Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new local music in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Snake! Snake! Snakes! – "In My Head"
Depending on how long you've been into Snake! Snake! Snakes!, you've been waiting anywhere from four to nearly six years for their full-length album debut, which is a hell of a long time to stick with any band. Nevertheless, in this case the wait was well worth it. Tranquilo will finally arrive this weekend, and the first single (aside from the video teaser for "Dead N Dumb") is the live favorite "In My Head." Truth be told, this song feels a bit like a teaser as well at under two minutes, but it gives you a hint of the treasures you'll find on the album – but only a hint really, as though it's a shadow of the album itself. While Jonathan Messenger wails on vocals and guitar, Dan Tripp adds more guitar madness, and Chris Sanchez holds down the bass line, but the real star here is David Cooper pounding the skins with a Phil Spector vibe. The real surprise, though, is that "In My Head" and the equally swift "Dead N Dumb" aren't even the only good tracks on the album. They are but tips to an iceberg loaded with 10 more songs that are best consumed as an entire album. The entire thing is a proto-punk masterpiece with a slight psychotic surf vibe that will keep you going all summer long. Be sure to catch Snake! Snake! Snakes! at Crescent Ballroom this Saturday when they release Tranquilo with an amazing lineup of Playboy Manbaby, PRO TEENS, and Strange Lot.
Celebration Guns – "Ready To Go"
I think this is the longest I've waited for a five-track EP in my life. The recording for The Me That Used To Be was finished well over a year ago, and while the release of "The Volunteer" and the title track as preview singles certainly whetted the appetite, they all sound so much better in the context of the record itself. "Ready To Go" is the most recent single (and probably final) from this gem. Still, after the other two singles, this one was the next obvious choice from the remaining three tracks. It shows off Celebration Guns at its finest with their ear-pleasing vocals, complex percussion and pure indie rock guitar with a touch of math sensibility and fascinating breaks at every turn. It's like a two-and-a-half-minute rollercoaster that leaves you a bit dizzy and euphoric afterward. I can't wait to see what Celebration Guns do next and I hope it arrives a bit quicker. Celebration Guns are all set to release The Me That Used To Be this Friday at Crescent Ballroom with Twin Ponies, Sundressed, and Flower Festival on board to celebrate!
Painted Bones – "Straight Into The Sun"
I'm not sure how many shows Painted Bones have played, but with all of the members of the band being local music veterans, it wasn't surprising that even at their debut show they were killer straight out of the box. Brandon Blaise (vocals), Don Sherrick (drums), Arthur Detrie (guitar), and Michael Muriett (bass) knew what they were doing before they ever played their first show in February, and the fact that they are releasing their debut record only two months later is further proof of that. "Straight Into the Sun" is a perfect set closer and my favorite track on their debut. It is Detrie's finest moment, and it's my understanding he's the one responsible for the monster riff that powers this rock 'n' roll juggernaut. I recommend you check them out live, because as great as it is here, it will consume your soul when you see it on stage. Painted Bones will be releasing their debut EP Dragon Ride tonight at Last Exit Live with Monaghans Dixon and Dirt Moon.
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i.am.hologram – "Phantom Tree"
I'm not ordinarily fond of one-man-band-type configurations when it comes to music, but I have to make an exception for i.am.hologram. i.am.hologram is Richard Nihil (or so he says), and while he sings and swings a guitar his feet are just as busy controlling a drum machine and other instruments. He recently released his new album, Rejecting The Program. "Phantom Tree" is one of my favorites on the new record for one reason — it is a supreme showcase for both the fragility and agility of his vocal prowess. It's a great song all around that gives you a taste of what his unusual musical vision is all about, but damn, that voice is completely in the spotlight here. The wailing madness at the end is worth it alone. I highly recommend checking out the entire record to enjoy other choice cuts like "All The Lonely People" and the epic finale of "Osiris (Remind Us)." You can catch i.am.hologram in the act at CASA Lounge tonight, where he will be joined by FITS and The Clouded.
Sonoran Chorus – "Shitkicker"
I must admit that one of the big reasons I love Sonoran Chorus is because I absolutely adored Leonardo DiCapricorn, which basically served as a gateway drug, because Sonoran Chorus is even better. They just dropped their second EP, entitled Laird, and it's every bit as good as the debut. I've caught a few of their recent shows, and the first thing I noticed was that Damon Dominguez is now blonde, but aside from that, I've really been clinging to their song "Shitkicker." Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that it’s the final track on the new record. Honestly, it's not even their best song as far as songwriting and composition goes, but it's my favorite. There is something about the sheer cathartic vitriol with which it’s delivered that really cuts into my soul, gets my heart pumping, and my head shaking. It's also the longest song here and one of the longest they've ever recorded, which is another odd pick for me. That said, everything just clicks here; whether it's Dominguez' vocal attack, the psychedelic guitar bridge, or the sheer pounding magic of Troy Penny's drums, it all comes together perfectly. It moves me on every level both on the new records and when they play it live. If nothing else, it's fun watching this band growing up and into their own with each release and each live show.