Top Five Phoenix Music Stories of the Week
The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that you, the reader, might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants.
So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories from the week of September 17-21.
It's a pretty good time to be The Gaslight Anthem. The band, which at times sounds like a nostalgic punk rock version of Bruce Springsteen, recently signed to a major label to release its forth full-length album, Handwritten.
After the band's frontman, Brian Fallon dedicated some time to bluesy side project, The Horrible Crowes, The Gaslight Anthem is back with a vengeance. The band is currently on tour with Rise Against and Hot Water Music, and will be performing at Mesa Amphitheater on Friday, September 28.
We recently caught up with drummer Benny Horowitz to discuss the recording process of Handwritten, his thoughts on SB 1070, and how hard work and luck factor into The Gaslight Anthem's success.
Quasi-political folk band Andrew Jackson Jihad, a band that would be hard to take seriously, if not for the ballsy lyrical stylings displayed on songs like "American Tune" and "Joe Arpaio is a Punk," is hitting The Crescent Ballroom Sunday, November 18.
If you've never heard them (unlikely if you're paying attention to local music), they're vaguely reminiscent of The Violent Femmes, if Gordon Gano had popped adderall through the '80s. This will be some good clean fun.
Singer/songwriter Fiona Apple has a reputation. Her public struggles with fame and her label give the impression that a Fiona Apple performance could fall apart at any moment.
But it never came close last night at Mesa Arts Center. Not when Apple was plumbing her emotional depths, not when she was muttering about her label not spending money on her new record, The Idler Wheel, not when she was discussing what "small-titted" girls can do with extra bra padding, not when she was cackling maniacally from behind her piano. No, Apple was in charge the whole time, though the crowd seemed willing to follow her anywhere she wanted to go.
--Jason P. Woodbury
For their third album, Symbolyst, post-rock band Lymbyc Systym has come full circle, beginning and ending in the Valley of the Sun.
After a tour through their former hometown, brothers Michael and Jared Bell began working on their latest record in January 2010 and three days after its release this month, the band is played its first show in Phoenix in almost three years, rolling into the Yucca Tap Room on Friday, September 21.
If you paid attention in high school anatomy, you know the limbic system is responsible for managing your emotions, but Jared said the reason for the misspelling was to own it, lamenting the unfortunate comparisons to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Luckily for us, Lymbyc Systym won't be belting out "Sweet Home Alabama" because their music lacks lyrics, like fellow instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky or the predominately guitar-based Appleseed Cast.
Ask a Failed Musician is a new column from our sister music blog at Dallas Observer, in which Daniel Hopkins helps struggling musicians make sense of their careers and offers advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for him. But then again, he was on Kimmel once, so there's that.
To kick this thing off, rather than answering a troubled musician's query, I'll simply give advice to all new bands who are embarking on a musical venture that will result in probable good times and almost certain commercial failure.
Don't put out an album. Seriously. Stop it. Established bands backed by massive marketing machines like U2 or Radiohead can afford to do it. You cannot. Here's the scenario:
You and your bandmates work for a long time to make an album. Some bands can do it in six months, others take longer than a year. It will be expensive, too. You release the album and maybe someone in the local media reviews it.
Then, after a few months, it sinks in: Nobody cares anymore. You have no new music to put out because you just threw every song you had on some expensive record, and you've dropped below the radar.
Sure, you can trick things up by playing the occasional high-profile gig, but how do you keep the public interested long enough to put out another album?
You don't. But here's another solution.