Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best local music in column, Right Hear, Right Now.
decker. — "Cellars (W.A.S.H. Remix)"
At first listen to the music of decker., it's difficult to imagine any of its songs being given the remix treatment. But W.A.S.H. has done the impossible, and released a remix of "Cellars" by decker., and it's pretty fantastic. The original version of "Cellars" was released on last year's stunning Patsy and is a near-10-minute epic, but W.A.S.H. has deconstructed it completely and turned it into a three-minute dance hit. By focusing on the upbeat portions of the song and the gospel revival bits, the remix somehow works. It's hypnotic and infectious as hell, probably more so than the original. I'm not sure if decker. will be playing any variation of "Cellars" this Friday night at The Rebel Lounge, but it will be releasing a live album called Last Exit Live (named for the venue where it was recorded in February), with support from New Mexico's Red Light Cameras, as well as local darlings Fairy Bones and Harper and the Moths.
Mimelight — "Hiroshima"
I had never heard of Mimelight before this week, when Derek Hackman, front man for The Breaking Pattern, gave a shout to them for their new video and single, "Hiroshima." Hackman has pretty good taste in music, and he's never steered me wrong before, so I figured I'd check it out. "Hiroshima" is the first single from Mimelight's forthcoming sophomore EP, Deltas, set to be released on May 7. Mimelight hail from Mesa, featuring Clifton Peotter (vox/guitar), Dion Didomenico (guitar/vox), Taylor Goodman (bass), and Jesse Palmer (drums). I have to admit that I was the most taken aback by Peotter's vocals. The song is based on thoughts about the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and relating that kind of decision — to press the button and drop the bomb — to moments in life and relationships where there is no turning back once the switch has been tripped. Peotter explains this thoroughly in a brief teaser video here. I am definitely looking forward to hearing the rest of Deltas upon its release, and I can't wait to catch Mimelight live to see how the dynamics on record present themselves on stage. Keep your ears open for Mimelight during the rest of the year; they seem to be up to great things.
Zodiac Bash — "The Crane Zodiac"
Zodiac Bash released one of the best local EPs of the year with Pilot only a couple of weeks ago. When I'm not listening to the whole thing through on repeat and I need a quick Zodiac Bash fix, my go-to track is "The Crane Zodiac." It seems to capture the dark weirdness that is the essence of the band, and at about a minute in there is this keyboard part that drives me completely out of my mind (it comes back in another minute as well and more frequently after that). It's this strange hook that gets caught in my head for no reason, other than that it's just this beautiful moment that you might miss if you weren't paying attention. The song features a pounding rhythm section and space-age guitar work that sounds like it's out of a soundtrack to a classic sci-fi flick. Still, the way all of the instruments build into that damn keyboard part is one of the most rewarding aural experiences I've had in a while. It's easily one of the finest compositions on the entire affair and if you haven't checked out Pilot yet, I can't recommend it enough. You have two chances to see Zodiac Bash this week — Tonight at Rebel Lounge with Soft Deadlines and The Rolling Blackouts or Saturday Night at Endgame in Tempe as part of the Fifth Annual SXSR Festival.
SURF — "Heaven"
This Friday, April 1, SURF will be releasing Islands. At this point, SURF is the one-man show of Aaron "Surf" Tijerina, who plays nearly everything heard on the album. While I haven't been able to surf to the album yet, it's sure a great soundtrack for longboarding on the streets. "Heaven" is the first single and video from the album, and it's the perfect choice to get folks into the album. Tijerina's trick is evoking the feeling of being on the edge of the surf, being at the beach, and smelling the salt water without making traditional "surf" music. This song is a particularly dreamy number. It works out well if the beach is your idea of "Heaven" because if I could be anywhere but here, I'd be right there singing the song of the surf, as well. The video, on the other hand, is shot nowhere near a beach and is entirely filmed around town, and you may catch some familiar sites throughout. To be fair, at least at this time of year, Arizona is pretty heavenly, as well. Check out the video and be sure to check SURF's bandcamp tomorrow when Islands is released, then sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Joe Vito — "Be Something"
I got turned on to the music of Joe Vito last week when I found out he'd be releasing his debut EP, State Street, at the Tempe History Museum this Saturday, April 2. "Be Something" is the first single from the EP, and I was immediately drawn in by the fascinating percussion that starts the track, then bowled over by the good, easy vibe of both his acoustic guitar line and his warm, vocal lilt. What was even more surprising is that Joe Vito is only 17 years old! He is, without exaggeration, an actual prodigy who started with bassoon and sax at age 10 and now plays guitar, mandolin, keys, bass, and drums, and not only that, but he has seized the opportunity to study with musicians such as Art Garfunkel and Carol Kaye. He clearly has talent, as well as both vision and ambition — if he has business sense, I wouldn't be surprised if he gains national acclaim in a couple of years at this rate. At this point, I will happily accept "Be Something" as his indie pop calling card to the world as I eagerly wait to hear the entire debut EP. Vito's release party this weekend is also a fundraising event so that he can attend a five-week summer course at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The show will also feature Haley Witt and Jack Vanderpol.
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.