Bear State teams with Stinkweeds for vinyl release

(Katie Self for The State Press) (Photo courtesy of Katie Self)

Inside the lively Lux Central coffeehouse in downtown Phoenix, patrons lounge among the cushioned couches. Young, hip downtowners sip organic iced tea while consumed by their earbuds or feverishly pore over work left over from the office. The members of Bear State, a local lo-fi chill-rock band, are huddled together and blithely recounting the path the band has taken and, most importantly, its upcoming store appearance at Stinkweeds on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Brothers Caleb and Micah Dailey, Jon Utter and Danny Levie make up the group, each equally anticipative for the supported release party benefiting Arizona Foster Care Initiative, an advocacy program focused on child welfare in the Valley.

Bear State wanted to create a way to give back to the community and ultimately decided to use its own talents to do just that. “The idea came up early last year,” Micah Dailey, 21, said. “I thought Stinkweeds would be the best business to approach about it.”

Micah Dailey met with Kimber Lanning, owner of Stinkweeds, and presented her with a draft idea for the band’s vision of the event.

“At the time, we didn’t know who we would choose as the non-profit charity,” Dailey said.

It became clear when another Dailey brother, Aaron, connected Bear State with Arizona Foster Care Initiative. Amusingly, the project was outlined before the band had laid down tracks to release.

“Things were on pause for a few months until we could record the songs for the event,” Dailey said.

The tracks, “Cool Things” and “Dark Comedy,” are set to be released on 7-inch clear vinyl, and will naturally be included in the evening’s set list. The band is asking $15 for purchase, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Arizona Foster Care Initiative.

Bear State has also been fortunate enough to recruit supporting acts for the event. More local acts Cherie Cherie, Dent, Fthia, Justin Moody, Secret Attraction and Flower Festival (DJ set) will bring their own unique sounds to the stage.

“It’s basically our dream team,” Utter, 24, said, adding that the band has personal ties to each supporting artist.

It is apparent that Bear State operates like a well-oiled machine. Each member proudly asserts the talents of each other.

“We have a guy who knows how to take sound and make it really big, another guy that adds so much depth,” Caleb Dailey, 25, said. “The way we play live and the way we sound is so fun.”

Seemingly what happens with most bands, Bear State has evolved. According to Caleb Dailey, the band’s sound is changing a lot and he’s happy about that.

“It started out with me just recording demos in my room,” he said. “Then we moved to trying to play them live. The sound has changed depending on what I was in to.”

The style they are known for now took hold in 2012 when the band veered from folk and into catchy bedroom pop.

“A lot of the recordings ended up feeling like one person doing it, feeling like one idea,” Caleb Dailey said.

The goal is to capture the live sound and incorporate each member’s particular strength in to one cohesive piece of work.

Bear State’s independent label, Moone Records, is an art collective with a focus on cultivating tangible objects and supporting the community. Aside from musical projects, the label has sights on poetry and short stories.

The Phoenix music scene is beginning to make a name for itself, and Bear State is glad to be a part of the artistic body representing the city and giving back.

Aware of the great local music community, Levie said, “There’s been great bands popping up and labels. We have some really, really good talent here.”

By adding toe-tapping beats and a buoyant atmosphere to a charitable function, Bear State is staking its own rare claim of the Phoenix music landscape.

“We’ve experienced a lot of different facets of the Phoenix and Tempe music scene,” Utter said. “We are a part of that body of artists. It’s given us confidence to do shows like we’re doing at Stinkweeds.”

Bear State appears with various local artists Saturday Feb. 28 at Stinkweeds (12 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix.) Short Leash food truck will be on hand for hungry event-goers. Merchandise will also be available for purchase.


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