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 Senators - "Hummingbird" "Hummingbird" is the first new song since last year's deluxe release of Harsher Than Whiskey / Sweeter Than Wine that contained two bonus tracks that were not on the original release. The Senators are a fantastic indie folk outfit with a gilded pop edge, a touch of rock sensibility and clearly and ear for multilayered compositions involving fascinating harmonies and beautiful instrumentation. If "Hummingbird" is any indication, their follow up album Battle Hymns is going to be simply outstanding, and I would expect nothing less from this talented crew. The new single is something that just makes me smile every time I spin it, and I've listened to it more times than I can count. Genuinely smile, because everything about it feels good, whether it's the horns, the harmonies, the upbeat pace or the fantastic vocals, it's just a wonderful Spring breeze for your ears. The Senators have partnered with Valley of the Sun United Way, and are currently promoting the new single release as a way for their fans and followers to give back to the Phoenix community with them. 50% of proceeds from 'Hummingbird' pre-sales will directly benefit efforts to end childhood hunger in Maricopa County.The Senators will be headlining the Local Stage, this Friday at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival and I am certain they will emanate nothing but good vibes.
The Technicolors - "Tonight You Are Mine" I suspected The Technicolors were up to something, especially after the release of the one off single "Please Don't Say You Told Me So" last fall. It turns out they were and yesterday they unleashed "Tonight You Are Mine" as the first single off their Ultraviolet Disguise EP to be released on April 7th through 8123. This will be their first release since Listener in 2012 and it is something of a departure from the heavily Brit Pop/Mod influenced sound they carved out on that record. First of all, The Technicolors have always been Brennan Smiley's ship to sail and he is steering this schooner in a different, more modern direction, that's for sure. That being said, it's no less brilliant than their previous efforts. The most notable difference is they seem to be using a drum machine/synth for percussion purposes, rather than a live drummer, but they make it work. Smiley's vocals and guitar are beyond par, while Mike Nicolette puts some pretty heavy bass work and clearly Troy Lowney is a freaking keyboard/synth wizard. This definitely a more danceable and they definitely still have an ear for brilliant hooks, at times too, Smiley sounds like Bob Dylan if he decided to put out pop hits and could achieve a beautiful falsetto. This is a fantastic reimagining of The Technicolors and I can't wait to hear the rest of the EP.
Small Leaks Sink Ships - "Snowball Fight Attack Formation" Some might argue that Small Leaks Sink Ships are not local anymore since they ex-pated to Oregon a year ago, but they are and always will be Phoenix artists to me. They also happen to be some of the most talented bands this town has ever produced--whether it their quirky style or complicated compositions, they coordinate their songs and albums like indie rock pocket symphonies. While "Yellow Bird" was the advance single released in December for their highly anticipated third record that has been many years in the works, Face Yourself and Remove Your Sandals, it is this song that is my favorite. When the album was recently released, this was the stand out track in my mind. Mainly, because it shows them in all of their glory, at the height of their powers. First of all, there is that crazy piano line that is infectious as all hell, then there is the intricate percussive sorcery, add to that the harmonies, the perfect bassline and eventually, blazing guitar. It is simply perfection. I certainly hope it is their choice for a second single. Small Leaks Sink Ships will be headlining the local stage this Saturday at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, be sure to catch them on a rare visit to the valley!
What Laura Says - "Only Wanted You To Know" Once upon a time, there were five bands that could sell out Crescent Ballroom without even trying. The year was 2012 and those bands were KONGOS, Mergence, What Laura Says, Black Carl, and Dry River Yacht Club. These bands were the upper echelon of the scene at the time. A lot has changed since then, clearly. I don't even know the status of Mergence or Black Carl, and since that time DRYC has changed its lineup so much it makes my head spin. What Laura Says on the other hand, at the height of its greatness, dissolved with a whimper rather than a bang after having mostly recorded their much anticipated third album. They played their last show in July 2012, no one there knowing it was their last show and it was one of their best performances ever. Then they were gone. Most of us thought we'd never hear those recordings . . . until a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly, the WLS Facebook page was announcing the release of these songs one by one each Friday. They've been cheating and there are already four on the Soundcloud page. "Only Wanted You to Know" is the most recent release and certainly the best so far, it's one of their best songs to date. Sit back, relax and enjoy, then check out the other tracks. Tomorrow, we should get a new one!
McHenry Avenue - "Adios" McHenry Avenue is the hip-hop fusion brainchild of Mark Anthony Sanchez, in it he is creating a unique project by combining his own talents with that of other local artists and vocalists. On "Adios" Sanchez the beautiful vocals of the love Yvette Adams of Van Adams with fantastic effect. This week the debut McHenry Ave EP went up on SoundCloud and Sanchez dropped the video for "Adios" which you can watch above. While Sanchez raps about getting the hell out of town and partying like a rock star in every way imaginable, Adams delivers a sultry chorus that make you a fan of her voice if you aren't already. While this is about partying hard in no uncertain terms, there is a bit of sage advice about not going too far and it doesn't come across as preachy in any way. Also there is an indomitable groove here that is just fantastic, this song has endless remix potential and I would love to see what some of our local DJ pool could do with it. There could easily be an "Adios" Remix EP. It's only two and a half minutes, but it's a great two and a half minutes that is unlike anything going on right now. Listen for yourself below.
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