The music of Gospel Claws is filled with meandering, sweet chord progressions, gentle percussion, and an excitement that is restrained everywhere besides the vocals. Joel Marquard's voice, in contrast, is raw, unpolished, and strained. That voice adds an unfamiliar and unexpected twist to the garage-informed pop songs (the band's first four influences are listed as The Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground, Lee Hazlewood, and Scott Walker) that have made them local faves. Their debut album, C-L-A-W-S, was created in collaboration with Mesa-based über-producer Bob Hoag (who was last seen drumming for The Love Me Nots) and has been the talk of the town for months. Let's see if the hype pays off. — Sarah Ventre
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