Author: Lyuba Basin

Johan the Angel
The General’s Son EP
Canoe Music
Street: 11.28
Johan the Angel = Mew + Sufjan Stevens
This fun little four-track goes something like “The General’s Son” Pt. II, I, III, and IV and in that order. Or is it one track that just lasts eleven minutes? I think they are trying to trick us. Where is Ashton Kutcher? If I’m not being punk’d, then what was Johan the Angel thinking when they wasted however much money to put out an EP with four slightly, and I mean slightly, different tracks? Why not just wait until you’ve got a variety of things to put out, and do it all at once? Otherwise, it’s just like a really bad trailer. Fortunately, “The General’s Son” is a catchy tune that makes me feel almost as good as when I watch Disney movies. I hope when the actual album comes out I’m not disappointed.

Josh Waldron
The Night I Died
Self-Released
Street: Fall 2008
Josh Waldron = Goo Goo Dolls + Keith Urban + DDT + Ringside + Nickleback + Garth Brooks + Steven Segal
I’m no psychologist, but it seems that Josh Waldron may suffer from multiple personality disorder. This album flipflops more times than Cybil. First he thinks he’s in a mariachi band and before you know it, he’s part of the Goo Goo Dolls. I leave the room for one minute, come back, and he’s Garth Brooks. Am I still listening to the same album? I think I even heard a little from an 80s Russian band my dad used to play. I ran out of room trying to list and keep track of the many sounds (and personalities) Waldron threw at me. It’s good to have variety, but for God’s sake, keep it consistent. Okay, so maybe there is one consistent aspect of this album. It’s Waldron’s whispy, harsh, “I’m trying to sound deep and passionate” voice.

The Devil Whale
Like Paraders
Self-Released
Street: 04.10
The Devil Whale = Palomino + Aqualung
The Devil Whale gets my vote for the best serenading band in Utah. I can already see girls and boys getting weak at the knees. This is one of those bands that can appeal to everyone because the music is so personal. Brinton Jones must have some connections with the man upstairs because he has definitely been blessed with some heavenly vocals. In fact, this whole album is blessed. Each instrument fits together so well that it’s hard to detect a single flaw. It’s the perfect blend of pop, folk and rock, something you can cry to, laugh to and dance to. I think their promise in the track “Turn around the car,” “I will let you down, but not tonight” needs to be rephrased. The Devil Whale won’t let us down, not tonight or ever if they keep coming up with music like this.

Mushman
Lost Like Children
Fox on a Hill
Street: 06.28
Mushman = Sugar + Spice + Everything Nice
If I didn’t already, now I certainly feel like a child. There must be a secret to make an album friendly and inviting, and Mushman’s got the ingredients. Step 1: Start off with lovely acoustic guitars. Step 2: Add in a clarinet, harmonica and some keys. Step 3: Mix gently with sweet melodies and vocals, and last, but not least, Step 4: The “special” sauce, a local twist. After it’s done and ready to go Mushman gets on an ice cream truck, blares Lost Like Children through the speakers and all of a sudden they’ve got a following of hypnotized fans running close behind. It looks like this summer we’ve got a Pied Piper in Salt Lake. Even though their tracks have pessimistic titles like “Sad Jack Strawberry” and “Comatose” I end up feeling better after than I did before. This certainly doesn’t need to be taken down with a spoonful of sugar; it’s got more than enough.

The Furs
I Taste Blue
Self-Released
Street: 04.18
The Furs = Dead Meadow + The Warlocks
No need to worry PETA, The Furs aren’t out to collect helpless animals, but they could be turning Salt Lake into the next Haight-Ashbury. Although our hippies reside mainly at the Sunday drum circle, we have been getting a healthy dose of local psychedelic music. I Taste Blue brings out a mysterious vibe that The Furs have been holding onto for quite some time. Hell, they could be our very own Velvet Underground, seducing the listeners with distorted guitar and tambourines. The album captures life in our strange desert with tracks about local parties, girls and even “Tumbleweeds.” The music is upbeat and entrancing with noticeable inspiration from artists like Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels. Hopefully this album sparks more acid rock albums to come out of Salt Lake. You know who you are.