CITY GUIDE 2017 | City Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


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Bands of the Beehive
With a gun to his head, City Weekly's music editor chooses 10 local bands you should check out.

By Randy Harward

Utah is the home of several bands you've heard on the radio, like Neon Trees, The Used and Imagine Dragons. We've even got several smaller acts that tour internationally, like SubRosa, Visigoth and Eagle Twin. But a local music scene is about its underground; the spirited and talented up-and-comers waiting for their shot—but who, in the meantime—thrill locals. In fact, there are so many exciting acts in SLC and the surrounding areas that confining this list to 10 acts hurt my head.

  • Gilbert Cisneros

Baby Gurl
A two-man, bass-drums, noise-metal unit, Jordan Fairbanks and Chris Wadsworth are like the Melvins meets Killing Joke in a bathhouse. Playing music that's complex, accessible, fun and loud, they appeal to folks who wouldn't normally care for their high-decibel rumble. Check out their latest album, Incompoop, on Bandcamp.

  • Jed Pearson

Choosing 10 bands gets easier when one of them is Badfeather. Singer and songwriter Rick Gerber is always playing somewhere with various projects. Badfeather is his main gig, and these ace musicians' album Signal Path is a feast of funky classic rock and soul evoking Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers and Widespread Panic. Also catch Gerber and his lady, Le Voir frontwoman Gillian Chase, in their duo The Bookends.

  • Sarahann Clayton

Crook and the Bluff
Psychedelic blues meets dusty, cinematic country with this foursome, whose theatrical performances bring their well-smithed songs to vivid, sepia-toned life. Down to the Styx is one of the best local albums ever. Give it a listen first, so you can compare your own mental images to what you see on stage.

  • Karen Angell

Sarah Anne DeGraw
Beguiling, feisty 22-year-old singer-songwriter DeGraw started out doing the solo acoustic thing at open-mic nights in Provo, then took a gig drumming for Crook and the Bluff. Now she's graduated to a full band of ace local musicians, including guitarist Mike Sasich, who is producing her first album. If you're into singer-songwriters that cut deep—with words or with just a look—she will slay you.

Intra-Venus & the Cosmonauts
This Provo band deals in the goth-rock of the 1980s—Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, The Birthday Party—with nods to post/cowpunks Wall of Voodoo. Their dark-trippy-cerebra album Forgotten Stars (2014) was produced by Bauhaus/L&R principal David J, who also plays on the record. After a hiatus to mourn their guitarist Joshua Ogzewalla, who passed away from cancer shortly after the album release, they're booking shows and working on new music.

  • Alysha Renee Kester

Concise Kilgore
Local underground rapper Concise Kilgore gets around beyond our borders, but still performs locally. His atmospheric, immersive album Kil Joy Division finds him spitting bars referencing a Mexican Viking afterlife, defunct English post-punk bands, Mayan ruins, the Easter Bunny, snakes, pills and compensatory wheels. Catch him when you can, because he's getting hot. He has three projects streeting in 2017, including one with "a well-known producer/rapper."

Joe McQueen
Absolutely, positively the first guy you need to see, even if you're not into jazz. Because, once you see this scrappy 97-year-old sax wizard blow his horn, you'll be converted. Joe's a local treasure with a storied career, having played with guys like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. He's also a first-rate raconteur and curmudgeon who'll crack you up. And, if you sass him, he'll crack your skull.

The Nods
Known for their ferocious live shows and irresistible songs, this garage-rock band just released a single on the Scottish label Hail Atlantis—and it was produced by Slaughter Joe Foster, founder of venerated U.K. labels Creation Records, Kaleidoscope Sound and Rev-Ola Records. You can hear it and their sublime Ariadne's Thread on Bandcamp.

  • David Payne

Red Bennies
This is one of our longest-running, consistently good local bands. Red Bennies, led by relentlessly creative nucleus David Payne, plays a strain of loud, soulful garage rock that gets audiences high as hell. Hit Payne's site to hear the ridiculous amount of music he's put out over the years with the Bennies and a slew of other projects, including his nerdcore duo Jade Knight/Lord British.

  • Catherine Davis

Jordan Matthew Young
A gifted songwriter and guitarist with a brawny rasp, Young gigs all over town (not to mention the country and even across the pond) as the frontman for SLC's beloved blues-rock band Candy's River House, garnering a devoted following for his electrifying performances. He's phasing out the band name, but the songs remain the same.


Cool Tracks, Hot Wax
A guide to Salt Lake City's best indie record stores.

By Randy Harward

When we music fans hit new cities, our prime directive is to find the best independent record store. Not f.y.e., not Hastings, but the brick-and-mortar mom-and-pops, the ones where the owners aim to be rich in culture, not filthy lucre (as nice as that would be). A new music source is ripe with the potential for discovery, be it the debut recording of a new band or the one album you've been searching for your entire life. Plus, every record store has its own personality, and it's always nice to find new people with ears as hungry as yours, and to take home new treasures tied to the memory of your trip and your new friends.

  • Josh Scheuerman

Albatross Recordings & Ephemera
1305 S. 900 East,
Stores like Albatross serve the cool-and-strange demographic, the oddballs whose tastes run to the ... exotic. While proprietor Timo Hatziathanasiou's selection isn't limited to esoterica, that is the emphasis. You'll find everything from the very best import version of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless to fringe titles by obscure bands on underground-as-hell labels and special-edition horror film soundtracks along with cool, creepy books, toys and knick-knacks. Plus a massive, super-sick stereo.

  • Derek Carlisle

Diabolical Records
238 S. Edison St.,
Diabolical owners Adam Tye and Alana Boscan met at a party and bonded over their mutual music-nerdiness. Now married, they run one of the coolest record shops in town, with an interior resembling a small suburban home. It's like your friend has the coolest parents on the block, and they let bands play in the living room. Sometimes sleepy, sometimes packed, this is where the cool kids hang out.

  • Derek Carlisle

The Heavy Metal Shop
63 Exchange Place,
Kevin Kirk is the real deal. He's been "peddlin' evil since 1987," but can talk about all kinds of music. He also has the respect of the metal elite—and pictures to prove it. You might already have seen shots of Slayer and other big-time heshers sporting THMS hoodies and tees. If not, dig the wall while you browse his expertly curated selection.

  • Derek Carlisle

Graywhale Entertainment
Multiple locations
Locally owned Graywhale opened near the University of Utah in 1986 and quickly became a local favorite. Now with four locations, Graywhale's combined inventory of new and pre-owned CDs, vinyl, movies, books and collectibles is colossal—and you can search it in real time on their website. Fans of jazz, blues, classical and world music should hit the university-adjacent store.

  • Steven Vargo

Randy's Record Shop
157 E. 900 South,
Randy Stinson opened his store in 1978 with 60,000 singles, and the shop continues to be a first stop for wax addicts. Locals and visitors alike know Randy's reputation for having—and, if not, finding—the elusive new, used and import platters that matter to you. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with their quarterly, weekend-long $2 vinyl sale across the street in a warehouse behind Huddart Floral.

  • Enrique Limón

Raunch Records
1119 E. 2100 South,
Oi! What The Heavy Metal Shop is to metal, Raunch (est. 1984) is to punk. Variously located in downtown SLC and Sugar House over the years, Raunch is back in the latter 'hood, dealin' real punk rock (the music and the attitude) along with skateboards and accessories. Posers note: This ain't no Hot Topic.

  • Gavin Sheehan

Sound & Vision Vinyl
3444 S. Main,
Walk into Mike Maccarrone's 15-month-old record store and you know you're onto something good. Maccarrone, 55, is a lifelong music-pusher raised in Brooklyn. He hung out at the legendary Max's Kansas City when punk happened, and he knows everybody. These days, he's content to hang out in his clean, comfortable store where he only stocks the good stuff and his massive, all killer/no filler music library plays on shuffle while he takes great pleasure in talking tunes with customers.

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About The Authors

Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

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