New Tunes from El West, Nanami Ozone, The Sunpunchers and More!

Photo by Daniel Iannaccone

El West – “Rose Letter A”
El West arrested the senses with their debut EP last year and made one of the impressive debuts in the scene. “Rose Letter A” is their first song released this year as the harbinger of the next record to come and it’s nice to hear this crew playing around with their sound a bit. It’s a bit of a mid tempo rocker that relies far more on the ringing guitar work of Thomas Brenneman and less on the operatic vocals of Bryant Powell, add the flawless rhythm section of Ricky Powell and Marty Welker it becomes a bit of perfection. Bryant still performs some stunning vocal gymnastics that will make fans swoon, but man the music here is what “Rose Letter A” is all about. It comes across a seemingly textured, laid back number, but it has this strange way of getting under your skin, kicking up your blood pressure and getting you to your target heart rate when it’s all said and done. I don’t understand it myself, but every time I hit the end I feel like I’m flying. I could not get enough of their debut EP and with a preview track like this, I am certain that their next record is going to have just as big of an impact, but possible in a completely different way. The music will lure you in, the chorus will drive you mad and in the end your ears will be left in awe of the entire effort. Brilliant.

Photo @chardarr

Nanami Ozone – “All Of It”
Last year Nanami Ozone’s debut full length Desire was in the top ten of my local album picks and it topped more than a few lists around town. In truth, no amount of praise was worthy of that magnificent album, but maybe we were sensing that there will be much more on the horizon from one of the best indie outfits in town. I’m pretty confident every member of the band has half a decade banked in various local groups like The Thin Bloods, Petty Things, Sun Ghost, Numb Bats and a few others. Colson Miller, Sophie Opich, Chris Gerber and Jordan Owen have all paid their dues and Nanami Ozone is where they are collectively calling home quite brilliantly. They recently released the Make It All Right EP and it’s four tracks of indie rock bliss–not an exaggeration. “All Of It” opens up the entire affair with Miller handling lead vocals and Opich on backing vocals and while it may not seem like the immediate single it’s a track that takes a more dreamy approach to their sound and Miller’s woozy lead is dizzying, almost intoxicating. His voice echoes memories of the 1990s, but distantly, as though you can almost make a comparison, but here he’s coming into his own. When I spin the track over and over, I hear Colson Miller and that’s pretty awesome. Buy the EP immediately, I promise there will be no remorse.

Photo courtesy of Painting Fences

Painting Fences- “Yeah Pretty Yeah”

If you’ve been keeping track of the articles found on Sounds Around Town, you may have heard tell of When In AZ, Vol. 2 a charity project where local artists cover each other. Well, Painting Fences liked their Fairy Bones cover that it’s a hidden track on their new¬†Prelude to a Fall EP they released last week, which extends the record to a proper four track release. It’s the first track that’s headed toward the compilation to see public release and I have to say it’s a stunner. If the rest of the covers meet this metric it’s going to be a fantastic time all around. First of all, I should have suspected Seth Norman’s unusual vocal style would be absolutely perfect and damn near sexually ambivalent as performed here. Painting Fences is emerging as one of my favorite local bands because they have a sound all their own and even when their covering Fairy Bones, they sound uniquely like themselves, with distinctive guitar from Johnny Norman and percussion from Nick Martin. I just like the way this band thinks about sound and executes it. This was one of my favorite tracks from Fairy Bones full length debut Dramabot, but here it takes on a glam vibe reminiscent of early Roxy Music, with Chelsey Louise’s theatrics still firmly embedded in the song. I can’t complain about one of my new faves covering one of my top five bands and it makes me eager for the release of When In AZ, Vol. 2.


The Sunpunchers – “Screwtop Head”

It had escaped me that The Sunpunchers debut Honey EP was released back in 2013 until lead visionary and vocalist Betsy Ganz dropped me a line letting me know The Sunpunchers were very much still a thing and they had a new album coming out. They wisely dropped two preview tracks in anticipation of Levity coming out this weekend. “Screwtop Head” and the title track were released to give fans a little taste of the magic headed their way and the former track seems just perfect for the warmer season. The song itself smells of creosote and sage, embedded with the Desert Southwest through and through. It’s also got a heavy Spaghetti Western vibe that I can never get enough of and it always works perfectly to ensure there’s no mistaking the region that gave birth to this music. It’s Americana Desert Rock, with brass flourishes, seductive guitar lines and of course, Ganz’ flawless vocals commanding the entire vessel. I could spend the day inside this song, sipping Topo Chico in the sweltering sun, staring at the saguaro in the distance. This is just waiting to be on a soundtrack for a movie that has yet to be written–it’s mood music to watch lizards dance by the highway. I cannot wait to check out the rest of the album. You may want to celebrate the release of The SunPunchers Levity with The Jon Rauhouse Combo, at The Newton this Saturday, May 20th.

Moose Titans – “Best Friend”

Last year Moose Titans released their debut Bungalow and it was one of those records that I got to a bit late to write anything relevant or timely. That just happens. That said, when I heard they were dropping a new EP, I wasn’t going to miss the boat on this one. I don’t even know if this crew of Kieran Martin, Dillan Ducar, Matthew Barry, and Tyler Prime play out live, because I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered them on a bill, but they’ve got recording down pretty well. The four tracks found on Fresh Hot Moose Tracks will be a pretty easy sell on your ears and they’ve got a quirky enough signature sound to keep them fresh in your memory and keep you refreshed at the same time, aurally speaking anyway. They’d actually fit in well with a lineup of Nanami Ozone and Painting Fences above. I have no idea who plays what in the band, but once more I’m all about the vocals here. Don’t get me wrong the music is fantastic and equally fascinating, but it’s the near fragile lilt of the lead singer that sold me on them. “Best Friend” is my pick here, because sometimes you have to make difficult decision, but it’s here that everything gels just fucking perfectly, the guitar line, the vocals, the rhythm section weaving in and out of all of it. One of my favorite local EPs released so far this year.