Right Hear, Right Now: 5 Great New Songs By Phoenix Artists
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.
Jared & The Mill - "Hold On" It seems that since the release of their magnificent debut album Western Expansion in 2013, Jared & The Mill have been on constant tour spreading their brand of indie folk across the entire country. They even completed a tour opening for Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees. Apparently they had time amidst that flurry to record a new batch of songs that will be released on the forthcoming Life We Chose EP on April 14. This week they released the first delicious taste of that new record in the form of their new single "Hold On." The song is a wonderful reflection of the band's time on the road, it seems. It may be their best song released to date and it is certainly one of their most sentimental. It is a song of deep reflection, and musically it is definitely their best composition. I have few words about it, not because of any detriment, but because it's so damn good it gives me chills. You can feel the long road calling them home, and that road is now calling them on yet another cross-country tour. They have never sounded better, touring has done them well.
Harper and The Moths - "Nighttime Tremors" When I first saw Harper and The Moths I was confused because they took the stage at the Yucca Tap Room they came on like The Killers -- fresh-out-of-the-box brilliant. I was sure that drummer Nick Ramirez had been keeping this band a secret from me for at least a year. When I asked keyboardist Kelsee Ishmael how long this had been going she told me it was their sixth show. Mind-blowing. When I heard their debut EP Love Songs For The Damned, it was further blown. Turns out they are going to have a lot more for us in 2015. The first hint of this is the stunning new single "Nighttime Terrors" which showcases the entire band in fine form, but truly displays the amazing range of Harper Lines fantastic pipes. This guy can sing in no uncertain terms, whether he is channeling early Bee Gees records with a wild falsetto or when he brings it down to a seductive tone for the bridge. The song also has this amazing fantastic indie pop groove that is immediately arresting in a very catchy, hook-heavy way. It's also sexier than hell. I should mention that it's brilliantly produced by Jeremy Parker, and there is an accompanying video that was shot at a roller rink; just listen to this song and you'll hear why that makes sense.
Sundressed - "The Dirt" I have been pretty much following Sundressed since the start, maybe a month or two after the start. It has been one of the most wonderful experiences to watch this band grow and become all the potential I saw in them from the start as each single is better than the last, each video, each EP, far surpassing their previous releases. This is the vision of Trevor Hedges and as he matures, so too does his music. "The Dirt" is the first single from their new EP Dig Up A Miracle set to be released on April 7. Much of Hedges' music, well at least this single and its predecessor center, around his battle to overcome addiction and alcoholism, a battle which he has been winning, incidentally. This context seems to only fuel his songwriting and perhaps his angst, but he is definitely heading in the right direction both in life and songwriting. The amazing chorus here is "When all my friends are drinking, I don't know what I'm going to do / when all my friends are singing and I can't stay in tune." It's Hedges at his most honest and vulnerable, and it appears that the more he bares his soul and struggle the stronger his songs have become.Darkness Dear Boy - "June"
I have been waiting for Darkness Dear Boy's second album for way too long and on March 21, I will finally get my wish when they unleashCagey Avoidance of a Definite Answer
for the world to enjoy. In celebration of that release they previewed the new album with two videos for "June" and "Onto You," both shot entirely on iPhones. I had to make a tough decision between the two, but I went with "June" because it's more concise and really captures the essence of their sound -- upbeat, funky and fun, with a little bit of ska. I assure you that every song on the new album is fantastic, but I think this was a wise choice for the first single. The studio recording really captures the feeling of the energy in their live set, and that's not something every band can achieve, but DDB has done it with this single and everyone that will follow from the new album. Also, the video is great and I have to ask these guys how they arranged for so many VW Buses at one time. It's just a great time in all capacities.The Hourglass Cats - "Be That Way"
So, The Hourglass Cats are clearly changing things up. For much of their time recording and performing their music has been heavily influenced by ska, reggae and marijuana. Their new single "Be That Way" in addition to its recent predecessor "Been Thinkin'" are very, very straightforward rock songs, comparatively speaking. I am super curious if this trend will continue on the inevitable EP or album that follows these singles, but in the meantime I'm damn happy to have these songs. First of all, "Be That Way" starts with a searing guitar intro unlike anything found on the432
EP, but in addition to that Cori Rios' vocals just rage through this entire thing. It gets very bluesy and it's kind of wonderful -- this is the kind of thing that bands like Banana Gun or The Black Moods would unleash and it leaves me super impressed with The Hourglass Cats defying any genre pigeonholing. The great thing is that the trombone and the sax are still present, plus I have to give a shout out to Jason Sessler for a fantastic bass solo, which never happens in a rock song these days, but it happens here and it's magnificent. I absolutely cannot wait to see what these Cats do next, because I suspect they are on a bit of roll here.
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