An Insider’s Introduction: Eamon Ford

eamon ford 01by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Eamon Ford is more than meets the eye.

You certainly may have seen him either attending or, even more likely, performing at various venues around the Valley. In T-shirt and cap, the young man has quite an unassuming air.

However, as Audile Collective, he is responsible for engineering some of this town’s best releases as of late by bands like Good Friends Great Enemies, Huckleberry, Nanami Ozone, and Playboy Manbaby, just to name a tiny few.

He also moonlights in more bands than I can keep track of so I decided to track the man down and find out exactly what’s what with his bands, his studio, and what’s next.

Mark Anderson for YabYum: When did you move to Arizona and how/when did you get involved with the music scene here?

Eamon Ford: The first time I moved out here was 2012. My close friend, Michelle Blades, suggested I come out this way. She and I knew each other through skateboarding in South Florida. So as to not just do so on a whim, I enrolled in the Luthier program at Roberto-Venn. I was able to get involved with the scene that first time through the generosity of people like Michelle Blades, Stephen Steinbrink, and Mo Neuharth.

Then I moved away, came back and started my band Nova Joven with Isaac Parker, Zack Parker and Chad Dennis. I was privileged to play lots of shows because of the folks at the Paper Knife, Parliament and Stateside Presents.

Moved away, again. Came back and started recording non-stop starting with both Numb Bats’ releases, R. Ariel’s Changer record, and the first Pro Teens full length among others.

Is audio recording something you’ve wanted to do for some time or did you fall more casually into it? I see you attended both CRAS and Roberto Venn so I wasn’t sure if you had one path in mind then switched. Can you build guitars/instruments too??

I’ve always had an interest in recording but it seemed out of my capabilities with all the costs and knowledge required. After Roberto-Venn I moved back to Florida and worked for a few different Luthiers and ended up taking a job at a Guitar Center. I, within the first few days there, knew I couldn’t do it for long so I worked as much as I could and took advantage of the discount. I bought lots of gear I had absolutely no Idea how to use but I knew at some point I would. I’m a musician before I’m anything else and the repair tech world was taking me further away from the playing of music.

I was missing Arizona and, on a visit to PHX, Mo Neuharth suggested I move in with her in the Garfield neighborhood. So again as to not do so on a whim, I pulled out a semi-frightening student loan and enrolled in CRAS! After that, I moved out to New York and became an intern at the Rare Book Room (Deerhunter, Dirty Projectors, Palehound, Animal Collective). I owe a great deal to Nicholas Vernhes and Gabe Wax for my confidence and knowledge in this field.

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Photo by Ash Ponders

What is your current recording set-up like?

I live in a house with my roommate and bandmate Matt Tanner (Pro Teens’ drummer). I’ve set it up so we have one big tracking area, drums have their own area and amps/guitars/synths another. Lots of sound treatment and gear. Then there is a control room and other rooms that serve to isolate Amps when people want to be able to track live. I’m capable of 16 channels live and am running pro tools 10. Focusrite Isa 428, Universal Audio 4-170d, a Pair of Distressors, Overstayer Stereo VCA compressor, other pre’s and compressors and mics. It is most certainly a “home studio” and people really gravitate towards that feel. Musicians can really take their time here to work and not feel rushed or pressured. The space is very flexible and capable of lots of different sounds. The studio is called Audile Collective.

Why did you decide to set-up Audile Collective here in Phoenix?

While at the Rare Book Room I knew that I wanted “this” – having my own space and being my own boss. Now, my space is no Rare Book Room or as prestigious as other top dollar studios here in town, but that’s kind of the point.

While in New York I learned the importance of the surrounding room, it’s flexibility and its comfortability. There was really nice gear in that studio but not all the nice gear and that struck me in a big way.

So I came back with the idea of setting up a studio that could be useful to all budgets and bands. I have really nice gear but I don’t have all the nice gear. That way my costs for myself and the artist are low and we don’t waste time.

The idea of a huge console and walls of gear is a frustratingly dated notion of people who think they should be able to buy a new car and multiple pairs of leather pants with each record. It’s a romantic and boastful idea. As a band who goes into one of these studios with racks upon racks of gear, you are paying to cover the cost of what the engineer has put on themselves so they can swing a big dick. You are paying for everything you see. But at a studio like that you are at best using 20% of what they have.

There is nothing cool about a console that Keith Richards did a line off of, it just means that it’s in need of a good dusting. Nice gear is just that, nice to have. And with the production of gear today, companies are making great streamlined and flexible pieces of equipment at fair prices (most of the time) for a studio to be properly outfitted or someone to record into a cheap interface with a nice external pre in their bedroom.

Could you tell us a little (or a lot) about your recording process?

The process varies a considerable amount each session and I try my best to not be what I call a “sonic stamper”. I aim for my touches to be transparent so the band can sound as much as themselves as possible and I lend my ideas for production but never get attached to them as to make it clear to the artist that this body of work is absolutely theirs.

I really don’t like the notion of engineers having a “signature sound” because often that just becomes this lazy sonic blanket they put on everything and it all starts to sound the same. Listening to the artists ideas and really just stepping out of the way is crucial to a truthful audio representation of their efforts.

Not everyone has the language and know-how so it’s in those moments I step in but never before. There is no method that works for all and there is no “It should sound like this”, It should sound how they want it to sound and that’s it. Maybe if your snare sounds like a slab of ham hitting wet cardboard, that could sound “bad” but even then it’s pretty debatable.

What bands are you in now? Pro Teens for sure…

Pretty much just Pro Teens. Good Friends Great Enemies has retired into the great beyond and Lai was a fun temporary collaboration with Kristina Moore (koleżanka, Where are all the Buffalo, Foreign Language), Ark Calkins (Ark, Willetta, koleżanka), Chad Dennis (Playboy Manbaby, Instructions, Nova Joven). I have a personal project called Universer that I’ve released a single song as. Working on a larger body of work for it but it will probably just remain a project that puts out recordings and doesn’t play out.

What projects are you currently working on that you can tell us about?

Dang. I. Am. Busy. Pretty recently I finished the new Huckleberry full length Natural Selector, the Nanami Ozone EP Make It All Right, Go Outside’s EP No Thanks, the Elna Rae EP Dexter, and Playboy Manbaby’s Don’t Let it Be.

Currently I’m mixing an EP for Hypoluxo from Brooklyn, New York. I’m also mixing a full length for Spirit Tramp out of Athens, Georgia. Started tracking and mixing the new koleżanka record. Working with Max Knouse. Just finished 4 songs with Vance Nowe and a 5 song EP with John Chanteuse. Both of whom are in a wonderful band called Herbert Walker. Oh and new Pro Teens.

eamon ford 03
Eamon with Zack Parker

What do you make of the overall music scene we have here in the Valley/State? The good and the bad from your perspective?

Phoenix is incredible. I moved back here from New York to try and put together a studio all on my own and I knew I could do so here. This music scene is so hungry and the bands here are willing to put in the work. I’ve lived in a lot of cities and none of them can touch the tenacity of this place.

The only “downside” I’ve noticed is Phoenix is quite big so there are so many micro scenes. It’s great when they come together but I’ve noticed particularly with Phoenicians who have played in the scene for a long time that they’ll be nostalgic for a time before or will be so caught up in what they use to do that they have these blinders on not allowing them to notice all the new blood.

As a self employed audio engineer, I’m lucky to be able to work with so many bands of so many niches. Oh and lets not forget how awesome it is that Tucson and Flagstaff are so close.

I believe you’ve toured some. Do you have a particular show/venue/city that stands out as a highlight?

Boulder, Colorado is always a fun time. Real hungry scene there with the tape label “First Base Tapes”.

Anything else upcoming? Any summer touring at all?

Lots of recording coming up. Pro Teens is hitting new material hard when we get back from tour (it’s really piling up), which we leave for May 2nd and will be back the 22nd!

Is there something I failed to ask that you that you would want people to know about? What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

This scene is really diverse and I think if at any moment someone here feels like it’s in a lull, all they need to do is look around and go to a new haunt. So much happening between places like the new Trunk Space, Lost Leaf, The Lunchbox, Rebel Lounge, Stateside venues, students at TUF and between so many bands in town like Twin Ponies, koleżanka, Go Outside, Le Monolith, Malta, RNA, Diners, Body of Light, Elna Rae, Nanami Ozone, Little Brother Mojo, Playboy Manbaby, Herbert Walker, Nick Perkins band, Huckleberry, Jerusafunk, The Hill in Mind [RIP], James Band, Running From Bears, the list could go on for quite sometime. I’m very lucky to be playing with my friends in Pro Teens and to work with so many talented and genuine people through my studio. I find myself constantly inspired by everything I work on.

I can do an impressive amount of pistol squats and I make a really good vegan eggplant lasagna, once a year.

~

Make sure to check out all the offerings from Audile Collective below and come out to Valley Bar on May 22 to welcome back Pro Teens from their summer tour!

pro teens tour

Saying Goodbye to Good Friends

good friends great enemies 001by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

It was a sad, sad day when Phoenix had to bid farewell to Good Friends Great Enemies. Mourners gathered at The Trunk Space for one last show before the band parted ways. The celebratory event was only somewhat marred by the funereal atmosphere – like an amicable breakup or an anniversary of sobriety. There was that resolve to stick to the motto, “We’re celebrating this!,” but you just can’t ignore the sorrow sulking in the corner.

As a longtime participant in local music life, I’ve come to recognize the ongoing pattern of little deaths that happen as we move through the years. Bands come and go. Musicians move away or move on. And, as we gathered one last time with Good Friends, people lingered outside to trade remembrances of the band and, ultimately, of their time spent on the scene.

Of course, all of that stopped with Good Friends Great Enemies took to the stage. The audience remained captivated throughout the extended set, trying to stay present for as long as the moment allowed before its passing. It was a night for a community to celebrate the end of an era.

Of course, while Good Friends Great Enemies might be no more, the musicians involved have not actually, you know, died. They are alive and well and ready to pursue new havens for their talents. And, what’s more, they left behind one last collection of musical musings for fans and friends (and maybe enemies) alike.

I had a chance to chat with Evan Bisbee about the new album, , what adventures lie ahead, and the life and death of Good Friends Great Enemies.  Check out our interview below, but I also suggest you hit play to start listening to Esoterotica (assuming you aren’t at work or standing in line at the MVD)…

YabYum: One last rad album before parting ways? Was that the plan all along? Mainly, I’m just curious if you went into this album knowing that it was going to be the last.

Evan Bisbee: Glad to hear you think the album is rad, I’m hoping people are listening to it. It was not the plan to end with it, we went into the record wanting to do something special but didn’t have plans to end the band until we were well into the process.

So where are you living these days? What led to your decision to change area codes?

I’m living in downtown Phoenix these days! I will be moving to the Bay Area in a few months, however. Mostly for personal reasons (general change of scenery, spend more time with my partner who lives out there) and, with the band ending, it seemed like the right time. We decided to end the band before I made the choice to move.

I caught the band’s final show at The Trunk Space (from the merch table). There was an almost tangible sense of camaraderie in the room that evening. Do you feel that the local music community has been supportive one?

I saw most of the show from the merch table as well that night, great acoustics. The local community has been very supportive, and we were humbled by the amount of people who came out to say goodbye (great memories) and stood there for all 75 minutes of our set. I think we’ve connected with our audience over the years and I’m grateful for those who have seen us in all our various forms or for those who clocked in at certain times, and I think it’s awesome that there was a handful of people whose first Good Friends show was literally the last!

I really am heartbroken that this band has come to its conclusion. I guess we’ve been covering you for five years now. And five years, in Phoenix music terms, can be a lifetime. We watched Long Wongs come and go (again). Parliament popped up and passed. What are some of the memorable people/places/moments that will live on in your heart/mind as you venture to new locales?

Yeah, five years in Phoenix can feel like a long time. What was especially wild for me and Max [Greenwald, bass/guitar] and Bryce [Broome, percussion] was thinking about the amount of time we played together before even being officially Good Friends Great Enemies. When you factor in the Sweeps and a handful of other iterations we’ve been playing some of those songs (“Fool’s Ghost”, for instance) since 2009 basically. Big ol’ Dang.

Long Wong’s was kind of when the three of us started hitting our stride and meeting people we would end up playing with or around for the rest of our time. Prior to that I surfed Craigslist and we’d play ripoff pay-to-play shows with random shady out of town promoters or literally go to open mics and shred to a handful of dads.

If I’m not mistaken we met the Sundressed boys, Kristina Moore, All My Friends (Thin Bloods), North Dakota, Playboy Manbaby, Man-Cat, Huckleberry, Treasure Mammal, St. Ranger, Jerusafunk, Sunn Trio and many others during that period. Given, that also included shows at the Fixx and house shows (several at our place). We had already played with Dylan Pratt and Boss Frog because of our Cave Creek Connection. Beside a couple house shows we mostly have the Walkingstick Presents dudes and Robbie Pfeffer to thank for booking us!

Parliament was sort of an extension of this period and we also started getting more familiar with the Lolipop Records crew, as well as sort of see all those bands above evolve or die. We morphed to a four piece around this time, with Isaac Parker joining to play keys. I remember one show we played at Crescent called the Paper Knife Potpourri with Roar, Wolvves, and Pictures of Cake. What a weird bill!

We went on a memorable tour with Mr. Elevator to Florida during that time. We drove all the way from St. Augustine, Florida and back home to Phoenix in one go to get Max back home in time to take a final on Monday morning, and we left Florida Saturday night. Those were also the only five shows we played with a substitute drummer. We staged this thing at our kickoff so that it looked like Soup was quitting the band and then Matt Tanner magically knew the rest of the set and sat in. We played it too dry though so I’m not sure the audience really gathered that it was staged. Andy Kaufman would be proud! That’s around when we started switching up the original line up and for a minute we were playing with me on guitar, Ike on baritone, Max on bass, but we would switch around during shows too.

We went to SXSW for the second time shortly after we made this transition and looking back I feel like those were some awesome shaky confused sets. I had no idea what a guitar pedal was. It was awesome. It’s like our band was constantly going through puberty or something.

Our next evolution was to get Joseph Amos in the group. We played with him as a four piece for about a year. And, if I’m not mistaken, we played the opening night of Valley Bar with Roar and Treasure Mammal. It was cool having a horn in the mix, and Joe was more than capable at handling any leads. He really makes Cautiously Poptimistic [previous Good Friends album] shine, if you ask me. Not to mention all the hours that Corey Dillier put into mixing that bad boy. After we released that record we changed again and that’s when Zack [Parker, guitar] and Eamon [Ford, keys] joined. For one beautiful four-minute song during our Cautiously Poptimistic release show we had six people on stage to play “Similar Things”.

What’s up next for you and the other members of Good Friends Great Enemies? 

Okay let’s see…

Eamon will likely continue to record all your favorite bands in town at Audile Collective and shred the guitar in Pro Teens.

Zack will continue to humbly hold it down in all your other favorite bands in town, currently playing in Jfunk, Pro Teens, Roar, and Sunn Trio. He’s also got some material up his sleeve but it’s not my place to share that with you so I’ll leave it mysterious.

Max will continue to play with Sunn Trio; and he and his partner, Mariah Brown, have been playing in their own (mellow and feely and technical and awesome) project called Malta. I believe they’re recording right now so you can expect some good tunes from them at some point. He will also be working toward his masters in music therapy at ASU starting this Fall.

Bryce (Peasoup) is joining the Peace Corps and moving to Vanuatu for the next two years where he will be doing his part to make the world a better place! I’m under the impression he’s gonna miss playing drums but I wouldn’t put it past him to fasten a kit together with twine and palm husks out there in the Pacific.

My immediate future entails touring with Mr. Elevator and moving to the Bay. I’m writing new songs but I don’t really know when or in what shape they’ll be released, but you better believe I’m channeling my existential dread into music.

Isaac is living and playing in NYC, and Joe is raising his son to be the best King he can be right here in Phoenix.

~

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

for the record pbmb

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.

7 Eclectic Singles

eclectic singles 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

FEMNY

“Duck Jesus”

I’m not sure what a “glam jock” sound is, but if FEMNY is a good representation of that genre, I’ll take it. I’m more inclined to say they put a lounge-spin on indie dreampop, but that’s me. This PHX act is just starting out, but I hope they’re here to stay. “Duck Jesus” is after-dinner mellow with an ironic twist. The single was tracked, mixed & mastered by Eamon Ford and you can give it a spin right below. The rest of the album comes out December so keep your ears open for that release.

Red Rosamond

“Looks Can Kill”

Artists often craft a persona before embarking on a musical endeavor. The artifice of new self can help shape a look or sound. Red Rosamond dares to ask, “What would happen if 007 was portrayed by a strong female lead, photographed by Helmut Newton, and adorned with a soundtrack of dark romantic soul?” This track is the result. Sultry and only slightly brooding, “Looks Can Kill” could easily appear on the soundtrack for a spy movie or something Noir. Think lipstick, cigarettes, and seedy bars populated by nefarious characters.

Wetbrain

“Filter Face”

What says summertime like some hiphop-infused funk-rock? Nothing. With in summer rearview, you better invite some friends over and get your last flannel-free BBQ in before the chill of Autumn takes over for good. Philly four-piece, Wetbrain, dropped this new single that is the perfect weekend road trips or jamming on the way home from work when you want to shake off the bad vibes. “Filter Face” combines alt-rock, funk, and hiphop for a get-down feel that will stay with you.

Tim Atlas

“Wander”

Tim Atlas creates a sound that bubbles through you with an uplifting energy. “Wander” starts off playfully before launching into a full on revival of the spirit. Originally from San Jose, Atlas recently relocated to L.A. which might have something to do with his impending appearance on a reality TV show. Really. Before he gets all kinds of famous, check out Tim Atlas’ single, “Wander”, below…

Pat Kennedy

“Morning Dress”

Beautiful, mellow, and meditative. “Morning Dress”, a new single from Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Pat Kennedy, is the perfect song for a quiet, cool Autumn morning. This track comes to us from Kennedy’s new EP, simply titled EP, which was released in August. Folk fans everywhere should check out Pat Kennedy. Listen to “Morning Dress” below and consider delving into the complete EP, available through Bandcamp.

Unlike Pluto

“Found You”

Combining abstracted pop with electronic instrumentation, Unlike Pluto crafts a radio-ready number with the track “Found You”. The Atlanta-based artist joined forces with Michelle Buzz for this song. Unlike Pluto used samples from some 1955-70 records, both jazz and psych, to achieve the cleverly textured sound on “Found You”. In fact, once you listen to the track, you’ll probably be surprised by the artist’s sources given the entirely modern style. The single appears on a complitation from Monstercat (Monstercat 028 – Uproar) which is available here, but you can preview “Found You” below first.

Macy Todd

“I’ve Got a Feelin'”

Macy Todd might describe her sound as “folk-tinged pop music” but this new single has a blues-band slink to it that will have you swaying your hips as you listen. “I’ve Got a Feelin'” is a promising start for this 19-year-old artist from Georgia. Todd has a rich, powerful voice and a timeless sense of style. Both can be heard on her debut single. Check out “I’ve Got a Feelin'” and, if you like it, you can add it to your personal collection here.

 

5 Mellow Singles

mellow singles 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Karima Walker

Lullaby

Ever have one of those days where every song sounds the same? That was my day and then I heard “Lullaby” from Tucson’s Karima Walker. The song had a way of soothing my weary soul (and ears). Mellow and meditative, “Lullaby” is just that, a lullaby. Not the kind you sing your child to sleep with, but maybe. Walker creates soundscapes as painters create landscapes. Her songs belong in a gallery. Drift away with “Lulllaby” then stick around to listen to more offerings from Karima Walker.

Michelle Blades

Te Recuerdo Amanda

You might be thinking, didn’t Michelle Blades move to Paris? Yes, she did, but she often visits and on one such trip she recorded this breathtaking number with Phoenix’s own Eamon Ford this past May. “Te Recuerdo Amanda” is a cover of a Victor Jara song and Michelle Blades brings her own experimental undertones to this rendition. This track is a must-hear single. Listen to it. Listen to it now. And, if you missed her last performance at The Trunk Space, you missed out. Let’s hope this globe trotter has plans on another pass through Phoenix sometime soon.

Saydi

“Lavender Ghost”

If Saydi’s been around since 2010, how come I’m only discovering her now? How did this not get to us through the appropriate channels? Considering this is her first single, I will allow it to pass, but we should have been told. Tempe’s Saydi creates a dreamy dancepop that is totally enamoring on “Lavender Ghost”. If this single is any indication of what’s to come, I would keep an eye (or ear) on Saydi.

Scattered Melodies

Legacy

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with Scattered Melodies (for shame), the “band” is actually the musical pairing of Josh Montag (percussion) and Jake Johnston (bass) and a variable cast of musical guests from the local music scene. For their latest single, “Legacy”, Scattered Melodies joined forces with Laura Hamlin (vocals) and Jack Howell (piano/guitar/strings). Josh Montag wrote this song for his mother and debuted it at his wedding for the mother-son dance. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you are cold, downright cold. The song is a divergence from the band’s usual hippie groove to something a little more sentimental. Give it a listen.

gillwire

Tragedy Sells

The coffee-pop act known as gillwire is the brainchild of Jonathan Gil Thwaits. The Chandler band is preparing for the impending release of their debut album by sharing a few rough cuts including the single, “Tragedy Sells”. Combining Ben Folds-esque vocal stylings with an airy alt-pop. Don’t let the name of the track fool you, “Tragedy Sells” is an upbeat number with a bit of lyrical bite. Keep in mind, these tracks are unmastered, but they offer a little sampling of what’s to come. For the finished product, you’ll have to head to Sozo Coffee in Chandler on July 8th (or wait for the digital release).

Good Friends Great Enemies: Cautiously Poptimistic

GFGEby Lenore LaNova
Senior Editor

I’ve been a fan of Good Friends Great Enemies ever since their 2012 self-titled debut, a release that went on to win our award for Album of the Year. Since their inception the band has continually pushed their own boundaries, exploring and incorporating different genres into their overall sound. Their most recent release, Cautiously Poptimistic, is the culmination of that effort; seamlessly fusing elements of classic rock, jazz, and psychedelia into a 15-track collection of genre-blending goodness. I think we once again have a serious contender for Album of the Year from the Good Friend Great Enemies’ camp.

I talked with Evan Bisbee about Cautiously Poptimistic and what’s next for Good Friends Great Enemies.

YY: Where did you record this album? Tell me about the recording process.

EB: We recorded most of the album at my house in Tempe before it was too late at night so my neighbors wouldn’t get disgruntled. Some of the shorter songs we did at the old band house a few years ago. A few of the tunes (tracks 6, 12, and 15) we tracked the rhythm parts at the currently under-construction branch of Crêpe Bar in Tempe. We got pizza from the place next door and they really got a kick out of us “having a show” inside the plaza.

The recording process was pretty drawn out. We recorded a number of the songs at the old house with different arrangements and recording styles etc. Random Happenings was meant to be a lot longer but we got impatient and released those four songs as an EP. Then I made a whole bunch of creative choices with the project that set us back a little but we figured it out! Re-recording songs was frustrating at times but the patience paid off, I’m happy with where the project stands now.

YY: Who performs with GFGE? Who appears on the album?

EB: Currently the band consists of me [Evan Bisbee] on guitar and vocals, Max Greenwald on bass, Bryce “Peasoup” Broome on drums, Zack Parker on lead guitar, and Eamon Ford on keys.

I play all the keys on the album, and Max and I switch between bass and guitar depending on the song. Max also plays the acoustic/nylon when they’re in the mix, and he played the mandolin on track 13. I do most of the auxiliary percussion, though Aaron Mortemore played aux on track 11. I do the vocals and harmonies and busted out the ol’ trumpet on track 11. Isaac Parker is on upright bass on track 7, and he also manned a guitar pedal on track 3. The most notable contribution on the record comes from our favorite tenor sax player, Joseph Amos, aka King Duck.

YY: This is my favorite album yet from the GFGE’s camp, which is saying a lot because the 2012 self-titled debut from the band still gets more than its fair share of air time down at YabYum HQ. Your first release drew a lot from classic rock influences. What do you feel has had a noticeable impact on your evolution of sound?

EB: The first release was definitely steeped in my then-recent discovery of all things classic rock. I still have a real soft spot for that style of music (thus the birth of Witch Cackle), but I have always had more influences than that. It was fun to write a verse-chorus type song and give Max the space to shred the gnar while we all rocked out. [It was] fun [at] live shows doing that too! With Random Happenings I was trying to write more nuanced songs, but still maintain the rock and roll. With Poptimistic I made the switch to guitar pretty much full-time and with it came different song structures and arrangements. There’s a lot of music out there, it’s almost overwhelming. I guess I’ve just tried to keep my ears open and work with elements of styles that I enjoy and can wrap my head around. Fusion is fun and challenging, but there’s also something to be said about having a clear aesthetic and shooting for it. We tend to flirt with both methods I think.

YY: Your sophomore effort, Random Happenings, was a collection of pensive, meandering tracks while your first album adhered to a more strident song structure. It seems as if you found a happy medium between those two modes on Cautiously Poptimistic. Do you feel like that is an accurate assessment of the GFGE evolution? What have you learned from previous releases and how has that informed your current release?

EB: I think you nailed it! I’ve maybe answered some of this question with the ones above, but certainly the other releases have informed and guided my choices. You better believe the next album won’t take 2 1/2 years to complete, I’m done with that kind of timeline! Better knock on wood…

More than my own music, it’s the other people I’ve worked with that have informed me. I’ve learned and grown as a musician and songwriter by working with Wavelengths, Elevator, Roar, Paper Knife, and everything in between! Everyone has a unique musical perspective, and no one is right or wrong, I love it. It’s like a never-ending conversation to be a part of.

YY: Let’s talk about the title. This album is more “pop” than previously releases (especially with the presence of the keys), but I wouldn’t call it “pop”. What are your reservations about pop music? Where does the “caution” come from? 

EB: It’s not so much that I have reservations regarding pop music than it is a lighthearted nod toward both the musical direction and the overall tone (lyrically and otherwise) of the album. The title hit me during the recording process and I really got a kick out of it. Not to mention both Peasoup and myself had some pretty intense car accidents while working on the album that set us back a little time-wise (and cemented our suspicion of the Good Friends Curse). I just like that the title can be read in a few different ways, depending on what you’re looking for in it. Puns abound, you dig?

YY: So, the band is cursed?

EB: I hesitate to talk about it, I’d hate to put you in harm’s way…

YY: Fair Enough. What’s next for Good Friends Great Enemies?

EB: I plan to take the band out on the road and get to recording new songs pronto!

Go see Good Friends Great Enemies live at Valley Bar on Wednesday, Nov. 25th. I also suggest checking out Cautiously Poptimistic here. You can keep up with Good Friends Great Enemies through their Facebook page here.