Thursday, September 21, 2017

New TSO Director Kicks Off A New Season

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 7:15 PM

Tucson Symphony Orchestra opens its 2017/2018 season with a program designed by new music director José Luis Gomez.

“All of them, in a way, present me to Tucson,” Gomez said. “It’s like a way of saying, ‘hi, this is me.’”

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Know Your Product: Frank Turner's Current Obsessions Range From Hardcore to Folk

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 11:00 AM


A British folk-punk singer in the tradition of Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer, Frank Turner sings “rock ‘n’ roll will save us all” with enough conviction to make it happen.

His rousing tunes are filled with defiant punk poetry and across six albums, the 35-year-old troubadour has developed a formula that appeals across a wide spectrum. Tucson still needs a proper headlining show from Turner, but the touring partners that have brought him to town are Social Distortion and Jason Isbell. And Turner’s music bridges that span between anthematic punk and heartfelt Americana.

Turner’s 2015 Positive Songs for Negative People swings from quiet solo acoustic songs to electrified punk, with big sing-along choruses like “Get Better” and a somber closing elegy to a departed friend.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls appear on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the Rialto Theatre, with Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit.

Turner shared his current musical obsessions with the Tucson Weekly:

AJJ - The Bible 2
AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) have been friends and touring partners of mine for years. This, their latest album, is a brilliant concentration of everything that makes them amazing as a band; great songwriting, incredible lyrics.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Making Time: Steff and the Articles Return With Expansive New Pop Album

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Steff and the Articles’ Timekeeper album release
With Birds & Arrows and Infinite Souls
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15
Club Congress
311 E. Congress St.
$5, 21+

Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years… Time never stops.

For Steff Koeppen, working on a new album with her band the Articles over the last several years, that insistent march of time weighed on her mind, framing her goals as a musician, her relationships and her day-to-day work in a way that brought more focus to everything.

It wasn’t a conscious theme to the album until it became time to shape it all into one whole thing and by that time, the name Timekeeper fit it all perfectly.

“In the past, I’ve always taken a phrase from a lyric in a song to name the album,” she says. “I was trying to do the same thing and I found the word ‘timekeeper.’ It helped me put the songs together, all in a place. For me, even though there’s not a concept that ties these songs together, lyrically it was all during a time just after I graduated college and felt a lot of stress. I felt the anxiety of time pressing down on me and that’s in a few songs. Like I’m my own timekeeper.”

The songs were written over years—with two already released as singles to help promote the band on tours—and sprung from different origins, not meant to offer different perspectives on any one theme. But once they were all collected and titled, Koeppen began to see there was more to unite them than she’d thought.

“I started to look at the songs a little differently,” she says. “There’s my personal disposition, where I was coming from at the time, that was always hanging over the songs.”

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Frankie Cosmos Had Audiences Swooning At HoCo Fest

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:59 PM

Awash in pastel colors and choruses of “I love you,” HoCo Fest headliner Frankie Cosmos charmed rather than rocked the hot, Friday night cro wd last weekend. While head-bobbing, shouting, and cheering were present, more abundant was the overwhelming sense of childhood wonderment. This was the “bedroom pop” darlings’ first show in Tucson, and their debut was made all the more powerful by acting as school teachers rather than rock stars.

And what would a class lesson be without a fire drill? Yes, even when the fire alarm was tripped mid-performance, Frankie Cosmos frontwoman Greta Kline instructed everyone to remain calm and collected, as if her music wasn’t doing that already.

Despite the sweet simplicity of most of the songs performed, Frankie Cosmos’s indie textures were surprisingly on-point. With keyboard/guitar interplay, concussive drumming, and even an organized dance routine, the performers showed they had much more going for them than sentimental lyrics. It also probably helped that the crowd sang along to just about every song.
A live band sounding exactly like they do on their albums might seem a disappointment to some, but when the albums in question are as joyous, sublime, and introspective as Frankie Cosmos’, the tightly crafted sounds of the studio come as a welcome to any ears.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chris Black's Record Release Performance Is Friday Night

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 4:30 PM

Chris Black's new Chamberlab project will perform Friday, Sept. 8, at 191 Toole. - SHELLY BLACK
  • Shelly Black
  • Chris Black's new Chamberlab project will perform Friday, Sept. 8, at 191 Toole.

Composer/performer Chris Black rode into town in the summer of 2007, from Austin, Texas, heartbroken. He left a successful musical career—and the girl he once loved—behind to start a new life in Tucson.

Before long, Black found acceptance in the comforting arms of the downtown arts scene. There, the former country crooner and gypsy/punk/cumbia violinist rose from the ashes of love, redefined himself and established the popular alt-classical concert series ChamberLab.

Black and a crew of local musicians take the stage to perform his latest recording, “Lullabies & Nightmares, Chamber Music, Vol 1,” this Friday, Sept. 8. Other pieces, including "Downtown Suite," and a narrated string trio "Cooper Must Die,” will also be on the bill.

Tucson Weekly caught up with Chris Black over lunch. Relishing in a happy domestic life with his wife of two years, Black says, “I rarely go out anymore.” So, to keep up with friends, Black started hosting “The Grilled Cheese Sessions.”

“Many from the local music scene have enjoyed grilled cheese and Wavy Lays at our house,” Black says.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

HOCO Fest Countdown—The, Um, Effervescent Lana Del Rabies Picks the Five Albums That Changed Her Life!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Lana Del Rabies: Unapologetically brutal .
  • Lana Del Rabies: Unapologetically brutal .

Know Your Product (Special Blog Edition!)
Stars Pick Their Top 5
This week: Lana Del Rabies

You have to love that name. We suspect even Lana Del Rey loves that name. When Phoenix media artist Sam An decided she wanted to create a solo electronic music project, Lana Del Rabies was born, and with it some of the most unapologetically brutal and almost-unmusical noise imaginable. German industrial and horror scores are likely influences, but it doesn’t matter. This is the stuff of nightmares. Del Rabies/An herself told us about the five albums that changed her life to celebrate the fact that she’s performing at the climax of HOCO

With Jock Club, Violence and Altrice on Sunday, Sept. 3 at the HoCo aftershow, secret venue. See for more information.

1. Nine Inch NailsThe Downward Spiral
I was 14 the first time I heard The Downward Spiral, and my interests in music were never the same after. The way Trent Reznor uses textures on this record influenced my production work later, and how I view what makes a "great" album- strong individual tracks that collectively execute a concept well.

2. PortisheadThird
I was a teenager when this album came out, and growing up in Tucson during this time, I didn't experience a lot of exposure to electronic music. This was the first Portishead album I heard, and it is still is my favorite of theirs. Third expands beyond the boundaries of "Trip Hop" and uses gritty but minimal production to enhance Beth Gibbons's beautifully melancholy songwriting.

3. Einstürzende Neubauten—Kollaps
I lived in Detroit for four years, and while I was there I was fortunate to help with an event while working at The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, surrounding the history of the Berlin music and art scene in the 1980's/90's. Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten and his wife, artist Danielle de Picciotto, were guests at the event who spoke of their projects and experiences. I dove into Neubauten immediately after and was never the same.

4. Giles Corey—Giles Corey
Dan Barrett is a true underground musician, who for me has always expressed what it is like to experience true depression in the most authentic and raw manner possible. His first album as his solo project Giles Corey is an atmospheric journey into an emotional and existential breakdown of the most heightened extremes. Of course I love it.

5. Pharmakon—Abandon
The first time I found out about Pharmakon, a friend was showing me a video of her performing at a gallery somewhere, this was around 2011. For the first time, I saw a woman performing exactly what I felt inside myself and never gave myself a chance to express. Margaret Chardiet is still an innovator in her genre, and it's undeniable that her work empowered me to do Lana Del Rabies in the first place.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

HOCO Fest Countdown: Masterful Emcee-Storyteller Lando Chill

Posted By on Sat, Aug 26, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Each Labor Day weekend, Club Congress hosts the HOCO Fest, the city's biggest musical bash. It runs Wed. Aug. 30—Sunday, Sept. 3. We here at TW HQ are so down with it that we're doing power previews like tequila shots of bands and artists performing. Here's Tucson gem Lando Chill. See him Wednesday, Aug. 30.

  • courtesy

In a game ruled by being hard, former TW cover star Lando Chill refuses to conform. Yes, he writes from a place of vulnerability, without the (boring) posturing or (the even more boring) braggadocio. Instead of enslaving his vision to the form, whether sung, spoken or rapped, Chill's music is an organic extension of self. It is real and open-hearted, rivaling Brother Ali in clarity and sincerity, but instead of preaching, he asks questions. He'd never be so gauche to profess to have the answers. More reminiscent of a modern-day Maya Angelou than any hit-seeking rapper, on "Save Me" his feelings of abandonment by a lover uncover the true reason he feels lost; "My dad would've raised me, but God took him from us." In the African-American tradition of storytelling, he explores legends and personal struggles at once; he is the boy who spoke to the wind, and the kid who wonders, "Pops am I making you proud?" Confessional and sincere, Chill's an original, offering unironic glimpses of a gentle soul. A Tucson gem.

(Read more about Chill this TW Kurt Reighley piece here.)

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Friday, August 25, 2017

In The Flesh: Katie Haverly & The Aviary at Che's Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 9:43 PM

Katie Haverly's soulful voice functioned as a conduit for the song’s raw emotion. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Katie Haverly's soulful voice functioned as a conduit for the song’s raw emotion.

Tucson singer-songwriter Katie Haverly and her band The Aviary played the Che’s Lounge patio last Sunday night, treating listeners to pleasant reverie. The group performed two sets of mostly Haverly’s songs, including new tunes from their upcoming album, and a pair of covers; Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” and The Police’s “Synchronicity.” 

Haverly dove into “Natural Disaster” early in the set. (It’s from her ’15 album, Aviary). Her soulful voice functioned as a conduit for the song’s raw emotion. Ace guitarist Ben Nisbet went off menu, reshaping the parts, while nimble-fingered bassist Chris Pierce and trapsman Tom Beech furrowed deep backbeats. The mournful song expanded into a sweet jam.

The quartet left a sonic debris trail with uptempo rocker “Something.” “[Something] is going to be the first music video off our new album,” Haverly said. On the downtempo “New York” (another new one) Haverly ruminated on her life there, ghosts she’d left behind.

The quartet left a sonic debris trail ... - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • The quartet left a sonic debris trail ...

“Mess” was downright transformative. The heartrending, country-tinged beauty draws inspiration from a series of works by artist Manfred Bockelmann: Drawing Against Oblivion, a requiem to children murdered by Nazis. A lone couple rose to dance.

Veiled in metaphor, with its sophisticated jazz chords, the electric piano-driven “Pluto,” details our current political climate from Haverly’s songwriterly vantage. “Do you want to know a secret?” She says. “Pluto is metaphor for Donald Trump. Pluto is the furthest planet from the sun, in its own orbit.” Yet, Pluto has the power to wreak havoc should it break the order within our solar system.

As the set drew to a close, Haverly returned to the stage for an encore. Taking seat at the piano for the beautiful “Better,” the final sneak peek from her upcoming record. She introduced it: “I wrote this song when I was at the lowest point that I’ve been in years.”

When my mind can’t seem to rest/When my better is not my best/When the world feels dense, like it’s closing in/When my better's not my best

I think of you …

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Staff Pick

James G. Davis (1931-2016): Down at the Tower Bar, A Retrospective

Celebrating the career of Tucson artist James G. Davis with a selection of paintings and prints made… More

@ Etherton Gallery Sat., Sept. 9, 7-10 p.m. and Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11 135 S. Sixth Ave.

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