Generationals' Happy Pop Music Stems from a Lifelong Friendship

Categories: Interview

Cara Robbins

How much of a band's music is determined by where and how it records?

For Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, who formed Generationals in 2008 and have released an album or EP each year since, their fourth album seemed to be the right time to leave behind a process that was both familiar and successful. What effect would leaving their comfort zone have on Generationals' music?

"It wasn't an active reason that we needed to change. We were just interested in what that would bring about and how that would change our method and how that would change our output," Widmer says. "It's healthy to upset [your routine] when you're creating."

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Anti-Flag Bassist Talks Political Movement, Tom Morello, and Mesa

Categories: Interview, Punk

Courtesy of Anti-Flag
Pittsburgh political punks Anti-Flag will be playing an anniversary show on Sunday in Mesa.

Anti-Flag, one of the nation's most prominent political punk bands, is playing in the Valley on Sunday, January 4, but it's far from an ordinary show.

The concert will be one of a handful of tour dates in which the band plays their 2003 release, The Terror State, in its entirety to celebrate its (belated) 10-year anniversary.

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Setzer's Rockabilly Riot to Add Jangle to His Annual Xmas Show Jingle

Categories: Interview

Russ Harrington
Brian Setzer, that dapper gentleman

While Brian Setzer never set out to reinvent the wheels of rockabilly and swing music, there is no denying that he has successfully breathed new life into both genres and created a body of work that has stood the test of time for more than three decades.

The one-time leader of the Stray Cats, who went from his hometown of Massapequa, New York, to mass popularity the world over, has thrived long since the likes of "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut" hit the airwaves back in the early '80s. Countless copycat artists have tried and failed to capture audiences in these musical forms. And yet Setzer has consistently re-energized rockabilly and swing, creating new songs that would make its originators proud.

His latest homage to the rockabilly genre made famous by Sun Studio greats, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and others, is Rockabilly Riot, an album that purrs like a kitten and revs it up in the tradition of the aforementioned Memphis studio sounds. Setzer's latest release does nothing to dampen his reputation as one of the most iconic guitarists in modern rock.

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The Echo Bombs' Debut Album Is Creepy as Hell

Categories: Interview

Frank C. Photography
Echo Bombs: "We're dorky, passionate, awkward, opinionated dicks, and we strive to make music that's honest to that."

Formed in 2010 following the dissolution of electro-dance band The Analog Society, The Echo Bombs aimed for a more lo-fi approach, a la Best Coast. Now they're switching gears again with their first full-length, King of Uncool. It's more primal and creepy as fuck, with sludgy garage-rock riffs that typify characters with "blue skin, hands of a dragon" and "like the taste of teens."

"We were going for minimalistic and energetic like Pixies," lead singer Eddie Horn says. "Sex Bob-omb [from the Scott Pilgrim movie] was one of our big inspirations as well, even though it's just a movie band."

But despite being around for four years, The Echo Bombs haven't released much. After frontwoman Cecilia Olea left the band to focus on her work in Sedusa, the Bombs restructured themselves and completely changed direction and the result is the darker, grittier King of Uncool.

So what exactly does that mean, to be "King of Uncool?" Horn says the album themes were inspired by shows at the now-defunct Parliament and feeling alien even in the fringe culture for which it was known.

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Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons Still Looking for Big Break

Categories: Interview

Jennifer Murdock
Jerry Joseph is looking for a contract to sign.

Jerry Joseph, songwriter/guitarist/bandleader with the Jackmormons, is an artist who's consistently fallen just shy of major success.

His various bands -- Little Women and Stockholm Syndrome (a supergroup including percussionist Wally Ingram and members of Widespread Panic) -- have flirted with stardom, but the door opened only wide enough for Joseph to get a foot inside. Respected (and covered) by his peers, he forges on, making gritty yet soulful music as only he can. This, he considers, is a positive and a negative.

"I have people who come up to me and say, 'We love you so much. You've never sold out.' That's because no one ever asked. Tell me where to sign, man," Joseph says with a laugh from his Portland home. "I have the same ego as every crazed lead singer has. I waffle between that stuff every 20 minutes. I'm grateful I've got a job, but at the same time, it would be awesome to tour before 2,000 people every night."

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Man-Cat Explains Why Musical Identity Doesn't Matter

Categories: Interview

Cease-and-decist orders do not bother Man-Cat.

Superheroes wear masks to protect their identity from the world. With local band Man-Cat, the group wears masks to represent its music under one identity.

It's not every day that you hear about artists wearing masks for the sake of removing identity. Sure, artists like Slipknot, Mushroomhead and GWAR all hide their faces on stage, but their identities are known and occasionally they're seen unmasked.

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Screaming Fans and Tour Frustations Now the Norm for Post-Disco Band De Lux

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Innovative Leisure
Issac Franco (left) and Sean Guerin of De Lux

Snowstorm, flipped cars littering the highway, middle of tour, canceled show, apathetic promoter, frustrated band.

This is a common scenario for any touring act, but here we are talking about De Lux, the critically acclaimed post-disco duo from the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, comprising guitarist/vocalist Sean Guerin and bassist Issac Franco. It's their first national cycle behind their debut record, Voyage, as well as their landmark release for the lauded indie label Innovative Leisure, where De Lux can claim acts like Hanni El Khatib, Tijuana Panthers, and Allah-Lahs as labelmates. It's heavy company to keep, but De Lux have been on nothing short of a roll lately in terms of national press and attention, and rightfully so. When Guerin jumps on the phone, he sounds as focused as ever, exuberant and ready to talk about what he has learned thus far on tour.

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After Bassist's Death, Suicidal Tendencies Singer Talks Life

Categories: Interview, Metal!

Photo taken from artist's Facebook
Suicidal Tendencies singer Mike Muir (center) was reflective when Up on the Sun reached him.

There are three bands about to come through Phoenix that have, collectively, been writing, recording, playing and influencing heavy metal for around 100 years. One. Hundred. Years.

You might think, yeah, okay; that's impressive. What if I also said that, collectively, these bands have released more than 30 studio albums, sold more than 10 million copies, have five Grammys nominations, helped pioneer thrash metal as one of the Big 4 Acts, and have been dubbed the "fathers of crossover thrash."

Well, any true metalhead has probably correctly guessed; I'm talking about Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus.

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How Frank Zappa Saved Adrian Belew From Being a Weekend Warrior

Categories: Interview

Prog master Adrian Belew almost didn't have a career.

Adrian Belew, a man widely considered one of the most innovative guitar players of the 21st century, once toiled in a Beatles cover band, an Elvis impersonator band, a Holiday Inn circuit band, and many other aborted failures. Before he was even 30, Belew was on the verge of throwing in the towel on his musical career.

"I was in every kind of band you could have, and none of it had made any difference success-wise," he recalls. "There I was, 27 years old [and] feeling that maybe the world had passed me by."

Frank Zappa became Belew's savior when the mustachioed maestro chanced to see Belew playing in one of those bands and spotted a wasted talent. In short order, Belew was trying out for, and then being offered a position in, Zappa's band.

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Run the Jewels Talks Police Brutality and Cat Meow Remixes

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Mass Appeal Records
Run the Jewels' album will soon be available for cats as well.

Some matches are made in heaven -- others, like Run The Jewels, are made in the murky, underwater trenches of underground hip-hop. Named after a verse in LL Cool's J "Cheesy Rat Blues," RTJ swerves like a great white shark -- sleek as hell, just don't get caught in those teeth.

This isn't the first time El-P and Killer Mike have crushed it together -- El-P was behind Killer Mike's 2012 critically acclaimed album R.A.P. Music, and later that year, Mr. Killer appeared on the track "Tougher Colder Killer" from El-P's Cancer 4 Cure. Forming Run The Jewels was just the natural progression of things.

Their self-titled debut topped a number of 2013 year-end fav lists, but their just released sequel -- featuring Travis Barker, Diane Coffee (of Foxygen fame), and even Zack de la Rocha -- is already proving that Nick Gazin's cover art isn't the only thing about this duo that's iconic. We called the couple up to ask them about some of these partnerships, but they made it clear it was pretty spontaneous, yet calculated.

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