HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS: I Am. And I've Been Looking for You (self-released) 

Based on the lineup alone, HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS has the makings of a great rock band: Josh Levine (Red Switch, Apocalyptics) on vocals and guitar, Ernie Gardner (Red Switch) on drums, Noah Gabbard (Bombs for the Bored) on guitar, and Justin Lillie (Chango Malo, The Gentlemen of Monster Island) on bass.

Veterans of the Tucson music scene know that pretty much any project involving Levine is driven by melodic electric-guitar hooks and punk vocal deliveries, and HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS is no exception—except this time, Levine's guitar hooks are made all the more melodic and raw by Gabbard, and the beats are held down even more firmly by Lillie and Gardner.

I Am. And I've Been Looking For You is song after song of guitar-heavy rock that flaunts its charisma with flair. From the running guitar melody on "Two at a Time" to the punk-rock cries on "Neither Am I" to the quieter sweetness of "Tiny Eyes," HAIRSPRAY-FIREANDGIRLS features sounds that seem like they're both from an era long gone and today. Every song is made to be played loud and live. Lines like "I'm not sayin' it's over," on "Sad for Your Sister," and the chorus of "Two at a Time" resonate for hours, if not days. It's almost like the Stones never aged and formed a new band with the Sex Pistols.

This album shows the bright side of the death of incredible local acts: HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS rose from the ashes of Red Switch, Chango Malo and Bombs for the Bored with ferocity and grit.

More by Annie Holub

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