Top Five Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week
"It's Friday somewhere" isn't strictly true -- I don't think the International Date Line works that way -- but if Jimmy Buffett were to write a song to that effect, and it made you feel better about going to see The Presets and Dragonette tonight at the Marquee, I think it would be a pretty useful fiction. Does Jimmy Buffett have a Kickstarter or something that we could use?
Until it's actually Friday somewhere, you've got time to see that show and more, as per this week's Five Must-See Phoenix Shows.
The Presets, Dragonette - Marquee Theatre, Tempe - May 20
Australia-based The Presets and the Canadians of Dragonette play at two edges of contemporary dance pop -- The Presets combine big, foreboding synths and vocals that are announced as much as sung, Depeche-Mode-style. Dragonette is brighter and more anthemic; it's as easy to imagine them playing to a crowd that's standing still and self-consciously bobbing their heads as it is a crowd of revelers with their eyes off the stage.
Luckily, whichever you prefer, you'll find both at the Marquee.
Sundressed - Crescent Ballroom - May 21
Is it an ominous sign when a band's first gig is broken up and shut down?
For Sundressed, it clearly was inspiration. When the Phoenix quartet's first performance ended before it began, they went into the studio to record a self-titled EP. Their first official full-length, Whiskey with Milk, is scheduled for release on May 21.
Read More: Sundressed Plays Rough-and-Tumble With Midwest Pop
How to describe the album? Well . . . Ever been to a wild house party where different music is playing in each room, and standing in just the right spot lets everything crash together in glorious chaos? That's Sundressed: loud, wild, fast, disheveled, frenetic, frantic, and bouncy all rolled into one. There are elements of The Smiths and The Cure providing a dark-pop lift over gritty Strokes-like guitars coupled with The Replacements' sloppy perfection. On top of it all are Trevor Hedges' dark lyrics, chronicling his battle with addiction, love gone bad, and stumbling through life, in general. -- Glenn BurnSilver
The Technicolors - Crescent Ballroom - May 23
Phoenix's own The Technicolors wrap up a tour that's taken them from Provo up to Vancouver with a headlining show at Crescent Ballroom. When we talked to them last year, they were preparing to translate the heavy, almost glammy riffs in Listener to an acoustic setting; this time it's a safe bet they'll be electrified and loud.
Joining them are Night Birds and Fictionist, about which Brian Palmer said for this week's issue:
Provo, Utah-based Fictionist wants to make your troubles melt away, and they can do it in any number of ways. Singer Stuart Maxfield channels a slightly less throaty Caleb Followill over crunchy, stratospheric guitars on tracks like "Swept Away" and chilled acoustic moments like "Still Reaching," and groovy distortion and thick drums would make "The Real Thing" right at home on a '70s rock album, but the music is fun above all else... Maxfield and Co. write songs you can't help but respond to, whether it's with an urge to air guitar on "Swept Away" or to sing in agreement when Maxfield cries "You are the only one" on "Distraction." That's exactly why they're so appealing.
Carla Morrison - MIM Music Theater - May 23
Erstwhile Phoenician Carla Morrison has found a massive Spanish-language audience since beginning her solo career in earnest in 2009, earning two Latin Grammy Awards and playing to 30,000 in Mexico City.
You might have caught her a few years ago as a member of Tempe's Babaluca. When we talked to them four years back Morrison had this to say:
Morrison writes most of the group's lyrics. She is the reason for the bilingual music that has put Babaluca on several Latino radio stations -- she was born and raised in Tecate, Mexico. Bilingual songs can be odd, but they work for Babaluca, she says.
"It just depends which language feels right," she says with a trace of an accent. "Sometimes I can explain myself better in English, but sometimes in Spanish."
Wooden Indian, Spirit Orbs, Bogan Via, Fairy Bones - Tempe Tavern, Tempe - May 24
Wooden Indian, for whom I've already run out of synonyms for "weird and compelling," heads a free slate of local acts at Tempe Tavern Thursday night.
Spirit Orbs plays melodic pop at the unlikely intersection of atmospheric guitars (in delay-heavy songs like "Spin" and "Fear") and acoustic stomp (in "Chandra"), while Bogan Via gets a strangely heavy sound out of two ingredients -- boy-girl vocals and keyboards--that are more commonly used to sell bright, airy bedroom sets at Target. (They also managed to release a single called "Kanye" that wasn't a novelty track, which is something not even Kanye West could manage.)
Read More: Wooden Indian explains why the desert makes you drink too much.
Fairy Bones is a super-unnerving name. The band it's attached to plays herky-jerky new wave that will remind you of that first No Doubt album nobody bought, if in this alternate universe the girl singer's brother/songwriter had gone on to write for Six Feet Under instead of The Simpsons.
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