Salt Lake Top 50 

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You sent ’em; we listened. Not every local CD released within the past year is included here, just the 50 that stood out in the stacks that local artists submitted to City Weekly, neatly arranged A-Z. Each of these discs had a special something, that certain je ne sais quoi that separates the pretty good from the damn fine. Included for your consumer shopping convenience is each CD’s corresponding Internet contact info.


ABSINTHE


Absinthe


Absinthe_Mari@yahoo.com


Despite cheesy dungeon cover art and goth-geek imagery, Absinthe’s layered hard-rock rage-’n’-brood attack hits home like a blacker-than-black twist of Cain. (Bill Frost)


BLUES ON FIRST


Live at the Dead Goat Saloon


www.BluesOnFirst.com


Blues On First’s unintentional live gem was initially an exercise in archival. Now it’s the best damn blues disc the valley has heard. Dead-on playing, keen interpretive skills … BOF throws down. (Randy Harward)


THE BOARDS


Too Loud For the Silver Cloud


www.SoundCoRecords.com


This fossil (from between 1979-’82, predating even The Stench) from seminal Salt Lake garage punks The Boards spent 22 years in singer Monroe’s car trunk until SoundCo Records gave it a reissue. If you like your punk á la the Germs and the Nerves, pick it up. (RH)


STACEY BOARD


Drive


www.StaceyBoard.com


Singer-songwriter Board steps out with a full band along to flesh out these songs about actual and metaphorical driving. The extras (slide guitar, drums, studio trickery) are a perfect complement to her mellifluous vocals and acoustic strumming. (RH)


BUCKETTOOTH


Brain Tease


www.Buckettooth.com


Is it a demo? Says so on the label, but Buckettooth’s collection of smart rap-rock booty-thumpers sounds like the real deal with deft musicianship, left-field change-ups and frontman Joshua Tai Taeoalii’s loopy mic skills. (BF)


CHUBBY BUNNY


Live! On Kicking Judy


ChubbyBunnyIsSoBoss@hotmail.com


What the band calls its “ghetto disc” is a diamond in the rough: Angsty shouts, funny feminista lyrics, rudimentary riffs and bludgeoned drums … it’s rock & roll, baby. (RH)


THE CONTINGENCY PLAN


The Contingency Plan


www.TheContingencyPlan.net


Pop-emo-punk very much on the Jimmy-Eat-Blink-Sum tip, but executed with enough personality, tunesmithing skills and musical chops to be forgiven for it. (BF)


DESMO


Autobiographies


www.DesmoBand.com


Spunky suburban pop-funk sporting a serious rock crunch beneath sugary and moody hooks, all pushed over the top with singer Melanie Van Orden belting her ass off. (BF)


DIE MONSTER DIE


What Is Shall Always Be


www.UtahUnderground. net/diemonsterdie


The real Monsters of Rock serve up power-chordy horror tunes for the hopelessly immature. Not the tightest bunch, these gabba-gabba-ghouls, but neither were the Ramones. (RH)


DIRTY BIRDS


Thinglesing


www.Thinglesing.com


On their debut collection of country-ish rock, Dirty Birds do every single thing—playin,’ singin,’ writin’—right, serving the song with as much restraint as zeal. (RH)


THE DOWNERS


Invading Your Space/EP


Infectious new-wave pogo-pop meets ‘70s AM-radio baroque drama in the blue velvet tunnel to the center of your heartstrings on two cool releases. Why aren’t they, like, huge? (BF)


FORM OF ROCKET


Se Puede Despedir A Todos


www.FormofRocket.com


Just when math rock was nearing calculus complexity, Form of Rocket figured out how to lay it on simpler ears. Presenting the FoR theorem: If x = riffs, y = balls and z = brains, then xyz = Form of Rocket. (RH)


GERALD MUSIC


Gerald Music


www.GeraldMusic.com


Gerald Music were voted the 2001 SLAMMy Band of the Year, released this swank CD of eclectic pop, and then disappeared without a trace. Oh, the pressures of local stardom. (BF)


GIFT ANON


Missing the Magic


www.GiftAnon.com


With long, slow ‘n’ fuzzy walks on Somber Beach that are pulled into shimmering guitar undertows before naptime, Gift Anon pushes a newer and prettier slocore drug. (BF)


HAMMERGUN


Texas


www.StereoRecordingCo.com


A fluid cycle of bludgeoning stoner-rock riffs with too much gravitational pull to be contained, Texas is a woofer-blowing tsunami representing ballsy art at its grimiest. (BF)


HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL


Scenes From a Vinyl Recliner


www.HudsonRiverSchool.com


SLAMMy 2002 Band of the Year winners HRS’ debut is three killer (“Road Trip” scores 10), seven filler. So why does it make the Top 50? Those three songs—consummate sing-along guitar anthems for the emo set—are that good. (RH)


ICBM


357 Vacation


The slick CD package gives no indication of the raw punk-rap hijinx contained in ICBM’s 357 Vacation, a foamy kegger of rapid-fire pop-culture rants that’s as funny as it is funky, singling out fake punks, goths, hippies, ravers and everyone else. (BF)


THE IDIOTS/ZEN ONE & THE FIRE GANG


Volume 1/Burn-Turna-Kit


www.Numbs.com


Cool compilations featuring various Numbs members and other local hip-hop artists. The best Idiots cuts come from The Numbs’ crew, their funky-clean backbeats and dense lyrical flow unmistakable; Zen One is looser and funnier, but no less intense. (BF)


KIDD KAZMEO


No Time to Play


www.KiddKazmeo.com


He says he wants to be to Salt Lake what Nelly is to St. Louis, and local hip-hop/R&B roller Kidd Kazmeo makes a case with skilled flows and deep beats on cuts like “SLC Girl” and “Mr. Handle That.” (BF)


THE KILL


Extended Play


www.KillRock.com


Airtight post-hardcore was never so taxing. To listen to The Kill is to be drained and invigorated until one more distorto chord or yowling vocal will mean orgasm or death-and you could go either way. (RH)


KQWIET


KuAllaahnista


http://Hoth.4dw.com


The studio artist sometimes known as Hoth(e) spins a surround-sound epic of ominous noise, gorgeous atmospherics and fleeting melodies-it’s Salvador Dali with ProTools. (BF)


JOE MCQUEEN


Joe McQueen & Friends


JazzmanJoeMcQueen@yahoo.com


Ogden saxophone vet Joe McQueen’s long-long-long-time-coming debut, a smooth set of jazzed-up standards, is an understated document of swinging virtuosity and players having a blast laying it down. (BF)


MEDICINE CIRCUS


Empty


Swirling washes of bright Brit-pop guitars mix with latent grunge sensibilities for über-catchy songs that just won’t quit running through your head or your speakers. (BF)


MONTGOMERY ROCK


Love


Live from an undisclosed location (L.A. East? The Boston Pops? His bedroom?), 1979 ASCAP Young Composer Award recipient William Maiben does covers and seriously nutty originals. Look out, Billboard Top 200! (RH)


BOB MOSS


Folknik


www.SoundCoRecords.com


Folk classics and obscurities get bent and oddly better in the hands of Clearfield resident Moss, whose banjo pluckin’ and high weirdsome vocals just seem to suit a folky tale. (RH)


MISTY MURPHY


Circles


www.MistyMurphy.com


Murphy eschews the percolating electro-rock of Cork in favor of singer-songwriterly acoustic—though still sufficiently hot-wired—fare. The result is sleek, smart, superb and, yes, sexy. (RH)


NOVA PARADISO


Mantis Recipe


www.NovaParadiso.com


World Beat without the yuppie aftertaste, Nova Paradiso twists every music worth knowing into exotic balloon animals with Zappa-esque flair and yet, still get paid! In Utah! (BF)


OLD MAN JOHNSON


Life Saving Apparatus


www.OldManJohnson.com


Off-kilter Layton alt-rock loaded with humor and tasty guitars that crackle and bounce like Jennifer Love Hewitt in a tub of Rice Krispies. That line can’t be topped, sorry. (BF)


OPTIMUS PRIME


1997XF11


www.RedBennies.com/Optimus


OP’s “space porn” is super-fly, Saturday-morning cool, a funky deluge of wah-wah guitar, cosmic keyboards and sultry vocals. The band who would lay it down for its brother-man. Wocka-wocka, bow-bow-bow. (RH)


ZACH PARRISH


Zach Parrish


www.SerapisRecords.com


The big man with the crazy ’stache shows off his big blues sound on his proper debut, mixin’ up Texas, Delta and jump styles as well as wild pickin’ and supremely cool vocals. (RH)


LARRY PATTIS


Hands of Time


www.LarryPattis.com


Fingerstyle guitar black belt strikes again, weaving folk instrumentals that speak lyrical volumes without the slightest need for intruding vocals or extraneous players. (BF)


PHONO


Dementia


www.PhonoOnline.com


Finely detailed industrial-electronic rock that’s as melodic as it is malicious, spearheaded by one-man machine Joe Ashton’s wrenching vocals and dynamic stainless-steel beats. (BF)


PURDYMOUTH WV


Just Don’t Kiss Her


www.Purdymouth.com


Purdymouth WV dresses classic rock up for a hoedown, to two-headed effect. Their hicked-up versions of Led Zep’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” and Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” are good for yuks, but chock fulla wicked chops. (RH)


ERNESTO RICO


Caliente


ErnestoRicoH@yahoo.com


Latino singer-songwriter Rico’s delivers an eclectic mix of Latin rhythms, pop rock and suave AC balladry on this aptly named disc. If you can fathom a hybrid of Marc Anthony, Los Lobos and Julio Iglesias, you’re in the ballpark. (RH)


THE RODEO BOYS


Live at KRCL


www.TheRodeoBoys.com


You can’t go wrong with beer, acoustic guitars, a Fender Rhodes, a Soviet synth and a beat-boxin’ drummer. Even when you sing about ecstasy dads, easy-bake lovin’ and getting’ it on. (RH)


SALIVA SISTERS


Songs Our Mother Asked Us Not to Sing


www.SalivaSisters.com


Ranging from groaningly obvious to divinely inspired (“Light Rail to Midvale,” á la “Last Train to Clarksville”), the Saliva Sisters’ Mo’-baiting parodies are as intrinsic to Utah life as … the liquor laws? (BF)


DAVE SHIPLEY


Gitano


www.DaveShipley.com


Gypsy-jazz guitarist Dave Shipley burns like the desert sun across eight mostly traditional instrumental cuts on Gitano, occasionally swerving into elevator music, but with more than enough jazzbo chops and Latin exotica to compensate.


SILVERCRUSH


Stand


www.SilvercrushBand.com


Streamlined, radio-ready rock sits on the fence between Live and Train, but with more substance. Guitarist-vocalist Steele Croswhite has more and better to say and does so via top-notch throaty vocals and sinewy guitar. (RH)


STARMY


Dead Ready


www.mp3.com/Starmy


Sweet and dark. Catchy and chaotic. Comic and dramatic. It can’t be said enough: Dead Ready is a suave mofo of a rock & roll record, and isn’t it nice that the voters agree? (BF)


THUNDERFIST


Loud, Fast, Rock & Roll


www.ThunderfistMusic.com


T-fist further “refines” the lineup on its fourth album of rip-snorting trash-punk, adding Lemmy soundalike Mick Mayo as bassist and co-lead vocalist. It’s like wiping with sandpaper and rinsing on an Aqua Velva-spouting bidet. But in a good way. (RH)


TRIGGER LOCKS


Gold at Anything


www.TheTriggerLocks.com


Utah’s unsung musical heroes subtly ditched alt-country on their second disc, proving they don’t need damning labels to produce damned fine tunes. If there’s any justice, the Trigger Locks will someday get what’s coming to ’em. (BF)


23 EXTACY


Holy Land


NovaOneProd@hotmail.com


Apocolyptic industrial revolutions with traces of Ministry, Skinny Puppy and old-school keypad thrashers galore, with banjos (!) and digeridoos (!!) tossed in for brief comic relief. (BF)


THE USED


The Used


www.TheUsed.net


Oppression plus hunger (literal and abstract) makes for some gut-wrenching rock & roll. Add a guy who can sing as well as he screams, guitars that roar and adorn and a seemingly endless vault of great tunes and you’ve got indescribable wow. (RH)


VARIOUS ARTISTS


The Singles Ward


www.SinglesWard.com


Mo’-tunes become downright tolerable after a hot rock colonic. Some of them-Mismash’s “Do What Is Right,” Magstatic’s “The Church of Jesus Christ,” Slender’s rendition of “When Grandpa Comes”-are simply awesome. (RH)


VIOLET RUN


East of the Sun, West of the Moon


www.mp3.com/VioletRun


Is it goth? Spacey alt-rock? Only Violet Run knows for sure. One thing is certain: Singer-guitarist-songwriter Randal Blandon keeps the gloom pretense-free, thus ensuring the integrity of The Rock. (RH)


THE WOLFS


White Pills/Night & Day


www.RedTriangleRecords.com


Seven sexy tunes spread over two EPs—apparently, one disc couldn’t hold this much hot rock & roll. Like the New York Dolls trashing the Stax/Volt library, it’s tough love, baby. (BF)

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