Boyfrndz's Scott Martin: "We Want to Create Our Own Niche"

Boyfrndz is scheduled to perform Sunday, March 30, at Last Exit Live.
Pushing any kind of artistic endeavor through to the finish line is a process destined to involve evolution. Practically no book, drawing, film, album, Play-Doh sculpture, or whatever comes through looking exactly the way its creator originally envisioned it. If Scott Martin wasn't already aware of this reality, he experienced it firsthand as his band, Boyfrndz, came together in 2011.

Initially, Martin imagined the outfit as "a weirdo punk-type band" — think aggressive instrumentals and melodic vocals -- inspired by the likes of underground stalwarts Fugazi and the chaotic Tera Melos side project Bygones.

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Snake! Snake! Snakes! on Reinvention, New Material, and Why Playing Scottsdale Sucks

K.C. Libman
Jon Messenger, David Cooper, and Chris Sanchez of Snake! Snake! Snakes!
Without reinvention, there would be nothing new worth being inspired by. For Snake! Snake! Snakes!, an alteration came with the coming and going of band members and a new option to simplify the band's entire approach.

At its writing core is bassist Chris Sanchez, drummer David Cooper, and guitarist/vocalist Jon Messenger, who are joined onstage by guitarist Dan Tripp. Coming together in 2006, Cooper, Messenger, and Sanchez are guys who seem to have matured in a fraternal sense, evidenced by spending an hour with them cracking Miller Lites, talking University of Arizona basketball, and trading war stories in their Icehouse practice space.

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Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken on Their Arizona Connection, Lineup Changes, and Poor Press

Courtesy of the artist's Facebook page
It's rare to find a group that can go from being a cassette-recorded basement pastime to a full band that's able to translate dazzling musicianship from the album to the stage. Such an evolution is rarely seamless, however. Dr. Dog -- whose brand of psychedelic-tinged, harmony-driven pop was once the outlier and is now an influencer -- is no exception.

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Cults' Brian Oblivion on Changing Expectations and Getting Dark on Static

Courtesy of Cults
There's no more sun in Cults' eyes. The Manhattan-based indie-pop act best known for the cloyingly sweet singles "Go Outside" and "Oh My God" have returned with Static, a departure from what set sights on them in the first place. The only familiar part of their aesthetic is the album cover itself, placing vocalist Madeline Follin and vocalist/guitarist Brian Oblivion's silhouettes at the forefront. Most everything else, however, is different.

"We setting out to make a darker, more aggressive record, but I think a little bit about it also, was like muso stuff," Oblivion says. "I was really into making chord progressions that work but aren't in the same key sound nice and pleasant. A lot of Halloween music is like that -- there's like one chord that's really wrong then with the next chord you're right back. It kind of takes you on a roller coaster ride."

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Father John Misty's Josh Tillman on Fearlessness and the Human Condition

Courtesy of
Josh Tillman sighs into the phone, taking a breath before launching into a personal sentiment that's a signature of his tell-all take to his music -- something he's fond of exploring rather than simply talking about his inspirations. As the man behind Father John Misty, the psych-folk act that's followed his work with both Fleet Foxes and his previous solo project J. Tillman, he's no stranger to plumbing the depths of philosophy to create his own narrative.

At the moment, we're talking about his approach to his songwriting, often laced with Tillman's off-center and sometimes absurd sense of humor. "I think all humor is rooted in tragedy, and it is rooted in sadness, and it's rooted in the deficit of the human experience," he says. "There's this deficit where what we expect out of life and what we get, and the remainder there is the thing that comedy addresses. If you touch on topics that are sensitive enough, people are going to laugh whether it's funny or not. I think that that's a lot of what I'm doing with the music."

Whatever it is, it's working.

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Animal Collective's Geologist on How Arizona Shaped the Band

Adriano Fagunde for
Animal Collective, the once-Baltimore based electronic-psychedelic act consisting of Avey Tare, Deakin, Geologist, and Panda Bear, seems to be in a constant state of flux when the band's entire catalog is taken into perspective. From the combinations of the most disparate electronic and acoustic musical elements on 2000's Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished to the traditional pop transitions of the wildly popular Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective has always shape-shifted by exploring new sonic territory.

In one way, Arizona also played a role in Animal Collective's evolution.

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Pure Bathing Culture: We Looked to How Records Were Recorded in the Past

Categories: Indie Rock

Parker Fitzgerald
Pure Bathing Culture
As members of Vetiver, Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille explored the gauzy textures of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac (occasionally recalling the hazy mysticism of the Peter Green era, too).

As Pure Bathing Culture, the duo fast-forwards the Mac dial to Tango in the Night o'clock. No, really: "Pendulum," which opens their full-length debut, Moon Tides, is the best "Little Lies" update Sirius XMU-core has offered up yet.

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Announcing Indie Band Oregon Trail, The Hardest Videogame Ever

Categories: Indie Rock

MECC's elementary school computer lab classic The Oregon Trail probably taught its users relatively little about American History. The lasting impression the game did leave was the idea that choices have consequences and that, sometimes, bad things just happen, regardless of how well you plan for them. When you lost those oxen by deciding to ford the river rather than take the ferry (a test to see if you understood that, on four legs, oxen are only about 4 feet tall), that was on you. But there was very little you could do about that dysentery epidemic later on.

Oregon Trail was a simulation of people setting out into a world that was arbitrarily cruel and attempting to overcome it. That basic design element of Oregon Trail can be applied to a game that simulates something relevant to this blog: the life of a relatively unknown touring indie band.

The same pioneer spirit can be found in a band setting out into the unknown on its first tour. Many risks and uncertainties await, but so does the potential for success. In the following design document, I will outline the fundamentals of making such an Oregon Trail-like game revolving around the lives of touring musicians.

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The Baptist Generals Do Their Own Thing with Jackleg Devotional to the Heart

Scogin Mayo
The Baptist Generals: jump up/jump up/and get down.
Much of the conversation about the Baptist Generals' Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, the 10 years-in-the-waiting follow-up to the Denton, Texas-based band's Sub Pop debut, No Silver/No Gold, has centered on exactly what singer/songwriter Chris Flemmons was doing during the decade-long stretch of national inactivity.

In this week's issue of the New Times, Glenn BurnSilver sums it up in an interview with Flemmons: "There's a bit of a misconception, [in which] people think I worked on the album for 10 years. What happened is I shelved the record in 2005, and then I got involved in some development politics [in Denton.] That ended being about two and a half years. Then I was involved in starting a music festival in Denton and that ended up taking another three and a half years. Really, the album was just delayed 10 years."

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Tempe Folk Rockers Avery Push Quiet as the New Loud

Categories: Indie Rock

Spike Brendle
There's nothing stately about Mariah DeRaet. She's an unassuming character offstage, a 25-year-old barista with a warm demeanor that could belong to any college-aged girl next door. Yet when she straps on a parlor-sized Martin acoustic as the vocalist of Tempe's Avery, she and her band (drummer Eric Estrada, guitarist Matt Safranck, and co-founder/cellist Allison Galbreath) turn heads.

Avery straddles the line between folk, pop, and alternative country, at times recalling Rilo Kiley at its most wistful. For a young outfit in a scene as eclectic as Tempe's, it's Avery's combination of down-home sound and DeRaet's songwriting sensibilities that sets the band apart.

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