Mitchell Hillman listens to more local music than just about anyone in the Valley. He presents his picks for best new songs in his column, Right Hear, Right Now.
Sunday At Noon
"Like The Last Time"
Sunday At Noon are set to release their eponymously titled second EP on April 21, and they've just released the second preview single, titled "Like The Last Time." Following last year's stunner "Brain Damage," it's of particular note that the new single sounds nothing like it. While there is certainly still a glam rock fascination in the guitar alone, this is Sunday At Noon showing off their chops with a mid-tempo alt-rocker. Far from the bombast of "Brain Damage," this is more inviting, more affable, and it resurfaces the pop aesthetic that was all over their debut record in 2015. It has the sound of a band coming into its own and defining its style. It's also catchy as hell. Now, nearly everything released by Sunday At Noon has been, but this track has extra heart to it. And that's big for such a young band. Only a few years on and you can already hear their work maturing. I picked them as one of the bands to watch this year, and this is the reason why.
Speaking of bands to watch in 2017, LUAU finally releases their debut EP, Gone, this weekend. They decided to celebrate with a new single from the record and one of its finer tracks, "Darling." On it, lead singer Evan Hallock does his best homage to Built To Spill and Doug Martsch. The drums and guitars give more than a little nod to Built To Spill, too. But they take that template and run wild with it. It's a fantastic song through and through, edging on neurotic with rhythmic build ups to crescendos that either don't happen or create a final psychic release. "Darling" holds you hostage for its entirety out of pure fascination. It's mystical. It's the band's super power. You can catch LUAU at Crescent Ballroom when they release Gone on Saturday, April 8, with support from Fairy Bones, Saddles, and Huckleberry. Which is to say, a flawless lineup for the release of a great record.
Second Go! is set to release their debut EP, A Static Standstill, on Friday, and to get you hyped for that, they've released a creative lyric video for the single "Biding Time." Second Go! is Ian Chesnut (vocals/guitar), Coltin Anderson (vocals/guitar), Devon Sherwood (bass/backing vocals), and Jade Lara (drums). Together, they're putting out some of the best pop-punk around town. "Biding Time" is a great anthem with hooks for days, emo lyrics, and everything a pop punk song should have, with plenty of "ohohohohs" in the background and the right kind of energy to propel you into a head injury at a show of theirs in the near future. I have a feeling Second Go!'s new record is going to slay for summer something fierce. A Static Standstill will be released April 7 on Human Heart Records.
"Come In Alone"
Citrus Clouds continue to impress as the top shoegazers in town. They may not have been the first, but they are the classicists in the bunch. Last year, they perfectly executed a cover The House of Love's "Christine", adding only their signature flourishes here and there. The same is true of "Come In Alone," their contribution to a tribute compilation for My Bloody Valentine. Citrus Clouds nails this classic track from Loveless. It has the same woozy feel to it, with the sliding phases of sound messing with your head and, at times, your equilibrium. Which does make me wonder if we should prepare ourselves for forthcoming homages to Loop, Spacemen3 and other shoegaze notables from this qualified crew.
Parlor Birds are a new desert rock, bluesy duo featuring Mike Chapman (noise, dirt, words) and Chris Kuhar (thump, rattle, rat-a-tat), and their debut single is "Lizzards." Part of an emerging Valley sound, Parlor Birds would appeal to the same crowd that digs bands like decker., The Lonesome Wilderness, The Desert Beats, and Treasurefruit. All seem to draw their sound from the monsoon winds, with songs that leave a bit of desert grit in your teeth when all is said and done. This song has a minimalist vibe suited to a land of harsh extremes, with the guitar and drums oozing creosote, and the vocal hook laced with mescaline wooziness. I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from this duo, because this is a hell of a potent introduction to their sound. It feels like it's longer than it is, though it comes in at perfect single length. It's easy to get lost in the music's waves of guitars, raised up and out by the chorus. One of my favorite singles of the year so far.
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.