What's that, you say? Summers in Phoenix suck for live music? Expand your tastes, philistine. We got everything from washed-up '90s alt-rock superstars to at least three significant local showcases and almost everything in between.
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Somehow, Collective Soul gets overlooked when talking about '90s-era alternative's heavy hitters, which is odd considering all the band achieved. Collective Soul scored more rock and alternative number one hits in the '90s than any other band, and when "Heavy" was in, heh, heavy rotation, it set (at the time) the record for most spins during a week's time. The band sold platinum and gold records aplenty and toured the world many times over. Ed Roland's distinctive vocals married well with crunchy guitar riffs and catchy melodies on classic anthems like "Shine," "Gel" and 'Why Pt. 2," and who could ever forget their strings-meets-rock number "The World I Know," or the mid-tempo rocker "December"? But alas, the band has become more of an underground acquired taste these days, continuing to churn out material independently via its own label at a pretty solid clip, and that seems to be the way Collective Soul likes it. A new record, See What You Started by Continuing, is slated for release this summer, and considering how long the group has lasted while other '90s bands have died out and come back for a paycheck this summer -- I'm looking at you, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Eve 6 -- that title is an apt one. --Brian Palmer
Tempe's beloved Sail Inn has been an important part of the music scene for more than two decades, and as Benjamin Leatherman explained in his oral history on the venue this week, after Sunday the bar will close for good. To celebrate, the venue is hosting a three-day farewell festival, which starts this weekend, packed with great local bands. Find the lineup here.All three nights have highlights, but if we had to choose just one, we'd pick Saturday, when Black Carl, Dry River Yacht Club, Jared & The Mill, Japhy's Descent and more all play. --David Accomazzo
Erika M. Anderson (who goes by her initials for her stage name) notched a critical success in 2011 with Past Life Martyred Saints, an album that offered hazy, intimate confession, even at its peaks of intensity. The first track distributed from her new album The Future's Void, "Satellite," has a bit more public-facing fight in it, and not just during its white-noise prelude. You'll have to see how they translate to a live setting. --Seth Colter Walls
Young Widows has always had a special relationship with the macabre. The band named its second and third records, Old Wounds and In and Out of Youth and Lightness and incorporated a skull into the design of each of its album covers and the band logo. The trio now has recorded two full-lengths in a uniquely morbid setting. Just as with In and Out, the band assembled May's Easy Pain in a recording studio housed in the very much open Ratterman & Sons Funeral Home in its native Louisville, Kentucky. (The studio is managed by Elliott/Wax Fang drummer Kevin Ratterman, who produced Easy Pain.) "It's kind of interesting looking at people," guitarist/vocalist Evan Patterson said in 2011, discussing mingling with patrons during downtime around Ratterman & Sons. "You can see in their eyes they're there for completely different reasons than why we're there." The newest Widows record carries on another tradition: The band's brand of gritty, cavernous noise rock takes sick joy in heaping on the feedback and volume, all while Patterson roars and croons in the direction of the abyss. Easy Pain's standout is "Kerosene Girl," a song whose subject matter is especially bleak: "I snuck inside your house / I snuck inside your room / And saw you there / Then continued to torch the place." --Reyan Ali
Over the course of Phoenix's rich musical history there are certain bands that have cemented themselves as ambassadors for their craft. Gog is a band comfortably in this category. The creative entity of Mike Bjella, Gog is a presence in music that eludes classification to an almost frustrating extent. It's relevant to throw out descriptors like doom, drone, and noise, but realistically there is only one word that is relevant in this context: listen. --Roger Calamaio See also: The Dark Noise of Phoenix Musician Gog
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