2014 Grammy Nominees: Why Metal Will Make A Strong Showing

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Black Sabbath's return earned a number of 2014 Grammy nominations.
The Grammys has never been known for supporting heavy metal. Heavy bands show up and it's like a burnout kid crashing his parents' fancy dinner party. Even when Halestorm won Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for their song "Love Bites (And So Do I)" at the 2013 Grammys, Lzzy Hale told me that she felt like the band was the awkward red-headed step child the entire night.

Hell, the metal category isn't even a part of the televised ceremony. Regardless of that, the nominees for the the 2014 Grammy Awards have been announced, and rock and metal have a surprisingly solid presence.

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How Katy Perry Made Me A Believer with "Dark Horse" and "Who You Love"

Categories: Sound Off

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Verified Katy Perry Twitter
It took a while. At first, it's hard to be enamored with Katy Perry's dynamic as a male listener: You either get it or you don't right off the bat. Like any other modern pop icon, however, Perry's single are as grandiose as they are ubiquitous, especially with the massive success of 2010's Teenage Dream.

I, for one was not a Katy Perry fan. I wrote thinly-veiled criticism about her for my school paper. I eschewed the wholehearted fans. I hardly tolerated my girlfriend's full-blown Katy Perry obsession -- until recently.

Over the course of the past month, everything changed. Prism, Perry's highly anticipated follow up to Teenage Dream, drops on October 22, and its subsequent Dr. Luke-produced singles, "Roar" and last night's release of "Dark Horse," featuring ex-Three Six Mafia member Juicy J, are leading the Billboard charge while forcing me to reevaluate my stance.

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Which Heavy Metal Band Would You Pick for the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

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It's happening.
Heavy metal and contact sports always seem to go hand-in-hand. Both share the same kind of aggression and unpredictability. Revolver's Golden Gods Awards has a "most metal athlete" category. And in football, one of America's favorite sports to get all amped up about, teams trot out onto the field to a range of classics: AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Metallica.

Ahead of the upcoming football season, the collaboration between heavy metal and football has already started off with a bang. I'm talking about Arena Football's partnership with KISS; you may have heard about the team, dubbed the L.A. KISS, and no, it's not a joke. KISS is known for having a hand in just about every aspect of merchandising a band, so we already known that their helmet designs will be amazing (and likely for sale everywhere.) And as an added incentive, the band will play a private concert for season-ticket holders.

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Man in Decline Records' Dominic Primé on Knesset, D. Russ, and A Cloud Forest

Categories: Sound Off

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Clockwise: D. Russ, Knesset, Dominic Primé of Man in Decline Records, A Cloud Forest
Welcome to the latest installment of our recurring feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

Dominic Primé owns Man in Decline Records (and we've reviewed Seas Will Rise and Primé's band Come On Die Young in previous Sound Off columns), and has done time as a promoter, music journalist, and active member of the Salt Lake City hardcore scene before moving to Phoenix to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology.

We discussed indie rock from Knesset, hip-hop from D. Russ, and atmospheric black metal from A Cloud Forest.

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James Fella on Seas Will Rise, Nathaniel Nichols, Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere

Categories: Sound Off

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Clockwise from top left: James Fella, Seas Will Rise, Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere, Nathaniel Nichols' Cloud Cave art
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

This week's guest is James Fella, a Tempe musician, who in addition to creating shredding art pop with Mangled Men and compositions on his own, runs Gilgongo Records, which has issued records by Woods, Zs, Raccoo-oo-oon, and a slew of local artists. I met Fella at his place in Tempe, where we sat in his car and listened to a CD-R containing songs by Seas Will Rise, Nathaniel Nichols, and Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere. That's right -- dude only has a record player in his place.

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Ash Avenue Comics Staff on Galapagos, Faces, and Drainbow

Categories: Sound Off

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Clockwise from top left: Galapagos, Drew Sully and Adrienne Osuch of Ash Ave Comics, Faces, Drainbow
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

Sometimes you have to kill two birds with one stone. I desperately needed to make it in to Ash Avenue Comics to pick up the conclusion of Uncanny X-Force's "Dark Angel" saga and the latest installment of Grant Morrison's socialist take on Superman, and I needed to lock down a guest for this week's edition of Sound Off. Those who browse the racks at Ash Ave (located in the same quadrant as Otto's Pizza, Cartel Coffee, Wet Paint Art Supply, and a stones toss from Casey Moore's) know that owner Drew Sully is just as apt to riff on the latest underground hip-hop as he is to recommend Brian Azzarello's take on Wonder Woman or riff on gentrification (that is, very likely).

Sully was joined in our discussion of three local tracks from electronic artist Galapagos, rapper Faces, and heavy rockers Drainbow by Ash Ave employee Adrienne Osuch, who was natural sporting t-shirt with an unreadable black metal band logo.

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Dry River Yacht Club's Henri Bernard on St. Ranger, Tintype, and The Pübes

Categories: Sound Off

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Clockwise from top left: St. Ranger, The Pübes, Henri Bernard of Dry River Yacht Club, Tintype
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

This week's guest is Henri Benard, known mostly for his work with Dry River Yacht Club, but also for being a drummer around town, playing with group's like The Whisperlights and even Sedona's Decker.

Benard talks quick, and had plenty of say about tunes from St. Ranger, Tintype, and The Pübes.

Dry River Yacht Club is scheduled to cover The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at Crescent Ballroom.

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Yaya Martinez on Sorrower, Young Spider, and Future Loves Past

Categories: Sound Off

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Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

This week's Sound Offer is Yaya Martinez, who hosts The Pulse, a show dedicated to underground hip-hop every Saturday 1-4 a.m. on Power 98.3. (Check out our video feature on Yaya.)

Martinez sat down to listen to three Phoenix tracks from metal band Sorrower, rapper Young Spider, and Future Loves Past.

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Miss DJ MJ on Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD

Categories: Sound Off

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Clockwise from top left: Miss DJ MJ, Mouse Powell, Ladylike, Sluggo
"I know hits when I hear them," Miss DJ MJ says, hanging out in the New Times office.

I believe her. She's been on the air for 10 years, working as music director at Power 98.3. She recently left the station, but not before becoming the first female on-air mixer in Arizona.

I ask DJ MJ for her album of the year, and she states Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Technically, that's a 2010 release, but we get it. DJ MJ likes pop music, but pop music that isn't afraid to explore sounds and themes.

With that in mind, we tuned into three local tracks by "Mighty" Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD.

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What Laura Says' Mitch Freedom on BobbyBrandNew, Crash Street Kids, and Terra Firma

Categories: Sound Off

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Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email music@newtimes.com.

Mitch Freedom of What Laura Says needs little introduction. His melodic, soul-inspired bass playing is the bedrock of the group, giving the pysch pop jams a urgent sense of boogie.

Dude's also a big time music listener, too, always riffing on what records he's currently spinning. Mitch stopped by the New Times offices to listen and discuss some local jams from rapper BobbyBrandNew, old school rockers Crash Street Kids, and the shoegazey Terra Firma, and his own band's songwriting process.

What Laura Says performs at Creamy Radio's Thanksgiving Eve Show at Sail Inn on Wednesday, November 23.

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