Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week
If you're listening to Christmas music already and you don't live or work inside a Macy's, I believe very strongly that you're doing something wrong. Nevertheless, it is not in the spirit of Christmas (music) for me to shun you until the day after Thanksgiving, when I literally transform into Bing Crosby. I am providing these five must-see Phoenix concerts in the spirit of preemptive reconciliation.
Owl & Penny
Owl & Penny - Crescent Ballroom - Monday, November 4"Burial Mountain," the first single from this year's Milk & Sugar, finds Owl & Penny zagging at the moment pop culture is finally in full zig. Pensive folk-pop is big business, now, but even when it's anxious the dominant form cultivates a comfortable kind of anxiety--the kind that eventually bursts into the acoustic-guitar equivalent of a Bruce Springsteen chorus. Owl & Penny is capable of that sort of thing, but "Burial Mountain" dips into another well entirely.
The careful riff that tiptoes through the whole song, the "she won't look me in the eyes" refrain, the drums that are the opposite of triumphal or reassuring--it's discomfort and doubt, the salaryman angst The National trades as they approach maximum Bullet Park. They've come of age, watched the bike lanes crowd with broken heroes, and approached problems that can't be bested or even approximated by a swell of handclaps. Two minutes later the album--the Tempe band's third--is over, caught up in the inorganic drum patterns and irregular heartbeats of "Skogurandi." The album came out all at once, four years after 2009's Fever Dreams, but in the moment it seems to start in 2009 and end, uncertain, at the edges of a new sound, one that takes an increasingly ubiquitous sound deep into the woods and leaves it there all alone. -- Dan Moore