Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Paper Foxes - "Bologna Pantalones" The ridiculously titled debut single from Paper Foxes is no laughing matter. I've seen these cats perform a few times now, and they are one of the bands to watch in 2015. Just listen to "Bologna Pantalones" and tell me that is not one of the most vital garage rock ragers that has been released in a while. In case you don't know who the Paper Foxes are, it's C.J. Jacobson fronting the band on vocals with Robert Ciuca (Fairy Bones) on guitar, Matthew Foos (Fairy Bones) on drums and Patro Gaston (Zodiac Bash) on keys. Yeah, the lineup is that good. Their debut single is simply a stellar, cathartic exercise in vitriol that totally presents itself as a calling card to the world. It is one of the most exciting singles I have heard in a while, and if you think this is great, the approaching EP will certainly blow your mind. I would also recommend that you check them out live as soon as possible, their stage show is fantastic and hyper kinetic.
Emby Alexander - "Behaves Like Beehives"
In a surprising move, Emby Alexander will be releasing their second full length record quick on the heels of the magnificent Frontispiece from last June. At least I was pretty surprised when they sent me an email announcing their new single "Behaves Like Beehives" which is the title track of their second album to be released in May. These guys are on a string of singles that just can't be beat and every single EP and album they release is beyond solid. The new single is no different. It's manic, dizzying in fact and every single second of it is glorious. Emby Alexander is probably fitting into my top five local bands right now, because they are not resting on their laurels, they are continually issuing exciting, intellectually engaging music that is as catchy as it is quirky, as weird as it is wonderful. It is clear they are on a creative high right now from endless touring and I suspect this surprising sophomore album will be the transcendent result of that. I am suddenly more excited for this than nearly any other promised or proposed release this year. Emby Alexander is doing great things and I hope this single gets their achievements noticed, mainly because I cannot stop listening to it over and over again.
Jane Joyce - "Destination" After two hard-rocking amazing albums with her outfit Scrupulous, Jane Joyce has made quite a departure in working with Gardner Cole and presenting single after single of solid pop. After the brilliance of "Looking At You" and "Kill This Beat" the third single in this series, "Destination" is a bit of a departure for a few reasons. First of all, it's a slow burner. It's definitely a bit more downbeat than the previous releases all out pop explosion; however, it's no less effective. Secondly, it also happens to be a duet, which is probably the greatest element found here. Granted, Scrupulous was a duo, but this is a whole other realm. In this case Joyce teams up with Jeremy Kellum, which is a fantastic combination. It sounds like Karen O and Jerry Cantrell joined up to put out a fantastic pop song. Imagine the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Alice In Chains getting together for a tune. You don't have to imagine it, it's posted above. The point is the combination of Joyce's dreamy vocals and Cantrell's -- um, Kellum's -- vocals are simply amazing. I have been following the single releases from the start, and this an unexpected, rewarding turn in this cycle. I think Jane Joyce is on to something here and it may lead to a lot more than just local play.
Compañeros - "Valentine" So, I feel like I have been waiting on this for an insanely long time and it's because I have. I don't know how many years I have wanted, nay needed, Compañeros to record their music, but it feels like it's been more than a few. Well, now it's happening and this is the first result of that and it's wonderfully stunning. These Tempe darlings have been entertaining their loyal fans for years with an electrifying live show and it's about time they got to start laying this down on record. "Valentine" is a fantastic start in this direction and I simply cannot wait to hear the rest of their debut EP. It turns out that all the energy they put into their live show translates seamlessly to recordings and that's a great thing. You have to admire any song (released on Valentine's Day mind you) that starts with the lyrics "If I was your Valentine / I'd give you a dead rose / In a bowl of broken glass / With a fake diamond at the bottom / For your avaricious ass." It never really lets up from there.
The Hill In Mind- "Statues" In anticipation of their exciting full length album release of Thimble, Needle and Thread in April, The Hill In Mind has released a preview b-side single with an acoustic version of "Statues." The song is found on the "Needle" portion of the album. I have to admit I'm pretty torn about which version I like more. I've been listening to the new record for a couple months and really digging it's near indescribable soundscape, but this acoustic version of one of my favorite songs found on it has a certain magical quality to it. There is something so vulnerable, musically naked about the performance found here that it gave me chills the first time I heard it and while I love the full production found on the album, it did not give me chills. The Hill In Mind does not release normal music, their brand of chamber pop is unusual to say the least and certainly high minded -- these are classically trained musicians creating beautiful music that is anachronistic beyond compare. The songwriting on "Statues" is strong enough that it can shine as a full on, full band performance or as a very near solo acoustic number. I'm kind of hoping that Joshua Hill has more of these acoustic b-sides in his back pocket, because this one is amazing.
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