There is a musical shift happening in the Valley towards a genre that could use some airtime.
Many bands in the Valley are leading the resurgence of an interesting genre mashup that Blondie started exploring on their signature single "Heart of Glass" - disco and new wave. That includes Paper Foxes, who recently released their debut Popular Confessions.
“Disco and new wave are familiar and nostalgic genres with a lot of unexplored territories,” says CJ Jacobson, the band’s vocalist and guitarist. “We grew up with influences like Talking Heads, Fine Young Cannibals, Love and Rockets, Roxy Music, and many more. We started as a garage rock trio, but as we expanded and played together more, new-wave just kind of made sense. We've dialed our sound in more and more, and the cool thing is Phoenix keeps growing with cool new-wave bands like Bogan Via, MRCH, and Harper and the Moths.”
The band seem to see themselves as part of a movement, rather than at the head of one. That could quickly change— Popular Confessions is a catchy, funky party favorite that could put Paper Foxes on the map.
But what does the album's title actually mean?
“The term ‘popular confessions’ is something I coined to explain the mass depression that nearly everyone seems to be experiencing in 2019,” says Jacobson. “The album sounds sun-soaked but [also] sinister. It is an upbeat social commentary about heartbreak and political turmoil and falling in love.”
He’s not wrong about that epidemic of misery this year, but disco is seen as genres that (mostly) shies away from emotional or political themes. Paper Foxes, on the other hand, uses the mirage effect in dance melodies to supply a relevant message. Still, the desire to let the audience and listeners let loose in the chaos is a priority.
“The track 'Pop Confessions' is about how it feels like the world is nearly going to end, but it's okay to let go and enjoy life anyway,” says Patro Gaston, who contributes vocals, keys, and theremin (The band also includes Uche Ujania on bass and vocals, drummer Jahlani Ujania, and guitarist Oliver Lemke). “We play music to uplift people in the hard crazy world of 2019.”
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The unique mix of dance and doom is a part of Paper Foxes’ image and sound. They are refreshing, to say the least. And we certainly can’t wait to see what they do next.
“We would love to tour and have some regional Southern California, Tucson, and Flagstaff dates booked,” says Gaston. “After spending over a year recording and releasing Popular Confessions, we've been antsy to work on new songs and have the groundwork set for our sophomore album.”
Paper Foxes are scheduled to perform on Thursday, December 19, at Valley Bar. Tickets are $7 via Eventbrite.