Five Songs From Phoenix Artists You Have to Hear
Photo by Ray² Photography
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
Fairy Bones – "Pink Plastic Cups"
Before Fairy Bones went on hiatus for the summer, long before they were asked to go on tour on the spur of the moment by Highly Suspect, "Pink Plastic Cups" was quickly becoming the new highlight in their live set. It was clearly an immediate single, and I was glad to see that it was one of two tunes (along with "8 Ball") that made the cut for their twin single release this year. Sometime last spring, I had declared it my new favorite Fairy Bones tune, and that still stands. Beginning with Matthew Foos' bass drum, a guitar line from Robert
Photo by Rebel Deviant Photography
Never Let This Go – "Better"
Never Let This Go dropped their new single last week, and it's a little bit different from previous singles or the sound you've come to know and love from last year's Believe EP. Lead singer David Kleinebreil told me that it's "a little different than what people have heard from us. I wrote that song after my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was a wreck, so I did something productive and put it into the music." The proof, I suppose, is in the pudding, and "Better" is an incredibly touching piece of emo pop with that back story in mind. The entire lyrical content of the song is about coping with the concept of a loved one dying after such a diagnosis. It cuts right to the matter and is as honest of a reflection on this matter as I've ever encountered. The perfect refrain of "I don't want to be bitter, I just want to get better" are the words of a self-aware person trying to deal with the loss, knowing full well that it's easy to lose oneself in the bitterness and anger of such horrible events. Musically speaking, it's pretty much a full-tilt pop song that seems pretty radio-ready right out of the box. If nothing else, Never Let This Go's approach to documenting despair is oddly uplifting and life affirming.
Video Still Courtesy of Complicate Simple
Last summer, Complicate Simple released one of my favorite EPs of the year with Blue. Just this past weekend, the band had a release party for two videos from the record, "Vignette" and "Rewind." The video actually begins with lead singer Michael Jon at the record release party this summer mentioning the video for this song would drop in October. Clearly, he makes goals and sticks to them. The video is a stunning portrayal of being lost within the depths of alcoholism, among other things, and this is the crux of the song as well. It's something of a slow burner that still manages to be heavier than hell. As with all of their songs, at least everything on Blue, it is Michael Jon's unusual vocals that make this single a fantastic ride. Not to take away from the magic of the thunderous drums throughout or that scorching guitar solo one bit, but it's his vocals that make this band stand out from the pack. If there is a theme to this song and all the songs on their debut, it is the battle to be a human being. Sometimes we all feel that we have to rewind and turn back the clock a bit. While time wait may wait for no one, it's a reminder that we may benefit from revisiting ourselves before all the loss, before the distractions of addiction, before the heartbreak. "Rewind" grows in power with each repeated listening.
Photo by Nathan Delcid
Sunshower – "GMLK"
Grunge revivalists Sunshower just dropped their first new single since the release of their debut EP last year, and "GMLK" sounds like it's straight out of the early Sub-Pop catalog. Seriously, this could have been on the Blew EP or Screaming Life or Superfuzz Bigmuff, yet it is far from simple homage. "GMLK" has the same excited danceability that the early singles of Nirvana and Mudhoney had, but it comes off authentically and without pretense. These kids simply want to rock out, and they know how to do it right. "GMLK" begins, perfectly I might add, with a sample featuring Chazz' rant in Airheads from 1994.
Citrus Clouds – "Make A Life"
The second single from Citrus Clouds' forthcoming full-length album, Imagination, features lead vocals from Stacie Huttleston this time around. As was evidenced on the title track single released a few weeks a month ago, "Make A Life" is another song showing that Citrus Clouds have at last been able to translate the power of their live show to record. This time around they've been able to capture the chainsaw wall of guitars and the hypnotic rhythms, not to mention the breathy, angelic vocal delivery amidst the maelstrom. It's more comfort food for the soul for people who grew up loving shoegaze records by the likes of Lush or Slowdive. At the heart of it, "Make A Life" is actually a beautifully touching love song and the lyrics smell like that autumnal moment in life when you may prefer the thought of staying in with your partner rather than going out for a night on the town. It's literally about finding the one that you want to make a life with and making a life with them, because now you have each other and need little else. It's a fantastic song dressed in all the right noise, and another tune to up the ante on the eagerness to hear Imagination in its entirety. For now, you can just play the title track and "Make A Life" over and over again.
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