Curious what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun? Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
Action Bronson, who hails from Flushing, Queens, burst onto the scene when a pair of videos he uploaded to YouTube, "Shiraz" and "Imported Goods," earned him a healthy dose of coveted blog buzz. The videos showcase Bronson in his neighborhood and are street-level slices of laid-back funk-laced hip-hop, name-checking choice cuts of deli meat as often as weed and Street Fighter 2. The clips raised his profile, and he capitalized on it with this year's outstanding mixtape, Blue Chips.
And now he's big-time -- big enough to get called out by Pitchfork for a Twitter post about how his friend dumped water on a "drunk Mexican tranny."
One doesn't accomplish all this by simply uploading a video to YouTube and waiting by the phone for someone to tell you that you're the next big thing. Bronson's got talent, the kind of raw but cool intensity you'd expected from an artist named for fictional mob enforcer William "Action" Jackson and legendary badass Charles Bronson. (Read more.) -- Mike Escoto
It can be tough to get into rockabilly or psychobilly because, let's face it: a lot of the bands blend together. Yeah, upright bass and horror movies are cool, but watching a guy with a pompadour stand on top of his bass while singing about cars gets a little old.
The Koffin Kats aren't your typical psychobilly band. There are some traditional undertones, but the band's take-no-prisoners song structure as as much to do with punk rock as greasy hair.
"What everything boils down to is I consider us a punk band with an upright bass," says singer/guitarist Vic Victor, "the biggest influence is just the aggression and the speed of what punk rock music is, just fast paced and keeping your foot tapping [music.]
We recently caught up with Victor to discuss psychobilly in the United States, why the band keeps coming back to Arizona, and what made the band stronger than ever. (Read more.) -- Melissa Fossum
Some things in life are totally worth the wait. Like, for instance, a return visit to the Valley by electronica wizards Lazer Sword. It's been almost two years since the team of L.A.'s Lando Kal (a.k.a. Antaeus Roy) and Berlin-based beathead Low Limit (better known as Bryant Rutledge) hypnotized locals with their entrancing mixes during a special appearance at Bar Smith.
This time around, however, Lando and Low Limit will head next door to the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street, where they'll spend the evening of Saturday, June 9, captivating their audience during a live set in support of their latest disc, Memory.
The 11-track album, which was released on Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, demonstrates how the duo's constantly evolving sound fluctuates between crunchy electro riffs and laid-back ambient house, mixing in a few tricks from the realms of hip-hop and drum 'n' bass thrown in for good measure. Hits like the groovy "Let's Work" (featuring Detroit funktronica artist Jimmy Edgar) and "Pleasure Zone" are certain to get heads nodding during the gig.
Local support includes performances by UK Thursdays regular Ill-legal?, bass blaster Dehga, underground party guru Pablo Gomez, and a special two-hour tag-team set by Issa and TZR. -- Benjamin Leatherman
In an age where Henry Rollins does Acura commercials, what does "selling out" even mean any more? Tempe "futurepop" band Super Stereo knows a thing or two about product placement: their ditties have been featured on The Real L Word, TNT's Rizzoli and Isles and E!'s Keeping Up with The Kardashians -- in fact, that last show (the one with Kanye's lady) played the band a whopping three times in the same episode. It's for good reason. Their melodies are the perfect combination of pop and added interest -- the same sort of style that made Matt and Kim or the Ting Tings unlikely chart risers. So maybe it's not to "too cool for school" audience most bands hope for, but Super Stereo is keeping it real and making some cash along the way. And screw you if you think having your songs played on reality shows cheapens them. Mere months after Super Stereo allegedly sold their soul to the same devil that thought up Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?, they're turning naysayers into believers here in the Valley with one big Crescent Ballroom blowout featuring fellow locals Snake! Snake! Snakes!, Factories, TABS, and more. -- Christina Caldwell
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There just aren't enough musical groups out there that allow grown women to cheer for barely legal eye candy. So thanks, One Direction, for filling that void. The British-Irish boy band has conducted a hysteria-inducing worldwide invasion that has won over fans of all ages, with Justin Bieber-esque good looks and smooth, buttery voices that encourage women to think of themselves as beautiful at all times -- words wise beyond their years (average age of the members: 19). Gone is the perfected choreography of the *NSYNC days -- the guys of 1D dance freely from the heart, showing they don't need synchronized moves to win over fans. The group may be breaking big in the States only now, but they've been pounding the music biz pavement for two years now, getting their start on British reality show X Factor. They've since strutted their stuff on a recent episode of SNL and could have filled bigger venues in the Valley, but performing at Comerica Theatre ensured a sell-out crowd that'll be full of screaming tween girls and their moms, who, for once, are happy to accompany their daughters. Some may call the music from their debut album, Up All Night, filler, but for 1D fans, it's biblical. -- Nicki Escudero