Top Five Must-See Shows This Week

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.

Monday, July 23: Summer Slaughter Tour 2012: Featuring Cannibal Corpse @ Venue Scottsdale

Buffalo, New York-based death-metal legend Cannibal Corpse has been going strong for some 23 years now, longer than many of its younger fans have likely been alive. That, however, is the beauty of that musical style and of Cannibal Corpse in particular.

As long as there is a new, fresh crop of teenagers hell-bent on exorcising some demons and pissing off their parents, the band will live forever. As the quintet's name indicates, this is an act that has never shied away from exploring the grim, gory, and gruesome in its lyrics, and it favors a sound that is purposefully ear-shatteringly loud and lightning fast.

With so many former Warped Tour types now trying to imitate death metal, though, it's refreshing to see legends of the genre carrying it out properly: no holds barred and ugly as ever. --Arielle Castillo

Tuesday, July 24: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ Crescent Ballroom

The Dirty Dozen got their start in 1977 from the remnants of the then Tornado Brass Band -- which was previously known as the Hurricane Brass Band before being known as Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band. The band released their first album, My Feet Can't Fail Me Now, in 1984 after years of playing gigs in New Orleans, as well as some abroad. Over a dozen albums and numerous lineup shifts later, The Dirty Dozen are still gigging rather regularly in 2011 -- as they should be.

The Dirty Dozen are one of the most influential brass bands to emerge from New Orleans, being one of the first brass bands to incorporate elements of funk, R&B and bebop with the traditional New Orleans style.

There's just no escaping the allure of a brass band -- especially here in the desert. It's simply not everyday a band like the Dirty Dozen comes to town with their rambunctious style -- a mixture of modern funk and R&B with the more traditional New Orleans style. --Michael Lopez

Tuesday, July 24: St. Ranger and The Cigs @ Trunk Space

The Cigs are a mysterious sort of band, whose online presence is deliberately scarce, offering nothing much beyond a spartan Facebook profile and a BandCamp page hosting their debut (?) LP, Full Flavor.

Championed by deejay River Jones (of the River Jones Music Label) on his "National Local" show on KUKQ, the record has quickly and steadily gained traction among listeners. Songs like minimalist New Wave head-bobber "I Left My Burrito on Broadway" and the faux hip-hop of "Sexy Cop" charm with sarcastic vibes, while "How Come You Fell" achieves the kind of blissful melancholy pop the everyone dug from Broken Social Scene's You Forgot it In People.

The Cigs are joined by St. Ranger, a band described by New Times' Chase Kamp as "the most promising young band in Phoenix," whose Life Coach has proven to be one of 2012's most ecstatic highlights. "Plenty of beautiful Grizzly Bear/Animal Collective group harmonies," Kamp writes, "with the expressive syncopated percussion that lesser indie-pop projects don't realize is key to those bands' impact." -- Jason P. Woodbury

Wednesday, July 25: Kepi Ghoulie @ Meat Market Vintage

Kepi Ghoulie's bottomless servings of sugary sweet musical candy make him the ultimate pop-punk confectioner. Though he hails from Sacramento, California -- hours north of pop-punk's ground zero -- he shares a kinship with such SoCal progenitors as Descendents, Redd Kross, and The Vandals. He got his start in the mid-'80s, fronting longstanding horror-inflected punk-pop act Groovie Ghoulies until their 2007 break-up (after his divorce from guitarist Roach Ghoulie).

Since their dissolution, Kepi's vacillated between solo and electric/band performances (his local show's one of the latter). The music's followed suit with jangly acoustic strumming and effervescent folk-punk displacing some of the boisterous hook-lined punk. Much of the allure lies in Kepi's melodic gift, which channels the straightforward simplicity of the Ramones and Buddy Holly over lyrics brimming with the same artless innocence and enthusiasm.

Whether he's singing about two X chromosomes behaving like a "Brain Scrambling Device" or heralding rock 'n' roll's rainbow of "Freaks on Parade," Kepi's youthful glee infuses the songs with enough effortless charm and geeky wit to transcend their modest means. Though there's a certain banality to the songs, they're so lightweight and fly by with such alacrity, like salted cashews, you can easily down them by the handful. --Chris Parker

Thursday, July 26: Giant Giant Sand @ Rhythm Room

Howe Gelb doesn't like to fight fate.

The Tucson-based singer/songwriter says that destiny played a big role in the birth of Tucson, the new record from Gelb's Giant Giant Sand collective. The extra "giant" was added to signify the group's swelling ranks, which includes longtime collaborators Thoger T. Lund, Peter Dombernowski, Anders Pederesen and Nikolaj Heyman, young Tucsonans like Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan, and Jon Villa, and Phoenix-based vocalist Lonna Kelley, among other players on strings and horns.

Download: "Forever and a Day," from Tucson

"It's sort of a dual celebration and homage of Tucson," Gelb says. "I've spent a lot of my life in Denmark and Spain and Austria, and here I am, really loving making music in Tucson again. I'm just glad that the flood delivered me there way back when."

Gelb spoke with Phoenix New Times about putting together "the big band," about his moving tribute to Gabrielle Giffords, and about his "brother Rainer," and about the Roman Polanski film and acid trip that birthed the Tucson music scene. (Read the full Howe Gelb interview.) -- Jason P. Woodbury

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