No Volcano — "Blackout"
No Volcano's Who Saved The Party was in my top five of The 25 Best Albums Made By Phoenix Bands last year, and I am beyond excited that they will release their sophomore effort before the end of 2016. They dropped the first single from the album, "Blackout," last week, with an amazing animated video by Jason Willis. There is already a promise of the next single and yet another video before the forthcoming album, Dead Horse Power is released. No Volcano rocks out on this one, and they bring back the power of proto-punk influences throughout. Somehow, the band is able to evoke that energy, that building zeitgeist that led to punk with the likes of the Stooges' tribal rhythms and Television's art rock restraint. The furious drums of Chris Kennedy open "Blackout" and immediately grab you by the throat, driving you right into the brilliant guitars and finally the poetic artistry of Jim Andreas' vocals. Edgy, neurotic, driven, the song pulses with a life all of its own. It's smart art rock for anyone that loves bands born from suburban garages. One thing is for certain, "Blackout" is going to be stuck in my head for weeks, at least until they release the video for "Summer Home." Dead Horse Power will be released November 26 at Crescent Ballroom with Less Pain Forever and The Father Figures.
Sunset Voodoo — "Got Me Bad"
Sunset Voodoo released one of the finest EPs of last year with Strange Things; then, they kicked off the new year with a promising single called "Sweet Release." Since then, they've been a little quiet. Clearly, they've been working on songwriting and recording, and the first hint of this is "Got Me Bad," which they just released last week. Once more, this is a straight-ahead alt-rock sound with a catchy, laid-back groove. It threatens to rock out here and there, but the restraint is mighty and it keeps your ears attuned to it. One thing that for sure is that Sunset Voodoo's sound is expanding rapidly, and it's an exciting, transformative time. Sunset Voodoo came on as a blues-heavy rock band at the start, and they have steadily refined their sound since the release of their debut in 2014. The song itself seems to be about a love that is unlike the others, one that makes you a better person. It probably is the finest-balanced song they've ever released, and I can't wait to hear the record that features "Got Me Bad" and "Sweet Release," because it's going to be an entirely different beast than what Sunset Voodoo has released before.
Saddles — "Tarot"
It's been over a year since Saddles released their single "Comfort" and more than three since they released the magnificent Shell Art album, which still stands to this day as one of the finest local records released in the past decade. Since the release of that
The Darts — "Revolution"
The Darts are a brand-new garage rock group featuring Nicole Laurenne (the Love Me Nots, Zero Zero, Motobunny), Christina Nunez (the Love Me Nots, Casual Encounters), Rikki Styxx (the Two Tens), and Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon). They recently dropped a self-titled, six-song EP online, and it's a wonderfully aggressive barrage of guitars and vocals in the red, with everything fuzzed out to the max. It's a pretty cathartic record from beginning to end, but my favorites seem to be the shorter numbers like "Take What I Need" and this song, "Revolution." The energy here is visceral, unhinged, and possessed by a rapid drive. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks of the year. Tonight, Thursday, October 13, the Darts will be throwing a release party for their EP at Yucca Tap Room with support from local band Shovel and LA's Hellflowers.
The Glides — "In The Night"
The Glides have been on my radar for most of the year, and when they released "In The Night" about a month ago, the song completely got my attention. It's an interesting combination of blues rock and grunge that recalls the vibe that I dug about Seattle band Mother Love Bone. It has a touch of metal dressing here and there, most noticeably in the vocals that occasionally sport an occasional Ozzy fixation. Near the two-minute