The Tastemaker’s Ten: Steve Ostrov

Local musician and tastemaker Steve Ostrov is a straight-shooter by day and punk-rocker with a penchant for pedals come night. Check out Steve’s stellar list of singles he thinks every music-lover should hear below and then head to Chopper John’s this coming Friday to see him perform live with his band, The 16 Eyes. More info on that event can be found here.

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John Trubee
“Peace & Love (Blind Man’s Penis)”

Five minutes to write a terrible poem. A lifetime to enjoy the results. This is what happens when a bored teen reads too much. Anyone could have done this, but John thought of it before the rest of us. Read the incredible story here.

Bobby Parker
“Watch Your Step”

This song from 1961 inspired too many rock songs to count. How many do you hear?

Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis
“Pots And Pans”

Eddie’s sax is swinging hard, but Shirley Scott’s Hammond work is what really shines on this cut. I wish more jazz sounded like this!

Race Marbles
“Like A Dribbling Fram”

A zany “Zimmy” send up by a Canadian DJ. Or is this the embryonic beginning of rap? The lyrics are pretty ridiculous, but the understated music is really cool.

The Dickies
“Where Did His Eye Go?”

An unlikely target for punk rock ridicule. Sorry, Sammy, but this is how you write lyrics! THE DICKIES SHOULD HAVE RULED THE WORLD!!!

Django Reinhardt
“Appel Direct (Appel Indirect)”

So simple and yet brilliantly weird, and menacing. Django did more with 2 fingers than most guitarists can do with all 10 and a music degree.

The Jolly Green Giants
“Busy Body”

Killer stomping garage cover of an obscure R&B gem from Jimmy Hanna and The Dynamics. They released one glorious record and then dropped off the face of the earth. The flip, “Caught You Red Handed” is also a monster!

The Fender IV
“Margaya”

My favorite surf instro. So intense! Guitarist Randy Holden later lost the reverb, discovered humbucking pickups, got a stoopid big amp, and spent a year in Blue Cheer.

Les Fleur de Lys
“Circles”

An amazing cover of an already amazing song. The guitar sure sounds like Jimmy Page’s session work although some would still debate it. Regardless, it gets me every time.

George Shearing
“Happy Days Are Here Again”

A substantial re-imagining of a classic piece of fluff. The chords are so dense and somber. I first heard this cut years ago on a Las Vegas radio show where Teller (of Penn and Teller) was playing recordings he liked. Well, it could have been him, but how would anyone have known if it weren’t?

Top 5 Shows of the Week: May 19 – 25

Lots of rad shows happening this week in addition to what we got here. You can check out more shows happening in the Phoenix Metro Area on our Upcoming Shows page here! You can also click on the show flyers below for more information about those events!

7 Stellar Songwriters You Need to Know

songwritersThe SunPunchers

“Screwtop Head”

The SunPunchers released two singles in prelude to their new EP which comes out THIS WEEKEND. These songs have a sticky summer warmth, like laying on a screened-in porch on a day buzzing with mosquitoes. There is an aesthetic here of sun tea and swimming holes brought to life through stunning, and stunningly demure, musicianship. The release show goes down at The Newton on May 20. Once you hear “Screwtop Head” from The SunPunchers, I can’t imagine that there’s anywhere else you’ll want to be this coming Sunday. More info on that event can be found here.

Violetta Zironi

“Half Moon Lane”

Wait until you hear the ethereal voice of 21-year-old Italian singer/songwriter Violetta Zironi. It’s not just her voice that enchants listeners of “Half Moon Lane” but the charming narrative of her songwriting style.  The single has a stripped-down sound reminiscent of those swan-throated folk musicians of the 1970s like Vashti Bunyan. Just part my hair down the middle and wrap me in an afghan and I could listen to “Half Moon Lane” from Violetta Zironi all afternoon. I certainly hope to hear more from this artist soon.

Tuelo

“Saint Margaret”

“Saint Margaret” kicks off with just a minimal guitar line and the soulful voice of Tuelo Minah. That’s actually all you need. But, as the underlying instrumentation picks up, Tuelo continues to drive the single with those powerful pipes of hers. The song pays tribute to Minah’s mother in a way that I find both empowering and tinged with a certain sorrow that I feel many women hold for the experiences of our mothers. “Saint Margaret” by Tuelo is emotionally moving and sonically compelling so I suggest you check the single below…

Luca Chesney

“Maria, Promise Me the Next Life”

There are some really interesting things happening in the subtle sound permutations on “Maria, Promise Me the Next Life”; the new single from NYC-based singer, songwriter, and producer Luca Chesney. This alt-electro track is a disembodied but emotionally textured journey. “Maria, Promise Me the Next Life” is the first single from Chesney’s s/t debut EP. I’m hoping to get my hands on that release sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy this new single from Luca Chesney.

Madeleine Dopico

“Me to Bleed”

This isn’t the first time we’ve featured the music of Madeleine Dopico in our publication and I’m starting to think that we’re going to build a lasting relationship. The promising young songwriter crafts emotionally powerful soundscapes that she meets head on with her robust voice. On “Me to Bleed”, Dopico creates a haunting atmosphere for her brooding lyrics and manages to throw in just the right amount of dramatic flair to keep things interesting. That’s a combo a mortician’s daughter like myself can get behind in her pop music.

Bradford Loomis

“Drive You Home”

Bradford Loomis (of The Banner Days) dropped his first solo album since 2013 in March. Bravery and the Bell features this gem of a single, “Drive You Home”. Loomis penned the album after learning that his father was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. The soulful sound of Bradford Loomis’ folk style comes through with an earthy Americana that feels like it could easily find a home in Nashville, but the artist calls Washington (state… not that other one) home. Check out “Drive You Home” from Bradford Loomis here…

 Arpeggi

“Songs Don’t Help”

The Los Angeles songwriter who pens somber ditties under the name Arpeggi released her debut album, Senioritis, around this time last year. On that album, you’ll find “Songs Don’t Help” which delves into those Bell Jar moments when nothing seems to push back the skulking clouds of depression – not friends, not love, not even music (gasp). If you like your indie music stripped down and brooding, I suggest checking out “Songs Don’t Help” from Arpeggi. Or head here for the complete album.

7 Awesome Alt-Rock Singles

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Welles

“Life Like Mine”

The Nashville band known as Welles is set to break big so you should check out this single so you can say you knew them when. The band performed at SXSW and they’re on the bill for Bonnaroo, but it might be this single that pushes them into the mainstream. “Life Like Mine” offers a slouchy vibe and sharp musicianship while catchy, Sgt. Pepper-made-modern vocals (provided by Welles’ frontman, Jehsea Wells) seal the deal on this hit-in-the-making. Give “Life Like Mine” a listen below…

 The Edisons

“5 Reasons I Stopped Drinking Tequila (and Why I Started Again)”

Woah, did we almost miss the bus on this release or what? Phoenix 4-piece, The Edisons, released their debut, Space Whales, back in October and we’re just getting to it now. Don’t judge. We’re busy. These feisty alt-rock get downright gritty at moments on “5 Reasons I Stopped Drinking Tequila (and Why I Started Again)”. But The Edisons like to keep their sound dynamic so expect some shifts, not only on this single but on Space Wales as a whole, as you move from start to finish. They are seeking to explore their sound on this first release, not to define it. Make sure you check out this single and, if you dig what you’re hearing, I highly recommend diving into Space Wales

Slowkiss

“Forever Together”

This alt-rock quartet from Santiago, Chile now divides their time between has made the jump from South America to Southern California. Honey-sweet vocals over a sludgy sea of shoegazy rock on their single, “Forever Together”, brings me back to my 90s-era youth; a nostalgic time for me of grumpy baristas and Juliana Hatfield. This single is just the first from the band’s forthcoming EP, Ultraviolet. I’ll be keeping watch for that release. And maybe after you give “Forever Together” below, you’ll be a Slowkiss fan too.

Absofacto

“Light Outside”

I can imagine this new single from Absofacto really catching on with alt-rock radio stations across the country. It has just enough of an electro-pop punch to really hit home with contemporary audiences. Of course, once it starts to enjoy that regular radio play, I’ll probably start to hate it, but right now I’m jamming “Lights Outside”. The track premiered with Earmilk back in February and enjoyed some HypeMachine attention early on, but my guess is that we’re just hearing the start of Absofacto. Hop on that fan-train early and give “Lights Outside” a listen below…

HUNNY

“Shy”

The SoCal act known as Hunny puts a sunny pop-punk spin on their alt-rock sound that makes it perfect for warming weather. “Shy” marks the first single from their forthcoming collection. The energy on “Shy” can buoy your spirits in the middle of a rough week so it’s no surprise to us that , even though it only dropped last week, it’s enjoying some serious early attention from listeners. HUNNY plans on setting out for tour with Bad Sun soon so check for dates in your area. But, first, give “Shy” a spin below…

Maude Gun

“On High”

The Brooklyn duo, comprised of Molly Murphy and Jenni Lind, goes in for that raw, emotive sound first popularized by the alt-rockers of the 90s: something gritty and a little aggressive. Maude Gun calls their debut single, “On High”, a “mystic-folk riot grrrl anthem” and that description pretty much hits the head on the nail. There is something simultaneously earthy and otherworldly in Maude Gun’s sound. Give “On High” a listen below…

The Great Dictators

“Blood”

The Danish indie rock trio The Great Dictators combines forceful guitars with hazy vocals to erect a wall of shoegaze sound on their new track, “Blood”. The Great Dictators stomp all over the divide between post-rock and alt-rock; allowing elements from both traditions to seep into their own brand of indie. The effect is a hypnotizing blend of textures and sounds that you can really sink down into. “Blood” comes to us from the band’s new album (due out later this year). I’m definitely interested in hearing more of what The Great Dictators have to offer. Listen to “Blood” for yourself below…

 

7 Quirky Music Videos

Maddie Jones
“Burnt to the Ground”

Get Along
“Death of a Spirit Animal”

Super Pyramid
“Living Spaces”

Magdalena Bay
“Neon”

Killin H8 (Hila the Killa + Sir Kn8)
“Body Hair”

Monkey Warhol
“Tickle the Pickle”

First World Pros
“Oh Dear”