Before we go on to the picks for this week, let's reflect on the events of this past weekend.
Phoenix hosted Dias de la Crescent, a massive outdoor festival that walled off Civic Space Park and attracted thousands (one estimate said 3,500) people of all ages and walks of life, and the bands that drew them there? All local. Also, the Tempe History Museum opened a new exhibition, Tempe Sound, on Friday, and on metal legends Slayer came to town on Saturday. It was a great weekend for Phoenix music fans, and hopefully a sign of the continued strength and growing legitimacy of what we have going on here in the Valley of the Sun.
This week is a little less music-heavy, and things will naturally slow a bit as the holidays approach. Still, let's hope there are more great weekends to come. Check out our picks for the week, and browse our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
For the most part, it's pointless to take a band's name too literally. For example, I've stopped hoping that I'll receive a coin every time I'm forced to listen to Nickelback. Occasionally, though, a group's appellation perfectly captures its aesthetic, as is the case with Musee Mecanique, which headlines a bill Tea Party Bomba, and AJ Odneal. This Portland, Oregon-based combo, led by the tandem of Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie, shares its moniker with a San Francisco museum filled with antique music boxes -- and while listening to its songs the image resonates. Electronic instruments are part of the mix, but so are accordion, glockenspiel and brass that call to mind a time when the phrase "cranking it" meant gently turning a handle, not maxing out the volume. --Michael Roberts
Indie duo Tegan and Sara, identical twin sisters from Calgary, have toured with their fellow countryman Neil Young and had their track "Walking With a Ghost" covered by the White Stripes. Their connection to their music and each other is clear during their live shows. The openly gay musicians' frank discussions about their childhood, politics, and touring have become hallmarks of their renowned performances.
Now, the folk-rock darlings of the indie music world are making a change, in that their latest album, Heartthrob, the duo's first collaborative writing endeavor, very blatantly attempts to be a slick, poppy, radio-friendly album -- and it is. It also is a rousing and charming piece of art. The 30-somethings sing lustily about "the rush before we touch" on the catchy pop single "Closer." The change in direction has proved to be the all-access pass that now allows them to open for pop superstars Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. If the 10 tracks on Heartthrob aren't enough to catapult them into superstardom, they also worked with the comedy team The Lonely Island on "Everything Is Awesome," the infectious theme of the hit The Lego Movie. -- Jason Keil
There's something about the voice of Seattle, Washington, singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen -- it's evocative and haunting, the type of wail that sticks you can't shake for days after you first hear it. Gundersen writes songs and tours with his sister, Abby, on backup vocals and violin, and his brother, Jonathan, on drums. There are a few other members of the touring band, but the most powerful part of the songs is the combination of Noah and Abby's voices. Genetics help family bands achieve a scary-close vocal blend, and the Gundersens take full advantage of this. To hear the two sing harmonies on songs like "Poor Man's Son" is to swim in a velvet sea of sonic bliss. --David Accomazzo
With Girl In A Coma singer Nina Diaz taking time to put together a solo record, bassist and drummer Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz figured it was time to get ugly with a new band (naturally) called FEA, a four-piece (with singer Theresa Moher and guitarist Aaron Lee Magana) that puts the punk back in puncture wound. They're working on studio recordings now, but live captures of songs like "No Hablo Espanol" come off like the Bikini Kill, Blatz, the Dicks or even Fang. If there was ever a punk song that came out raw, slow and fucking pissed on some EP with a DIY Xeroxed cover, then FEA found it and built on it. Get ready for broken bottles if not broken ankles--FEA aren't fucking around! --Chris Zeigler
Everyone loves chocolate -- some more than others. Les Claypool, the mad genius behind Primus, has taken his love of chocolate and churned it into Primus and the Chocolate Factory. Inspired as a child by the Gene Wilder epic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Claypool saved box tops for a kit to make chocolate bars and then sold his own chocolate Wonka bars to his grammar school classmates. Years later, the dark concept of the film still lingered in Claypool's brain, luring the bassist ever closer to becoming the master of his own chocolate factory. Following his vision of the past, Claypool has re-created the movie soundtrack in that timeless, dark, and wacky Primus manner. "I'm sure there's folks out there that didn't appreciate it. That is the risk of taking on a sacred cow," he says. "The thing is it's not so much about telling the story of Wonka and Charlie and the chocolate factory as much as it is the perspective of a young kid, which was me, back in the early '70s experiencing the world of Wonka." A twisted experience, clearly. --Glenn BurnSilver
Quite possibly the most honest man in dubstep, Leeds-born, L.A.-dwelling producer Rusko has taken responsibility for the existence of the much-maligned "brostep" -- which is to say, injecting the dark atmospherics and effects of the original genre with a distinct high-energy aggression that seems to appeal to the, ahem, frattier among us. His efforts over the last several years, such as 2012's Songs, while relying upon a few familiar tricks (wonky bass, mechanical skronk) also incorporated playful Basement Jaxx-like house, melismatic R&B-style vocals and actual dub music -- the Jamaican kind. And no matter where you sit on the love-it-or-hate-it seesaw with dubstep and/or brostep since EDM's recent zenith, Rusko throws a helluva show, barefoot and hopping wildly like a cartoon rabbit, wielding the power of the beat with a brilliant light display over his shoulders. --Chris Martins
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