Music News

Cold War Kids Headline New Times' Carnaval Electrico at Crescent Ballroom

Following up last year's New Times Soundcheck, a two-day festival at Club Red in Tempe — which featured performances by The Love Me Nots, Sugar Thieves, 2 Tone Lizard Kings, Jason Devore, The Insects, Crusher Sound System, and more — was a serious task.

But challenges are cool, right? Up on the Sun and New Times are proud to present a brand new music event for 2013: Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom. The following profiles will give you a taste of what to expect on Friday, March 8, when local bands join touring acts Cold War Kids, Hanni El Khatib, Sir Sly, and In the Valley Below in taking over two stages at Crescent Ballroom.

Cold War Kids
Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids says that when it came time to make the band's new record, the forthcoming Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, they decided to play less to what the band "should be," and more to what it "could be." "I feel like we started to do that with the last album [2011's Mine Is Yours]," he says. "But we continued on with this record." The shift meant some shakeups. Guitarist Jonathan Russell departed, and in his place stepped in Dann Gallucci, formerly of Modest Mouse. Gallucci joined Lars Stalfors in producing the forthcoming Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, and his passion for synth-pop marks some clear departures for the band. The pulsing "Lost That Easy" could almost serve as the band's (unexpected) entrance into the world of club music, while "Loner Phase" taps into gothy Depeche Mode drama. While Mine Is Yours received critical lashings for its arena-rock ambitions, the stylistic ambitions of Dear Miss Lonely Hearts sound like less bids for a mainstream breakthrough and more like earnest experimentation. When the band plays with straight-ahead abandon, like on lead single "Miracle Mile," it sounds triumphant, even if the lyrics exemplify Willett's short-fiction ambitions, concerning a vaguely nasty character out of some P.T. Anderson flick set loose across the verses. "I was supposed to do great things," Willett howls over charging guitars. "I cut my ties, I sold me rings, I wanted none of this." — Jason P. Woodbury

Sareena Dominguez
For someone not old enough to legally drink, Sareena Dominguez sure has accomplished plenty. After signing to the River Jones Music label less than a year and half ago, she played at South by Southwest, released debut album Moonbeams, and starred in a music video of the same name, directed by Laura Belle of Tobacco Films. But now, the Gilbert singer-songwriter is taking a step back and giving herself a little alone time.

As eager as she is to move forward, Dominguez says she's still trying to baby her first record, because as she puts it, "I haven't broken up with my old album yet . . . It's kinda weird, but that's how it feels." As for writing new music, Dominguez is taking her time, hoping to refresh herself after touring. But first, she wants to take vocal lessons and music theory classes, explaining that she think it's better to "fine tune" before jumping into anything else. "When I'm done with Moonbeams, I'll just 'Bon Iver' it and go in a room, become a musical hermit for a month or two and just write a bunch of stuff," Dominguez muses. "I think that sounds amazing, so that's kinda what I want to do." — Troy Farah

Sir Sly
Sir Sly exists under a shroud of mystery. An extensive Google search was fruitless, aside from a weird Foster the People conspiracy (does Sir Sly feature members of FTP?) and news that the Los Angeles trio released its debut EP on March 4. The four-song album, Ghost, is full of pulsating darkwave synth hooks that flirt in the middle ground between pop and witchhouse. There's a sense of isolation that vocalist Landon Jacobs builds upon with his lyrics that address mistakes, regrets, and loss. The album is rich with motifs: "Ghost" deals with a sense of aimless weightlessness, and Jacobs changes the perspective in "Where I'm Going," singing about gaining trajectory, physically rising above a crowd. We'll get a better look at Sir Sly's clandestine identity when the band performs at Crescent Ballroom. Mystery is fun and all, but we want to meet these guys. — Melissa Fossum

DJ Seduce
Local DJ Miguel Ivery — better known as DJ Seduce — is best-known for hipping world music fans to Brazilian music via his label, Afro:Baile Records. But every Friday night at the Crescent, he showcases another musical love: Motown and Stax soul 45s. The selector's got a pretty sweet gig: As soon as the rock 'n' roll bands finish up, he gets the lounge dancing with crisp R&B snare drums and classic girl group vocals. Following the hard rockers of Carnaval Eléctrico will be no problem, but Seduce's most direct link to the show will be soul singer Stan Devereaux, who just might cover a song or two with his Funky Suns — maybe Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up" or Dyke and The Blazers' "Funky Broadway" — that could end up in Seduce's normal set. — Jason P. Woodbury

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