Awesome 'ish alert: Drake and Riff Raff are collaborating. Yeah, totally. Along the same lines: It's the weekend, and all sorts of great shows are scheduled for Phoenix. We've gone ahead and rounded 'em up for you, including a broken-hearted industrial party at the Rogue, a night of experimental music at Crescent Ballroom, and the Phoenix-area debut of Night Beds, which blends alt-country tunefulness with soulful grooves, at the Sail Inn in Tempe. Read on!
Valentine's Day isn't all red roses, sweet treats, and sweet nothings. For those who've had their hearts pile-driven into the ground or become jaded about the onslaught of flowers, candy, and romantic treacle, the Hallmark-like hullabaloo surrounding the holiday is pure torture. We suspect that Friday, February 15, is one of their favorite dates on the calendar, as it brings an end to all the Valentine's madness for at least another year.
And the promoters behind the monthly Cupcake! dance party at the Rogue Bar, 423 North Scottsdale Road, will offer a suitable shindig that evening dubbed the Broken Hearts Ball, where those of bitter bent can celebrate the end of the V-Day hoopla.
Self.Destrukt and Defense.Mekanizm of Fallout.Shelter fame will spin dark tunes of the electro, industrial, and dubstep variety to match your dour mood and a variety of cupcakes will be available just in case you'd like to drown your sorrows in frosted treats. Roaming photographers, go-go dancers, raffles, giveaways, and a best-dressed contest are also promised. -- Benjamin Leatherman
It's hard to break down what OM is not because it is so complex, but because it is so simple. Music journalists are absorbed by terminology and context. We see a band like OM featuring the bass player (and, in a sense, the heartbeat) of Sleep, Al Cisneros, and immediately want to suggest "stoner" connotations. We hear the chant like pieces featured in the duo's songs and want to call it "eastern" or "Byzantine." I personally like to refer to the band as being "pantheistic meditation-metal."
This is fine. We are writing through the lens of a very rational and precise culture and we want to have strong frames of reference when we communicate things to other people.
However, these terms are not rigid. You can whittle away at their definitions in a Socratic fashion all day to the point where you aren't focused on what the music does for you so much as you are focused on where music exists in the framework of how you try to understand the world. It becomes noise. A distraction like one of those endless forum or YouTube comment arguments about the difference between "doom" and "sludge" metal or something.
Talking with OM, I wasn't able to pry a precise definition of what its members do, at least not one that would fit into the typical lexicon of musicology. I received no crash course in Hindu philosophy or references to Orthodox mystics. Instead, I received answers that seemed to eschew cultural constructions of music and focus instead on music's holistic aspects. Somewhere in all that swirling, spiritual/sonic nebula, OM resides.
"It's devotional music in the sense that all life is devotional and music is a reflection of life," Cisneros says, addressing the spiritual aspects of the band. "So if you take music on its own and say that it is devotional music, it's only a partial explanation. It is all of our lives; it is a reflection of the heart." -- Mike Bogumill
Hardcore tends to breed fierce loyalty to the "underground" scene, and Scottsdale-based metalcore band City in the Sea is no exception. Their raw, brutal passion stems from gritty basement shows, where the acrid air is thick with swampy humidity.
Its five members -- all between the ages of 18 and 21 -- have performed with genre standard-bearers like The Word Alive and Greeley Estates since forming in 2009, and they bring a heavy dose of pure metal energy to their melodic post-hardcore sound. Tattooed and sweaty, the band plays to the kind of fans who are almost as much fun to watch as the show, clawing over each others' backs and running up on stage.
The band's debut EP, The Long Lost, is available on iTunes, but new tunes from their forthcoming LP demonstrate that the band's initial bursts of glory are far from their last. -- Lauren Wise
While the world of EDM is shiny and new to millions of young Americans, Ferry Corsten is packing decades of experience. When these little ravers were just dropping balls, Corsten was already well versed in dropping beats.
So he must be terribly jaded, right? Well, maybe he'd get bored with the scene if party people would quit trying to kidnap him. Or Iraq vets would stop telling him that his music changed their lives. For now, though, he remains superstoked about being a totally beloved trance powerhouse.
New Times: You've been traveling the world as a professional party starter for more than a decade. How does that work?
Ferry Corsten: Try not to go too crazy. Of course, there are crazy party nights every once in a while, especially if you're on a big tour. It's kind of pointless to go nuts for the first one, because you will be suffering the rest of the tour. Just pacing yourself the right way, I guess, and allowing yourself enough fun and trouble to keep it interesting.
How do you choose when a night is right for getting into trouble?
Some nights you can't choose. Fate will decide for you.
Do you ever get used to the life of being a superstar DJ? Is it old hat by now? I definitely get excited. So many people drive, for example, eight hours to see you. That's just amazing. I'm not the type to do that. Someone doing that for me is just wild. Of course, there's always the crazy traveling and you're tired, and some nights you're not really up for having to play again. But then you get there, you have one quick drink, you get onstage, and the whole crowd is yelling your name. And boom! Off you go. -- Kat BeinSunday, February 17: Night Beds @ Sail Inn
Twenty-three-year-old songwriter Winston Yellen didn't attempt to "pull a Bon Iver" when he rented a pre-Civil War home -- formerly occupied by Johnny Cash and June Carter -- in the woods outside Nashville and recorded his debut LP, Country Sleep. It just sort of happened.
"I wasn't really conscious of anything I was doing," Yellen says from an Irish pub in Washington, having just wrapped up a performance for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series. "I wanted to start making -- and you just do what you do. Three sheets to the wind, and at the time, I was in a haze. I just felt -- and tried not to fuck it up."
He didn't. The record's got bursts of rollicking alt-country grit, like "Ramona," which wouldn't be out of place on a Whiskeytown or Old 97's album, but it's also got a spooky, sexy side, featured on tracks like "Faithful Heights" and the R&B-inspired slow jam, "I Wanted You in August." Though he cut the tracks in Tennessee, their inspiration was found scattered all across the United States, on the highways Yellen traveled while living in his car.
A little Kerouac cliché, maybe, but Yellen doesn't mind: "I just decided to make an honest record. I know I'm not cool -- I'm fucking lame -- but I just wanted to make my record. I can't help if Pitchfork doesn't like it." Joke's on him; the site liked the record and called him "kind of the real deal." Pretty high praise -- from those guys, anyway. -- Jason P. Woodbury