Singles Going Steady

In addition to the great EPs and Albums that are starting to flow through the Arizona scene, singles are starting to pop up wildly. Many of them are teasers and previews of albums and EPs soon to be released and I’ve selected four that have been released this month from bands I adore. The range from intentionally lo-fi to expertly produced and their styles are all over the place. Some of the newer singles have gone straight to video and I’ve already covered those (“Mirror, Mirror” by Banana Gun and “Melted Together” by The Prowling Kind), but I realized enough were sitting on bandcamp that I just had to share these varied sounds from around town. So without further ado, enjoy four new singles by Celebration Guns, The Rolling Blackouts, The Madera Strand and decker.

“Folks Inside” by Celebration Guns

Celebration Guns was in my top five debut bands of last year and it was a complete surprise to me. I took Charles Barth’s advice to check them out and I was damn glad I did, because their debut performance was amazing. They have been scooped up by Rubber Brother Records and will soon be releasing a split cassette with Twin Ponies, whose release show it was where they had their debut, so it seems fitting. The song “Folks Inside” is from that forthcoming release and is apparently inspired by a Shel Silverstein poem. Each of their releases seems like a teaser to me, because I want an entire album of their songs with the entire band, maybe playing live in the studio, because their live shows are amazing and I’d love to hear that carried over to a full length recording. This song is a pure delight and seems to stand apart from their previous recordings for the amount of intricate percussion alone. I cannot wait to hear what else Celebration Guns has in store for us this year–they are definitely one band to keep your ears on, if for no other reason than to watch their growth and percussion. I expect to write a lot more about them before years end.


“What’s So Bad About Bad” by The Rolling Blackouts

I spent a lot of time watching The Rolling Blackouts last weekend. Seriously. I saw them two nights in a row and they played completely different sets with no duplicates! Ari Leopold said the second night was their “B” set, but you could have fooled me. Both nights at Rogue and Long Wong’s were great, it had been a while since I caught them live, so I was unaware that they had enough material for two complete nights without repeating a song–not to mention that their covers are both great and varied (Jethro Tull, Oingo Boingo, Hot Hot Heat). One of the songs that stood out the most between the two nights was “What’s So Bad About Bad” which I thought was just pure gold when I heard it at Rogue. I was greatly relieved to discover that it was available online with their double A-Side release 2 Anthems of Tempered Optimism released earlier this month. This song has not left my brain since I heard it and since its infected me, I thought I would share it with everyone else. The live version on the new soundboard at Rogue actually makes the recording pale in comparison and I’d love to hear this recorded a bit better, but this is pretty fantastic and gives you the promise of this song. This is definitely a keeper in their catalog and should be further cultivated.


“The Void” by The Madera Strand

The Madera Strand is a band that snuck up on me. I saw them a couple times, I memorized their debut EP, then suddenly I noticed that I was excitedly going out of my way to see every show by them that I could catch. I wasn’t even conscious of this, then one day I realized it when I looked at a bill for a show and said out loud, “Oh, fuck, The Madera Strand are there, I’m definitely going.” That’s when it clicked that I really loved their music–I haven’t been to ALL of their shows, but I haven’t missed very many either. There is something in the combination of Cody Cruse’s magnificent guitar, Chris Keeling’s super-energetic bass, Dorian Demetrulias’ unreasonably enormous drumkit and percussive thunder and of course the hypnotic beauty of d’Averill Demetrulias’ voice and violin work. “The Void” is the second of three songs to be released from their forthcoming EP Dam Failure and its simply brilliant. Beautifully produced by Bob Hoag at Flying blanket, every member of the band really shines in this four and a half minute number. This has been one of my favorite songs in their recent live sets and its great to hear it so expertly presented here. d’Averill’s voice has never sounded better, there is a gymnastic quality about it that makes her range almost incomprehensible, there’s something of a Bjork quality to it that is absolutely mesmerizing. Chris, Cody and Dorian provide the most amazing textural backdrop to her vocals that there is a strange contrast between the moments of light and darkness, it’s as if they have made the star filled night itself into a song.

“Cellars” by decker.

I’ve been waiting for this. decker’s Slider was easily one of my favorite albums of last year and I love the hell out of Brandon Decker, so I’m always eagerly anticipating what he is up to next. You can read HERE about what I had to say about Slider and it finished out easily in my top ten of local albums for 2013, my friends at YabYum declared it the best album of the year and that praise is definitely well deserved. “Cellars” is the first song to be released from their forthcoming EP Patsy, which I anticipate will be absolutely brilliant. If you loved Slider you are going to absolutely love “Cellars”, it is the musical quintessence of all that is decker. which is “Psychedelic Desert Folk” according to their souncloud page and I’m not entirely sure if that refers to their music or the members of the band or a handy phrase that covers both. One thing to mention is that this song is epic, I mean that it’s over nine minutes long in this respect. Now, I have to admit that it takes a hell of a lot of mastery to keep me interested in a song that exceeds four minutes, but decker. first goes about this by switching gears nearly exactly at the four minute mark and ups the velocity, then introduces a nearly gospel sounding choir/clapping section. This is followed by a deep study in David Gilmour’s Pink Floyd that finishes the song with a lovely feedback wash of raging guitars. Yeah, I couldn’t ask for more on this particular song–I was riveted the entire time. Bloody brilliant,