Michael Kunde is a professional commercial and advertising photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. His work and personal talents take him both across the United States and internationally. Some of his clients include Adobe and Chrysler. Apart from an impressive commercial portfolio, Kunde also boasts personal photography work that includes unique takes from his travels. Some of his more distinguished work contain his striking themes, such as those found in rural areas of the United States….
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Double Creature Feature
The Toxenes= The Baby Shakes + The Cramps + The Horror Pops
The Toxenes are a rock ‘n roll trio from Minneapolis. They have previously released a single (2017) and a cassette album Electric Shock (2018). Double Creature Feature is their first LP on Vinyl. For those fans of rockabilly notions riding on garage, all infused with punk-rock messiness, this record is for you. Listening to this record is like binge watching a whole season of sounds. It’s got 18 grooves fully loaded with sugar and doused with rock ‘n roll vinegar.
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Every Wednesday and Sunday night starting at 9pm, Twilite Lounge is home to live music hosted by David Payne of The Red Bennies. Wednesday typically features musicians playing traditional instruments such as guitar, keys and bass. Sundays is geared toward creative electronica and DJs Lord British, Falchion B and Twin Bee. During these respective nights, Payne hosts through his group Jazz Jaguars and his alter-ego, Lord British. Payne says, “We play ´Doom Lounge´ music—lounge defined as music that is beautiful, engaging as possible, but soft enough to encourage conversation amongst the people there. It’s called Doom because of our generally slow tempos.”
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Fashionisms Smash Singles LP is an essential collection of recordings for the lovers of not only power pop, but also clever and intelligent lyricism. This record boasts material from the first four Fashionism singles, which are now hard to come by, with the addition of a couple previously unreleased tracks. Fans of Fashionism will find this record treads mostly familiar territory. For first timers, the Smash Singles LP is a good way to be introduced to one of the more interesting bands of the last decade.
The songs found within the grooves of the Smash Singles LP celebrate the clever nature could have been heard by The Boys or even by the sharp wit of The Adverts. This is largely thanks to vocalist Jeffery McCloy masterful weaving of punchy lyrics that tell a story with a sound that combines the infectious nature of Bay City Rollers like glam rock meeting the sensibilities of The Purple Hearts.
This hybrid style effortlessly combines the intense energy of punk with intelligent social criticism largely lost by the chorus of grunts and growls of the spikey studded cast. While their songs are very socially aware, Fashionism do not deliver their messages as a blow to the head. Rather, they do so via bubblegum styled tunes to bounce about with and be subtly influenced by.
Many of Fashionism’s songs defiantly beg for the nostalgia of times long past. Songs like “Subculture Suicide” lament the painful and frustrating demise of traditional subcultural identity. While others like the new track “Weekend” remains steadfast in the Fashionism tradition of being unapologetically socially critical of shameless social media inspired vanity.
Others hits on this record include my personal favorite “Where Have All The Rock n’ Roll Girls Gone.” This one pays homage to New Town Animals hit “Rock N Roll Scene.” Another is “Stop, Drop, Rock n’ Roll.” It’s a song that demands dance while McCoy rapidly name drops pop culture references from the McCoys “Hang on Sloopy” to ? and The Mysterians “96 Tears.” Fashionism also have a silly side with tracks like “One Shot.” It’s a song about being delightfully addicted to coffee. This one is fast and melodically furious– not to mention catchy as hell.
This record is well worth getting, particularly, if the Fashionism singles have eluded your capture. This super-group is made of members of The Tranzmitors, The Jolt, The Orange Kyte and New Town Animals. Their sound is deviously infectious and upbeat. It’s good for those familiar and for newcomers alike. Above all, it’s a gem, so go get it.
For More Fashionism, check out their Bandcamp!
The groovy sounds of funk and soul records can be heard on any Monday night within the dimly lit Bar X. This strictly vinyl night is the creation of DJ Godina (Justin Godina). Godina is a well-known DJ in Salt Lake City who, apart from hosting nights at bars like Gracies, Chakra Lounge, and Undercurrent, was voted top DJ in City Weekly’s Best Of in 2015.
Godina has always had a passion for records. “When I was 5 or 6-years-old, I used to flip records in the dancing room (the living room at my dad’s parents’ house) with my aunts and uncles,” he said. Years later, he discovered his uncle’s immense collection, which included early hip hop and new Chakra Lounge wave by artists such as AC/DC, Prince, and The B 52’s. Godina adds, “In and shortly after high school, I would throw parties and was always the guy sitting in front of the CD player monopolizing the stereo. So I bought some turntables from thrift stores and my first mixer and started DJing our parties.”
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At last Rebel Rebel have released their EP The Gospel Truth. This record superbly reveals a sound that infuses the infectious, yet, bubbly nature of indie rock with the attitude of ’70s CBGB punk inspired glam. In other words, think of Rebel Rebel channeling Franz Ferdinand taking cues from Lou Reed who in turn just watched a set played by Talking Heads or The Revelons.
Rebel Rebel are unique act to catch. They don’t boast a heavily overused punk style, but rather come into their own without relying on clichés. Furthermore, these cats they have always remained sincere and humble and it shows with this record.
Their EP is good and has some killer tracks. Most notable are the “The Gospel Truth” and “Jen Puked.” “The Gospel Truth” is fast and punchy. After immediately switching this on and I’m hooked by the in-your face sound. It’s a whirlwind of a song that makes me want to jump about like an idiot who recently discovered the dealing power of sugar and caffeine.
“Jen Puked” follows in this vein. It’s a track with a killer drum beat building up into a wild punky tune that is vibrant with electric energy. This song shows off a defiant passion lead by vocalist Mason Keller Comstock and it perfectly blends punk and indie into a fast and snotty wallop.
I recommend checking this EP out. The Gospel Truth is a fun listen that highlights Rebel Rebel’s maturing sound. I’m interested to see where they go from here and if this record reveals anything, I’m sure what they have next will be worth a listen. So pay attention.
Imagine if The Undertones sang about middle age crisis and responsibility, but were still catchy with an infectiously youthful sound. If you can, then Radio Hearts’ Daytime EP is exactly that. Radio Hearts come from Long Beach, California. Although they formed in 2012, these cats sound like they were cruising around between 1977 and 1979. Radio Hearts have an impressive style about them. It’s punky power pop at it’s vintage yet contemporary’s finest. They channel the poppy fury of The Buzzcocks infused with The Boys into a sound that is addictively familiar.
While their heroes sang about teenage kicks, the Daytime Man EP is 5 tracks that are reflective and meant for lives with some actual experience. The opener, “Alright,” talks about making marriage work through working together with one’s partner. It’s got razer riffs and solid beats making it a solid power pop bopper.
The second track, “Day Time Man,” is an anthem for the mature weekender who longingly looks at their forever-young past with a certain fondness. Clocking at 2 minutes and 9 seconds, this track boasts enough bouncing riffs and hand claps to you moving about and wear you out.
My personal favorite is “Know That Song.” It’s a track that suggests a nostalgic look for a particular sound. Personally, I identify with being a bit stuck in my own way when it comes to music- aka knowing what I like. So this one hits home for me.
Radio Hearts have something timely and special going on. With this Daytime Man EP release, they show an ability to pay homage to the punk of the past while also being it’s offspring. This stuff is good, fast and fun—and like a fine wine, is somewhat aged. So check it out.
Suicide Helpline’s Pink Jazz is all too appropriate for this day and age. This album’s socially aware themes harken on the vast insecurities plaguing the millennial generation’s anxiety toward an uncertain future. Suicide Helpline brilliantly do this with a volatile concoction of Clash meets the Adverts style of punk discontent with post punk sensibilities. This album boasts uniquely intelligent lyrics and within these grooves, I hear the echoes of Joe Strummer’s and TV Smith’s poetic notions of rebellion.
It’s hard to just pick a few songs to showcase, but the opening number is not a bad place to start. “Living Is A Curse” sets the tone for Pink Jazz. It’s is a real attention grabber with a strong beat and bouncing guitar riffs.
My favorite is “Welcome To The Rest Of Your Life.” This is the foreboding song that profoundly describes a privileged monotonous life. Its lyrical commentary satirizes the seemingly aimless existence of the silent majority just going through the motions. It has a sort of Newtown Neurotics unapologetic directness quality to it, but invokes the eeriness of a Hugh Cornwall like Stranglers tune.
“X Youth” is a song that describes the desperation of the X generation. It rings of the frustration invoked by the Dead Kennedys “Kill The Poor,” and maintains an early hardcore edge but with a distinctly post punk feeling. This is the much needed foreboding anthem for what appears to a generation of the soon-to- be-damned. Plus, the chorus is catchy as hell.
“No Wars, Only Battles” is an up-tempo tune to bounce to. With a strong build up curtesy of electro-punk guitar riffs and provoking lyrics, this is a solid tune. Lyrically it exemplifies the pointlessness of the 21st century western imperialism. Play this loud and pogo while decrying the inflammable legacy left by inept political leadership.
If there is a band that matters, it is Suicide Helpine. Pink Jazz is absolutely stunning and it demonstrates that punk is music that still actually has something say. So, be sure to grab this album wherever available.