Thursday, January 19, 2017

Win Tickets to See Orgy at the Rock on Jan. 24

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Kohl-eyed goth-glamsters are back from the dead, or maybe that’s what they’d like you to believe. Or maybe they never died and just sort of faded away, which is worse.

You’ll recall Orgy had a fairly sizable hit with New Order’s classic “Blue Monday” (theirs was truly a wickedly dirty cover), and their ’98 debut album, Candyass, sold huge, going platinum stateside. But after three studio albums, Orgy had left a shallow legacy. Truth is, they are worth so much more than that.

The band never got credit for defining a moment in time. For one thing, they captured the milieu of the decadence of the porn-driven decline of late ’90s suburban Los Angeles, that bizarre cultural dead zone, and soundtracked it with the industrial throb of underground Hollywood clubs, putting their own “death-pop” sizzle on it.

It’s remarkable how their singular sound had a wonderfully nihilistic tint to it that reflected Southern California underbellies. Their latest, a seven-song EP called Talk Sick, dropped in ’15, and it’s formidable dancefloor thunder-smack, blending infectious melody with EDM. A new EP, Entropy, is just coming out.

Catch them with Powerman 500, Death Valley High, Knee High Fox, Lethal Injektion, and Swindy on at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24 at The Rock (136 N. Park Ave.) Tickets to this all ages show, should you choose to buy them, are $18-$20. Or you could just enter to win below—we're giving away three pairs.

Fill out my online form.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gabe Sullivan: Songwriting Machine!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:49 PM

"Dude, got a guitar pick and a shot of mezcal?" - CHRIS HINKLE
  • Chris Hinkle
  • "Dude, got a guitar pick and a shot of mezcal?"
At the beginning of 2017, as winds turned cold and Mercury moved into retrograde, Gabriel Sullivan, Tucson guitar-slinger (for XIXA and Howe Gelb), record producer and prolific songwriter, embarked on an insane project; to compose, record and post a song a day for a year. 
It's a challenge he imposed upon himself once before in ‘14, in a project called The Crucible, completing an impressive 365 songs (that's right, 365 songs). Sullivan decided to bring back the project this year under the name The Resurrectionist. A creative undertaking not quite on par with the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus—where the legendary king of Corinth is condemned to roll a heavy rock up a hill in Hades only to have it roll back down again as it nears the top repeatedly for all of eternity—but damn close.

The setting is often sparse; most vignettes find Sullivan’s throaty voice alone with a nylon string acoustic guitar. Lyrically, it's all there, Sullivan touches on time honored themes: Pain, loss, separation, love, hubris, sin, redemption. And listeners will discover instrumental skeletons and etchings that only the darkness of late night and shots of mezcal may inspire. We here at TW have to take our hats off at the sheer aspiration of the endeavour.

At the outset, this project is much the same as a greenhouse used for cultivation. For music geeks, the type that titillates the imagination with possibility. A creative form of Darwinism, if you will, wherein the most robust of the seeds will continue to germinate then bloom in various contexts; finding their place on albums and setlists. The other seeds will inevitably freeze in the cold or wither under the mercurial sun.

Check out Song A Day Project: The Resurrectionist here.

Here's the latest:

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A Beloved Local Musician in Need: Local Music Superpowers Rally to Help

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 12:01 PM

As all of us T-town residents know, Tucson cares. I moved here from Brooklyn four years ago, after nearly a decade of touring the states as a musician. The perpetual travel of my 20s gave me the rather unique experience of getting to know every nook and corner of our country, coast to coast, border to border.

But in looking to live somewhere a bit more in line with my concept of home than the incessant hustle of New York City, I chose Tucson. It was an easy decision. This town hits on all levels. The quality of art and music is astounding. The natural beauty that surrounds us is both stunning and humbling. The culture is rich. And, more than anything, Tucson is home to the most compassionate and supportive musicians  I've ever experienced.
Travis Ray Dent
  • Travis Ray Dent

But this story is not about my love for Tucson. It's about a wonderful man, musician, and member of our community named Travis Ray Dent, Travi Ray to us. And, right now, he needs all the support and compassion we can muster.

I met Travis a year ago when Rey Murphy invited us to join a new band he was putting together called Street Blues Family. In the short time I have known Travis, he has become a dear friend, the sort you would do anything for. Travis is a radiant person. He has worked through and risen above some of the most difficult challenges anyone could imagine facing. He overflows with kindness, energy, love, and an excitement to create art and add a depth of richness to our musical community. He plays piano like none other, cascades of effortless melody flow through his hands. The calm, peace, and joy he exudes behind the keys is undeniable to anyone lucky enough to see him play.

Given the compassion of our community, it comes as no surprise that when hard times fall upon a local musician, Tucson represents. Travis has recently been faced with such times. As a result of a head injury and the concussion it caused, he spent a night in the ER at UMC last week. Rey Murphy and the entirety of the Street Blues Family came together to be Travis' advocates, staying at his side 24/7 and making sure the hospital conducted all scans and tests necessary. In a country with a healthcare system as difficult to navigate (and afford) as ours, many without such advocacy and support can fall through the cracks, causing the spiral of debt and hardship we all know too well.
Travi Ray
  • Travi Ray
Thankfully, the tests and scans showed that no permanent physical brain damage was caused by the head injury. But Travis' mental and emotional state has been compromised to the point that further medical and psychiatric care is necessary, in-patient treatment in the hope of ensuring his full recovery. Unfortunately, Travis does not currently have medical insurance. We have enrolled him in Obamacare, but the insurance plan will not become effective until Feb. 1. This means that none of the exorbitant medical costs incurred before that date will be covered.

So as his friends and family we took action, and Tucson followed. Within a day of Travis' hospital visit, Tucson musicians, artists, and community members started organizing a benefit and funding campaign to help cover Travis' immediate and eventual medical expenses. The Rialto Theatre Foundation offered their venue 191 Toole to host a benefit show on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. Howe Gelb, Joey Burns and Calexico (via video from overseas), Steff Koeppen, Louise Le Hir and Annie Dolan, myself, and of course the Street Blues Family instantly jumped on board as performers for the event. And, with his trademark blend of wit, lyricism, and empathy, Howe proposed we end the benefit evening with a one-off collaborative performance of everyone involved, aptly named the "Affordable Care Act" ("act" as in a band and everything else the word's otherly meaning and political statement connotes).

Beyond those who can attend, many other artists from the community have donated autographed, collectible vinyl, CDs, tapes, art and anything else they could come up with to sell at the benefit and add their support to the cause. Here are just a few of those who have already donated their work: Sergio Mendoza of Calexico and Orkesta Mendoza, Dimitri Manos of Goldenboots, Carlos Arzate, and Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan of XIXA. I have thrown in a beautiful old Spanish guitar that everyone involved will autograph. We will have this guitar at the benefit, though will probably auction it off internationally for the widest reach possible. And if anyone would like to donate anything else to lend support, please contact me directly at

There is also a GoFundMe campaign for Travis' medical expenses here. We'll also be pursuing grants and funds from musicians' health alliances and foundations such as Sweet Relief and Tucson Artist's and Musician's Healthcare Alliance (TAMHA).

Lastly, thanks to the many other community members who have graciously lent their services and talents to this cause: Craig Schumacher of Wavelab Studios, Matt Milner and Duncan Hudson at KXCI, David Slutes of Hotel Congress and TAMHA, Rodger Cloud of Cloud Microphones, Brian
Smith of the Tucson Weekly, Dan Hernandez of 191 Toole, The Folk Shop ... there are too many to list.

Seeing this outpouring of support from our community warms my heart. Tucson truly does care for its artists, and that's why we're all here.

At 191 Toole, 191 Toole Ave., this Saturday, Jan. 21. 8 p.m.. $15-$20. All ages.

• Howe Gelb solo acoustic
• A solo acoustic video performance by Joey Burns of Calexico, as well as a message of support from the band via video overseas.
• Street Blues Family
• Steff Koeppen (of Steff and The Articles)
• Joe Novelli (of Orkesta Mendoza, Street Blues Family, The Cloud Walls, Marvin and the Cloud Wall, Nive and the Deer Children, Etc.)
• Louise Le Hir and Annie Dolan
• More to be announced.
• PLUS a one-time collaborative performance to end the evening including all musicians on the bill, aptly entitled "The Affordable Care Act"

In addition, collectible, autographed items donated by other local artists like Orkesta Mendoza, Goldenboots, Carlos Arzate, Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan of XIXA, and others will be available for purchase at the benefit through donation.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lando Chill Drops Latest Vid ('Early in the Morning') And it's Lovely, and it Kicks Ass.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 12:54 PM

Lando Chill's latest video is a sweet and temperate tour of Northern Arizona (Winslow, Flagstaff, and Kaibab National Forest), full of lover's joy (Chill and Laísa Laiia), without any dreaded maudlin overtones. The tune and video each effortlessly balance gentle flow and wide-eyed optimism for a deep appreciation of being alive, and unalone. Kudos to directors Malcolm Critcher and Symeon Platts for capturing the beauty. Also, it's a nice respite from the upcoming presidential inauguration where that old orange-pigmented mook gets his hideous day.  

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Song of the Day: 'St. James Infirmary' by Allen Toussaint

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 5:09 PM

The first thing you do when you hear the late great Allen Toussant’s take "St. James Infirmary" is at the first imprint of sound consider the amount of times this anonymous standard has been recorded, much less played in a dormant piano bar by a pair of hands that feel its languishing generosity. 
Allen Toussaint on stage at the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans, 2009 - MARIE CARIANNA
  • Marie Carianna
  • Allen Toussaint on stage at the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans, 2009

And now, the slow tap dance is moving with a handclap and you’re inside of it: the restrained piano that fingers the keys, then loves them in full honor of both song and instrument, trading space with the acoustic guitar, and bending the strings with such passion where not one note is wasted, nor a single lyric sung, free of his classic horn charts that through the decades made so many seminal albums great. Here on the Bright Mississippi, released well after Katrina, in 2009, the river that gives and takes equally from its people. A land that could only raise an artistry, in all things beautiful and impoverished, this, the majesty of Louisiana, and of Allen Toussaint.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Sergio Mendoza Scores on Rolling Stone Year-End Best-Of!

Posted By on Mon, Jan 2, 2017 at 8:47 AM

Oye pendejos, homeboy Sergio Mendoza recently received mad props in Rolling Stone's 10 Best Latin Albums of 2016 making the list not once—first for Orkesta Mendoza’s ¡Vamos A Guarachar! a vibrant album that captures a rich array of Latin styles—but twice, for Mexrrissey’s No Manchester, M.I.S.'s Camilo Lara and Sergio Mendoza’s genre-crossing Mariachi imbued tribute to Morrissey. So hipsters, no mamen, wipe the condensation off those Warby Parker’s so as to get a clear view and recognize el mero, mero chingon!

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Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Story: The Season Advances, as Done to Green Sleeves

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Cole and his commotions pierce your scalp. As you turn on your side, ancient Indian arrowheads. Hot water filling ears, tub, and the one one-room tenement flat steam, a rusting locomotive engine breeze. Battling ice for window space, melting into cracked wood finish, Finished, you imagine, by blonde-on-blonde Scandinavian immigrants. Clear as winter ice. Performing now on your left, just behind the rotting sofa, is the radiator. Spitting, bleating, and dripping as you hover over it like a saint. "What child is this who laid to rest on Mary's lap is sleeping..."

Christmas, 1963: Man, she had tinsel on her brain. Waiting outside in a peacoat for her grandparents to arrive. In a one-horse open sleigh, or was it a Pontiac? Yeah, must'a been a Pontiac 'cause it didn't snow that Christmas. Matter of fact, it hardly ever snowed in Tucson.

Just another morning. The details of your insanity. The soundtrack of a waking city bangs upon your windowpane. A fine mist now covers the room as sweatshirt and panties drop to the chewed-puke green rug. "Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping ..."

Christmas, 1967: The family room was a switchboard yard. Southern Pacific train set careening down the tracks. The dog his under the bed while the cat made frequent attacks on the orange boxcars. Grandfather sunk in Nostalgia. Reminder of his years spent slaving for the railroads. He almost smiled and would call her by her Christian name. Those were gifts that could never be bought.

A finger, a foot, and finally your entire body disintegrates into rising waters form. Slow, deep breath. Your skin, white as bone, immersed in the flood. Nipples, buttocks, freckles, and pubic mound. Laid to rest in moors and in the briars. Caressing yourself. Still alive at 25. So fluid and warm. Molds, animal fat, and fragrance No. 5. Oceanic sleeping in a ceramic pot. "So bring him incense, gold and myrrh; come rich and poor to own him..."

Christmas, 1969: Rich aromas of baking and falter's pipe tobacco filled the kitchen. Her mother spun Crosby and Como. Grandparents watched kids unravel gifts like spools of thread. BB guns and baseball mitts for her brothers. A huge box marked "North Pole" sat off in the corner. The one with three separate booklets of directions in hieroglyphics. Took five sets of batteries, not included, and seemed to possess a mind of its own. Took a class-four operator's license to start, and could only be used under adult supervision. Which was OK because Dad was the only one who would ever play with it from that day forward. It whirred, sputtered, and then ignited before exploding into a thousand pieces, encasing the entire area in a haze of blue smoke and sea of lights.

You force yourself out of the tub and dry off next to the oven. Cracking paint and peeling last shreds of wallpaper. Ships and lighthouse give way to unforgiving white walls. You shrug, light a cigarette, and dress quickly. Dress warmly and wonder in mom would approve. The salt thrown on the streets has eaten away at your cowboy boots. But you put them on just the same and swear they've shrunk another inch. "The king of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone him ..."

Christmas, 1971: The odor of candle wax like an unsettled stomach. A statue on the pew. She sat still and alone as stone. Watching imagined snowflakes drift about the beautiful wooden church. Her grandmother blanketed in a huge white quilt. She thought about magic and how at midnight the animals would talk.

You glance in the mirror and slowly a face takes place. Put on water for morning's coffee and another smoke. You lose yourself for a moment in reflections. The midnights spent at the uptown bar and the Seventh Street entry, and finally to last Tuesday, and of the player you took home. So pretty, throw a lock on the door, and descend the dirty staircase leading down and out into another wasted day. "This, this is Christ the king, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.."

Christmas, 1973: Every Christmas day once upon a time. All her relatives gathered at the old house. Women damp with perfume and men with bourbon's breath. Children. Sweet guarantors of one more year's prosperity. Dinner was served complete with each family's endless crusades and picket signs. She called it carving through Cambodia. Secretly, she fed scraps of turkey and pumpkin pie to her dog under the table. After the meal she surprised everyone by sneaking off behind the Christmas tree, quietly sobbing as the light slowly drained from the sky.

"Haste, haste to bring laud, the babe the son of Mary..."

The day slips like a snake onto your shadowed soul. Wind freezing down and the snow tastes of tin. Plodding through top layers of last night's drop. You are surrounded by grey-green buildings where no one seems to live. Veering to the right off Ninth Street, you skid and slide down Hennepin like a bobsled, leaving rails of blacktop exposed. You need someone with a memory. Manholes exhale brown sweat steam, creating layers of colored bulbs blinking and flashing through the mist. A drag queen in red leotards brushes up against you, wishing you a Merry Christmas. The area is run down and you think to yourself that Santa Claus better have a machine gun.

A police car is stopped in the middle of the street outside the pool hall. You shake your hips and pretend not to notice their leering smiles and beady blue eyes. It's starting to snow again as you continue south towards the bridge. Face red and chapped, you peer through eyes that take in each leafless branch bent with snow. An empty car lot is covered with pure, clean, glistening white powder. You pass shops and topless bars where sound pours into the streets from God's ghetto blaster... "Have a Kung-Fu Christmas." The horizon fills with steeples and smokestacks, while the ornaments of nature charge each moment and provide crisp silence. Crowds sway and fall away into snowbanks which hold the face of this earth with frozen discipline. The river is breathing smoke, and you hardly notice an Indian glaciated on a stoop, lips pursed to a bottle of wine. You fight to light up a last wet cig-arette. A different kind of poverty. The wind knifes along the bridge as you step onto it. Beneath you runs the great Mississippi, brown and flowing with chunks of ice and sludge, deep and tranquil... You should have called your parents to let them know their daughter won't be home for Christmas, but you feel so disconnected. All around you the twilight ignites and the entire world is rimmed with frost...

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Decadence: A New Year's EDM in AZ with Personal and Communal Resonance, Starring Porter Robinson, Marshmello and Deadmau5

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Porter Robinson live in Los Angeles. - ZION CROSBY
  • Zion Crosby
  • Porter Robinson live in Los Angeles.

If you’re seeking an artistically inspired way to end 2016, look no further than Decadence on New Year's Eve and the night before. Featuring all electronic artists spanning a wide array of genres and styles, Decadence goes down at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in Chandler, AZ.
A lineup star is Porter Robinson, a very young dude who has reimagined his sound and created an album that delivers a truly inexplicable experience. I saw Porter twice recently and both sets were extremely memorable, and not merely re-hashes of other artists' sounds.

A common EDM criticism is it isn’t poetic enough to allow individual interpretations; where as with, rock and folk songs many people relate to the lyrics on their own terms and thus have a relationship with the music only they can fully understand. Robinson creates in his live sets, and in the music itself, a kind of personal experience for each of his listeners; he manages to hit on emotional levels. Unlike most DJs, his music takes you on a journey visually and melodically, if you pay attention. Robinson is inspired by modern Japanese culture and blends tweaked anime vocal samples and beautiful animation. The effect is like a psychic rollercoaster that hits soaring peaks of joy and plummets to lows of sadness.

For those who dig the more typical, communal experience of the EDM scene, Marshmello is also playing a set. A spin-off of Deadmau5 (who is also headlining), Marshmello sports an LED marshmallow helmet and wears all white. His music has a lot of sugary synths and “mellow” rhythms that bring out the little kid in you. The hip-hop inspired beats are easy to dance to and he welcomes all to just let loose and join his "mellogang.” His messages of family, community and acceptance spread wide over his listeners as we dance together in circles and freely hug one another.

Just as Daft Punk and Deadmau5 once did, Marshmello conceals his identity and tries hard to keep it a secret in order to embody his messianic-y message that we are all Marshmello. He’s also suggesting anyone can be successful at something they love. One of his newest tracks, "Alone,” tells the story of how lonely he felt when he first left his hometown, and everyone he knew, to head out on tour. Marshmello eventually realized he wasn’t alone because he had all of his family with him. His family, of course, is us. See?

In a world where status and wealth divide us, Decadence strives to bring us together for a night of celebration, creative visuals and dance. It seeks to kick off 2017 in a joyous way. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 30-31 at the Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W North Loop Rd., Chandler, Ariz. 5 p.m. each day. 18+. For more info, go to

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Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

Carnival of Illusion conjures an evening of old-world magic by blending their international travel theme with all… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays, 5:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 3, 8 p.m. and Saturdays, 5 & 8 p.m. Continues through April 22 160 South Scott Ave

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