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.
The Pleasure Victims - "Broken"
The Pleasure Victims recently released a video for its forthcoming record's (titled 7) debut single, "Broken," and it is a hell of a rock 'n' roll delight and a tantalizing preview. The song truly shows off the individual talents of lead singer Ginger Fields, guitarist Cody James, bassist Nigel L'Amour, and drummer Randalite. Each has moments in the spotlight, and the song is expertly mixed so that you can switch your attention between instruments and have no trouble at all. There is, of course, a shining star in Fields' viciously wonderful vocal delivery. I do have to give a specific shout-out to L'Amour, because that bass makes my soul race — and that's a rare thing these days. This is straight-up rock, and I am quite curious how the entire record will sound. It's promised to be released soon, and it may turn out to be one of the best rock records of whatever year it calls home. The video is as entertaining as the song is engaging, featuring the bands dressed up and running around familiar sites in Tempe or playing in the middle of the desert with an impressive light rig. The band definitely delivers, now only one question remains: Got pleasure?
Bear State - "My Baby"
If I could have one local band play in my room every night as my house band, it would probably have to be Bear State. Their music comforts and soothes me, and the subtle indie bedroom pop they have created would be perfect for that position. Last month, while no one was looking, they dropped a one-off single called "My Baby," and it's two minutes of pure dream-pop bliss. It is a softer, sweeter song by Bear State than usual, a bit more Beatlesque, but then it is actually about lead singer Caleb Dailey's baby, Jude. The love practically oozes from every note, every lyric, every moment of this song, which is both beautiful and touching at the same time. The intro guitar reminds me of an intro to a Big Star song, while the song itself is a dreamy, dizzying tune designed to lull you to your dreams (or perhaps it's designed to lull Jude to his dreams). It's filled with sound advice as well, from a father to his son. If you've ever had children you know this is how it feels. If you don't have children, this song is exactly how it feels. Caleb Dailey dedicated the song thusly: "For my baby, Jude. All the money from this song is going to his college fund." So, if nothing else, check out the song, buy the song (there is also a demo of the song featuring Jude on screaming and crying) and help with Jude's education.
New Chums - "Come On, Come On"
This song just drives me completely crazy — I'll just throw that out there right now. I've been carrying this around for a couple of weeks, and it's the kind of song I have to listen to three or four times in a row to get it out of my head. "Come On, Come On" is an ideal power pop song in no uncertain terms. It clocks in at just more than three minutes, has a raving guitar and a great rhythm section, and the lead vocalist delivers some of the best hooks I've heard in a long time. If this isn't the first single from their debut EP, Tuolumne, it certainly should be sent out as such immediately. I'd be a fan from this song alone, but the other four songs are compelling enough that I want to catch the band's next gig as soon as possible. If you're a fan for the kind of catchy, punk-tinged pop in line with, say, Jimmy Eat World, I would encourage you to check out New Chums' entire EP and not just this song, as the entire thing is pretty captivating. Still, the stuttered lyrics sung by Seth Boyack are what absolutely make the song for me. They're super-clever and super-catchy, and they somehow steal the spotlight from the hook-heavy chorus, which is immaculate. It will only take one listen, maybe two, before you head out the door singing to yourself "G-g-g-g-going downtown . . ." Seriously addictive after only one dose and easily one of my favorite songs of the year.
Nanami Ozone- "Wet Mouth"
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What do you get when you take one part Thin Bloods, two parts Numb Bats, and one part Sun Ghost? Apparently you get something called Nanami Ozone. This brand-new quartet is pushing out some engaging shoegazing dream pop, and its first three songs are posted on Soundcloud. Nanami Ozone is Colson Miller (The Thin Bloods), Sophie Ophich (Numb Bats), Mo Neuharth (Numb Bats), and Chris Gerber (Sun Ghost), and they seem to be playing shows everywhere lately. Strangely, when you consider its members, Nanami Ozone sounds like none of the bands mentioned here — which is possibly my favorite thing about such side projects. While those bands are drenched in surf sounds and indie rock, this local supergroup could draw more comparisons to Opal, Mazzy Star, or Rain Parade. There are hazy guitars, hypnogogic synths, an easy drumbeat, a deep bass parade, and vocals that are mesmerizing — it's an intoxicating mix designed for a dimly lit, smoky room — music to sip whiskey or get high to and stare at the ceiling in deep thought. Consider "Wet Mouth," and really any of their songs, as a massage for your mind, solace for your soul. I truly hope they have a whole album worth of music in the works, because I could just lose myself in 40 or 50 minutes of tunes like these. It's a stunning debut that plays out like a respite from summer heat and feels like a peaceful autumn breeze.
The Apaches - "Emma Peel"
A lot of bands in town play a sort of surf rock, which generally means indie rock with some attribute that sounds a bit like The Pixies or a fair amount of reverb on the guitar, giving it a "surf" twang. Even the band Surf doesn't technically make what most people think of when you mention "surf music." The Apaches, on the other hand make surf music, actual surf music in the vein of The Ventures or Dick Dale. It's pretty impressive. The band released its debut instrumental EP, Musica Surfica, late this summer, but this sounds perfect all year long in Arizona. The Apaches are Eric Hirsch (lead guitar), Adam Gold (drums), Sully Sullivan (bass), and Jack Escobar (rhythm guitar), and together they put out four tracks that could have been pulled from a 1964 collection of surf singles, and you would be none the wiser. My favorite track is "Emma Peel" because it combines the surf sound with a touch of classic spy theme music (think Sean Connery-era James Bond flicks) which is perfect since its title references the fictional spy from the 1960s television show The Avengers. There is also a hint of spaghetti western-style music mixed in creating a pastiche of ’60s sounds all from the same early ’60s era. In short, this shit is magically out of place in Arizona 2015, but it is so delicious to the ears that I'm just happy The Apaches have even happened.