Tucson, are you ready to rock?
Are you really ready to rock?
Because the Music Gods are smiling upon the Baked Apple. April is going to bring you more rock 'n' roll than this town may have ever seen in a single month—not to mention blues, gospel, roots and all that jazz.
You've got Joe Ely, Dick Dale, Bombay Bicycle Club, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and more onstage at Club Congress. Diana Krall, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Bobby McFerrin are appearing at Centennial Hall. The Fox Theatre's lineup includes a Nat King Cole tribute with Ramsey Lewis & John Pizzarelli, as well as the Appalachian roots music of Kathy Mattea.
And then there's the senses-shattering lineup you're going to see at the Rialto Theatre: The Rev. Horton Heat. Neko Case. Broken Bells. Foster the People. Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls. Neutral Milk Hotel. Cage the Elephant. Beck. Los Lobos. Gogol Bordello. And—as you can see from the music calendar that the Weekly has assembled just for you—that's only about half of what the Rialto has scheduled.
Sure, you're gonna be broke if you try to see it all—but what good is having money in your bank account if you can't dance? Get out, support your local venues and have one hell of a time, Tucson!
Saturday, April 5
If you haven't heard of Treasure Mammal by now, then you're doing life all wrong.
The Phoenix five-person party rock band has been chugging along for over 10 years, and things look like they are on the up and up. The Flaming Lips co-founder Wayne Coyne invited Treasure Mammal to perform at his art/music space The Womb Gallery in Oklahoma City earlier this year. "It was a bad week because my girlfriend just moved away and things weren't going right. But then I got a text message from Wayne Coyne," Treasure Mammal lead singer Abelardo Andre Gil said.
Coyne asked the 35-year-old from Valencia, Venezuela to pick a song to from the Beatles; classic album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to cover while they were in town.
"When Wayne Coyne tells you to do something, you fucking do it," Gil said.
Although there's not an announced release date for the project yet, when it does hit stores, you'll be able to hear Treasure Mammal's version of "She's Leaving Home" alongside covers by MGMT, Tame Impala, Miley Cyrus and many more. "It's an honor to be in the mix with these mega stars and lo-fi independent bands," Gil said. "Coyne seems to be a fan of our band and the weird shit we do."
Speaking of Miley, Treasure Mammal has been working on something special for their upcoming Tucson visit. "We are going to cover "Wrecking Ball," but all in Spanish," Gil said. Gil says he's fluent in Spanish and decided to try to invent a new music style.
"Death Metal Cumbia is a genre I have been leaning towards. I always wondered what it would sound like."
Sunday, April 6
The Coathangers, who are far more obscure than they should be, specialize in an intoxicating mix of assaultive, primitive post-punk styles that frame assaultive, radical feminist-based lyrical themes. In the wrong hands, this could be challenging, heady and dour. But for the Coathangers, self-empowerment equals every man, woman and child's inalienable God-given right to get down and party. So you won't find any dry manifestos from this all-female trio (recently pared from a quartet), which formed in Atlanta in 2006, because you'll be too busy dancing till you drop to incendiary manifestos in the form of anthems like "Shut the Fuck Up" and "Don't Touch My Shit!"
The Coathangers have a reputation for exhilarating live shows that flip the switch on oppression—personal, gender, etc.—from mournful to celebratory, leaving audiences exhausted from shared triumph over repression. Sometimes you just have to scream "Shut the fuck up!" at each other until the Coathangers and you are both winners. It's the most basic and satisfying form of release.
Over the seven years, four albums and countless singles of the Coathangers' career, the members have shown remarkable growth. Their most recent album, Suck My Shirt (Suicide Squeeze Records), contains traces of power-pop songwriting and even a ballad. On this record, the song "Shut Up" is worlds away from the earlier "Shut the Fuck Up!," and "Love Em and Leave Em" isn't what you think it's about. The band is growing up, trading uncompromising bile for uncompromising self-awareness. And this means that when the Coathangers hit the stage at Club Congress on Sunday, April 6, you get it all, because raw ferocity and (slightly) refined ferocity have been scientifically proven to be far more effective and fun than therapy.
The War on Drugs
Tuesday, April 8
The War on Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel builds his songs slowly, tinkering and experimenting, recording and rerecording mere snippets at a time, until he starts seeing the outline of a song, partly sculpting and partly willing it into existence. And then he rocks out.
"Under Pressure," the nearly nine-minute track that opens the new Lost in the Dream, shows all the band's essential strengths—there's a bottom layer built from loops, ambient tones and swirling textures; a driving beat; a melodic interplay between guitars and keyboards throughout; and finally Granduciel's lilting vocals, in this case about wasted dreams and staring into nothingness.
That sets the tone for the album (10 songs in just over an hour) and Granduciel continues to unspool carefully crafted, brilliant songs, more personal and sharply focused than on Slave Ambient (2011) or Wagonwheel Blues (2008). The songs reflect internal battles, existential questions, depression, confusion anxiety and loneliness. And yet, as a whole, Lost in the Dream is triumphant, the songs rescuing the singer.
The first single, "Red Eyes," is propulsive and monumental, a song worth repeating over and over. The mesmerizing "Eyes to the Wind" is the album's emotional core, with Granduciel singing of a haunting alienation and "lost inside my head" feeling, like a stranger in his own mind. "An Ocean in Between the Waves" is another long one—topping seven minutes—that holds your attention straight through, Granduciel leading the way like a guide hurrying into some hazy mist.
With one of this year's most acclaimed albums in tow, The War on Drugs is making Tucson a stop on its lengthy tour with a show Tuesday, April 8, at Club Congress.