Now that Coachella is over with and done, the various musicians that played the attention-grabbing annual festival are hitting the road again – and many of 'em are headed our way. Artists and acts like Superorganism, CHVRCHES, Soccer Mommy, and FKJ will make their first post-Coachella stops at concert venues across the Valley this week.
Other bands and performers due to in town over the next few nights include The Hooten Hallers, Smino, Damian McGinty, Los Straitjackets, and Madchild.
Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts happening in the Valley this week. And for even more live music happening around town, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Soccer MommyMonday, April 22
The Rebel Lounge
For Sophie Allison, it all starts with the guitar. The singer-songwriter, who performs with a band as Soccer Mommy, was playing the instrument by kindergarten. Even now, when she begins working on new songs, she picks up the guitar. First comes the riff or chord progression, then melody and finally lyrics. Listeners, however, have been responding fervently to all of it, since Soccer Mommy's “chill but kinda sad” lo-fi recordings landed on critics’ best lists well before her debut studio album, Clean, dropped this past March.
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At 21, Allison is able to distill the sound of, well, being 21 — its uncertainty and infatuation, its open wounds and preternatural savvy. “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog,” Allison sings in sweet, blasé tones on “Your Dog,” whose title takes on the Stooges without a backward glance. As a post-millennial, Allison draws inspiration from a not-so-distant past that's just out of reach, since she wasn't conscious for it: the mid- to late-’90s, filtered through Daria memes and Hole with the knowledge that Courtney Love continues to live through this. Katie Moulton
The Hooten HallersMonday, April 22
Yucca Tap Room in Tempe
In explaining The Hooten Hallers, it's best to begin with what this three-piece band are not. Despite frequent media references to the contrary, they are not a hillbilly band. They are from Missouri, not Appalachia. "You know, I don't know," says drummer Andy Rehm. "We are from a section of rural America, but I don't think any of us really identifies with the term hillbilly all that much. It's not a shameful term, but we were not raised in a traditional rural setting. More specifically, in an Appalachian setting, which is where the term, I think, comes from. The hillbilly word is strangely used." If anything, The Hooten Hallers' sound begins with Delta blues and builds upon that foundation, adding elements of everything from folk, country, and rock to soul, jazz, and marches to create a distinctly flamboyant sound. The music can be dark and lonely, wild and raucous, or just as easily breezy and carefree. "Really, the roots of the music we play come from that rural culture, that African American culture in the South," Rehm says. Glenn BurnSilver
SminoMonday, April 22
Smino’s persona is authentic, making him an outlier in a sea of copycat rap. At 27 years old, he’s got an air of self-awareness and maturity that betrays his youth. He makes no attempt to hide his St. Louis drawl and embraces his identity as a black man and a millenial. “I make music for my people.” he told Mass Appeal in Day Zero, a short documentary about his return to his native St. Louis. “I’m just speaking for me and for us, you know what I’m saying?”
It's difficult to describe the music of Smino. He understands chords and how to compose harmonies which is a rare skill in hip-hop. Then, he marries that talent with a fairly impressive lyrical prowess. This makes for music that falls somewhere between hip-hop and R&B, but even the rapper himself doesn’t attempt to categorize his sound. “It's dirty disco, it's futuristic funk, it's revolutionary R&B, feel-me passionate pop, whatever you want to call it.” he told Complex Magazine in a 2017 interview. His sophomore album, blkswn, released that same year, was highly reviewed and is an excellent introduction to the variety Smino has to offer.
The relatively new artist is known for toying with self-harmonization and double entendres in a way that hasn’t been seen in this generation. His single “Anita,” featuring T-Pain, has a bounce to it that makes the hook contagious, but with a twist. Yes, Anita is the name of the femme du jour, but the realization that he’s begging for her affection by drawing out the syllables to make the moniker sound like “I-Need-Her” is the kind of unexpected linguistic trapezing that sets this artist apart. Alma Schofield
CHVRCHESMonday, April 22
The Van Buren
The electronic pop trio CHVRCHES are on tour supporting their 2018 album, Love is Dead, with a stop pencilled in for Phoenix at The Van Buren. With their bright synth melodies, danceable percussion, and vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s incredible range and delivery, it’s a wonder how the group’s catchy hooks have only recently broke into the charts; their latest track with Marshmello, “Here With Me,” went to the top of the U.K. dance chart, their first number one with a single. We hope a solo hit is on the way as well. Julian Hernandez
Damian McGintyMonday, April 22, and Tuesday, April 23
The Listening Room
If you tuned into the third season of Glee, you might've witnessed the talents of Irish-born singer Damian McGinty. If not, it's worth seeking out any of the 18 episodes where he played foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan, especially the one where he sang “Bein' Green," the melancholy tune made famous by Kermit the Frog. McGinty impressed Glee fans and critics alike with his vocal range and talents performing the song, which one writer described as a "simple, clear-voiced ode to being an outsider [that] rang true and was hauntingly beautiful.”
The 26-year-old talent has been wowing folks with his talents for more than a decade now, whether it was from winning the Oxygen reality competition program The Glee Project (which earned him the aforementioned role as Flanagan) or during his four-year stint as a teen with touring vocal ensemble Celtic Thunder. His self-titled solo EP from 2012 was also a modest success, ranking on the iTunes top 10 and topping the charts in his homeland. This week, McGinty will perform on back-to-back nights at central Phoenix venue The Listening Room. Tickets are $35 and both gigs get going at 8 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman
Los StraitjacketsTuesday, April 23
The Rhythm Room
Fans of Los Straitjackets may have first come for the novelty, but they’ve stayed for the sound — a furious instrumental assault of twangy surf, hard rockabilly, and psychedelic garage. Oh, the Nashville, Tennessee, band still sport the Mexican wrestler masks and Chuck Taylors, and they still know a marketing angle. (Can you say “a wipe-out instrumental cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’”?) But despite being packaged with luchador trading cards, the shtick takes on albums like 2009’s The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets and 2017’s What's So Funny About Peace Love And…, which feature a mix of instrumentals both subdued and lively. And believe us, they’re a lively bunch, particularly their ultra-energetic track “Kawanga!” If you can’t dance to Los Straitjackets, get out of the way, or prepare to be surf-punk body-slammed. Roy Kasten
FKJTuesday, April 23
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
French multi-instrumentalist FKJ is currently in the midst of an extensive world tour, including a lengthy run of performances in the U.S. at various festivals and venues (he just wowed the crowd at both weekends of this year’s Coachella). For those unfamiliar with this relatively new name on the scene, FKJ — short for French Kiwi Juice, in case you didn’t — is a multitalented one-man band whose output is consistently riveting and is a mix of nu jazz, New French house, R&B, and electronic elements. Catch him on Tuesday night at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe … if you can score tickets to the sold-out show on the secondhand market, that is. Jeff Strowe.
Chris CohenTuesday, April 23
California singer-songwriter Chris Cohen’s music oozes with the bright sunshine that his Southern California hometown is known for. After having performed and recorded with bands such as Deerhoof and The Curtains, Cohen released his first solo album, Overgrown Path, in 2012. With his self-titled 2019 album, Cohen explores the aftermath of his family breaking apart, while looking to the future with potential. Phoenix rockers Pro Teens and songwriter Max Knouse join Cohen. Julian Hernandez
MadchildTuesday, April 23
Club Red in Mesa
Madchild has been in the hip-hop game for going on 20 years. Born Shane Bunting, the Canadian rapper found great success in both the United States and his home country. He is a former member of the group Swollen Members and began his solo career as Madchild back in 2012, after hitting a low point battling his addiction with Oxycontin. For him, music became a steady creative outlet and touring a therapeutic practice. Madchild’s tackled his issues on his two most recent releases, 2017’s The Darkest Hour and this year's Demons, the latter of which features tracks where he grapples with his addictive personality and his struggle with substance abuse. You’re likely to hear songs from both albums being performed during his show on Tuesday night at Club Red in Mesa. Stevie Stone, Iton, and Phil Mauro are also on the bill. Riley Cowing
SuperorganismWednesday, April 24
London-based band Superorganism have amassed copious amounts of acclaim since “Something for Your M.I.N.D.,” their first single released in early 2017. The track was posted on Soundcloud with the message, “We are Superorganism. We are in Maine/London. We are DIY. We are eight and multiplying. We have become sentient.” Soon after, the song made its way to Frank Ocean’s and Ezra Koenig’s respective Beats 1 radio shows and even Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. Internet buzz escalated quickly, and a year later, in March 2018, they released their self-titled debut.
The band incorporates sounds into their songs that may seem experimental, like cans cracking, a cash register opening, underwater sounds and even liquids poured into cups, to give a few examples. Their sonic experimentation comes from influences that have done the same yet kept their sound pop. While visually Superorganism uses internet culture, especially memes, as the basis for their music videos, the band doesn’t consider itself as the soundtrack to the culture. Instead, their music captures the band’s own view of the world, which is sometimes comedic.
Although only seven band members perform live, the other band member, Robert Strange — otherwise known as Blair Everson — designs all of the band’s music videos and staging. Strange portrays the band using colorful and playful imagery that sometimes comes off as kitsch, mostly because, as he states, it helps to overstimulate the audience in the same manner the music does. Bryan Yalta
Kabarett: A Strange Show For Strange TimesWednesday, April 24
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If only there was a musical and visual show that matched the off-kilter tone and verve of the world today. Oh wait, there is – Kabarett: A Strange Show For Strange Times. On Wednesday, April 24, Valley Bar will host a very peculiar evening of sight and sounds. All of the music has been selected and arranged by Christopher Norby and will be performed by a group of Phoenix artists, including Rocco Belsito, Henri Benard, Corey Gomez, Zach Lewis, Megyn Neff, Christopher Norby, Monique Reina, and Kristilyn Woods. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $8. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts
ExhumedThursday, April 25
Club Red in Mesa
Exhumed started in San Jose, California when vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey, the deathgrind band's sole original member, was just 15 years old. Rather than following the trends of the genre at the time, Exhumed have remained faithful to the older tenets of that music for the run of their career so far. Playing in a scene separate from the popular thrash scene in the Bay Area in the '90s, Exhumed and a handful of other acts helped to keep death metal alive. Over the past two decades, Exhumed have released eight different studio albums, including 2017’s Death Revenge. This week, they’ll blow out the sound system at Club Red in Mesa. Locals metal acts like Lago, SaintBreaker, Ironkill, and Meatcleaver Amputation will open. Tom Murphy