Label Makers

Reuben's Accomplice gets Better Looking; the Pistoleros flirt with Elektra

It seems good fortune has been smiling on several members of the Valley's indie rock class of '94. With the much-hyped release of Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American just a few weeks away, now comes word that longtime mates Reuben's Accomplice are also set to drop a highly anticipated collection into stores.

Reuben's guitarist Jeff Bufano confirms the group has inked a deal with Los Angeles-based Better Looking Records to release its long-awaited debut I Blame the Scenery. The disc, due September 4, will also be available in a special 180 gram vinyl edition from Portland's Slowdance imprint. (The LP and CD versions contain slightly different track listings, though both feature cover art by noted Valley painter Roy Miranda.)

Bufano is understandably relieved that Scenery will finally see the light of day, as the record has languished in the can for much of 2001. Produced and mixed by the band and noted Tempe sound guru Jamal Ruhe, it marks the first full-length effort from Reuben's -- not counting an early tape-only collection.

Reuben's is currently on hiatus for a couple of months, as drummer Jim Knapp preps for his upcoming nuptials and a three-week Mexican honeymoon. The trapsman will be back just in time for Reuben's August 24 release party at Nita's Hideaway.

The band was originally set to open Jimmy Eat World's local CD release. The JEW show -- originally touted for late August -- has been bumped up to July 23 at downtown's Web Theatre. Admission to the concert is free.

(A side note: JEW has passed another marker on the road to mega rock stardom, as the band is slated for a glowing lead review in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.)

Of even greater note is confirmation that Reuben's will be along for all of JEW's forthcoming U.S. club tour. The East Coast affair kicks off in Boston on September 1. Hey Mercedes -- featuring members of defunct math rockers Braid -- will also be part of the monthlong package.

Bufano adds that Reuben's is eager to return to the studio and that the group has completed enough four-track demos for a quick follow-up.

Elektra Avenue: Longtime local roots rock merchants the Pistoleros are back playing the major label game. The group's latest courtship finds them flirting with Elektra Records and A&R staffer Lee Lust. Coincidentally, Lust is the label rep who signed Tempe's Dead Hot Workshop to Atlantic/Seed in 1994.

Last month the Pistoleros traveled to Santa Monica's 4th Street Recorders to demo a pair of songs for Elektra. Veteran producer/engineer Jim Wirt (Peter Case, Incubus) was behind the board as the group ran through a reworked arrangement of its early '90s chestnut "Gasoline" as well as a cover of "My Life Story." The latter is not the similarly titled twanger by Valley alt-country combo Grievous Angels, but rather a song by Canadian blues-rocker Jeff Healy -- recorded, it should be noted, at the label's request.

Meanwhile, the Pistoleros have been receiving some grassroots radio support for "Everybody Sometimes" the lead single off their self-titled effort, released independently late last year.

The song has been getting play at several commercial stations across the country, from Louisville's WFPK to Phoenix's own KZON. But most of the heavy rotation has come courtesy of public powerhouses like Austin's KUT and New York City's WFUV. The tune has also received test spins from San Francisco's influential Triple A tastemaker KFOG. Later this month the group will travel to Northern California for a series of festival gigs, including Santa Rosa's BackYard Show, Modesto's X-Fest and the Pound Pier96 bill in San Francisco.

Before heading out west, the Pistoleros will take the stage in Tempe, performing this Friday, July 13, at Long Wong's, along with SoCal swamp-pop trio Trifecta. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Aged Angels: After seven years -- and almost as many different rhythm sections -- power-pop punks the Beat Angels mark their "lucky" anniversary with a special concert celebration this weekend.

The group recently reunited with producer Gilby Clarke, laying down a pair of tracks in the former Guns N' Roses guitarist's L.A. studio. Among the selections were live staples "Liquor Pig Boyfriend" and "Whorehouse Priest" -- both of which were originally demoed at Jeff Dahl's Cave Creek confines in 1998.

While in Hollywood, the Beats found themselves (drunk, naturally) at Smashing Pumpkin baldy Billy Corgan's home studio recording a rendition of -- steady yourselves -- Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." The cover is set to be included in the upcoming noir action flick Hard Luck Girls. A handful of the band's other tunes -- including "Scaredy Cat" and "Too Much Jazz" -- will also be featured in the film (one notable scene features several strippers snorting lines of coke off of a Beat Angels CD).

Also of note for Beat Angel fans is a lengthy and slobbering profile in the July/August edition of punk 'zine Hit List. The issue also features a belated -- by some five years -- but glowing review of the band's 1996 debut Unhappy Hour.

No definite word yet on when the band will begin making its third full-length and follow-up to '97's stellar Red Badge of Discourage. However, sources have tipped us that Colorado pop imprint Not Lame, Tucson's San Jacinto Records and an unidentified Italian label have all expressed interest in funding the band's next effort.

The Angels' seventh anniversary party, featuring opening sets from Emerald Lounge lizards the Hypnotwists and Big Blue Couch, is set for Friday, July 13, at Nita's Hideaway. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Need for Speed: Psychobilly fans have been in hog heaven as of late, with Phoenix appearances from the likes of the Reverend Horton Heat and Social Distortion. But arguably the best proponent of that particular sub-genre turns up this week, as L.A.'s Speedbuggy USA makes its return to the Valley with a pair of local performances on Thursday, July 19.

First, the Speedsters whip up a frenzy with a 6 p.m. in-store set at the Tempe Zia Records location, before heading over to the Blue Ox for a full concert starting at 9 p.m. The Invisible Men, and Thee Oh-Nos are also scheduled to perform.

Speedbuggy first grabbed attention with 2000's hard-charging platter Cowboys & Aliens. According to the band's publicist at Cargo Music, the group will finish up its current West Coast swing and then head overseas for a brief European sojourn. Upon their return, the band plans to go into the studio -- possibly with Cowboys producer Charles Rothenberger -- to begin work on a new disc of cowpunk originals.

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