December’s Localized is an Ogden showcase. Although all of the bands play distinctly different music and are obviously from Ogden, none of them, shockingly, are metal. Ghundi will open for Skint and Invisible Rays at Urban Lounge Dec. 10.

INVISIBLE RAYS

Bill Cruea: Bass
Mike Waters: Drums and vocals
Heidi Belka: Keyboards

Bill and Mike of Invisible Rays drove all the way down from Ogden for this interview and I was so hungover from seeing Skint the night before I could barely formulate questions. Thankfully, the two of the were rather garrulous lads. They met us at Todd’s Bar and Grill and got a pitcher of beer before settling into a booth.

“We’ve been playing together in The Igniters since the early 90s, but this band has been together for a year, almost exactly,” Bill says. They describe themselves as minimalist rock. There is no guitar in their band, so by default, they are minimalist.

“I’ve just always wanted to be in a band with no guitar. I’ve been in so many bands with guitars,” Mike, who plays bass for The Debonairs, tells us. So he and Bill formed a band that would no longer be dominated by the Spanish destroyer. “We wanted to mix it up a little. None of us are really talented. A lot of minimalism and basic cave rock.” They’ve been compared to Devo pretty often, evidently, Mike’s got a bit of southern twang to his speech and more than once, he spoke about his home state of Ohio. Included in his reminiscees, he told us about the tiny and inbred town of Xenia.

The keyboardist, Heidi Belka, has never been in another band, but has lots of experience performing. She couldn’t make it to the interview because she was stripping for preparing to do so or finishing having done so in Las Vegas. In addition professionally beautiful, Heidi is married to Josh of The Debonairs, a relationship which attests to how tiny Ogden is. Ogden also has a terrible mayor, or so the two boys tell me as they lament the loss of the street fair and the condition of the police force. For a town that I have been to twice and only for a few hours each, I now know all of the major pieces of information about the place.

“I’m really deaf, too much loud music for too many years. Actually, it’s kind of helped me with my singing. Ever since I went partially deaf, I’ve been able to hit the note. Or if it sounds bad, it sounds good to me,” Mike energetically describes his affliction.

At one point, they tell me that their original intent was to be a talentless Smashy Smashy, but instead, became what they are now. What that is, I can’t really say, but I look forward to finding out.

December’s Localized is an Ogden showcase. Although all of the bands play distinctly different music and are obviously from Ogden, none of them, shockingly, are metal. Ghundi will open for Skint and Invisible Rays at Urban Lounge Dec. 10.

SKINT

Jason Rollins – Drums
George Evans – Bass
Hal Rarick – Guitar
Jayson – Lead Guitar
Joe – Vocals

Burt’s Tiki Lounge has changed significantly since I last was there. For once thing, they no longer encourage two-band maximums, freely allowing three bands to play together in one show. The is how I came to see and speak with Skint the evening they opened for Agent Orange. The bar was standing room only by the time I arrived and the inhabitants of it looked as though they were in an 80s teen movie, just a little older and uglier.

The guys closest to the stage when Skint played their unglossed punk were mostly wearing Skint T-shirts and I can only assume, drove down from Ogden to support their friends onstage. Russel and I both asked why this was.

“A lot of it has to do with the smell of the dog-food plant. It gets into your brain,” Joe explains. Heretofore, I was unaware that there was a dog-food plant in Ogden. He went on to explain their particularly retro sound. “We’re never caught up with what punk us today. Cause it’s not punk. Punk today is lacking balls.”

“Ogden’s a blue-collar town and so we play blue-collar music. We’re all blue-collar assholes.” That they do. The lyrics are simple and straightforward. This band is anything but introspective.

“He writes lyrics about real events – about current events,” George says about Joe.

“To me, classic punk isn’t just music, it’s a way of life. Not being part of modern society, not being a part of the crap you see on TV or the music you hear. You’re on the side of the fence flipping off the prefah. It’s a reflection of your voice,” Jason says. During their performance, they asked the audience members who voted to raise their hands, but I’d like to think that the other 50 percent were too drunk to bother.

“The one thing I want to get across to people is that you don’t need to be a political science graduate to have a voice, “ says Joe. He stars getting animated and gesticulating with his hands as he continues. “You don’t like the way shit’s going and someone tells you you’re not well read – fuck ‘em. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. A new country will be founded on revolution and that’s all I’m going to say about that.” Joe tips his blue mohawk forward and gives his head an adamant shake.

Localized is a monthly showcase of local bands. This 8th of October, we bring you (although you clearly don’t deserve it) On Vibrato and Victrola. This would be a good time to mope over your last ineffectual and failed relationship or to pensively sip a beer and consider the hypothetical events following. As always, the Urban Lounge is a private club for members only.

VICTROLA

Tyler Ford: Drums
Mike Incze: Guitar, Vox
Megan Thomas: Bass, Vox

Mike is my roommate. His room is located above mine and I can yell upstairs when I need to find him. Arranging this interview was very simple. I told Mike when we needed to meet while he made himself dinner and he called his two friends. I’m a big fan of events and activities that do not require me to put on shoes, so this worked out well.

Tyler and Megan arrived at separate times. It was a rainy and dark day and we didn’t turn on the lights so we all sat in half-light on couches, talking in sleepy voices. For the most part, we discussed parasites. Mike told us about a friend in the biology department at the U who had a series of bumps at the base of his skull whose meaning eluded all the doctors he visited. The bumps got larger and finally a professor was asked for her advice. She held a heat source close to his skin and large white larvae erupted from each bump. Russ, the photographer, shared some equally repulsive stories about chiggers and a recent trip to one of the Dakotas. The best way to deal with a chigger is to put a smear of Vaseline over the area to suffocate them.

Mike classifies Victrola’s life cycle as having two stages. Its primary stage, or its original host, is the one wherein Victrola resides only in Salt Lake. The second stage of its life cycle is rapidly approaching, they hope, and that will be when they move on to the larger host body and begin touring.

“We all really enjoy performing and I hope that that is apparent when we’re onstage. We’ve gotten some good response when we’ve played.” Mike says.

“Especially the last time. There was one part in one of the songs where I take a break and I overestimated the length of that break and so I threw my hands in the air and some people responded to me doing something stupid,” Tyler added.

“I think that this band is like where we all invest a lot of our energy,” says one. The three used to be in a variety of other bands, and now only Mike is in Hello Amsterdam. Victrola satisfies the musical aspiration right now for its three band members. Indie is not a word that they are satisfied with to describe their music, although it can be applied pretty aptly. Indie with a little folksiness.

“In the first larval stage of the parasite, indie worked, but now the parasite has started to eat away at that word and there’s only ‘die’ left,” Tyler continues with the parasitic theme.

Localized is a monthly showcase of local bands. This 8th of October, we bring you (although you clearly don’t deserve it) On Vibrato and Victrola. This would be a good time to mope over your last ineffectual and failed relationship or to pensively sip a beer and consider the hypothetical events following. As always, the Urban Lounge is a private club for members only.

ON VIBRATO

Joshua Nordin: Guitars, synth, pedals
Jason Elliot: Drums, synths
Jonathan Patch: Rhodes
Nick Anderson: Bass, guitar

Russel and I rolled up to Salt Lake Coffee Roasters riding our respective bikes on a chilly Monday. Simultaneous to our arrival, a sparkling white Channel 2 News van parked outside the café. We met On Vibrato while waiting in line for a much needed hot cup of coffee. Our group labored up the stairs and chose a corner table as far away from the studious students as possible.

On Vibrato has been together for a year in July. They have a clean, well-mannered air about them and they all wore long-sleeved button-up shirts, making them appear as though they were just at a lecture or presentation. They’re the sort of boys you might recommend for a promotion; they did well in that entry-level position and you think that it would be wise of the company to take a risk on that young go-getter.

“’Post-rock’ would most comfortably describe our music,” Joshua tells us. They also describe it as “jazzy,” but that doesn’t fit so well, really. It’s far too structured to be jazzy.

“We just had our first studio experience. We’ve been playing together for awhile, but being able to actually listen to it afterwards changes the way we approach it so much. I’d say about a third of the album was written in studio after we realized things we hadn’t before because of the tape,” Jason explains. Behind them, the Channel 2 reporter interviews students. Her hair falls in a perfect blonde helmet and she looks out of place amongst the haggard students leaning over their textbooks. No one will talk to her.

The album they speak of is slow and restrained. When they play, they practice a measure of minimalism: only showing what they have to and not much more. The songs tend to be over 10 minutes and Jonathan tells me that they prefer to perform them so that they blend together and the set becomes a long stream of sound which they pull out of their instruments like glossy taffy.

Localized is a monthly music fest spotlighting local bands. This month, SLUG brings you Theta Naught and Less People More Robots. Localized is the second Friday of every month at the Urban Lounge, a private club for members only. Come and see the SLUG staff do what they do best; get sloshed.

THETA NAUGHT

Ryan Stanfield: Bass, guitar, saw, etc.
Peter Romney: Cello
Jared Stanfield: Keys, accordion, and organ
Darren Corey: Drums
Greg Corey: Lap-slide

With only a vague description of their hair color and cut, I went out to find Theta Naught at Evergreen Café. We met for a late lunch and tasty vegan food.

Today, they are meeting me just before performing at their CD release party at Kilby Court and that performance is just before leaving for a tour of the West Coast. Meeting with each other was tight and it involved multiple phone calls and sundry machinations.

“Music. Improvisational music and some ocean sounds.” That’s what I would hear if I heard their album, they say. That is what I heard when I got home and listened to their album. The last time they went on tour, one of them recorded ocean sounds and they mixed it into their music. As might be gathered by the above statement, all of their music is improvisational and instrumental.

Their songs run anywhere from eight to 10 minutes. “The only structure that we have in our songs is that we say we’ll start in A minor and then switch to A major or C major. On this album, we really did some interesting things with different time signatures. I have a string of finite code for the Golden Ratio and my drummer and I turned that into a beat hitting on the ones and resting on the zeros.”

“It’s not that difficult to keep,” Darren elucidates. “I count it out in my head, ‘one-zero-one-one-zero-one-zero-one-one-zero.’” They have another time sequence based on the Fibanocci Sequence. It sounds mildly pretensious to incorporate these codes into your music, even though these concepts are far from obscure.

Their cellist, Peter, gets gushed about by the other band members and it seems that there is good reason for this. His knowledge of cello started at so young an age that he does not recall it.

“I can’t remember, honestly. I started playing the violin when I was about three and then I started playing the cello because I wanted to sit down. I was tired of standing up. To be a classical musician. you have to totally limit yourself to one field and discipline yourself. I’ve never been able to do that so it’s nice to play with these people.”

Localized is a monthly music fest spotlighting local bands. This month, SLUG brings you Theta Naught and Less People More Robots. Localized is the second Friday of every month at the Urban Lounge, a private club for members only. Come and see the SLUG staff do what they do best; get sloshed.

LESS PEOPLE MORE ROBOTS

Laura Duzett: Vocals
Matthew Crane: Guitar
David Walker: Guitar
Robbi Lovell: Drums
Rusty Monson: Bass

Less People More Robots met me at the new Café De Bolla. The ones who came early and I waited outside sipping our sundry caffeinated beverages and entertaining requests from homeless people as we waited for the other members of the band to show up, or not show up, in one case. I only knew one person from LPMR before meeting with them, and that was Rusty, the one person who didn’t show up. Doing the interview on the same night as Curiosa fest was perhaps unwise, but I couldn’t go, so I saw no reason to make special exceptions for those bastards who did get to go.

As a whole, they seemed to know exactly what they wanted to say, which made my job fairly easy. The band started out as a hideous lovechild of Matt Crane’s, who subsequently met Rusty through TheRockSalt.com and the two joined forces. Rusty met Laura at some other hipster hotspot and asked that she sing for them. They fleshed it out in various other ways, but they’ve only been together for a few months regardless. That doesn’t mean that they don’t sound mature; just a tad uncertain.

All of the band members have different musical tastes and are more than willing to tell me about them, but I’m not too interested in hearing about Robbi’s affiliations with local hardcore bands, or David’s interests in house music. Most bands in my experience thus far don’t agree on influences (unless it’s Black Sabbath or Metallica, in which case everyone will cite them as a major influence, although not in this case).

Despite their somewhat misleading name, they don’t have any synth. In fact, they sound downright folksy on occasion. Laura’s voice harmonizes with the instruments and rounds out the band in ways that shouldn’t be possible with this group of people.

But David still declares, “I think we come out on the side of the robots.” However, they don’t strike me as the type who are cheering for metal, gears, cogs and switches. They’re a bit too humane-sounding for that, although they each contest that statement when I made it.

 

For Localized in the month of August, SLUG brings you four-letter word bands who go by their first names only. I have a tendency not to trust people who won’t tell you their last name, and I intend to stick to that. I suggest that you do the same. Fittingly, Localized falls on Friday the 13th this month, and will take place at the Urban Lounge, 241 South 500 East. The Urban Lounge is a private club for members only.

NOVA

Kevin: Guitar and vocals
Ray: Bass and vocals
Zep: Drums and vocals
Douggie: Guitar and vocals

Nova met with Russel and me before they played at Todd’s. At this point, we have met so many bands at Todd’s that we get directed to them without even asking. We sat on the porch and after I sat on the only chair that had a puddle, effectively destroying my composure, we began the interview. The members of Nova have known each other for years. Some of them live together and can relate stories of how the other sleepwalks and terrifies other people by walking into their rooms at night.

“We call it rock n’ roll,” they say in response to what it is that they play. When I ask for any manner of specificity, they get somewhat confused. “Butt rock? Someone called these guys guitar heroes once,” one says. “Someone called it smudge pop. I don’t know what that it,” says another. “It’s definitely not emo or anything like that in any way. There is nothing emo about it at all,” says yet another. They weren’t very good at categorizing themselves and I don’t blame them.

“I write songs about demons. Some songs are about drugs. The homeless native population in Alaska. It’s sad—they all live on the streets and are alcoholics and no one gives a shit about them,” Kevin explains. He used to live in Alaska, as well as a variety of other places. His bandmates point out that singing about homeless people is pretty emo, but it doesn’t sound very emo. “There’s a song about the Salem witch trials. Nineteen witches were burned alive. What a way to go, huh?” says one. They discuss the merits of burning alive as opposed to drowning. They all go for drowning, and one major point in this decision is that you might smell tasty as you burned alive. Kevin tells us how the Hawaiians call human meat “long-pig.” I can neither confirm nor refute the truth of that.

They played at a bar and their performance interrupted the patrons’ viewing of ultimate fighting. The unwilling audience booed them, but they did not try to ultimate-fight them.
www.novakills.com 

Localized is the second Friday of each month at the Urban Lounge. This Month of April will be featuring The Album, CART!, Captured by Robots and your drunk friend who won’t stop spilling beer on your coat.

THE ALBUM

Jud Powell: Vocals and guitar
Chris Peterson: Bass
Chris Evans: Drums

Jud and one of the Chrises of The Album met me at Coffee Garden late one evening.

“[The Album] was started probably three years ago, but it was a different lineup,” says  . “Chris played drums and I played guitar, but the two other guys who used to play with us don’t anymore and Chris Peterson now plays with us.”

Because The Album and   share a common bandmate and one is obviously a side project of the other, I was curious about what differentiates The Album from Le Fornce. “The Album’s not metal, for one,” Christ will tell you. “Jud writes all the music for this band, so it’s more stuff that he wants to do. That’s about all I’ve got.” Also you might notice that there is a lot of vocal work in The Album’s music, whereas Le Force has very little of that.

“It’s just a whole different thing,” says Jud. “I want to do more rock stuff and more songwriter stuff. It’s just a project for me to get a bunch of music out. It’s finally come together after playing for so long. We did try to do a record and we worked for three months on it, but that never worked out. So, now we’re getting ready to do a record. The Album is more writer-oriented.”

It would be the most irritating things imaginable if the Album’s first album were called The Album.  Thankfully, according to their website, the album will be called b-sidestudios. Their website also features an inordinate usage of exclamation marks and shortly, some downloadable music. “This has just sort of allowed me to do my own thing. It’s probably the most money I’ve ever spent on gear. I just decided that I had to put together a huge effects pedal board,” says Jud.

And why should you go see this side project? In addition to both of these boys having lovely hair, “I think you should go because we like the music and we think it’s good. We try to be energetic,” Chris says in a way that almost makes it a question.

THE HAPPIES

Miles Biddulph: Guitar
Ki: Guitar
Elledge IV: Drums and Keys
Linwood Biddulph: Keys and Drums
Nate Biddulph: Bass

 

To find The Happies, I went down a narrow and silent alleyway to a little house with few lights on inside. There, I found The Happies and we proceeded to have a muted conversation. The various Happies were so soft-spoken that often, the recorder didn’t pick up their voices, despite there being no traffic outside and no music on inside.

“The ‘Happies’ are what you want in life,” Miles explains in a monotone voice. “If there are two things you can have in life, ‘happies’ and ‘saddies’, then which would you prefer?” Miles was recently released from the hospital after being treated for a concussion which was a result of a tragic long-boarding incident. Another soft-spoken boy points out that

The Happies were meant to continue because Miles survived. The Happies were initially a recording project, but they started playing outside at bars and parties and discovered how much more enjoyable it is to play for people. They like people hearing their music so much that they sell their CDs for $1 each, although they tell me they have given them away for pocket change or IOUs. Meet the Happies is beautiful. It sounds like a haunted video game.

Ki was once long-boarding through Liberty Park when he saw a band playing pretty music next to the Four Canyons fountain. He watched them for a bit before asking “Do you guys need a mandolin player/keyboardist/third guitarist?” but, Ki tells me, the musicians just smiled and continued playing. But eventually Ki ran into Miles again somewhere and effectively talked his way into the band. Linwood describes Ki and Miles them as the Paul and John of the band.

“We’re really interested in melody, and we try to make out music about it,” Miles drones. “The melody is a defining part of The Happies. The songs get stuck in your head. But you want them to be stuck in your head. I find myself singing them in the shower,” Ki tells me. They offer me what they refer to as “Happies Stew,” with the addendum that said stew is at least a week old, but I refrain from trying it.