^
Keep New Times Free
4

A Field Guide to the Arizona's DIY Bands

Audrey Heartburn do it themselves.
Audrey Heartburn do it themselves.
Kayla Jeanne

Arizona artists have been doing it themselves for years.

Some of the most influential and local scene-defining artists sprung from nothing but great ideas and access to affordable recording software. In a lot of ways, DIY music can be seen as music in its purest form without influence from record labels or sponsors — just a bunch of kids making great music on their own in the desert, for anyone who wants to listen.

These five bands are far from the only fantastic DIY outfits, but they’re a few favorites we believe are worth listening to.

Human Kitten

Elijah Llinas, the man behind the moniker Human Kitten, knows how to tug at your heartstrings with his songs about isolation and enduring mental illness.

"DIY is anyone anywhere making something meaningful without the connections or resources to have it amplified," says Llinas. "DIY should be inherently political, radically inclusive, and based around the philosophy of art’s function being a window into a deeper understanding of the human condition. An ethos where all art can have value, where all artists can take up space, where no market can dictate importance."

Human Kitten’s latest album, titled An Embrace of Incomprehension, is available digitally and on cassette.

Commiserate

This Phoenix-based alt-rock outfit add a comforting bluesy vibe to their music.

"DIY was indie before record labels turned it into a genre," describes frontman Tommy Lake. "The Phoenix underground scene consists of shows put on at venues like The Trunk Space and Cosmic Jam Hole. The shows are often not heard about by the masses, but they bring a certain energy people always remember."

Commiserate’s latest single, titled “Grain of Sand,” is available via Bandcamp.

Tonight's Sunshine

This Tuscon quartet have been livestreaming to fans during the quarantine. That's a trait that exemplifies the common goals of a lot of DIY artists: community service and commitment through music. The group's dedication to charity can also be heard in their sound: refreshing, funky, multicultural, and electric.

Tonight’s Sunshine’s newest single, “Blueroom,” is now available on Spotify.

Audrey Heartburn

Glam, hip-hop, and psychobilly aren’t typically genres that fit well together, but this Tempe-based band pull it off well. With glittering live performances and extremely catchy beats, it’s hard not to be drawn to their music.

Audrey Heartburn’s most recent single, “WTF,” featuring Tour Guide Saul is available via Bandcamp.

Olympic Games

One thing about DIY bands is the energy they bring. Olympic Games blend all of the best energetic genres and present them in a messy and delightful package.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

"DIY to us means being broke," says the band’s guitarist and vocalist Dallas Selph. "We recorded in a friend's DIY home studio with cheap mics and pirated software. I learned to solder to fix my busted amp and repair instrument cables ... Limitations breed creativity, and being broke is a helluva limitation."

Olympic Games' self-titled release is available on Bandcamp.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.