Local Music Singles Roundup: May 2024

Local Music Reviews

The sun is out (occasionally) and SLUG is back at it again with May’s Local Music Singles Roundup. Take a trip with Beach Inlet’s new distorted, wall-shaking garage track or slip into a cozy, wood-paneled lounge with Fonteyn’s latest groovy release.

Breach Inlet

Zillion Dollar Records
Street: 02.28
Breach Inlet = Parannoul x Michael Cera Palin

The “garage band” has been a staple of artistic expression for as long as there have been cars and musical instruments. There is empowerment in participating in an activity usually reserved for those with access to recording studios and connections with the upper echelons of society, but doing it better. In their suitably named EP, Demo, Breach Inlet takes the phrase “Be so good they can’t ignore you” and turns up the volume. The opening track “Solitary” pulls open the door and lets you inside the concrete walls to its combination of shoegaze and Midwest emo. Even while playing in a room full of people, this song can isolate each and every listener. The scary yet peaceful feeling of being entirely alone is tangibly embedded into the melody. The hauntingly beautiful vocals performed by Jackson Wise express the anger and sadness left after the show is over and everyone has gone home. Entirely effective in evoking the intended emotions, Breach Inlet performs a piece that represents universal loneliness. –Marzia Thomas

Cult Leader
“Learn To Love it”

Deathwish Inc.
Street: 03.29
Cult Leader = All Pigs Must Die + Nails

Cult Leader has returned with a new single, awakening all the metal heads of Salt Lake City. As I listened to “Learn to Love It,” I was resurrected in a surge of vengeance and a thirst for retribution as the song hit me to my core. The intro itself is so brutal—with lyrics such as “This is what it feels like in the absence of God’s love,” followed by “Everlasting curses on the lips of corpses,” I almost feel as if “Learn to Love It” was a poem made from the rage of thousands. With heavy, speedy riffs and brutal percussion, these tones really show the mindset of how the members felt as they let their emotions flow out through their work. Cult Leader has been around the scene since 2014 and is still a big influence in the hardcore scene in Salt Lake. Go listen to the single if you ever want to feel what it’s like to experience rage filled delirium—in a good way, of course! –Litzi Estrada

“Western Eyes”

Inkwell Box
Street: 03.22

Declatel = Oneohtrix Point Never – experimental psychedelia

Declatel blends the warmth of analog synths with echoey shoegaze vocals to create his Krautrock-influenced, yet decidedly contemporary electronic compositions. “Western Eyes” is the fifth single released by writer, producer and vocalist Kevin Hartley ahead of his debut album, scheduled to drop on May 18. It’s a pulsating, ambient techno track, whose minimalist rhythm is reinforced by gentle piano progressions and a scratchy synth loop. “Not enough time / Sacrifice your opportunity / Down the drain / Five years down the drain,” Hartley muses, it seems, to no one in particular. However, for an artist who lists “experimental” as a genre on their Bandcamp page, I would have liked to hear a little more experimentation. The track almost feels incomplete, like the melody is running in circles trying to chase down some abstract melancholic feeling, though perhaps the song’s unsettling itch was Hartley’s intention all along. –Asha Pruitt

English Budgies

Street: 03.22

English Budgies = Third Eye Blind + Local Natives

Rowdily opening with ringing guitar chords and clocking in at a brisk two minutes and 17 seconds, “Masquerade” is a punchy single that “won’t stay in place,” just like lead vocalist Joe Vickrey murmurs in the track’s lyrics. Joined by his wife Jenna Vickrey on bass, Matthew Minic on lead guitar and Sam Tucker on drums, English Budgies’ latest release almost feels nostalgically similar to pop-punk anthems that dominated the charts around the time we entered the new millennium. Departing from the group’s more modern, relaxed, refrains that land a little closer to indie, “Masquerade” swings to the more alt-rock-inspired end of the quartet’s repertoire. Filled with paradoxical angst, they beg us to get our shit together: “You’ve really let yourself go / Let some light in / Turn off the TV,” before embarrassingly admitting, “You’ve got me sounding like my folks,” an unexpected message that we probably all need. –Arthur Diaz


Born Losers Records
Street: 02.27
Fonteyn = The Carpenters +
Xanadu-era Olivia Newton John x Cheers theme song

I can smell the wood paneling and lava rock fireplace smoldering in this blast-from-the-past track. With honey-roasted lyricism and mellow yellow fluidity across its runtime, Fonteyn’s “Jody” pricks up ears as a callback to the glazey soft rock of the ‘70s. The groovy, flower-power guitar slides and synchronized doo-wops in the background could rival any family-friendly falsetto like The Partridge Family, but don’t let the smooth sailing fool you. Underneath that heartfelt slow burn lies a vintage story of heartbreak and the blind love that shrouds it. With many bands that have been enthralled to recapture that burnt-orange lightning from the “Me” decade, Fonteyn adds a bit more forward-thinking nature to every flashback track. So the next time you’re in the backseat of a checker yellow cab watching the city lights bloat and deform from the running raindrops, maybe throw on “Jody” to embrace the melancholy.–Alton Barnhart

Kit Cactus
“Bones in the Desert”

Street: 03.05
Kit Cactus = Elliot Smith +
Quebec-era Ween

Kit Cactus’ debut single “Bones in the Desert” takes us through a bleak and melancholy desert soundscape. Acoustic guitar and forlorn vocals carry us through this wistful single: “I’m left as bones in the desert / All I want to be is bones in the desert,” they sing. As the song continues, Kit Cactus sings about being left in the desert with the sage and the birds—themes that encapsulate the idea of a sad cowboy. The imagery of bleaching bones and worms is vivid and strangely comforting. Strings and light percussion around the halfway mark build up the song’s Western flavor, while still staying in the singer-songwriter realm. The music swells to spotlight the strings, then quietly finishes. This track is perfect for those looking for music to listen to quietly around a campfire, preferably deep in a dusty, red desert. –Elle Cowley

Read more Local Music Singles Roundups:
Local Singles Music Roundup: April 2024
Local Singles Music Roundup: March 2024