25 Must-See Phoenix Concerts in April
Chvrches - Monday, April 21 - Marquee Theatre
Chvrches' ascent to theater-headlining status on distant continents has been giddying. The Scottish trio released its debut single but a year back and only in September did an album, The Bones of What You Believe, appear. The mystery of this career curve is actually pretty straightforward: Chvrches create contemplative, melodic synth-pop topped with Lauren Mayberry's finely grained, rather detached timbre.
Ostensibly, it's de rigueur, '80s-inspired stuff channeling New Order, A-ha and Kate Bush, but Chvrches' pleasure is in the details. Hooks emerge not just from Mayberry's lips but also in the way her utterances are studio-effected, as well as from the masterfully well-chosen keys, loops and the throbbing electro-pulses that surround them. Chvrches' current it-band cred will cool, but sheer excellence of execution ensures they'll long outlive "it." -- Paul Rogers
Off!- Tuesday, April 22 - Crescent Ballroom
Punk icon Keith Morris might have been content to live off his legend, the Circle Jerks' sporadic reunion tours and the sometimes menial jobs (including deejaying weddings) he has taken over the years to make ends meet. At one point he was an alcoholic and cocaine addict: "You could have lifted me up by my legs and I would've vacuumed your carpets with my nose," he says. He got sober in 1988 and was diagnosed with diabetes a decade later. In recent years he'd gotten lazy, he says.
But in 2009 a curious turn of events reinvigorated Morris' signature fury, spawning the hardcore punk supergroup Off! According to Morris, it happened like this: Circle Jerks were writing songs for a long-awaited seventh studio album, set to be produced by ex-Burning Brides singer-guitarist Dimitri Coats. Coats felt that Morris' bandmates' new songs weren't up to par, preferring the tunes he and Morris had been simultaneously penning. When the other three Jerks -- guitarist Greg Hetson, bassist Zander Schloss and drummer Kevin Fitzgerald -- announced they wanted to fire Coats, Morris opted to jump ship and form a new band with the prospective producer. It was the rock & roll equivalent of running off with your marriage counselor. -- Paul Rogers
Grouplove - Wednesday, April 23 - Marquee Theatre
Gliding across a musical spectrum, from the infectiously groove-laden "Itchin' on a Photograph" to the dance pop of "Tongue Tied," from the indie quirkiness of "Naked Kids" to the bubblegum pop of "Sunny Day," Grouplove clearly has a group love of all forms musical on its debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song. It's not surprising, given the geographical diversity of this quintet -- two hail from the Lower East Side of New York, two from Los Angeles, and one from London -- that formed on the Greek island of Crete during an artist retreat. From that point, the story becomes typical: Jamming ensued, songwriting commenced, and then everyone parted ways.
But the bonds of friendship and collaboration pulled the group together again in L.A., where, in short order, Grouplove became the latest buzz band. Maybe it's by design -- or not -- but the band's influences are found all across the indie landscape, including flashes of Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and the jangly goodness of early R.E.M. in the mix. Yet it's how the band manages to convert those influences into crawl-into-the-ear-and-stay-there songs that allows Grouplove's dance-ready sound to take hold. -- Glenn BurnSilver
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