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

click to enlarge CWMA_Preview_100204_Aye_Aye.jpg
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)

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)

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)

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)

click to enlarge CWMA_Preview_100204_UziAri.jpg
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)

click to enlarge CWMA_Preview_100204_Mind_D8.jpg
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)

God’s Revolver
Banned from almost every live-music venue in their hometown of Provo, God’s Revolver love to prank and practical joke with all forms of authority. Yet, despite their antics, one fact remains the same—these boys breed a brand of greasy rock and roll that demands respect. I’m talking about hardrocking, paint-peeling guitar shredding, topped-off with raspy vocals that Wendy O. Williams would be proud of. Hold on to your Canadian Host and lock up your daughters, word on the street is that God’s Revolver will be releasing a new album this year that is bound to take them on the road again, spreading their own religion of sludge-rock across this fine country. (Angela H. Brown, SLUG Magazine)

Jezus Rides A Riksha
Jezus Rides A Riksha have experienced more turnovers than the Utah Jazz—or in what you might fill with your average Granny Smith apple (in regards to recent guitarist shuffling)—but the band has persevered throughout the years to become an institution of Salt Lake City’s hard-rock scene. Hell, they even survived an appearance at the 1998 Milwaukee Metalfest. In their decade-plus career, JRAR have delivered consistently solid recordings including their most recent release, Last Reach for the Sun, featuring 10 hard-hitting tunes. Their music packs a powerful, aggressive and melodic punch that in a live setting pummels your senses extra good. (John Forgach, KRCL)

These electro-organic rockers have a knack for roping you in with their lie-in-wait tuning then—without warning—totally snowglobe you, leaving you reeling in the wake of their refrain. (Circus Brown, KRCL)

Le Force
Instrumental metal duo Le Force are endlessly inventive with a limited palette; with just guitar and drums, they’re more brutal (and tuneful) than most so-called “full” bands. The precise blend of Chris’ intricate six-string layers and Jud’s primal percussion bring brilliantly titled songs like “Victory Runs Through Our Blood Like Ice in the Caves of Midnight” and “We May Belong to You ... But Our Souls Belong to Satan” to full cinematic life. (Bill Frost)

Libbie Linton
Libbie Linton released one of the best local records of 2009—and that’s not even her headlining achievement. Bird Wings in the Bleak packages her unique songwriting and incredible voice better than her debut EP. But her major accomplishment is onstage development; she’s delivering her songs with the conviction they deserve. (Dave Morrissey)

Linus Stubbs
Linus Stubbs maintains a low profile, but on the underground circuit his beats are in high demand. The Ogden-based producer’s resume is covered in collaborations with multiple emcees, from Utah to Canada and thereabouts in between. Most recently, he teamed up with Task for Urban Life of the Suburbanites, and is working on a followup LP while recording projects with The Numbs and California’s The Moon Blazers. He also produced tracks on the new Smash Brothas album and made beats for emcees on the upcoming “Alive and Well Tour.” Also, Linus never sleeps. (Jamie Gadette)

The electro/thrash power-punch duo known as Musclehawk consists of Greg Bower and Josh Holyoak. They are definitely on the front line of today’s electronic music scene. Whether it be throwing down their own original dance-floor bangers or some of the best remixes I’ve heard on a local or international level, Musclehawk are gonna make you move! After a live show, you’ll be sweaty, sore and wanting more. (Chase Loter)

Naked Eyes
With their do it yourself/don’t give a what attitude, The Naked Eyes have been one of my personal favorites over the past few years. Originally a trio out of Ogden, they now reside in Salt Lake City, where they just recently added Dirk Row to form one of the finest quartets around. Looped-out, dronelike guitars paired with lyrics that get bellowed as if they came from some possessed spirit from an ancient age. All in all, it’s damned good rock music with no gimmicks! (Chase Loter)

Palace of Buddies
Nick Foster and Tim Meyers produce cute, danceable music that is at times slightly reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, only more electronic. Oh, and you don’t have to slap on a pair of Capri skinny jeans to enjoy them. (Circus Brown)

Paul Jacobsen
Paul Jacobsen writes incredible songs that are accentuated by a small group of the most tasteful musicians around. Seeing him perform last year was nothing short of miraculous. Do yourself a favor and set aside a few bucks and an hour of your time to see Paul Jacobsen. It’ll change your life. (Chris Brozek)

Plastic Furs
Thick, loud psych-rock that’s equal parts relentless and soothing—Plastic Furs (formerly The Furs) are at the forefront of Salt Lake City’s budding psychedelic scene and are not to be missed when they take the stage. (Chris Brozek)

Separation Of Self
Separation Of Self formed in 2004 and has made every reasonable effort since then to prove they’re a local band poised for big things. Notable accomplishments include the pending release of their third full-length album, Desire Create (due in early spring 2010), and winning an all-expenses-paid, 45-day national tour in 2007. Everything S.O.S. does, from their songwriting to merch—even something as simple as their methodical, business-like approach to sound-checking before each show—demonstrates this band is seasoned well beyond their “local” status. (John Forgach)

click to enlarge CMWA_preview_100204_Nole_D1.jpg
Nolens Volens
Nolens Volens—aka Andrew Glassett— crafted his 2009 self-titled release at Blake Henderson’s (TaughtMe) San Francisco studio, playing all of the instruments save for a music box manned by Black Chandelier’s head designer. Arguably, it’s his most accessible album to date—the type of record that complements rainy-day strolls, its layered rhythms and sampled voices slowly seeping in until your head gently bobs. “It’s kind of my pseudo-attempt at being sentimental,” he says of the collective nine tracks, each dedicated to one of his family members. “I learned that I don’t really know my family that well—and I’m OK with that.” (Jamie Gadette)

Tiny Lights
You won’t find Tiny lights in the bin of your favorite indie record store or anyplace online; however, front man Matt Hill intends to change that this April with the band’s debut release. Until then, the only way to enjoy these contemporary shoegazer rockers is to see them play live. Using a minimal drum kit, beat-maker Mike Gonzales plays while standing with mallets and tambourine. Three guitarists layer impromptu and atmospheric effects on top of clean bass lines and soft, melodic vocals. The result is a wonderful droned-out hypnosis—sending the listener into meditation. (Angela H. Brown)

Tolchock Trio
Why Tolchock Trio doesn’t have a record deal with Sub Pop yet is beyond me. These guys create music that is light years ahead of most major releases I put out on the shelves each week. Tolchock turns out rock & roll that’s smart, creative, catchy, and lasting. They may just be the best band you’ve never heard. (Anna Brozek)

Vote for your favorite band

Who makes the best rap in Utah?

Who makes the best rap in Utah?
  • Burnell Washburn
  • Calhoon Popadopolis
  • Cig Burna
  • Dine Krew
  • FunKtional
  • House of Lewis
  • Ill Fede
  • Illwinded P
  • Jay Citrus
  • KIS.B
  • Lost, the Artist
  • Malev Da Shinobi
  • Melvin Junko
  • New Truth
  • Omeed the Nag
  • Pat Maine
  • Q1
  • Umang
  • Yze
  • Zigga

View Results

Pin It

More by Jamie Gadette

Latest in City Weekly Music Awards


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

What's Happening


Utah Opera: The Pearl Fishers

Capitol Theatre

Sat., Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., Mon., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m., Wed., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 25, 2 p.m. / $10-$95

© 2015 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation