Right Hear, Right Now: 5 Great Songs by Local Artists

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

Flight of Ryan - "The Twilight"

Flight of Ryan is a powerfully catchy electronic pop-rock act who hail from Flagstaff, and they just released their exciting full length debut From Cocoon this month. With two singles that preceded the album ("Something Beautiful" and "Technicolor Souls"), it set this quartet up with great expectations, but those expectations are easily met on this album. My recommendation is listen to the first track here, "The Twilight," which should easily be their next single. It's a great introduction to the album and the band itself. It also contains some fantastic lyrics with the personification of twilight itself: " I’m the twilight, I’m the divide that separates the daytime, from the night sky, Where is my mind? Where is my mind? There’s a friction, between diction and my disposition, I’m positioned between truth and fiction." A great pop groove, driving synths, guitars, fantastic vocals and intelligent, thought provoking lyrics—I'm not sure you could ask for much more here, really. And that description really applies to the entire album. It's one of the more impressive releases from way up North in a while and it's catchy as all hell. The entire affair is a pure shimmering delight from end to end. These four lads from Flagstaff know what they are doing and I hope they are bent on heading to Phoenix with a live show soon.

Le Zets - "Favor For A Favor"

The lead singer of Le Zets, Margo Swann is none other than the 17-year-old prodigy daughter of Nicole Laurenne of The Love Me Nots/Motobunny/Zero Zero fame. Her vocal similarity to her mother is somewhat daunting, as is her fierce rock 'n' roll delivery, especially on the opening track of their debut album, Deadweight. "Favor for a Favor" has a fantastic, yet eerily familiar, bluesy guitar line delivered by Richard Romero of L.A. Together, the duo, accompanied by producer Bob Hoag on drums, delivers crunchy and stunning garage rock in fine style — and this song is literally just the tip of the iceberg. Swann has just graduated high school, plans to tour all summer, and then head to college in the fall. Ambition seems to run in the family. With a rocket-jet start to the album like this and almost no letup throughout the entire thing, it should be on your heavy rotation list throughout the summer. Deadweight will be released June 19 on Atomic A Go Go Records (US) and Bad Reputation Records (Europe). Be sure to catch them that day at Rips in Phoenix with The Love Me Nots for a family show of kick-ass rock 'n' roll.

The Wretched Desert - "Street Lights"

In 2014, Zach Lind was fresh off of tour as the drummer of Jimmy Eat World when he and his wife Holly turned their living room into a music room. It wasn't long until they noticed the acoustics of the room and began recording drums and various instruments to them, while Holly began to add vocals. And so The Wretched Desert was born from a decision to rearrange furniture. With Jamie Woolford (The Format, Gin Blossoms) engineering and producing and Chris Testa (Dixie Chicks, Jimmy Eat World) mixing and mastering, three of those songs have become Street Lights, the first EP from band. Together Zach and Holly Lind produce a fascinating swirl of synth soaked indie electronica pop. The title track which begins the entire affair is probably the finest example of this. This particular track also has endless possibilities for remix upon remix to hit the clubs in short order. I have to admit that it wasn't what I expected from the drummer of Jimmy Eat World, but it's pretty fantastic and Holly's vocals are simply stunning. Get a taste of this with "Street Lights" and then check out the rest of the EP. Each track is quite different and equally rewarding. I hope to hear more of this outfit between tours of Jimmy Eat World, that's for sure.

Daisy Face - "Quick and Alone"

Over the last two years, Daisy Face has put out two pretty fantastic EPs of shoegazing brilliance in the form of Dirt (2013) and Slow Approaching Nothing (2014). Its first release of 2015 is a handmade, lathe-cut 7-inch split single with Treehouses from Portugal, featuring two songs from each band. If you were alive and listening to indie rock in the 1990s, the single "Quick and Alone" is an audio wet dream. Layers of gorgeous grinding guitars, a near endless wash of feedback madness and everything else that made the music back then great. This could have easily been a college hit in ’92-’93 with a homemade DIY video that would have graced MTV late at night (but only late at night). Think Dinosaur Jr. or Buffalo Tom from that time period, or maybe Sonic Youth. I've listened to everything this band has ever done, a lot, and this is their finest song yet. That being said, I truly hope that a full EP, or better yet, a full-length album is in the works, because Daisy Face always, always leaves me wanting more. If you want to catch them live and possibly pick up one of these limited 7-inch singles, you may want to stop by Time Out Lounge in Tempe on Friday night.

Ghost Cat Attack - "Sticky Sweet"

I happened to catch Ghost Cat Attack at Rogue Bar a little over a week ago, and I was impressed by their performance, not to mention the alluring vocals of Sarah Chapman. It turns out that the band is her brainchild. The singer songwriter has assembled a band to deliver her fantastic songs properly and with full support. Ghost Cat Attack is Chapman on vocals and acoustic guitar accompanied by Steve Beer (The Woodworks) on bass, Jared Wood on electric guitar, and Lou Perez on drums. Together they produce a desert-born sound that is as much rock as it is Americana with the sheen of a pop nascence. I think this is one act to keep your ear on this year. "Sticky Sweet" is, according to what Chapman said at The Rogue, about one night hanging out until dawn when she felt the urge to call someone she shouldn't and instead she wrote down a note to herself that ended up being the first four lyrical lines in the song. It's a brilliantly seductive song that shows off not only her vocal prowess, but how easily the band comes together to create a tale of misguided affection. Chapman has a slew of songs awaiting this sort of treatment and I certainly hope they see some sort of release this year. In the meantime catch them live at your earliest convenience.


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