Classic Local CD Reviews

Bob Moss
Soundco Records
Yes, it’s another release by the Davis County human folk music encyclopedia. This time, it’s a collection of almost all cover material, from well known classics like “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Greensleeves,” Lennon & McCartney’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Hide Your Love Away” to Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End” to the more obscure “Don’t Forget Me Love” from a folk anthology that might well be forgotten if it weren’t for Moss. His devotion comes out in everything from his selection of material to the heartfelt delivery of his trademark falsetto and virtuoso picking on both guitar and banjo. The latter can be heard on his dazzling rendition of his lone original composition here, “Heartbreak Breakdown.” It should be noted that this collection was occasioned by Moss’ discovery by LA scenester Charles Schneider, who enlisted Dan Clowes of Ghost World fame to do the cover art. And only a few months ago, Moss wowed them at none other than CBGB’s in New York. Comparisons to Johnston suggest that if there’s any justice, Moss will someday achieve similar recognition. Enhanced CD contains videos of several songs, see (Issue 162) –Stakerized!

The Corleones
Inferno Mafia
Sickboy Records
You could automatically try to pigeonhole The Corleones under punk rock, and you’d be halfway right––they are punk rock, harking back to the Ramones. But they deliver their brand of punk with such a sexy, authoritative darkness that’s at once mysterious and ironically cheerful, that it kind of screws up any preconceptions you had about punk rock to begin with. They definitely have a more mature sound than most local bands. There are token Salt Lake references embedded in the songs, such as “South Salt Lake will bring you down, West Valley will bring you down” in “Slippin’ Away (Ode to ReMorse)” and I must say, The Corleones seem to be the master of 80s-sounding butt-metal-riff openers, such as the one to “Norris Buys a Shotgun” complete with a “Welcome to the Jungle” primal scream. They pull it off somehow, as they do singing a song with their name in it: “C-O-R-L-E-O-N-E-S, we’re the best.” Oh well, the Causey Way did it too, so it must be cool. (Issue 158) –Nicolas Fox

Soundtrack to Suicide
Sickboy Records
If you end up killing yourself, don’t worry about leaving a mess. Say the Corleones, “Hello our fans, we are the Corleones. Kill yourselves and leave us your bones.” Tidy. Just one example of the Corleones’ tongue-in-cheek observations of a strange, unfamiliar world, and smart, surly, ironic and subtle innovative style. More examples: Track five’s discordant, Sonic Youth-like guitar picking, track ten’s weird breaks, static, and lonesome bells, track twelve’s rhythm guitar, full of tension, like birds balancing on a telephone wire ready to drop at any moment with a din of full-on rock caterwauling at the end. Track nine boasts an unusual guitar riff with low, fast bass that is a perfect example of all the many arms of the octopus that is the Corleones––they won’t fit into any box, they won’t behave. You’ve been warned. (Issue 167) –Nicolas Fox

Die Monster Die
Only the Dead Will Survive
Dr. Cyclops Records
It’s another Die Monster Die release, and nothing is different from previous releases, but it’s still good. For those not aware of DMD, they are heavily Misfits-influenced with a straight-ahead rock sound and an obsession with zombies, death, B-horror movies, masks, blood and Satan. Song titles from Only the Dead are: “Rock N Roll Super Monster,” “Bleeding Wrists of Destiny” and “Feast of the Living Dead.” Actually, there is only one song title that refers to zombies, but there are seven that are directly or indirectly related to suicide. What could this mean? Zoloft refills aren’t that expensive, guys. And hey, suicide isn’t the answer. Killing yourself is. (Issue 201) –James Orme

Homeless Urine Sessions
Recorded by Andy Patterson
Love it! Love it, love it, love it, love it! This is the most recent three-song release of GAZA and I love it! One of the heaviest rockin’ and riffin’ gruff-havoc rock bands ever. Screw whether they’re from Salt Lake, I think they’re one of the best bands ever. Thankfully, they miss the common emo-voiced breakdowns, and they’re chock-full of solid, throat-throbbing assaults of smutty, full-range monster vocals. Of course, they’re backed by a tight, iron-clad attack. It’s flawless. Not to mention a guest vocal addition from Trevor Sternad of the Black Dahlia Murder on track two that mixes right in. It’s awesome! (Issue 203) –Cindi Robinson

Le Force
Le Fortress
Wntage USA
It’s finally here: Le Force’s first record label release. The deflowering honor goes to Wntage USA, out of Missoula, MT, which also hosts Federation X and The Fucking Champs, among others. Hot tubs filled with whiskey and semen, feathered hot-pink boas and glass fish tanks full of cobras and coke during their world tour supporting The Who and/or Monster Magnet are sure to follow. Le Force put the mojo back into metal. Their mostly-instrumental black iron brew is dripping with the raw, cocky attitude that was so essential to the entire beginning of the movement. Not only is Le Force’s musical execution as tight as a tourniquet, the feverish but deadly controlled guitar solos reek of immediate, real and heart-ripping heat and sweat, and the riffs themselves surge like a mounting tsunami, pounding your helpless psyche with a wall of liquid fire. The production happily leaves the scrappy edges of Le Force’s three-prong assault intact, so it sounds as if they’re playing in your living room, straddling your TV and writhing on your shag rug. I like all the tracks, but “Victory Runs Through Our Blood Like Ice in the Caves of Midnight” has got to be my favorite musically and title-wise. (Issue 188) –Rebecca Vernon

Legendary Porch Pounders
A Little Gift: Authorized Bootleg
I swore off drinking yesterday, but halfway through the emotionally exhausting second track, “Up for Days,” I had one leg swung back on the wagon. Dan Weldon’s lyrics are more folk-poetic than would traditionally accompany many of LPP’s Delta blues tunes, but their song structures range anywhere from there to roots to almost Hank Williams country. Bad Brad Wheeler’s harmonica moans flesh out Weldon’s skeleton picks and strums, nearly voices themselves. Back from a successful SXSW stint with Bill Kirchen, you’ll find these boys nursing in Ogden’s Brewskies almost seven days a week. (Issue 196) –Nate Martin

Country vs. City
Pop Sweatshop
Magstatic’s downhome, straightforward rock with countryish overtones sends thrills up your spine and makes you want to pop-dance all night long. The dark, gritty rock-riff of the title track reminds one of Edie Brikell’s catchy “What I Am” riff, oh yeah, you know the one. The poppy, no-nonsense riffs of “Somedays” change into a flowing, riveting chorus. “Jewel Thief” has plenty o’ treble guitar, a strutty, straight rock approach and a chorus that is not just what you’d call cool, but coooooooool, the way every rock song should. “Home” is gilded with an emo overlay, and “How to Play Good Golf” mixes pure angst with a certain sadness that lies curved like a tear just underneath the words. “In Jail” mixes a very high-and-low melodic line with vocals that sound like tender banshee…if banshees could be tender. Way to rock, Magstatic. (Issue 168) –Rebecca Vernon

Nolens Volens
I’m Sad Your Living
Tribal atmospheric drumming melts into NYC Ghosts and Flowers-era Sonic Youth wavering guitar-picking, bright as a daisy growing in a crack in a disgusting city street in the opening track, “Jon Bytheway is Actually Satan.” Upon first listen, you know you’ve encountered one of them bands that, like, aren’t afraid to try out new things and stuff. (Jon Bytheway—isn’t he that goofy youth fireside/EFY speaker? I think yes). Hard industrial beats dominate “Bleepo” laid underneath ordinary-sounding voice samples. Crunchy drum-sample beats make out with bells and piano melody lines with acoustic guitar seventh chord sounds filling in the background on “Election Day” (my favorite track). I also like “Deaf Ears.” It’s so nice and sad. Nolens Volens have nothing to prove and nothing to lose. That’s a power position if I ever hearda one. (Issue 201) –James Orme

Purr Bats
Bionic Fresh Moves
State of Deseret/Rest 30
They’re incomparable, sorry. Salt Lake’s best dour-synth-disco-spazz-band-that-will-kill-you-with-humor-while-they-revive-you-with-succinctness have so many tongues in cheeks, it’d be an athletic event to French ‘em. Purr Bats move in a more bass-driven, sinister, trip-hoppish, Massive Attack direction (“The Jollies to Time-Spent Ratio”) at times and a DJ-ish, disco direction at others (“The Poodle Short Circuit,” “Think Dream Residue”) on March-released Bionic Fresh Moves. Eerie, jazz-fusion back-up vocals abound. The dark underskin of Purr Bats is beginning to overpower the face powder. Yes! (Issue 196) –Rebecca Vernon

Riverbed Jed
The epic press release that came with Woke could be made into a major blockbuster movie: I laughed, I cried, I went to the john during the car chase! Like the Pope writing Godzilla’s resume–it’s that amazing. Oh yeah, the music: Woke clocks in at about an hour with 12 songs and nary a dud to be found. The title track and “Jedediah” are good n’ evil openers, but I prefer RBJ’s funk side. Jimmy James Velour (bass) and Devin Affleck (drums) are one mofo rhythm section, “Grey Eyed Vision” and “Again” are groovy enough to hump anything to—and I do mean anything. “Mental Masturbation” is a familiar live staple to loyal Jed heads—you know, the one that starts with the line: “My philosophy is biting my kelp” or something like that. Chad Herd’s speed rapping on this tune invokes a really bent vision of Danzig at a cattle auction. “Non-Verbal Incantation” is a sort-of instrumental that could double as a spy show theme after a few doses of your favorite liquid. “Homegroan” serves up some boiling riffage that your average grunge-vendors can only dream about and Jodi Hessling’s stunning solo vocals stab. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that she deserves more mic time, so ‘nuff said. “Snail” is a slinky little number thrown into the fray just when you thought you had ‘em pegged, and by the time you live through “Ed”, “Broken”, and “Bog”, you should note that guitar man Lance Everill has utilized wah-wah, talkbox, and the minimal soloing required by law—take that, ax-wankers! The seven minute-plus finale kicks off with some of Chad’s cool acoustic noodling that spices up the whole CD as much as his leather lunged baritone. I’m going to put every ounce of my credibility(!) on the line, look you straight in the forehead and urge you to buy two or three copies of Woke, even though I can’t narrow it down to just one reason—Riverbed Jed is more complex than Allstate’s Bonus Dismemberment Plan. I’ll just sum this sucker up with TV Guide’s plot synopsis of Teenage Catgirls In Heat: “Small-town felines are transformed into young women with mating—and murder—on their minds.” Proper! (Issue 67) –Helen Wolf

ECG Records
Hide the women and children and get the hell outta town, Thunderfist is coming to burn and destroy your pathetic little world. Thunderfist is the pure, unadulterated––or maybe just a little bit adulterated––triumph of the all-American boy, the all-American rock love song and the all-American one-night stand. The lyrics make out with thick sarcasm, as in track ten––“I want to be like the Jones’, want to be a star”––and straightforward conquest, as in track five––“Get backstage and get with me, party with me.” Grinding guitars give Thunderfist’s music its signature raw, vicious, unfinished edge, as in “Livin’ It Up in a Trailer Home.” The matured vocals are even stronger than usual, as on track three, where Mic Mayo’s voice sounds like a big, brown, vicious grizzly’s. Remember: there’s no escape … only surrender. (Issue 167) –Nicolas Fox

Tolchock Trio
Ghosts Don’t Have Bones
Red Triangle Records
It makes sense that all three of Tolchock Trio’s members were at The Liars show last month. Not that they emulate The Liars, but more like, birds of a feather flock together, ya’ll. TT veer in a much more experimental direction with Ghosts than with Hello Bird––just as Liars did with their latest album––angular bass colliding with brash, discordant guitar and avant garde drum patterns. The hypnotic minimalism might leave fans expecting the same ol’ same ol’ behind, but those fans probably belonged in the caboose to begin with. Hefty, addictive rock rears up in “Tolchock Riot” and “Super-Coated Hornets:” “I said, I’m not gonna shake, I said, I don’t know about that new sound!” I especially like “Goose:” “Hey you––they’re selling plots on the moon. If you don’t like it, move” and The Doors’ “The End” –like last song, “Ghosts Don’t Have Bones.” Apocalypse now. (Issue 184) –Rebecca Vernon

Tragic Black
Articulate Lacerations
Arrogant Hipster Records
Articulate Lacerations is one of the most original CDs to come out of Salt Lake in a long time. Citing influences such as Cinema Strang, Penis Flytrap, and Christian Death, Tragic Black does have the trappings of L.A. death rock. But they unabashedly mix the shocking contrast of brutally condemning punk lyrics and morbid political ruminations with beautiful melodies, spectacular bass-lines, tendrils of haunting keyboard violins, hints of spirituality, and catchy drum machine sequences. They are impossible to categorize. Tragic Black lyrically condemn corrupt religions and corporations alike (is there a difference?) with trademark husky, distorted vocals as in “Screams From the Silenced.” But theirs is not an unequivocal, trite dismissal of the establishment–it is something far more difficult, a torturous sifting of right from wrong. In the hypnotic dirge, “Warriors of Shambhala,” the spiritual side of Tragic Black emerges in full force, reminding you of the purpose of rebellion: individual enlightenment. “Your body is a temple. A temple for your mind. Within there are the answers you seek to find.” (Issue 162) –Nicolas Fox

The Unlucky Boys
Fat Drunk Bastard
Songs about being “Young, Dumb, and Full of Cum,” having a girlfriend that has the “Nymphomaniac Blues,” and a desire to be a “Polygamist,” make up the general attitude of this kick-ass release. My second favorite band in Utah (sorry guys, Doublewide is still the best) knows how to rock the house. This disc is seven songs of humorous drinking songs, best described as greaser rock and hyperactive psychobilly. The recording is done well and the samples that are laced throughout the disc blend well with the song structures and never become annoying or distract from the music. The U-Boys hail from Provo and they play at Burt’s Tiki Lounge all the time with Doublewide. Check ‘em out! It will be one of the best shows you have seen in a long time. After the show, go up to the members of the U-Boys and demand a copy of this hell-raising, boot-stomping disc. That is if you’re not too shit-faced. Sometimes the U-Boys drive a person to drinking. (Issue 138) –Kevlar7

The Used
Reprise Records
So you hate The Used. You hate them because they came from Orem, played little to no live shows (as rumor has it) and then got signed to one of the biggest record labels in the free world. You hate them because you think they’re posers. So did I. I kept hearing about how TOTALLY AWESOME their new album was, but remained in a distant fog of suspicion, expecting yet another kitschy nü-metal form of one-dimensional rebellion. But listening to their album changed my mind. It is ass-kicking, pure, untainted angst that is surprisingly, about 80 percent emo, about 15 percent punk, and only about 10 percent nü-metal. Maybe they’re not on the cutting-edge of innovation, but they have a core of genuine emotion that is missing from so much mainstream emo slag. “Poetic Tragedy” is poignant, beautiful and melodic, and tracks eight through eleven are the best, ranging from the profound bass-line and violins of “Greener With the Scenery” to the soaring vocals of “Noise & Kisses.” This is musical smithing at its best. (Issue 166) –Nicolas Fox

Vile Blue Shades
Dark Wizard
Vile Blue Shades, who had a CD release at SLUG HQ during April Gallery Stroll, are in anti-heaven where The Swans float around with The Fall, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Junior Kimbrough, monk-like chanting and like, The Germs, on this weird puffy pink cloud that’s sharp and real and not the result of a drug-induced hallucination. Hard, repetitive blues lines come off punk and art-rock and experimental soundscapes abound. They have one of the best CD booklets/artwork ever, nationally or locally (illustrated/designed by Joel Cable). Lyric sample: “I looked to the stars, expecting something profound ... I stood atop a pile of trash & sang carols, all depicting the world and how I’ll rule it.” This shit is wicked. (Issue 197) –Rebecca Vernon

The Wolfs
Two-Song Vinyl Single
Pseudo Records
Bigger is better, and so is vinyl. The Wolfs get better and better with every release, and this single ranks about a 10.0 on the Richter scale––getting any better is cause for an international emergency. “I Want More” features the vocals of Carri and Jeremy, usually utilized for snotty backups, at the forefront for a couple verses. Swinging into the turbo-charged chorus with Eli’s throaty, naughty nah-nah-nahs and Josh’s urgent drumming completes the final thrust at the end. “Whatever I Am” has a steady beginning beat that sounds like all-in-step coal miners going off to work for the day, their picks clanging down simultaneously. Yeah, the theme is slightly different from coal mines, tho’. The spacey, discordant guitar chords start squealing like a stuck pig as the song rears up near the middle, and muted backups add spice at the end. Congrats on your first 7”, colored and all. (Issue 181) –Rebecca Vernon