Music News

Top Phoenix Music Stories of the Week

The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that you, the reader, might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants.

So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories from the week of July 9-13, including the sad news about Zach Booher's death while on tour with the Vans Warped Tour 2012, a musical tribute to Bastille Day, The Miniature Tigers' latest cover, and more.

Zach Booher of Pop-Punk Band While We're Up Killed in Car Accident

Zach Booher, 22, of Tempe pop-punk band While We're Up was killed in a car accident the morning of Sunday, July 8.

The band was touring as part of the Vans Warped Tour. The accident occurred in Wisconsin, while the band was en route to Shakopee, Minnesota.

According to a report from news station WQOW, in Eu Claire, Wisconsin, and a press release from the Wisconsin State Patrol, Booher was pronounced dead at the scene, all passengers were wearing seat belts, and alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the accident.

Booher's bandmates, Steven Rouk and Trevor McCoy, were taken to a nearby hospital and are reportedly recovering. Read the full story about the accident that claimed the life of Zach Booher.

--Jason P. Woodbury

Narcocorridista El Komander To Bring the Sound of the Drug War to Phoenix

Alfredo Ríos, also known as the Mexican corridista El Komander is leaving the AK-47 behind and is bringing his talents to the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on Saturday, July 21.

The Culiacán, Sinaloa-native is currently on tour for his latest album, Belico, which dropped yesterday.

Ever since his 2009 debut, El Komander has been a rising star in the ever-popular narcocorridos sub-genre. Drug ballads, as they're known, document the very real drug war waging south of the border. Earlier this year, Mexican officials released an updated death count related to drug violence; it now stands at 47,515, although that number is still disputed.

Read more about the modern-day Mexican Johnny Cash singing outlaw tunes.

--Anthony Sandoval

Miniature Tigers Cover The Beatles, Play With The Roots, and Uh, Do the Theme From Friends On New Mixtape

We know you've been sitting around asking yourself, "Man, when is Miniature Tigers going to follow up Mia Pharaoh with a mixtape of covers including the theme song from NBC's smash hit from the '90s, Friends?"

Well hold on to your pants, Ross and Rachel: the answer is now. The band released a 10-song record via their Tumblr page late last week titled Truffles II, and on it the band covers some of the best tunes of all time, like "Ram On" by Paul McCartney, "Baby It's You" by The Shirells, "I Should Have Known Better" by The Beatles, teams with The Spinto Band for a Harry Nilsson classic (and a half, squeezing in a little of the Nilsson-crooned hit "Everybody's Talking"), and the hardest working band in late night, The Roots, for their own "Lolita."

It's all pretty good -- okay, really good-- but call us crazy, the cover of The Rembrandts' jangle-pop sitcom theme is the best thing on the record. It plays out the way a great cover should, utilizing the recognizable melodies of the original, but twisting the key and changing the mood. With phased guitars, lush reverb, glistening guitars, and a haunting read of the songs lyrics (which when you listen with fresh ears are pretty damn solid for a theme song), the song is recast as a soulful, psychedelic gospel jam instead of television-ready pep. (Complete with the signature claps!)

Click here to download Miniature Tigers, "I'll Be There for You."

--Jason P. Woodbury

Vive la France! Five Songs in Celebration of Bastille Day

If you didn't catch on to all the strange excitement about Bastille Day, it's celebrated every July 14, so feel free to eat some cake and go raid a prison or something-- just leave your guillotine at home. La Fête Nationale celebrates the French Revolution on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

The French celebrate their independence much like Americans- with parties and lots and lots of fireworks. You can indulge your inner Francophone with some language lessons and music at the Musical Instrument Museum Saturday, July 14, with performances by Stephane Wrembel, Lafayette Escargot, James Gerber, and more.

In a discussion of French music, Frédéric Chopin may be the first artist to come to mind, but we're here to expand your knowledge of la musique française.

--Melissa Fossum

Win Tickets to Talib Kweli's "Prisoner of Conscious" Show at Club Red

Talib Kweli doesn't seem to like downtime. Last year he released the celebrated Gutter Rainbows, and Idle Worship, a nu-soul collaboration with singer-songwriter Res, teamed with Yasiin Bey (his partner in Black Star) for the Colbert Report, and took to the streets for Occupy Wall Street.

It's difficult to figure out exactly when Kweli's new record, Prisoner of Conscious, is set to come out (it's pegged for a "summer 2012" release), but here's what we know: the record's title plays on Kweli's "conscious hip-hop" tag, features RZA, Busta Rhymes, Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, Melanie Fiona, and more, and he's not waiting around for the album to drop to hit the road in support of it.

Kweli is stopping by Club Red in Tempe on Saturday, July 21, and we have a pair of tickets to giveaway courtesy of Move Forward Music. Want to win? Check out the details on how you can enter the contest.

--Jason P. Woodbury

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook