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Something old and something new: Stripes and Ponies wrap up 2018 in Tucson music

Stripes: Homies teaching homies to play instruments

Recently, this reporter relayed the sad new that local powerhouse of a band the Frecks was no more. A raw, energetic, give-no-fucks trio of teenage girls from Tucson High, the band had a fierceness, maturity and grit far beyond their tender years, and in just a short time had built up a steady following around town and a decent amount of demand among local venues and choice gigs.

The silver lining in the band's demise, however, is that these girls have not stopped playing, instead blossoming into two bands for the price of one: Alien Jacket and Stripes, at the forefront of a local youth rock and punk renaissance of sorts that your friendly local music columnist intends to tell you more about in the coming year.

This week, get to know the first of these two bands, Stripes, led by former Frecks vocalist/guitarist Izzy Krunkel.

TucsonSentinel.com: Tell us about your new band. Who's in the lineup and how is it different from what you've done before?

Izzy Krunkel: "This band [grew from] songs I've written in my bedroom brought out onto stage. It's my diary in song form. I called upon my extremely talented friends,my drummer Bella and [Rough Draft keyboardist] James Noriega on bass to help me bring it to life. I would say the sound is similar, but it's a little more controlled than The Frecks."

TS: Tell us a little about the experience of having a little taste of established band success with The Frecks.

IK: The whole experience was a high in itself. The decline and break-up has been a real low for me personally and musically. The Frecks consumed my whole being for the year I was part of it. It was a large part of my identity and life. Letting go was necessary but I'm still processing."

TS: Understandable. Band breakups are hard, man! Shifting gears, though, there seems to be a tiny little renaissance of young bands in Tucson and a thriving house show scene they seem to be kind of incubating in. Where are you all finding each other?

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IK: Just homies knowing homies and homies telling homies to learn instruments. Instagram is a big one in terms of networking."

TS: Any lessons or performing schooling?

IK: I never took lessons or any sort of musical school training stuff."

TS: Well, that clearly hasn't hurt your playing! Do you plan to play professionally when you're older? As a side thing or your main gig?

IK: I'm going to play professionally when I'm older. Full time sometimes."

TS: "Tell us about the house show scene. What is that atmosphere like these days? How is it different from the bar gigs?

IK: The atmosphere is free and accepting. I wish that [all shows] had less drug and alcohol abuse.

TS: What advice would you give to teen bands just staring out? What would your advice to old and established bands be, for that matter?

IK: To teens starting out, I would say just listen to your gut because it will tell you all you need to know and to established bands I would say let's play a show together!"

TS: What young bands should we know in Tucson and in Phoenix?

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IK:Yum, Sad Dance Party, Rough Draft, Video James, Carnival, those are the homies!"

TS: What's next for your current band?

IK: Next is album, tour, more album, more tour, more album, more tour, more album. Hopefully somewhere in between I can get all my bills paid!"

House show round up

Some of the best shows in town are not at any venue, but at house shows and unofficial pop up events around town. Rather than keep you fine readers in the dark, I've begun to compile a list of the best live music house shows in town each week - it's up to you to contact the bands and score an invite (or not) to each. And in light of the pending new year, this week's pickings are quite rich.

Saturday night, some of the best youth bands in town converge in a virtual mini festival of a house show otherwise known as "The Sad Dance Party." The lineup for this fest includes Guttertown, Rough Draft, Alien Jacket, and Yum! and takes place at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 29 at a location in Downtown Tucson.

On New Year's Eve, you can ring in 2019 with local bands Zero Miles To Empty and Spirithouse, an outdoor movie screening, a bonfire and tunes spun by DJ Thee Vinyl Wizard at recurring event Music and Movies on Mountain's New Year's Eve Masquerade - a U of A neighborhood house show starting at 7 p.m. Monday night.

Lastly, at 6 p.m. Thursday night, catch Seattle band Plexi, along with Snackbirdy, Lav Andula and Mesquite at a house show in midtown.

For more info on each house show, contact the bands involved via Facebook or Instagram for invites and location details.

I Dig a Pony

In the early 2000's Flagstaff punk band the Ponies reigned supreme, playing raucous live shows and landing a few blips of minor fame including an album release on L.A. label Dogg Pony Records and a 2006 documentary about the band by L.A.filmmaker, Donovan Vim Crony.

These days, former Ponies singer/bassist Bobby Carlson does time in Bisbee band the Exbats (alongside former Flagstaff scene sidekick Kenny McLain) as well as Tucson's TWGS, but this weekend it's time to get the band back together and Bobby Carlson is once again assuming his alter ego of Bobby Pony for a three night Ponies reunion mini tour.

The Ponies reunion hits Tucson on Saturday at Cans, with support from the Exbats, Sweaty Palm Trees and Treasure Mammal. The band invites you to "celebrate the power of the creative spirit and shameless, boneheaded nostalgia this holiday season."

Ponies Reunion w/ Treasure Mammal, The Exbats, and Sweaty Palm Trees takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday night at Cans.

A Rainy Night on Congress

Speaking of The Exbats, the father-daughter led Bisbee band put on perhaps their best show ever this Thursday night at a rave up of a floor show at Club Congress including the rare sight of vocalist/drummer Inez McClain laying down her sticks to take the mic with full voice and amazing presence, commanding the band to a whisper or a scream with just the smallest of hand gestures and a gleefully wicked smile while the band's favorite sound engineer Matt Rendon took over the kit like a slightly less unhinged Keith Moon.

Preceding the "Bats" that freezing, rainy night was the debut of Feverfew's full band lineup with Bill Barron on drums and Molly Ragan on bass. The new additions to the group add an almost tribal rhythmic dynamic to Feverfew's unearthly and powerful multi-chorused, fuzz flavored grunge garage indie rock and the show was jawdroppingly good. If you missed it, stay tuned in February for more chances to catch the band live.

New local due Vasectomy also debuted at the show, though your humble writer must admit she didn't catch that part of the gig as she mustered the stamina to brave the icy drizzle and chilly winds that racked Downtown Tucson the other night. Reports were incredibly favorable for that band, though, so expect to see more about them in future columns.

Feverew's Sissy Nicole recently sat down with your trusty music columnist for a forthcoming interview. In the meantime, check out the band's first official single on Bandcamp. Meanwhile, the Exbats just put the finishing touches on a new vinyl compilation "E is for Exbats" and plans to release new material in the coming year.

Goodbye Cans, we hardly knew ye...

As reported previously in this space, short-lived but well-loved Fourth Avenue venue Cans Deli will shutter its doors at year's end and it should be no surprise that the venue intends to go out in style.

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Cans' last night coincides with a CD release by legendary local band Barely Bipedal and will feature a killer lineup of some of Tucson's loudest and best musical institutions including Lenguas Largas, Golden Boots, The Pork Torta and Dirk Wednesday's Guitar Mass (featuring Jon Polle of Whispering Wires.

"Goodbye to Cans" takes place at 8 p.m. Sunday night, Dec. 30, at Cans Deli.

Nothing changes on New Year's Day...

It's the end of a pretty remarkable year in Tucson live and local music. The local teen rock and punk scene more or less exploded, some incredible bands debuted on local stages and I've need to share obits for far too many of Tucson's finest musicians this year, not to mention a couple of beloved local venues: Flycatcher and Cans Deli.

But a new year beckons and this Monday night your options for ringing it in are legion. One particularly notable option is the "Hotel Congress through the Decades" party at Club Congress, a celebration of the legendary hotel's 100th year featuring surprise band appearances and live DJs. Other promising NYE gigs include a punk show at District Eatz featuring the Besmirchers and Thug Riot, local rockabilly icon Al Foul at Che's Lounge and a rash of live DJ nights throughout Downtown.

Check your local listings...

Saturday, Dec. 29

  • Something Like Appropriate, Hussie, Matthew Diana - 9:30 p.m. Sky Bar
  • Rocco's 20th Anniversary w/ DJ Mike Ohno - 10 p.m. Rocco's Little Chicago
  • Joyce Luna - 6 p.m. Sand Reckoner
  • For Love or Absinthe - 6 p.m. Button Brewhouse
  • Random Acts of Karaoke Farewell - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • A Night of Tucson Salvage - 7 p.m. Exo Roast
  • Madame Ozzy and The Jack - 7 p.m. Rialto
  • Sad Dance Party - 7 p.m. (House Show)
  • Ponies Reunion w/ Treasure Mammal, The Exbats, and SPT - 8 p.m. Cans
  • Fineline Revisited - 9 p.m. Surly Wench

Sunday, Dec. 30

  • TwoDoorHatchback - 7 p.m. Che's Lounge
  • Tim Rachbach and Tommy Holladay Group - 7 p.m. Hotel Congress
  • Goodbye to Cans wtih Barely Bipedal, Golden Boots, Pork Torta, Lenguas Largas and Dirk Wednesday's Guitar Mass - 8 p.m. Cans

Monday, Dec. 31

  • Monday Open Mic - 7 p.m. House of Bards
  • Music and Movies on Mountain: New Year's Masquerade - 7 p.m. (House Show)
  • Al Foul's New Years Eve at Che's - 10 p.m. Che's Lounge
  • Hotel Congress Through the Decades - 8 p.m. Club Congress
  • A Punk Rock NYE with The Besmirchers & THUG RIOT - 8 p.m. District Eatz
  • FLUXX Presents Opulence - 9 p.m. 191 Toole
  • Masque of the Red Desert - 9 p.m. Rialto
  • New Year's Eve Blow Out - 9 p.m. Owls Club
  • NYE w/ The Bennu - 9 p.m. Sky Bar
  • NYE at the Wench - 9 p.m. Surly Wench
  • NYE at Elliot's - 7 p.m. Elliot's on Congress

Tuesday, Jan 1

  • The Bumble Buzz - 3 p.m. Crooked Tooth

Wednesday, Jan 2

  • Street Blues Family - 8 p.m. Club Congress

Thursday, Jan 3

  • Plexi, Mesquite, Snackbirdy and Lav Andula - 6 p.m. (House Show)
  • Collin Shook Jazz Quartet - 7 p.m. Hotel Congress

Each week this column compiles a choice selection of live gigs in and around Tucson with the help of good venue and band event announcements and other resources. If you've got a gig coming up and you'd like your event listed in this space (or if your local band has a major announcement or a new release) drop me a line at arts@tucsonsentinel.com.

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Tobias Brown

Frecks frontwoman Izzy

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