Another great week for music. You have it good this month, Phoenix. Check out our picks for the best shows here, and browse our comprehensive concert listings for a giant list of musical options.
Before summer began, there was a good chance you'd never heard of Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, or Rita Ora. Now, at the start of fall, you can't get enough of these guys. And let's not forget about Charli XCX. She, like her chart-topping colleagues, has been around for years but is only recently getting much-deserved praise.
Charlotte Aitchison, as Charli is also known, co-penned 2013's summer smash hit by Icona Pop, "I Love It." The half-Scott, half-Ugandan released her major-studio debut, True Romance, last year and is featured on Azalea's ubiquitous "Fancy" and crafted "Boom Clap," which appears in the film The Fault in Our Stars. --Stacey Russell
You might know Mike Doughty from his days as the lead singer in the jazz-influenced, opiate-laced band Soul Coughing, which had a few minor hits in the '90s, the biggest of which was probably "Circles." That band ended on as bad of terms as it possibly could, so much so that to just a few years ago, when Doughty wrote a memoir about his drug-addled rock 'n' roll lifestyle, he had plenty of anger left to devote several pages of the book to trashing his former bandmates. But when the band was together, they combined spoken word poetry with hip-hop sensibilities (at the time, dubbed "deep slacker jazz"), and there simply hasn't been many other artists like Soul Coughing since. Doughty's strong, at times opaque poetry won over the hearts of a small group of devoted fans, who, after the breakup in 2000, downloaded Doughty's first solo album and have been rabidly following him ever since.
His solos stuff featured his haunting voice over acoustic guitar work that became more and more interesting as time went on, but until he came out with his book, he refused to play Soul Coughing songs, or even discuss the band at all, at his shows. That all has changed, with Doughty re-recording Soul Coughing songs and released an album of them 2013, and it seems like his solo music output hasn't emerged unscathed: His latest, crowdfunded album, Stellar Motel, is a return to form, a revisiting of the hip-hop and spoken word influences that made Soul Coughing so appealing, this time with the benefit of more than a decade worth of singer-songwriter growth. --David Accomazzo
After more than 25 years, 14 studio albums, umpteen hit singles, and millions of albums sold, electronica champion Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell are still going strong with the release of 2014's The Violet Flame.
Before hooking up with Bell, Clarke made his name penning most of the debut album for one, Depeche Mode, leaving the seminal synth group in 1981 to form the short-lived duo, Yazoo, or Yaz as they were known stateside. Along with singer Alison Moyet, the two created the ultra-successful, commercially-loved, disco/synth crossover, "Don't Go." --Anthony Sandoval
Mixing the less-cringeworthy drama of mid-2000s post-hardcore, the driving rhythm section of post-punkers Savages, the yelling vocals of punk contemporaries The Flatliners, and the mildly nerdy, guitar-heavy tendencies of '90s rockers Smoking Popes and Weezer, PUP has taken basic punk attitude and made it dramatic and exciting.
Despite only releasing its stateside debut six months ago, the band the band has already garnered acclaim from sources as diverse as Rolling Stone, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, and Exclaim, and was long-listed for Canada's top musical honor, the Polaris Music Prize.
Since signing a US distribution deal with punk heavyweight SideOneDummy Records in December, the group has been on a tear, touring the UK once and the US twice, including a route to and from South by Southwest, and a nationwide tour with current punk stars The Menzingers. --Connor Descheemaker
No frills here. Just straight up rock 'n' roll, delivered by Chicago siblings Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White. The usual influences apply here -- think White Stripes, Black Keys, etc. -- but the grit and catchy hooks help elevate this duo out of the crowded field of Jack White disciples. And if hard-charging rock 'n' roll ain't your thang, some of the coolest local garage rock bands are opening this show -- Cherie Cherie and Numb Bats -- and to top it off, it's free. --David Accomazzo
Don't try to pigeonhole Ray LaMontagne.
While critics have been quick to compare him to any number of rarified and rootsy icons -- the Band, Van Morrison, Tim Buckley, and Steven Stills among them -- his only muse is the inspiration that strikes from within.
"I always let the songs lead the way," the soft-spoken, sometimes testy singer-songwriter maintains. "If something catches me, then I say to myself, 'Wow, I've really got to pursue this further.'"
The dusty patina this New England native preferred on his first four albums -- 2004's Troubled, 2006's Till the Sun Turns Black, 2008's Gossip in the Grain, and 2010's Grammy-winning God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise -- has been somewhat blown away for his latest effort, Supernova, a set of songs that finds him connecting with producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and taking more of a psychedelic spin. --Lee Zimmerman
Tennessee-based deathcore act Whitechapel has released four albums since 2006, a testament to the fact that they really strategic about -- and take their sweet time -- during the writing and recording process. The band is known for hosting three guitarists on stage, each performing unique parts of the songs, as well as their combined style of hardcore with black, death and European metal. --Lauren Wise
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.