JJCnV Shares the Secret to a Happy Marriage

Categories: Local Wire

Jordan Schwartz
JJCnV maintains a serious interest in silly dillies.

These days, punk and even so-called alternative music seems to be cut-and-dried. But it doesn't have to be that way -- just ask JJCnV, the Mesa trio who has been releasing some of the strangest tunes in the Valley for nearly a decade. Their crass sense of humor has spanned three full-lengths, and two EPs, all released on Flab Fjord Records, many of them recorded and mixed by Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion.

Songs like "Hunter of Bugs" and "Hamsterdam" explore the kind of short, sweet, and offbeat themes Pixies fans are usually into, but tracks like "Deli Mmmeat," which talks about smelling urine, recall the jokey punk style of the Dead Milkmen. Their videos employ a morbid campiness, such as the singing bicep on "Stomach Baby" or the severed cow head Ray Reeves plays with on "Flush It."

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The Blunt Club Is Leaving Yucca Tap and Heading for Other Venues Around the Valley

Benjamin Leatherman
DJ Reflekshin performs at The Blunt Club Thursday night at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.
It's getting toward closing time during The Blunt Club Thursday night at Tempe's Yucca Tap Room and it looks like no one's in the mood to call it quits.

The main bar is glowing with Christmas lights and busy with activity as DJ Reflekshin drops slow jams in between classic hip-hop joints from Biz Markie and N.W.A. onstage while local painter Queen Loopy creates live art behind him. Out on the dance floor, b-boys and girls are dishing out moves in the middle of a loose cypher while other patrons are singing along to the well-remembered refrains of of "Just a Friend" or "Boyz-N-The Hood."

In short, it's another classic session of The Blunt Club at the Yucca Tap. It also happens to be one of the last weekly editions of the long-running hip-hop night at the bar.

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Artist Deon Doughty Is Chronicling the Local Music Scene, One Painting at a Time

Categories: Local Wire

Devon Christopher Adams
Deon Doughty works on a painting of local musician Kalen Lander.
Painting, to paraphrase the late Jackson Pollock, is an act of self-discovery whereby every good artist paints what he is and what he knows. And local painter Deon Doughty would certainty agree, since he's spent the last three-and-a-half years doing just that.

The 43-year-old artist is one of the biggest die-hard supporters of the Valley's music scene that you'll ever meet. Hands down. And since 2011, he's used his fervent love for local bands and musicians to inspire a number of paintings capturing some of Metro Phoenix's brightest and most talented performers doing what they do best.

Dubbed the "AZ Rockstar Gold" series, Doughty's artistic creations depict a "who's who" of local music -- including such names as singer/songwriter Walt Richardson, Garnet of Dry River Yacht Club, bassist Paul Cardone, and comedy rocker Page the Village Idiot -- usually in mid-performance. Each of the 30-odd portraits, which are often rendered in silhouette fashion using shades of gold and blue paint, are a snapshot of a single moment in time that convey the subject's energy, personality, and verve.

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Naked Pizza Reunites for One Final House Show in Tempe

Categories: Local Wire

Haylee Hughes
Naked Pizza playing Clusterfest on Arizona State University Campus

Naked Pizza was the brainchild of eccentric Phoenix-based saxophone player "The Artist Formerly Known as Austin Rickert," as he requested he be called, and just like Rickert ... it was really weird. They were a ska band that would play in crazy costumes looking more like theme camp at Burning Man than a band. For their live events, they routinely picked up new players at shows and parties, worked with them for the night, and then never again. They did wind up with a pretty solid eight-piece lineup toward the end of their run. But according to Rickert, no two shows in their one-and-a-half-year existence had exactly the same lineup.

"The definition of the band is that anyone can be in it, but I wrote the songs. So since I was the catalyst if I wasn't there the band didn't exist. But other than me anyone else could be in the band. We would just meet people at parties and they would pop up and play. It was extremely fluid and I loved it; it made it different at every show," says Rickert.

Rickert, who is the band's lead singer and lone member who has played at all of their engagements says that it was the pressure to play as a static eight-piece, mixed with personal conflicts within the group, that eventually lead to its demise in October 2013.

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How Musicians Can Build a Great Music Community

Categories: Local Wire

Jeremiah Toller
A music community doesn't come out of nothing; musicians must build it.

Being an active member of the local music "community," I often contemplate what "community" actually means. I believe community to be a tightly knit place of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and focus. Living and working as a musician by day, and being a regular "night owl" in the artist world by night, I feel that the word often gets blurred by some who abuse and/or take advantage of its true essence. I am not saying I have all the answers, but having been around the Tempe/Phoenix music scenes for more than a decade now and having been blessed enough as a drummer to play shows in 42 US states and three different countries, I have become rich with experiences, both positive and negative, surrounding these words we know as "the music community."

I have been bombarded, harassed, encouraged, charmed, challenged, and very well taken care of. I myself have been guilty of these actions, at times. I have made countless acquaintances, some friends, and sadly, some enemies. However, at the end of the day, it all really boils down to your outlook on your peers if you want to be a respected, contributing member of your local/national/international music communities. The following is a list I have compiled of 10 ways you can earn the respect of your peers/fans, while actively being a positive contributor to your music community.

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Gilbert Band Lydia Returns for Pressroom Concert

Categories: Local Wire

Dirk Mai
Lydia is a homegrown success story.

Vocalist and guitarist Leighton Antelman's musical career started early, when he and some friends from Gilbert's Greenfield Junior High School got together and formed a band called Rolo 15. That band went through some changes, and ultimately it was Antelman and guitarist Steve McGraw who stayed together to create music, eventually going on to form the indie rock band Lydia, adding drummer Loren Briton and bassist Dustin Forsgren. The band's driving, melodic songs loaded with layers -- at times minimal, at times monumental -- helped them gain quite a loyal following and they spread those tunes around through some extensive touring, hopping on large scale music events like the Warped Tour, and the Bamboozle Festival. Though there were personnel changes throughout, the band had a pronounced break in 2010, when they announced they were calling it quits. That said, things started back up in 2011, and for Antelman and crew and since, there have been a couple new releases and active touring.

We asked Antelman what the impetus was to get the band going again after such a definite split.

"Well," he said, "after we took some time off and let everyone do their own thing, a couple of us still really wanted to make music together. It was really just as simple as that."

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10 Best Bands and Musicians in Phoenix Under the Age of 21

Categories: Local Wire

Jeff Moses
Cassidy Hilgers of Sister Lip playing with her band at Apache Lake Music Festival

Phoenix is on the cusp of something great, musically speaking. New festivals are popping up every year with big concepts and bigger headliners. As time progresses and the bands on top of the scene either blow up or fade away, it will be the younger acts out there stepping up the play the True Music Festivals, the Los Dias de la Crescents, and all of Phoenix's other terrific musical events. Though, of course, being 25 is a far cry from being washed up, we have our eye one generation younger. These are the top 10 bands and musicians under the age of 21.

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Web Radio Station's Future Uncertain After Manager Allegedly Posts Racist Ferguson Rant

Categories: Local Wire

Benjamin Leatherman
Pennie Layne (left) and Jason Harris (a.k.a. Dr. Jay) of local Internet radio station 101 The Feed broadcast at ThirdSpace during the Grand Avenue Festival.

A fledgling online radio station that launched in early August with a focus on local music is losing support quickly after its general manager and registrar of the station's website, allegedly posted a racism-laced rant on Facebook in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

After New Times contributor Jeff Moses took a screenshot of the status and shared it, Jason P. Harris, general manager of 101 The Feed, Serving Your Local Addiction, at first defended his right to free speech. He later said someone digitally manipulated his words in an attempt to bring down his radio station.

After New Times contacted Harris for comment, the station released a statement distancing itself from the post.

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Tempe History Museum Exhibit Shows That Music Scene's History Goes Beyond Gin Blossoms

Categories: Local Wire

Jason Keil
"The Tempe Sound" exhibition shows the musical side of the college town of the nation's largest university.

Walking through the back rooms of the Tempe History Museum, it's easy to get distracted by the various artifacts of the city's lore. Boxes are stacked like in the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark; one clumsy turn could result in someone accidentally getting his face melted. Navigating confidently through the relics is Josh Roffler, curator of collections at Tempe History Museum. He steps inside a fluorescent-lit room to unveil a seemingly ordinary brick. His eyes widen in excitement.

The block doesn't look valuable or important, but intrinsic sentimental value lurks within the shale and clay. It is one of the remnants from the influential Tempe nightclub Long Wong's, where so many musicians, including The Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, and Gin Blossoms, staked their claim and rose to prominence. In another corner sits the soundboard that the groups plugged into before taking the stage at the legendary venue.

These items are among the numerous displays making up "The Tempe Sound" exhibition, now at Tempe History Museum through October 4, 2015. The 2,500-square-foot space is filled with nostalgia-inducing artifacts, including costumes, vintage band T-shirts, guitars belonging to artists such as Hans Olson and Roger Clyne, and even a replica of the Long Wong's stage. The exhibit will host concerts and a series of rotating exhibits throughout the year, including a photo display from New Times archives (coming June 2).

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MIM's New Exhibit Examines the Universal Language of Drums

Categories: Local Wire

Josh Chesler
The Musical Instrument Museum's new exhibit explores the universal nature of drums.

For thousands of years, the drum has been one of the most integral pieces of human civilization. It's provided a steady beat for everything from war marches and healing ceremonies to weddings and initiation rituals.

Beginning November 15, Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will host its "Beyond the Beat" exhibition, containing one of the most diverse collections of drums ever seen. Featuring roughly 110 drums ranging from the remains of a 6,000-year-old ancient Chinese drum to the 1969 drum set used by Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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