14 Phoenix Musicians You Need to Hear in 2014

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Justin Renteria
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. It'll help that Phoenix's music scene has plenty of fresh jams and brand-new tunes to offer, as there's an overflow of gifted and prolific musicians cranking out sounds.

Since many local acts will make waves, turn heads, and get listens this year, we're highlighting 14 that you simply must hear. Think of it as a mixtape shared between friends. And it contains talent drawn from the various musical milieus in and around Phoenix -- from up-and-coming rappers to weirdo indie rockers to folk acts found at house shows.

These are the 14 bands you owe it to yourself to check out in 2014.


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Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra Induces Dance Fever with Its Exotic World Sounds

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Jeff Moses
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra performs at Crescent Ballroom.
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, Troy Farah profiles the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

Pop quiz, hotshot: How many people can you cram on a single stage before its structural integrity is at risk? In true MythBusters fashion, the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra is in the business of finding out the answer to the question.

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Celebration Guns: Ambient Indie Pop Journeys, Unusual Instruments, and Cassette Tapes

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Courtesy Photo
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014, including local indie poppers Celebration Guns.

Celebration Guns' songs take listeners on an ambient indie-pop journey, with unexpected turns veering toward fuzzy guitars, intricate bass lines, busy drums, and the occasional toy piano or xylophone thrown in.

Just like the found objects sprinkled throughout their songs, the foursome that formed from broken projects last August goes against the grain. Their most recent album, Quitter, and an upcoming self-titled split EP with fellow locals Twin Ponies are both on cassette tape.

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Tempe's Leonardo DiCapricorn Gets Geeky with Its Punk-Rap Sounds

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The members of Leonardo DiCapricorn
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, local music aficionado Jeff Moses hangs with Leonardo DiCapricorn.

Leonardo DiCapricorn is one of those clever band names that looks great on a flyer and is catchy enough to stick in your craw. The same goes for their music, a pastiche of nerdcore, punk, and rap with just a dash of metal that's both hooky and cute.

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Tempel Leads Listeners on Dark Trips Through the Realm of Experimental Metal

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Prosthetic Records
The members of Tempel.
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, our resident hard rock writer Lauren Wise tries to crack the code of the mysterious metal act known as Tempel.

Darkly intoxicating and atmospheric doom metal concoctions are a specialty of local experimental instrumental duo Tempel. A collaboration of guitarist/keyboardist/engineer Ryan Wenzel and drummer Rich Corle, the band mixes such murky heavy metal variants as death, black, and sludge into their sonic alchemy, layering sounds from each genre to create something refreshing and captivating for any type of music fan.

Seriously.


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Travis James Is Raising Hell and Having Fun

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Courtesy Photo
Travis James
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, writer Nicki Escudero profiles anarchistic and nihilistic musician Travis James.

Travis James not only doesn't care about convention, he strives to disrupt it as much as possible. As such, the local musician is known just as much around town for his stick-it-to-the-man antics as he is his raucous punk music.

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Tempe's Numb Bats Deliver Fast, Ecstatic, and Cheeky Post-Punk Surf Rock

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Courtesy Photo
Numb Bats (from left): Isaac Parker, Emily Hobeheidar, and Mo Neuharth.
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, writer Yezmin Villarreal examines Tempe trio Numb Bats.

Isn't music sometimes just about having fun? Although it might be an arguable point among the more cynical circles among us, fun seems the overriding raison d'ĂȘtre within the Tempe music scene and especially with local band Numb Bats.

The post-punk/pop/surf trio, which includes onetime North Dakota members Mo Neuharth and Emily Hobeheidar, will engage even the most austere concertgoer with their distortion-filled cheeky anthems. Plus, they sell T-shirts with their band name spelled out on a doughnut.

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No Volcano Takes Its Love of Music Seriously

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Dena Johnson

It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, writer Tom Reardon chronicles the latest project by a few local music scene stalwarts.

You've heard the tale before, gentle music fan. Phoenix scene vets make good, and to top it off, they are all very nice. Amiable, really, and appreciative of the fantastic music that is happening in town right now. No Volcano is a mere eight months old, but don't let the band's relative infancy fool you. These fellows have been, and will be, around for a while.

"There are more good bands around town now than since the mid-'80s," says Chris Kennedy, who plays drums and adds backing vocals for the band. To his credit, he's been responsible for several said local acts. No Volcano is a serious band for serious times, but one of their most endearing qualities is that they don't take themselves as seriously as they take their love of music and local Mexican food.


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Andy Warpigs Wants to Blanket the Valley With His Brilliantly Eccentric Folk Punk

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facebook.com/andywarpigs
It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, writer Jeff Moses gets down and dirty with folk-punker Andy Warpigs.

West Phoenix's Andy Warpigs is on a one-man folk-punk mission to infiltrate and influence every pocket of Arizona counterculture, and the out-of-control coffeehouse cowboy might just be succeeding.

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Chemicals of Democracy Brings a Modern Approach to Its Brain-Melting Metal

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It's 2014 and high time you got some new music into your playlist -- seriously. And that's doubly true when it comes local music, of which there's an abundance in metro Phoenix. The Valley's music scene is gifted with burgeoning bands and emerging artists who will be making waves and getting attention this year.

Up on the Sun is highlighting more than a dozen such acts for our series 14 Bands You Need to Hear in 2014. Today, our resident metal writer Lauren Wise gets into the trenches with local hard rockers Chemicals of Democracy.

Attending an average performance by local hard rockers Chemicals of Democracy is far from average. In fact, it's akin to being at ground zero of a nuclear holocaust thanks to the band's brain-melting metal.

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