Tucson's Best Dog Award Inspires Confusion Through Songs

Categories: Hi Tucson!

Joshua Levine
Best Dog Award

Tucson-based trio Best Dog Award's greatest asset is its ability to inspire confusion.

Singer/guitarist Joel Crocco, drummer Andrew Ling, and organist Nick Mazza lay out maps that may lead to nowhere and littering their music with clues that make the puzzle more difficult to solve.

"We play 'exploitation rock,'" Crocco says. "It's a loose genre that I like to call it. It's more a term for what I like to call my own -- like, it manifests in super noisy, chaotic ... the idea of driving a guitar solo or something into the ground until it doesn't mean anything anymore. Stuff like that. It's not a new concept by any means. It's not a real concrete concept."

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The Holy Coast Wants You to Find Inner Peace

Categories: Local Wire

Courtesy of Holy Coast
The Holy Coast

Phoenix's the Holy Coast didn't exactly intend for the band to have the initials THC, but the coincidence couldn't be more fitting, says Keith Walker, the synth-drizzled trio's maestro of beats and programming. Plus, when singer Brett Davis suggested the name after their first jam session, he slowly reached into his jacket pocket, produced a funny-looking cigarette, and said, "This will explain it all."

Let the Holy Coast stand as further proof that pot doesn't make you lazy or stupid.

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What Stephen Marley Learned from Dad: "Do It for the Love and Not the Fame"

Categories: Reggae

Courtesy of With Love PR
Stephen Marley

Many musical offspring have faltered under the pressure of trying to live up to the level of greatness once bestowed on their popular progeny. Stephen "Raggamuffin" Marley has refreshingly bucked those odds, and has in fact, become a modern-day legend of reggae music in his own right, and has done so for now more than three decades.

What has been a big influence for the eight-time Grammy Award winner is the lesson imparted by his deceased famous father, the legendary Bob Marley: "Do it for the love and not the fame," Stephen Marley says.

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Tori Amos Emerges from Career Doldrums with Plenty to Say in Her Songs

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Tori Amos
Tori Amos

There's that saying "the more things change the more things stay the same." In the 22 years since Tori Amos released her debut album, Little Earthquakes, the world has changed dramatically, but the singer has stayed remarkably true to herself. Of the topical and occasionally confrontational nature of her music, she says, "I think at different times, the songs have chosen to grab issues that are out there. It isn't always like that."

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The Making of the Phoenix Metal Scene: A Peek at the Men and Women Behind the Curtain

Maria Vassett
Alice Cooper is one of Phoenix's proud residents;

There's a lot to love within our fiery little corner of the rock and metal industry.

We've thelped breed some pretty legendary bands, like Sacred Reich, Flotsam and Jetsam, Job for a Cowboy, and Alice Cooper, to name a few. We have dozens of brutally talented underground bands, from melodic death metal (Vehemence, St. Madness), sludge and doom metal (From Dogs to Wolves, Tempel), thrash and psychedelic metal (Black Banner Dovichenko, Pelvic Meatloaf), as well as such events as Southwest Terror Fest and the Fuck Cancer benefit. Plus, back in 2012, Heavy Metal Television decided to plant roots in Mesa.

The rock and metal scene in Arizona is alive and well. And that is a direct result of a group of behind-the-scenes folks who keep the whole thing running.

Every month, the calendar is packed with shows. Bands regularly tour and record in the Valley of the Sun because we have a strong population of industry professionals. These professionals, from producers to club owners to promoters, are the very people that keep the local scene running like a well-oiled machine, dedicating their time and money to promoting the hell out of the Arizona heavy scene. It would be impossible to highlight every single person who contributes to the behind-the-scenes aspect, as there are many noteworthy figures and companies.

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Spoonboy, Bepstein, Electrisad, Straight Straws - Trunk Space - 7/21/14

Categories: Last Night

Photos by Troy Farah

Perhaps the reason garage rock fits so well at The Trunk Space is because the venue is the size and shape of a good-sized garage. The acoustics are just perfect for it. I never realized that before and that makes me like the small venue that much more.

Straight Straws opened the night with their mix of jangly guitar tunes and pop vocal melodies. Ben Nandin's project has been getting out a lot more, which is great. T.K. Campo (of T.K. and the Irresistibles) played bass and Max Martinez (of Wolvves) played drums. Sorry, I don't know the other guitarist.) There was a lot of dancing for them and they only slipped up once that I noticed, but immediately picked back up. Their vocal melodies make them a really fun band to see live.

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Weezer's Burning Sun Finally Leaked After 14 Years

Categories: Nostalgia

Monica McGivern

Weezer is the official band of AOL Instant Messenger. The years between 1996 and 2001, in which they went from well-reviewed one-hit-wonder to (briefly) unimpeachable generational touchstone, were peak-Buddy-List; in 2002 they demoed a song called "Private Message," which is exactly what it sounds like. At some point every word in the Blue Album and Pinkerton liner notes was used in an angst-ridden away message.

Even Rivers Cuomo spent an inordinate amount of time chatting with people on AIM -- which is exactly how a long-lost Weezer song fans have been waiting for for 14 years leaked a little more than a week ago.

See also: The really, really early interview with Rivers Cuomo

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Q&A: Boris' Noise a Map to the Band's Sound

A capture from Boris' music video, "Vanilla"

Nailing down Boris is no easy task. The Japanese band has released 19 albums in its 22-year career, all with varying material that shifts from doom metal, to prog rock, screamo to power pop, space to thrash--sometimes on the same album.

That's part of the band's appeal, however, as the trio follows its whim to make what feels right. Boris' latest, Noise, is perhaps the band's strongest in years, a mixture of finely crafted songs full of melody, mood swings and catchy hooks interlaced with masterful guitars among an overall proggy transcendence.

""If there is a sound map of Boris, Noise will be the center of it," Boris drummer Atsuo says simply.

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Des Ark Has a Booking Agent, But Aimée Argote's Still DIY to the Bone

Categories: Q&A

Courtesy of Des Ark
Aimée Argote of Des Ark

The one time I saw Des Ark, singer Aimée Argote broke the ice with the audience by suggesting they move closer. "We probably smell weird," she said, "but this is a punk show, so you probably don't mind."

Most of Des Ark's music is marked by this kind of frankness, maybe less about punk must and more about insecurities, traumas, hopes, and desires, all set against music that oscillates liberally between minimal, singer/songwriter quaintness to loud and obtuse movements that sound like they continue the legacy of a lot of the weird and innovative trends in punk and hardcore that characterized the '90s D.I.Y. scene in America.

Up on the Sun talked to Argote recently about the band's current activities and her approach to songwriting.

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Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special - Crescent Ballroom - 7/18/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

Jim Louvau
Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special, in front of strong local support, played the Crescent Ballroom Friday night. Full slideshow here.

On July 13, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special announced through their Facebook page that they would be splitting with their original lead guitarist and chief songwriter Brandon Croft. Furthermore, the band announced that following their headlining date at Crescent Ballroom last Friday the band would be taking a hiatus for an undetermined amount of time.

"We would like to get our ducks in a row and come back with a bigger and better SR&MS," read the post. Quite frankly, I have to agree with that decision. Some time off could be exactly what Robinson and the Midnight Special needs to rekindle the passion that propelled them to local stardom so quickly.

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