Local Wire

The 10 Best Phoenix Bands Under 21

Whether they were adding a bit of flair to an old favorite, taking the scene by storm, or continuing their march to the top, 2013 was a big year for Valley musicians under 21.

Here's 10 of our favorites who spent most of 2013 in the all-ages sections of their own shows.

Sara Robinson: You know that movie where the teenager wows all the veteran musicians at an open mic and they all decide to drop their current projects to work with her? That's Sara Robinson's real life. Robinson and the Midnight Special headlined Apache Lake Music Festival and opened for Phoenix royalty Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers; with a record on the way, this bluesy act should only get stronger next year.

Sister Lip: Sure, they aren't all 21, but get over it: Our math has the high-schooler bassist and the 23-year-old pianist canceled out, leaving the whole band eligible. Whatever their average age, Sister Lip is racking up fans and would-be producers while doing their jazzy thing all over the Valley. While the ladies weigh their recording options, they maintain one of the most popular residencies in the Valley, Mondays at Long Wongs.

Aaron Hjalmarson: Aaron Hjalmarson's drums always blend seamlessly into the music, which is probably why he's the main percussionist for four bands as well as a regular collaborator with Phoenicians like Emby Alexander. Hjalmarson turned 21 on October 31, just after opening for The Meat Puppets with The Haymarket Squares, so he won't be making this list again. If things keep going this way, he probably won't mind.

Aydin Immortal of Wolvves: The rest of Wolvves is now of age, but Aydin Immortal is still not quite "having too much fun" legally. That's irrelevant to this 20-year old punk, whose attitude is a match for his music. When asked for an interview Immortal set his terms and was unwilling to budge, because--well, Wolvves is going to sound good regardless. Playing backyard house shows and dates at the Crescent alike, Wolvves is a punk band to look out for; Immortal is a force in the Phoenix music scene that is going to be felt in a big way.

Andrew Pedro of Requiem: Requiem has grown up a lot in two years, maturing into a four-piece ska-core tornado rolling in from the Gila River Reservation. A large part of that musical maturation is thanks to their youngest member, Andrew Pedro. The 19-year-old never leaves a show dry, sweating up a storm while playing some of the fastest drums in Phoenix.

Justin "The Hoon" Waldrop of Skull Drug: Skull Drug is one of Phoenix's heaviest punk bands, and that's due in large part to the riffs of Justin "The Hoon" Waldrop. The Hoon, nephew of lead singer Evan Williams, gives the band a metal edge with his guitar solos and mid-set headbanging. At 19 Waldrop has already opened for the likes of The Dead Kennedys; with their killer single, "Sleeping In," he and Skull Drug are destined for big things.

The Linecutters: The Linecutters have only played four shows in their short career, but they know the way to Carnegie Hall and this list--practice. These three 16-year-olds are green as they come, but The Linecutters have managed to impress even the crustiest punks since their debut. When co-frontman and guitarist Marce Festa is able to match the natural stage presence of bass player Jett Smith good thing are ahead, so long as their homework is turned in.

Stewart Stephens: Stewart Stephens is a twangy 21-year-old playing country music with folk, blues, and punk influences--or maybe that's just the way Stewart presents himself. He only turned 21 in August, but watching him in a dusty Phoenix backyard this summer felt like being transported back in time. Stephens has the raspy voice of a man far older than himself, accentuated well by his washboard-playing bandmate, Garyn Klasek.

The Crown Victoria Vandalism Committee: The 19-year-olds sitting on this punk committee, Dylan Starks and Mikey "Critical' Xero, are a ton of fun live. Catchy originals like "A Dorner on Every Corner" as well as a cache of acoustic pop-punk covers are carried by Starks' vocal range and Xero's melodic instincts.

Preacher Beak: 19-year-old Lucas Souto, Shade Sikes, and 17-year-old Andrew Attilio make up Surprise-based psychedelians Preacher Beak. In just one year the band has released an EP, Foot in the Fodder, and played with Phoenix staples like Wooden Indian and No Longer Together.

Top 40 Songs with Arizona in the Title 9 Tips for Using A Fake ID To Get Into A Show Why Indie Band Oregon Trail Is The Hardest Game Ever The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time

Like Up on the Sun on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest local music news and conversation.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses