MUSIC PICKS: NOV 19 - 25 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

MUSIC PICKS: NOV 19 - 25 

Msking's Maelstrom, Westminster College's Winter Music Festival, WhySound Closes Following New COVID Mandate, and more.

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CAMILLE BANANI
  • Camille Banani

Msking's Maelstrom
Msking calls themselves a grunge pop band, but they really seem to pull from a more varied pool—from the melodic alt-pop of the '90s, just as much as the harder stuff. Singles like "You & Me'' show a pop bent, but not one that shows up as much on their otherwise surprising roster of releases. This year, they've released two EPs—Apathetic Sympathy in April, and the late October release The Maelstrom—and listened to together in one sitting, the songs invoke the image of the band turning over rocks trying to find their own sound. The EPs differ starkly from some comparably spare, almost lo-fi singles from 2019, "She," and "Bad Joke," which still had enough grit to signal where Msking would head. Apathetic Sympathy is altogether the more melancholy and melodic effort, recalling '90s efforts by the likes of Carissa's Wierd. The newer EP, The Maelstrom, is aptly named—it strikes out more heavily, a fact that's immediately apparent on "Edena," with its darkly humming introductory bassline and dramatic delivery from vocalist Miranda Lewin. Along with "Edena," "My End" features background snarls that amp up the intensity, inching Msking closer to punk and hardcore territories. "Pity Party'' is the second of the three tracks, with warbling, weird guitar parts that fill out the song with an almost Gothic Americana feel between its punkish breakdowns. Meanwhile, closer "My End" shows both the band's strengths and weaknesses: the strengths lie in the fast and loose parts where the drums are confident, quick and assured, in line with the shrieks from Lewin; the weaknesses come out when the song clumsily slows down in what's supposed to be a slow-burn lead-up to the crashing end. As a body of work, Msking's releases aren't terribly cohesive, and it's hard to believe they're finding themselves in the mud of The Maelstrom—but with each release being so listenable and compelling, Msking feels like one of the most promising SLC bands to keep an eye on. Stream The Maelstrom on all major streaming platforms.

Westminster College's Winter Music Festival
While the holidays are going to be different for many this year, you can still count on hearing the kind of music that makes this time of year so festive. Westminster College is hosting their Winter Music Festival via livestream, featuring their Chamber Players, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, hosted by the Westminster College Performing Arts and the Westminster Alumni. While the Chamber Orchestra kicked things off on Nov. 14, there are two performances to look forward to after that, which will hopefully bring the spirit of the season to your home while we approach the weirdest holiday season in recent memory. For a Friday night in on Nov. 20, jazz lovers can tune in to the stream at 7:30 p.m. to get a scoop on Westminster's Jazz Ensemble. Members select their own program to play each semester, which is then arranged by Director David Halliday. Past ensembles have run the gamut of jazz offshoots, from '40s rhythm and blues to free jazz to rock 'n' roll to hip-hop, in addition to classics. For perhaps a gentler evening, tune in on Sunday Nov. 22, which will feature a set by the college's Chamber Players. The nights are both live-streamed from the Vieve Gore Concert Hall at Westminster College, replacing what would otherwise be the real life performances the ensembles put on in that very venue each semester. The best part is that every performance is free, and simply going to westminstercollege.edu/performances is all you need to do to get to the events page, where each event links right up to the Vimeo stream. There are also other events to browse, including theater and dance performances running into December. So if you're worried about how you're going to entertain yourself at home as winter closes in on this strange pandemic year, there's a few new live stream options to look forward to.

Melancholy Club at WhySound - BRADY KRAMP
  • Brady Kramp
  • Melancholy Club at WhySound

WhySound Closes Following New COVID Mandate
After Gov. Gary Herbert sent out new COVID restrictions on Sunday, Nov. 8, there were a lot of unanswered questions, which isn't much of a shift from the way Utahns have been navigating this virus for months now. For businesses, including local music venues, it just means continuing to make decisions for themselves about how to keep their business alive, as well as their patrons and employees. Many local venues chose to close in the spring and haven't reopened, while others have started to host shows again both outdoors and indoors in recent months. One of these latter venues is Logan's WhySound, and they're also the first venue responding to the new mandates on public gatherings by closing temporarily again. After a summer of mobile "rolling" shows, the venue has struggled to move shows outside as autumn has descended, both because of the weather and because they have to worry about fines. In a brief statement to City Weekly, co-owner Taylor Ross Wilson explains that in a team conversation the morning after the new mandate announcement, the folks at WhySound decided it was the "smart move" to close again. "The past shows we've done, we did with hesitation, but did them anyway out of financial need, and even at those we enforced distancing and masks—but that can be difficult to actually do sometimes," he says, highlighting a feeling that's surely a challenge faced by many venues reopening their indoor stages. "We all agreed something like this mandate should have been in place way back in March, so we want to at least support it now as much as we're able," he continues. And though they'll be missing out on revenue, the venue has fundraising plans on the horizon to help them weather another period of closure, and hopes that their in-house recording studio will also bring in some cash. Wilson concludes on a hopeful note: "We also have a lot of community support up here in Logan, so we're pretty confident we'll pull through one way or another." Keep up with all WhySound news on Instagram @the.whysound.

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Spy Hop Classes and Listening Party
Students of local youth music program Spy Hop have been busy, just like many of their older musical peers around the city have been—and by that, I mean some of those kids have got a release to share. Among Spy Hops many educational programs—which help mentor young people in all things on the wide spectrum of music and production—there is the standout Musicology program, which grants its students the opportunity to form a real band, learning how to write original songs together as well as familiarizing the members with other collaborative band necessities, like rehearsing consistently and recording demos. While usually the end of a Musicology band's learning experience would be capped with an album release show at Spy Hop's Heatwave Festival—after many other performances at Spy Hop's-allied venues like the all-ages Kilby Court—obviously things are a bit different during a pandemic year. But that hasn't stopped this year's Musicology band, Blue Collar Lovers, from keeping up with their lessons, and the group does still have a capstone album to show off. However, the premiere will be, as many things are lately, online. The six-piece band will release the album Mean Machine on Nov. 19 via Spy Hop's Twitch stream page at 6 p.m. There folks can both tune in and chat with the band about the album, and more than anything, appreciate the true awesomeness of music made during this challenging time, and especially music made by young people still learning the ropes in general. Visit twitch.tv/spyhopproductions to tune in on the release day, and visit spyhop.org/watch-listen-play for more from the archive of Spy Hop's past student projects.

Locally Made, Locally Played
  • Locally Made, Locally Played

KUAA Introduces Locally Made, Locally Played
Locals all around SLC have been finding innovative ways of supporting the musicians who have been left in such a lurch through the pandemic, and so it follows that community radio program KUAA has come up with a new way to do just that. In a collaboration with the Utah Arts Alliance and The Blocks SLC, KUAA will air a new radio program by the name of Locally Made, Locally Played, which finds locals not just as listening subject matter, but engages them in conversations about what it's like and what it means to actually carve out a life as an artist in Utah. As artists have been forced off stages, this program joins others like the similarly new HUM-TV in giving local artists a new platform, one that focuses on their experiences and positions in our community. The show also seeks to help artists at least a little bit monetarily, with $100 granted per selected guest. So far guests have included members of Salt Lake City's country and Americana set, Carl Carbonell and Daniel Young (of the Hollering Pines), along with a young newcomer to the scene, folk aficionado and rising local star Branson Anderson. The next show on Nov. 20 features Josaleigh Pollett, a local indie soloist whose recent 2020 album No Woman Is The Sea has found local popularity since its release. On Nov. 23, she'll be followed up by the multi-dimensional solo work of Andrew Shaw (also known under the moniker Magic Mint), whose 2014 EP Grand America is a delightfully minimal, lo-fi affair that still carries electricity all these years later. More acts follow, going into December, with the full list available at utaharts.org/programs-and-events/kuaa-radio. Tune in to listen at 99.9FM or online at kuaafm.org

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