Curious about what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun?
Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
See also: Reubens Accomplice Returns With Sons of Men (Download) See also: Does Reubens Accomplice's I Blame the Scenery Hold Up More Than a Decade Later? You know you're in trouble when bloggers start resorting to cryptozoological terms to describe your long-awaited third record.
It's the boat Reubens Accomplice has found itself in regarding the fabled, 8-years-in-the making Sons of Men. Kevin Murphy at So Much Silence (one of Phoenix's most senior music blogs) referred to the record the way a late-night caller on Coast to Coast AM might, calling it "our very own sasquatch - often discussed but never seen."
Songwriter Jeff Bufano knows that such ribbing is to be expected.
Add to the mix a national lineup (Bufano, Chris Corak are based in Phoenix, John O'Reilly in Philadelphia, Ryan Kennedy in St. Louis), a couple marriages, and some births, and it's easier to get a grasp on the 8-year gap between 2004's The Bull, the Balloon, and The Family and the newly-minted Sons of Men. But the delay wasn't just due to assuming domesticated lives.
"The more I think about it, one of the main things is that everybody in the band's always felt like a band shouldn't release a record knowing that it's really not as good as the record before it," Bufano says. "We've had this conversation: 'Do you think when a band puts out a shitty record, do they think it's awesome?' Or do they know, if you put out a record, even if it's shitty, you're going to make money? Like, 'We're going to put this out, and hopefully write a better record next year.' [Laughs]"
Sons of Men doesn't aim to top the former record's expansive grandeur, but it's by no means a restrained record: the orchestral sweeps of "I'm Leaving" and "The Losing Curse" are epic, and pedal steel swells and classic pop of closer "Less Pain Forever" (named for the Valley band of the same name) is perfectly suited for wide-screen viewing, but there's a certain rangy quality to the proceedings. "This Desert" isn't quite as scrappy as the band's debut, Blame it on the Scenery, but it's close, and the apocalyptic honky-tonk of "No Motion" trembles and quakes with gritty soul.
And unlike previous records, which featured David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, and members of Calexico, there's no massive guest roster. Friends Jon Rauhouse, Davey von Bohlen of The Promise Ring/Maritime, and songwriter Matt Maher stop by, but the band pared down with Sons of Men.
"The first two records we wanted to have as many guests as possible because that's what was fun for us," Bufano says. "It was so fun to have people we're fans of come play. This time around, we kind of got it into our heads that maybe we should try and do as much as we can on our own. Not that there's not guests - because there definitely is - [but] instead of [saying] 'Let's have so-and-so play piano on this,' it was like, I'll just stumble through it. The take will be a little bit more raw, but [we were fine with that.]" -- Jason P. WoodburyFriday, August 10: Man Hands, Sauna, JJCnV, & Inky Unit @ Trunk Space
There's no shortage of female musicians strutting their stuff on YouTube. Notable Phoenix contributions include Michelle Blades and her ukulele and The Teeets, with their goofy PSAs, but stumbling across songwriter Jackie Cruz's "Not Me" feels different. Before launching into a grungy guitar riff, she warns she may have ripped off a Sonic Youth idea. Whether or not she did, the video instantly captivates, as do her performances with relatively new local act Man Hands.
Since last summer, the band has built its name on a steady stream of shows, supporting touring punk bands in venues like Trunk Space and Meat Market Garment Factory. Cruz takes turns singing with fellow guitarist Marcus Berry, alternating post-punk vibes with Seattle grunge nostalgia and a dash of riot grrrl gumption. The four-piece plays the kind of distortion-heavy music you want to hear during rainy monsoon nights -- raucous, nasty stuff (their Facebook interests include "finger fucking" and "transubstantiation"). All silliness aside, Man Hands takes itself seriously in all the right ways, making uncomplicated and moody music that's so genuine it becomes addicting. -- Heather Hoch
The internet has ruined us. As far as fetishes go, once freaky-deaky bedroom fun that included whips, chains, and body suspension have begun to look tame when compared to the likes of 2 Girls 1 Cup. But if the classic kinks are what you dig, there's totally something your speed going on this weekend. Don your tightest pleather onesie and get down to Fetish Heat 2012 at The Venue Scottsdale, where erotic performances from LifeSuspended, The Infamous Boom Boom, Nyla the High Temptress, and more await.
And, oh yeah! They'll have music from local industrial faves such as Hardwire, Slick Idiot, and Mona Mur. Get ideas for next year's costume from the alternation fashion show, or venture into the VIP room, where you can eat sushi off of human flesh. (Humans still intact.) Basically, it's a place to let out your inner deviant run wild. -- Christina Caldwell
In the world of eclectic guitarists, Buckethead stands out.
With his face hidden by a hockey mask and long dark hair cascading out of a KFC bucket perched on his head, and using guitars shaped like human torsos and other visages of the macabre, he is not easily missed. And, yes the man born Brian Carroll can actually play the guitar too, having spent time with assorted out-of-the-mainstream acts like Praxis, Cobra Strike, Giant Robot and El Stew, as well as enduring a short, but turbulent two-year stretch with Guns N' Roses (a topic he avoided in our interview). He's primarily recorded instrumental records, but with in 2005 (when this interview took place), he released Enter The Chicken, his first to feature vocals (not his).
Buckethead claims to have been raised by chickens and thus would only agree to an email interview--maybe the bucket makes his words unintelligible, maybe he only clucks--"communicated" via-email through his trusty hand puppet Herbie.
Up on the Sun: Ozzy Osbourne wanted to recruit you for Ozzfest one summer but he couldn't get past the bucket and the mask and gave up. Does it bother you when people seem to be hung up on the physical appearance of your alter-ego or do you expect it?
Buckethead: You know, he used to work at a slaughterhouse. I really like him a lot and I liked meeting him. I guess if things are meant to be then they happen.
Did the decision of the KFC bucket come about because you happened to be eating chicken when you came up with the idea, or is there something deeper behind it? There seems to be a fascination with chickens.
I feel I can help bring them back to life.
If you have such a deep empathy for chickens, why do you continue to wear the KFC bucket? That seems a touch ironic.
Well the bucket is a tomb for dead chickens. -- Glenn BurnSilver (Read the rest of our interview with Buckethead.)
Though the term "indie rock" has grown amorphous enough to envelop almost every guitar player in its gooey path, it's still difficult to categorize Brooklyn-based band Fang Island as such.
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Simply titled Major, it's fair to speculate that the band's most recent LP was named as more than a casual allusion to the sort of tonality listeners ought to expect. Unabashedly direct and anthemic, the Fang gang's writing approach is an anomaly among modern songwriters who sink with over-thought.
It's unfortunate that a band brave enough to scoff away the ill-conceived notion of guilty pleasures and triumphantly embrace unrestrained melodic indulgence is named Fang Island -- without a trace of irony in it. They make for a lonesome island, albeit a welcoming one, and if you see a fang it's probably just a mischievous smile. -- Rob Kroehler