Injury Reserve – By the Time I Get to Phoenix (Download Free album Zip File)
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Two and a half years ago, during the last proper South By Southwest before the pandemic, I sat down with the Phoenix-based rap group Injury Reserve at a Mexican restaurant in East Austin. The trio explained that their unconventional approach to music had evolved from unconventional circumstances.
In the early 2010s, in the middle of the hip-hop desert that is Arizona, a tall and charismatic high school basketball player started rapping over beats by a redhead swimmer from a rival school. Soon, a much older, burlier employee from the Vans store his mother managed became their mentor and collaborator.
Without much of a local rap scene to build steam in, the trio — who eventually took to calling themselves Injury Reserve — started doing house shows around the Arizona State campus, often alongside indie rock and punk bands. With each successive release, their music morphed and molted, leading up to the self-titled LP they released on Loma Vista that year.