Lines from the Inside of Death By Salt V

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In Color Animal’s nearly three years together, the group has enjoyed its status as a hardworking foursome that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or trends to get over with an audience. They’re the best kind of musicians, and they damn well deserve your undivided attention. Photo: Colin Fugit

SLUG’s Death By Salt V release parties happen June 12 and 13 Urban Lounge and Diabolical Records, respectively. The record features some of the best garage and psych that Utah has to offer, and we reviewed each track of this compilation in the liner notes and here.


1. Swamp Ravens – “Queen of the Hive”

Courtney Holman – drums
Jared Soper – guitar
Kristin Maloney – bass
Mikey Blackhurst – guitar, vocals

Swamp Ravens = Dead Boys√The Sonics
“Queen of the Hive” is a frantic, angular expression from Swamp Ravens that is full of ire. The band exudes a punk attitude with their brand of “psychedelic scum rock n’ roll,” per their Bandcamp page. Guitarist and vocalist Mikey Blackhurst floods his aggravated shout-singing with wet reverb, and his and Jared Soper’s messy, Cramps-like guitars crack bassist Kristin Maloney’s hollow bass lacquer. This track generates anxiety with drummer Courtney Holman’s bouncy beat, and Blackhurst’s scratchy screams invoke the likes of Gerry Roslie with the disposition of Stiv Bators. Each guitar’s disharmonious riffing encapsulates a band who turns the garage genre on its head for a dark bricolage of rock n’ roll congenial with being “whiskey drunk.” –Alexander Ortega

2. Breakers – “Tanqueray”

Aaron Wilkinson – drums, vocals
Andrew Milne – bass, vocals
Brooks Hall – guitar, vocals

Breakers = The Gories + Hot Snakes
The aptly named Breakers apply the head-banging panache of punk to the upbeat melodies of surf rock. Aaron Wilkinson’s pounding drums punctuate the gang-shouted vocals of “Tanqueray” while Brooks Hall strums guitar carelessly over the mix. Andrew Milne’s deep bass groove keeps this dance-inducing tune from going off the rails, but just barely. All three contribute their wildly different vocal styles to the track, from harsh screaming and wailing to a sneering, punk drone. Compressing barely contained energy and a no-frills approach to songwriting into just under two minutes, “Tanqueray” is the kind of track that gets your blood pumping with a triple dose of adrenaline. –Henry Glasheen

3. The Troubles – “The Plague”

Angela Moore – violin, keys, fiddle, vocals
Dave Newlin – drums
Ikaika Cox – bass
John-Ross Boyce – vocals, guitar
Ryan Moore – guitar, vocals

The Troubles = Tom Waits + Hank 3 + Led Zeppelin
“The Plague” bursts out of the gate with equal parts whiskey, beer and Dionysian swagger, a sonic pestilence no doubt born from knocking back tall, cold ones at Provo’s ABG’s. Known in a previous incarnation as John-Ross Boyce and His Troubles, these Satanists of outlaw country have imbued their tunes with a gritty, hard rock edge at the helm of Boyce and his guttural croon. “No need for pentagrams, no need to light black candles,” growls Boyce over complementary fiddle and guitar from Angela and Ryan Moore, respectively, while the gut rock rhapsody swells behind them, courtesy of Ikaika Cox’s rumbling bass and Dave Newlin’s hammerin’ drummin.’ When the Wasatch Fault finally opens up and the Great Deceiver rises up to take us home, “The Plague” will be playing over the loudspeakers. –Christian Schultz

4. Foster Body – “Content”

Dyana Durfee – bass
Jeremy Devine – drums
Korey Daniel Martin – guitar
Robin Banks – vocals

Foster Body = Parquet Courts^Iceage + The Cars
Foster Body poised themselves for a coup d’état of the local SLC punk scene in 2014 with their tape and digital release of Landscapes and subsequent tour. “Content” begins with choppy, discordant guitar from Korey Daniel Martin, whose light strums lend the song an eerie tone. Drummer Jeremy Devine lets the snappy rock beat build alongside Dyana Durfee’s rolling bass lines, with which she gathers up the disparate elements of the track and carries it to its decisive close. Always one to surprise and forego sticking to a formula for long, frontperson Robin Banks exhibits a vocal delivery more indebted to Devo than any hardcore vocalist, as evident on the first half of Landscapes. The song effectively broods at a more contemplative pace, which indicates Foster Body’s intelligent and artful songwriting process and forward movement. ’Tis the age of Foster Body. –Alexander Ortega

5. JAWWZZ!! – “Blooming”

Chaz Costello – guitar, vocals
Chris Copelin – bass
Madison Donnelly – drums

JAWWZZ!! = New Order + Andrew W.K.
Salt Lake trio JAWWZZ!! certainly know how to make rock n’ roll fun. Their frenetic, lo-fi, pop-saturated garage-goth maladies crash like rolling whitecaps over their cult-like following at live shows, where they employ armfuls of party favors (usually in the form of confetti cannons) to stir klutzy kids into a community of frenzy. Singer and guitarist Chaz Costello and drummer Madison Donnelly laid the groundwork for the group’s Joy Division–meets–John Hughes (and marries Jock Jams) approach in 2012 and, with the addition of Chris Copelin’s solid bass grooves the following year, JAWWZZ!! became leaders of the Salt Lake pack. File “Blooming” nearer to your parents’ hidden stash of new wave 7”s—it packs a tight punch of strident drumming, rollicking bass riffin’, kaleidoscopic guitar and just enough malaise in Costello’s voice to pull you under the party tide. Book them for your next prom, but remember: It ain’t gonna be your momma’s sock-hop—JAWWZZ!! might just devour you. –Christian Schultz

6. The Nods – “Sufferette”

Connor Christensen – drums
Joey Mayes – guitar
Rocky Maldonado – vocals
Travis Adamick – bass

The Nods = Spacemen 3 + Dead Skeletons

With a nonchalant, droning style and a deadpan presentation, The Nods take a single bass groove and spin it into “Sufferette.” Robotic drums carry a steady beat, occasionally battering the crash cymbal with an explosion of sound, while stripped-down guitar licks pierce through the monochrome haze. Incomprehensible shouts and moans reverberate sporadically throughout the mix, layered in loosely with reverb and heavy delay effects. This six-minute jam session rebels against the flash and spark of modern rock n’ roll with its relentless cycle of drone rock aesthetics. “Sufferette” keeps your body moving along to its irrepressible, seemingly endless groove. –Henry Glasheen


7. Albino Father – “Rats”

Andrew Shaw – bass
Bryant Gordon – guitar, keyboard
Kris Green – drums
Matt Hoenes – guitar, vocals

Albino Father = The Cramps / Koala Temple
Albino Father are the type of psych band who get the dance bug itchin’ … ’cept it’s for a spooky dance. Drummer Kris Green’s kick-syncopated backbeat opens “Rats” with the stringed instruments punching in a groove, and the lead guitar’s high notes and riffing generate anticipation. Frontman Matt Hoenes sneaks in with effects-laden vocals, and the cymbals crash to rope in the party. “Rats” is a balanced track wherein each instrument fills its role at the proper time, and the band synergistically doesn’t fix what’s not broken about rock n’ roll. “Rats” demonstrates that simplicity rewards a band with catchiness, a quality for which Albino Father have a penchant that proves successful, time and time again. It’s the hooks, baby. –Alexander Ortega

8. Pentagraham Crackers – “Santa’s Little Helper”

Jesse Ellis – drums
Matt Hoenes – bass
Ryan Fedor – guitar, vocals

Pentagraham Crackers = Tolchock Trio + Albino Father + backyard graduation party – jerks
Forming what could best be described as a mixed genre supergroup, Pentagraham Crackers feature three of SLC’s most interesting and gifted musicians as they take their various loves and styles of rock to make a nerdy garage rock group of epic proportions. This is that group from your bar’s “battle of the bands” who made it to the finals, but didn’t really give a shit if they won or not. They’re just there to play an awesome gig and get pizza after—by the slice, no less. They are every bit the genuine music lover’s “favorite live band,” often giving double encores after a night of fantastic rocking out, done with great precision. Recorded in the basement of Dave Payne (Red Bennies) and engineered by Mike Sasich, the band cast their debut album, Live! From The Palace Of Payne, unto the world in May 2013. It is rare that one finds a band that will please the crowd so much that they’ll belly up to the stage and ask for thirds, but these guys have crafted the secret formula for everlasting musical fun, which they’re more than happy to share. –Gavin Sheehan

9. Beat Hotel – “Juan Lennon”

Dijana Zviera – bass
Rocky Maldonado – guitar, vocals
Sean Vincent – drums
Terrence Warburton – guitar

Beat Hotel = Amen Dunes ≤ The Jesus and Mary Chain ≥ The Byrds
A shimmering jangle introduces “Juan Lennon,” spinning a whirring, psychedelic daydream into the youthful language of rock n’ roll. With the aid of Terrence Warburton on lead guitar, Dijana Zviera on bass and Sean Vincent on drums, Beat Hotel wrangle ’60s-influenced shoegaze into a minimalist’s understatement. Rocky Maldonado’s unadorned vocals float through the mix and percolate up into bubbles of warbled bursts, while the warm, drone-fuzz of guitar propels the group forward. It’s as if Beat Hotel were found in a long-lost crate of 7”s dug out from from your grandfather’s attic and revived by a group of disaffected, anorak-sporting romantics. ¡Viva Beat Hotel! –Christian Schultz

10. Koala Temple – “Beverly Musick”

Craig Murray – guitar, vocals
Josh Brown – bass
Taylor Clark – drums, vocals
Wren Kennedy – guitar

Koala Temple = Tame Impala + Foxygen
Koala Temple’s trippy style of rock takes nothing seriously, rambling and staggering like a fuzzed-out hippie on an endless DMT trip. Under the haze of drug-induced powerchill lies a rock-solid foundation of competent songwriting and performance. On “Beverly Musick,” Craig Murray’s half-mumbled vocals and angular guitar strums take the lead, with punctuation from Wren Kennedy’s meandering rhythm guitar providing an extra layer of cool to the mix. Meanwhile, Taylor Clark provides the rhythmic backbone of the band, pulling together weirdly satisfying drum sequences to construct a catchy beat. Josh Brown’s bass grooves round out the package rather nicely. Always spontaneous and striving to outdo themselves musically, their random clash of musical inspiration produces results that are both unexpectedly cohesive and blessedly unconventional. –Henry Glasheen

11. Dark Seas – “Comin Down”

Irvin Martinez – bass
Kyle Wilcox – vocals
Levi Jones – guitar
Rhett Hansen – drums

Dark Seas = Tame Impala + The Moody Blues
Having originally formed as a Joy Division cover band, Dark Seas dropped the post-punk tribute gigs in early 2011 and started creating their own take on psychedelic rock with a surf-rock tone. The echoed vocals and ’60s guitar licks made them a massive standout in a period where having a psych band in SLC was as common as owning a torn baseball T-shirt. The group quickly joined up with Midnight Records and labored over their debut album, Hawkes Court, which was released in April 2013. Shortly after its release, tragedy struck the group as their original guitarist, Colton Ericksen, passed away in a car accident while on tour that July. But rather than be consumed by tragedy, the band reflected on the changes thrust upon them and regrouped to release the Toner EP (in tribute to Ericksen) in November of 2013. Dark Seas are the cure to the average concert-goer’s attitude, forcing them to put their phones down and their cigarettes out as they dance their asses off throughout the night. –Gavin Sheehan

12. Super 78 – “Further Than Stars”

Cesar Reyes – vocals, guitar
Rocky Maldonado – drums
Sean Vincent – guitar

Super 78 = (The 13th Floor Elevators x The Yardbirds)^Phil Spector
The kaleidoscopic sound of Super 78 reflects the evershifting roster of musicians working on the project. The sole original member, Cesar Reyes, started the band in 2009 after changing the name of his high school band The Whirlings. “Further Than Stars” captures the band’s lush, laid-back groove with a swell of droning, hypnotic guitar. Rocky Maldonado’s tight beats keep the swirling haze of Reyes’ and Sean Vincent’s guitars from spinning off into the aether, allowing the groove to continue with its distant, non-aggressive tone. Who knows what new patterns will emerge from Super 78 as the kaleidoscope continues to turn? –Henry Glasheen

13. Color Animal – “Heal Me”

Andrew Shaw – guitar, vocals
Felicia Baca – bass
Seth Howe – guitar
Tyler Ford – drums

Color Animal = Pixies + Psychic Ills + ’90s-era Death Cab For Cutie
The term “alternative” gets tossed around more than the word “hipster” does at a coffee bar, but this SLC-based group are the very definition of the genre, as they’ve woven 10 kinds of rock into an alt-rock tapestry. Garage, indie, surf, modern, pop/rock and other variations come together, with each individual member bringing their own attitudes to the floor to make music you could simultaneously chill and bounce to. Andrew Shaw’s silvery voice seals it all together, neither dominating nor overtaking, but quietly invoking a passionate response from the listener. The group paired up with Mike Sasich at Man vs. Music to produce their EP, Vision Lies, in mid 2013, followed by their first full-length album, Bubble Gum, in July 2014. In their nearly three years together, the group has enjoyed its status as a hardworking foursome that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or trends to get over with an audience. They’re the best kind of musicians, and they damn well deserve your undivided attention. –Gavin Sheehan