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Valley Sludge Rockers TwinGiant "Ain't Trying to Get Paid, Ain't Trying to Get Laid"

The men of TwinGiant aren't asking for a lot. They want some beers, and they wanna turn the amps up (way up), and tell a cosmic yarn about "the space hobo," a character they created when imagining a theme that would conceptually link the band's songs.

Huddled around a table at the Palo Verde Lounge in Tempe, drummer Jeff Ramon, bassist/vocalist Jarrod LeBlanc, and guitarists David Natkin and Nikos Mixas, laugh about the "space hobo" idea, saying it started off as a joke and somehow became the lyrical focus.

They call the Palo Verde their drinking hole, so it makes sense that Friday, June 8, they'll load in their amps and speaker cabinets and celebrate the release of their debut LP, Mass Driver, on 180-gram vinyl.

For the band, vinyl just makes sense. "CDs are an inferior product," Mixas says. "I'm sort of the elder statesmen of the group, so I've always loved vinyl. There's just something about putting on a record and just holding it, looking at the art, reading the lyrics."

Plus, there's the added bonus of the record sounding better as you turn up the stereo, as opposed to the brittle crackle of CDs. And Mass Driver, with its twin lead guitars recalling classic rock inspirations like Thin Lizzy, and thundering, fuzzy riffs that recall the collective inspirations like The Melvins and Neurosis. Ramon's drums shift from doomy hi-hat slowride to twisted, knotty time-shifts. LeBlanc howls deeply, and Mixas and Natkin lock and diverge from each other.

"It's all organic," Natkin says.

"We're not trying to be any one thing," Ramon adds.

The band's scored opening slots with bands like Intronaut, Saviours, Thrones, and Church of Misery, and they're grateful for the attention. But it's a simple plan as far as LeBlanc is concerned -- they just want to do their thing.

"We ain't trying to get paid," he says, his Cajun accent betraying roots in Louisiana. "We ain't trying to get laid."

TwinGiant is scheduled to perform Friday, June 8, at Palo Verde Lounge in Tempe. The show is free.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.