The download-card format was necessary, Kizer says, because of the size of the project: "I'm not a pusher of download cards at all, but just because of the sheer number of people who did it, we had to do a download card or it would have been, like, a four-CD album — and we don't have the money to produce it that way."

Speaking of money, a significant share came from Yucca Tap Room owner Rodney Hu, who's seen his share of compilations in the 30 years his family has owned the beloved Tempe watering hole.

"Of all the different ones I've seen, this one is a lot different," he says. "People are always complaining that the scene is stale or whatever, but this gives them a chance to hear that there's so much out there. It's really interesting. It's really original. This scene probably needs something like this, and the turnout really shows how many bands are out there that are in to it. These guys are all doing different types of music, but they all believe in each other, and that's cool . . . We have a good scene here. We just need to nurture it."

Laci Lester and Nick Kizer are behind the When in AZ comp.
Nichole Petta
Laci Lester and Nick Kizer are behind the When in AZ comp.


Release shows are scheduled for September 4 and 5 at Modified Arts, September 10 at Rhythm Room, September 11 and 12 at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, and September 18 at Hard Rock Cafe.

Actually, for Arizona, having a good scene is only half the battle, as Kizer has seen. Phoenix bands sure do love to leave the desert for New York or L.A. (We won't name the latest rumored refugees, but there's talk of small, striped felines roaming New York.)

Originally, the comp's title was a reference to "When in Rome," Kizer says, but the title also works as a time-stamped label.

"It fits it perfectly, because this is kind of a snapshot of Arizona in 2009 when this happened, and all these bands are moving away; some of these aren't even Arizona bands anymore," he says. "I guarantee you: In the next year, a lot of these bands won't be in existence or in Arizona anymore."

So it goes in the ephemeral world of local music. Who knows whether Phoenix will ever lure the contemporary version of Christgau to town for a massive feature on our music scene? Either way, when it's all over, we'll still have saguaros instead of smokestacks, which works for me.

For more information on When in AZ, visit

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Personaly, i find it messed up that this local collection is being released at all these phoenix venues but instead of supporting the Trunk Space they are having a show at the Hard Rock Cafe where people will probably be eating dinner and drinking at the bar instead of caring about the music. Who goes there, anyway?

Whoever dad is, you're pretty funny.



Also that Tiny Panda release was actually released on CD, not just cobbled onto some download card.

300 copies were made. And the whole thing sold out (but mostly from out of state fans. HA!).

And the bulk of the bands both covering and being covered on the When In AZ comp are, as one can expect from phoenix these days, yawningly mediocre. So the scope of this sprawling collection of mp3's, which is by and large filler music from filler bands, is hardly the indispensible, unifying document of a scene in full blossom that it's purported to be.


'Cause it seems that self-satisfied mediocrity and rehash is what gets you the attention in Phoenix. While something like, uh, I don't know, actually having the idea first and executing it(which actually was a sincere expression of community)is met with passing indifference.

SPOILER ALERT: phoenix is actually not all that supportive of its music.


In addition to what I just said, these bands have all come to Tucson and we have been able to start meaningful and cooperative relationships with them which have helped our music scene unite as well.


I agree with TK. I used to volunteer at an arts venue and collective here in Tucson called Dry River and we had copies of Phoenix does Phoenix that were sent to us by Tiny Panda as a means of exposing Tucson bands/people to our neighbors to the west. It was a great idea, a quality compilation that featured bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad who are on Asian Man Records, French Quarter who was given the stamp of approval by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and Cardiac Party who recently graced the Dry River with their excellent music just a couple of months ago. It's a shame those efforts and artists were greatly overlooked- at least some acknowledgment should be due.


So, I believe about 2 years ago, Tiny Panda Records already did this.

You guys (phxNT) covered some of her other releases, like the 1st and 3rd one and her version of Phoenix bands covering each other was the 2nd release.

http://tinypandarecords.bigcar...and specificallyhttp://tinypandarecords.bigcar...

It also sold more copies outside of AZ than inside... so much for scene unity?


I'm glad the money is going toward Ear Candy; they are a great charity on the rise in the valley. Just looking at their site you know they'll put that money to good use.

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