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
The Sink or Swim - "Arizona"
The Sink or Swim have just unloaded their first single of 2017, and like the non-stop string of singles from last year, "Arizona" proves to be another engaging tune with hooks for miles and miles. This time they switch up the sound a bit and that is almost certainly due to this being their first recording with Derek Rossman. If you've seen their shows in the last six months or so, you've seen Rossman setting the stage on fire with his guitar and often breaking a string here or there. This has been a live favorite live tune for a while and the recorded version shows a slightly different side of the band. Sure it's still awesome indie rock, but there's a bit more low-key swagger going on here making it slightly more seductive, while nowhere near the neurotic edge of their previous singles, much to its benefit. If The Sink or Swim had been missing anything previous to Rossman's entrance, this song is proof positive that they are now complete. "Arizona" is as much a celebration of the band's adopted home as it is a deft rock song that conveys all the heat, sunshine and beauty found here without really touching on the atmospheric oppression, though implied. Listeners must be warned that you may need corrective surgery after listening to this tune a few times to remove the chorus from your mind as it occurs to you at ever uniquely Arizona moment you have from day to day. Stay tuned for further releases from this band; they are on a roll right now with no stops on the horizon.
Sunset Voodoo - "Another Round"
Last week at a very special show at Crescent Ballroom, Sunset Voodoo releases a new single along with three other local bands, including The Real Fits, The Hourglass Cats and The Sink or Swim. "Another Round" is the fine new single from Sunset Voodoo. This is the second song in the last couple weeks that I notice Curtis Douglas at Red Mountain Studios is
Huckleberry - "Tether"
"Tether" is the second single Huckleberry has released in anticipation for their forthcoming full length album Natural Selector and it is a mindblower. Forget all the alt-country and Americana tags on this one, they simply do not apply. Okay, there is a steel guitar in their somewhere, but I figure that was just because it's a staple band since it serves virtually no purpose in the scheme of this exciting indie rock track. Huckleberry is authentically rocking out on this one with what is possibly their most aggressive song to date. After the first single of "Working Backwards" it seemed like they were going to cruise forward on the sound established on their three previous records, but this song proves that may not be the case at all. To Huckleberry's credit I don't think Sonic Youth or Pavement ever had a steel guitar or lap steel in the mix of any of their records, so they've got that on them—otherwise this is tried and true indie material, as though they had excavated a time capsule from 1992 and found this to play with. It's certainly the most arresting song they've released, so much so that you very nearly forget that it's Huckleberry playing. It is Huckleberry playing, doing it damn good in fact, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Natural Selector is going to be their most exciting album yet, based on the inclusion of this song alone.
I literally never know what to expect with
Painting Fences - "Shell"
It's been a year since Painting Fences released their masterful debut Through Glass and it took me far too long to catch up with that one. A year on it's still one of my favorite albums of last year and also one I've continued playing heavily in this one. I guess I'll still be playing that when they release their Prelude to the Fall EP later this Spring and "Shell" is the first single from that release. I have a feeling every song on the three track release will be a single, but I'm willing to wait to find out. Ever since finally catching on to what Painting Fences
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