By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
Though the local scene is, on the whole, dominated by electro-indie, Arizona's best album of the year is nothing like that. Kinch sounds more like a Britpop band than anything else, but they're inarguably brilliant playing either cocky rock ("A Tantrum") or sensitive piano ballads ("Memphis"). I've listened to Advances at least 30 times, and it might just find a spot on my Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll. It's that good.2. Back Ted N-Ted
Writing this column, I just changed the "Best Track" choice for Back Ted N-Ted's Hookie three times. Such are the charms of this splendid little four-song EP, which both defines and surpasses the local synth-pop scene, where bands like Peachcake (who released another decent album that didn't quite make the cut) rule the roost. I've played "Your Love" so many times I'm sick of it now, but it's the kind of catchy single that could break nationally, while anyone who can avoid bopping their head to "The War Is Over" is quite possibly not human.3. The Loveblisters
Bittersweetness is a quality I look for in songs, and Miniature Tigers capture it well in "The Wolf," "Cannibal Queen," and "Dino Damage." They're also adept at pulling in a few electronic elements from time to time, while maintaining an organic sound. Another thing I think is interesting about this record: The longest song comes in at a whopping 3:33, with most at two and change.5. The Stiletto Formal
I have a long-documented love/hate relationship with bands that sound like At The Drive In but are not, in fact, At The Drive In, a seminal post-hardcore act from Texas that split into Sparta and The Mars Volta. I am also deeply suspicious that this cello thing is a gimmick to get a hot girl in the band. Still, The Stiletto Formal does the sound well and earned their place on this list.6. Black Carl
If the local scene had a Metacritic aggregator — and conversations with scenester-types counted as reviews — Black Carl would top all. Everyone (and I mean everyone) loves this band. Probably, your mom loves Black Carl. Seriously, ask her, and she'll be like, "That Emma Pew is adorable, and what a voice!" Anyway, I'm also a fan, but I found their self-titled EP doesn't quite capture the magic of the live show, which is why it's sitting so low on this list.7. Fracture Point
Phoenix's metal scene is huge but, by and large, not that innovative. Then there's Fracture Point, which has long been a favorite of area metalheads. I also dig them. I can't describe this record any better than Niki D'Andrea did, so I'll just quote her: "Fracture Point sounds like a mastodon stampede, but instead of directionless destruction, this beast intelligently winds its way through a well-constructed maze of down-tuned guitars, burly bass lines, screaming solos, and tricky timing changes."8. The Love Me Nots
How the hell does one become a music journalist writing columns like this?
Your taste in music is suspect, your writing is half-rate, and you know absolutely nothing about this scene which you are writing. God help the Phoenix music scene if this the kind of music journalism its subject to on a weekly basis.
"Everyone (and I mean everyone) loves this band."
Well... I could actually think of a lot of people that don't. Most notably King Khan, who reportedly was infuriated when Black Carl's warmed over, Joss Stoney take on soul was booked to kick off his modified show, because "day dwaw gud!"
"Phoenix HAS to have better music than this!" - King Khan
Which is pretty much my response to your list. I meanif this soporific mush the best that Phoenix can do, I think we're in trouble.
That being said, I like miniature tigers. And that 999 Buttons song isn't bad.
But the newtimes's coverage of phoenix local music has always been laughably inadequate.
Great read. This is why I love New Times. Thanks for putting me in touch with more great local talent.
Local artists need to come together to build the scene.
I don't know about your #1 rating, Mr. Cizmar. I'm generally very open-minded when it come to new albums, particularly of this genre, but I think this Kinch album is terrible. It's not that I don't think the guys have talent - because I do - it's just that their songs are horrible. Most of the tracks are quality for about the first 15 or 20 seconds and the groove is solid, but then they unravel because the singing is less-than-decent.
Anyhow, I'm not encouraging readers not to listen to them. I just don't care for them. I will note, however, that I think its very cool that they're currently distributing their entire album for download at their website. Check it out here: