Right Hear, Right Now

New Music from MRCH, Diners, The Desert Beats and More

New Music from MRCH, Diners, The Desert Beats and More
Photo by Frank Thomas

MRCH  "Falling"
I'm not sure how many times that I've compared Mickey Pangburn's voice to Julee Cruise, or how many of the songs by both the Prowling Kind and MRCH seemed perfect for a David Lynch film, but I'm guessing it's been a lot over the last three years or so. The thing is, I never brought it up to them or asked them about it. Last week, on Twin Peaks day, February 24, MRCH released a cover of "Falling," the Julee Cruise hit used in the show. Not unlike their cover of "Love Is Strange" last year, this song contains the group's own signature sound, the original being slightly deconstructed, uniquely remade, and remodeled. It's as haunting as ever, but MRCH adds even more darkness to a song that already sits betwixt sexy and sinister, between innocence and madness. Maybe that's just the Twin Peaks talking, or the coffee and pie. The notes for the song say "Twin Peaks is strange & dreamy," and I have to admit, so is MRCH. This is something of a dream come true, and I truly hope they plan to perform this live, because that would be one of the most magical things ever. No, that's not hyperbole from a Twin Peaks geek. It seem like the Pangburns live in a Twin Peaks universe somehow and that's where the music comes from; this feels like they're just paying it back. You can catch MRCH Saturday afternoon at McDowell Mountain Music Festival.

Photo by Jill Frensky
Diners  "Nothing Ain't Nothing"
To be completely honest, I didn't really expect a record of any sort for quite some time from Diners. There's usually some serious time between albums or EPs, but it pays off a la three from last year, which was easily one of the best local records of 2016. That's why when Diners released A Soft Day a couple of weeks ago, it was a complete surprise. The idea was simple, which was to record a piece in a day with Tyler Blue Broderick singing and playing everything, as he does these days. Jalipaz recorded, engineered, and mixed everything, Annabelle Dunstan drew the album cover, Joshua Redman took the cover photo, and boom — EP done. What you get is one of the most charming records of the year so far, because everything Broderick does is charming to the hilt. I could spin Diners records all day; they're like a soundtrack to terminal happiness. Great pop as always, with a gutsy little electric guitar bit I dig. For getting it all done in a day, it's a damn fine record.

The Desert Beats
 "You Will Be My Last Thought"
The Desert Beats hail from Tucson, but they take the time to release their records here and have always had some deep Phoenix ties. The band is the vehicle for the music and vision of one Randall Dempsey, and while the new album has familiar songs mentioned in this column before, "You Will Be My Last Thought" stood out as an immediate single to me. Then I found this hilarious video of Randall Dempsey playing every part to the song using nothing more than an iPhone and a $1 light bulb. It's honestly too funny not to share. All that aside, it's a great song, but it wasn't what I quite expected. It's less "desert rock" and honestly more like Dwight Twilley fronting Cheap Trick. It's just got a fantastic hook, some psychedelic ephemera here and there, a surf solo for the hell of it, immaculate drums that make you notice their finesse, and of course, the rousing chorus of voices at the end that could go full-on gospel if allowed to in a live setting. It's a great tune with a purposefully terrible video, and I love every second of it. The Desert Beats will release their new album at Valley Bar this Saturday, alongside Strange Lot dropping their Gods & Clods.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TONISSA SAUL
Photo by Tonissa Saul
Broken Girls From Affluent Backgrounds  "Bones"
It's been way too long since Broken Girls From Affluent Backgrounds released a tune. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's been years. "Bones" was just released a couple weeks ago, and I hope this means that more is on the way from Broken Girls. These guys have been getting a pretty good reputation as a live band around town, so it's not like they don't have the songs in them. My favorite moment here is about halfway in, where it explodes. There is such amazing fucking restraint that it actually leaves you tense wondering how far they'll let it go, or if they'll just keep it right there at that edge. Turns out they know that edge and just ride it perfectly. It's definitely a song you have to stick with to the end, but by the end, you want to play it again.

Willetta  "Feel"
Willetta is a band I've heard about through whispers in my ear at shows, when I get a certain euphoric look on my face during a dream pop set, a noise show, or a shoegaze night. Willetta doesn't really sound like any of those, but they appeal to fans of that kind of sound set. I am only barely able to wrap my head around the mythological proportions with which the band is embedded, but the music is stunning. This is music to haunt yourself with late at night with headphones on. I suppose it's darkwave, bedroom pop in that way, wrapped in a dreamy daze wrapper. Its effect is far from pop, though. True to its title it makes you feel at first unsettled, maybe a little motion sick, then dizzy, as it draws you into its hypnotic maw. It comes on a bit like a psychedelic drug and levels out into a bit of euphoric plateau once you have your bearings within the sound tapestries woven. There's nothing that stands out instrumentally so much more so than the overall effect of displaced rhythms, spacey keys, ominous bass, and guitar from Mars combined together, making for an intoxicating five-minute ride that plays seriously with brain chemicals and your sensitivity to sound. Willetta will be releasing their new Frisson EP this Friday at the Lunchbox, joined by Electrisad, Meet The Sun, and Amateur Hour.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mitchell Hillman