New Music from Phoenix Bands: The Hellflowers, Psywave, Sun Hex, and More
Photo by Riki Feldmann
Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
The Hellflowers - "Running Through The Fog"
The Hellflowers may be based in Los Angeles, but half of their lineup hails from Phoenix. Katherine Wing of The Green Lady Killers is on drums, while Pete Grosso (William Leadpistol) plays guitar. Rounding out that lineup is Christina Lopez on vocals and guitar and Matt Eskew on bass. I have to admit that with a name like The Hellflowers and the history of the band members I was expecting something slightly more aggressive. "Running Through The Fog" is the debut single and video from the band, and it recalls early alternative music in the vein of The Primitives, but drenched in a unique, desert guitar rain. While this is definitely rock music, this almost comes across as southwestern power pop on this first single, to great effect. The jangling guitars, crashing drums, thumping bass, and Lopez' seductive voice create an immediately likable sound that may give you the urge to dance. This is sensible since they are about to release their debut EP Come On Let's Dance! You have a rare opportunity to catch The Hellflowers this weekend at Chopper John's, where they will be joined by Sturdy Ladies (members of JJCnV and French Girls), Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, and Nuclear Beach Party.
Snake Heart Society - "They Don't Want You"
If you are desperately craving dance music reminiscent of the new wave days, if you are a fan of Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, or hell, even Kraftwerk, you may want to check out the debut single from Snake Heart Society. The mid-'80s vibe shines throughout this pulsating five-minute dance single. There's no irony here. These guys love this kind of music, make this kind of music, invite others to love this kind of music, and they do it really well. Snake Heart Society is none other than Keith Walker (The Holy Coast, Sister Cities, Being Cool Is Lonely, and MILK Parade) and Billy Truant. The rest of their debut record The Night will be released on May 26, and if the single is any indication, this is going to end up being my favorite dance record of the year. Be sure to check out their Soundcloud page to listen to another preview track "The Dream."
Psywave - "If You Can't Tell, It's Already Begun"
I've seen Psywave's name on a few lineups over the last year and somehow missed out on the fantastic pop of "Flower." They have followed that track with "If You Can't Tell, It's Already Begun." While I may be late to the party, I completely adore every sound this band makes. This is classic pop in every sense, think early Blondie. It has an easy-on-the-ear sensibility about it that makes me smile every time I spin it. Its beauty and appeal is found in the lilting hook that is catchy as hell. The entire thing is a brilliant, rollicking pop smash that may not seem as aggressive as "Flower" but it is every bit as rewarding. Keep your ears tuned to what Psywave starts putting out next. I have a feeling it will be every bit as addictive. Psywave will be releasing a split cassette with Grimewave, The Smiling Faces and a ton of other bands at Grateful Sound Fest 2 at Trunk Space this Saturday.
Moons Eat Stars - "Prelude to Provenance"
A local musician friend mentioned Moons Eat Stars to me a few weeks ago, enough that I wrote it down, because of the esteem I have for his taste. He cautioned me that it was all heavy instrumental music and though that wasn't usually my thing, this was different. Well, I forgot about that note on my phone until I saw them listed on a show with Vintage Wednesday. "Prelude to Provenance" is the first preview track from their full-length debut album Exile, set to be released on May 17. And yes, it turns out that Zachary Williams (Lead Guitar), Benjamin Rundall (Bass), Andrew Adams-Sierra (Drums), and Ryan Vance (Rhythm Guitar) as Moons Eat Stars do indeed lay down some heavy instrumental music that could easily be pigeonholed as ambient post-rock. This sneak peek at what's to come is an exciting teaser, at least to me, because any band that can hook me with a seven-minute instrumental, out of pure admiration for its construction alone, makes me want to dive deeply into their forthcoming record. You can catch Moons Eat Stars tonight at The Newton in Phoenix where they will be joined by Vintage Wednesday and The Limit Club.
Sun Hex - "Just Wait"
I recently listened to the entire Spacemen 3 catalog and the next day, I tripped over Sun Hex who make a shoegazing sound that is right in line with where my head was at that day. The recently released their debut Downer EP and "Just Wait" has to be one of the finest odes to an era where Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, and Loop championed a new sound and a movement without really intending to do any such thing. The monstrous roar of the guitars, the melody hidden in walls of distortion and feedback, the drum holding the entire maelstrom together with the bass clutching on for dear life and the distant, reverb-heavy vocals with gauzy lyrics with unclear meanings. Based on this song alone, Sun Hex would be fit to open for RIDE. You can catch Sun Hex this Sunday at The Rebel Lounge joined by like-minded shoegazers Citrus Clouds, Ego Tripping, and the psych rock of Elephant Gunn. I would highly recommend not being sober for the show to ensure maximum enjoyment.
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