Powerhouse Rock = Alice Cooper + Ted Nugent
Good God. Someone in the 80s invented a time machine and sent a butt-rock group to the new millennium to see if it could still survive. Unfortunately, it landed in SLC and somehow made it into my hands. I’m guessing the entire band consists of former Guns N’ Roses roadies that picked up a few guitar tips from Slash when he’d drunk too much Jack Daniels to have sex with groupies. Our only hope is to find that same time machine and send Powerhouse Rock record right the fuck back into 1985.
Sound vs. Silence Vol. 1
S vs. S = Her Candane + Still Breaking Hearts + Goodbye Blue Monday + Joel Pack + Clarity Process + Still Life Projector + The Hifi Massacre + Danny Vesper
Even if Sound vs. Silence doesn’t showcase the best bands in SLC, they have no lack of talent and especially unity. Even though it might seem like joining the football team, more bands would do well to join coalitions (local labels focusing on local talent) such as SVSS and put out records like this comp simply to get themselves heard. Most of the tracks are melodic hardcore, but at least they’re honest (unexploited). Check out www.soundvssilence.com.
Twelve State Killing Spree
TSKS = The Damned + _ Nelson + Teen Idols
The underproduction and nasally vocals on this album make this sound like a recording my band I had in high school made—and that is not flattering. However, the early 90s (not over-) melodic tunes contrast the more-malevolent-than-your-typical-snotty/poppy-punk-band lyrics quite well to make this album interesting enough not to bore the fuck out of you. If I hadn’t seen these guys at Todd’s I would think they were 18 years old—max. I would have loved Twelve State Killing Spree if I had heard them in ninth grade.
Fail to Follow
FTF = AFI + Sick of It All (neutered)
More punk than most hardcore bands that decided they were good enough musicians to show off, Fail to Follow is not unlistenable at all—mediocre, maybe, but definitely not unlistenable. The lyrics aren’t whiny and the vocals actually sound like they have heart a bit more than stepped on. There are spots of bounding rhythms that always almost seem like they’re going to sustain before fading off into wussiness and those give FTF hope. I can headbang to this without crying, and that’s a good thing.
Nexis = Jay Z + Hieroglyphics
Slick rhymes and inventive metaphors of Nexis do well to gloss over his one downfall—lack of original content. He spits the same shit that everybody else spits—typical G-rap “I’ll fuck you up while smoking blunts and get the big deal I deserve” shit. His lyrical abilities typically make up for this downfall in the verses, but the whack choruses blare this shortcoming blatantly. Solid beats and political commentary round this record out pretty well but thoughts of lyrical whats instead of hows would make Game Over absolutely sick.
Monster of Vision
N. Padley = Cowboy Junkies + Bob Dylan (circa Oh Mercy) + Steve Malkmus
Nate Padley hits the “life is full of pain but art makes it tolerable” nail on the head—in a solemn, sincere way. He plays an army of instruments on Monster of Vision but the album is mostly focused on his vocals and acoustic guitar—it turns out mature, regretful and urban folksy. Trent Call artwork makes the album look as pretty as it sounds. There are no cheesy metaphors here—just life as it is in its brilliance and its gloom.
Nothing For Now
NFN = Alkaline Trio + AFI + Dashboard Confessional
The best way to become self-assured is to get an ego first and then force yourself to live up to it, but Nothing For Now considers themselves a bit too epic. These recent SLC immigrants should heed the age-old wisdom of Confucius—”just because you can masturbate the fuck out of your instruments doesn’t mean that anyone will come to your shows” (which will probably not sound as good as this well-produced album). There are 12 tracks averaging out at just over four minutes of whininess apiece. It’s terrible to see such talent wasted.
Nolens Volens = Bjork + Rope or Bullets + The Anniversary
It is obvious that Nolens Volens has a wide range of musical tastes—it’s probably a good idea they didn’t try to mix them all together simultaneously. Instead, they line up synth-pop ranging from spastically blippy to catchy next to garage rock guitars next to ethereal almost-drone montages which make for some very interesting song structures. Sparse, sometimes Dada-ish lyrics rarely find a place among the bizarreness but are well thought-out when they do. Oh yeah, and the CD case is upholstered in fur.
Trouver la Mort
Violet Run = The Cure + The Shroud + Love Spirals Downward
Violet Run skirts the fine line between sorrowful sincerity and fancy-pants whininess dangerously, but for the most part, are able to stick to the realm of the earnest. They’re a bit over the top, but it’s hard not to be when attempting the hot-juice tactic of mirroring the moods of a black heart sonically. Somber lyrics and vocals build and fall in tempo and intensity with elaborate guitarwork and gorgeous, heartfelt drumming. Sad is the new happy, apparently. www.violet-run.com