First, the bad news: Similar to last week, there aren't tons of great shows happening around town. Now, the good news: Some enterprising groups of individuals have taken it upon themselves to ensure that your musical week doesn't suck. Meaning, the events that are happening are pretty damn sweet. Read on.
NOTE: THERE WILL NOT BE ACTUAL EXPLOSIONS
One of those enterprising groups is Jalph, which previously brought us the Three-inco de Mayo festival back in May at Club Congress, among other events. This week they once again team up with the folks at Congress to bring us Rawksplosion, a two-day festival with a killer lineup of both touring bands and locals taking place on Tuesday, July 2, and Wednesday, July 3. Weird days of the week for a festival, I know, but hey, we'll take what we can get these days. Here are a few details about who's playing.
Tuesday, July 2: Olympia, Wash.'s Milk Music, who just released their debut album Cruise Your Illusion, which has been receiving positive reviews across the board, on Fat Possum Records, headline the first night. Fans of early American underground bands – the sort featured in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life – will dig 'em. To my ears, they sound like a combination of Husker Du and the Meat Puppets, with a touch of Dinosaur Jr.
Hausu, named for a 1977 Japanese horror flick, comprises four dudes who met in college in Portland, Ore. Their debut album, Total, was just released on the fantastic Hardly Art label last week. Imagine Robert Smith fronting a band with dual, slashing guitars a la Fugazi and you're somewhere in the right vicinity.
Led by the sweet-voiced Jess Matsen, who is prone to hollering when a song calls for it, Tucson's Dream Sick play a brand of indie rock that will appeal to Modest Mouse fans, even if they don't sound a whole lot like them.
Up first on the bill, Tucson's Womb Tomb play math-y rock that meets at the intersection of Sonic Youth and, oh, maybe Unrest if they had had distortion pedals (or something).
Wednesday, July 3: It's not clear whether Lenguas Largas or White Night is headlining the second night of Rawksplosion, so let's give the edge to the locals: Lenguas Largas is the best damn live band in Tucson right now, and you should not miss them. Cool? OK, then. White Night plays fast punk-pop tunes that leave no doubt they hail from the Left Coast. If they sound a bit like Audacity, there's a reason: both are from Fullerton, Calif., home to Burger Records.
Tucson's Sutcliffe Catering Co. is the work of Michael Hayes, who on recordings tracks everything himself. It's dreamy, lo-fi bedroom pop that sounds simultaneously very close and far away.
Phoenix's Sleep Money are making their Tucson debut at the fest, and based on the one song I've heard by them, I'd agree with Club Congress' assessment of them as post-goth rock.
First on the bill, Tucson's Union Pacific play jangly pop-rock tunes.
Jalph Presents Rawksplosion takes place at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, July 2, and Wednesday, July 3. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Admission to both nights is free, but you must be at least 21. Questions? Head to hotelcongress.com/club or call 622-8848.
PULL UP A CHAIR
From the Brilliant Ideas file comes PorchFest Armory Park. Inspired by a similar event in upstate New York, the event is basically a roving music festival happening on 11 porches in the Armory Park neighborhood, some local businesses, some just people's homes. The idea is to stroll around the 'hood, take in a few songs at someone's porch until you're ready for something new, then head to the next porch on your list. To make things a bit easier, here's a list of participating porches and who will be playing on them.
KXCI, 220 S. Fourth Ave.: The Mighty Joel Ford (7 p.m.) and The Modeens (8 p.m.).
350 E. 15th St.: Cowberry Jam (7 p.m.; Swedish instrumentals) and Barry James, Scott Knight & Alex Roberts (8 p.m.; ambient, experimental instrumentals).
OK Market, 502 S. Fourth Ave.: The Tangelos (7 p.m.) and Lisa O'Neill (8 p.m.; folk singer-songwriter).
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 545 S. Fifth Ave.: The Hot Club of Tucson (7 p.m.) and Fiddlin' Phoenix of The Dusty Buskers (8 p.m.).
700 S. Fifth Ave.: Michael K. Henderson/Fermented Music (7 p.m.) and Paul Tumarkin aka "Frog" (8 p.m.).
408 E. 16th St.: Sean Rogers and Mona Chambers of In the Woods (7 p.m.).
415 E. 17th St.: Larry Redhouse (7 p.m.).
634 S. Fifth Ave.: Alégrate! (7 p.m.) and Legend City (8 p.m.).
215 E. 17th St.: Julieta Gonzalez and Kate Elizabeth Blair (7 p.m.).
843 S. Second Ave.: Kids Jam (7 p.m.; bring instruments for your kids to join in on the fun – and perhaps some Advil for yourselves, too) and House Band (8 p.m.).
220 S. Fifth Ave.: Eduardo Minozzi Costa (7 p.m.) and One Heart Beat (8 p.m.).
Damn, that's a lot of music taking place over the course of two hours! If you didn't catch it by looking at the schedule, the whole thing takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, and is, of course, open to those of all ages. The organizers stress that this is a "pilot" event, which means there may be a few snafus along the way. But kudos to them for organizing such a cool, ambitious event.
A few other notes from the folks who put it together: Bring money to tip the musicians, as that is the only income they'll be receiving for performing. If you need to sit, bring a blanket or chair, as none will be provided. Water will be provided at each porch, but to cut down on waste, please bring your own water bottle. For further details (such as descriptions of each performer), check out the event's Facebook page.
HOW MANY SKA BANDS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHTBULB?
The pride of New Brunswick, N.J., Streetlight Manifesto is the rare modern ska band that doesn't stick religiously to the ska-punk formula, instead adding elements from all over the map – literally: World music influences (as well as jazz, pop, swing music, etc.) creep into the band's music. Despite an ongoing feud with their label, Victory Records, that's the imprint on which their latest album, The Hands That Thieve, was released earlier this year. Around the time of the album's release the band also announced they'd be considerably cutting down on touring, so if you're a fan, get it while you can.
Streetlight Manifesto performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress. St. on Wednesday, July 3. The Rialto's website has Skinny Lister listed as the opener, but it appears that band has U.K. dates scheduled during that period, so it's best to give a call to the venue at 740-1000 for an update. (We think the openers are Rodeo Ruby Love and Empty Orchestra, but we couldn't confirm this at press time.) Tickets for the all-ages show are $17.50 in advance, $20 on the day of show. There's more info at rialtotheatre.com.
Local indie-poppers the Triple Double Band will launch a Kickstarter campaign this week to record and release their fifth album, which they're hoping to release later this year. They'll be playing at a Kickstarter Launch Party on the Hotel Congress Plaza, 311 E. Congress St., along with openers The Backhomes and Oracle Jayne's Station, who start the night off at 9 p.m. Admission is free, but you must be at least 21 to enter. More info at hotelcongress.com/club or 622-8848.
If you didn't get enough smooth rock at the Yacht Rock Party last week, you're in luck: Soft rock Aussie duo Air Supply, who topped the charts as the '70s faded and the '80s offered the promise of a new hope, will perform this week at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28. Tickets are $29 to $74. For more info on the all-ages show, head to foxtucsontheatre.org or call 547-3040. Here's hoping they've finally figured out whether they're "Lost in Love" or "All Out of Love."
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jessica Campbell possesses a gorgeous, honeyed voice, the perfect instrument to convey her take on tangled romantic relationships, which is exactly what she does on her second album, The Anchor and the Sail, which was released at the end of April on Little London Records. She'll perform at La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave., on Saturday, June 29. Sara Beth Go opens at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For more info, go to lacocinatucson.com or call 622-0351.