Drop Dead Julio, Skud Missile Smugglaz, Michael Lucarelli 

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Drop Dead Julio: The Stories We Could Tell

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Drop Dead Julio carve out their own niche in local music with riff-driven melodies and singer Gene Kennedy’s somewherethis-side-of-emo delivery. “The Youth Are Disillusioned” would be a theme song for Utah youth, if not kids the world over. But Kennedy tempers his lyrics with humor in “Don’t Let Me Get Me Down”: “2:20 AM, I’m rollin on antidepressants.” Has that verb-noun combo ever been played before? If antidepressants are the way you “roll,” as so many of us do, this may be your cup of Prozac. Overall, Drop Dead Julio are all about the music, seemingly nothing will get in the way of that for them, “play my jam instead,” Kennedy concludes, and it beats the hell out of the alternative. MySpace.com/DropDeadJulio

Skud Missile Smugglaz: Pyramid Schemes

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SMS isn’t just a cell-phone app. Skud Missile Smugglaz “gets up in your area code” with rap of a political bent and bare bones, yet eerily textured, sonicity that hasn’t been heard since the Wu-Tang Clan. “Introductiontothelazaruschamber” sets an atmospheric mood—if you can call an atmosphere in which you feel like an IED (Improvised Explosive Device, in Iraq War lingo) might be headed for you at any moment atmospheric. “Arkane of the 12th Planet” and “Halogen” issue the indictments right and left, culminating in “Pyramid Schemes (Knewclear War)” in which the conflict reaches a crucible of cynicism toward the powers that be as well as in creativity in lyrics and production. Not since the Numbs has a Utah rap group taken this genre and made it theirs. A shout-out to Sun Ra shows their listening taste, as well. And how long has it been since you’ve seen a Parental Advisory label on an album? Nineties nostalgia indeed! MySpace.com/SkudMissileSmugglaz

Michael Lucarelli: Favorites (LMS Recordings)

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For several decades, Michael Lucarelli has been the most notable classical guitarist in Salt Lake City, a fixture on the local chamber concert scene and a prolific creator whose work touches on the classical canon but also expands to cover a much-more-eclectic repertoire ranging from “Classical Gas” to “Stairway to Heaven” to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” “Corcovado” by Brazilian composer/ musician Antonio Carlos Jobim is perhaps the most interesting of a stellar assemblage, with his perfectly enunciated, never-overstated technique applied to a Latin syncopation, negotiating the steps of this dance as if he invented it. His even-handed style still allows for emotionality, for the music to actually communicate, working the fingerboard as nimbly as a high wire. Lucarelli.com

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