The 2010 City Weekly Music Awards Honor Roll 

Your guide to the City Weekly Music Awards Top 30.

click to enlarge Michael Gross & The Statuettes
  • Michael Gross & The Statuettes

It’s going to take years before folks stop referring to the City Weekly Music Awards as the SLAMMys, but we’ll lead by example. The name swap is significant not simply because we fear the wrath of professional wrestlers—past local music events focused a great deal on competition. CWMA’s goal is to showcase a portion of the talented artists making waves in our own backyard. To that end, we reached out to the community by involving respected sources outside City Weekly to help generate a list of 30 Utah bands reflective of our town’s ever-expanding pool of noteworthy artists. This list could have easily reached into the 100s, but we raised the stakes by narrowing the field. Readers can vote for their favorites at the showcases, Feb. 5-6 & Feb. 12-13, online or by text message. The Top 3 will be announced in the Feb. 18 CWMA issue—which will also include a bevy of staff picks. The Top 3 will also perform Feb. 20 at The Depot with Portland-based Sub Pop band The Helio Sequence. You can purchase tickets at Slowtrain (221 E. Broadway) or online at SmithsTix.com.

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Aye Aye
Aye Aye play a unique blend of psychedelic-infused blues in the vein of Entrance and Dylan. The music is loose. It winds and twists, sometimes heading a few different directions throughout a song. The free-flowing style is accentuated by Nelle Ward and Andrew Alba’s haunting vocals, which seem to echo through the tracks. Close your eyes, slip a piece of blotter paper under your tongue and simply enjoy the ride with this one. (Jeanette D. Moses/SLUG Magazine)

Atherton
There was no new record from Americana act Atherton this year. No large tour. Yet, the band kept busy as proverbial bees—lineup changes, side projects, recording collaborations and more. Somehow, Atherton’s core members remained focused, continuing to introduce new fans to their warm, approachable sound on increasingly prominent bills. (Dave Morrissey, KRCL)

Bird Eater
A pitch-black wall of thudding doom, tempered with atmospheric reprieves and subtle flashes of guitar virtuosity—Bird Eater aren’t just loud, they own loud. The fivesome is made up of members from familiar Utah metal dealers like Iota, Gaza and Pilot This Plane Down, but the new whole is more than the sum of its parts. Songs like “Blood Meridian” and “Carrion Totem” are heavier than a beached whale full of car batteries on Mars, but gentler passages like “Rodriguez” prove Bird Eater can caress before they kill. (Bill Frost, City Weekly)

Birthquake
Breaking into the local music scene with a bang, this band of brothers is easily one of the most fun and high-energy acts around. Birthquake’s instrumental party jams have taken Salt Lake City music to a new level, and they’re just getting started. Something big is brewing with Birthquake for 2010, even if they don’t know it yet. (Anna Brozek, Slowtrain)

Cub Country
Fresh off of a tour to support their new record Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile, Cub Country is at the top of their game. The local roots-rockers live set is packed with an energy and professionalism that’s unparalleled. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was easy. (Chris Brozek, Slowtrain)

Michael Gross & The Statuettes
Michael Gross & The Statuettes’ (pictured at top) latest release, Impulse & Exports, is six tracks of surging pop with a glistening electronic edge pulsing beneath crystal-clear vocals. They recorded the LP at home on Gross’ trusty 16-track recorder and using Adobe Audition—the wallflower to Pro Tools’ prom queen—to apply the finishing touches for a sound on par with those created in slick, expensive studios. Live, their honest approach paired with an amiable stage presence makes them some of the nicest— and nicest sounding—musicians in town. (Jamie Gadette, City Weekly)

David Williams
The music of David Williams is pure magic. It makes my heart skip, brings a tear to my eye, compels me to sing along, and causes me to swell with pride. I don’t know when this magnificent songwriter will get his big break or the acclaim he deserves; I only hope I’m around to witness it. (Anna Brozek)

Desert Noises
Having only been around since the spring of 2008, this Orem/Provo-based trio have created their own unique sound that is quite refreshing. It’s simplicity at its best. With lovely guitar melodies and lyrics that speak from and to the soul, you really can’t go wrong. Check out more artists on American Fork’s Northplatte Records— you won’t be disappointed. (Chase Loter, Fourth Street Music)

The Devil Whale
I can’t think of a more well-rounded band in town. The Devil Whale blends their incredible gift of music with professionalism, hard work, innovation and a great reputation. Top all that off with amazing new songs and the best line-up of musicians yet; this band has a momentum that just may be unstoppable. (Anna Brozek)

Future of The Ghost
Future is just rockin’. I like to watch them play, and not just spin their CD. Will is a genius and the Energizer bunny, working two clubs and having multiple music projects. I do admire chick drummers, and Cathy Foy has so much power. I am in awe when I watch her. The sound is a gritty pop-punk that’s rude and catchy. (Portia Early, UtahFM)

Gaza
The subtly controlled chaos of grind/metal behemoths Gaza is not for the weak of heart, but for those of us who find beauty in brutality, their 2009 opus He Is Never Coming Back was among the year’s best releases. Bleak, powerful and sporadically melodic, HINCB has melted faces both locally and nationally, garnering rave reviews from respectable metal tomes Lambgoat and Decibel. Deathgrind legends Cattle Decapitation have also taken notice, tapping Gaza as support for their spring tour. (Ricky Vigil, SLUG Magazine)

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Uzi & Ari
It’s not unusual for a Salt Lake City resident to stumble upon Uzi & Ari while on vacation in San Francisco—or Tokyo. The local project, propelled by principal songwriter Ben Shepard, often records in the Bay Area with close friend/colleague Blake Henderson (TaughtMe) and spends much of the year touring Japan or, more recently, the U.K. But Shepard— along with current members Andrew Glassett and Catherine Worsham—still holds fierce ties to this town. He tackles his strict religious upbringing and its emotional residue on the band’s latest, Headworms, which layers organic instrumentation over a loose electronic backbone with dreamy, potent effect. (Jamie Gadette)

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Mindstate
Mindstate consists of two brothers— emcee Dusk One and DJ Honna. They are two of the hardest-working artists in the city. On their current release The Black Lungs EP, Dusk Ones rhymes paint a colorful canvas of two hungry artists living day to day putting in 110 percent— whether it be on or off the clock. Be on the lookout for “The Alive and Well Tour” that takes off this spring will be filled with more Dickies and Chucks flavor. (Chase Loter)
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