It’s all looking very picture-perfect for Foxera at the moment. The melodic rockers released their long-awaited new single “Picture Perfect” in July, their first to feature brand new lead singer Michael Swank. They have also just followed up said single with the release of “Away From Me,” a song that features American singer-songwriter Kellin Quinn on vocals.
Swank has made quite the impression, thus far, as the group’s new lead singer, instantly connecting with both fans and his bandmates. Previously a part of Houston, metalcorers Myka Relocate, Swank auditioned for the group back in December 2019 and instantly clicked with the other three members. They dove headfirst right into some productive recording sessions during which “Picture Perfect” was written.
Unfortunately, the global pandemic coincided with Swank’s initiation into the band, but with such immediate chemistry, they weren’t about to let it get in their way. They transitioned towards writing together primarily over Zoom for much of 2020, and during this time they were able to complete two additional songs. The writing, rehearsing, recording, and refinement have continued, and now Foxera is looking to get out on the road and connect with fans live and in person.
With a lot of excitement surrounding their new singles, we connected with Foxera for a new Top 10 list. All avid coffee drinkers, the band shared with us their favourite local coffee shops from their home cities of Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas.
1. Cartel Coffee Lab (Tempe, AZ) – @cartelcoffeelab / www.cartelcoffeelab.com
“This is guitarist Julian Witt’s favourite regular coffee shop, located walking distance from his home. There’s something very communal about Cartel, the atmosphere and music is always inviting. You always run into friends and have great conversations with employees here. It’s in the heart of Tempe so it’s the perfect pit stop, hang spot, or even a chill place to produce some music or get some graphic design work done. Everyone who works at Cartel is very passionate and knowledgeable about coffee, it’s a true craft coffee experience. They source and roast their own beans in-house and ship them worldwide. They have rotating featured cold brews to sample the newest single origins or the signature black market cold brew which they also can and sell.
They also offer exquisite pastries and a limited food menu too. They’re big supporters of the local art community and promote local music shows on their events board. They constantly rotate and feature artwork on the walls and even have well known graffiti covered bathrooms that all our friends have likely taken a selfie in. They’re a company with great integrity and even have several other locations including Austin, Texas where Swank is located. The coffee is top tier and so are all the employees and customers.”
2. Dutch Bros Coffee – @dutchbrosarizona / www.dutchbros.com
“There’s nothing quite as awesome for on-the-go people as drive-thru coffee, especially when they make the best nitro cold brew around. Dutch Bros has a famous reputation for only hiring the most eccentric and extroverted baristas. This can always make for interesting single serving conversation and a guaranteed positive energy exchange. They’re always super packed with customers which is a testament to the cult following they’ve obtained and offer all the different drink varieties of the rainbow; from virtually any flavoured Red Bull or tea, to all the staple coffee drinks you’d expect while having plenty of milk alternatives. Awesome spot with seemingly an unlimited number of locations all over the place, some of which are even 24 hours which is amazing. Definitely check them out if you haven’t yet.”
3. Provision Coffee Bar – @provisioncoffee / www.provisioncoffee.com
“If ever there was what we would call the most fancy and upscale coffee bar around, it’s Provision Coffee Bar. This place is truly exceptional and offers something beyond your average coffee experience. Think coffee mixology. For example, Julian’s favourite drink is called ‘Havana Nights,’ nitro cold brew, simple syrup, muddled mint and house-made mole bitters. Sounds fancy right? It gets even more extra. They light a small cup of vanilla tobacco on fire with a blowtorch and infuse the glass with the smoke prior to pouring the drink in. There’s a lot of showmanship and classy dress code for the baristas which makes for a really fun experience. It’s a perfect spot for a date night, business meeting or if you just want to treat yourself. They have a ton of fantastic drinks and also serve excellent top quality cocktails and food as well.”
4. Dark Hall Coffee – @darkhallcoffee / www.darkhallcoffeephx.com
“Quite possibly one of the most underrated gems out of coffee shops in the valley, Dark Hall exudes a quaint gothic aesthetic quality that is comfortable and inviting. Best of all this shop is 100 percent plant based, from the pastries to their cortados and espresso. They also offer a delicious vegan full food menu too. The employees are all awesome; from musicians, artistic and creative types, to just excellently positive attitudes, everyone will feel welcome here. The drinks are also very excellent and they are passionate about what they do. The shop’s smaller in size, seating only about 15 people comfortably, which would make it best for a quick snack or catch up session as opposed to parking for a long laptop work session. All in all, it’s a must try with a lot of unique qualities going for it.”
5. The Grand – @thegrandaz / www.thegrandaz.com
“Entering The Grand is like entering a Victorian gothic steampunk pirate ship in a way. Its owners literally were inspired by the design of old Victorian train stations that never closed and took it from there with the extra spins on the design. It’s a huge two-story place with plenty of room to just hangout and has served as the common grounds for many late night Foxera band meetings. Fun fact; this is actually the place we all went after Swank’s in-person audition to sing for the band where we solidified him as our permanent vocalist.
It’s open 24 hours a day which is one of its multiple very alluring qualities. There’s a huge coffee and cocktail bar downstairs as well as a full kitchen and great food menu offering plenty of vegan options. There is a really unique upstairs with a somewhat hidden speakeasy tucked away in an easily overlooked side door which has very limited weekend only hours and is like entering an exclusive prohibition era speakeasy from the ‘50s. The Grand also hosts many live shows and karaoke nights which always makes great entertainment on their large outdoor patio. The front entrance gate looks like something from the Addams Family estate and oh, did we mention they have every kind of coffee drink imaginable? Definitely stop in here when you get the chance.”
6. Tellus Joe – @tellusjoeatx / www.tellusjoe.com
“This is arguably one of Swank’s favorite places in Austin, period. Tellus Joe is a vegan coffee shop that also serves incredible food. In his opinion, you can’t go wrong with their breakfast sandwich and cold brew. They currently operate in the same space as my favourite vegan restaurant, called The Beer Plant, which Swank visits just about every weekend. If you are in the Austin area and enjoy a plant-based lifestyle, then he has absolutely no doubt in my mind that this place will soon be your favourite as well.”
7. West Pecan Coffee + Beer – @westpecancoffee / www.westpecancoffee.com
“Fun fact: This coffee shop is just down the road from where they filmed the TV show, Friday Night Lights. West Pecan is located in downtown historic Pflugerville, which is right outside of Austin. The atmosphere is quiet in the best way, a bit of a different vibe than the rest on this list. There’s also a food truck park down the street that’s worth checking out!”
8. Craftwork Coffee Co. – @craftworkgroup / www.craftworkgroup.com
“Out of all the shops on this list, this is the one Swank most frequently finds himself at. The energy here feels casual, yet professional at the same time. There’s a very clean and modernized feel to the shop. Also, the cold brew here is fantastic, and as an added bonus, it is cheaper in price than any other spot he’s been to. Craftwork is located in The Domain, a hotspot for food, bars, and shopping in North Austin.”
9. Radio Coffee & Beer – @radiocoffeeandbeer / www.radiocoffeeandbeer.com
“Radio holds a special place in Swank’s heart. It’s the place where he first discovered nitro cold brew. Truly a game changer for him. At the time, it was not readily available everywhere, so this place was an absolute gem. Nightlife here is great as well, with Radio also doubling as a beer house with live music, canopies, and string lights. With that being said, this is one of the first places Swank recommends to people that are on the south side of town.”
10. The Buzz Mill – @buzzmillcoffee / www.buzzmillcoffee.com
“If you’re looking for a more rustic place, The Buzz Mill perfectly fits that description. It’s open 24/7 and has an amazing sense of community. They have a very spacious patio, with plenty of food trucks (Swank’s favourite being Plow Burger) and even live entertainment at times. If you’re ever close to downtown Austin, we can not recommend this place enough.”