ll just move on…

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What are your plans for 2017? Any outta town shows? More releases?

Well, get weirder, release a new album sometime, tour the west in the summer time, play in Yuma, drink water, write more music (that probably won’t be on that said album but on the 7th Expos album), listen to more music, eat healthier, book more shows for bands, and travel to wherever I can. That’s pretty much it.

Obvi your hair is super awesome. Are you like Samson and is it the source of your god-like guitar shredding powers as long as it doesn’t get cut??

🏀✌️️🐸 Lemme answer that with another question: what’s your favorite Thin Lizzy album?

~

Check out Joy by The Expos below. You can also follow them on Facebook.

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(My answer is Black Rose btw…)

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Travis James

travis james 00Travis James showed up with a crew when he came down to the Radio Phoenix studios. We talked all his current projects, Slope Records, and what’s upcoming for mohawked troubadour. Plus, he brought a ton of great tracks including some that can be heard no where else (for now)! As always, you can check out the complete playlist below.

Complete Playlist:

Travis James and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists “Shiny New Toys”

The Linecutters “Education”

Sad Kid “Gas Station Burrito”

The Haymarket Squares “Burn it down”

Monster May I “Goodnight Goodnight”

Couples Fight “Space”

Travis James and the AAA “Eviction Ballad”

Diego Galvan “Life Has Been Empty”

Sarah Amstutz “Empty Plate, Empty Girl”

Rum Drinker “Tropical Contact High”

Sugar Skull Explosion “I Don’t Want To”

Andy Warpigs “N Bombs and C Bombs”

The Doyenne “G U L L Y”

_

Recorded live on December 7, 2016

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Red Tank!

red tank 01Red Tank! came down to the Radio Phoenix studios and we had a blast talking up music and bands. We chatted about the wall of noise, new songs, and snowed-out tours. And, of course, they brought along some stellar tracks that we were jazzed to play and, as always, the complete playlist can be found below.

Complete Playlist:

Red Tank! “The Void”

Wolvves “Harriets 1 & 2”

No Age “Teen Creeps”

RIVIVR “Resilient Bastard”

Dogbreth “Cups and Wrappers”

RNA “Between The Mountains And Us”

Lightning Bolt “The Metal East”

RT! “Hummingbirds”

Captain Samurai “Tired”

Drug Church “But Does It Work?”

Mitski “I Will”

Saw Fox “Big Girl”

Sonic Youth “Skip Tracer”

Recorded live on Nov. 16, 2016

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Radio Phoenix Podcast: The SunPunchers

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Lindsay Cates and Betsy Ganz (l to r), photo courtesy of The SunPunchers

The SunPunchers joined us at the Radio Phoenix studios on a most tremendous of nights. At one point we thought the station might actually combust into flames. OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it sure was a swell time hanging out with Betsy and Lindsay and listening to the great song selections they picked out. Listen to the podcast and check out the complete playlist below And don’t forget to keep your ears open for that new album from The SunPunchers next year!!

Complete Playlist:

The SunPunchers “The Rug”

Courtney Marie Andrews “How Quickly Your Heart Mends”

Stephen Steinbrink “Absent Mind”

Karima Walker “Hands in Our Names”

The Blood Feud Family Singers “Lonely Night”

Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl “Oh Up Above”

The SunPunchers “Screwtop Head”

Calexico “Crystal Frontier”

Eric Bachmann/Jon Rauhouse “Jojo Blanco”

Radiation City “Juicy”

John Prine/Iris DeMent– “In Spite of Ourselves”

North Brother Island “Jenny Lind”

Nina Simone “Ballad of Hollis Brown”

Recorded live on November 2, 2016