Just hours after the massive Tempe bike race Tour de Fat ended, tons of costumed people looking for toddy, some good music, and a party filled up Cartel Coffee. The celebration at hand? The cassette release of “Numb Things,” a split tape by local garage-rock outfits Petty Things and Numb Bats, both signed to Tempe record label Rubber Brother, run by local community staples Robbie Pfeffer and Gage Olesen
Before both Petty Things and Numb Bats were due for album releases, Pfeffer decided to combine a few songs from each band into a split tape, thus creating “Numb Things.”
With the aid of Rubber Brother Records, Petty Things and Numb Bats are steadily gaining ground in the Tempe music scene, and because they share similar musical styles, it only makes sense that Pfeffer wanted the two to share a cassette.
“We really wanted to showcase at Cartel,” Pfeffer said. “Both bands really represent the label.”
Petty Things is made up of guitarist and vocalist Jordan Owen, his brother Austin, who plays drums, and bassist Justin James, got together to create music last March but didn’t start performing at venues like Yucca Tap Room and Long Wong’s (now El Dub Tempe) until May. Jordan describes their sound as garage rock ’n’ roll “with a splash of psych,” and that’s entirely accurate. Pull any cassette off the tape racks at Burger Records, and you’d hear a warm vibe incredibly similar to Petty Things.
Petty Things’s EP, called “Chasing the Sun,” was released this summer, and a full-length album is in the works and expected to debut in the next two or three months.
Flip “Numb Things” over in the cassette player, and you’ll hear the creeping, surf-tinged rock of Numb Bats.
Drummer Mo Neuharth and guitarist and vocalist Emily Hobeheidar played together in North Dakota, a Tempe band with a haunting punk sound. The duo was inspired to form Numb Bats when Pfeffer, who used to share show bills with North Dakota with his band Playboy Manbaby simply told them, “Make a band, because you write awesome songs.”
Neuharth and Hobeheidar were then joined last fall by bassist Isaac Parker, who plays in an impressive roster of other Tempe bands like Boss Frog and Good Friends Great Enemies. Parker has been performing with Numb Bats since January at venues like Long Wong’s, Crescent Ballroom and Cartel.
“I wanted to rock out,” Parker said.
Numb Bats hopes to release their EP within the next few months, but for now, the focus is on “Numb Things.” Together, the two bands produce a rock ’n’ roll sound that has a touch of surf rock and hard bass lines.
“Numb Things” is now available for purchase, and both bands update their Facebook pages with show dates and album releases.
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