Full moon shenanigans at The Trunk Space

Doctor Bones

Doctor Bones

As finals drew ever closer, music-loving Phoenicians jammed out under a full moon at The Trunk Space Thursday night. The evening was an eclectic mix of punk-influenced sets, pounding drums and heavy distortion as Great American Youngbloodz, Mr. Atomm’s Bombs, Algae & the Tentacles and Doctor Bones took to the stage.

Great American Youngbloodz opened the evening, and they brought quite the crowd with them. The five-piece band mixed heavy bass with light psychedelic tones and synthesized chords to create a summery feeling. If disco-era high schoolers could go on a tour of Machu Picchu, this band would play their theme song.

The Great American Youngbloodz also debuted a new song in their set, much to the excitement of the audience. Among the themes of the songs were masturbation, surfing and straight-up tripping. The band’s sound wasn’t so clean, organized or necessarily well-rehearsed, but it was obvious that they were having fun with it.

Up next came Mr. Atomm’s Bombs, a heavily distorted punk outfit. The band kept things short and to the point — no flowery lyrics or complicated melodies, and few of the songs lasted more than two minutes. A mixture of bass, electric guitar and drums blared to narrate tales of imminent death and one extremely huge moment of “oh shit.” Mr. Atomm’s Bombs veered toward a dirtier, choppier Sex Pistols-type style. Additionally, mad props to the guitar player — he hand-pierced both ears with multiple safety pins, and was wearing them as über-edgy earrings. It’s so punk, it hurts … literally.

Visiting Tucson locals Algae & the Tentacles followed, with a decidedly less messy set. Drums accompanied an electric guitar to create the first obviously well-rehearsed set of the night. The exquisite rhythm and control of the drummer and the seriousness of Eddie Vedder-style vocals wooed the audience. Before long, a cacophony of the guitar player and lead singer’s looped vocals combined with a gnarly beat to raise the energy — his glasses came off, and the audience knew it was serious jam time.

Despite a slightly rocky beginning, the evening at The Trunk Space finished in triumph with the extreme showmanship and killer musical skill of Doctor Bones. The influence of ‘80s synth pop was obvious in the five-piece band, and much of its unique sound harkened back to darkwave rather than punk. Think the bass lines of The Cure, the guitar riffs of Flock of Seagulls and the vocals of Fred Schneider of the B-52’s and Gary Numan. Bass, electric guitar, drums, keyboard synthesizer, ethereal feminine vocals, tambourine and extremely high energy created a performance that truly topped the night. The lead singer theatrically rolled around on the floor and danced in the crowd, the bassist screamed like a crazed lumberjack on more than one occasion and they sang about killing old ladies.

You can’t get more memorable than that.

Regardless of the full moon, every one of the bands created an exciting atmosphere on Thursday evening. Although it wasn’t packed full, The Trunk Space hosted yet another night of noteworthy shenanigans.

Photos by Katie-Lee Faulkner/DD

Courtney Marie Andrews matures on new album

In her young career as a songwriter and musician, Courtney Marie Andrews has rarely fallen short of brilliance. Her latest album, On My Page, is no exception. Long-time fans will notice a new maturity and polish to her sound. They may also miss the comparatively loud, raw energy of some of her earlier work, but the peacefulness of this album is by no means a detriment to it. Andrews’ vocal performance, always impressive, is virtuosic on this album. The musical arrangements flow beautifully, often featuring sweet, simple strains on piano of violin against Andrews’ complex finger-picking on guitar. The quality is excellent throughout and each song is moving in its own way.

Some brief highlights:

The opening track, “Woman of Many Colors,” which feels like a kind of mission statement, setting up themes of identity and life experience that permeate the album.

“This Time,” which demands a comparison to Joni Mitchell, speaks particularly on life experience. This song has a wonderful energetic sound, making great use of percussion (cymbals!) and happy piano lines.

“Haven’t Seen It” is full of soul, strength and honesty. Andrews’ voice, in the low parts of her range on this song, is powerful.

The delicate interplay of piano and guitar on “500 Nights” is very beautiful. Add in the lyrics and this song is dangerously likely to make you cry.

“Paintings From Michael” has a lovely bright sound, but is particularly notable for its engaging story. Listen to it and make your own interpretation.

Finally, “On My Page” has some of the most beautiful guitar and vocal work on the album, which is saying a lot. Again, Andrews’ vocal stylings remind me of Joni Mitchell in the best possible way. The instrumentation is spare but powerful.

Give On My Page a second listen if the power of these songs doesn’t hit you at once. As I said, it is a peaceful album, but the messages embedded in Andrews’ songs are intense and interesting. On My Page, a beautiful album featuring excellent musicianship, is a work of art you shouldn’t miss.

Photo by Alex Scoville/DD

Record Store Day celebrates classic vinyl

If there’s one thing the young and old can agree on, it’s that vinyl is pretty cool. Even in today’s world of instant music downloads and Internet streams, something is just better about having a huge disc of plastic to play music through.

Record Store Day, held on Saturday, April 20, is an international event celebrating the continuing existence of records and the stores that sell them. Record Store Day features a list of exclusive releases that range from classic rock (Bob Dylan, King Crimson) to modern metal (Between the Buried and Me, All That Remains) to indie mainstays (Phoenix, Titus Andronicus).

The full list of releases is available here. It should be noted that stores don’t know exactly what records they’ll be getting until they arrive – they can put in requests, but they won’t get everything they want.

Thankfully, the light rail gives downtown Phoenix residents access to some excellent record stores for Record Store Day.

(Marianna Hauglie/DD)

(Marianna Hauglie/DD)

STINKWEEDS

The Place: 12 W. Camelback Road. From the light rail, it’s just off Camelback and Central. Stinkweeds feels like home for many of downtown’s record enthusiasts for good reason – they combine the sense of community of a local shop with impressive selections.

The Event: Stinkweeds has an impressive list of local acts along with national headliner FIDDLAR. Food truck favorites Short Leash Hot Dogs, Mama Toledo’s Pies and Pizza People will all be there providing their services.

The Verdict: With quality local bands like Playboy Manbaby joining FIDDLAR and a variety of food trucks, Stinkweeds is probably worth a quick trip down the light rail. They’ve also ordered every single RSD release. While they certainly won’t get all of them, their dedication is impressive.

(Madeline Pado/DD)

(Madeline Pado/DD)

REVOLVER

The Place: 918 N. Second St. Set on Roosevelt and 2nd streets, Revolver is the closest record store to ASU’s Downtown campus and the only one accessible without the light rail. With the beautiful mural on its outside wall and the quirky personalities sure to be inside, it fits in well with the rest of Roosevelt Row.

The Event: Popular local act Dogbreth and the incredibly interesting Minibosses (they play prog metal covers of video game music) highlight a lineup of local bands. For food needs, Revolver is surrounded by RoRo coffee shops and restaurants.

The Verdict: Revolver occasionally gets criticized for only having an impressive selection during First Fridays – they’re likely to pull out all the stops for RSD as well. While it’s unknown what exactly they’ve ordered or are getting, Revolver has posted pictures on their Facebook page with lots of boxes, so there should be something nice.

(Thomas Hawthorne/DD)

(Thomas Hawthorne/DD)

ZIA

The Place: 1850 W. Camelback Road. There are a few Zia Record Exchanges throughout Arizona and Nevada, but this one – just off the light rail at Camelback Road and 19th Avenue – is large, new and nice.

The Event: Zia hosts a big name headliner for Record Store Day this year in Wavves. The very successful beach punk will be performing there at 3 p.m. and signing autographs. Emerson Fry Bread will be there selling food, but only for the early risers – they’ll be there from 8 to 10 a.m.

The Verdict: A chain like Zia may not have the personality of a more local shop, but it’s hard to argue against seeing Wavves before he performs at Crescent Ballroom that night. Imagining Zia’s huge store full of Record Store Day releases should also be enough to make vinyl fans take a ride to the second-to-last stop on the light rail to check it out.