Thanks to a melting pot population and a healthy obsession with all things food, Anchorage is a city blessed with a huge number of restaurants and a wide array of cuisines. One notable addition has been Pho Jula, a hole in the wall that provides options from across Asia, namely Chinese, Laotian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
"Do you feel like you're stuck in time?" is a question that comes early on "The Breeze," the first track on Dr. Dog's 2008 album "Fate." It's a line befitting a band that sounds like a reminder of AM radio's days full of catchy tunes and harmonies. For a group that's clearly inspired by the Beach Boys and pop music from the 1960s, Dr. Dog isn't just self-aware. The band is enthusiastic about the comparisons.
Formed by a group of junior high students in Los Angeles, Fishbone created a unique blend of ska, funk, reggae and punk, becoming a prominent part of a Southern California music scene that also included such luminaries as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction. Now, 33 years, numerous lineup changes and seven studio albums later, the band's current iteration is playing two shows at Alyeska Resort.
I first heard Silversun Pickups back in my days as a college radio host. Flipping through the station's new albums, I saw "Carnavas," the band's 2006 full-length debut. Having read positive reviews, I checked it out. From the opening shoe-gazing guitar riff of lead track "Melatonin," I was completely hooked in a way I rarely am on first listens.
Over the years, Bear Tooth's First Taps and Moose's Tooth summer shows have been linchpins of live music in Anchorage. They offer the perfect setting for hanging with friends, trying out some of the tastiest beer in the city and the chance to catch some of the best and brightest in music.
When you think of the big-name bands of the past, there is often something unquantifiable in their name that helps them become instantly memorable. Would The Beatles have been as popular if they were The Beetles? Would Pearl Jam be as well-loved 20 years later if the band was still called Mookie Blaylock? It's a question Carlyle Watt likely can't answer for you. As the lead singer of Anchorage's The Super Saturated Sugar Strings, though, he can speak volumes about unique band names and how they come about.
Evan Phillips and his band The Whipsaws have long been staples of the Anchorage music scene. The group's 10th anniversary is coming this summer, though that includes a lengthy hiatus. In Phillips' mind, the time apart made the band stronger. "We took a couple years off and played with other bands, and it made us all better musicians," the singer and guitarist said over the phone.
DJ Swamp has long been a familiar name in the world of hip-hop and electronic music. Ever since bursting on the scene in memorable fashion, coming out of nowhere to win the 1996 U.S. Disco Mix Club Championships (think March Madness for DJs), he's been taking his live show around the world. Now he's taking his talents to Anchorage, co-headlining the second annual spring break dance event Bass Cannon Friday at H2Oasis with up and coming dubstep artist Cyberoptics and performing a set at Chilkoot Charlie's Saturday.