Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get it Mondays suck (we've read Garfield). But it means the start of a new week, which means a bunch of killer shows in and around Phoenix. And here are a few of the coolest, our top five must-see shows this week.
Imagine Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" as a political rallying cry instead of a sultry kiss-off, and you have an idea behind The Mynabirds' Generals. The title track on the band's second LP is a call to action so catchy in its delivery, and yet so vague in its politics, that it could be the soundtrack to either an Occupy rally or a PTA meeting.
Credit leader Laura Burhenn for making a record that seethes with personal and global discontent (see "Karma Debt" for a little of each) while never coming off as preachy or dated. Generals' rich and sinister tone is thanks in part to producer Richard Swift, who records bands when he's not busy as a solo artist or as the new keyboardist for The Shins. -- Christian Schaeffer
It took more than three whole years for Dax Riggs to release a proper follow-up to 2007's We Sing of Only Blood or Love, but next week Riggs comes back in full with Say Goodnight to the World. This album is an entirely louder and more menacing affair than Love -- if that's at all possible -- echoing Roy Orbison, the Stooges, Julian Cope and Deep Purple at various turns.
Also in those three years, Riggs has firmly planted himself in the Austin area and begun touring almost incessantly with bands like Queens of the Stone Age. Additionally, Riggs's varied musical background in previous projects Acid Bath and Deadboy & the Elephantmen brings in diverse crowds and nurtures newfound devotees. -- Craig Hlavaty
If you're looking for a hip-hop role model, Nas is a pretty good one. Detroit MC Elzhi (real name Jason Powers) borrowed the title for his breakthrough mixtape, Elmatic, from Nas' classic 1994 Illmatic. Elzhi knows his stuff, and borrowed title aside; he's more than capable of standing on his own. A former member of the under-appreciated (and J. Dilla-affiliated) Slum Village, Elmatic finds Elzhi ripping over jazzy breaks and scratching courtesy of Will Sessions.
Tracks like "The World is Yours" boast classic bravado and flow, and "One Love" features a bouncy, off-kilter sex parable with discordant upright bass samples. The album's centerpiece, "Detroit State of Mind," could well wind up in some Motor City automaker's commercial - that is except for Elzhi's brutal lyrics about hood-rats and toothless doofuses. Elzhi's already moved on though - his next release is set for this fall, and if he keeps on this path, he might write a record like Nas' 2012 release, Life is Good, in 20 years, too. -- Jason P. Woodbury
Phoenix fans of the Tempe-based outfit Eyes Set To Kill have another reason to love the balmy Valley winters: beyond a break from the heat, they keep the beloved band (fronted by sexy rockers Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez, both listed on Revolver's Hottest Chicks in Metal roster) in town and off the tour bus due to cold weather on the east coast, near-death experiences on icy roads, and four totaled vans.
The band's newest album, White Lotus, released in August 2011, represents the band's rebirth much like the metamorphosis of the said white flower. The young members have spent years concealing their true identity (in part because it was suppressed by labels, in part because they were still discovering their sound and concept), but now collectively feel like they are representing who they truly are as musicians.
Since 2003, Eyes Set To Kill have carved out a melodically metal niche in the local scene, with an emphasis on chugging guitars, tortured screams and Alexia's soaring vocals, ranging from delicate to aggressive. With more than one million views on their YouTube page, they are one of the local scene's major players and have a loyal underground fan base that sports tattoos of song lyrics -- even some of Alexia and Anissa's faces -- and follow them to shows around the country. -- Lauren Wise
Everyone loves an underdog, but even more, they love to be the underdog, even if the evidence points otherwise. The Tea Party paints itself as a grass-roots middle class movement, but it consists mostly of middleclass, white suburbanites, the biggest voting bloc available. This year's championship Miami Heat team was granted a kind of reverse fuck-the-haters comeback narrative, even though all the initial eye rolling from the press came about because their line-up was so ridiculously stacked.
Then again, it's understandable why Mississippi star Big K.R.I.T. doesn't completely own his dominance, even though his new album went straight to number-one on the Billboard rap charts. Hip-hop has always been about showing off, but in the depths of a recession brag-logic gets fuzzy: Kanye's egomaniacal antics made for some funny headlines, his mouth and One Percenter lyrics have earned him ire; Rick Ross took flack for being "The Man" he railed against; First name Drake. Last name Hated.
K.R.I.T. was vaulted to the top of the charts by a tight consecutive streak of quality mix tapes, including K.R.I.T. Wuz Here and Return of 4Eva, which paired his minimal rhymes with a high social intelligence quotient. His entirely self-produced new album Live from the Underground, shows K.R.I.T. hanging onto his underdog status, even though the record marks a significant departure both sonically and sales-wise.
K.R.I.T. has been at times rightly bestowed with the "conscious rap" tag, but he maintains club accessibility. The album's intro skit, "LFU300MA," skewers the music industry with the kind of weird voice-acting characterization that Atlanta masters Outkast perfected. Blues guitar god B.B. King sings the chorus on the shackles-to-freedom slave narrative "Praying Man," one of the album's select moments of soulful austerity. -- Chase Kamp
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