Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Lionelle

The Lionelle is emo progressive rock similar to Cursive, The Cure and Brand new. They are currently recording an additional album, but until then, Shipwreck and Oh, the Company That We Keep! can both be found on Bandcamp. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Bandcamp is the only music site not yet blocked at my work.
Tate McCallum-Law who sings and plays the guitar has been an active supporter at Kilby Court and played guitar for Allred for several years.  While Lionelle is reminiscent of Cursive and other early emo bands, they do bring new elements to the genre. The song structures don’t always follow the typical Verse/Chorus format and many of the lyrics can seem abstract at one moment only to quickly come into focus. With Lionelle many of the songs can reach as long as 5 and 6 minutes, this with the combination of Tate singing style can challenge the listener.
While Tate’s sound is a sharp contrast to the crooning of Allred, I would not be crushed to hear more singing from Tate. I believe there is a delicate balance between art and entertainment, but music should entertain always entertain. A few minor changes could make Lionelle a little more accessible. I do believe screaming will have its place in music, yet one of the lessons hoped to be  learned from hardcore and screamo of the past decade are the limitation it’s vocalization style brings. I do not mean to categorize Lionelle with those two styles, but the music does toe the line. The quality of the musicianship and recording on these CD’s are undeniable and the uses of different instruments are fun and exciting, and I expect great things for the upcoming songs. Unequivocally, I’m a fan of Lionelle. Stand out tracks for Shipwreck are Curses and My Friends.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oliver Lemmon

Oliver Lemmon has been the host at the Mestizo’s Open Mic nights on Wednesday for much of the past year or two years. Recently it has come to my attention he’s no longer going to be hosting the Wednesday open mic, and I wanted to do a quick review of his album which can be found on Bandcamp and give him a bit of love.
When I recently saw Oliver he reminded me how much I enjoy many of his songs. When people would come to Mestizo’s and ask who the host was, I would simply advise them to search out the man who does “look a lot like Jesus, and talks like a gentle man”. He’s since shaved his beard and cut his hair, but the positive message and infectious charisma remains. I remember talking to him about a year ago and he advised that the last review was not good citing him as a stoned hippie.  Well, Oliver is a huge Devandra Banhart fan and his vocals can take on many of those qualities. Lyrically his songs are short of amazing which can be seen in tracks like “what is enlightenment” and “I could”.  Sonically many of the songs have a lilting tempo which makes this album a difficult listen. Also, there are additional textures which at times take away from many of the great qualities. But, many of the messages are so positive and uplifting which is missed in a lot of music now days. “I could” has this awesome sing along chorus at the end reminiscent of Instant Karma. Lennon, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens are very large influences here. I know this album was recorded at home over the course of a weekend, and believe with some direction from a producer or “a little help from his friends” Oliver would have a much more accessible sound. This is true talent and music with a message. Oliver we love you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shamefull Promotion of Red Lights & Cathedrals

Well, Coby and I were out of commission (or in commission), for the last weekend. We recorded a 5 song Extended Play and then had a handful of acoustic covers and what not that we’ll find a way to get to you. We’ve placed it up on Reverbnation and Facebook and would encourage all to go online and listen. Also, please feel free to offer your criticism. We have and will continue to take plenty of shots at many of your favorite local musicians and would encourage you to take the opportunity to talk a little trash or lay a bit of praise. It may be another 6 months before you hear any new Redlights material with new additions and work responsibility which keep us both in a constant state of zombieness (they walk among us).
I’m really excited about the new songs and hope everyone likes them. Every song has a story and the narcissist in me wants to share them. So lay it on me. “You can bend my ear, we can talk all day, just make sure I’m around when you finally got something to say.” Also, remember to listen to Utah Musicians at 7:00 PM to hear our spot about local music throughout the Beehive state.The first five songs to the left are included on the new EP "Sad. But Social"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MP3 Pick: Muscle Hawk: "Set Yourself On Fire"

The Staples

The Staples is a garage Rock band from Salt Lake City. This is not to be confused with the famous Staples Singer from late sixties and seventies soul i.e. Mavis Staples. Their sound is infused with early punk and a bit of Detroit rock sound. They have rawness similar to Artic Monkeys and the Strokes and would make great party music. Their songs are catchy and exhibit strong pop elements; Dancefloor is hands down their strongest track with syncopated rhythms and strong chorus.
The Staples do suffer in having a solid rhythm backbone throughout all the tracks. The Guitars, Drums, and Bass struggle to stay in time and would highly recommend taking another crack in the studio (although I sympathize with the expense). While rawness can breathe life and emotion into many DIY recordings too much and it becomes distracting. Also, I’d recommend a name change as petty as it sounds; it’s just too close to The Staple Singers who are legends. It would be like naming a band the Stones even though they are technically The Rolling Stones it’s just too close. Although, in The Staples defense, I just finished listening and loving Cults which could easily be confused with The Cults, so what I know.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Mighty Sequoyah

The Mighty Sequoyah is an up and coming local group which is getting some well-deserved attention. Their recent album "Relative" sounds like it has influences from Wilco, Band of Horse, and Fleet Foxes. The tracks range from sparse to full arrangement rock tunes. The craft and talent in these songs are amazing with many of the songs having 3 and 4 part harmonies. This like many of the new indie bands with heavy folk and country influences require the listener to work for it, but the payoff is well worth the effort. I believe part of this is due to the tracks with incredibly slow tempos that give Low a run for their money. Like much of this music, its best in moderation and is not for everyone.
I’ve had the opportunity of seeing several of the band members perform at local open mics by The Mighty Sequoyah playing some of their individual solo songs and Mighty Sequoyah tunes, demonstrating the depth of writing talent available throughout the group. The main singer has an endearing lisp and nasal quality which complements the songs, style and sells themes of loss of innocence and change. Mighty Sequoyah will be touring with Timber! Throughout the summer, so go check them out. My favorite tracks are Ghost, Don’t Wait for Me, and The Insider.
In Utah there really are two types of people: people who snowboard and people who ski, regardless of whether you do either. I kind of think the members of Mighty Sequoyah probably would snowboard, but deep down their music wants them to ski. Another great band for the Great Salt Lake or Herriman or Provo or wherever the crap they call home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Last Look

It’s 4 in the morning so forgive me for making this short. I’ve been needing something which could clear my pallet from the steady stream of wordy folk music coming out of Provo(I promise Provo and Indie folk will give some love next week).You have to check out this band. The Last look has shout out choruses, creative bridges, awesome changes, they musically function like a band, and they like The Replacements. Sweetie, you had me Shout out. Slug compared them to Country indie rock and I can’t exactly see it, but I haven’t seen them live. When I think Country indie rock I think Drive by Truckers and Ole 97s. Anyways, although not as trendy a title as “indie” I hear a lot of rock and emo. I hear some old Story of the Year, AFI, and Taking Back Sunday with more uplifting lyrics.
Oh by the way, Allison Martin from My Dead Ego is also in the band. Scha-wing!...to the music. So, if you’re counting. I’ve taking a playful jab at Provo, Indie folk music, Slug magazine, and made one slightly sexiest comment toward Allison. All of which I am deeply sorry, please know I can and will be better. Next week I will try and offend Moderates and 2% milk drinkers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MP3 Pick: Libbie Linton "Shackleton, I'm Solid"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frame & Canvas

Frame & Canvas
Frame and Canvas took me by surprise. I’ve had little or no prior knowledge of this group from local shows or news (not that this always means anything), and was bracing myself the typical hard first listen. Thankfully Frame and Canvas have a wonderfully accessible pop rock sound similar to The Outsiders, Safety Suit, Lifehouse and The Fray. The songs are immediately catchy and thankfully, up-tempo unlike the Fray who tends to drag. The guitars and drums are so tasty and well crafted! It’s no surprise this is the genre of music I am more comfortable with, so I am strongly biased.
There are so many great songs on the album it’s like Coke vs. Pepsi. You may argue that one is better than the other, but they’re both good, consistent, and go down easy. My stand out tracks are: Honestly, Right Where you are and Come Back to Me.
Minor criticisms: Chad Hansen has a strong tendency to make lists or just repeat first lines to emphasize. This can be very effective when used intentionally, but I’d be cautious not to use this as a crutch. Also, I’m a sucker for witty punch lines and catch phrases which could be more prominent. Still, if you’re looking for top notch, radio friendly pop hooks; then Frame & Canvas are your new best friends.

Editors MP3 Pick: Isaac Russell - "Lighthouse"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Burnell Washburn

So, when people ask what were the first two CD’s I ever purchased? I tell them, “Def Lepard Retroactive and PM Dawn” (I bought the both on the same day). But, the first music I ever purchased was Public Enemy’s “It takes a Nation Millions to Hold us back” on Cassette sometime around 92’. I came from a family of 5 and my older brothers had begun listening to Ice T, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy like many of the white kids in rural communities. Now, the Beastie Boys were always played in our home, but not until the early 90’s was I exposed to any hardcore rap. Aside from that brief stint in the early 90’s, I’ve honestly haven’t listened to much hip hop and know very little about the disciplines of the art form. This is why I’m somewhat tentative in reviewing many of the local hip hop emcee’s. But, Burnell Washburn is one of those few gems whose talent is so transcending it requires you to recognize him.
I saw Burnell early summer last year at a local open mic where he was spitting rhymes while being backed by an impromptu band and a blues harp player. How I wish could have recorded or recreated that night. The sound was a unique blend of Jazz and blues, loosely akin to the Roots or Digable Planets. Yet, since it was more of a jam setting, the songs structures would blend and morph which broke the typically repetitive beats and samples used in hip hop (picture the harp solo from “You are the sunshine of my life” and mashing it with the Blues Brothers for 10 minutes). It was one of those nights where musical boundaries were being broken, new art form was emerging, and Burnell was at the head emceeing all of it. The night included several battle rounds with other local emcees and Burnell consistently coming out on top demonstrating the breadth of his talent. He gave me a copy of the White Dove Ep and I promptly devoured it during the following weeks. Recently, Burnell release his first album Food of Love; he is now touring the west coast in support of it.
I have not heard or seen anything quite like that night again in the collaboration on melding of music. The flow of Burnell’s rhymes is more true to traditional hip hop style and can be compared to maybe KRSone. For the most part, Burnell remains positive throughout and he doesn’t try to be something he’s not. Many of his rhymes are a heavy, abstract type of word poetry which may be influenced by the large Slam poetry scene which exists in SLC. It brings a smile to my face to hear him unabashedly promote Utah, but still be able to call out many of its hypocrisies. He is adamant in staying true to the style of hip hop and renounce indie and pop influences which have seeped into what is represented as hip hop in top 40 radio. My criticism for both White Dove and Food of Love is the minimal production elements. While I can respect his passion for traditionalism, and his desire to convey, “the message”. The repetitive beats and production act as filler and cannot stand equal alongside the rhymes nor elevate them. The music should be that extension which can interact with the artist. Granted deep down my feelings are likely biased because deep down I wish to recreate some of the magic when I first saw Burnell. In hind sight, what originally drew me to act like Public Enemy and other albums like Paul’s Boutique were the new boundaries which we being created with their groundbreaking use of samples combined with a the creativity of emcee’s like Chuck D and Beastie Boys. In my opinion, Burnell's talent cannot surpassed. He is the best and most creative emcee in Utah. It would very difficult to picture anything preventing Burnell from become a national sensation

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Utah Musicians!

Just a reminder that you can hear many of the bands we feature over at Utah Musicians Radio. Go have a listen!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Andrew Goldring

It’s hard to pigeon hole Andrew Goldring into one sound. The First track I listened to was "Words" which was an extremely beautiful and swelling similar to the way a Sigur Ros would build one of their songs. The words act more like a separate instrument rather than a bullhorn conveying a message. I thought it was a wonderful leading track and had me hooked to listen to the rest of the EP. I also hoped this EP would help prepare me a little for when I go see Explosions in the Sky at this year’s Twilight Concert Series since I thought they were both similar genres.
Then, when I heard "Mess" I could hardly believe I was listening to the same person. It was a jazz style, sarcastic ballad. "Mess", led into "Collide" with its drowning reverb, Fleet Foxy type falsetto singing. This then led on to other very creative, and somewhat related and unrelated genres of music.
Andrew shows great talent and has some very creative ideas and unique structures which can be refreshing if combined correctly. Lyrically he also comes up with some wonderful images which avoid conformity, but many of the songs could have stronger hooks or punch lines. Two thoughts seem to be exposing themselves and reminding me of a lesson I’ve yet to learn. EPs being marketed to national labels should have a clear idea, sound, and audience in mind with all the tracks linking back to that core audience. When you’re creating a full album, you’re then allowed a bit more freedom expand your audiences’ pallet. Second, song writing is craft similar more similar to a batting average. You won’t hit it out of the park every time which is why it’s so critical to be constantly writing. Far too often artists write four or five songs and are ready to hit the studio. I had a teacher once advise me that you should write 40 songs before you ever begin pitching them. I not only believe this applies to songwriters, but to bands as well. This doesn’t guarantee success though, I read that U2 tries to follow this formula and I believe No Line on the Horizon may be their weakest album to date(although, I’d still like to hear those other 30 songs.). I digress. Andrew is a great guitarist, sings well and has awesome music taste. With more focused energy this would make a good CD a Great CD.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dia Framton

I know Dia needs little help in regards to promotion these days, but I wish to do whatever possible to throw some Utah love her way this coming week. Dia is part of the final four of The Voice, on NBC, Tuesday nights. It’s a singing competition with the premise of focusing on the “voice” rather than a look or popularity. The show is a bit gimmicky and has some gaping holes in its initial premise, but it’s a step up from American Idol.
Dia and her sister, Meg, played in the local band Meg and Dia. I first saw Meg and Dia in 2005 playing in a vacant strip mall store in West Jordan with Lydia and local artist Larusso. One of our band mates had an association with them through a friend of a friend, so we were all particularly interested when they played. Their set was acoustic at the time, but even then they seemed to be one of the standout bands of the night. They had one song where they broke into an  acappella counter point which I’ve since tried to locate the song, with no success. Since then I’ve always kept a casual interest in Meg and Dia and were excited to see them picked up on Doghouse, Tour on the warped tour under Myspace, and Eventually sign with Warner Brothers. I was equally heartbroken to see them dropped from Warner Brothers early last year. They were both young when they were signed and I sure it was difficult to decide where to go at that point. Likely many of their friends were now finished with school and starting families. While touring for four years is way cool, I could empathize with their disappointments through their updates online, and wouldn’t have been surprised to see the band moving in their own direction.
You can understand my surprise when a co-worker asked if I’d ever heard of Meg and Dia, and that Dia was one of the contestants on the Voice. Since then, I’ve been a die hard fan of the show excited to see Dia on a national talent competition. I thought it was laughable to hear her first song was bubbly by Colbie Caillat, this coming from a girl who spent several summers touring on Warped Tour singing songs like Monster and Black Weeding. Don’t get me wrong Meg and Dia never fit in with the line-up at Warped Tour and their last album was becoming much more Beatlesque and much less Against Me!, but Bubbly seemed like a stretch. Oh well… Who really knows how much of these persona’s are influenced by T.V. producers, or how little we know from someone observed from afar? I understand the shows motivations in downplaying Meg and Dia’s accomplishments, and portraying Dia as a Shy, Children’s Novelist does have a broader appeal. But, any local band formerly signed with Warner Brothers and actively touring nationally is no small accomplishment. Any rate, give some phone in love this week to the girl from St. George. Dia Frampton.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review of The Suicycles

I received The Suicycles first EP,”4 Psychotic Car Rides” from a friend who watched them open for She Wants Revenge. At first I was a bit turned off from the artwork, but thoroughly enjoyed the first track "Speaking in Tongues". It had a strong new wave feel reminiscent of The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, and the Bravery (I know, forgive me). I also really like fake British accents from Utahn’s (now there’s a fair comparison to the Bravery). This accent makes me want a butler, a candlestick, a parlor, and Colonel Mustard. All joking aside, this is by far the strongest song on the EP Full length album. The production for this and their full length CD is impressive for local artists and shows some very strong talent, know how around the studio, and an ear for hooks. The Suicycles have released 2 EP's and 1 full length CD in like 6 months which is no small feat for a local artist.
The Suicycles do tend to bounce around genres, and there is a lack of continuity from track to track which either makes the band very versatile or seem like the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa has an identity crisis. I do respect this bands work ethic and if Cavedoll’s body of work is any indication, there will be much more music likely even this year. 
 When I was 15 I loved Lords of Acid and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Suicycles also have this highly sexual rock/electronica sound as well which will offend adults and increase 14 year olds pulse. One sign that I may be getting to old, tracks like "Sl, UT" are not only offensive, but now seem very creatively lazy and cliche. Yell fire in a theater and you’ll get a reaction, and I’m sure they get a healthy response with this one live. “As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.”—Spinal Tap
All that aside, I don’t want to understate the talent and infectious hooks Suicycles have provided. "Speaking in Tongues" is a must hear track as well as their version of Sour Times and Vacation from the Sun.

Friday, June 24, 2011

5 Questions With Isaac Russell.

We recently asked Isaac Russell 5 questions.

What band or artist has influenced you the most?

The Beatles, Elliot Smith, HOV

What are your favorite Utah bands?

The Devil Whale, Desert Noises, Vibrant Sound, Joshua James, Sayde Prince, Boots to the Moon, Jay Henderson(Band of Annuals), and many more.

If you could listen to one band or artist the rest of your life, who would it be?

I would read more.

Favorite movie?

Royal Tenenbaums

Where was the first show you ever played?

Muse Music(When owned by Corey Fox)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Secret Crush" from Fresh Big Mouf

Check out this video from Aaron of Eyes Lips Eyes our band of the week! Here is "Secret Crush" by Fresh Big Mouf!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review of Whitecount Circle

Whitecount Circle is the the first solo project for Jeremy Hilton from Waltzing for Debbie. Whitcount Circle is straight forward rock sound similar to 3 Days Grace and Daughtry. Jeremy's EP was produced by Stephan Hawkes at Interlace Studios and between these two, occurred all the production and playing. The musicianship on these songs are fantastic and Jeremy has an amazing set lungs that can catch your attention. If hard rock is your thing, then you’ll enjoy Whitecount Circle.

The first track Standing Clear has a bit of U2ish Edgy sounding guitar and a bit of a Safetysuit feel. This and The Time has Come are the stand out tracks for me. The EP's weakest elements tend to be in the lyrics. To quote the talking heads, “You're talkin' a lot, but you're not sayin' anything.” If Jeremy were to touch on some deeper more personal themes, with creative punch lines and clear metaphors which everyone can relate to then Whitecount Circle would be a lethal combination. Jeremy has the ability to melt your face off as a singer, but the song writing could be a bit more thought out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 Questions With John Allred.

We recently asked John Allred 5 questions!

What band/artist has influenced you the most?

Jimmy eat world has always been one of my biggest influences.

What is your favorite book or author?
My favorite book is The Outsiders. I read it once every year. It reminds me of the difficulty of growing older

What are your favorite Utah bands?
Joshua James
Book on Tapeworm
Benton Paul

If you could only listen to one album the rest of your life, who would it be?
Clarity: Jimmy eat World
Or beneath medicine Tree: Copeland

Favorite movie?
The count of Monte Cristo...I've watched it a hundred times

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jesse Hart

Jesse Hart describes his music as a kind of 80’s dance mixed with some modern sounds. After listening to his EP Make It Mine, I can hear the slight influences of the The Cars, Fleetwood Mac, and some Rick Springfield although the songs and melodies sound much more 50’s and 60’s early rock. Perhaps it was the I, VI, IV, V chord progressions, but take away some of the production elements, and songs like Rain, Make It Mine, and Hello could just as easily be sandwiched between Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, or any early Phil Spector act. In a time where Bruno Mars, Adele, and Raphael Saadiq are honing into early rock and Doo-Wop, this is could be an extremely fresh sound to be undertaking and something there is far too little of in artists around Utah. I truly loved this sound and the songs and added him to my short list of must hear local songs.

I had the privilege of watching Jesse live the other night. He was using a drum machine and loop pedal as part of his show. When these are used right they can add a fun element of “one man band” to the show. When done wrong they can be a strong distraction to the artist and their music. Jesse, has a lot of charisma, stage presence, voice and guitar skills but; several false starts did affect the pace of the show and changed a short 20-35 minutes set into a 45 minute set worth of 30 minute material. Everyone can have an off night, but from some of the stage banter this wasn’t the first time this occurred during a show. Artists like KT Tunstall and local artist Allred are great people to emulate when it comes to the use of these affects, but even with Allred, I've seen it slow the pace of his set. Locked inside a room with several hours of practice so it becomes second nature (something akin to mastering Mike Tysons Punch Out), this could be the sweet topping to an already delicious sound. Jesse is super cool and these songs are way catchy and pleasing to the ears. Even though the 50’s sound was likely not intentional, I would love to see Jesse wade deeper into these waters.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review of King Niko

King Niko is a high energy dance rock band from Salt Lake City. They also were the recipients of the 2011 City Weekly Band of the Year. My best comparison for King Niko’s sound is if Brandon Flowers of the Killers underwent a bitter divorce, walked into a bar, and sat in with the house band which so happens to be OKGO. You might get something that sounds like King Niko. City Weekly sited their live show fervor as one of the main contributors to their ultimate success in their band competition, and I can picture rocking out to Ransom Wydner screaming about some apocalyptic break up. Their rapid fire, narrative lyrics seem to focus on darker Memento Mori themes which could be considered unique for the style, which has a slightly brighter angst.

In a time when many rock bands are reinventing themselves to conform to the indie/folk i.e. Ima Robot to Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero, it’s nice to hear a band who plain rocks. King Niko appears to be continuing to grow as time goes on. Ultimately, I would like to hear more Michael Jackson influence as noted by Ben Moffat. I’m also a sucker for Prince, so I wouldn’t be disappointed if they all started wearing purple and comparing girlfriends to little red corvettes. My biggest criticism with King Niko is many of the songs(so far) lack the memorable hooks that keep your kid sister humming for days. The Melodies feel a bit linear making it difficult to distinguish from the chorus and verse, but all in all, King Niko appears to be making a long and lasting impression in great SLC.

Randy Moser

Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Questions

We recently asked Ben Moffat, guitar player for King Niko 5 questions!

What band/artist has influenced you the most?
Michael Jackson

What are your favorite Utah bands?
Ghetto Tea Party, Long Distance Operator, The Bloop, and Fat Apollo

If you could only listen to one band/artist the rest of your life, who would it be?
Michael Jackson

Favorite movie?

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Where was the first show you ever played?

My high school talent show in 1991

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parlor Hawk - "Hoarse & Roaring"

Parlor Hawk, a folk indie band out of Provo, UT has produced a gorgeously moving album with "Hoarse & Roaring". It's always exciting for me to hear a local band that possesses this much talent and who understands how to display it.

The standout track "Home" incorporates everything that is good about this folk/indie genre: trouble-filled lyrics, melancholy melodies and a patience that is striking. The acoustic guitar flows brilliantly and beautifully at a flawless pace. It is impossible to hear this track and not want another listen immediately; this is almost definitely due to the honest and heart-felt delivery of the vocals.

The band's songwriting appears to be natural and effortless and it shows on other noteworthy tracks like "Like Thieves" and "Julian". Parlor Hawk isn’t for everyone, although I do think it does appeal to a wider audience than just the faithful folk crowd. The band can't hide its pop tendencies that hook the listener and leave them wanting more. All in all, "Hoarse & Roaring" is a solid folk/rock album.

Coby Coonradt

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review of Isaac Russell

Isaac Russell, singer songwriter from Provo, UT. I remember first hearing of Isaac sometime in 2009 likely at the tail end of the local band Ruru. I was/had been out of touch with the music scene for close to 4 or 5 years and was curious to see where the moving local currents were occurring. Two names continued to appear Deseret Noises and Isaac Russell, formerly of Ruru.
At first,I was struck by how young Isaac appeared in his photo, yet how lyrically mature the music was; I was terrified that music has grown up without me. I felt like I’d returned to musical Neverland only to find the Lost Boy’s reading Dostoyevsky. But, it inspired me, however fleeting that moment may have been, in a world of musical ADD.
Fast-forward a year later to a random open mic at Velour. I saw Isaac perform and didn’t originally make the connection to the same young face I’d seen on online. He was much taller than expected and seemed much older. As I recall, he opted to play only one song that night, and stayed in the back speaking with other like minded individuals. At the time, the performances from this “cool club” of trendy dressers at the back of the room felt like a lot shtick, including Isaac Russell. In my mind, it was a lot of wannabe Bright Eyes’ and folkie revival which could only be expected from any college town in the mist of what some may considered this generations Vietnam, although instead of Dylan’s "Blowin in the Wind" it was replaced by Cohen’s "Hallelujah". The change from protest songs to songs more introspective seemed even more appropriate for a tortured "Me" generation.
Well, despite whatever false assumptions I created from that night in Velour, I carried those into my first true listening of Isaac’s self titled EP and I have to say, "these five songs are nothing short of amazing." The songs seem extremely personal and are always asking and occasionally telling of loss, love, faith, and family. Song’s like "Lighthouse" and "Elizabeth" are the Chicken Soup for the Soul of music. If you don’t feel something after hearing these songs, then it’s likely you’re emotionally dead. And, if you’re emotional dead, don’t check yourself into the psyche ward because they’ll never let you out you sick psychopath! These type of personal songs make it difficult not to love Isaac as an artist. My only criticism, caution- or "don’t change a thing" for Isaac is: with songs so personal, what do you save for yourself? What was once yours, played night after night, soon becomes shared and eventually becomes theirs. Perhaps with "Elizabeth"’s deeply personal meaning, it should only be shared on the quiet moments in the halo of the spotlight, or the solitude of your headphones. As a video sandwiched between the Tyler the Creator and Beyonce seems very very wrong.

Randy Moser

Digital Press Kits

Friday, May 27, 2011

Welcome to Utah Band Review!

Welcome to Utah Band Review, the site dedicated to the Utah band! Stay tuned for album reviews, show reviews, interviews and much more!