Local Music Singles Roundup: January 2021
Local Music Reviews
New year, same us: SLUG is still committed to uplifting the voices of our shining Utah music community through reviews, interviews and more. In the January edition of our monthly Local Music Singles Roundup, find reviews of tracks that span the gamut between bluesy mysticism (Ark Animalz) and emo-trap (Phobia the Greatest), emotive synthpop (the Gontiks) and frenetic electronica (VCR5). Give these tunes a listen and support your musical neighbors!
“King is Dead”
Ark Animalz = Jack White + Soundgarden
“King is Dead” is a fast, bluesy new track from Salt Lake City–based group Ark Animalz. The track starts off blazing with a driving, relaxing beat that exudes cool vibes. The lyrics add a veil of mystery right off the bat, making the listener wonder what will come next: “Face to face with the joker / He’s laying next to the queen / The king’s drinking cold hard whiskey / In his head it’s all a dream.” It brings hints of sadness, but the music makes it hard to stay too melancholy for long. The rhythmic strumming accompanied by high-pitched, wailing guitar will make you tap your feet to the beat as you find out the fate of the king. –Emilee Atkinson
The Gontiks = Wild Nothing + Flume
From the start of “Every Day,” there’s a whirly vibe mangling its way throughout the track. Being familiar with The Gontiks, the chillness of the single doesn’t surprise me. It fits his characteristic artistry, from the rippling waves of synths to the all-too-relatable lyrics set atop an airy tune: “Every day feels the same / The time that I spent / You’d think that I’d get / This world doesn’t owe me anything.” This single shows how well The Gontiks work with equal disposition between beats and words. “Every Day” is a song to turn to if you want to get lost in repetitive synthesizer haziness and wind yourself down. –Kimberly Portillo
Phobia The Greatest
“Sad Girl Anthem” (Prod. Skilidko)
Phobia The Greatest = KennyHoopla + Halsey + Blink-182
Phobia The Greatest has twisted genres once again with their latest single, “Sad Girl Anthem.” By taking a simple, dreamy guitar line and adding a trap production, this single takes a classic pop-punk sound and evolves it into something modern. The track builds in complexity with countless unique vocal tracks layered with incredible nuance. From short lyrics with a subtle autotune to haunting echoes and rich harmonies, the finesse of the vocals is endless. Phobia’s hard-hitting rapping with sharp snare cracks also has an aggression that adds a high energy to an otherwise somber tone. “Sad Girl Anthem” is a gorgeously complex single with a classic sentimentality, and you can easily play the song on repeat for days on end. –Marina McTee
VCR5 = Squarepusher + Drexciya
As VCR5, Joe Greathouse pays homage to the days of hardware-heavy dance music, particularly the sounds of classic Warp artists. His latest, “Dark Ager,” runs over nine minutes in length and bottles this analog love into a restless, mind-bending cut of electronica. Full of breakneck drum programming, ping-ponging synths and an ever-evolving web of alien sound effects, Greathouse creates a musical world built around the allure of interlocking rhythms that provides as much delirium as it does sweaty aggression. “Dark Ager” moves with angular, sharp-edged purpose—it juts, jabs, strikes and ricochets with nearly militant fervor, pricking your synapses and animating your hips in equal measure. –Audrey Lockie
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