City Weekly Music Awards 2010 

The best in local music: Voted by you, written by us.

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If you asked Lydia Worden, lead singer of the twee-pop trio Sleepover, what the band sounds like, she might answer "1993"—and she would be right. The early ´90s marked the height of the cuddly-cute twee movement here in the states, complete with jangling guitars, overt references to ´60s pop and fey, childlike lyrics. Worden and bandmates Stephen Walter and Braden McKenna openheartedly embrace the twee, and so can you, now that they have just released their self-titled debut album, free for download, via Magic Goat ( (Jacob Stringer)

When Sen. Orrin Hatch released a Hanukkah song in December, his involvement provoked attention far and wide—including from The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (RIP), which responded with a Mormon jingle. Though Hatch´s tune sparked parodies and jokes, the senator maintains his status as a serious songwriter in the LDS Church community, noting that, “As a Mormon, I have always been a supporter of … the Jewish community.” (Jon Paxton)

Wayne County has long been a haven for lovers of southern Utah scenery, but folk artist David Williams—who splits his time between Torrey and Salt Lake City—along with compadres in Band of Annuals and Black Hens, has, in recent years, brought in live acts to complement the region’s gorgeous red rock. Noteworthy touring acts who’ve headlined the Rim Rock Patio include Magnolia Electric Co., Laura Gibson, Wye Oak, David Dondero and Blitzen Trapper. Keep your summer schedule open for a road trip down south. (Brian Staker)

Thirty years ago, Victims Willing singer Brad Barker recruited Terrance D.H., Joe Jewkes and Barker’s brother Brent to start one of Salt Lake City’s original punk outfits, alongside Bad Yodelers and the Massacre Guys. When Brent died in 2008 following a routine medical procedure, Brad “thought about what was important” and reformed the band last year. After a few rehearsals, the group returned to the stage as though the intervening decades of bad music, fashion and politics never happened. (Brian Staker)

Before it shut its doors, Brad Collins’ underground music store was known all over the country during the ’80s and ’90s as one of the best places to score bona fide punk-rock platters, tapes and CDs. Originally located under downtown Salt Lake City’s 400 South viaduct, Raunch Records drew kids from the suburbs who wanted to find out what music was cool, in addition to listening to Collins’ KRCL show, Behind the Zion Curtain. After relocating to Sugar House, the store closed in 1998, but partly due to a movement of support on Facebook, Collins reopened Raunch at 1119 E. 2100 South on Black Friday 2009. (Brian Staker)

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Calm down—you know all those vicious rumors about the Twilight Concert Series meeting a grisly, premature end? So false. Yes, downtown Salt Lake City’s biggest weekly music festival will not take place in its longstanding home at the Gallivan Center, which is scheduled to undergo some major renovations this spring. But fans who raved about 2009 headliners Bon Iver, M. Ward, Sonic Youth (left) and others can rest easy knowing that founder Casey Jarman says, “Twilight will happen [in 2010]. It will just be in a different form than it has been in past years.” Stay tuned. And in the meantime, toast Jarman and the SLC Arts Council for making this town a cooler place to live. (Jon Paxton)

On Nov. 13, a group of local musicians—including members of Tolchock Trio and The Rubes—set up a makeshift stage at Captain Captain Studios for an uberbohemian, after-midnight performance of Terry Riley’s “In C,” using laptops (and a kegdrum kit) and a stunning visual component to reinterpret the modern American composer’s symphony. Cast in shifting lights that bathed the show in mystery, their version of Riley’s classical suite caused shivers—and maybe busted a few eardrums. SLC Electric Ensemble later delivered an encore performance at the University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Concert Hall and again at the Tower Theatre. These talented chaps plan to record their version of “In C,” which they plan to play once more at a release show, TBA. They’re also working on new material including wicked-cool sound installations. (Jamie Gadette)

Utah’s Bramble took their love of guerrilla-style street performance to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where they encountered both awe and skepticism on snow-covered Main Street. “All the folks from Los Angeles (which is nearly everyone) think we’re crazy. And we are. It’s been adventurous, to say the least, which is perfectly in accordance with the spirit of the band.” The local folk-punk rockers are trying to drum up some excitement for their EP, H.A.G.S. (Have a Great Summer), much of which they wrote on a carefree bike tour last summer and recorded back in Salt Lake City with Jeff Adams at Archive Studios. Their gonzo spirit remains intact on the album, but nothing beats seeing them while shopping for fruit at the Farmers Market. (Jamie Gadette)

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Bird Eater might share three-fifths of their lineup with Gaza, but Jon Parkin, the towering lead singer for both acts, says the distinction between each outfit is clear: Gaza create in-your-face punk rock fueled by serious political and social ideologies. Bird Eater produce straightforward death metal rooted in classic country murder-ballad mythology. “You put on your cowboy hat for one and anarchy shirt for the other,” he says. Gaza are also committed road warriors, while Bird Eater are largely a studio project, though recent demos sparked interest from several labels and, with the right support, they might consider touring. Until then, Bird Eater plan to use their brutal, unforgiving sound (“the voice of the desert in its harshness”) to make the world a better place. Last month, they raised $1,800 at a No More Homeless Pets benefit and hope to generate similar funds at a March 27 Humane Society of Utah charity gig. Make no mistake—these guys are loud and a bit terrifying, but their hearts are pretty huge, too. (Jamie Gadette)

Local restaurants
have increasingly been teaming up with local musicians to enhance the dining experience. Thanks to their love of both worlds, David Williams can often be found serenading customers at Eva as well as Tin Angel, which hosts live acts Thursdays through Saturdays; Vertical Diner invites bands to literally sing for their supper on the patio (weather permitting) and Caffe Niche frequently showcases Red Rock Hot Club, John Henry and Joshua Payne Orchestra, who started a weekly Thursday residency in February. The Salt Lake City collective played several renegade midnight street shows over the summer, treating night owls to unique, avant-garde sounds. Utah’s “big band from outer space” is just the latest addition to a satisfying trend. (Jamie Gadette)

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