The Counterfeit Party - "Wanting More"
Apparently, the first song The Counterfeit Party ever recorded ("The Best Party Anywhere!”) was adopted as the official song of the "Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling" at the Sturgis rally at Legendary Buffalo Chip. I can't find anything not to love about these guys. Their approach to rock 'n' roll, with a touch of twang and hints of Americana, is reminiscent of that of early alternative bands R.E.M., The dBs, and Pylon. The group recently released a couple of recordings, and "Wanting More" seems to be a great way to get into this band. While Brandon Blaise doesn't really sound like Michael Stipe, there is a serious Reckoning-era R.E.M. vibe on this track. The B-side, "Let's Get Lost," has a Jayhawks feel to it, but all in all, it's just energetic music with the right kind of sound to get you going — especially if you love early American alternative records. You may want to catch The Counterfeit Party this Sunday at The Rebel Lounge with Ana Log, Wyves and Audious. It should be a pretty great show.
Rob Kroehler - "The Days Before the Feed"
You may know Rob Kroehler as the lead singer for Ladylike, or you may remember him as lead singer of Loveblisters, or you may think of him as a touring guitarist for fun. (he is thanked in the credits for Aim and Ignite). I think of him as a brilliantly talented songwriter who starts great bands, puts out two records for each one, and then lets them fall apart. All kidding aside, Kroehler (also a New Times contributor) is one of the finest songwriters around and one I admire to the utmost. Most recently, he wrote and performed a song with Andy McCluskey (OMD), Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff (both of fun.) for the soundtrack to D Train, which features Jack Black. Now he is setting his sights on solo work, and the first sign of the endeavor is the recently released "The Days Before the Feed." Joined by Ethan Hillis (Ladylike) on drums and backing vocals, Kroehler does everything else here — bass, guitars, keys, vocals — and has created a beautiful, dynamic tune that showcases his talent. Kroehler says of the recording, "Of all the songs I've written in the past couple of years, this one might be my favorite." It's not difficult to see why: The chorus is to die for, and the first time I heard him sing "But you start to feel your senses dull," I felt as though I was falling through myself with joy. Be sure to check out The Beach Boys-esque bridge that starts at 2:47.
Bryant Eugene Vazquez - "How To Go About It..."
Bryant Eugene Vazquez may be a Phoenix ex-pat now after relocating to Philadelphia, but while he was in Arizona he was a part of many great bands including decker., Murdoch, and Vagabond Gods. While he hasn't visited home as often as I like, his music seems to be more prolific than ever. He released All Damn Day/The Greatest Hits last spring and just released a new video for "How To Go About It..." a couple weeks ago. The song is one of the best moments of his self-proclaimed "pop album," which is as poppy as he gets as one of the most varied artists I've ever encountered. On "How To Go About It..." it's hard to place his voice, but it's got a hint of a Dylanesque patois. That's him playing nearly every instrument on the song, with the exception of the trumpet courtesy of Kelley Cosgrove. That's also him in the video, like six or seven of him — and the video, as well as the song, seems to be pulled right out that era where good music was discovered in quirky videos on television after midnight. The groove is addictive. I had listened to the album last May and revisiting it with the video, it has become permanently lodged in my head. I guess it really is a pop song after all — plus, killer trumpet. I am very curious to see how Vazquez follows up his most recent album, luckily I know it won't be too long until he puts something new out.
Van Adams - "The Storm and I"
Once upon a time, there was a band called Villains, and on the cusp of releasing its debut EP, the band reworked its sound, changed its name to Van Adams, put out its debut record, and fled to L.A., never to be heard from again. Okay, the last part isn't accurate, especially since we just heard from them this week in the form of a new single, the first since relocating. Van Adams is a duo of Yvette Adams and Ivan Hernandez, who have devised a steamy, dark electronica sound that washes your soul in sultry shadows and fascinating rhythms. Adams is one of the best vocalists to emerge from the Phoenix scene, and when she and Hernandez were performing here, it was breathtaking to hear her sing. "The Storm and I" is dark and stark, and it surpasses the material found on the duo's self-titled debut released late last year (which I now want to revisit). It appears that Los Angeles is doing Van Adams some good. Whether it's Adams' voice or the fascinating, pulsing rhythms that back her, this song is downright hypnotic in every sense. It keeps your body moving while it entrances your mind. What more could you ask from dark dance pop?
W.A.S.H. - "Turn Up the Bass"
Leave it to W.A.S.H. (We Are Shit Housed) to dig through obscure record collections of house mixes from the late '90s to happen upon Sgt. Slick's "White Treble, Black Bass." How they would even happen upon an Australian dance club hit from 1998 is beyond me, but these are clever ducks. I mean who the hell even knew what was going on in clubs in Australia back then other than The Avalanches? Well, W.A.S.H. has taken "White Treble, Black Bass" and made it their own, with a more modern sound and the potential for endless remixes in the form of "Turn Up the Bass." The DJ duo comprising two unlikely ducklings known as Duckie and Puddles have once more taken a very simple concept and run with it as a follow-up single to "Paint Can." I had half-expected that there would be another guest vocalist from the local scene on the duo's new single when they sent it to me, so I was clearly surprised when Sgt. Slick came through my headphones with a downright party-fueled mix surrounding the sample. These ducks are clearly making music to take drugs to make music to take drugs to — or something along those lines. Trust me: After a few spins of this latest track, you'll feel pretty intoxicated, as well as ponder where you can find the nearest EDM club and whether your friend Clive is holding. It is now imperative that I catch these damned ducks in action. Already looking forward to the next single or video from W.A.S.H.