In last week's issue of New Times, we profiled 10 new(ish) bands we expect to dominate Phoenix iPods and boomboxes this long, hot summer. We'll be focusing more deeply on those artists over the next couple of days on Up on the Sun.
Here's the complete list.
As she wraps up the final touches on her debut album, Moonbeams, Sareena Dominguez has been doing a fair amount of reflection, examining the demos and rough drafts of songs that speckle YouTube and her Bandcamp profile with a critical eye. "A lot of people are going to be able to listen to [the new album] in a different mindset," Dominguez says. "As opposed to listening to my demos and hearing them and going 'Oh, this is good, this is soft, this is pretty, this is cute.'" Moonbeams is something else from Dominguez, a bold, confident statement. "When they hear the official album version they're going to be able to listen to it differently," she says. "They're going to think 'this is serious; this is really good.'" -- Troy Farah (Read more about Sareena Dominguez.)
City in the Sea
Metalcore outfit City In The Sea isn't exactly new. The 5-piece has has been around since the summer of 2009, but it seems like only those truly integrated into the local metal scene know much of them. Which is odd, considering they have shared the stage with such artists as Greeley Estates, Impending Doom, Oh Sleeper, The Word Alive and Miss May I. Maybe it's because vocalist Todd Reitmyer, guitarist/vocalist Jeff Horrocks, guitarist Nick Rossi, bassist Dan Marinaro and drummer Conor White are barely out of high school, and frequent hardcore, gritty spaces like the Nile Underground. -- Lauren Wise (Read more about City in the Sea.)
Being Cool is Lonely
In the late '80s, Keith Walker was rocking it (and a sweet orange-toned mullet) with Power of Dreams, an Irish pop rock band that British taste-making magazine NME once named as one of its "stars of tomorrow." Power of Dreams' chiming pop melodies were a far cry from the dark, synth-ridden sex party that was taking place in London's seedy underground, where Depeche Mode and New Order were mastering the delicate concoction of leather and drum machines.Fast forward a few decades and Walker, now drumming for Tempe indie rockers Sister Cities, is downing a bottle of Jameson with Andy Rourke of The Smiths and William "Fucking" Reed, the hipster DJ king of Phoenix, celebrating a successful guest appearance at Reed's weekly dance night Sticky Fingers. His future girlfriend and musical partner, Tiffe Fermaint, was just seats away. It was the night that sparked a relationship, both musically and romantically (Rourke and Reed excluded from the later). -- Christina Caldwell (Read more about Being Cool is Lonely.)
Do-it-yourself chillwave conductor YUS (real name: Youceff Kabal) is one of the Valley artists that you should be paying attention to this summer. We can't stop raving about the slow synth-driven melodies off his debut release, Palms, with its relaxed tones and waning rhythms. Equally interesting is the follow up, Besides, released only two months later. -- Anthony Sandoval (Read more about Yus.)
Will Neibergall, a junior at McClintock High in Tempe, known as Glass Popcorn, talks a lot about brand alignment. Onstage, when he repeatedly chants over club synths, "I go hard in my Ed Hardy," it starts to sound less like a simple diss on the bro-clad and more like a meditation on Madison Avenue masculinity. His institutional critique of hip-hop has earned him plenty of haters, but also serious attention. --Chase Kamp (Read more about Glass Popcorn.)
Marshstepper "Cocteau said film won't be a valid art form until film is as cheap as paper," says J.S. Aurelius of Tempe-based swamp-disco combo Marshstepper (Aurelius, N. Nappa, and D. Pupillo). Aurelius would know -- his artistic output is defined by paper (he's written a couple-dozen zines' worth of poetry released by Ascetic House), and Marshstepper has yet to release music in physical or even MP3 format. Only grainy, spectral films of the band's live performances of pulsing EBM meditations are available online. Despite the varied formats, each aspect -- music, print, video -- is part of a grander statement. "[Marshstepper] is, in a lot of ways, a continuation of what we've been doing," Aurelius says. "It's weird -- for me at least -- putting names on bands, because it all comes from the same place, regardless of sound. Marshstepper is a little bit weirder and little bit more eccentric than some of the bands we do [like Desert Vibrations, Avon Ladies, and the controversially named Tempe SS]. They're all different in sound, but they all come from the same place." The goal is less about entertainment and more about admittedly "philosophical or New Agey" aims: "It's all done with as much humor as an aggressive pointed attack on anything," Aurelius says, "but it's all a means to an end, trying to transcend the bullshit." -- Jason P. Woodbury (Read more about Marshstepper.)
Tommy Ash Band
It's easy to lump contemporary country bands into the pop-country genre. After all -- that's what is currently dominating the airwaves. But what if there was a band that embraced classic country sounds without sounding retro? You know, contemporary country, but with solid roots. Tommy Ash Band is one such group, and a love story on top of that: Singer Tommy Ash and guitarist Benjamin Blanc-Dumont met while Ash was working in a Western store, got married, and started a band. The French born Blanc-Dumont moved to the States to chase the elusive American dream, and refers to the sound of The Tommy Ash Band as "spaghetti rock." -- Melissa Fossum (Read more about Tommy Ash Band.)
The Sh!t It's been a long road, but The Sh!t is ready to live up to its namesake. The Sh!t is the collaboration of Ianfluence and Sourpuss, who double-team on both production and rhyming. The two are former members of the local group Shortbus, which they say was a passion project started long before they could hit the bar scene. "When we weren't even old enough to go to Blunt Club, we'd mix beats and freestyle all night long," Ianfluence says. The duo's latest track, "Ass Dro Not," is a funky combination of backpacker sensibility and outer space antics. The song, from the Earsweat label mixtape available online and at Zia Records, features Ianfluence and Sourpuss talking shit in the cosmos, with sci-fi synths and Wu-Tang trash snares. Throughout the track is a sample from a 1950s cartoon of an announcer making prophetic statements about a heroic cosmonaut. -- Chase Kamp (Read more about The Sh!t.)
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TABS Eric Hoss and Ben Andersen would prefer it if crowds did more ass-shaking than fist-pumping or head-bobbing at their gigs. To that end, the Arizona EDM duo known as TABS fill their high-energy beatscapes and remixes with effusive grooves and infectious hooks. "We get tons of fist-pumps at clubs but not tons of dance," Hoss says. "We've got that really high-energy sound down pat, but we also wanted to mix in that '80s, shake-your-ass kinda grooves. I mean, who doesn't like doing that? We're always trying to make things more dancier with our music." -- Benjamin Leatherman (Read more about TABS.)
DINERS If songwriter Tyler Broderick had been more into trends, the debut from his band DINERS might have been a scuzzy, hissing, lo-fi bedroom record. And that might have been great -- but very different kind of great than Throw Me a Ten, the air-tight pop EP he crafted in Mesa's Audioconfusion studios instead of locked away in his basement. The record's chiming hooks, multi-tracked harmonies, and bouncing beats benefit greatly from the clarity. "I started out with a vision of wanting it to be really lo-fi bedroom-pop songs," Broderick says. "Then I was, like, that's a stupid idea. I should just have it be good quality and not try and hide." --Jason P. Woodbury (Read more about DINERS).