Local Music Reviews – March 2009

Big Gun Baby
Street: 03.24
Big Gun Baby = The Poster Children + Republica
This five-song EP contains three original tracks and two remixes. Big Gun Baby is run by two members - Jaycee, who is in charge of the sexy singing over the drum track beats and Greame, who provides the power chord guitar. The three songs definitely have a late-nineties dance rock vibe to them. It reminds me of back in the day when I would longingly look at my Garbage poster, the one where Shirley Manson is crawling on Hollywood Boulevard. I used to look at that poster as a young junior high child and have some very impure thoughts. I miss that poster. I need to get that out of my parents’ basement. Back to Big Gun Baby, the original tracks are standard techno rock, but the remixes at the end of the album are awesome. You guys should remix all your songs and stick with the club sound. - Jon Robertson

Jacket Weather/ The Highwire Act/ I Hear Sirens
Self-Titled Three-Way Split
Street: 05.31.08
Jacket Weather + The Highwire Act + I Hear Sirens = top acts from Utah Valley
Three different bands (no side projects of one musician) separately recorded three songs and then combined their efforts to put out a well-polished and goodlooking album. Jacket Weather is a culmination of four talented guys who listen to a lot of The Promise Ring or Stella Brass. They are the new awesome, local, post-hardcore group. The Highwire Act is a simple guitar/drum duo who play not-so simple guitar riffs glazed over with bass, similar to No Age without the glare. I Hear Sirens is like DoMakeSayThink if they had crafted gorgeous melodies while still in high school. This split is worth owning, if you can find it. Try Jacket Weather’s MySpace profile. - Jennifer Nielsen

The Mighty Curse
Good Luck Above the Sea EP
Street: 12.31.08
The Mighty Curse = a punk rock version of Gwar + Elvis (bastardized) + The Dead Kennedys
Admittedly, I was a bit confused when I first spun the latest EP from Salt Lake City’s The Mighty Curse. It is a mishmash of styles, and the vocals are so obviously bad that you know even the members probably laugh at them. The first thing I should have done was the last thing I did, and that was go to their MySpace page. Lo and behold, the intent behind TMC is not to be serious music, but just a plain old good time. The guys actually have tossed some good riffs together, creating an upbeat sound. Then the vocals come in, completely out of key and not in rhythm with the music. Basically, it sounds like a few guys with a few beers behind them singing about whatever comes to mind. The sad thing is, I’ve come across plenty of bands that are extremely serious about what they do who sound a hell of a lot worse than TMC. If I missed the point of what TMC is doing, I sincerely apologize to the band. In any right, I took it for what it was, had some laughs, and I can surely guess the guys put on a raucous live show. - Bryer Wharton

Muscle Hawk
The Speed of Dark EP
Street: 01.28
Muscle Hawk= Justice + Ratatat + Chromeo
This band is fucking hot to trot. Two guys on synths/computers plus one lady on the drums formulates the perfect combination for a dance party. There is a reason one of their songs is called “Cocaine,” because MH is audio base. A little baking soda, some shiny foil, irresistible beats and some live bass guitar (for taste) makes this some of the purest dance rock around. Sorry to mix crack and freebase metaphors, but you get it. These motherfuckers are cooking up at 100 percent pure. I can’t say enough positives, so I will let your ears do the listening and your head the bopping. Pick this up if you like to get out of your gourd and shake it epileptic. - JP

Paper Cranes & The Doom Machine DVD
Live in Provo November 30, 2006
A. Star Recordings
Street: 10.17.08
PC & TDM = Anla Courtis + Black Dice (early years)
Is Provo the next hotbed for noise music? The stark conservatism mixed with a large number of youth should make for a loud and subversive subculture. Where are the artists? Are they afraid to take off their headphones? Luckily for Provo, the folks at A. Star brought a little chaos down south to test the waters. There is only one camera angle capturing some guitar pounding, knob twiddling and a few concerned audience members. The limited video is great because it allows the viewer to fill in the rest of the situation with whatever imagery is lingering in their frontal cortex. The audio is compelling and the noise masters in the group riff off each other effortlessly, slowly building the tension with all manner of guitars, noisemakers and live drums. I’m sure Provo felt a little less safe on that evening. - Andrew Glassett

Shark Speed
Sea Sick Music
Street: 03.10
Shark Speed = Look Mexico + Ra Ra Riot + Minus The Bear
Oh boy!! Another band with shark in the name. I am starting to think that the whole shark thing in the band name might be getting a bit over used. One thing that is comforting: this band is really good. Their sound is basically Franz Ferdinand mixed with The Appleseed Cast, who they opened up for at Kilby Court back on Feb. 20. These guys are dope-fresh. The best part of the band is the light, intricate, Jake Snyder-type guitar work and mellowed-out tempo that the band brings with the majority of the album. You gotta love the random horn parts that pop in and out of the tunes as well. There’s nothing like some trumpet action to get you out in the crowd hopping around. That son of a bitchin’ trumpet will get you every time. Just curious, do you guys have JS portraits hidden under your bed? - Jon Robertson

Shark That Got Her
Street: 03.17
Shark That Got Her = Between The Buried and Me + Mouth of The Architect + Blinded Black
I want to start off with stating that Shark That Got Her has the coolest band name in the whole state of Utah. I have always been a sucker for band names with shark in them, i.e. Sharks Keep Moving and Bear vs. Shark. Getting back on subject, STGH sound nothing like the two previous bands mentioned. Their sound is more of a standard metalcore screamo sound, which is too bad because they do have some really original sounds and interludes in between the standard stuff. Like the first track “Ursa Oley” and the beginning of the fourth track “Soot In The Skin” and the majority of the fifth track, “Brazilian Braille.” This band has awesome artwork, killer lyrics and a sweet band name - I just wish they would get the music up to par with their image. If they developed a more individual, creative sound and got rid of all the screaming, I would love them forever and come to all of their shows. - Jon Robertson

Trouble on the Prairie
Virgins Pastors and Other Disasters
Street: 02.30.09
Trouble on the Prairie= Shelley Short + Band of Annuals + Mirah
Minimalist percussion and plaintively delivered vocals make this release one of the most haunting local pieces I’ve heard in a while. Band members Big Red and Little Fran create a lot of atmosphere with only some sparse acoustic guitar, a shaker, a tambourine on some songs and a small drum kit on others. I inherently respect the desire to have just two instruments on a song if the songwriting can fill in the gaps, but I also think that there is something to be said for a bass in this case, even if it’s just on studio tracking. If there is one on most of these tracks, I didn’t hear it. In addition to bass, I say include a pillow with this EP because, barring the last track and “secret” song, it’s yawn inducing. - JP

Wite Nite
A. Star Recordings
Street: 11.15.08
Wite Nite = Isis + Pelican + AODL
Wite Nite’s self-titled EP starts off with a promising ambience of swirling sounds and soft guitars, but moves quickly from that beauty into an unrelenting, bad mushroom trip. The whole alblum is actually perfectly described as a mushroom trip - it starts off pretty and exciting, but time seems to stop about five minutes into it and you just want it to be over. The disc jolts in and out of consciousness, from ambient post-rock a la Isis or Pelican to grating noise. The switch is neither completely jarring, nor smooth and fluid, which makes the concoction taste like someone forgot to scrape the shit out of the caps before selling you the bag. A. Star Recordings makes no effort to hide their philosophy of helping friends instead of doing what’s right for the label. As former SLUG Managing Editor Andrew Glassett said in the November 2008 issue, “…it appears [A. Star] chooses to release whatever comes their way.” This release proves that sentiment. - Nick Parker