Heritage Hump Day: Zen Lunatics - "Media Sensation"

Categories: Local Wire

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Zen Lunatics once had a record deal and a karaoke night. Pretty sweet.

Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.

Those who were around in the '90s may have forgotten how fun it was to have a band like Zen Lunatics in our local scene. But, thanks to the copious notes I took, it will all came back to you if you reread my July 13, 1995 feature, "The Art of Zen Lunatics," which starts off with the Zens playing a Nita's Hideaway Fourth of July gig where Zen frontmen Terry Garvin and Chris Hansenorf passed around a Stuckey's Pecan Roll for the audience to enjoy:

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Drawing from Classic Rock and Funk, 
Valley Teen Gus Campbell Is Ready to Rock

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Gus Campbell and friends

Though it's premature to call Gus Campbell a guitar god, he is a true talent. One could use adjectives like "wunderkind" or clichés like "He's an old soul," but the truth of the matter is the kid can flat-out shred for any age. At 16, Campbell has a maturity and musical acumen that many local musicians two and three times his age wish they had. After gigging around town (and out of state) for the past couple of years with his trusty Stratocaster in hand and bandmates Alex Chacon (bass) and Mark Savale (drums) , it is apparent this young man is ready to take things to the next level. Who knows? Maybe he can take it to levels we have yet to see.

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Original PHX Riot Grrrls Burning Bush Reignite for Reunion Show

Categories: Local Wire

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Burning Bush had attitude and was one of the only all-girl punk groups in 1980s-era Phoenix.
Before the Riot Grrrl movement of the early '90s or before the advent of social media, there wasn't a network of like-minded all-female bands across the country working together. All you had was the notion of DIY bands, pockets of groups in far-flung areas of the country maybe mining similar territory. Maybe you'd have a band like L7 in Los Angeles. And maybe you'd have a power-punk trio like Burning Bush here in Phoenix.

Burning Bush existed from 1987 to 1993 and consisted of Thomascyne Ryther (guitar, vocals), Denise Tanguay (bass, vocals), and Audrey Creed (drums). And in fact it was social media that brought them back together. When Kevin Daly posted a picture of his '80s band Hellfire on Facebook and mused about bringing them back together for a show, Denise Tanguay texted him that if he was going to do that, there ought to be a Burning Bush reunion as well.

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Heritage Hump Day: Less Pain Forever - "Throw Your Babies"

Categories: Local Wire

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Courtesy of Onus Records
Less Pain Forever was actually the better name of the band's two incarnations.

Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.

The first time I saw Less Pain Forever, it was in 1997 at a Trunk Federation CD release party at Hollywood Alley when they still labored under the unwieldy name Lush Budget Presents the Les Payne Product. My first impressions were as thus:

"The Les Payne Project began feeding the throng a steady diet of wit and whimsy. Unlike most abrasive guitar-and-drum duos whose only objective is illustrating how two guys can make the noise of six, the Les Payne Project relies far more on humor and vocal harmony. Each number begins like a multi-tracked poetry slam and ends up like a grungier version of De La Soul."
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Heritage Hump Day: Burning Bush, "Revolution Without Guns Part 1"

Categories: Local Wire

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Courtesy of Onus Records
Burning Bush

Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.

If you were going to compile a list of "forerunners of the Riot Grrrl movement," it'd be a pretty short list, even for one spanning 20-some years. Poly Styrene...The Slits... Au Pairs... The Raincoats...Bush Tetras and... oh yes, don'tcha despair, Phoenix, you do have one band to add to this elite list: Burning Bush!

They were poppy, they were punky but always kicking ass with a sense of purpose. Thomascyne Ryther (guitar, vocals), Denise Tanguay (bass, vocals) and Audrey Creed (drums) came together in 1987 and pretty much stood alone for all their time in this music scene.

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You'll Never Guess the Type of Songs Dinosaur Love Writes

Categories: Local Wire

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Troh Farah
Scary.

On the gorgeous spring afternoon that Dinosaur Love agrees to meet me, he insists on rendezvousing in front of the giant red Tyrannosaurus Rex outside the Phoenix Art Museum, because of course he does. The singular mind behind this obsessive music project, better known as Peter Kulikowski, arrives modeling a teal fossil tee, some kind of kimono, yellow slacks, even dinosaur socks, not to mention his Pixar-approved dino hat.

So, if you haven't already figured it out, Dinosaur Love is really into dinosaurs.

Which is great, actually. This is all Kulikowski needs. Who doesn't like dinosaurs? I don't want to meet that person because they sound really boring. Blending acoustic guitar with his '80s-era Hammond organ, Dinosaur Love is a somewhat folk-punk, tongue-in-cheek approach to celebrating our extinct fossil friends.

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Harper and the Moths Talk New Singles, Music Video (VIDEO)

Categories: Local Wire

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Zach Ishmael
Harper and the Moths

The past Harper and the Moths record was based on a depressing time. Singer Harper Lines had moved to Seattle for love, and what resulted was a heartbreak record aptly titled Love Songs for the Damned -- released after Lines trekked back to his home state of Arizona and reunited with his bandmates. Though the album was ultra-catchy in a pop-rock vein, bitterness tinged the lyrics.

These days, the group is focusing on the bright side, having added keyboardist and vocalist Kelsee Ishmael for a more dynamic sound, and penning funk/R&B-influenced tracks based on self-identity and the give and take of relationships. A sense of fun is blatant in the group's video for "Nighttime Tremors," a colorful piece shot in a local roller rink.

The band has shifted from an album format to releasing singles one at a time, and plans to drop two new songs by summer amid tour plans. Attendees at their Yucca Tap Room show Friday, March 20 -- where the band is joined by Fairy Bones, Anthony Fama & The Redemptions, and Celebrations Guns -- can expect a flashy show, complete with a light rig set-up, stage attire and props. Guitarist Chan Redfield talked more about what the band is up to, and you can catch their new video after the jump.

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If "Blurred Lines" Ripped Off Marvin Gaye, Kelly Clarkson Absolutely Ripped Off Jimmy Eat World

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Kelly Clarkson's probably getting a little nervous right now.

On Tuesday, a California federal jury ordered Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke to pay $7.4 million to the estate of Marvin Gaye, finding that the duo ripped off Gaye's classic "Got to Give It Up" for their 2013 song of the summer "Blurred Lines."

The two songs share a similar groove on first listen, and according to musicologists who testified on behalf of the Gaye estate, those similarities made "Blurred Lines" a crime.

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Heritage Hump Day: Hellfire - "Damn Thing"

Categories: Local Wire

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Courtesy of Onus Records
Hellfire is reuniting, and it feels so good.

Every Wednesday is Heritage Hump Day! That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a temporary subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the scorched earth of Arizona before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the digital public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.

Well, we've finally hit a group that predates New Times' archives on the Internet. You can see Hellfire mentioned in the role call with singer-songwriter Kevin Daly's other music projects through the years, from The Hoods to Grant and the Geezers to Grave Danger to Trophy Husbands to Chicken And Waffles.

Since Hellfire is reuniting for a March 28 show at Rips with contemporaries Burning Bush (don't worry, we'll get to them next week), here's a little back history.

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Watch the New Video Game-Themed Music Video by Tempe Band Instructions

Categories: Local Wire

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Elan Hood
Instructions, the band with the un-Googleable name.


That epileptic seizure warning at the beginning of "Tony," the new music video by Instructions, isn't a joke. Directed by Ryan Lee Caldwell, the video is a psychedelic spinout through a nostalgic maze of blown-out color. In order to better represent their core dynamic, Instructions made their video for "Tony" with a nod to vintage video games like Star Fox and Mega Man, using clips from the Sega Saturn game Bulk Slash. But the lyrics themselves address the bitterness surrounding a breakup.

"[Tony is] about spitefully wanting the other person to see how awesome you're doing," says TJ Friga, Instructions' guitarist and singer. "But in reality, still being 'broken' and having regrets."

Friga adds, "I think that a lot of our lyrics are rooted in adolescent nostalgia, which we also have for these games, so it made sense to embrace something nearby in the frame of reference."

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