Local Music Reviews
This month, SLUG is bringing you a Local Music and Spirits Roundup you won’t forget! We’re shaking things up by pairing craft local spirits with the best new music from the Salt Lake Valley and beyond. Enjoy data-drenched “Sonder” by Aural_State with Jack Rabbit Gin, “Threshold” by Mannequin Twin with Salt Flat Spirits vodka (neat) and more! Raise a glass and enjoy this month’s dose of new local music. Cheers!
“Sonder (Radio Mix)”
Elysian Dreams Music
Pair with Jack Rabbit Gin from Beehive Distilling
Think about the first time you tasted a refreshing gin and tonic—I’ll never forget my experience. Not yet 21, I confidently told the bartender to make me one, which came in a mason jar (obviously) with a simple lime wedge. I sat and watched the nightlife of downtown Las Vegas pass by during a beautiful spring evening, savoring each little sip. The carbonation danced on my taste buds, and like that timeless drink, the track “Sonder (Radio Mix)” by Aural_State starts with an intriguing melody that slowly pours you into its world of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Now a Utah resident, my go-to gin of choice is from the one and only Beehive Distilling. Like the botanical notes infused in their Jack Rabbit Gin, “Sonder (Radio Mix)” gradually builds up, mimicking the intense and precise flavor. Layer by layer, Aural_State introduces intricate beats and enchanting synthesizers, sending a surge of energy through your senses with a soft bite. Beehive Distilling’s gin is easily comparable to the electronic song’s winding production as you fall into an ethereal landscape—think of Ace of Base with a splash of Baths’ “Miasma Sky”—but with less dance vibes.
Jack Rabbit Gin, tonic, lime: the holy trinity. A cool glass and this spirited melody will take you to the stars and leave you craving another listen and a second G&T. Cheers to Aural_State and Beehive Distilling! As always, drink and listen responsibly. –Kassidy Waddell
“Sage & Saguaro”
Pair with Porter’s Huckleberry Lemonade from Ogden’s Own Distillery
“Sage & Saguaro” by the jazzy, surf-rock outfit Bone Throwers takes you on a groovy journey reminiscent of the psychedelic rock and laid-back vibes of the ’60s. It embraces fantastical, jazzy instrumentation and soothing high-pitched vocals with lyrics inspired by “naturalism, and its ability to inspire the process of spiritual comeuppance,” says lead singer Adam Sovinsky. “Dreaming vividly a sunny day / The clouds in heavy harmony play to the tune / Hues of rainbow luminescence say / ‘How heavy must the sky be to hold up the moon?’” Sovinsky sings.
“Sage & Saguaro” works well as a song to play in the background. But if you want to get the most out of it, I suggest putting on a nice pair of headphones, heading outside and cracking open a Porter’s Huckleberry Lemonade craft cocktail. The drink from Ogden’s Own Distillery combines Porter’s Huckleberry Whiskey with a more subtle lemonade flavor. As you sit back and take in the grooviness of “Sage & Saguaro,” you’ll be instantly transported to a world where the sun shines brighter and the possibilities seem endless, exuding a sense of freedom and exploration.
Every sip welcomes sweet and slightly tart notes of the huckleberries that harmoniously intertwine with the whiskey’s warm undertones. The song’s theme of finding spiritual enlightenment through adventure goes hand in hand with a refreshing cocktail, creating a feeling that the natural beauties of this world are always a reason to feel hopeful and find meaning. –Andrew Christiansen
“Healthy Sex Drive”
Nine Moon Records
Pair with Raspberry Whiskey Sour from Sugar House Distillery
If you’ve ever felt frustrated by the paradoxical expectations of womanhood, singer-songwriter Callie Crofts and multi-instrumentalist Zac Bryant of Die Shiny have the perfect song for you. Their newest single “Healthy Sex Drive” marks the electro-pop duo’s first foray into alternative hip-hop. Crofts combines the pep and sass of Lily Allen with the fast-paced wordplay of Watsky for lyrics that are equal parts nutty and shrewd: “Part of me has always known I’m just a mass of meat and bones / A bag of bubbling hormones and electrical nodes, but / I don’t know how it got in me, this hole / This gooey, gaping, holy shit they’re staring at me / Everywhere I go!”
For an optimal listening experience, blast “Healthy Sex Drive” while getting ready for a night out with the girls, and crack open a few of Sugar House Distillery’s Raspberry Whiskey Sours as you try on multiple outfits and review the implicit rules of dating men. The taste lingers on your palette just as the tune worms its way into your ear, offering a sweet and sour dynamic that complements the song’s exploration of simultaneous attraction and disgust.
It’s a cheeky canned cocktail that might offend whiskey purists, but “Healthy Sex Drive” is all about ignoring what men think of you, so who cares? Take a sip and “go crazy, crazy, crazy,” as Die Shiny suggests—just be sure to avoid the “awkward gawking of these turkey-vulture granddads” on the dance floor. –Asha Pruitt
Pair with Well … It’s Vodka from Salt Flats Spirits
It was the darkest of times when I discovered this pale, inoffensive sleeper of a spirit. During the height of the pandemic, Salt Flats Spirits spawned a corn-based belly wash (back when the label was a flat, azure blue with a blocky white typeface) that complemented any drinking affair with its translucent purity. Whether your preference is a lightly-sipped tropical spritzer or quick shooters chased by a big gulp of Mountain Dew Baja Blast, the smooth demeanor of Well … It’s Vodka adapts and camouflages to any social setting.
Paired together with the industrial post-punk thumper track “Threshold” by Mannequin Twin, the spirit creates the most ultramodern of circumstances. It’s a straight-razor-on-the-ceiling-fan stratagem that nearly takes out every listener with its upside-down guitar strums scratching back to ’80s surf rock melodies, paired with heavyset echo chamber vocals from Nick Ledbetter. Alongside a synthesized slow-bender bass line and drum beats pulled from The Lost Boys soundtrack from Auston Heywood and Nick Bassett (respectively), the basement-dwelling eeriness of “Threshold” sends a welcoming sensation.
Vodka and punk rock reflect a Yin and Yang relationship in popular culture. I know what you’re thinking—vodka and punk revivals are not necessarily for the average partier nowadays. However, Salt Flats Spirits’ Well … It’s Vodka and Mannequin Twin’s “Threshold” both invite avid drinkers into a night of mischief while supplying good times you’ll remember (or at least … try to). –Alton Barnhart