Mickey Avalon's Co-Dependent Relationship with Frat Culture

Categories: Interview, hip-hop

Mickey Avalon

This was supposed to just be an article about douche bags.

It was supposed to highlight a sleazy rapper with a drug-addled party complex that mirrored the underbelly of the equally sleazy frat scene found just a few miles from Phoenix. See, Mickey Avalon has his dual lives: he's a recovering addict, a former prostitute and drug dealer who picked up a crusty melody off the sticky floor of a Los Angeles bar, blew on it, and then wrapped it up in a slinky strip club package and sold it to listeners who wanted to feel just a little bit dirty while listening.

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Godsmack's Shannon Larkin on the Band's "Almost" Breakup


By the end of 2012, Godsmack's concert album the band released that year,Live and Inspired, was the furthest thing from the band's mind.

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Slow Magic Fights the Trend of Oversharing by Focusing on Anonymity

Categories: Interview

Luca Venter
Slow Magic

These days, it's hard to disappear. Like Sting, the National Security Agency is watching every move you make, while your phone chirps out every check-in and banal thought you have, not to mention nothing you 'delete' online ever really gets deleted -- there's always a backup somewhere. Let's not even get into the vulnerability of "The Cloud."

With a new album called How To Run Away, few understand the power of intentional anonymity like Slow Magic. Self-described as your "imaginary best friend," the paper fox/cat mask is as much a tribute to Chris Sievey and Deadmau5 as it is a reflection of a society so connected, yet so out of touch. Plus, Slow Magic (few people know his real name, and if they do, they aren't telling) uses live drums, to better help you focus on what's in front of you. The idea of losing yourself carries into the (mostly) lyric-less yatter - you can find almost any narrative in this bouncing soul, but whatever identity you discover is certain to be ecstatic.

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Holiday in Cambodia: Dengue Fever Talks Ley Lines and Working with Jim Jarmusch

Categories: Interview

Chean Long

With all this talk about Ebola hemorrhagic fever, perhaps we should think about something to take our minds off it, something like Dengue Fever. No, not the tropical mosquito-borne virus (that'd probably only increase hypochondriacal feelings), let's talk about the six-piece Los Angeles psychedelic rock band who skillfully combine Cambodian pop songs with the chromatic stoner sounds of the '60s.

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Jimmy Eat World Signature Guitar Celebrates Seventh Anniversary

Courtesy of the artist's Facebook page
Jim Adkins with his signature Fender JA-90 guitar.

If you're a diehard music fan in Arizona, you know that one of our state's crown jewels is Jimmy Eat World. Active for over two decades now, and regarded as a forerunner of the mid-'00s pop-punk movement, Jimmy Eat World invokes as much, if not more, pride as references to The Format or The Bled. Led by born-and-bred Mesa resident Jim Adkins, the band is just around the corner from the 10-year anniversary of their gold-selling record Futures, yet another Jimmy Eat World-related anniversary is also upon us.

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Journey Through California Culture with Camper Van Beethoven

Categories: Interview

Courtesy photo
Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven were born to be wild. Begun during the early '80s, the violin-led Bay Area quintet were initially a reaction to hardcore punk, but quickly moved afield stylistically. Like the Talking Heads if they'd dropped acid and grown up on the other coast, there's a goofy, sardonic irreverence at the core of their art-damaged psych-folk. Their loose, rollicking, eclecticism evokes don't-give-a-damn freedom, but it's never like they don't care. CVB self-destructed in 1990 after five albums in seven years.

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Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks Discovered Rock, and It Healed Him

Dusdin Condren
Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks

Tim Showalter made his name as Strand of Oaks over three albums of dark folk music, a mysteriously enticing mix of dreamscape sci-fi lyrics and a simmering, powerful delivery.
Unsatisfied, however, because of a key missing piece, Showalter turned everything upside down for Strand of Oaks' fourth album, HEAL.

"What changed the most on this record is I finally was myself. I finally was able to do what, either secretly or not secretly, I always wanted to do -- make a record like this. And I didn't possess the confidence to do it, the confidence in my songwriting or my guitar playing," says Showalter during a phone interview from a tour stop in Pittsburgh just two days after making his national television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

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The Black Moods: "We Want People to be Sad to Our Songs, and Also Have Sex to Our Songs."

Photo by Jeremy Huse
The Black Moods are scheduled to perform Saturday, August 30, at Crescent Ballroom.

Black Moods fans eagerly anticipating the release of the rock band's follow-up to their eclectic self-titled debut album will have to hold their breath a little longer. The Phoenix-based trio is tabling their upcoming album for a short time in an effort to strengthen the material, lengthen the album, and fine-tune the details. The decision came as a request from the band's new management team, Street Smart Marketing, who is working to push the group to the next level in their career.

"In the past year and a half, we've learned a lot about business," Black Moods drummer Danny "Chico" Diaz explains, "and about touring. We decided our goals were to get management, and then get a record label -- we've hit the first goal, and we have management now."

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Copper & Congress Find New Life in Trip-Hop

Jimi Giannatti
Copper & Congress

Tucson's Copper & Congress is a self-described "indie soul" trio of singer/guitarist/keyboardist Katie Haverly, bassist Patrick Morris, and drummer Julius Schlosburg.

"We formed in 2012," Haverly recalls. "We had a different drummer and guitar player. Patrick and I have been together since the beginning. Our guitar player quit and our drummer moved away, so we got Julius a year ago."

Copper & Congress' first album, The Leap Year (2012), was a somewhat transitional effort more indebted to singer-songwriter Americana, but this year's just-released Fault Line is where the trio finds its own voice, in a more rhythm-based style improbably influenced by the likes of mid-'90s trip hop of Portishead, Bjork, and Jamiroquai.

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For Tony Bennett, 88, the Point of Art Is to Convey "Truth and Beauty"

Larry Busacca
Tony Bennett

No, Lady Gaga will not perform with Tony Bennett at Mesa Arts Center.

There's long been talk of a collaboration CD between the two, and it seems that come September, the two finally will release Cheek to Cheek, an album that finds the unlikely collaborators crooning jazz standards, backed by consummate jazz professionals. If the two singles that have trickled into the world so far, "Anything Goes" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," reveal anything, it's that Gaga is a fantastic jazz singer, and Bennett, at 88 years young, still has some powerful vocal performances left in him.

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