Best Record Label 2018 | Fervor Records | Nightlife | Phoenix

If you've heard local blues artist Hans Olson playing on your favorite network-television procedural drama, or the catchy guitar rhythms of CooBee Coo over a swanky men's clothing commercial, that's the work of the licensing gurus at Fervor Records. When the Sunnyslope-based label isn't putting Arizona music in your ears as you binge the most recent season of your favorite Netflix show, it's releasing new music from The Pistoleros and Fayuca, or compiling our state's musical history into one of its collections. One of its latest offerings, Mid-Century Sounds: Deep Cuts From the Desert, celebrates the work of Phoenix studio owner Floyd Ramsey, who recorded Waylon Jennings and legendary guitarist Duane Eddy.

Raquel Willand was born to sing. If her participation at this year's Phoenix Rock Lottery wasn't proof enough of her talents, do a Google search, and chances are you'll come across her old SoundCloud page. Even on those old tracks, she showed tremendous promise as a vocalist. Fast-forward to 2015, when Willand answered Jared Wood's Craigslist ad looking for bandmates. Since then, the Phoenix quartet went through several name and stylistic changes before settling on the bluesy rock elegance of Panic Baby. The single "Don't (Lie to Me)" brings out the passion of Willand's vocals, which will serve the band well as they prepare to release more music this year.

Rapper Teek Hall turned 33 in January, so he threw a big party at The Rebel Lounge to celebrate. But it was those in attendance who received the real present. The Detroit native shared his latest album, The Living Daylights, which was produced by Charlie Mumbles, one of Arizona's hottest producers, and features collaborations with Open Mike Eagle and Mega Ran, Hall's co-host for their wrestling podcast, Mat Mania. Hall's latest effort is chock-full of clever pop-culture references, personal lyrics, and sharp rhymes that skewer his contemporaries. The Valley's hip-hop scene already has the talent, but The Living Daylights is sure to bring it the recognition it so richly deserves.

The Doyenne is a certifiable legend. A songwriter, producer, electronic musician, rapper, alt-R&B sensation, and dance-music machine, Syeed DiJon Poole has been freaking out the squares and wrecking house shows for years as The Doyenne. The Doyenne had been a fixture at shows at the old Trunk Space and Funny World, often playing alongside musical polar opposites like Dinosaur Love, Space Alien Donald, and Sugar Skull Explosion. What The Doyenne shares with those bands is a love for dressing up, a willingness to be abrasive and confrontational with the audience, and a contempt for milquetoast indie-rock culture. Shows should be parties, and few people know how to start one better than he does. What also made The Doyenne stand out when he got started (and what continues to make him a relevant and exciting presence in the Valley) is his openness about his sexuality and identity. The Doyenne doesn't give a fuck if he makes you uncomfortable, and his frankness onstage and off served as an inspiration for people to let their guards down and not be afraid to express their own sexualities.

Choreographed dance numbers, edgy animation, and breathtaking cinematography are the stuff that great music videos are made of, but not necessarily the ones produced by local bands. Well, unless the band is Captain Squeegee, whose gleefully excessive music videos utilize these elements to create unforgettable viewing experiences. The indie rock/jazz fusion act have released a series of uniquely over-the-top short films set to their singles. Each was helmed by a different local filmmaker, featured high production values, and was filled with visually dynamic flourishes that were equally brilliant, beautiful, or just plain bonkers. The first several videos featured songs from the band's 2013 album To the Bardos!, starting with a colorful Claymation romp through human history ("Inevitable"). Then came "The Factory," where frontman Danny Torgeson pranced around as the ringmaster of a psychedelic circus. Captain Squeegee later topped themselves in size and spectacle with "Dually Noted," which involved the vocalist attending an audition for an America's Got Talent-esque reality show but somehow winding up in hell fighting Baphomet. Their most recent video, "Our Children," was even more bizarre, with robotic go-go girls, a Delorean, and Torgeson submerged in a life-size lava lamp. Because that's just how Captain Squeegee rolls.

If it's Wednesday and you've got a craving for a mojito, a panini, and some brain-busting trivia, there's no better place to get your fix than at Carly's Bistro. Each week, the trivia fans at Carly's tackle a different theme. Some nights it's general trivia; other times, the entire evening is devoted to The Office, Parks & Recreation, Jurassic Park, DC comic books, and all sorts of other pop-culture mainstays. Teams are encouraged to dress up in theme-appropriate gear; while attending a Sex and the City trivia night at Carly's a few months ago, we were wowed by teams showing up in their favorite Carrie Bradshaw ensembles. And the quizmaster is no slouch: She dug in deep, asking questions that threw even obsessive SATC fans for a loop. The great food and drinks at Carly's are just an added bonus to an evening of stimulating and competitive trivia.

We're not always fans of fake news, but when it comes to our favorite local comedy show, we're more than willing to make an exception. Hosted by a brilliant duo of Valley comedians, Anwar Newton and Michael Turner, This Week Sucks, Tonight! turns the lounge of Crescent Ballroom into a revolving showcase of local stand-up talent, with guest comedians joining the powerhouse hosts to tease out sometimes dark and always hilarious truths about current events in politics, entertainment, music, and more. Sure, you can also catch Newton and Turner at Valley Bar's monthly comedy event Literally The Worst Show Ever, but with this free spectacle every Thursday night, why wait?

Live music during a film screening used to be commonplace. You'd roll into a nickelodeon to watch the latest Melies or Murnau joint and there'd be an organist in the room, hammering away at the keys to soundtrack the action on-screen. There are still groups today that are keeping the silent film score tradition alive, and one of the more active groups is right here in Phoenix. The experimental music collective of Pete Petrisko, Jocelyn Ruiz, Jim Dustan, Eric Hunter, and Vic VOID hold one-night-only screenings at FilmBar, where they perform original scores to film classics like Alice in WonderlandThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and The Penalty. Combining old-timey instrumentation with radio sounds, haunting samples, and modern noise, RPM creates compelling and timeless soundscapes. They also put out albums of original music, create bold music videos, and do live concerts that integrate typewriters, Butoh dancing, and butterflies trapped in envelopes as part of the action.

The Alwun House is approaching its 40th season, and yet it still feels like a well-kept secret. An oasis of freaky performances and fine art in the middle of the Garfield neighborhood, owner/curators Kim Moody and Dana Johnson have kept Alwun House going strong. Some of its events, like the annual Exotic Art Show, have become must-attend happenings in town. But the Alwun House is more than a place to see erotic paintings: — it's also the best outdoor theatrical venue in town. Putting on burlesque shows, flesh suspensions, steampunk cabarets, stilt-walking expos, variety shows, and an "erotic poetry festivus," the Alwun House is a premier destination for seeing some skin in a classy way and being wowed by sword-swallowers, fire-spinners, and people contorting their bodies into shapes that would make a pretzel wince. The tasteful rock formations and gardens in the back help lend an intimate and natural air to the decadent proceedings. They're also one of the reasons why the Alwun House, when it's not a sideshow zone, is a popular venue for Phoenix artists who want to get married in the backyard.

Being a live artist at a nightlife and music event can sometimes be a tough gig. You've got to transform a canvas into a masterpiece in only a few hours, all while dealing with gawkers, constant interruptions, and inebriated patrons armed with reduced inhibitions and the most insipid of questions ("Hey, whaddya painting?"). Local artist Kelley Boesel, better known as Haboobs, manages to excel at the task and has done so at a variety of local parties, shows, and DJ nights. Back when Motown on Mondays was a regular thing, Boesel busted out with evocative portraits of the same R&B, funk, and soul legends being bumped on the sound system, legends like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Rick James. She did the same at last summer's tribute party for the late Sharon Jones at Crescent Ballroom, painting a stunning rendition of the dearly departed singer. Boesel's work also can be spotted at certain Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh or Blunt Club sessions at Yucca Tap Room, or even adorning the house of homegrown hip-hop superstar Futuristic, who tapped her and other local artists to decorate the exterior of his crib. We're pretty sure that was an easy gig.

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