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.
Jimmy Eat World – "Sure And Certain"
In all honesty, I was going to write about Jimmy Eat World's new single "Get Right," but then they released an even newer song on Tuesday, and I liked that even more. One thing is for sure, whether it's "Get Right" or "Sure And Certain," the new album, Integrity Blues, sounds like it's going to be a powerhouse of an album. "Sure And Certain" is the catchier, more hook-heavy of the two songs released; it's also a little more on the pop side than "Get Right" as well. I had discussed my love of the percussion on Clarity with drummer Zach Lind, and he said the drums would be even better on the new album. In fac,t the drums in "Sure And Certain" are part of the reason I enjoy this track more than its predecessor. The other aspect is that the bass groove from Rick Burch is just stellar here, as it works around the drums and between the searing twin guitars of Jim Adkins and Tom Linton. Lyrically, it seems that Jim Adkins is just as adept at capturing the uncertainty of adulthood as he was at capturing the uncertainty of youth. The song and especially the chorus will stay with you long after the song has finished playing, and this seriously raises the anticipation for the release of Integrity Blues on October 21.
Paper Foxes – "Strawberry Lashes"
Paper Foxes are a far different beast than when they started, featuring a completely new rhythm sections since their last record. Paper Foxes features frontman extraordinaire CJ Jacobson, keyboard/theremin wizard Patro Gaston (Zodiac Bash) with Uche and Jahlani Ujania on bass and drums, respectively. Today they are releasing their sophomore record, Strawberry Lashes, and their first single from it is the five-minute title track that serves as the finale to the EP. This time around, Paper Foxes are pursuing much more of a "dark-wave" sound than their first EP. The compositions are more fascinating, the rhythm section is firing on all cylinders, and the record has a consistent style throughout. If you are a fan of Joy Division, Interpol, Kitchens of Distinction, or art-rock-infused-post-punk, you are going to love every minute of it. "Strawberry Lashes" is the synthesis of the entire affair in one dizzying track that shows of all of their assets. The blazing synths that start the song along with the mechanized pulse and angular guitars immediately draw you in, while Jacobson delivers one of his most charming vocals hand in hand with some of his most acerbic lyrics. It's probably their best song to date and certainly their longest, which makes it all the more fascinating and hypnotic, with just the right touch of retro sheen.
Citrus Clouds – "Imagination"
"Imagination" is the first single from the forthcoming EP of the same name from Citrus Clouds. This song has been a live favorite of mine, and the recording of it is closer to their live sound than anything from last year's In Time I Am EP. Released only eight months after their debut record, the band has made a quantum leap in sound and songwriting as well. "Imagination" is completely addictive shoegaze indie pop with heavy doses of post-punk, art-rock flourishes. It begins with pounding drums from Angelica Pedrego recalling Jesus & Mary Chain, a bass line reminiscent of Joy Division from Stacey Huttleston, before Erick Pineda's brilliant guitar builds up to the point where he delivers his best vocals to date and a maelstrom of guitars explode. It's as dizzying, hypnotic number as nearly everything from Citrus Clouds has been, but this has a catchy pop element that has been more subtle in their past efforts. Still, the breaks where there aren't a hurricane of guitars and feedback are some of the most enjoyable, because it recalls the way Ride or Swervedriver could rage with the fury of the apocalypse, but bring it down to show off their songwriting skills. This is easily their best song to date and also their most accessible, it will be interesting to hear how the rest of the EP sounds when they release it this fall.
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Future Soul – "Faith"
Future Soul is the moniker that Nick Tillery is using to deliver his music to the world. It's a pretty enticing name that would have you imagine perhaps a reliance on synths and electronica, but that couldn't be further from what's going on here. Future Soul has dropped a track or two around the internet from the forthcoming debut record, and they are pretty fascinating songs. This is clearly Tillery's own vision that he's following, because nothing else in this town sounds like this. Of the songs I found, "Faith" is my favorite, though "Process" is growing on me. Still, "Faith" has this amazing, jazzy piano-driven spirit about it that recalls the musical arrangements of Ben Folds. Tillery's vocals, on the other hand, are breathy and sexy, nothing like Folds in that regard. This is his vision of "future soul," and it feels pretty damn fine, colored throughout by a soulful warmth. Nick Tillery got his start in music playing drums in hardcore bands in Phoenix, all while honing his songwriting and piano playing on the side. He spent some time in Nashville wrestling with his demons, which brought Future Soul into focus. When he returned to Arizona, he decided to get back to basics and stripped all electronic instrumentation from his music to allow it to be raw and direct. The resulting record is a testament to that ethic. Elastic Love, the debut EP from Future Soul is set to be released tomorrow, Friday, September 2.
LETRONZ – "Twist The Knife"
A couple of years ago, there was a band around town called The Holy Coast that put out some amazing music, music that to this day is still being used on television and in movies. It was an incredible power trio featuring Brett Davis and Keith Walker of Sister Cities and Braden Letronz. Since their breakup, they've all moved in different directions, but the latest release from one of the alumni is the new single from Letronz. "Twist The Knife" is a nearly six-minute electronica fantasy that is as fascinating as it is mesmerizing. While it may not be the catchiest track of the year, its experimentation in soundscapes and atmospherics will keep your brain entranced for its entirety over and over again. Letronz delivers a slow, easy vocal, with a hypnotic delivery. It's practically melodic spoken-word poetry, but it becomes an instrument unto itself. The synthetic orchestrations that surround the vocals are every bit as fascinating, making this one of the most compelling and engaging electronic tracks of the year. This is post-rock slowcore, and the subtle trick is that while the melody may not catch you, there's something about the lyrical hook that will take residency in your memory with the mournful line, "All you had to do was give your love to the right one." Letronz will release their debut EP this Sunday, September 4, and it should be a captivating ride, to say the least.