Hip-Hop

The Five Best Songs From Phoenix Musicians in June

Celebration Guns have a new EP out in July.
Celebration Guns have a new EP out in July. Brittanny Bickman
Maybe you feel it too — a great tension in the air. Whether it’s the sweltering summer heat, the fires across the state, budget woes at the Capitol, or further audit-based malarkey (perhaps all of the above?), Arizona is under a great existential weight. But here’s some release in the from of new music — three-minute chunks of respite from the madness swirling all around. Here are our picks for the best songs of the month.

Celebration Guns, 'The Visiting Years'

In June 2020, Celebration Guns released ...on aging gracelessly, a four-track EP that addressed growing pains via raucous, heart-on-sleeve emo. Now, they’re preparing a sequel of sorts with the five-track Visiting Years EP due out in July. After dropping "the tools that take from us" in the spring, the band returns with title track, an earnest math-rock ballad about "maintaining mental and physical health issues" amid "self-destructive behavior." Yet this song isn't just about the hard work of growing up, and instead embraces the process as being deeply life-affirming. Let's hope the rest of the EP makes true maturity sound equally as catchy and cathartic.


The Lord’s, 'Cold Fingers'

The Lord's don’t have much in the way of a proper online presence (and the name alone must be a real nightmare for SEO purposes). Perusing their Bandcamp page makes it clear that they’re a duo who’ve spent much of the last year or so releasing a handful of intriguing projects. Luckily, with offerings like this month's seven-track self-titled EP, all you ever need to know is the music. A standout like "Cold Fingers" exemplifies the pair's take on hip-hop, a frills-free, distinctly old-school concoction where the focus rests on tight wordplay, a boom bap-style beat, and attitude galore. It's not just hip-hop that worships a bygone era, but adds to it with ample love and devotion. See, a little mystery can actually be a good thing.



Red Tank!, 'Night Train'

Before they relocated to New York a few years ago, Red Tank! made a name for themselves tearing up the Phoenix punk scene. In honor of those early days of rock 'n' roll hedonism, the band has finally made their 2013 cassette release Squalor in the Year of Black Magic available for streaming. The 10-track LP is described as a "garage rock and blues punk-infused bottle rocket of reckless abandon." Case in point: "Night Train," a chunky, blown-out jam that's as angsty as it is catchy and as brazen as it is surprisingly poignant. They may be gone from the Valley, but this record proves why Red Tank! remain vital to our fair city.


Crop Killer, 'Equatorial Pissings'

Whereas a group like The Lord's opts for mystery, Crop Killer leans into over-sharing. Their bio makes for quite the gripping tale regarding their formation and the subsequent recording of their latest album, the delightfully-titled Just Like Regular Chickens. Fortunately for this trio, the actual music seems to be worth all the bad luck and terrible frontman auditions in the world. The real standout is "Equatorial Pissings," and not just because it's a truly amazing title. The song itself displays the band's effective blend of '90s alternative with just a dash of surf rock, like the offspring of Superchunk and Deadeye Dick. It's hugely catchy indie rock, and no amount of oversharing could ever change that simple fact.


Ring Finger No Pinky and Veronica Everheart, 'Girl Tsunami'

Regular New Times readers will recognize both Ring Finger No Pinky and Veronica Everheart as favorite young upstarts. The former makes weird and doubly jarring punk rock, while the latter excels as an indie-leaning singer-songwriter. As it turns out, they all seem to be quite friendly, having played and recorded together amid COVID. Now, they’ve commemorated that connection with an official single, "Girl Tsunami." There’s no denying the effectiveness of this "supergroup," as Everheart’s vocals provide a sheen of earnest energy atop a slightly funky alt rock soundscape. What matters most, though, is that there’s chemistry galore to be found, and that’s further proof that Arizona’s music scene is in some very capable hands.

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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan