This isn't Prince Rama's first time in Tucson, but Brooklyn-based sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson are hoping their previous visit is trumped by a much more enjoyable second impression.
"Last time, we almost got banned and the people we played with almost got arrested," Taraka said of their ill-fated 2009 show at Solar Culture. "I'm excited to come back and maybe have a chiller experience."
About that first Tucson visit: The fiasco involved graffiti and the police, but no charges. You will probably hear the story from them when they play Plush on Wednesday.
That "keep calm and zen on" attitude is central to Prince Rama's musical and life philosophies. They call it "Now Age," which Larson described in length in a manifesto posted on the now-age.org website.
Living in the present, partnered with an artistic reverence for the trends of the past, is a facet of this ideology, and gave birth to their most recent album "Top 10 Hits of the End of the World." Praised by critics and fans as an engaging and often humorous exercise in musical make-believe, Prince Rama takes on the personas of 10 invented musical groups lost during the end times, and revives their best songs for a post-apocalyptic audience.
The album was released in November - at the height of the most recent impending doomsday craze - but Taraka describes her "total ongoing fascination" with the apocalypse as something much more personal.
"Last year when we were making the album, there were a lot of apocalyptic things happening on a microcosmic scale in our own lives. We both broke up with boyfriends, we were moving, losing band members," she said. "I don't think the apocalypse has to be this thing where … everyone disappears. If you're already feeling that way, then your world has already ended. Music is a really good vehicle for that."
This venture into the past, with a tongue-in-cheek exploration into Prince Rama's own future as a group, stirred up interest for the film project.
"Never Forever," which will screen before the Tucson show, is the duo's first film and was directed and edited by Astral Projects' Lily X. Best described as dystopian, surrealistic and "the first ever Now Age psych-opera," the film was previewed briefly during Prince Rama's European tour over the past few months. But it hasn't been shown publicly in the United States.
In past shows featuring the film, the sisters get straight to the music, but Taraka said she is open to having a Q&A with the audience.
"To just release an album feels like cheating people, cheating ourselves," Taraka said. "So I was really happy to make (the film) come to fruition."
The sisters are in the early stages of putting together the followup to "Top 10" and Taraka said she intends to have an "incredibly interlaced" visual component to accompany both the music and Prince Rama's exuberant onstage presence.
"At any given point, the music that you're making is making you," Larson said. "You're just a butterfly catcher in a field walking around with your little net. Whatever falls into it, that's what you get. Anyone that thinks they can create a butterfly from scratch, I just don't buy that."
If You Go
• What: Prince Rama in concert featuring a screening of its film "Never Forever."
•Where: Plush, 340 E. Sixth St.
• When: 11 p.m. Wednesday.
• Cost: Free; 21 and older only.
Kate Newton is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org