Jack Cavanaugh

Phoenix: Bankrupt!

Any fans concerned that Bankrupt! will be freakishly different than the Phoenix they've come to appreciate have nothing to worry about.  Basically, Bankrupt! is a melodic and slightly gentler version of Wolfgang, and while this album could be considered experimental for them, but all of the songs are easily recognizable as a Phoenix song upon first listen.  Taken in isolation, it's catchy, but maybe not with any songs capable of reaching megahit status.  If they set out to make an album that's compositionally divergent from anything they've ever done before, they didn't do so well.  If they set out to make an album of easy-on-the-ears pop songs with a few subtle twists, they did pretty well. 

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Iron and Wine : Ghost on Ghost

Samuel Beam, better known as Iron and Wine, has now released his fifth studio album Ghost on Ghost and first on Nonesuch Records.  On top of changing labels – previous albums were released on Subpop and Warner Bros./4AD – Beam has also changed his approach to songwriting, as stated on the band's website: “Beam sought to move from what he called the 'anxious tension' of his two previous records.  'This record felt like a reward to myself after the way I went about making the last few."

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Other Lives: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 11/5/12

It was a quiet election day eve and Other Lives made their return to the Valley of the Sun.  They've come to Phoenix before as the opener for Radiohead back in March and opening for rock royalty has definitely taken their public awareness to new heights.  They returned this time as the headliner at Crescent Ballroom, a much more intimate venue than the giant Jobing.com arena they played last time.

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Grimes: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 10/8/12

Grimes is, in some sense, a testament to the pursuit and creation of an artistic vision, no matter how outlandish it may seem, and making it fly, and the fact that she is controlling everything coming out of the PA from start to finish is also impressive.  After an hour of songs, she speaks to the crowd for the first time.

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Passion Pit: Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ 9/11/12

It was a completely full house in the Marquee on Tuesday, September 11th, and everyone was in a celebratory mood, despite the historic date.   Shortly before the 10 pm stage time, chants of “Passion Pit” began, and most of the capacity crowd joined in.    The house lights flicked off, causing a roar, and purple lights from the sides of the stage glowed as frontman Michael Angelakos and the five other  members that comprise Passion Pit walked out.  Wearing an untucked dress shirt and tie, Angelakos screams, “Hands in the air! All the way in the back!”  The vast majority of the crowd complies and the synth organ intro for “Take a Walk” starts the show.  

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Tycho, The Album Leaf: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 9/2/12

While Tycho's songs sounded faithful to the album versions to someone who has listened to Dive several times, there seems to be a touch of improvisation to the performance.  Surely, Scott Hansen is meticulous in his approach, but the songs feel more organic than those of someone standing at a laptop, and live bass and drums take the show far beyond typical ambient music, especially with the bass turned up so high.   Tycho creates a euphoric atmosphere using organic rhythms, warm tones from vintage synths and ethereal visuals.

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