Desert Companion

Now Hear This

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Courtesy of The Hate

Two Vegas music-lovers riff on their favorite local acts and albums of the moment

Listen to the conversation:

Yeyo

This band dropped on my radar by accident a while back. They were playing an opening-act slot at a local show, and completely captivated the crowd (and me) with their R&B-influenced bedroom pop.

Choice track: “Tonight,” from their 2020 album Teenage Dream. It’s soulful and sentimental, dreamy and intimate. GR

Wave MMLZ

“I’m the golden child out the Silver State.” That’s from the opening track of Alexander Decatur, the latest EP from Wave MMLZ. He’s a triple threat — he came up out of the hardcore scene playing drums in Imperial Tide before trying his hand at rapping and making beats — and he’s been batting a thousand ever since.

Choice track: “Craig / FR.” In a deadpan stoner drawl against a boom-bap track, Wave MMLZ raps about Craig Discount Mall and having a “homie off of Oakey,” celebrating the less glamorous corners of Vegas with pride. ZM

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Red Dragons

This duo is made up of producer Scartoon and singer Audrey Brazelle. They’re a little indie, a little electronic, a little downbeat. Their songs are anchored in these deep, heavy drums and brazelle's haunting, ethereal vocals.

Choice track: “Observer,” their latest single, feels like you’re walking alone in a big city at night. ZM

Secos

Remember that too-cool-to-care sound of the early 2000s, brought to you by The Strokes and Interpol? Secos delivers that New York sound to the desert with songs that are upbeat and playful, but also mature and assured.

Choice track: “Rewind,” from their 2022 self-titled album. The song’s bright melody is a perfect frame for the deadpan vocals of lead singer David Candelas, who might just be our own Julian Casablancas. GR

Itsrayiguess

When I heard Ray Is My Last Name, the latest project by rapper ItsrayIguess, I was stunned by how polished, complete, and, well, how perfect it sounded. Ray Is My Last Name serves as the 28-year-old rapper’s origin story, rich in emotion and vivid autobiographical detail. Better yet, he’s got an incredible ear for beats.

Choice track: “Balance.” Don’t be fooled by the bouncy UK garage/house feel; in this track, he grapples with real stuff, from politics to racism. ZM

Viaje Nahual

Imagine dreamily cruising around your neighborhood on a bicycle on a carefree Sunday morning. That’s what the chill ballads of Viaje Nahual sound like — though they might surprise you, too, with some psychedelic surf-rock-inspired jams as well.

Choice track: “Brownies,” their recent single. With its sing-song Spanish vocals and shimmery guitars, it charms its way into a danceable organ jam. GR

The Hate

Formed in 2018, The Hate isn’t new to the hardcore scene, but their sound is still shaking things up. Oh, it’s certainly hardcore — screamy, shouty vocals, blasting drums, hooky breakdowns — but The Hate’s brand of this punk subgenre boasts a polish and discipline like few other local acts.

Choice track: “White Noise,” from their self-titled EP. Rife with chuggy riffs, it builds to an almost operatic interlude with a chorus that’s hard not to sing — uh, make that scream — along to. GR

Photos and art: courtesy of the artists

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