Post-Independence Marathon – New Music from Arizona
Post-Independence Marathon – New Music from Arizona

Post-Independence Marathon – New Music from Arizona

Continuing our post-independence marathon collecting music from all 50 states – this one focusing on Arizona! We also got mixes from AlabamaLouisiana mix by Guns of the Seneca as well as a roundup of mixes from Mass, Philly, New York and Virginia.
Synopsis: Call it emotional pop, minimal art, “dreamy dream dream,” whatever (Phoenix New Times)
Few bands are as good as Kolezanka at picking a name that closely reflects a nature of their music. Most dictionaries define the meaning of this Polish word as “colleague” but it may also mean non-gendered “friend” as well as “girlfriend” and “female friend”.
As band’s founder/singer Kristina Moore noted in an interview with Phoenix New Times

It’s like a friend — a female friend, because the Polish language is gendered — who you kick it with, but it’s not your best friend,” Moore says. “They don’t know a lot of things about you. Maybe you go drinking, or you meet up sometimes, whatever.

This non-gendered friend sure have a lot to get off their chest – while music itself can be described as dreamy and ethereal, the lyrics paint a darker picture, that of relationships frayed and destroyed (“You’re just a fixture / Just a cog in the wheel” sings Moore on “Space Issues”).

Members of Kolezanka are also involved in other projects – Moore is a keyboard player for ROAR, “60s inspired pop ensemble” and guests on recordings by self-proclaimed “drone folk” band Willetta while Ark drums for Willetta and also produces solo records.

Rabbit Snare / The Order of the Rabbit’s Foot
Synopsis: Music for the occulted and Thin Lizzy fanatics.
What difference does a year make…case in point – a trajectory that took this Arizona act from fairly unassuming/standard home recordings on Montauk EP to its current and much darker/heavier/drony state as displayed on Rituals EP (“simple but heavy” as liner notes state). As Bear, the formation’s sole member, explains

I started writing these songs after listening to the latest album by the band Trochee Trochee called “Vigil on Swan”. I was left floored by it – the prose, the instrumentation and arrangement, everything. I felt my stomach sink into my shoes as my eyes began to tear up. I wanted to write something like it – songs remembering a past through trauma and confusion. I recorded everything myself in a tiny room using old 1/2″ tape I had lying around – a lot of the arrangements were made up on the spot as I navigated through the haze and dust.

Alison’s Halo
Synopsis: Space + Noise + Volume = Love
Part of Arizona Beautiful Noise scene, AH represented American response to shoegaze in the early 90s. After producing a string of cassette demos and EPs and touring with the likes of Ultra Vivid Scene and Curve, the band bowed out in the late 90s with “Eyedazzler 1992-1996” compilation documenting their output.

The band’s secret weapon is Catherine Cooper’s vocals, which bring to mind Lush’s Miki Berenyi. While often buried beneath layers of noise, as shoegazers are wont to do, there’s both a sweetness and an ache in her voice that pulls you in. And while Alison’s Halo can certainly conjure up a lovely whirlwind of noise, their finest moments are when they dial the noise down a bit and let the melodies — and Cooper’s voice — work their magic.
Jason Morehead/Opus Zine

In 2009, band’s founders Catherine and Adam Cooper reactivated the project – “Dozen” made it onto a Cherry Red box set “Still in a Dream” while reissued Eyedazzler comp appeared on Manufactured Recordings in 2017.

The Darts
Synopsis:  All-grrrrl garage-psych-rock supergroup

Girl-group harmonies, fuzz bass, farfisa organ, badass drum fills, and all-around lo-fi-turned-hi-fi goodness. Featuring Nicole Laurenne (The Love Me Nots, Motobunny, Zero Zero), Rikki Styxx (The Two Tens, The Dollyrots, Thee Outta Sites), Christina Nunez (The Love Me Nots, Casual Encounters, The Madcaps), and Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon)

Although active as a band for only a year, those 4 ladies already achieved quite a bit (they were endorsed by Stephen King, for one) and for a good reason  – their debut album is filled to the brim with songs that perfectly demonstrate knack for blending fuzz and melody.

Synopsis: Coolest indie pop from anywhere in the Sonoran desert (Noisey)
This interestingly named Arizona quartet sounds like they could’ve been a part of jangly/c86 scene in the late 80s – dreamy and lush their songs clearly reference a very different musical era. Yet their own material is strong enough to stand on its own, with out without nostalgic value attached:

After listening to the first few hooks of Draa’s single ‘Even In My Dreams (All My Life) & ‘Only Love’ I’m instantly reminded of The Smith’s, and The La’s and being a proud (original) vinyl owner and avid long-time fan of these bands and the genre, I found my little heart jumping for joy in a haze of nostalgia.  I actually saw the LA’s live, and nearly got spat at by Lee Mavers, unfortunately never made it to a Smith’s gig though. Housemartins? Anyone?

The Myrrors
Synopsis: Sonoran trance music
Formed back when members were still in high school (driven by their love for Neil Young and 60s garage rock), The Myrrors music is informed by nature and environment as much as it is informed by music itself

We were inspired by the desert, the sun, the moon, the stars, the southwest’s flora and fauna, and the history of the area in which we lived. We were inspired by all types of psychedelic music and garage rock, by avant-garde music, free jazz, and folk music from around the world, such as Tuareg music, Indian ragas, Turkish folk, Latin/South American folk and Native American music.

Band’s most recent full-length is 2017 “Hasta La Victoria” described by Flood Magazine as

Music that uses rhythm and repetition—and strategic departures from both—as ways of generating and shaping power; it is a suggestion of community.

Lenguas Largas
Synopsis: Roky Erickson Weird-O-Meter pegged (Razorcake)
If late 70s era Wire decided to throw psychedelia and some Spanish lyrics into the mix chances are it probably would’ve sounded something like Lenguas Largas. This is punk in truest sense of the word – adventurous and weird without being formulaic with hardly any song sounding alike:

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.

Burning Palms
Synopsis: Ready to eat you alive
Described as “layered and crafted” by the band’s founder Simone Stopford, Burning Palms music is that of a ritual/tribal celebration (no animal sacrifices involved, though) – think Siouxee Sioux at her most ominous. Their name comes from the fact that clairvoyant was unable to read Stopford’s palms as they were on fire.

Does witch rock require any animal sacrifices before or after shows? If so, are goats or chickens more suitable? 
We try keep our sacrifices on the down low but no animals are injured in the making of our music. Last night’s ceremony involved some moon cabbage and tofurkey.

Synopsis: producer/rapper/DJ/singer/beat maker/instrumentalist
Since 2005 OCnotes (born Otis Calvin III) produced more than 30 albums – a complex mish-mash of genres including experimental hip-hop, rock and gospel. As Seattle Sound reports

OCnotes greatest strength comes from his ability to be a thematic chameleon. Color Wheel can confront police brutality and class disparity on “Hum Drum Killer” and “PD” one moment and also have space for “Blowing Up My Phone”—a bubbly R&B tune about people calling him too much, which tagged on voicemail clips reveal was his actual (super long) voicemail greeting—without any of it seeming out of place. And there’s simply not another MC in Seattle who could pull off a song like “The Fall,” which sports a sly rock guitar lead that blurs genre lines without ever feeling like anything that would be considered rap rock in the traditional sense. Despite these dramatic shifts, the listener never gets the bends. It’s almost like his brain is a radio tuning knob, taking listeners on a ride as it spins between stations and static.

Chris Randall
Synopsis: Relatively established artist
Solo electronics from Sister Machine Gun founder (and ex-Pigface / Micronaut / Scanalyzer member) quietly making love to your ears (to steal borrow a quote from Bandcamp commenter)

Cassette loops, a 50-year-old Nagra III reel-to-reel, field recordings, vinyl sampling, vintage analog and modern modular synths, and the very latest in electronic music making software technology all combine forces in the service of a modern take on anachronistic production methodologies.

Cobra Family Picnic
Synopsis:  Papa cobra, mama cobra and junior cobra sets the controls for deep space and enjoy some freeze-dried something or other before settling down for a millennium long deep sleep (Zocalo Magazine)

The energy behind Cobra Family Picnic first coalesced in a convertible Fiat Spider on a L.A. roadway in 2013. “We knew that we would do music together since we both showed up wearing the same sunglasses and jackets,” says bassist Boyd Peterson of Lesli Wood, keyboardist, who formed the band.

Since then the band has been sharing their love for Kubrick, outer space and mind expansion through their records and live performances (sharing the stage with the likes of Moon Duo). Spirits of Jim Morrison to Velvets to Les Rallizes Denudes occupy “Magnetic Anomaly”, their latest and bring the band a tad closer to the goal of global conversation of masses to their cosmic cause.

RPM Orchestra
Synopsis: Proto-Industrial Americana music ensemble
Whether scoring old silent movies or writing their own material this odd formation (started by Pete Petrisko in 2008) leaves no stone unturned in search for new forms of expression. Long list of instruments used includes shortwave radios, typewriters, salvaged material as well as more standards drums and percussion.
Listening to their latest single “Willie the Weeper” is not unlike being inside propaganda-era cartoon, equal parts creepy and fascinating.

Synopsis: Songs from a lonely bedroom
Named after a particularly prickly Australian plant, this one-man project stands out among the sea of similar lo-fi/bedroom projects through his sheer devotion to composition. No two songs on “Soapbox Synthesis”, Bindi-Eye’s latest, sound alike – this is pop music from another dimension where Daniel Johnston have a top 40 hit and Ween is still working on a new material.

Synopsis: Meltwave

If you’ve ever been visited by the Ambien Walrus, you’re familiar with the absurdist throbbing pulse that will lull you into sweet, psychedelic sleep. Throw in some mid-’80s nostalgia and some distorted VHS visuals, and you have yourself Glob, an ambient project that includes video installations, ‘zines (aptly named Globject) and of course, sweet, distorting aural head trips. When Glob opened for Treasure Mammal and Prince Rama a month ago, they played their set straight through without any breaks, with multiple vintage TVs hooked up to some kind of melted ice cream dysmorphia. One moment you felt like you were floating above a wall of clouds; the next minute, you splashed into a slowed-down advertisement for stain remover. But you always felt “Globby”.

Not to be confused with grindcore duo of the same name from AZ.

The Father Figures
Synopsis: Elder statesmen of the often fractured, but secretly burgeoning Phoenix music scene

In past outfits, these guys made names for themselves by blasting away in skate punk and hardcore bands, but as Father Figures, they’ve chosen chisels over dynamite to get to the core of post-punk, tapping angular second-wave progenitors like The Wipers and Mission of Burma as well as ’90s acts such as Fugazi, Shellac, and Tar. Favoring precision over raw power in their playing, bassist/singer Tom Reardon, ace guitarist Michael Cornelius (ex-JFA), and drummer Bobby Lerma (ex-The Voice) employ a brainier, but no less muscular, approach to the music whose local scene they helped birth and raise. – Phoenix New Times

Synopsis: Dance noise
Its no coincidence that many of James Britt (aka Neurogami) compositions sound heavily influenced by post-punk/no wave. Britt was a member of Chinese Forehead, short-lived late 70s band that left no official recordings behind but was a part of NYC scene and played a few gigs at CBGBs.
As Neurogami he creates music that often blurs the line between traditional and experimental music – part Vini Reilly, part Jim O’Rourke. While most of his tracks are instrumentals his latest release (Small Guitar Pieces) features vocals on a couple of tracks such as “Holiday”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *