New Tunes from The Stakes, Mill’s End, Westbrook and More!

Photo by Jeff Southwick at

The Stakes – “Unified/House Party”

Last week at some point I wrote a 2000 word love letter about The Stakes new masterpiece Prophecy, it’s going to show up in next month’s JAVA Magazine. When I write something like that, I prepare by listening to the album a dozen times and then write the article while listening to it again. Sometimes after these articles, I don’t want to hear the album for a while. Prophecy was the first album I wanted to listen to the next morning. In fact, “Unified” pounded through my skull until I was awake. The entire album has me reeling and I can’t imagine anything local topping it for the rest of the year. Due to the way YouTube syndicates tunes from services like CDBaby and Spotify, this audio vid has two songs in one epic shot. Luckily, it’s two of their best songs back to back, because “House Party” is a hidden track. I spend half the day with “Unified” in my head and most of the night with “House Party” playing and both songs feature I-Dee to boot. The music, the lyrics, the raw energy they tap into here is beyond words. I just want people to hear these songs and go buy the album, check out the entire thing, and play it again and again. First day I heard it, I played it seven times in a row. The July issue of JAVA will be hitting newstands this weekend, so keep an eye out for that and my track by track feature of Prophecy. You may want to catch The Stakes this weekend at a house party, the best house party ever. Seriously, Saturday, July 1st, they’re totally going to blow your mind at a pool party.


Photo Courtesy of No Big Deal

The Technicolors – “Impostor”

The Technicolors are releasing their third debut album by my count and this full length is called Metaphysical, which will see full release on July 7th. “Impostor” is the second preview single from the album, following “Congratulations, You’re A Doll” released last month. It’s shaping up to be an impressive display of where Brennan Smiley is in 2017 if nothing else. He seems to be straying from BritPop influences and investing his time into slightly more aggressive, but no less charming rock. Here they take a Strokes like approach to things, which has crept into their influences before. And to be clear, I mean like The Strokes on their first three albums and maybe even Julian Casablancas solo efforts. “Impostor” is absolutely dizzying with its whirling guitars, unrelenting beat and a pop aesthetic dirtied up enough to come across solely as modern rock’n'roll. I’m eager to hear the rest of the album, because this long player could be their most exciting and consistent release to date. Whatever occasion finds Smiley swooning, crooning and singing is almost always a pleasurable time. After a couple years of EPs, singles, stray tracks and mix tapes that were difficult to keep track of, much less obtain, it will be cool for this crew to get back to the medium of a full length album.



Mill’s End – “Follow The Money”

It’s been too long since Mill’s End put out a new tune, it seems like forever since they released The Swann Sessions, but I’m guessing it’s only been a bit over a year. It’s been at least half a decade since their debut album that caught my ear in the first place. “Follow The Money” is cause to celebrate for its release alone. Oh, it also happens to be a damn good song whose bass line I can’t shake from my soul. Lead Endster Jeff Bump sent this track and I was excited to listen to it immediately. Mill’s End has an Americana meets Blue Rock on the way to a bar fight kind of sound that’s always made me think, this is music cowboys SHOULD party to, I’m not sure why. What it comes down to is that Mill’s End is alternative rock with an Arizona twang, but it’s not quite embedded into the soil enough to be called desert rock. It’s one of my favorite vocals from Bump, because it has that sawdust and gold quality to it, which almost steals away from focusing on the lyrics. Actually, I had to listen to the song three or four times before being able to force myself to pay attention to the socially conscious lyrics that are particularly timely. Once I got over the vocals, the bass, the guitars and the drums, noting each for their best efforts yet, then I could listen to the song completely.


Westbrook – “Annabelle”

I was writing a review of Westbrook’s new, self-titled EP and marveling at how weird it was, but brilliantly so. They cover a lot of musical territory in four songs and expand their horizons across all four tracks. Still, two days later I’m walking down the street an all of a sudden this glorious trumpet line is blaring through my head and it’s meeting a confluence of guitars and voices, while around me those little corner dust devils dance in the doorways of the buildings and the sun is burning into me and I realize it’s “Annabelle.” Every song on their EP blows me away for different reasons, but this song has become a part of me. The moment I was reliving on the street can be found a minute thirty into the song and you’ll see why it may wrap itself around your psyche. First of all I’m a sucker for a trumpet, I know that, I get it, but they are approaching some next level composition with its introduction here. The entire songs a fascinating ride, but once it takes off at the aforementioned point, it becomes an entirely different beast and those are the kind of moments I live for in songs. This trio from Tempe have never sounded better and I hope record gets them where they need to be, because it should.


Dirty Sunset – “Take It Slow”

I feel like I’ve been bugging Dirty Sunset for official recordings since the first time I saw them live and I believe that’s because I’ve literally bugging Dirty Sunset for official recordings since the first time I saw them live. Seriously, just ask Kevin Wiscombe, he’ll tell you it’s the truth. “Take It Slow” is the first single from their forthcoming full length debut album Give In and it’s full of a ton of promises that I’m completely confident the album will fulfill.  I’ve seen them countless times live, I’ve listened to the demos again and again, I was more than ready for a single, an EP, an album, something to write about with this magical indie folk quintet that moves my soul and anybody else’s within the right proximity to the band. “Take It Slow” gives you a damn good idea what the band is all about, whether it’s J.P. Blanco’s magical voice, Wiscombe’s fiddle, a magical piano part (or do I imagine that?) and a sense of Gypsy rock to the whole affair. It’s clear the foci are the voice and the violin, but what is wrapped around those two is pure mysticism in arrangement and composition. Their unusual melodies and complicated arrangements make a damn fine time for your ears to be sure. Keep your ears open for the release of Give In later this year.