The Five Best Local Songs of February 2020

Veronica Everheart brings the pop-rock hooks.
Veronica Everheart brings the pop-rock hooks. Alyssa Song
The Valley's music scene is always moving and churning at its own pace, with bands and artists continuously putting out new music, from sentimental alt-rock to shocking death metal.

We’ve collected some of the recent local music offerings that make the scene shine. Now turn 'em way up.

Veronica Everheart — "Sour"

Veronica Everheart kicks off her new single by admitting, "I'm not used to attention / So don't be suspicious if I act strange." It's an apt encapsulation of this Phoenix dynamo. She has the self-awareness and sincerity essential for any capable artist, and she's a genuine pro at laying bare truly poignant emotional musings. And how Everheart does it is equally as dazzling — the sort of slightly fuzzy, mostly shimmery alt-rock hooks that might draw comparisons to Soccer Mommy or Phoebe Bridgers. But Everheart's got her own star quality, and she'll just have to get used to all the glowing praise.

click to enlarge Playboy Manbaby will be there. - JIM LOUVAU
Playboy Manbaby will be there.
Jim Louvau
Playboy Manbaby — "Horses"

When they started roughly a decade ago, Playboy Manbaby were brash young upstarts making weird alt-rock perfect for our sun-soaked metropolis. While they may be older and more mature, they’ve managed to retain that same energy and spirit with their latest release, Debbie From Zumba. Case in point: "Horses," a brash, extra kinetic punk jam that illustrates life in the 21st century (i.e., deeply depressing, mostly underwhelming). Yet the band brilliantly ride the line between the manic and insightful, and the song hits a real sweet spot that's both thrilling and unnerving. Who says maturity has to be a buzzkill?

KREIGN — "Dismembered Quietly"

There's a whole underbelly of great electronic music across the Valley, with artists experimenting with everything from darkwave to dance music. But there are few acts like KREIGN. The duo of Ryan Hutman and Xiån Austin are responsible for a blend of EDM with equal parts depth and brashness. Their entire self-titled debut is a worthy entry, but it’s "Dismembered Quietly" that stands out. It’s a dense mix of over-sized bass and John Carpenter-esque synths that are perfect for either a midnight rave or a Blade reboot (Are you listening, Kevin Feige?). But it's also the little touches, like the crispness of the instrumentation, or the narrative-esque build of the soundscape, that proves KREIGN are on the bleeding edge. Also, huge points for the sick headwear.

8OhEight — "PublicServiceAnnouncement"

Phoenix's own 8OhEight calls himself an audio engineer before a producer (and it's right there on Twitter, so it’s official), which indicates the sort of obsessive attention to detail and overall aural mastery that he applies to each of his beats. There's plenty of great sonic creations on his brand-new The Duck tape — give a spin to "Transcend" — but it’s ultimately "PublicServiceAnnouncement" that shines brightest. MF DOOM's verbose wordplay might be the immediate star, but it's that blend of subtle percussion and topsy-turvy carnival music that fosters some deeply unsettling emotional undercurrents. This is hip-hop made by a mad scientist in a DIY laboratory underground.

FLUIDS — "Chunked"

We offer the following observation without any sense of hyperbole: "Chunked," by Phoenix death metal band FLUIDS, is the absolute scariest thing we’ve ever heard. This barrage of demonic growling and chainsaw guitars elicited a genuine sense of dread. It’s difficult not to buy into the nerdy air of theatricality that makes these more than mere songs.

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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan