“Take My Chances”
“Shapes and Things”
“Enough Enough Enough”
Doesn’t Rhyme With King
“Can’t Tell the Difference”
“Tea Colored Radio”
“All Just Pretending”
What makes for a good cover song might be one of the questions of the ages. I mean, should you go for paying tribute to a band who helped give shape to your own sound? Or do you go way out to left field to adapt a different sound to your own style? Or maybe you just go for that one special single that really marked a moment in your own personal music history? Any answer can be the right answer…
What happens when one of Phoenix’s favorite fuzz pop bands pays homage to one of their favorite fuzz pop bands? Citrus Clouds offers up this stellar tribute to My Bloody Valentine with their cover of “Come In Alone” from the album, Loveless. Dive down into the shoegazy soup of Citrus Clouds below…
Covering Blondie is a bold move, but one that Beckii Power didn’t shy away from. Power took the 1980 hit and added some modern mellow for her own rendition. The result is a little more daydream and a little less dance club, but I’m digging the change. Check out Beckii Power’s cover of “Call Me” below and keep an eye (or ear) out for new original music from Power this year…
That gum you like is going to come back in style. And by “gum” I mean “television show”. Yes, I’m one of those people that is counting down the minutes until the re-boot of Twin Peaks and it looks like MRCH is on #TeamCoop too. To mark our much-anticipated return to Twin Peaks, the electropop duo took on the haunting theme song. Damn fine cover.
Mama Ghost provides us a great example of taking a song from a different style and making it your own with this Flock of Seagulls number. The Cali-based indie-folk act strips “I Ran” down to its emotional core. Give the Mama Ghost version of “I Ran” a spin below. And, just in case you haven’t visited the 1982 music video from Flock of Seagulls in a while, you can (and should) do that here.
If you’re not yet familiar with the father-daughter duo that is Sugar Skull Explosion, you need to take some corrective action. The pair released a two-track collection of cover songs called Kathleen and Courtney a few months back. Sugar Skull Explosion gives a little love to the Kathleen Hanna classic, “Rebel Girl”, and Hole’s 1994 hit, “Doll Parts”, also makes a notable appearance.
Chino XL & Rama Duke offer listeners an interesting take on the whole concept of the cover song. Their version of “Under the Bridge” (originally by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is one part RocknRoll cover and one part HipHop mash-up. Check out the sweet music video for the Chino XL/Rama Duke rendition of that song we all had stuck in our head back in 1992. “Under the Bridge” is also available for preview through Soundcloud (here).
This seven piece band all the way from Ahmedabad, India offer up the Robert Johnson classic, “Malted Milk”, for fans near and far. Time | Wise is no stranger to serving up jazz standards in their own style so this blues number feels smooth and soulful.
This debut track from Londoner JW Ridley is quite the promising start for the art student turned bedroom popster. “Everything (Deathless)” wafts toward this listen with a pensive air as pleasantly placid vocals lead you through the Ridley’s ruminating lyrics. The single will be released through Speedy Wunderground on 7″ vinyl so head here to place your order. Keep in mind, the vinyl print is going to be limited to only 250 copies so you better get on it, but first, take “Everything (Deathless)” for a spin below…
The Los Angeles act known as Snowball II is gearing up for the release of their third album, Flashes of Quincy. “Anais & Me”, the first single of the band’s LP, dropped in January and offers listeners a refreshingly warm vibe in the dead of winter. The song offers a throwback indie sound reminiscent of bands like Pavement with some shoegaze texturing smudged into the guitarwork that is far more buoyant than drone. All in all, I’m really loving this single. Check out “Anais & Me” below then head here to check out the complete LP.
This single comes to us from the 3-track release Tempe’s Breakup Shoes released in January. “Another Good Morning” is situated right between the opener, “Perfectly Pleasant”, and “Sábado”, the closer, but don’t think of this as the dreaded middle child. Not at all. “Another Good Morning” encapsulates Breakup Shoes dreamy, early morning vibe. Like gently waking up on the weekend in a room that is bright, but not too bright. Of the three songs contained on Tuba, the song titled “Another Good Morning” was my favorite, but the other two are not to be discounted. You can hear Tuba here or start with my fav below…
Wow. This track gets dark, but it does so with so much gusto you won’t even notice the room growing dimmer around you. “Modern” is the second single from New Mystics, an L.A. act with a refreshingly crisp indie sound. There are some retro-style psychedelic elements in this track but that makes the sound no less present tense. Beneath the vivid orchestrations, the listener will discover an ominous message lurking; one that hearkens the end of an era. Check out “Modern” by New Mystics below or head here for that sweet digi-download.
This new single from Beach for Tiger has an easygoing island feel infused into their indie psych sound. “Black Buddha” possess a dreamy air; the sort of dream you might find yourself in on a warm summer day that is part hallucination, part lucid daydream. This single just dropped last month, but the Brit band has a smattering of earlier tracks available through their Soundcloud page so, if you dig the new single, consider delving further into Beach for Tiger. But first, give “Black Buddha” a spin below…
This single comes to us from Citrus Clouds’ LP, Imagination, which came out in November. The Phoenix 3-piece crafts shoegaze-y indie complete with richly textured guitars and drone-leaning vocal harmonies for a sound that is very present tense. Musing and melodic, “Shapes and Things” might just be my new favorite single from Citrus Clouds. Give it a listen for yourself below and then head here to check out Imagination in its entirety.
Indie-pop princess-in-the-making Carrie Lane has a soulful desperation in her voice that almost excludes her from the “princess” category. But, then again, this single did debut with Forever 21. Whatever your position on the matter, you can’t deny the power of Lane’s voice. And this New Jersey songbird has a bit of that Amy Winehouse sulk that’s been missing from my life of late. Give “If I Can’t Be With You” a listen below or head here to add the single to your personal playlists.
by Mark Anderson
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.
“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.
Day Before Plastics
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
Earlier this month Maryvale’s own Citrus Clouds joined us in the Radio Phoenix Studios for another edition of Rise. Not only did they bring some tracks off their new record, Imagination, they brought along some stellar picks of artists they enjoy as well. Make sure and head to Valley Bar on Nov. 2 to catch the Imagination Release Party when the music will start at 7:30 PM. More on that event here.
Citrus Clouds “The Sun is in My Eyes”
Fatigo “The Golf Cart Preacher”
Depeche Mode “Strange Love”
The Nix “Diamond Eyes”
Nanami Ozone “Be Cool to Me”
Citrus Clouds “Imagination”
Tierra Firme “Populous 2”
The Echo Bombs “Biter”
Factories “Story Like Yours”
Dadadoh “What I Got”
The Lonesome Wilderness “Wasted”
Ego Tripping “Impression”
Recorded live on October 19, 2016
This two-track single from Phoenix’s Weird Radicals kicks off with “Medea”, a high-energy garage-rock number with grungy vocals. There’s almost an alt-90s sound here and I mean that in a good way. Weird Radicals don’t forsake modern relevance for that throwback vibe. “Disappear” moves in for something a little more somber and stripped down. Medea/Disappear is the band’s second single release so if you like what you’re hearing go back a bit further on Bandcamp to their May debut.
This indie-rock act out of Fort Worth, TX has has a heavy, psychedelic sound big enough to fill a stadium. Picnic Lightning aptly describes their sound as “Southern Gothic Psych” which fits perfectly with the fuzzed out guitars and darker currents that thread through the track. Listen to “Ten Million Thoughts” here and, if you dig what you’re hearing, delve further into their s/t EP.
Phoenix indie rockers, Citrus Clouds, incorporate both an alt-rock edge and a dreampop airiness in their new track, “Imagination”. Heavy guitars mingle with languishing vocals as the song starts but oscillates toward an expansive soundscape as it progresses. Rumor has it, the band is working on a new music video with Running Wild Films so fans have that to look forward to. We’ll be sure to keep you posted. Until then, enjoy “Imagination” from Citrus Clouds…
L.A. alt-rock band Moon combines the talents of Chelsea Davis (vocals/bass) and Dan Silver (guitar/synth). Despite only counting a duo in their ranks, MOON has a textured sound. Davis has a powerful set of pipes and a smokey edge to her voice. “I Got a Fever” is a shout-it-out shower anthem if ever there was one. You can score your own digital download of “I Got a Fever” here, but feel welcome to give it a spin below first.
This alt-rock act from Princeton, NJ has a stoner vibe without all the hazy musicality. This is crisp, summertime rocknroll that has an easygoing vibe and a whole lot of energy. “El Grongolongo” draws in the listener right from the get-go. If you dig what you’re hearing, and you will, I suggest diving right into the band’s new EP, On Holiday, available through SoundCloud.
There’s a sun-blitzed, summertime vibe to Lost Beach that I really dig. Their latest single, “Novocaine”, perfectly encapsulates hanging around on a listless afternoon with a Big Gulp and a pack of smokes. No surprise the band is L.A.-based with that hazy garage sound and nostalgic nod to bygone rocknroll. Check out “Novocaine” here…
For many of you, Jalipaz will be a familiar name that holds an enduring (and endearing) place in your heart. For others, you might be asking, “Who or what is a Jalipaz?”
Well, for starters, he’s an accomplished sound engineer responsible for recording many of YabYum’s favorite albums and bands here in the Valley. And, beyond that, he’s a dedicated family man, living and working in East Mesa.
His roster of projects is always impressive. Not only is he currently working on new music with Okilly Dokilly, Citrus Clouds, and Elephant Gunn, his latest engineered releases include albums by Shawn Skinner and the Men of Reason, Red Tank!, Diners, and Dogbreth – the latter two released through Asian Man Records.
We obviously had to reach out to the man and get his take on the Top 10 tracks he thinks people should know. And, boy, are there some doozies! Some songs you might know, but others will probably surprise you.
Finally, there’s always something going on over at the Audioconfusion Facebook page so head over there for more info on this man, myth, and legend.
The Dead Milkmen
Nurse With Wound
“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”
“The Number Of The Beast”
They Might Be Giants