How does one classify the “Egyptian Temple Lo-Fi” rock of Burning Palms? It is simultaneously ancient and futuristic; both Space Age and New Age. With the release of their self-titled cassette through L.A.’s Lollipop Records, this Tucson act is set to spread the gospel of Burning Palms. The cassette opens with “Young Hunter” which pairs a groovy, retro-restyle with distortion-heavy garage rock. This is an album of unusual pairings: layered, angelic voices and driving musicality; dark undertones and warm currents. The band delivers a high energy, spot-on performance on every track of Burning Palms, easily distinguishing the musicians as seasoned players. While the lively song “Pyramids” ranked among my favorites, the David Lynch-esque “Deadbeat Island” had me hitting the repeat button several times. I found it’s haunting melody, well, haunting. Get you hands on your own copy of Burning Palms right now, right here. You know you want to. And, if you’re upset about not seeing any Phoenix stops on their upcoming tour, fret not. Burning Palms will be performing at the Lost Leaf downtown on July 19th.
Jess Matsen (vocals/guitar), John Bullock (bass/backing vocals), Matt Baquett (piano), and Connor Gallaher (drums) make up the four-piece Tucson shoegaze outfit known as Dream Sick. Now, we’ve followed their musical development for sometime now and so I can say with confidence that Last Little Bit just might be my favorite release to date from the band. Incorporating, at varied moments, elements of drone and psychedelia, Dream Sick applies the distortion of garage rock to their own brand of desert indie, blurring the lines between instruments and creating a dreamlike soup of sound. The album is only 7 tracks long, but more than half of those songs clock in at over 5 minutes so Last Little Bit gives you a full-serving of sonic goodness. Listen here.
The 2013 release from Tucson’s Sun Bones only recently came to our attention and my disappointment at not discovering their album earlier is only outweighed by my joy at counting it among my current collection. The album opens with “Love Letter” and the group’s cultivated assemblage of influences achieve fluid harmony somewhere in the concentric space of roots rock and indie pop with an eclectic offering of other sounds woven through the musical fabric. There are several elements that elevate Sun Bones from your run-of-the-mill indie rock band. For example, may I first present the dramatic and carefully structured vocals heard throughout Sentinel Peak. Secondly, I would like to point out the thoughtful song construction on Sentinel Peak; each track varied yet unified under the Sun Bones sound. From the springtime frolicking in “Kite String” to the dark, slightly apocalyptic “Undertow”, Sun Bones delivers, steeped in reflection and rich in lyrical and sonic imagery. And, I have some more good news for those of you, like myself, who are latecomers to the Sun Bones camp – the band has an Arizona mini-tour slated for this July. We’ll keep you posted on those events. In the meantime, listen to Sentinel Peak here.