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Tucson's Lenguas Largas to Bring Swirling Psych-Rock to Tempe

Tucson favorites Lenguas Largas are making the trek up to the valley for a June 14 performance at the Yucca Tap Room with The Paul Collins Beat.

Lenguas Largas began as recording project between vocalist/guitarist Isaac Reyes and guitarist Ricky Shimo in 2009, and has since expanded to the unorthodox lineup that includes guitarist Mark Beef, baritone guitarist Tommy Melchionda, and drummers Brian Bolt, Dick Solomon, and Matt Rendon. (John Polle will be filling in for Melchionda at this show because of a hand injury.)

Remembering the band's origins, Reyes says, "When we started writing songs, it was mainly Ricky and I recording them [alone]. We started experimenting with recording and writing songs, and it just kind of fit that way. Some of the songs had -- not contradicting beats -- but it could be variation in there, and it worked out."

After the 2011 release of the group's now-classic self-titled debut LP on Recess Records, they increased their already prolific touring schedule, adding Rendon as a third drummer.

"Our buddy Matt came on tour with us and we came back, and we realized we couldn't have the band without him now," Reyes explains. "Plus, you know, we're a rolling party. Everywhere we go, it's just fun, hanging with our friends and shit.

"Maybe [our music is] punk because we've been in punk bands before, and we still have those same friends, and when we go on tour it's the same bands. Punk is everything, you know? I grew up playing punk, but I love all different kinds of music. And I feel like we can play whatever we can, and it'll sound good."

While Reyes isn't very helpful in describing Lenguas Largas' unique sound, that may very well be because it's elusive to easy description. Fitting superlatives such as "swirling," "hazy," and "spooky" only begin to scratch the surface. Despite the multi-drummer rhythmic foundation, there are zero hippie trappings amongst the murky psychedelic post-punk of Lenguas Largas. On Lenguas Largas and this summer's upcoming Come On In, the band resembles nothing more than James Brown and The Famous Flames on their way out of the mental hospital, circa 1964. Yeah, it's that good. Reyes' haunting voice, sometimes recalling Ritchie Valens or Marc Bolan when he doesn't sound like the "fuckin' ghost" he declared himself to be in the 2011 song "Entity Me," punctuates the schizoid R&B bashing of the rest of the band.

But the singer emphasizes how the different ways he pushes himself to create new songs and sounds.

"For a while I was just forcing myself to come up with anything," he says. "As a songwriter, you just get used to a certain way of doing things, and then it kind of loses its magic and you gotta find another way to write. You have to keep yourself motivated to do it and just by forcing myself to just come up with a stupid little riff or anything that just inspires the movement of a song. ... [Inspiration can come from] anything -- different things, like even a Seinfeld joke or something, you know?"

Lenguas Largas, along with The Paul Collins Beat, Numb Bats, The Sex, and The Urge, is scheduled to play Yucca Tap Room on Saturday, June 14.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Joshua Levine