Of the Painted Choir is an Arizona rock band that draws inspiration from the musical culture of the Southwest and 60s popular music. The founder, Frederick Huang, developed a love for song writing and producing in Tucson, Ariz., while working with Tucson-based artists and interning at the famous Wavelab Studios. In 2008, Fred co-produced the Mostly Bears album "The Ed Mitchell Clinic," for which he worked on arrangements, played multiple instruments and co-wrote the single "Melancholyism." The album charted No. 30 on CMJ, was featured on MTV and was placed in national ad campaigns. Soon after, Fred began writing his own music and developing his voice and sound— Of the Painted Choir is the culmination of those efforts.

After moving back to his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., Fred brought in his friend Darren Simoes—formerly of the internationally touring band The Bled—to play guitar. Darren fit in immediately, riding the line between melodic beauty and psychedelic chaos perfectly. Phillip Hanna and Wayne Jones, formerly of popular Phoenix bands Kinch and Tugboat, joined the band on keyboard/synthesizer and bass respectively.

Of the Painted Choir's music is, in many ways, nostalgic. The songs are melodically driven and blend elements of classic 60s pop with vintage country and folk, paying homage to the musical culture of Arizona. The songs also incorporate electronic instruments, samples, psychedelic accents, and vocal harmonies to create the lush, full sound the band is known for. This balance makes Of the Painted Choir's music sound familiar yet distinctly new and unique.

With a strong DIY mentality, Of the Painted Choir writes, records, mixes and produces their own music. In 2012, the band released two demos via the "Lula EP" which received glowing reviews from the Phoenix New Times among others. Of the Painted Choir will be releasing a self-titled EP on April 5th, 2013 featuring revised versions of the two songs from the "Lula EP" and two additional songs.

The Riveras

The Riveras are a five piece band from Phoenix, Arizona. Their minimalist, somber music manages to be at once unsettling and engaging. In fact, its easy to see why the Riveras are frequently likened to American gothic literature like Cormac McCarthy, whose stories are set in the Sonoran Desert from which the Riveras hail, rather than a particular musical genre. The lush reverb of the guitars, mixed with tasteful drums, an ever-present ominous bass, and the whispery vocals and violin of Jody Lew give the listener a sense of space and weight. The Riveras' music is certainly not for the faint of heart or the casual listener. But, if you prefer intelligent instrumentation and beautifully rendered storytelling, the Riveras are not to be missed.

former friends of young americans

Formed in 2008, Former Friends of Young Americans is an atmospheric pop rock band comprised of multi-instrumentalists Toby Fatzinger (guitars, keys, vocals), Jessica Kelley (keys, percussion, vocals), and Matt Townsend (guitars, keys, and percussion).

FFOYA released the "trail of dead-esque sex groove" single "Botero" at the end of 2011. The band's first full-length album, estas diluculo, was released to critical acclaim in April 2012. Described as "brilliant", "groundbreaking" and "eerily wonderful", the album -- a composition intended to be listened to in its entirety -- "ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, going from lighthearted to grave and back again." FFOYA is currently working on a new album, yet to be named, set for release in 2013, with an electronic EP due out in early 2014.

FFOYA's intelligent vocal harmonies, sweeping orchestral movements and layered noise build intricate and luscious dreamscapes against a pop backdrop. Fans of 80's innovators like Cocteau Twins or Jesus & Mary Chain would be moved by the band's broad sweeps and movements reminiscent of Brian Wilson. The influence of the slowcore or shoegaze genre (My Bloody Valentine to War Paint) on FFOYA is evident, though younger fans of the modern, mellow movement (Grizzly Bear, Beach House, The Books, Pinback, Sigur Ros) should certainly take note of this band's unique ability to cross genres, blending influences to create an atmospheric, ambient pop sound.

Constantly touring, the band will be on the road throughout the rest of 2012. Their riveting, high-energy performances boast few breaks as one song flows to the next and members switch between musical roles. Check out the tour schedule here and come back for new dates soon.

"Groundbreaking sounds that afford no contrived comparisons or genre specifications, this is simply brilliant music designed for a darkened room and an open mind."
Mitchell L. Hillman, Java Magazine Issue 198. January 2012

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