American Idol Star Jordin Sparks Announces New Album, Drops Mixtape

Categories: Upcoming

Jyle Dupuis

Remember that TV show American Idol, where people dissolve musical talent into a cutthroat Twitter tournament? Jordin Sparks (and Pepperidge Farms) remembers. The 24-year old Glendale singer took home the gold in 2007, and she's kept busy ever since. Most recently, Sparks signed to a new label and released a new single, "It Ain't You," not to mention her oh-so-modernly titled "mixtape," #BYEFELICIA. Her third album, Right Here, Right Now, is due for release in early 2015.

Sparks was only 17 when she won Season Six of American Idol, and that same year, her self-titled debut album quickly went Platinum, selling more than a million copies. Her second single from the record, "No Air," won the "Choice Hook-Up" award at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, which is a little strange considering Sparks' age at the time, and the fact that the song featured Chris Brown. Oh, how the times have changed.

Yet, following her chart-topping sophomore album Battlefield, it's clear that Sparks wasn't destined to become another Idol burnout. Besides opening for Britney Spears and the Jonas Brothers, Sparks also performed Battlefield's song "Faith" at President Obama's 2009 inauguration.

This doesn't even touch on the wave of accolades Sparks has received over the years, including two BET awards, one American Music award, a People's Choice Award, a GRAMMY Award nomination, and two MTV Video Music Awards.

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Check Out the Huge Lineup of Phoenix Bands at Bisbee's Sidepony Express Music Fest

Categories: Upcoming

Head Over Heart is one of the dozens of local bands headed to Bisbee next weekend.

With nearly 80 musicians playing, Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee promises to be one wild weekend. From Friday, November 14, to Sunday, November 16, folks from as far as Los Angeles, North Carolina, New Mexico, El Paso, Nashville, and Portland will make it to the southeastern Arizona mining town for some mile-high celebrations. Best of all, the festival is free and open to the public.

Some lineup highlights include Jerusafunk, Dadadoh, Wolvves, Japhy's Descent, Bad Neighbors, Captive Cooks, Manifest Sound, Watch for Rocks, Fairy Bones, and Field Tripp. Though it's a three-and-a-half hour drive from Phoenix and two hours from Tucson, it seems as good excuse as any to enjoy the cool weather the Grand Canyon State has gotten lately. Plus, this town promises plenty to do with a wealth of curios and little trinket shops, or at the very least, a change from the beige scenery in town to different shades of brown. Adventure!

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Want Artist James B. Hunt to Make a Painting Inspired by Your Band's Music?

Categories: Upcoming

Courtesy the artist.

Galleries aren't for every artist. For NXOEED, better known as James B. Hunt, he'd prefer to reveal his art out in the open by hiding his deranged paintings where anyone can stumble upon them. Hopefully, it's you. He posts clues on his website of the alleys, ditches, trash cans, sewers and other bung holes he shoves his paintings into. But for his latest scavenger hunt, he decided to do 100 paintings inspired by 100 bands, both local and otherwise. Each painting will be hidden along with some of the band in question's music.

Just a few highlights include Playboy Manbaby, Fairy Bones, Kongos, Dry River Yacht Club, The Smothers Fuckers, Field Tripp, Captain Squeegee, decker. and approximately 92 others. At last count, NXOEED had 15 of the paintings finished and 65 bands confirmed -- naturally, he needs some folks to submit their albums. The hunt begins 7 p.m. on First Friday, October 3rd. Send your music to

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10 Best Metal Shows in Metro Phoenix in August

Photo from Artist's Website

August is filled to the brim with heavy metal shows around Metro Phoenix, thanks to concerts and gigs by locals and major international legends. So check out the 10 best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley next month.

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Rubber Brother's Round Robin Concert Format Offers Onslaught of Local Music

Categories: Upcoming

Playboy Manbaby record release
Mike Bogumil
Playboy Manbaby

This Saturday Rubber Brother Records is putting on a different type of show -- a Round Robin.

Rather than have a typical show where each band plays for 25 minutes, followed by the rest, a Round Robin puts five bands in the same room all set up at the same time.
What makes this show unique is that there is no opening or closing act. Each artist performs two songs and then moves on to the next band.

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Wiz Kalifa, Barenaked Ladies and More to Play Arizona State Fair

Categories: Upcoming

Arizona State Fair Website

It's almost that time of year to enjoy funnel cakes and ferris wheels again, as the Arizona State Fair approaches. The event is known for its games and attractions, but don't look past the musical entertainment.

The festival has started by releasing a few names that will be coming to town, with more to be announced in the following months. As of right now, the list of artists slated to perform include Barenaked Ladies, Sublime with Rome, and Darius Rucker.

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10 Unearth Songs You Need to Hear

Categories: Lists, Upcoming

Photo from Metal Blade website

Many metal heads will know Massachusetts as the birthplace for many vital modern bands. There must be something in the chowder. Artists like All That Remains, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and specifically, Unearth, all hail from the Bay State.

Unearth is currently on tour with Texas In July, Cruel Hand, and Armed For Apocalypse for The Oncoming Storm 10th Anniversary Tour. The tour run makes its way to Arizona at Pub Rock on June 15.

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5 Bands You Should See at Vans Warped Tour

Categories: Lists, Upcoming

Ted Van Pelt via Flickr
Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour offers an overwhelming selection of bands each year for its annual summer tour.

The problem with the all-day event is that you have to know going in to the event which artists to see. Because of the huge list of performances, it's impossible to watch them all. To help with that, here are five artists that will be worth getting to the show early to catch.

See also: 10 Tips for Going to Warped Tour in Arizona and Not Dying

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Dive Into Jazz with the Nash Summer Workshops

Categories: Upcoming

Austin Paetow
Margo Reed and sit-in musicians at The Nash on May 18

Jazz is for everyone.

At least, that's the message that the owners of The Nash want to spread. This June, Phoenix the award-winning jazz venue will host a number of summer workshops for the second year in a row.

The workshops are designed for anyone looking to improve their skills or even learn new ones to enhance their musicianship. While many of the classes may require previous experience, some will be open to newcomers as well.

Jeff Libman, a Faculty Associate in the Department of Jazz Studies at ASU's School of Music, kicks of The Nash's summer on June 7, with his workshop titled "Exploring the Masters of Guitar". His lesson will look at artists like Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery.

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The Phoenix Lights Return (in Emby Alexander's New Video)

Categories: Upcoming, Video

Still from "I Don't Mind If You Call Us Friends"
Emby Alexander has had a busy summer, releasing two videos, signing to UK label Bigo & Twigetti, and wrapping up a brief tour of the Southwest in support of its self-titled EP. Now the art-pop locals are wrapping it up with an EP release and two videos: a retrospective tour diary sound tracked by their upcoming single "Lie Down In The Ocean," and "I Don't Mind If You Call Us Friends," a time-lapse of the band playing in local hangouts which may or may not feature the infamous Phoenix Lights.

The verbosely titled EP Summer Blood and All the Parties I Wasn't Invited to Anyway will be released today on Emby's UK label and Saturday on Phoenix's own cassette-adoring imprint Rubber Brother Records. The cassette will include a free digital download. But Michael B. Alexander, the band's frontman, wasn't always down with the whole cassette trend. What changed?

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