Casket Life

There'll be a lot of celebrating at Casket Life's tour kickoff show on Friday, August 6, at Ziggy's in Tempe -- not only is the band headed out for a two-week Southwest/Midwest tour, it's also become the first group to sign to Stomping Ground Records (, a new local venture by Dames timekeeper Ashley Adams, impresario Chris Lawson, and Parkway Wretch's bass player Mikey.

Fueled by the same proactive spirit that birthed, the trio behind Stomping Ground is funneling its time and money into a new outlet for the swell of local talent in the punk rock scene. Adams says that Casket Life's upcoming album provided the perfect kick in the ass to speed along an idea that had been brewing for almost a year.

Casket Life is just wrapping up the tracks for the album, which was recorded with Byron Filson, who's been making a name for himself in the studio by recording local punk rock all-stars like the North Side Kings, Where Eagles Dare, and Bullet Train to Moscow. Adams' own band, the Dames, just began recording with Filson as well, but don't expect to see a Dames record out on Stomping Ground. Adams has smartly decided to keep her interests separate, and Casket Life's October or November album release will have the fledgling label's full attention. -- Brendan Joel Kelley

When the most respected MCs and DJs in hip-hop have made tour stops in the Valley, chances are it was Ty Carter's doing. As the man behind TMC Entertainment, he's worked to bring everyone from Notorious B.I.G. and Wu-Tang Clan to Jurassic 5 and Atmosphere to local fans. And this month, he celebrates his 10th year in the biz by doing what he does best. Upcoming shows include Lifesavas, Diverse, Libretto, Oddio Audwell, Darkwater, and DJ Tige (August 6 at the Clubhouse); Ty's birthday bash with Pokafase, Chrome 9, Illegal Substance, and DJ Darrell D (August 11 at Martini Ranch); and Mr. Cheeks & Pete Rock, Truth Hurts, Pokafase, JX3, and DJ J-Cut (August 18 at the Brickhouse). Take it as proof that giving is better than receiving. -- Michele Laudig

Here's something that actually tops American Idol in cheesiness. Last week, Valley pop star hopefuls were offered a chance to network "with key people in the industry," courtesy of an organization called American Music Auditions and Capitol Management. More than 150 musicians jumped at the opportunity to pay $175 for the privilege of performing before so-called "top producers" at auditions held at the Clubhouse in Tempe.

But although the Web site for 54-year-old Robert Metzger, the "top producer" behind it all, suggests that he might have connections with Grammy Award-winning music (there's a picture of him with Garth Brooks, and mention of Metzger's band's newest CD, The Smokey River Boys Sing O Brother, is deceptively placed next to a picture of the official movie soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?), he has never produced any major recording artist. And while Capitol Management could easily be confused with Capitol Records, a representative from the Hollywood record label confirmed that there is no relationship between the two companies.

At least young artists did have the chance to learn something from the audition: Don't throw your money away -- stick to American Idol instead.


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