The importance of a free press, now more than ever, is immeasurable. Who’ll carry the torch next?
Why, it’s ... the Tiny Town Times
, a newly launched quarterly community newspaper, offering a blend of “fiction, poetry, opinion, comics, illustrations, artist features, science and nature writing”... plus a really cool piece of foldout art.
publisher Jeik Ficker got into printing young; when he needed t-shirts and stickers for his band. Ficker is also the proprietor of Tanline Printing the press where TTT
is made by hand.
Tiny Town Times
proudly celebrated the release of their handsome debut issue with a mad bash at Saint Charles Tavern this past Saturday night. Emceed by the effervescent Frank Powers (Comics Editors at TTT
and host of "After Hours" on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM), in his best made-for-radio voice with good-natured banter between bands. The shindig featured performances by The Rifle and Phoenix’s inimitable Treasure Mammal with locals Good Times Great Oldies kicking things off.
Good Times Great Oldies
There were bemused expressions at set’s start.
At the foot of the stage, one musician hammered on percussion instruments, creating an exotic Middle Eastern-tinged rhythm. He was joined by a drummer and guitarist—whose low, grungy tone took things in a different direction. Settling into a rhythm-heavy experimental jam, it was at first uncertain if the fourth person who jumped on stage mid-song was part of the band or not. He began manipulating effects boxes and creating wild oscillations, and unleashed hellish noise into a mic with otherworldly vocalizations. The band didn’t succeed in imparting a sense of musical organization or that they even bothered to rehearse much. But, tossing the rulebook aside embodied the spirit of the evening; and that’s what made GTGO’s performance pretty glorious.
Before leaving the stage the guitarist quipped, “The next band is going to be nothing like this ... ummm. They are really good.”
Performing material predominately off of their new, debut full-length album, Anabasis.
The vibe was decidedly ’70s.
Guitarist/vocalist Nelene DeGuzman described the new record as “A journey … This album was a bit of a departure ... I have become more confident with the direction I am going in.” While Randy Rowland’s Ginger Baker-y drumming handily anchored the backbeat, and Kevin Conklin’s melodic, John Entwistle-inspired basslines created a substructure, DeGuzman was free to explore. The heavily built “Martyr/Witness” expanded into a seven-plus minute jam where DeGuzman unleashed a swirling, epic mass of guitar histrionics.
The themes running through her lyrics? “A lot of angry feminism, definitely,” DeGuzman tells us. “Especially after this election. I think if a person is paying attention, and they care, it’s impossible not to be outraged right now.”
From the downbeat they hit full-out—stretching boundaries—with a giant inflatable Santa Claus, bookended by two drummers sporting shiny, synthetic wigs, a small troupe of dancers. Performance artist, emcee and founding member Abe Gil manned samplers in the eye of the musical storm. Collectively, this Phoenix-based art-rock, dance-pop outfit was a short-fused Fourth of July firecracker waiting to explode. Treasure Mammal had the crowd shaking hips atop tables, line-dancing, aerial chest bumping while acrobatic dancers dangled from the ceiling. No joke.
“My goal in life is to write the ultimate slow jam,” Gil announced before launching into “Dream Girl” off their 2012 album Checkognize
.“ In no time, Treasure Mammal had revelers singing the refrain, “We’re going to bring it together like Pangea.”
Their latest album, I’ll Cut You With My EBT Card
, boasts some star power, including Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne as well as members from Austin’s Octopus Project and Phoenix’s Andrew Jackson Jihad and Jimmy Eat World.
Combining diverse snippets from cumbia to death metal in their infectious dance mix, Treasure Mammal delivered a party not soon forgotten.
This was an empowering evening filled with DIY spirit. The kind that sneers back at the establishment; telling 'em to piss off, while drinking and dancing, literally, on the ceiling to the very end.
Tiny Town Times is available free of charge at Tiny Town Surplus, 408 N. 4th Avenue and other locations around Tucson. Submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org