Baby Ghosts, Present as Lord, Pest Rulz 

Local CD Reviews: Maybe Ghosts, Famous, Something's Cookin

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Baby Ghosts, Maybe Ghosts
The second full-length from Baby Ghosts is a hair-raising shock to the senses, the musical equivalent of sticking a fork in an electrical socket and really, really liking it. Maybe Ghosts' blend of high-powered guitar, tight percussion and vocals by guitarist Karly Zobrist and bassist Katrina Ricks that pop with snarling, dynamic energy is proof that punk can be impressively executed but still a total blast to listen to. And most of the songs are just as lighthearted, such as the potential cat-video soundtrack "Computers/Internets" and "COOKIES." But what gives Maybe Ghosts surprising depth is its ghost symbolism, whether it's relating to a feeling of isolation, such as in "Crash"—"Am I here now/ Or am I just a ghost lost in the crowd?"—or whether it's pertaining to missing an absent person, such as in "Karen (Caring/Carin')." And therein lies a power of the album that's stronger than electricity, as underneath all its candy coating is a beating human heart. Self-released, Aug. 15, BabyGhosts.bandcamp.com

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Present as Lord, Famous
There's something warm and comforting in Famous, the first album from Present as Lord, a side project of the multi-talented Drew Danburry and Eric Robertson. Full of heartfelt yearning and honesty as well as refreshing unpretentiousness, the six electro-pop tunes are reminiscent of The Postal Service's relaxed delivery style and cozy melancholy, but with more infectiously dance-friendly beats and effects. Throughout the album, Danburry's and Robertson's respective skills play off each other well, with Robertson's rich synth-heavy production the perfect pairing for Danburry's quirky songwriting and vocals. And those lyrics are pure and beautifully simplistic, especially in "Dream About." When Danburry sings, "When we walked hand in hand/ I hoped you would be mine in the way I only dream about/ Mine in the way they used to sing about," he transports the listener back to the days when the only thing that mattered was that one particular person liked you. Self-released, July 24, PresentAsLord.bandcamp.com

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Pest Rulz, Something's Cookin
Clocking in at just over six minutes, this new EP from guitarist/vocalist Andrew Milne (Spell Talk) and drummer Taylor Orton (Eons) as Pest Rulz roars in at high speed, proceeds to obliterate the listener's eardrums, and then makes an equally fast getaway. There's nothing subtle or nuanced here, just that age-old recipe of gravelly, primal howls and surf-y guitar, with a barrage of percussion underneath it all. But the crucial ingredient in this blistering mix is the near-alarming amount of energy that Milne and Orton have brought to the recording; it's as if they both endured a series of shitty days, then arrived in the studio determined to exorcise them all through the ultimate screaming, pounding musical catharsis. The wild and rollicking "The Cramp" kicks off the four short barn-burners, followed by "Fire," "Lady" and "Tequila"—it's all in the one-word titles, really. Sexy, messy and insanely entertaining, Something's Cookin will pour gasoline on your troubles and light 'em up. Self-released, July 26, PestRulz.bandcamp.com

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