Local Wire

Tempe's Numb Bats Deliver Fast, Ecstatic, and Cheeky Post-Punk Surf Rock

It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, writer Yezmin Villarreal examines Tempe trio Numb Bats.

Isn't music sometimes just about having fun? Although it might be an arguable point among the more cynical circles among us, fun seems the overriding raison d'être within the Tempe music scene and especially with local band Numb Bats.

The post-punk/pop/surf trio, which includes onetime North Dakota members Mo Neuharth and Emily Hobeheidar, will engage even the most austere concertgoer with their distortion-filled cheeky anthems. Plus, they sell T-shirts with their band name spelled out on a doughnut.

Numb Bats doesn't sound like North Dakota but shares the latter band's attitude of wielding both fun and candor in their music. Not only are their melodies catchy, but their lyrics distinguish them with quips like the ones found on the song "Angry Woman."

"I got an angry woman / She wakes me up every morning / But I don't want to be woken up / And I don't want to go to work / I just want to do what I want to do," sings Neuharth and Hobeheidar in unison after the song starts with spacey surf-rock riffs and peppy drum beats backed by bassist Isaac Parker.

Who doesn't agree with such lyrics?

The jam is on the split cassette Numb Bats shares with Petty Things, released by Rubber Brother Records, and is appropriately named NUMBTHINGS.

Hobeheidar and Neuharth may blanche at the comparison, but Numb Bats' dual lead vocals invoke female-fronted indie rock acts like Le Tigre. Sarcastic (and sometimes serious) lyrics and sound effects accompany the fast, ecstatic songs.

Some people also might compare Numb Bats to popular surf rock groups like Best Coast, but the Tempe band is more versatile than that. With songs like "Fuck It," they make fans out of first-time listeners, from the guitar and bass riffs causing damage in unison, to vocals fighting for space over each other (sometimes incomprehensibly at certain moments), and with lyrics like "I don't want to go to pay my bills / Fuck it!"

Here's hoping a full Numb Bats release comes out this year, since they've been performing new unreleased songs at their recent shows.

Check out more bands and artists that you need to hear in 2014.

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Yezmin Villarreal