Local rockers Jane N’ the Jungle have placed a soulful reinvention of “The Man” by Aloe Blacc in the local indie film “SHE.”
The song was selected by the film’s director and frequent Jane N’ the Jungle collaborator Will Goldstein.
“The original song is sung by a man, with male dominating lyrics,” says Jordan White, the group’s leader lead vocalist. “When we perform it, the song takes on an opposing point of view.”
Having a woman perform such a male-centric song is intended to spark discussion about a male-dominated culture, much like the film itself, the tale of an Airbnb owner who uses her sexuality to manipulate her male guest into doing her evil bidding.
“She” is screening at FilmBar at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 5
‘You Racist, Sexist, Bigot’ director scores film with Phoenix all-star band
After wrapping production on “Play the Documentary,” an independent film designed to raise awareness of the struggle to keep music in schools, director Matty Steinkamp decided he wanted to do the soundtrack to his next film.
That soundtrack – to the film “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot,” co-directed by Pita Juarez – is out this week.
Steinkamp, who toured as an acoustic singer-songwriter in college before he shifted his attention to directing music videos and films, wrote the majority of the music on the album, which was produced by Larry Elyea in Glendale.
“I was trying to find historical references and sounds that made sense for this film, talking about discrimination,” he says. “And there was a movie called ‘Glory’ that had a gospel-type march in it. That really spun the melody line of the whole soundtrack.”
Once he’d written the theme song, “All We Need is Love,” he says, “I started calling my musician friends and seeing how we could develop this melody line a lot more than just the vocal and piano line I had created.”
The result is an album that features musical collaborations between the director and members of Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, Upsahl, Decker, Fayuca, the Stakes, What Laura Says and the Haymarket Squares
“I didn’t want to play piano on the soundtrack,” Steinkamp says, “because I knew there were other musicians out there who could elaborate on my melody line so much more. And Ben (Scolaro of the Stakes) came in and took it to a whole new level with his jazz and hip-hop background.”
He even assembled a gospel choir from members of Upsahl, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and the Haymarket Squares and spent a full day tracking vocals.
“I was a songwriter back in the day,” Steinkamp says. “And I guess this was my first chance to see what I have evolved into. Being around so many different musicians, doing videos, helping A Life of Science produce their trilogy, it all made me a much better songwriter, so I felt more confident wanting to try to accomplish this.”
Phoenix singer Whitney Fenimore, seen on Season 13 of ‘The Voice,’ releases ‘Battle Within’ EP
Whitney Fenimore turned heads – and chairs – on Season 13 of “The Voice” with a blind audition that found her reinventing Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and earned the Phoenix-based alt-country singer a spot on Team Adam.
Seven months later, the video of that performance has earned more than 976,000 views on YouTube.
Now, she’s releasing a five-song EP titled “Battle Within,” available to stream in full ahead of its release right here at azcentral.com.
“We all go through tough times, but hopefully come out on the other side being a stronger person,” Fenimore says. “To me, that’s what this EP is all about – love, loss, self-discovery and everything in between.”
The title track is a melancholy breakup song with Dylanesque harmonica that finds her pleading, “If you see me, turn the other way / It’s just too hard when I see your face.”
The EP opens on the breathtaking lead single “Find Your Love,” a song whose sense of atmosphere is majestic enough to cause flashbacks to Pink Floyd or Spiritualized with haunting pedal steel guitar.
And she signs off with an understated folk-pop ballad called “You Think You’re Right (But I Do Too)” that really speaks to her melodic sensibilities.
The EP is available to preorder at iTunes. And you’ll be able to stream it at Spotify starting at midnight on Friday, May 18.
Roger Clyne, Pistoleros, Dead Hot Workshop to be inducted to AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame
The Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (AMEHOF) has announced its latest class of inductees, including several major players on the Tempe music scene that had a lot of people thinking this could be the next Seattle in the ’90s.
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, the Pistoleros and Dead Hot Workshop all sprang from that vibrant scene, playing venues like Long Wong’s, which joins them on the list of inductees.
Alice Tatum and George Benson represent the local jazz community, with Bob Corritore, who plays a mean harmonica and owns the Rhythm Room, representing the blues while country fans should recognize the names J. David Sloan and Bob Meighan.
Rounding out the list of artists in this class are Bruce Connole of Billy Clone, the Jetzons, the Strand and the Suicide Kings; Clarke Rigsby, a producer who’s worked with Paul McCartney and Glen Campbell; and Jon Iger, who founded the Arizona Songwriters Association.
They’re joined by Compton Terrace, DJ Dave Pratt and Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, which moved its corporate home to Scottsdale in the early ’90s.
“The performers, venues and others on this list have had a historic impact on Arizona’s music and entertainment scene, and we’re proud to recognize their contributions to the state’s cultural landscape,” said Mark Myers, AMEHOF’s president.
The hall was created, as its website notes, “to recognize and honor the contributions of musicians, entertainers, venues and individuals who have had a significant impact on the evolution and development of the musical and entertainment culture in the state of Arizona and to educate the public about these accomplishments.”
Alice Cooper birthday bash earns $250K for kids
Alice Cooper assembled a cast of celebrity friends from the worlds of music, comedy, television and sports for Alice’s Birthday Par-Tee last weekend at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa and raised more than $250,000 for the Rock Teen Center.
The event, which took place Saturday, was billed as “the rock and roll bash of the decade” with performances from Tommy Thayer of KISS, Don Felder of the Eagles, Fee Waybill of The Tubes, Adrian Young of No Doubt, Geoff Tate of Queensryche, the Solid Rock Dancers, the Bucket Brigade, the Rock Teen Center musicians and more.
And it was a blast, as always. Waybill sang “Talk to Ya Later.” Felder paid tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan on “Pride and Joy” and was joined by Thayer to recapture the twin-guitar magic of the Eagles’ “Hotel California.”
Larry the Cable Guy told jokes. Murray SawChuck did his usual blend of comedy and magic. And Cooper brought the whole thing to a rowdy climax with a hit-filled set, joined by original drummer Neal Smith on a raucous rendition of “Eighteen.”
Cooper opened his set with “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” making his way through such classics as “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and a timely performance of “Lost in America.”
After addressing old rumors of a rivalry between Cooper and Kiss, he saluted his brothers in facepaint with “Rock and Roll All Nite” before ending the set with an all-star jam on “School’s Out,” performed as a medley with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
Among those joining Cooper on stage were Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin on the U.S. version of “The Office,” and Dash Cooper, the legend’s son, who fronts his own band, Co-op.
The event began with a silent auction and included dinner. There was also a live auction, where golfing with Cooper brought in $20,000 and golfing with Felder earned another $15,000.
Candlebox Solid Rock benefit
The next big fundraiser for Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of Arizona teens through music, dance, and self-expression, is a Candlebox concert at BLK Live on May 19.
“This is a cause that is very close to my heart,” says Kevin Martin, lead vocalist for Candlebox. “With music and arts programs being cut from our schools it’s now more important than ever to have organizations like Alice’s to make sure that our kids get the opportunity to experience these things. Who knows where I would have wound up if it weren’t for music?”
Details: Saturday, May 19. BLK Live, 7301 E. Butherus Drive, Scottsdale. $35-$50. 480-494-5069, blkliveaz.com.
Scottsdale’s Blessthefall premiere new video about a possessed TV, ‘Sleepless in Phoenix’
Scottsdale-based metalcore veterans Blessthefall have shared a very cinematic music video involving a possessed TV for a song titled “Sleepless in Phoenix.”
The track is featured on “Hard Feelings,” Blessthefall’s sixth album, which debuted at No. 54 on Billboard’s album chart.
And the video was filmed right here in Phoenix, including such obvious landmarks as the sign for Melrose TV VCR and Stereo Repair on Seventh Avenue and those blue recycle bins we use.
“It was pretty awesome filming this video about Phoenix while we were actually in Phoenix,” said front man Beau Bokan.
“The whole concept is about a dude who buys a possessed TV and he can’t get rid of it! We wanted sort of a ‘Black Mirror’/’Twilight Zone’ vibe.”
Bokan considers it one of the coolest videos they’ve ever made, adding, “Since the narrative and the performance are happening at the same time, you’ll have to watch this multiple times to catch it all.”
Blessthefall will hit the road later this month, touring with Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria. Dates are below.
Two Valley musicians win Canadian Screen Award for ‘Breadwinner’ song
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has recognized the talents of two Valley artists, awarding Achievement in Music — Original Song to “The Crown Sleeps” by Joshua Hill and Qais Essar at this week’s Canadian Screen Awards.
The song was featured in “The Breadwinner,” an animated feature The Breadwinner, which took home four awards.
Hill, who studied music composition at ASU, shared the news in a Facebook post.
“Very grateful to have received a Canadian Screen Award last night for my songwriting in The Breadwinner which received a total of four awards for the evening,” he wrote. “I had a blast, met some real nice folks in Toronto. I’ll post a few more photos later, but for now I’m going to eat this here scone on a sleepy train to the airport.”
Based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis, the animated feature tells the story of Parvana, a young girl living in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan whose father is unjustly arrested when a member of the Taliban thinks he insulted him in the market.
Essar says, “It’s a great win for Afghanistan, and as an Afghan artist, it was very important for me to be a part of this movie, and to write and perform the song for the movie that ultimately won this award.
The film’s director Nora Twomey messaged Essar during the making of the film,” he says, “and said how how my music was a source of inspiration for her and that’s what led to my selection as part of the production.”
Essar has released two LPs, four EPs and one live album. On April 13, he’s releasing a third album, titled “The Ghost You Love Most.”
Essar was also cited this week as a must-see artist at SXSW by the New York Daily News, whose critic hailed him as “a master of the rabab, a lute-like musical instrument originating from central Afghanistan.”
The Daily News goes on to write that Essar’s SXSW performance will be “Tear a Root From the Earth,” a folk opera about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan over the last 40 years.
Phoenix rapper Wade hopes to bring the sound of West Coat hip-hop back
Phoenix rapper Wade hopes to bring the sound of West Coast hip-hop back with an Arizona twist on his new single, “It Ain’t Where U At.”
And to be clear, when he says West Coast, he means ‘90s West Coast.
“We got that new ‘90s sound,” he says. “We been missing that funk, the basslines, the West Coast whistle, a beat that takes you back to old-school beats but got a new sound.”
You can definitely hear those old-school vibes kicking in as he opens the track with a soulful chorus hook, “It ain’t about where you at / It’s where you goin’,” riding a rubbery bass groove.
“The message I wanted to bring across in this record,” Wade says, “was no matter where you’re at in life whether you’re going up or down, you got to keep striving and don’t give up on yourself.”
It’s a work ethic Wade picked up from his family.
“Seeing my parents and grandparents work hard for a living,” he says, “that inspired me, plus instilled in me the discipline to work hard for what you want.”
Produced by Main Ingredient, it features guest appearances by Ice and Big E.
Fervor Records hosts free Music Business Summit at Glendale library
As Fervor Records approaches its 30th anniversary, label founder Dave Hilker says, “We wanted to give back to the community a little bit. And education is powerful.”
The CEO is explaining how he and Jeff Freundlich at Fervor came to organize a Music Business Summit for the local scene, which happens April 7 at the Glendale Public Library.
“The more musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, etc., know about the business,” Hilker says, “the more successful the community as a whole becomes.”
He’s learned a lot about that business in the past three decades, Hilker says. “And I just thought that it would be a good idea to pass along some of the knowledge that we’ve learned, from artist management to PR.”
The Summit is broken into several panels in which industry professionals will talk about various topics intended to arm musicians and anyone interested in a career in music with the knowledge it requires.
Freundlich sees the Summit as a “culmination” of years spent guiding artists as they “try to figure out how all the puzzle pieces fit together.”
The same issues, he says, “come up over and over and over again when you’re talking to artists and they’re trying to actually have a career in music.”
Musicians will learn about management, public relations, how to get their music placed in film and on TV, and more. But the event is for anyone interested in a career in music, from public relations to producing records.
“We’re not teaching out of a textbook,” Hilker says. “We’re talking about the real world and what we’ve learned after close to 30 years in the music business.”
The event is Mastering the New Paradigm: Forging Your Path in Independent Music because one goal is to dispel the myths of a music industry in decline thanks to streaming and other relatively new frontiers.
“If you look into the numbers and do some research,” Freundlich says, “revenues in the music business are going up, not down.”
It helps, he says, to look beyond the antiquated major-label model as the only pathway to success or a sustainable career.
“If you’re an indie artist in Phoenix, you can make a living and have a career if you know the right stuff,” Freundlich says. “You can have a career in music doing what you love, and you don’t have to be a starving artist. You can learn how to make money.”
If you’re waiting on a major label to invest a quarter million dollars in your project, Freundlich says, “that old paradigm doesn’t exist anymore. Even if we want it to, it doesn’t exist anymore. Or it does for the very, very few.”
A successful career in 2018, he says, “just might look different than the fantasy in people’s minds of what it should look like or used to look like.”
The Music Business Summit is a free event, underwritten by Fervor.
“For us, it was important to have this be free,” Hilker says. “People literally spend thousands of dollars to go to these events in Los Angeles or around the country. We don’t want anyone to have to pay for it.”
12:30 p.m. – Keynote: Is the Sky Falling on the Music Business?
1 p.m. – What the Hell is a Music Publisher?
2 p.m. – Managers – Who Needs Them?
3:15 p.m. – Licensing Music in Television and Film
4:15 p.m. – The Relationship Between PR and Journalism
“This is kind of everything you need to know once you’ve created your brilliant masterpiece that’s gonna skyrocket to the top of the charts,” Freundlich says, with a laugh.
“That’s the fun part. Now it’s time to make it work. Once you’re done in the studio, what do you do with it? How come you’re not automatically making money? These are the things you need to know to get to the next step so that you are making money.”
Trinidad Cardona signs to Island Records
Trinidad Cardona had no reason to believe he’d shot a viral video that would lead to him to signing a major-label deal with Island Records when he sang the chorus hook to “Jennifer” in the Apollo High School bathroom.
“It felt cool,” he recalls of the chorus that launched his career. “But it wasn’t even something I wrote. It was something I freestyled on video. So it wasn’t a big deal to me. I was a rapper anyway, so I wasn’t even trying to pursue too much with the songs. But….”
The singer pauses, as though to reflect, before stating the obvious.
“People really liked it.”
That initial video showed the 18-year-old freestyling the lyrics while snapping his fingers and pounding the white tile wall of the bathroom for a beat.
And as Cardona is pleased to recall, “It started taking off with, like, 10 million views. And then Island got interested.”
That’s Island Records, the label that launched the careers of Bob Marley, U2 and the Killers, to name a few. He went with Island, Cardona recalls, after talking to “about every label that exists.”
As to why he chose Island?
“They’re really nice people,” he says. “And they didn’t have anything urban, so I knew that they were gonna be forced to actively pay attention to me. I’m, like, the only dude of this nature on their team. It allows me to learn a lot more about songwriting. And it also allows me to bring a new element to pop music that might not have been there before.”
Fairy Bones premiere ‘Killing Me’ video, share details on new album
As Fairy Bones prepare to celebrate the release of their first album since 2015’s “Dramabot” on Friday, Feb. 23, at Crescent Ballroom, they’ve premiered a music video for “Killing Me,” filmed by RaySquared Productions.
This is the fourth song they’ve shared from the album, following “No One Can Suffer Like I Can,” “8 Ball” and “Pink Plastic Cups.”
And “Killing Me” is yet another prime example of what Fairy Bones do best, a distorted guitar riff that rocks like the best of alternative radio in the post-Nirvana ‘90s drawing you into the fray, where Chelsey Louise sets the lyrical tone with “Wake up every morning with a lump in my chest / Alexa says it’s cancer from these damn cigarettes.”
That’s Alexa, the Amazon Echo voice.
Their version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’
If there’s a line in “Killing Me” that clearly captures the overall narrative arc of the album, though, it’s “But I find it hard to give a s—t / I really think I’m losin’ it.”
“It’s mainly about letting go of the emotions, people and things that are ultimately killing you,” Louise says. “Checking your symptoms online always turns out to be cancer. Staring at social media too long makes you antisocial. It’s like our version of ‘Shake It Off’ except we probably won’t make any money off of it.”
The video, which is charming as hell, shows the members of Fairy Bones doing simple choreography. “There’s nothing more iconic than a good group dance number performed by mediocre dancers,” Louise says. “Mostly, it was affordable.”
An echo of the nation: Depression and anxiety
The album began as a lyrically intimate dissection of personal thoughts and feelings for Louise but she began to realize she was echoing the thoughts and feelings felt around the nation in 2017.
“Everybody online was joking about depression and anxiety all of a sudden,” she says. “I had kept those feelings in for so long that when they started to become less taboo and more openly talked about, I felt way less alone.”
Touching on themes of anxiety, depression and the pressures of maintaining the perfect, Instagram-worthy façade, Louise describes the album as “an upbeat and often wildly sarcastic take on one woman’s journey through her 20s.”
It’s not a concept album, she says. “But the lyrics are generally sarcastic or depressive and 80 percent of the music is upbeat and pop-rock. It’s the musical equivalent of plastering on a happy face.”
Highlights of the album
Other highlights yet to be shared include the hypnotic hip-hop-flavored guitar rock of “Hang Wit Da Boiz,” a brooding power ballad called “Incapable” that fires on all the same cylinders that made the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ most vulnerable moments what they were and the scuffed-up girl-group charms of “Look Good for the Radio.” There are no weak links, really. And it holds together as an album.
Fairy Bones’ pop sensibilities are front and center here and yet the vibe is every bit as edgy as their previous recordings, thanks in part to producer Bob Hoag.
“We’ve been working with Bob for years now,” Louise says. “He feels part of our recorded sound. He can deal with me being extremely obtuse with recording terms. I have to say, I felt really proud when we walked in with these songs and he did very little to change the structures. I think I personally wanted to impress him, so it felt validating when he said they were good songs.”
Ultimately, the difference between this record and the last, Louise says, “is we really focused on improving our songwriting. We just wanted to write better songs. Matt and I are the primary songwriters in the band and we became a little obsessed with Max Martin and pop structures. Pop always gets a bad rap, but they can make you feel confident and powerful instantaneously. That’s magical.”
Details about the show
The release show also features live performances by Doll Skin, Bear Ghost and Paper Foxes. Tickets go on sale February 17th through www.crescentphx.com.
Local jam-rock heroes Spafford playing Bonnaroo and it’s a big deal
Prescott-based electro-funk sensations Spafford, who rang in the new year with a three-night stand at Crescent Ballroom, have been tapped to play one of America’s most prestigious stages, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
Eminem, Muse and the Killers will headline this year’s festival, which takes place June 7-10 in Manchester, Tenn., and also features sets by Future, Sturgill Simpson, Bon Iver, Bassnectar, Paramore, Sheryl Crow, Khalid, Kaskade, Dua Lipa, Alt-J, Sylvan Esso, Rebelution and Anderson .Paak, to name a few.
In the last year, Spafford have played sold-out rooms across the country, toured with Umphrey’s McGee and appeared at such high-profile festivals as Summer Camp, Electric Forest, Peach Music Festival, North Coast, and most recently, Suwannee Hulaween. But this is a new high.
A recent article at Huffington Post raved, “Spafford is the latest buzzword in the jam-band scene. I’m not surprised in the slightest that everyone is freaking out so hard for this four-piece funk rock group…. Their sound is like everything and nothing you’ve heard before.”
The story also hailed their latest offering, “Abaculus: An Improvisational Experience,” as in “industry game changer.” The album is an hour-long, fully improvised session recorded in a single take.
Huffington Post premieres new music video for Phoenix rockers Jane N’ the Jungle
It’s been a good year for Jane N’ the Jungle. And it ended on a high note with Huffington Post premiering their new video for “One Time,” which the critic hailed as “premium!”
The article goes on to say, “Two factors make ‘One Time’ wickedly powerful and evocative: first, the song’s Spartan melody, which is totally bereft of harmonic layering and digital enhancement, just a single acoustic guitar. And second, the spine-chilling, devouring potency of (Jordan) White’s highly charged vocals.”
It’s a striking video, shot by Brian Dellis, who complements the understated, acoustic-guitar-and-voice recording by keeping the camera trained on White, a captivating presence, as she walks the streets singing the bittersweet lyrics (in a really nice coat).
The song was recorded at Switchblade Studios in Tempe as a demo while working on pre-production for the upcoming Jane N’ The Jungle project. As White says, the “raw demo recording captured something uniquely beautiful and pure with having no added effects, overdubs, vocal correction, and very little production.”
They also felt it didn’t really fit the album they plan to release in 2018, so they decided to share it as a single and release it as “an end-of-the-year reflective song.”
The video was directed by Dellis with the same intention as the demo, to keep it simple hoping to capture raw authentic moments.
Rolling Stone names Phoenix native Tommy Ash a country artist you need to know
Phoenix native Tommy Ash, a veteran of the local scene who now resides in Nashville, was named to a Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.
The magazine described her sound as “country shuffles, train beats and honky-tonk heartbreak, all delivered by a magnetic entertainer who’s been serenading barflies since the age of 13.” The writer cited Dwight Yoakam, Waylon Jennings and Margo Price as fairly spot-on frames of reference.
And Ash is quoted in the article as saying, “I make revved-up honky-tonk bar-room music. It’s not mellow. It really moves.”
The story talks about the singer growing up “a bar-room baby,” hanging out at country gigs in Arizona with her mom and dad before taking the stage in her early teens, where she sang country covers every Friday and Saturday night at a Phoenix roadhouse.
Ash, who moved to Nashville in 2016, shared a link to Rolling Stone on Facebook, where she wrote, “Umm Holy S–t guys!!!!!! I am so BEYOND EXCITED to share this with you! ROLLING STONE included me in The Top 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know!!!! I can’t thank you all enough for your support and love you have all given me throughout the years. Xoxo.”
Reached for further comment, she told acentral, “It is such an honor to be mentioned as one of the 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know by Rolling Stone. I’ve been doing this for so long, it feels good to get a little recognition for the hard work and to know that people are paying attention to true country music.”