5 Stellar Songwriters You Should Know

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Young Mothers

“They Were Right”

After a three-year hiatus, Young Mothers is back with a slinky new sound and the same clever lyricism that initially sparked our musical love affair with the Phoenix band. “They Were Right” deals with the crushing disillusionment that comes with, well, growing up. It fucking sucks but Young Mothers manages to capture that angst with a mix of wry wit and brazen honesty. Songwriter Zach Toporek hits home on more occasions than I have space to recount. I might just tattoo the line, “I got a big fucking problem with all the little things,” on my face to save time with all future conversations. Check out “They Were Right” below… Oh, and hey Young Mothers, glad to hear you’re back.

Jeremy Tuplin

“O Youth!”

Jeremy Tuplin comes to us from London-via-Somerset and you can hear some BritPop influences in his easygoing indie sound. It’s Tuplin’s unique vocal style and thoughtful lyricism that drew me into his new single, “O Youth!”, which will be released as part of his forthcoming debut album, I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut. Combining electronic elements with acoustic instrumentation for an organic sound that will warm away the weariness of your soul. Give “O Youth!” by Jeremy Tuplin a listen below and join me in the wait for the complete LP which is due out this coming September. Or you can head here for your own digi-download of the single.

Angharad Drake

“Baby”

“Baby” is the opening track from Angharad Drake’s 2017 LP, Ghost, which came out in April. This folk artist from Brisbane has an elegant sense of pacing which you can hear on “Baby” in its gentle breath and subtle energy shifts. And, did I mention Drake’s voice? There is a lovely litheness to the vocals on “Baby” that sit well against the haunting melody, reinforcing the ethereal atomsphere. Give “Baby” a listen below or head here to secure your own copy of Ghost, the complete LP, from Angharad Drake.

Emma Guzman

“Last Page”

Ugh, that calm and pensive voice of Emma Guzman burrows straight into the center of my heart. “Last Page” presents Guzman’s brooding songwriting style with the earnest force that defines her work, tempered but powerful. This single comes to us from Emma Guzman’s 2017 LP, Roots, which is available in full here. But, first, settle down with “Last Page” below…

Emay Holmes

“The Deployment Song”

Emay Holmes holds down an interesting day job while penning pensive songs by night. Holmes is a currently serving airman aboard the USS Nimitz and in his new single explores the strain of military life on the personal connections back home. “The Deployment Song” comes to us from Holmes’ forthcoming LP, Deep Down. That’s a release we’ll certainly be keeping watch for. Give the single a spin below…

7 Rad Rock Music Videos from Alt to Indie

The Woodworks
“The Doctor Says I’m Fine”

Skating Polly
“Louder in Space”

The Murlocs
“Oblivion”

Weird Radicals
“John Lennon (Headbangin)”

Windigo
“All Your Thunder”

Lane Change
“Floodwater”

Sleeptalk
“Strange Nights”

5 Rad New Singles: The Love Song Edition

love song 00Jeffrey James

“Unsaid”

Jeffrey James hails from the Country Capital of Nashville, but he leans more toward the city’s gospel roots on “Unsaid”… uh, musicially, if not lyrically. This song is more about love lost, but let’s face it, most love songs are. James has just the right voice for his soulful R&B style to empower you through heartbreak. “Unsaid” is the title track from the artist’s recently released EP (available here) so if you dig the single below, make sure you delve further the music of Jeffrey James.

MRYGLD

“Love Will Survive”

The blithe sound of MRYGLD offers a refreshingly buoyant take on the traditional love song with “Love Will Survive”. The Birmingham quintet combines an early Britpop sound with a fun interplay of the impeccably-matched lead vocalists on this new single to deliver a positive message about love and the acceptance of love. This track comes to us from the band’s upcoming s/t debut due out later this year so make sure you keep MRYGLD on your music radar. Check out the single below and then head here to score your own copy of “Love Will Survive” in digi-download form.

Daniel Di Angelo

“Love Interlude”

Hey fellas, if you really need to let out a good cry over the one-that-got-away, I suggest throwing “Love Interlude” from Miami’s Daniel Di Angelo on in your car and really delving those feels. The minimal approach on production provides just the right ambiance to support the emotional powerhouse that is Di Angelo. Daniel Di Angelo delivers a stellar performance on “Love Interlude” that will leave you feeling a little overexposed. Listen for yourself below and, if you dig what you’re hearing, check out Di Angelo’s latest single, “Fake Friends” (available here).

Livia Blanc

“Amour Amour”

Livia Blanc’s new single, “Amour Amour”, finds her “singing about pain, gain, and seduction in the game of love.” At least, we have to assume that’s what she’s singing about because we don’t speak French. But what’s more romantic than French? It is the lanugage of love, after all. The Brooklyn-based chanteuse embodies a Brigitte Bardot slink for “Amour Amour” that I just love. You can score your own digital download of “Amour Amour” for those personal playlists right here, but you can give the single a spin below…

Josh Bierman

“Everyday”

There’s an earnest feel to Josh Bierman’s songwriting that comes through on “Everyday”. Love can take on many different forms – not just romantic love – and Bierman explores the love shared with friends and family (and friends) with his jaunty indie rock. Bierman’s voice doesn’t quite have the refinement of some other artists, but I think that lends the single a bit of rustic charm. You have decide for yourself. This single has some real road trip jam potential so consider that digital download (available here).

7 Super Fun Summer Music Videos

Paper Foxes
“Indica Feels”

Maïa Vidal
“Mama (Told Me So Again)”

Wyves
“PUPPYCAT”

Scattered Melodies
“Trying to Find Me”

Drop Legs
“Lizzy”

The Sink or Swim
“Arizona”

Jawni Doo Dat
“Joleene”

5 Stellar Indie Singles

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

The Fuzzy Crystals

“The King is Dead”

Are you ready for the transcendental expierence that is The Fuzzy Crystals? These spaced-out pysch rockers from California (where else?) create a dynamic sound that will have you wandering through the acidic flower fields of our hippie parents’ memory mindspace with their new single, “The King is Dead”. If you feel like you might have missed out on Woodstock, I suggest delving into The Fuzzy Crystals right away.

Swellshark

“Numb + Insensible”

How should we describe the music of the musical duo known as Swellshark? Sweet and somber? Lonely but playful? Sad and happy? It seems like all the words apply when listening to “Numb + Insensible”. Shélan O’Keefe and Henry Kellam (aka Swellshark) fuse together a buoyant indie folk sound with pensive lyrics that seek to root out all those insecurities you sought to subjugate. The pair are heading out on tour this coming June so check with Swellshark to see if they have a stop in your neck of the woods. For us in Phoenix that means The Trunk Space on June 3rd so mark your calendar!

Joy Downer

“Stranger Places”

The husband and wife team behind Joy Downer [Jeffrey Downer and Joy Bishop] are originally from San Diego but they recently made the jump to Hollywood. “Stranger Places” takes that casual Pacific air and adds some L.A. production for a super fun summer single. This track comes to us from the duo’s EP, Radio Dreamer, which was recorded and produced by Rob Kolar at his Echo Park studio. Check out the single from Joy Downer below &/or head here for the complete Radio Dreamer EP.

Loyal Wife

“We Notice Homes When They Break”

There’s something nostalgic about that early indie sound “popularized” in the 90s by alt-rock bands that had too much buoyancy in their sound for grunge. It definitely feels like Loyal Wife has continued the tradition on their new single, “We Notice Homes When They Break”. Loyal Wife has that bright bummer rock thing down and I’m totally digging it. Check out the single, available through Sunset Alliance Records, below…

Shadowgraphs

“Eastern Holiday”

This psych-rock act from North Carolina is passing through Phoenix in June and all you locals are not going to want to miss out on the vintage sound of Shadowgraphs. “Eastern Holiday” starts off with a bit of Western amble before giving way to a mellow and nostalgic rocknroll that is quite enchanting. Give “Eastern Holiday” a spin below and then be sure to check in with the Shadowgraphs’ complete tour schedule (through Facebook).*

*This sentence was modified from its originally published content because some writer got a show date wrong. The jury is out on whether to blame the band or the staffer. Trial to begin at noon.**

**That was a joke. There’s no “trial” other than trial by combat and that always starts promptly as dusk.

7 Rowdy Singles from Around the World

Lauren Ruth Ward

“Blue Collar Sex Kitten”

Usually it’s Lauren Ruth Ward’s sultry Americana swagger that has us all wound up, but this week it looks like Ward is ready for rowdy and rocking. “Blue Collar Sex Kitten” is the latest hit to come out the songwriting partnership between L.A.-based musicians LRW and guitarist Eduardo Rivera. There’s so much sass on this single, you’re going to want to skip it on the drive to work and save it for that cruise home… unless, of course, you want to arrive at your job ready to burn the whole fucking place down. Consider that your warning.

The Great Malarkey

“Gaffa”

London-based band The Great Malarkey dares to ask the question, “Why did the Irish artist, the Canadian surfer, the Portuguese London tour guide, the Gloucestershire gardener, two UK Guild Hall students, a Latvian paralegal and an androgynous cockney, walk into a bar?” Apparently, the answer is create some riotous folk punk of orchestral proportions. Of course, with eight members listed as part of The Great Malarkey, I would imagine this band brings the party every time they show up to perform. If you dig “Gaffa” (and you will), I suggest checking out more of the online musical offerings The Great Malarkey released last month (here).

Sturdy Ladies

“Secret Weapon”

This garage rock trio from PHX adds some colorful kitsch to their punk rock punch bowl. Yes, Sturdy Ladies throw out the feisty fun on “Secret Weapon” that will have you shouting along so you might want to consider your location before you smash that play button. Luckily you’ll get your chance not once but twice. Not only are the Sturdy Ladies playing this Saturday, May 13, at the Yucca Tap they’re also opening for Shonen Knife (from Osaka, Japan) on May 24 with Shovel and The Pübes! More on that event here. Until then, spend some time with “Secret Weapon” and also their campy classic, “Cat Olympics“, available online as well. Both singles comes to us from the Sturdy Ladies’ debut EP, Brut Force, which you should pick up at a one of the previously mentioned shows because, so far, that’s the only place you can get ’em. Enjoy.

Dolly Spartans

“It’s Not Easy”

Okay, so when “It’s Not Easy” kicks off, you’re probably going to worry that I might be confused about what the word “rowdy” means, but give it a minute. The NYNY quartet known as the Dolly Spartans turn up the energy and the angst for this indie rock single. The vocals call to mind club scene kids like The Strokes while the accompanying instrumentation has an emo tinge that reminds me a bit of Jimmy Eat World. This single comes to us from the band’s latest EP, Time Sides with No One, which came out last month. Give “It’s Not Easy” by the Dolly Spartans a spin below…

Round Eye

“Billy”

Shanghai-based act Round Eye is comprised of “American ex-pats and Italians” which might seem like a bit of a metropolitan muddle, but rocknroll is a transcendent language that cold-crushes culture divides. “Billy” has a feisty punk energy and catchy hook that might just lodge into your brainspace and never leave again. Twenty years from now, a routine traffic stop could result in you screaming “Billy was a cop! Billy was a cop! Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy!” if you let the music of Round Eye take hold. And you definitely want to.

Annabel Allum

“Eat Greens”

Britain’s Annabel Allum first landed on our radar with her single, “Rich Backgrounds”, and this new single proves Allum is more than a one-trick pony. She has some chops. “Eat Greens” rips into that impetus toward better health that hits many of us as we move toward full-time adulting, but the song is more about finding balance than just clever witticisms. Allum has a gritty sound and a dry tongue that reminds me of Courtney Barnett. “Eat Greens” came out on April 28 through Killing Moon Records. Give the new single a spin below and, if you haven’t already, check out “Rich Backgrounds” from Annabel Allum as well.

Otherkin

“Bad Advice”

The Irish rockers known as Otherkin have some “Bad Advice” to offer up to fans. The four-piece describes their sound rather accurately as “Grunge Pop” so I could easily seeing them sharing a bill with Phoenix favorites like Fairy Bones or maybe Harper and the Moths.  This single comes to us from the band’s forthcoming debut album. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our grubby mitts on that release in the not-too-distant future. Until then, enjoy “Bad Advice” from Otherkin…

7 Rad Music Videos: The Eclectic Indie Edition

Cait Brennan
“Bad At Apologies”

Final State
“Fever”

Vie En Ville
“Alive”

St. Ranger
“Happy”

Caravane
“Demons”

Oloff
“I Want A Proper Space”

Damian La Grange
“Life is Strange”

Radio Phoenix Podcast: LUAU

luau radio phoenixLUAU stopped by the Radio Phoenix studio a few days before their Gone EP album release. We talked the release show, Phoenix music subreddits, and Crescent Ballroom burritos among other hot topics. Plus, the band brought down a ton of great Valley (+ Las Cruces!) bands to play live on the airwaves. Check it out.

Make sure to tune in every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 PM for each live episode of The YabYum Hour, only on radiophoenix.org.

Complete Playlist:

LUAU “Anchor”

Snake! Snake! Snakes! “Washed Out”

Saddles “Tarot”

Huckleberry “Tether”

Sun System “Overblown”

LUAU “Darling”

Celebration Guns “Have it Your Way”

El West “Half to Death”

Fairy Bones “Pink Plastic Cups”

B.O.T.S. “Lil’ Smokey Fangers”

Sorrytown “Let’s Pretend”

LUAU “Keep Talking”

_

Recorded live on April 5, 2017

7 Rad Rock Music Videos

No Volcano
“Take My Chances”

Citrus Clouds
“Shapes and Things”

Dead!
“Enough Enough Enough”

Doesn’t Rhyme With King
“Can’t Tell the Difference”

Heavy Heart
“Fruitfly”

The Head
“Tea Colored Radio”

Lulu Lewis
“All Just Pretending”

7 Rad Indie Rock Singles

rad indie rock singles 00Hollow Coats

“Fold”

There seems to be a holy trinity of musicians that sits at the center of Austin’s Hollow Coats but additional players help flesh out the sound on the band’s new single, “Fold”. And the sound here is fleshy: opulently layered and packing a hefty punch on the production. But, what really sold me on “Fold” were the atmospheric vocals and the haunting beauty of the lyrics they delivered. This is the debut single from Hollow Coats so let’s hope more releases are in the works – and soon! Give “Fold” a spin below…

The Ricky Fitts

“Nightmare”

This indie/alt act from Phoenix is making some waves in our dry desert. Yes, The Ricky Fitts only launched their sound only last year and they’ve already scored some pretty notable gigs since their inception. That might have something to do with their slick, radio-ready sound. “Nightmare” comes to us from the band’s debut LP, The Great Beyond, which dropped at the end of January. Infusing electropop and alt-rock elements with a hefty splash of revivalist New Wave, The Ricky Fitts craft out a fun sound on “Nightmare” that has enough of a dark overtone for all you brooders that still want to dance. Take the single for a spin below or head here to check out The Great Beyond.

Soft Animal

“Stay with Me”

“Stay with Me” is the opening track from Soft Animal’s concisely titled EP1 which they released last month. This single has a lofi psych-rock sound with a little bit of garage grit that will come in more as you continue through the full EP. The sound descends into moments of intentional disarray before meandering back to a more structured, but never too structured, sound. Check out “Stay with Me” from Soft Animal below or head here for that digi-download of EP1.

Bryde

“Less”

I really loved the grrrls of the 90s alt-rock scene and Brixton’s Bryde just might fill that hole in my life. On “Less”, Bryde moves between breathy angst to full on fury over grungy guitars. All you PJ Harvey fans should definitely spend some time with Bryde. If you want to delve further into what this artist has to offer, I suggest moving on to “Back to Believing” – a new, and gentler, single that is really quite enamoring. Get your growl on with Bryde below…

Bucolic

“Cold Clean”

If you like your post-rock with an extra heap of melodious sorrow, Bucolic is for you.  “Cold Clean” sets a somber scene that reminds me of a street lined in freshly fallen snow on a morning you have to be at work before 5 AM. Sure, it’s beautiful, but one’s inability to pause and really take in that moment lends an existential anguish to the biting cold. “Cold Clean” is beautiful, but it kicks you when you’re down… and I, uh, mean that in the best way possible. Bucolic is the brainchild of NJ artist Seth Carpenter and this single is part of an impending release that is due out in April so get on that Bucolic bandwagon sooner rather than later. Start with “Cold Clean” below…

St. Tropez

“Democracy”

The band known as St. Tropez is not actually from St. Tropez but Amsterdam. Their lively new single, “Democracy”, clocks in at under two minutes but there’s a lot of energy crammed into that time. The texturing gets heavy, but not in a full-on post-rock way. No, the vibe on “Democracy” stays more NYC scene rock than secret warehouse show. This single opens Debate, band’s 2017 EP, which (btw) does go full-on post-rock at moments. St. Tropez has enough of an experimental edge to keep things really interesting without ever totally abandoning form entirely. And, there’s a bit of a political slant that those of us in present-day Amerika can really appreciate. Give “Democracy” by St. Tropez a listen below…

MYFEVER

“Golden”

The alt-rockers from the ATL known as MYFEVER are gearing up for a new recording effort with the release of their latest single, “Golden”. Though the trio calls Georgia home, you might get a bit of a L.A. or Long Beach vibe from “Golden”. And, when I say Long Beach,  I’m talking in the alt-indie vein of Cold War Kids… not Sublime. MYFEVER will hopefully be hitting the studio soon to lay down Born for Spaces, their next album. Until then, spend some time with “Golden”.