Recognizing The Best Of The
Phoenix Metro Music Scene
Modern Times Magazine’s Resident Expert On The Music Scene of the Phoenix Metro, Jeff Moses, Present His Picks For Best Band, Best Lead Singer, Best Song And More As Well As Hailing The Top Up-And-Comers
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
Feb. 25, 2014 — As the first and reigning music writer at Modern Times Magazine, I get to float through the local universe of musicians and the music scene in the Phoenix Metro.
Its a good place to be — a cat-bird seat of sorts that allows me to hang out with some great people, hear some great music and go to some great places and get paid a little for it. And yes, sometimes, the music is not so great, the places are lame and I don’t get paid enough, but it is an experience that has become part of who I am.
Friends ask me all the time where to go and what to do. I also get questions about who the best band is, or who is best live, or many more questions. But I may as well get paid for it and tell the entire Phoenix Metro what I think.
Hence, the “Mosey Awards.”
These inaugural Mosey Awards will inform newcomers and lifers alike about what’s going on, what performers they ought to hear and see, as well as forward-looking considerations for a number of local acts.
Band of the Year- KONGOS
Image retrieved from KONGOS website.
No one had a better 2013 than the familial South African four piece KONGOS, and if you don’t believe me just ask Jimmy Kimmel. The Phoenix-based brothers made the best out of a bunch of small opportunities last year and parlayed them all into some pretty big opportunities in 2014. In 2013, KONGOS played Riotfest in Denver, headlined Apache Lake Music Festival, and spent a good amount of time pounding the pavement on tour. All their hard work paid off in 2014 in the form of a record deal with Epic Records, a slot at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del., the opening gig for Airborne Toxic Event’s entire tour, and an upcoming appearance on national Late Night TV. If the question always is who will break next, well, the answer is not KONGOS anymore, because they have already broken.
Runners Up: Black Bottom Lighters, Dry River Yacht Club, Playboy Manbaby, Future Loves Past
Album of the year - Life, Father’s Day
Phot courtesy of Father's Day.
No one is ever going to listen to Life by Father’s Day and feel as though they had an earth shattering, groundbreaking, mind-blowing epiphany. Unless that person is a complete piece of shit. What one might find from listening to this outlandish thrash punk band fronted by the incomparable Douglas Patton (it might be Ryan Avery in a mustache) is a good head bang and a hearty chuckle. Great music does not need to be “deep,” or “emotional,” or any of those other silly things, great music can just be fun, and to me that’s what Father’s Day was going for, and if it is, mission accomplished.
Runners Up: >El Tigre Dry River Yacht Club,Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 1 The Oakland Raiders, Slider decker.,To The Bardos Captain Squeegee
Song of the year - “Let’s Start a Riot” Haymarket Squares
Image by Jeff Moses.
All The Haymarket Squares did was sing what everybody else was thinking. Work is maddening, the status quo sucks and it is really time to lose control. But how relatable the song is, is only part of the appeal. The other part is the masterful way in which the Phoenix-based five piece plays it. It’s a jazzy, bluegrassy, punkish, masterpiece that really rocks. Since they started playing it in mid 2013 it has been a highlight in their live set, and it has only gotten better and better as they grow on it more.
Runners Up: “Inevitable” Captain Squeegee, “Like Like” Fairy Bones, “Happy Birthday Stoner” Supa Joint, “The Legend of El Tigre” Dry River Yacht Club
Next to Break - Dry River Yacht Club
Image by Jeff Moses.
If you didn't already know, like thousands of other bands, The Yacht Club is heading for South By Southwest in March. But unlike many of those thousands of bands DRYC is on the official South By Southwest lineup. With their unique sound, embracing personalities and interesting look, the Yacht Club should be a no brainer for some label or festival to pick up on. Add in the fact that their album El Tigre was easily one of the best albums to come out of Phoenix in 2013 and Dry River Yacht Club should be punching their ticket to the big time come late spring.
Runners Up: Black Bottom Lighters, Destruction Unit, Future Loves Past, Wooden Indian
Best Record Label - Rubber Brother Records
Over the past eight months or so, a significant shadow has been cast over Phoenix's DIY music scene — the shadow of Rubber Brother Records. Their innovative events have attracted thousands since they first started with Rubber Brotherfest and have only gotten bigger since then. They put on raucous community-based event in their PHX FMLY Fest, and have sold out the Crescent Ballroom in a more scene-driven spectacle with Wooden Indian, Los Puchos, Playboy Manbaby, and Petty Things all releasing Rubber Brother tapes on the same night. Founders Gage Olesen and Robbie Pfeffer are putting in the work along with their co-conspirators and all of their bands, and if things work out perhaps the sentence “Phoenix has no music scene,” won’t be uttered quite as often.
Runners Up: Related Records, President Gator, 56th Street Records
Best Lead Singer - L. Hotshot, Scorpion Vs. Tarantula
Image by Jeff Moses
L. Hotshot does not sing like an angel, she is not a 21-year-old blonde in a scantily clad outfit, and she is probably not going to hit the high notes like Mariah Carey. But what she is, is the most enthusiastic in-your-face front person in Phoenix. She’s the absolute perfect lead singer for the high energy hard rock band she fronts, and almost all of their shows include her taking a jaunt through the audience, stalking through the crowd like a lion with her teased out mane. Going to see Scorpion Vs. Tarantula is always guaranteed entertainment because L. Hotshot is the best that Phoenix has to offer.
Runners Up: Abe Gil, Treasure Mammal; Garnet, Dry River Yacht Club; Buford Wigglebottom, The Freaks of Nature; Ray Reeves, Ray Reeves and The Masters of the Economy
Best Guitarist - Corey Gloden, Dry River Yacht Club
Image by Jeff Moses.
Corey Gloden is by far the most entertaining guitarist in Phoenix. Once he hits the stage with his acoustic in hand, he throws inhibition to the wind and dances around the stage hyping the crowd and adding one more layer of theatrics to the already fantastical Dry River Yacht Club set. He is not the original guitarist of DRYC but at this point it would be hard to imagine them without him.
Runners Up: Justin “The Hoon” Waldrop, Skull Drug; Isaac Wolf, Wolvves; Andrew Jemsek, Father Day; “Mustache” Mark Alred, Haymarket Squares
Best Bass Player - Sammy Boner, Button Struggler
Image by Jeff Moses.
Sammy Boner is absolutely out of his mind. He has zero inhibitions and even less common sense. No matter what band he’s playing with he is the center of attention because it’s impossible to know what the downtown Phoenix-based psychopath is going to do next. Whether he’s grabbing dick in the mosh pit or tearing it up on stage he’s a musical maverick whose liable to do anything at anytime. Oh yeah, he’s a decent musician too.
Runners Up: Steve B. Drinkin, The Woodworks; Andrew Jemsek, The Oakland Raiders; Jett Smith, The Linecutters; Xack Wolf, Wolvves.
Chapter 18: “This Could be the Last Time” The galaxy-class astral catwomen paint by numbers way out in the Fornax Void, and grease some filthy-dirty alien werewolves in the process.
Beyond The Hill An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.