The Local Music Issue 2017 | Best of Utah Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Local Music Issue 2017 

Our annual offering to the local music gods.

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Remember the good ol' days when we eagerly awaited a music mag's juicy listicle of Top Somethin's—usually albums—with easily digestable fun-sized commentary? We'd scan the layout for our personal faves to see how our own music-pickers rated against the arbiters', variously spitting kudos or bile at hits and misses. Now pretty much everyone has a platform for their opinions, and lists rule the People's Idio-cratic Republic of TL;DR. So here ya go: City Weekly's favorite local albums of 2016, concise and unranked—but alphabetized!

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Badfeather—Signal Path
(badfeather.bandcamp.com)
On this Salt Lake City-based quintet's debut album, the songs variously check classic rock, funk, blues, soul and bluegrass, but Badfeather deftly avoids disjointed overextension. You can thank lead singer Rick Gerber's rock-solid voice and vivid tunes, and the virtuosic players' measured restraint as they endeavor to serve only the song. Ultimately, Signal Path is a sublimely satisfying tour through music history. (Kimball Bennion) UMF show: Saturday, March 4 at The Royal

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Concise Kilgore—KiL Joy Division
(Pink Cookies)
KiL Joy Division features 'Cise's distinct vocal twang, creative rhetoric and punchlines that you couldn't see coming from a watchtower with binoculars. The top-notch production is mostly covered by Finale Grand, but local tastemaker BriskOner and hip-hop icons like Statik Selektah and DJ Babu also helm tracks. KJD blends the best of local talent with cameos from out-of-town heavyweights for 2016's most fully realized local rap album. (Keith L. McDonald)

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Foster Body—Moving Display
(Diabolical Records)
The pressure-cooked art-rockery on FB's second album scalded so good with angry arrangements of squeaky guitars, tense rhythms, pumping fuck-you bass lines and vocals that conjure daydreams of a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots match between cyborg versions of Jello Biafra and Fred Schneider, with Mark Mothersbaugh tagging in without taking off his glasses. And then, of course, Foster Body broke up. If that's what the intra-band energy was like, I get it. Still sucks, though. (Randy Harward)

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John Louviere—The Future Is Now
(johnlouviere.bandcamp.com)
Local scene veteran John Louviere unearths a vulnerable side of himself in a record about loss of love, time and self. Written after a divorce and the death of his mother, the album reveals Louviere's tender voice that gets a welcome boost of instrumentation from producer Andrew Goldring, making a record that hearkens back to AM-radio glory without losing Louviere's deeply personal touch. (KB) UMF show: Thursday, March 2 at 50 W. 300 South

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Joshy Soul—Vintage Dreamin'
(joshysoul.bandcamp.com)
Joshua Strauther might have released his first studio album a few decades too late. Vintage Dreamin' is an eight-track throwback joint steeped in classic R&B. Joshy is no slouch with the vocals but you gotta give it up to the band for masterful work on drums, horns and strings. With live instrumentation, feel-good lyrics and a timeless style, Vintage Dreamin' is right on time. (KLM)

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Max Pain and the Groovies—Ancient Grease
(Lolipop Records)
Ancient Grease is a garage-rock opus perfect for MP&TG's intro to the Lolipop Records label and the big kids on the mean streets of NYC, where they are currently tearing up clubs. "Evil Desert Mountain People," "Don't Shake My Busch" and other epics epitomize the greasy apex of these skateboarders' surf-garage sound, which, even in their absence, leaves us lubed and panting. (Brian Staker)

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New Shack—Eingang
(newshack.bandcamp.com)
With their second full-length album, Provo's darkwave dark horse New Shack appears to have designs on leaving its small-town status behind with their night-in-the-city Drive soundtrack synthpop. Named after the German word for entrance, Eingang functions as a doorway to New Shack's haunting synth arrangements and hallucinatory vocals, and a window into deeply surreal Happy Valley melancholy. (Alex Springer)

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Sculpture Club—A Place to Stand
(Cercle Social Records, sculptureclub.bandcamp.com)
Formerly JAWWZZ!!, Sculpture Club's arty post-punk with a smidgen of Cure-ish goth makes this trio the new poster children for retro-'80s now-sound. The Paisley Underground-style distortion on Chaz Costello's guitar and his reverb-laden vox profundities take you back a decade or three. On opener "Black Coffee," Costello croons, "I wanna be ordinary," but this 11-song set is anything but. (BS)

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Starmy—Heart Beat Breaks Glass
(starmy.bandcamp.com)
In showbiz, you're supposed to go out with a bang and leave 'em wanting more. If Mike Sartain and company really call it a day, then this fist-pumpin', chin-rubbin', soul-searchin' collection is a big-bang leaving a black hole of want. So, if you really wanna quit when you're writing some of the best shit of your career, then go ahead and take your curtain call, dick. Or make another album. (RH)

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SubRosa—For This We Fought the Battle of the Ages
(Profound Lore)
The band's fifth LP is emotionally and metaphorically heavy, like eyelids in wee hours and depression in daylight. The songs oscillate between angelic anodyne melodies and visceral, dirge-y rhythms, while their literary lyrics plumb black Marianas depths, yet dare to hope. Ages reflects life—the battle for the ages—in all its gray shades, leaving listeners thinking long after it ends. (RH)

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