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