Radio Phoenix Podcast: 2016 Awards Preview

2016 awards 01At the end of year, in preface to our Annual Awards, the YabYum Editors like to take a moment and play their favorite tracks from all the Arizona bands and artists that left an impression on them. This is that show, the 2016 Awards preview. No guests. No witty banter. Just kick-ass jams. Enjoy!

PS. Thanks to everyone who came out to our 2016 Awards show at the Trunk Space, it meant a lot!

PSS. That sound is Scott taking pics in the background…

Complete Playlist:

Katterwaul “Follow You Home”

Wyves “Spoils of War”

Fairy Bones “Pink Plastic Cups”

Asian Fred “Kick Back Your Head”

Diners “15 On A Skateboard”

Sonoran Chorus “Cartons of Bottles”

US Depressed “Fault & Pepper Salami”

Phantom Party “Derby Daze”

Foresteater “Very Friendly People”

Aesthetically Sound “In My Feelings”

The Foster Family Band “How Can I?”

Gene Tripp “Here It Comes”

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra “Come With Us”

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Recorded live on December 21, 2016

YabYum 2016 Awards Recap

2016 awardsAlrighty gang, this wraps up our 2016 Awards portion of the year. A big thanks to everyone who came out to the Awards Show at the Trunk Space last night. We will now continue to cover all the new shit. More local, national, and international music coverage is on the way. Stay tuned…

steph 000 acoustic 00 things that hologram 00 sugar skull explosion no volcano reformatting snakes 00 foster family band breaking up ohioan 00 soundtrack 00 saddles 000 red tank impossible animals 00 huckleberry 000 bear ghost featured snake river blues 000 phoenix afrobeat 000 karima 000 fairy 00 happy plaza 000 best indie pop lando chill 000 top 20 singles 2016 00 best live band top 20 music videos 000 nanami 000

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Previous YabYum Awards Recaps:

2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009

Album of the Year: Desire by Nanami Ozone

nanami 000When Nanami Ozone released Desire, their debut full length album, in May, they pretty much set the soundtrack to our summer. And, by the time autumn rolled around, we were still jamming out to the indie rock collection. We sent out links to this album and played singles from this release more than any other release of 2016.

Nanami Ozone crafts aloof indie rock with just enough garage grit to keep things cool. Perhaps what I like most about this album is the way the band confronts the disaffection of a generation head on with an almost painful vulnerability.

Desire is smart, entrenched in contemporary modes of music-making, and  totally fresh. If you haven’t already heard Desire by Nanami Ozone, make sure you give it a spin immediately. Like now. You should also check them out at our 2016 Awards Show happening at the Trunk Space, this evening at 6 PM!

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Original review of Desire by Nanami Ozone

Previous Album of the Year Award Winners:

2015: Sweetbleeders
2014: Playboy Manbaby
2013: decker.
2012: Good Friends Great Enemies
2011: Sun Ghost
2010: What Laura Says

 

Top 20 Music Videos 2016

top 20 music videos 00020
Sundressed
“Autopilot”

Directed by Cory Davis

19
Sugar Skull Explosion
“I Don’t Want To”

Directed by Plastic Monsters

18
Confetti Club
“Clutches of Emotion”

Directed by Justin Humbert

17
Dadadoh
“Do It”

Directed by Bryan Preston

16
The Brothers Comatose
“Black Light Moon”

Directed by Colin Blackshear

15
Injury Reserve
“All This Money”

Directed by Parker Corey

14
Draa
“Losing My Charm”

Directed by Freddie Paull

13
Willetta
“Rosario”

Directed by Michael J. Buckius

12
Fairy Bones
“Notes from Wonderland”

Directed by Brandon McGill and Chelsey Louise

11
Genre
“Speak Now”

Directed by Genre

10
decker.
“Holy Ghost”

Directed by Matty Steinkamp

9
Wyves
“Spoils of War”

Directed by Cory Davis

8
Mega Ran
“Mackerel Sky”

Directed by Luis “ElJayBeats” Perez

7
Playboy Manbaby
“I’d Like to Meet Your Parents”

Directed by Ryan Riggs & Jordan Pillar

6
Captain Squeegee
“Dually Noted”

Directed by Freddie Paull

5
Aesthetically Sound
“In My Feelings”

Directed by Rachael Smith

4
No Volcano
“Blackout”

Directed by Jason Willis

3
The Haymarket Squares
“Heaven”

Directed by Cory Davis

2
Lando Chill
“Save Me”

Directed by Malcolm Critcher

1
The Thin Bloods
“Talk Talk Talk”

Directed by Ryan Lee Caldwell

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Previous Best Music Video Award Winners:

2015
2014
2013

Best Live Band: Playboy Manbaby

best live bandNo one commands a crowd quite like Playboy Manbaby.

It helps that the band crafts feisty hits make you want to pump your fist, shake your ass, and scream your head off. So it should be no surprise that the band has sold out venues all across town from The Trunk Space to the Rebel Lounge to the Crescent Ballroom.

This six-piece superband brings enough energy to the stage to revive a funeral parlor, but when you set them before a packed-out house of writhing fans, Playboy Manbaby delivers a memorable experience every time.

Maybe that’s why they’ve performed this year with such an array of diverse acts, from Jared & The Mill to The Father Figures. Playboy Manbaby is a band that everyone should experience live. Rowdy, unrelenting, and more fun than a monkey on mescaline.

Check out their “Live at Valley Bar” video below to see what we mean…

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Previous Best Live Band Award Winners:

2015: Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra
2014: Fathers Day, Jerusafunk, Wolvves

Top 20 Singles 2016

top 20 singles 2016 0020
RNA
“Delta”

The experimental noise act known as RNA released Between The Mountains and Us on Jan. 1st of 2016. The ruckus release included the stellar single “Delta” which mixes a sludgy sound with high energy guitar antics.

19
Aesthetically Sound
“In My Feelings”

This mellow R&B track from Aesthetically Sound dropped eleven months ago, but its haunting sound stayed with all year. Intimate and heart-wrenching, “In My Feelings” sets a mellow mood best accompanied by wine and unabashed sobbing.

18
Day Before Plastics
“Hot, But”

I probably shouldn’t start with this, but I’m always surprised by just how much I like the music of Day Before Plastics. Maybe it has something to do with the titles they choose. I always go in thinking, “This might be okay,” and then I’m blown away. The title “Hot, But” does not prepare you for the deep level of introspection supported by the band’s incredible musicianship.

17
Weird Radicals
“Medea”

Despite being relative newcomers on the local scene, Weird Radicals made quite a splash with their debut release, Strictly Business, which dropped in December. Their single “Medea” uses nostalgic 90s guitar and vocal effects with modern indie modes of music-making for a catchy single bound to get stuck in your head for days (fair warning). Maybe that’s the magic combo that put Weird Radicals on the PHX music map so very quickly.

16
Citrus Clouds
“Imagination”

This single is the title track from Citrus Clouds’ November full-length release. And, since I’m the one doing this write-up so no one can tell me what to say, I really thought the album deserved additional acknowledgement in our 2016 awards. Alas, it was a big year for local music so a few stellar releases might not have received all the accolades they warranted. The band adds a dreampop glaze to their garage indie rock sound by coating it in a shoegaze haze. So good. So so good.

15
Wyves
“Spoils of War”

The title track from Wyves’ February release has all the rowdy, barroom energy you want with your rocknroll. “Spoils of War” has a retro rock vibe (think late 70s) that meshes so very well with the band’s devil-may-care attitude. And they put on a stellar live show too.

14
Sonoran Chorus
“Cartons of Bottles”

Songwriter Damon Dominguez first impressed us with his lyrical prowess back in his Leonardo DiCapricorn days. So, after that band ceased to be, we were super stoked for the launch of Sonoran Chorus. “Cartons of Bottles” brings back that supple songwriting with feisty, punk-tinged, indie rock energy.

13
Emby Alexander
“In Your Doorstep Bleeding”

This is my favorite Emby Alexander song. Ever. And when you consider that the band has been performing together for almost five years now, that’s really saying something. “In Your Doorstep Bleeding” has a breezy indie pop sound that will immediately draw you into the heart of the track: those simple, but painful lyrics.

12
Foresteater
“Very Friendly People”

This single comes to us from Nightlife of the Exploding Heads, the debut EP from Foresteater. “Very Friendly People” combines an infectious grove with tight harmonies for a refreshingly unique indie sound. Foresteater just broke onto the scene in 2016 and we can’t wait to hear what’s in store from this band in the year to come.

11
Celebration Guns
“The Volunteer”

The effervescent indie pop of Celebration Guns really comes through in high shine on their 2016 single, “The Volunteer”. This tracks comes to us from the me that used to be, the band’s April release. The orchestral layers of instrumentation distract the listener from the gravity of the lyrical content. It might take a few listens for the meaning to sink in after the dancing subsides.

10
Fairy Bones
“8-Ball”

Um, wow. Fairy Bones had a good thing going on their debut s/t release, but in the years to follow, the band really stepped up their game. Together, they honed their sound into something unique and uniquely powerful. “8-Ball” dropped last year along with another stellar single, “Pink Plastic Cups”, so choosing a favorite between the two was a trial in and of itself, but the playfully aggressive self-loathing on “8-Ball” won out in the end.

9
US Depressed
“Fault and Pepper Salami”

The punk rock supergroup known as US Depressed features members of such other acts as JJCnV, French Girls, Skink, and The 16 Eyes. The band released a few singles last February including this gem. “Fault and Pepper Salami” fuses raucous post-punk with a witty if bellicose lyricism.

8
Injury Reserve

“All This Money”

Damn, Injury Reserve, this track is off the hook. Anytime we’ve played this track down at YabYumHQ, every person present immediately launches into a club-style dance party. The hook on “All This Money” is so fucking sick, I dare you not to dance. This is grimy HipHop at its best.

7
Playboy Manbaby
“You Can Be A Fascist Too”

This single is the first track of Playboy Manbaby’s forthcoming release, Don’t Let it Be, which should be hitting fans any day now. “You Can Be A Fascist Too” takes the rambunctious fervor that Playboy Manbaby is known for and adds a more strident focus on lyrical content for a winning number. I can see all the fist-pumping sing-a-longs to this song at shows to come throughout the year ahead.

6
PRO TEENS
“Puberty”

The vocals stylings of PRO TEENS frontman Andy Phipps has air of sullen disinterest – perfect for a song titled “Puberty”. When you add to that the retro garage pop musicality, you have the makings of a stand-out single. “Puberty” comes to us from the band’s 2016 release, Accidentally, which dropped last summer.

5
Asian Fred
“Kick Back Your Head”

How do you write music like this in the present day and age? Something retro-styled and yet so totally fresh? Somehow the act known as Asian Fred manages to craft outstanding tracks every single time they put pen to page (pick to string?). “Kick Back Your Head” was part of a two-track single released by the band last June. And, honestly, either single could appear on this list. We can get enough of Asian Fred’s stellar psych pop.

4
Katterwaul
“Follow You Home”

Katterwaul is one of my all-time favorite Arizona acts so I was a little bummed they didn’t release an album this past year. BUT the band did offer fans two sweet singles on a 7″ split they put out in March through Tucson’s Wooden Tooth Records. “Follow You Home” grabs hold of the listener with its spirited desert rock from the very first note and doesn’t let go.

3
Lando Chill
“Coroner”

The chill vibe of “Coroner” lulls the listener into a meditative calm before the lyrics begin their descent. Get ready for an introspective journey with Lando Chill. This single will leave you somber and reflective and it won’t leave you alone thanks to a subtle yet effective hook.

2
Nanami Ozone
“Sonny Bono”

Picking a favorite track from Nanami Ozone’s debut release was a real son of a bitch. We spent an embarrassing amount of time arguing the merits of various tracks on this release because they’re all just so damn good. Finally, in a mix of desperation and conviction, we decided on “Sonny Bono”. The interplay of vocalists, the stripped down garage rock, and that hopelessly cool Nanami Ozone lyricism all make “Sonny Bono” one of the best songs of the year.

1
Diners
“Fifteen on a Skateboard”

The dreamy layers of sound merge with the sugary innocence of Diners on their single “Fifteen on a Skateboard” in such a way that perfectly epitomizes the band’s style. Rich vocal harmonies carry the uncluttered lyrics while the instrumentation surrounds the listener in a sea of soothing sounds. Diners delivers indie pop at its very finest.

Best HipHop Album: For Mark, Your Son by Lando Chill

lando chill 000I have to admit, this was one of our most contentious categories this year. Arizona HipHop has been on the up-and-up in recent years and 2016 proved one of the best years for albums of this genre… which just made our job all the more difficult.

But, when it came down to it, Lando Chill took the lead with his album, For Mark, Your Son, which came out last summer. This Tucson artist is breaking the traditional molds of HipHop with his pensive lyrics and smooth style and is fearless in the face of personal revelation and emotional honesty.

And, as an added bonus, Lando Chill re-recorded a number of the tracks from this album for his Madera Canyon EP (which came out in November) using a live backing band. Check out For Mark, Your Son here by Lando Chill below before moving on to the follow-up EP.

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Previous Best HipHop Award Winners:

2015: Mega Ran
2010: Drunken Immortals

Best Indie Pop Album: Three by Diners

best indie popIt sure feels like we’ve been following Diners for quite some time. Back in 2012, we gave them the award for Best New Band and, since then, we’ve watched as the band continued to grow their sound (and fanbase) without losing the heartwarming innocence that stands at the core of their sound.

This past year was a big one for Diners. The band signed with Asian Man Records, expanded their tour routes, and released their stellar indie pop LP, Three, which came out in September.

The record, recorded by Jalipaz over at Audioconfusion, goes beyond the crystalline lyricism that initially secured our love to achieve a richly textured album that will restore your world-weary soul with its bright but calm exuberance.

From start to finish, Three stands out as one of the best albums of the year and not just for Arizona. The entire world should listen to Three by Diners and we’ll all be better people for it.

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Original review of Three by Diners

Best EP: Happy Plaza by Gene Tripp

gene 000Jay Hufman, who performs under the name Gene Tripp, released this seven-track gem back in February of this year. Happy Plaza is soft-spoken but has an underlying ruggedness that makes me think of cowboy antiheroes and stormy desert days.

Gene Tripp released the vinyl rendition of Happy Plaza on November 4th at the Newton in Phoenix. There is a brooding air to the music that is somehow comforting in its acceptance and eventual embrace of the melancholy contained therein.

The album features a number of notable guest musicians, including Lonna Kelley, Matt Wiser, Ann Seletos, AJ Saari, and Abelardo Gil. And, as Senior Editor Mark Anderson said in his review of Happy Plaza, “if you like downer, cowboy blues with experimental underpinnings then this is the album for you.”

I couldn’t agree more. Listen to Happy Plaza by Gene Tripp below…

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Original review of Happy Plaza by Gene Tripp

Previous Best EP Award Winners:

2015: Lonna Kelley
2013: Of The Painted Choir
2011: Small Leaks Sink Ships

Most Likely to Succeed: Fairy Bones

fairy 00Fairy Bones might have been a point of musical contention amongst the staffers here at YabYum in 2016, but one undeniable fact remains: this band is poised for success.

And I know you might be thinking we’re attributing this position to the band’s smart social media methods or their out-of-this-world music videos, but we’re not.

The reason Fairy Bones are this year’s Most Likely to Succeed is because the band keeps it pushing. There is no stagnation here. With their freshman s/t EP and follow-up release, Dramabot, we heard them in the early stages of their developing sound. It was raw and powerful.

This year, fans got two more singles from the band; just a taste of their ever-advancing stage show. And I must say, while I was a fan of the band beforehand, these new tracks speak volumes for what is possible when musicians continually strive to move their sound forward.

The power is still present, but the rawness is more refined, more cohesive, and the lyrics have that wry wit and emotional honesty that first distinguished them in my mind from other acts making the rounds.

Fairy Bones is fierce and fiercely committed. ‘Nuff said.

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Previous Most Likely To Succeed Award Winners:

2015: decker.
2014: Head Over Heart
2012: William Reed
2011: Peachcake