Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it. Mondays suck (we've read Garfield). But it means the start of a new week, which means a bunch of killer shows in and around Phoenix.
And here are a few of the coolest -- our top five must-see shows this week.
Before the genre tag EDM existed, there was IDM, or Intelligent Dance Music. Granted, it's a pretty pretentious name for a genre, but it fits incredibly well for Matthew Dear. His experimental, rhythm-driven pop is both energetic and introspective, a form of exploring multiple identities and his own, ever-shifting persona.
And Dear does have a lot of varied identities, working as producer, songwriter, engineer, and vocalist. He's released records under at least three different monikers and played an integral part in the founding of both Ghostly International and Spectral Sound, two of the most important record imprints in electronic music today.
We spoke to Matthew Dear over the phone about quitting drinking, the authors that inspire his ambiguous lyrics, and the nature of identity and ego.--Troy Farah
If you're hedging your bets on who will be the next big thing in hip-hop, you should probably wager on A$AP Rocky. The Harlem-born member of A$AP Mob struck a nerve with his 2011 mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP, which adroitly combined disparate elements like East Coast boom bap, ambient synths, and crushing Southern funk into a potent, mature blend.
Rocky's flow, mostly concerning weed and women, is mellow but present, and he quickly caught the attention of RCA Records, which will issue his commercial debut, LongLiveA$AP.
Originally scheduled for September 11, 2012, the release has been pushed back -- as is often the case with hip-hop records -- and features a collaboration with divisive indie pop singer Lana Del Rey. Like Del Rey, Rocky's hype threatens to overtake the conversation concerning his work, but his dynamic guest spot with Rihanna at the MTV Music Video Awards helps back up his claims as hip-hop's next breakout star, all without sacrificing his underground cred and uniquely transnational vibe.--Jason WoodburyTuesday, October 30: P.i.L.@ Marquee Theatre
There will be no Sex Pistols songs performed at the Public Image, Ltd. concert. Yes, PiL is fronted by the former British public enemy number one and Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten (real last name Lydon), but those days are past. In fact, Lydon, despite the obvious royalty check boost, considers it exploitation that the classic Pistols singles "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen" were reissued to coincide with Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.
But there's plenty of PiL material to fill a concert, including songs from the recently released This Is PiL, the group's first album in 20 years. Lydon formed the post-punk group in the wake of the Pistols' disastrous demise, releasing First Issue in 1978 with Metal Box (considered the band's best work) following quickly in 1979. Mixing new wave, pop, reggae, dub, punk, and noise with Lydon's stream-of-consciousness rants, PiL followed an experimental musical path over the years that, at times, seemed devoid of any real direction.
Still, Pistols fans enjoyed the edginess, while new wavers took to the band's bouncier numbers. With This Is, Lydon's path still wavers musically, yet one constant remains: He's forever the wild frontman ready to stare down a crowd.--Glenn BurnSilver
What music critic prophet could have predicted that in 2012 hip, indie songwriters like Los Angeles-based Ramona Gonzalez, who records haunting, danceable pop as Nite Jewel, would be compared to acts like Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam or Sade?
But here we are, the year the Mayan calendar ends, and her excellent record One Second of Love has indeed garnered those comparisons. Not that Gonzalez set out to make a "pop record," per se.
"It's not your typical pop record," she says en route to Salt Lake City. "It's a bit off-kilter. With the initial sessions, we weren't really going in that direction, it just ended up being that way at the end. I think you can hear that process in the music. It wasn't like we brought a bunch of people in the studio to write different parts and come up with the best pop songs possible. A lot of the songs are kind of weird and organic and that reflects our intentions, which were not completely clear in the beginning."
"Pop music is not a dirty word to me at all," she continues. "I love pop music, it's that I don't necessarily think it's that obvious. Writing obvious songs is a skill in itself, and this record wasn't playing into those skills I have obviously. We pushed ourselves to do something we hadn't done before, but then there's a song like 'In the Dark,' which I wrote later in the game, and that song is really direct. I think there's an amalgam of different vibes."
And those constant '80s and '90s references to her music? She doesn't mind those one bit.
"It's easier to say '80s when you're dealing with analog synthesizer sounds, and those are featured prominently, " she explains. "But the '80s were a long decade, and there's some really good stuff coming out of that time, and ['90s R&B]. I would rather be associated with that than something that's coming on the radio now."--Jason WoodburyThursday, November 1: Alanis Morissette @ Comerica Theatre
Oh Alanis, you sure have mellowed out. 17 years ago, you released Jagged Little Pill, one of the most commercially successful albums of the '90s. Those vindictive songs about heartbreak ("You Oughta Know") were balanced out by the Taoist outlooks ("Hand in My Pocket"), and not-so-ironic situations ("Ironic"). It was an angsty, flannel-clad masterpiece, influencing women for years to come. Now, five albums later, you're the poster child for adult urban contemporary music. Not that we can blame you - and not that the sunnier, peaceful vibe doesn't suite you just fine.
You've always been open to growth. Most forget that Jagged Little Pill was actually your third album, a break from a Canadian pop star past that certainly would've hampered America, just kinda shaking off a collective grunge hangover, from embracing you as the fiery starlett you truly were. We're fine with the songs about enlightment, and applaud your dedication to yoga, Buddhism, and veganism, but we're looking forward to those Jagged songs too.
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The mellowed out you is just fine, Alanis ("you live/you learn"), but we're looking forward to the mean songs too, the ones that won us over before we knew what "go down on you in a theater" even meant.--Melissa Fossum