New Music from Snake! Snake! Snakes!, The Psychedelephants, The Darts, and More

The RedemptionsEXPAND
The Redemptions
Photo by Frank C Photography

Mitchell Hillman listens to more music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new music in his column Right Hear, Right Now.

The Redemptions  "Call It"
The Redemptions had one of the best EP debuts of last year, and it looks like they are finally recording the rest of the best from the live set they've cultivated over the past few years. I was surprised when "Call It" wasn't included on the first record, but seeing that it's joined on the teaser for the new EP with "But Anyway," "Call It" has been one of my favorites by the Redemptions for some time. It's one I would find myself singing a day or two after a show, frustrated I couldn't find a recording of it. First of all, the guitars here sound better than ever, but more to the point, Anthony Fama's operatic vibrato voice is at work here, while stunning percussion dances around his every word. It's a fascinating and compelling listen best handled with headphones or speakers cranked. I am really looking forward to the rest of this record's eventual release to see, or hear, rather, what else made the cut. If this tune is any indication, it's going to be a fascinating sonic journey and a nice stop-gap while the band starts cutting all-new material.

Snake! Snake! Snakes!  "Numb"
For anyone that waited more than half a decade for a new full-length album from Snake! Snake! Snakes! (Tranquilo, released April 2016), it was amusing, to say the least, that they would then release an EP in December. That said, Snakes! gave everyone a perfect holiday gift with the Wait Up EP, and even gave us a new video to boot. It was a hell of year for the band, and this was just icing on the cake. "Breakdown" was released ahead of the EP, but "Numb" got the video and both are single-worthy, as well as the title track. Still, "Numb" gives you more bang for your buck, being the longest track on the whole affair. There is no lack of surf sound on this song made out of the culture of collective cool from the past 50 years or so. Wherever it's located in space and time, it's carefully crafted Snakes!, and it's another reverb-entrenched earworm that may leave you stumbling like lead Snake Jonathan Messenger at the start of this video. You can catch Tres Snakes this Saturday at Valley Bar, where they will be joined by the Darts and Sunlaand.

The Psychedelephants
The Psychedelephants
Courtesy of Danger Paul

The Psychedelephants  "Lunar Treatment"
The Psychedelephants released only two singles last year, and "Lunar Treatment" was the second of those two. This intensifies the anticipation for a forthcoming record even more, especially if you've been waiting since 2014's Asymmetrical Geometry came out. That album was fraught with release issues, so I hope that the upcoming record is found in capable hands once it's done. "Lunar Treatment" is much more in line with last April's "Francis Rabbit," with a vastly different soundscape than found on their debut album. That said, there's far more depth going on here than on any of their previous works, far more tangible textures throughout; whether it's the swirling guitars or the unusual production, it's difficult to say. There's a wonderfully emotional delivery here thought that isn't overdone and is created completely by the music as well as the plaintive appeal of Danger Paul's vocals. I always hear a touch of George Harrison in everything he does, and this one is no exception. After countless Psychedelephants shows, I for one am glad that this favorite has found its way to being recorded. It's hypnotic, psychedelic indie rock that invites you to get lost for a few minutes in your mind.

The Darts
The Darts
Photo by Kelly Gordon Sahr

The Darts  "My Heart Is a Graveyard"
The Darts apparently decided that they would take their first EP, record a second EP, attach it to the first EP and release the whole shebang as a full-length album in the last couple weeks of December. The results were impressive. The Darts are, I believe one of the few, if not the only band in Phoenix who can claim Stephen King as a fan, which has to feel pretty good. That said, "My Heart Is a Graveyard" is the lead single from the second EP or at least the ones that has been getting radio airplay. If nothing else, the second record seems far more consistent, and it's clear that their vision as a band comes together just a little bit better. The songs jump off the record a little better, and this one is the perfect example to show that off. There's both an urgency and a confidence here that I dig. There's crazy fuzz bass that beats on your sternum, drums that make your heart race, raging guitars on fire, an indomitable Farfisa organ, and of course, vocals that sound as sexy as they do dangerous. You can catch the Darts this Saturday at Valley Bar, where they will be joined by Snake! Snake! Snakes! and Sunlaand.

The Banter  "Mason Jar"
Kim Capria is the visionary behind the Banter, and this year she is set to release their debut record. I've been a fan of both Capria and the Banter for some time. Most of that time, I've been desperately hoping for her to release some of her recordings. "Mason Jar" is the title track from the forthcoming EP and it's one of two singles she released last December. Of the two, "Mason Jar" was by far my favorite, and it was the closest approach to how the Banter sound live. I've seen a few of their shows, and it always impressed me how much more rocking they were as a band, as opposed to Capria's solo efforts steeped deeply in Americana. This song kind of meets in the middle of the two extremes. One thing is for sure — Capria's lovely voice and songwriting skills are what's showcased here.


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