There’s plenty of homegrown music worth discovering here in Phoenix, from bedroom producers crafting their takes on obscure subgenres to youthful indie rock bands mining the depths of underground music history to create something new and exciting, to music scene veterans stepping out of their comfort zone and into the spotlight. We’ve got a roundup of three great, recently released tracks from Phoenix musicians that we think deserve a spot on your latest playlist.
Weston Smith: “Puny Human”
Sort of a riff on the rediscovered microgenre of dungeon synth, “Puny Human” is something beyond an easily replicated genre exercise, Phoenix-based “wistful wizard” Weston Smith’s latest single is an intriguing bit of electronic production. Layering silky-smooth easy listening saxophone and looping drum samples over moody, dark ambience and reverb-drenched vocals, the track is the first taste of a forthcoming EP that will be released later this fall. Details are sparse about the new project, but “Puny Human”’s dreamy atmosphere and more dynamic palate has us excited to see what’s to come from Smith’s latest evolution. westonsmithmusic.bandcamp.com // @westonisweird
Veronica Everheart: “Caught in Static”
“Cherry Picked,” the new EP from Veronica Everheart, available digitally and on a limited run of cassettes, is full of heartfelt, guitar-driven indie rock gems, including standout track “Caught in Static.” Songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Veronica Fedri’s deadpan confessions are backed by grungy, distorted guitars and punchy rhythms that bring to mind vintage 1990s slacker rock. The track is accompanied by a music video that blends classic public access aesthetics with modern drone camerawork for something that feels both vintage and modern, much like the song itself. The band has built quite a following online, thanks in part to key placement on playlists like Spotify’s “Fresh Finds Indie” and “Fresh Finds Rock.” veronicaeverheart.com // @veronica.everheart
JPW: “Wealth of the Canyon”
Jason P. Woodbury has lived underground music for his entire life, working as a writer, DJ, and record store clerk for familiar names like Pitchfork, NPR, and Zia Records. He’s written well-researched liner notes for reissues of forgotten gems of folk rock and curated acclaimed compilation albums. Woodbury recently made the terrifying transition from guy behind the scenes to frontman with the release of his debut solo LP, “Something Happening / Always Happening.” The album’s first single, “Wealth of the Canyon” brings to mind the sort of laid-back country rock from modern troubadours like Kurt Vile and Kevin Morby, but with a bit of a cosmic hum running through it that lends an air of mystery to the whole project. Also remarkable are Woodbury’s distinct vocals, which feel transmitted from another era, the voice of a forgotten singer beamed over a short-wave radio straight from the 1960s Laurel Canyon scene. jasonpwoodbury.com // @jasonpwoodbury