Meet the 2013 CWMA Bands | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Meet the 2013 CWMA Bands 

22 vying for Band of the Year

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The City Weekly Music Awards has gone through many name changes—Showdown to South by Southwest became the SLAMMYs, which became the CWMAs—but the core mission has stayed the same: shining a light on the varied and talented bands and musicians who call Utah home.

This year, we’re excited to introduce a robust variety of genres and more new bands to the awards showcases than previous years. These 22 bands will play across Salt Lake City and Provo at seven showcases from April 17 to April 27 ($5 a pop). For your concert-going pleasure, we’ve moved the dates of the annual showcases from February to warmer months—hopefully this, along with the excellent showcase lineups, will encourage you to see more shows.

While it’s not exactly a competition—our goal is to expose City Weekly readers to a number of new bands and venues where they can relish in the live-concert experience—there is a winning band, chosen by a combination of online voting, which ends midnight April 27, and in-person votes (weighted more heavily) by you, the fan.

2013’s chosen band will join the ranks of previous winners Neon Trees, King Niko, Max Pain & the Groovies, Tolchock Trio and others, earning bragging rights for life and a nice prize to boot. The Band of the Year will be revealed on the cover of City Weekly’s May 2 issue.

Stay updated by checking out our CWMA page, which is also where you can vote for your favorite band. And follow the action on Twitter with #CWMA.

Contributors: Austen Diamond, Colin Wolf, Benjamin Bombard, Gavin Sheehan, Jordan Wallis

Thursday, April 18
5 Monkeys, 7 E. 4800 South

Concise Kilgore
Concise Kilgore has reaped more success in the rap industry than anyone currently residing in the 801. Kilgore started his career as a tour hype man for rapper Rasco (of Cali Agents). In November 2012, he dropped his second LP, Kobain (Soulspazm), with heavy support from local producer DJ Briskoner. It’s a gigantic effort loaded with a laundry list of rap’s biggest names—Evidence and DJ Babu (Dilated Peoples), Fashawn, Brand Nubian and Action Bronson—and has earned him national renown. (Colin Wolf)

Burnell Washburn
Arguably the hardest-working rapper in Salt Lake City, Burnell Washburn is the definition of an all-around hustling emcee. As co-owner of Wasatch Renaissance—a Sandy-based record label and collective for local musicians and artists—and promoter of the monthly Hip-Hop Roots shows, Washburn has been a major advocate for fostering SLC’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. Over the past year, Washburn has toured heavily, alongside legendary Rhymesayers emcee Abstract Rude, in support of his April 2012 EP, An Apple a Day. (CW)

The spearheader of the Make Mind Collective, emcee DopeThought, hailing from Rose Park, is also one of Utah’s most promising up and comers. His style is a well-balanced blend of effortless battle rap and engaging storytelling. In January 2013, Dope released his debut LP, We Our Environment (Heaven Noise Recordings), produced by Jackson “Worth” Savage. The 17-track album is a collection of smart, socially conscious lyrics paired with Worth’s squeaky-clean, jazzy samples. (CW)

Emerson Kennedy
Emerson Kennedy’s style of rap, heard on his first polished collection of tunes, Denim, released in April, can only be classified as experimental hip-hop—think Theophilus London, Sting and, hell, maybe even Kavinsky. But as much as the 29-year-old musician, producer and rapper’s music flutters between everything from indie-rock to rap, and the fact that he typically performs with a live band, Kennedy is a freestyle rapper at heart—an accomplished one at that. Currently, he’s undefeated in battle-rap competitions—like AHAT and Mic Masters. (CW)

Friday, April 19
Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State

The Bully

One of the major themes in the local scene this past year has been stalwart local musicians branching out into new terrain. With The Bully, Jake Fish (bassist for The Devil Whale) picked up a six-string to pluck out gritty alt-country gems. Backed by Jamie Timm and Brent Dreiling, the live sets have been evolving from a hodgepodge of covers and originals to a more confident, unabashed expression of this new band and its frontman. (Austen Diamond)

Lady Murasaki
This SLC jazzy-rock band turns heads—and not just because of their gorgeous, 6-foot-tall frontwoman, Amber Taniuchi, either; their infectious melodies and catchy beats compel booties to shake on dance floors. Four of their songs made their way onto a self-titled debut EP, with apparent influences like Nat King Cole, Adele, Norah Jones and Ella Fitzgerald. Taniuchi’s silky, bass-y vocals play over swinging rock-jazz bass riffs and rhythms—from an ever-changing backing lineup this year—for a set of rock songs that relate an unrelenting pining for love. (Gavin Sheehan)

Folk Hogan
How long does it take for whiskey to boil in hell? Only Folk Hogan knows. Well, they at least love the chest-pounding power of the brown drink, the spookiness of the macabre and are wont to sing, “We are gods/ We are a band of mighty souls.” Their debut album, Band of Mighty Souls, offers up 12 tracks that pay homage to punk, gypsy rock and the fervency of newgrass in a Royal Rumble of notes, melody and rhythm. This six-piece is a raucous thing to behold, whether busking streets or playing into the wee hours at a bar. (AD)

Saturday, April 20
The Woodshed, 60 E. 800 South

Bullets & Belles
The overall aesthetic of this minimalist three-piece harkens is something like Billie Holiday meets doo-wop, Bing Crosby minus a swinging horn section, or classic pop meets indie contemporary songwriting. Bullets & Belles label themselves as “contemporary doo-wop” and “whimsical soul.” And when the two female voices come together in a scratchy harmony on top of piano, acoustic guitar and drums—like on their brand-new 2013 LP, Be Glad—you might pull out a hankie and swoon. (AD)

Color Animal
Singer-songwriter Andrew Shaw’s (The Platte) dreams of rocking out again have come true, with the help of Nick Neihart (guitar on album), Seth Howe (guitar in concert), Tyler Ford (drums) and Felicia Baca (bass, backup vocals). Color Animal started gigging in May 2012 and have now released a solid set of seven garage-rock tunes with Vision Lies, an album about “truth.” It’s not heavy, per se, rather a fun, no-frills album—screen-printed, to capture the band’s artistry—with an addictive, catchy, aggressive, poppy aesthetic at the core (think The Thermals, Surfer Blood or Ty Segall). Although the band’s logo is a wolffalo, its symbol could just as easily be an earworm. Truth! (AD)

Juana Ghani

When 11-member Juana Ghani formed nearly three years ago, they didn’t intend to become an “underground gypsy cabaret,” but the title emerged organically from the eclectic cast, whose artistry cannot be expressed with music alone. A Juana Ghani concert includes belly dancers, a magician and pole dancers accompanying the band’s signature poppy-polka sound. Shall We Live Forever, the band’s 2012 debut, offers semi-nightmarish themes of violence, revenge, desire and struggle, and to add context to the lyrics, bandmember Brian Bonell released a novella, titled Kasojeni Bay. Juana Ghani’s creativity knows no bounds. (AD)

Thursday, April 25
The Complex, 536 W. 100 South

Spirit Master
Spirit Master creates the perfect rock concoction that’s equal parts experimental music weirdo-ness, cryptic pseudo-religious imagery and shit-eatin’-grin persistence. Hear the four-piece’s experimentations on killer songs like “Kelly Clarkson,” which has nothing to do with the pop star, or “The Architect,” which teeters between metal and prog rock. The symbols and trippy imagery, like The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne’s face—a close-up from Christmas on Mars—on the back of the band’s recent EP are enigmatic, to say the least. And, finally, aside from steady club gigs, their perseverance landed them an opening spot for The Flaming Lips in late 2011—a notable achievement nary another local band can boast. (AD)

Marinade’s memorable live presence, with frontwoman Talia Keys playing drums passionately center stage, has kept them on people’s minds over the past few years. They gig a lot, at venues ranging from the Hog Wallow Pub to Desert Rocks Music Festival, and have become hometown hippie heroes—one of the few bands that make a living with music alone. With the release of Marinade’s first professional album, Soak Your Meat in This, the band’s reggae-infused blues are finally available beyond the bar. (Jordan Wallis)

Night Sweats
Though Night Sweats’ six members have been making this band’s brand of broody indie-dance music for only two years, they have been making music in various other Salt Lake City bands for more than 10 years. That cohesion shows in their effortless musical explorations that all, somehow, turn into gold—or Red, like the title of the band’s first EP, released this year. There’s a clever balance between catchy riffs, sweaty synths, ambient soundscapes and smooth baritone vocals that’s at once exploratory, atmospheric and loose, while also being hip and worthy of topping college radio charts. (AD)

Friday, April 26
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East

Secret Abilities
Foodies looking to soundtrack a cocktail party should ignore Secret Abilities. If the band’s sound were edible, this would be the recipe: 2 bowls hot-dog-flecked mac & cheese, 1 handful candy corn and 1 cup Kool-Aid. The nerdy, fuzzed-out, goofball pop punk captured on their newest record conjures walking corpses and sci-fi monsters, and owes as much to the Modern Lovers as to the Groovie Ghoulies. Just check out lead singer Davin Abegg’s silver-sparkle and sunburst-yellow guitar: This is music for good, silly times. (Benjamin Bombard)

Hang Time
Scenester and local music stalwart Will Sartain—along with longtime Future of the Ghost bandmate Cathy Foy and Andrew Sato, TJ Fitzgerald and Yoko Ono (the band’s fog machine and “chief decision maker”)—has gone from somber modern rock to bouncy house music for big kids (think stardust synths in power-pop dance tunes that should jumpstart even the most morose hipster) with his new venture, Hang Time. The band’s self-titled debut has earned some national attention: It climbed to No. 56 on the CMJ Top 200 chart. Not too shabby. (BB)

Eagle Twin
There are rock bands and there are sludgy bands, and then there are those bands that are just plain dense—in tone, in content and also in their many skills. Eagle Twin shreds a mighty riff, which bursts forth from fully stacked amps, alongside the heady content that guitarist Gentry Densley sings—myth-based ideas about life cycles and such. Aided by the pulsing, pounding rhythms of Tyler Smith, the duo dropped a mighty fine disc, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale, in 2012 and even toured internationally, providing support for Russian Circles in Australia and New Zealand. (AD)

Saturday, April 27
Muse Music Café, 151 N. University Ave., Provo

Book on Tape Worm
We’ve labeled Provo-based Book on Tape Worm’s music as “slumber-pop” previously, which is fitting for several reasons: A pillowcase (with lyrics to the end-of-the-world ballad “Defcon 5”) is a main merch item. They headline the sold-out Slumber Party show at Velour. The instrumentation is lush—beyond guitar, it draws upon piano, cello, upright bass, vibraphone, glockenspiel and assorted percussion, and he tempo of the songs is generally mellow. And the band’s debut was presented in the best possible physical album: a pop-up book. (AD)

Golden Sun
Andrew Goldring’s amazing guitar skills have been widely known for years, but when he matched those up with a trio of brothers to form this alt-indie powerhouse, success was almost a guarantee. Their self-titled 2012 EP paired Goldring’s vocals with the kind of truly synchronized rhythms and melodies you can only find in a band of brothers—Jantzen, Weston and Chase Meier. The band may not be able to play 21-and-over bars yet, but they’re consistently selling out the all-ages venues. (GS)

This year’s best local release—far and away—is Provo buzz band Polytype’s Basic//Complex. But unless you purchased it at the stellar release show at Velour on Feb. 1, you’ll have to wait for the contemporary electronic-indie (think The xx or Toro Y Moi) to drop nationally this summer—Polytype is holding out for a big push. And there’s good reason to think national ears will turn in the band’s direction: album opener “Cyclone” is a near-perfect indie composition and “Needs” is soothing and emotive—both songs showcase the four-piece’s fresh approach to songwriting and its deliberately ambiguous lyrics. It’s novel, new and homespun. (AD)

Saturday, April 27
The State Room, 638 S. State

Nobody else in Utah plays music that sounds anything like Matteo’s, and that probably holds true for the other 49 United States too. Matteo’s melding of Chinese and American folk music won’t juice you up for a debaucherous Friday night, but their sumptuous melodies and Eric Chipman’s inspired lyrics will whisk you to faraway lands. Matteo released a new album in late 2012, The Sichuan Project, recorded during their artists-in-residency period at Sichuan University in China months prior. (BB)

Fans of local singer-songwriter Libbie Linton and Spencer Harrison (former Fictionist member) might be surprised by the experimental electronic folk the duo has created with this freshly formed band, Mideau (pronounced “mid-oh”). Linton’s thick and lovely voice belts out songs of varied form—but not as varied as the instrumentation the band used while recording its melodic, punchy, fresh and warm debut, to be released in August. All the bells and whistles—literally—that they could find with producer Nate Pyfer at June Audio can be heard on this uncompromising effort, funded by a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign, that we’re eagerly awaiting. (AD)

The best way to describe L’anarchiste is “effortful minimalism.” L’anarchiste takes tonal and instrumentation cues from Sufjan Stevens, while also evoking Bon Iver and Local Natives with their use of countermelodies and interesting phrasings that come in and out like waves. In 2012, one song, “Sleep,” landed on TV—Jersey Shore, oddly enough. This year, the band faced setbacks to recording a debut full-length album, but the recording process has finally begun, and a tentative release date is set for summertime. (AD)

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