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CWMA 2014: The Bands

The Complex, Feb. 22 & 28, 8 pm

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // February 12,2014 -

CWMA_TheNorthValley_1.jpgThe North Valley
With vocals that jump between tight group harmonies and raw howls, wailing guitars and a high level of energy that gets even the wallflowers up and dancing, every North Valley show is a no-holds-barred barnburner. A hard-hitting concoction of Americana, blues and Southern-influenced rock, the quintet’s sound punches like a shot of straight Kentucky bourbon, complete with pleasant lingering burn. The band’s debut album, Patterns in Retrospect—released in January—showcases their versatility: They can blast their way through a riff-y rocker about murder, but also slow things down and bring the soul with jammin’ keyboard lines and almost wistful vocals. For the most part, though, The North Valley is here to raise hell.

CWMA_TheCirculars_replace.jpgThe Circulars
Since forming less than a year ago, The Circulars—the name refers to a widely distributed newspaper or flier—have sure come into their own in near-record time. The electro-pop quartet released their self-titled debut album in September, have rapidly become a regular fixture at local venues, and create their music with a level of songwriting chemistry that many bands can only envy. Containing elements of post-punk and darker ’80s pop, The Circulars’ sound is moody and aqueous, made with dreamily blended layers of reverb-smeared guitar, electronic effects and frontman Sam Burton’s appropriately near-monotone voice. As the music floats into your ears, you’ll float away.

CWMA_WestwardTheTide_replace.jpgWestward the Tide
In the short amount of time they’ve been together (barely more than a year), Provo’s Westward the Tide have proven that the local scene won’t be able to contain them for long. Undoubtedly bound for national success, the folk/indie-rock six-piece crafts their jangly, porch-stompin’ sound with acoustic guitar, piano, viola—a unique touch by Jordan Towner—triumphant energy and flawless vocal harmonies, particularly between co-lead vocalists Kaitie Forbes and Jackson Larsen. Recently, Westward the Tide released two singles, “Stardust” and “Young Bodies,” from their upcoming debut full-length album—produced by Joshua James—and if these lovely tunes are any indication, the record will propel the band forward in a huge way.

CWMA_WildcatStrike.jpgWildcat Strike
These indie rockers from SLC have been redefining what a live band should be with their super-charged shows and enthusiastic attitude both on and off the stage. The five-piece’s 2012 self-titled album, with amazing guitar riffs and dance-inducing jams, propelled them into the local spotlight and helped them rack up tons of press around the state and score spots at numerous festivals in 2013. Wildcat Strike are currently working on their sophomore effort with the help of a successful crowd-sourcing campaign.

CWMA_DrewDanburry.jpgDrew Danburry
This singer-songwriter might have given up touring in 2010 to pick up a pair of scissors at his barbershop in Provo in 2011, but he’s still creating his lo-fi folk/indie-rock music as prolifically as ever. In fact, his new full-length album, 70 Love Songs—out Feb. 14—includes, yes, 70 tracks, each dedicated to a specific female muse and featuring a cameo from a guest musician or band. A mysterious master of hidden lyrical references—often to his own past work—Danburry explores his multifaceted musical identity through various alter egos, including Bastian Salazar, Damien Fairchild and even Drew Danburry. Onstage, his wry humor, charming seriousness and unfettered emotion all come out through his straightforward voice, whether it’s a lovelorn croon or a yell that’s coming apart at the seams with unleashed energy.

CWMA_CorneredByZombies.jpgCornered By Zombies
The ballistic metal duo of Baz Eisenman and Jason Denney have been a heart-thumping favorite in SLC for years, with their fast-paced bombardment of exhilarating drumbeats mixed with ferocious riffs and solos. That signature sound was finally solidified in fall 2013 in the band’s first full-length album, Hurry Up and Wait. Cornered by Zombies play as if their music were the soundtrack to their band name—the angry track you’d hear if you were fighting for your life against the undead.

Polytype is the perfect example of a band that comes out of nowhere and shocks everyone in an instant. The now-three-piece electronic band from Provo released their debut album, Basic//Complex, in February 2013 to outstanding reviews, backed with a music video for the song “Cyclone” that matches their echoing, mysterious style. In 2013, the band played high-profile gigs at the Utah Arts Festival and Craft Lake City, and recently scored a spot at South by Southwest, along with Mideau, Fictionist and Desert Noises—cementing Provo’s indie influence on a national level.

CWMA_TheHolleringPines.jpgThe Hollering Pines
Everything sisters Marie Bradshaw and Kiki Buehner touch turns to gold, as vocalists in their former acoustic outfit The Folka Dots and, now, in electric Americana/roots quartet The Hollering Pines. Taking their band name from a song by folk singer Gillian Welch, The Hollering Pines draw influence from country greats like Hank Williams and The Louvin Brothers. Well-known local musicians Dan Buehner (of the now-disbanded The Trappers) and The Lower Lights’ Dylan Schorer complete the lineup, adding drums, harmonica, dobro, lap steel and more to Bradshaw and Kiki Buehner’s guitar/bass foundation. The Hollering Pines’ debut full-length album, Long Nights, Short Lives & Spilled Chances—released in September—was one of 2013’s best albums. Utah is lucky these country crooners haven’t decided to fly away to Nashville (yet).

While Libbie Linton and Spencer Harrison have had success in their own projects, as indie-pop duo Mideau, they were launched into local stardom seemingly overnight with the release of their methodical and beautiful self-titled debut album in summer 2013. The pair created their music in different cities, composing across the Web, and not a decibel of sound was wasted; the result is a melodic alternative sensation.

CWMA_BabyGurl.jpgBaby Gurl
Baby Gurl isn’t so much a band as an experience to be enjoyed. Nowhere else will you find two musicians who treat their craft as if they were engaged in guerrilla warfare with every other band in SLC. Jordan Fairbanks and Chris Wadsworth’s debut album, A Name and a Blessing—released in February 2013—is a noise-rock assault that feels like a drill sergeant yelling at you to rock out. After a short tour with Yaktooth, Baby Gurl transformed their live gigs into comedic musical barrages that demand the audience’s attention.

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Post a comment
Posted // February 14,2014 at 22:05 Baby Gurl! Fun.


Posted // February 14,2014 at 17:09 It's always a bummer that *insert your fav local band here* didn't make it. Josh James is great but him not making it does not make it a joke. These are great bands that did make it! Extra congrats to my favs Baby Gurl and Polytype!


Posted // February 13,2014 at 12:03 how joshua james did not make it is a complete joke.