Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new local music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Fairy Bones - "8 Ball"
Apparently when Fairy Bones goes on hiatus they not only end up making hilarious short videos, they also go into the studio and come out sounding like a brand new band. They recently released two singles to the radio airwaves and "8 Ball" is the first one to make it online. At the very least, Fairy Bones sound rejuvenated and refreshed, but clearly their sound and their songwriting are transforming as well. Previously, Fairy Bones had defied genre — were they punk? Art rock? Art Dance Punk? On "8 Ball" they are clearly a well polished garage rock machine with surf guitars blazing. Minus a little profanity, this is as radio ready and hook laden as Fairy Bones have ever been. Every member of the band shines on this two-and-a-half-minute thrill ride, with lead singer Chelsey Louise taking on what is her most aggressive, rapid-fire vocal delivery yet. It's pure pop at the center of the entire maelstrom, but it's pop with a sharp bite and charmingly cynical lyrics. It's been just over two years since Fairy Bones last released two A-Sides at once with "Whipping Boy" and "Waiting." Those songs were good indicators of what last years Dramabot would sound like. I wonder if the same will hold true for the record that follows "8 Ball" and its radio-only companion "Pink Plastic Cup."
The Sink Or Swim - "Glass Eyes"
Last week The Sink Or Swim released High Tides, their second EP of the year at a fantastic multi-artist release show. To be fair, High Tides sounds less like an EP as their debut record did and more like a collection of three A-Side singles. Recorded with Nate Zeune on guitar and vocals, Niel Erlich on bass, and Lou Resnick on drums, the band has since added Derek Rossman on guitar and keys. I must have listened to the thing 10 or 15 times before going with my original pick of "Glass Eyes" to spotlight. This song has everything I love about The Sink Or Swim in one four-and-a-half-minute blast. First of all, I love any song where I can actually become hypnotized by a tremendous bass line, and this song starts with that right up front and in your face, never letting up once. Erlich's delivery is reminiscent of The Jam, and possibly The Who, in how it becomes a lead instrument. Meanwhile Resnick's drumming is both manic and triumphant, just soul-splintering good, and filled with perfect transitions. Finally, Zeune's got this damn clever guitar line that adds a pop aesthetic to the whole deal and his vocals are some of the best recorded so far. He runs the gamut from emboldened rock frontman to quirky neurotic to an Eddie Vedder quaver — and it's fucking stunning. Each of the three singles have their own hooks and their own charm, but "Glass Eyes" feels like the quintessence of where The Sink Or Swim is right now in their sound.
CooBee Coo - "In The Zone"
CooBee Coo released their new EP Strikes Again last week in front of a packed house at Crescent Ballroom, and it's their first release since last year's monumental album Liven Up. Until recently, playing live has been an unusual event for CooBee Coo, but now that they've added Cori Rios (The Hourglass Cats), as well as Jake Johnston and Josh Montag of Scattered Melodies to their live unit, their shows may come more frequently. "In The Zone" opens up the EP with a groove that gets you right in the gut right from the start. CooBee Coo's new EP shows exactly where they're at in their ever-expanding sound. With "In The Zone" they're throwing down some danceable blues mixed with a wild disco production and a fantastic vocal delivery recalling Some Girls-era Rolling Stones, while managing to fit a guitar solo in there that gets into Pink Floyd territory. While there is so much to marvel at in the song, they don't push it to the limit and it never feels overwhelming, simply a textured, multi-layered groove from beginning to end.
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Sunday At Noon - "Brain Damage"
While The Sink Or Swim were releasing their new EP, Sunday At Noon released a new single "Brain Damage." Sunday At Noon are Jack Vanderpol (vocals/lead guitar), Nate Vanderpol (drums), Anthony Airdo (bass) and Dylan Welker (rhythm guitar), and they are getting into a more trad hard rock sound with the new single. "Brain Damage" rocks harder than anything they've done before, but much more in a way that may have been checking into some classic records by Van Halen, AC/DC, and maybe Guns N' Roses —which honestly makes for a great synthesis on their existing sound. The video, directed by Jacob Reynolds, is rather clever with an Office Space environment enslaving our young rock band in day job hell. It only underscores the vaguely metal meets grunge tone of this tune and is reminiscent of videos from the prime days of MTV. It will be interesting to watch where this band goes, they could move just as comfortably into Stone Temple Pilots territory as they could into a Van Halen trajectory, maybe some synthesis of both. Their potential to rock seems limitless.
LUAU - "Anchor"
LUAU has posted songs before, but "Anchor" is being touted as their first official single. They've been getting quite a reputation around town as a live band, and their first official release shows why. LUAU is Evan Hallock (vocals/guitar), Eric Thompson (guitars), Jon Collins (bass), Kyle Smith (drums) with Matt Keller on percussion and keys. With a breath lead vocal over abrasive guitar it begins sounding like Teenage Fanclub meets Sonic Youth, before exploding into a rhythmic assault akin to Gish era Smashing Pumpkins, while Hallock's vocals meet Billy Corgan, Nate Ruess and Gerard Way in a blender. It's propulsive and danceable with its understated synth flourishes, swirling psychedelic pop guitars and a vocal performance that is absolutely mesmerizing. This is the first single from their forthcoming Gone EP, and it sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of the record. In all seriousness if these guys don't have a hit on their hands it's not for lack of talent or trying. You can catch LUAU this Saturday, September 17, at Time Out Lounge in Tempe where they will be joined by Kim & The Banter, The Lonesome Wilderness and Shadow Waves.