Local CD Revue | Vile Blue Shades, Gene Swift Band, Sinthesis & Salt Lake City Rockers for Life 

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Vile Blue Shades
Triple Threat

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Someone once told me they would like the VBS better if they actually wrote songs—and listening to Triple Threat (Pseudo Recordings) doesn’t provide any counterarguments. Featuring a remastered and repackaged collection of out-of-print Dark Wizard, Bottle of Pain, Obleaske of the Orb EPs and singles, Triple Threat mainly showcases the band’s experimental beginnings which often devolve into group chanting and drum-circles. That said, the album does a fantastic job of showcasing VBS’ evolution and incorporation of basic elements (like song structure) that now make them one of the most captivating live acts in Salt Lake City. Plus, the liner notes come with cutouts of the group’s 12 members so you can pose them in any convenient store-themed hilarity you desire.

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Gene Swift Band Backseat Guru
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It would be easy to dismiss Gene Swift Band as an “old-folks” band just because they play the type of inoffensive music that perfectly compliments a Sunday afternoon on the Lazy Boy, but Backseat Guru proves itself to be one of the most solid pop albums of 2007. The album doesn’t stray much from its patented dreamy, country-ish rock; opener “Way Back Home” recalls good Wilco and Gene Swift’s soothing vocals will satisfy any Warren Zevon fan. The band occasionally swerves into sappy territory (“Wrong Planet” tries to be topical by deriding SUVs), but with 20-plus musicians contributing, it’s hard to stay mad at this obvious labor-of-love.

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Sinthesis Movement 4:6
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Do Sinthesis a favor: Don’t put this album on during a party. Use it as background music to get laid to or maybe after when you consider what you’ve just done. The aptly named Movement deserves your undivided attention, ingeniously playing with musical themes that are so rare in hip-hop, culminating in an epically morose journey. Rather than indulging in samples and party tracks, Sinthesis throws the listener into atmospheric instrumentals that will undoubtedly annoy some but reward those who stick through it to the end.

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Various Artists Salt Lake City Rockers for Life 2007
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Since this is a benefit album to warn of the dangers of drunken driving, I’m not really allowed to say anything bad about it. I mean, what kind of monster would I have to be to complain about the uninspired mix of grunge, metal and whiny rock? What benefits might I reap by noting that formulaic pop-punk songs are the highlights of the album? And who am I trying to impress when I say that half the songs sound like they were recorded by a monkey learning Pro Tools? I’m obviously not thinking about the children! Let’s make a deal: You stop drinking and driving so they stop putting stuff like this out, I’ll give it two stars and we’ll call it a day.

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About The Author

Ryan Bradford

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