Human Behavior is constantly evolving, expanding to intense layers and contracting to strip it all down. 2015's Bethphage expertly employs aural techniques like soulful chorale vocals as a foil to some pretty serious religious commentary. It'll take you to the bluesy dirty bayou, up to the folksy Appalachia and back to the Sonoran desert with barren, yet tense and powerful minimalism.
The Jons reached a new high-water mark with the July release of their long-awaited fourth album, "El Rey Mojado." Percussive, trumpet-infused and seamless in its blend of American and Latin American rock 'n' roll traditions, the album both carries the vibrancy of the band's fantastic live show and makes for their most cohesive recording yet.
Marley B started cyphering to samples in his teens. Considering Tucson's historically neglected hip-hop community, that's an exemplary career commitment. Eventually he broke regionally via the L.A. Underground, spreading the limelight over Tucson's scene. If hip-hop's becoming a stronger force, here, props to all, and some thanks to Marley B..
Calexico continues to break new ground. Guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino remain the band's heart and soul, but Spain's Jairo Zavala is bringing all sorts of new energy with his electric licks, Sergio Mendoza is killing it on the keyboards, Ryan Alfred nails the bass and Martin Venk and Jacob Valenzuela ably handle trumpets, accordion, vibes and whatever else is lying around onstage.
Cumbia originated in some of the poorest, most humble barrios. It's the "music of the people" and Vox Urbana lives up to that humility. They perform from the heart. Their socially conscious lyrics and the addictive percussion that makes it impossible for the audience to stand still. You can't help but want your ears to be spoiled more with the most authentic Cumbia Tucson has experienced.