Tag Archives: Salt Lake City

Feel The Noize with Slick Velveteens

Kenzie Waldo, Devi Strill, Georgetown “Grimm” and Danny Cringe

Since their inception in 2015, Slick Velveteens have been on the forefront of a glam revolution in Salt Lake City. They are Devi Strill, Kenzie Waldo, Danny Cringe and Georgetown “Grimm.” Their influences range from the artists including New York Dolls, The Cramps and Betty Davis. Stylistically they blend bluesy funk and junk shop sleaze rock n’ roll with the visual damnation of 1970’s exploitation films. The result is a unique sound that will melt the faces of non-believers and inspire the next generation of trash city glam rockers.  

Slick Velveteens have been active regulars in the Salt Lake City music circuit. Their performances are tight and they provide an experience not to be missed. They have performed with local groups such The Poppees, Shecock & the Rock Princess, Rebel Rebel and many others.  For touring acts, they are ever ready to represent Salt Lake’s glam community. Among touring groups Slick Velveteens have even opened for are Bad Sex, Giuda and the metal queen and former Runaway Lita Ford.

Other than playing shows, the last few years have seen Slick Velveteens busy with putting out material. They have released a self-titled album in 2017, along with two singles, Double Trouble Singles (2019) and Sweet Victim (2020). In addition, they have made several music videos to accompany their releases. A feat that inspired submitting the video for “Ditch” in the Desertscape International Film Festival in 2021.

 The future looks bright for Slick Velveteens. On Saturday, May 21, 2022 they will be opening up for Thelma & The Sleaze. They also plan to release a new album titled Shock Values later 2022. To learn more I tracked them down to learn about how they formed, what it was like opening up for Lita Ford, participating in the Desertscape International Film Festival and their future plans……

Devi Strill, Kenzie Waldo, Danny Cringe and Georgetown “Grimm.”

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens initially formed in 2015 when Devi Strill and Kenzie Waldo started to collaborate. Then in 2016, the band fully organized with Danny Cringe (drums) and Brandon Richter (bass), with Georgetown “Grimm” later replacing Richter in 2019 as bassist.  What prompted starting Slick Velveteens and how has it grown over the last few years?  

Waldo: Slick Velveteens’ start is kind of a long story. Devi and I are siblings, so we’ve been playing music together in various forms since we were kids. But Slick Velveteens started at a time where Devi had mysteriously lost his ability to walk (we found out later that it was caused by a form of arthritis). So, I would go over to the house he was living in at the time to keep him company while he was recovering. We were sharing songs that we were writing separately to get another pair of ears on them. It was a few months of that until we decided that we would officially start a band together. I believe the exact words out of Devi’s mouth at that time were, “We should start a band and call it Slick Velveteens.” I’m pretty sure I just said, “okay.” Brandon was living in the basement of the same house and agreed to be the bassist. Around the same time I asked Dan to drum for only one show—even though we had ulterior motives to keep him as our full time drummer. The rest, as they say, is history.

NixBeat: Georgetown “Grimm” joined Slick Velveteens in 2019. How did he get involved?

Grimm: I’ve known these cats since they were kittens yah mean?  Seriously though, me and Brandon performed together in Mister Richter and he suggested me as a replacement and it just worked out.  I was getting into engineering as they started writing so it turned into a collaborative effort.

Waldo: Georgetown has been around from the beginning. He recorded our first demo and has been our main engineer since!

NixBeat: Self-described as a glam band, what influences do you draw from for your sound and style?

All of Slicks: It’s safe to say that we are a product of anything we find cool. We’re pretty nerdy like that. Sound-wise, our influences span from New York Dolls (+the entirety of the late ‘70s New York music scene) to The Runaways (+ the entirety of the ‘70s Los Angeles music scene) to Richie Valens to funk-legend Betty Davis; Alice Cooper to Sonic Youth to The Cramps to The Shangri-La’s etc. This list never really ends. Stylistically, we pull a lot of inspiration from exploitation films such as Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! to musicals like Chicago. All of these influences overlap so much that our product actually sounds original.

NixBeat: In 2016, Slick Velveteens opened for Lita Ford. How did you get involved with that show and what was it like to open for Lita Ford?

Waldo: I actually just wrote a satirical essay about this story that I’ll be publishing on our website sometime this summer. It’s titled: “MIRAGES: THE HOW-TO GUIDE TO GET YOUR D.I.Y. ROCK ’N’ ROLL BAND TO OPEN FOR ONE OF YOUR CHILDHOOD HEROES.” Long story short, I berated a former booker of a local venue so many times asking to play shows (always met with “NO”) that once this booker started working at The Depot and needed a local rock n’ roll band to open for Lita Ford, we were finally a first choice (or, at least, I hope). I think the booker asked us to play this show a week beforehand, so there was a lot of last minute chaos that ensued to make this happen.

All of Slicks: After we got to watch soundcheck and meet her in person it was worth it.  The Runaways is a band we obsess over, it was the biggest show we’ve played yet, it is definitely one of the highlights of our lives.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens have also opened up for Italian glam rockers Giuda and Portland, Oregon’s power pop quartet Bad Sex. How was it playing with these groups?

All of Slicks: It was awesome! Not only are we big fans of both bands, but we were recommended to play these shows by some of the coolest SLC locals (hint hint).

NixBeat: What have been some of your favorite groups to perform with in Salt Lake City?

Waldo:  We’re big fans and friends with The Poppees and love anytime we get to play a show with them. We’ve had some great gigs with other locals such as Shecock & the Rock Princess, Brain Bagz and Rebel Rebel. A recent show we played that has become one of my favorites was with Daytime Lover and Msking.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens utilizes impressive filmography for their music videos. Common themes include horror, slasher films and 1970s exploitation.  What do you look for when creating a music video and how important are music videos in telling the stories of your music?

Strill: I think we’re a lot more than just music. Combining stylistic visuals with our sounds adds a complexion to who we are overall. I’m a big fan of cinema, so it feels like a natural extension adding these kinds of mediums to our music.

NixBeat: In 2020, Slick Velveteens released the video for “Blood Clot” on August 14, 2020.  In it you draw from iconic horror films and occult themes. What inspired this song and video?

Strill: “Blood Clots are not fun. So, let’s watch horror movies instead.” It was a music video that highlighted not only our individual interests but also helped in the formation of how Slick Velveteens’ aesthetic was about to take shape.

NixBeat: In 2021, you released your music video for the song “Ditch.” Stylistically it plays out like watching a 1970’s slasher, exploitation film in line with Switchblade Sisters (1975). What are you drawing from for the creation of this song and video?

Strill: Switchblade Sisters, actually, was the main inspiration for this video. I wrote it with that movie in mind along with Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, and Girlboss: Guerrilla.

Waldo: The song is more about touring. But a ditch seemed like a nice visual setting for a music video.

NixBeat: The “Ditch” music video was also accepted in the Desertscape International Film Festival in 2021. How did you get involved with Desertscape and what was it like to participate in the final selections of this festival?

Strill: Our collaborators Blade Sabovick and Maddie Shaw at Silent Jester Media made the submission. It was great to hear the response from a live audience while watching alongside them. Awesome to see our music video on the big screen and big thanks to the Electric Theater for showcasing it!

NixBeat: On May 22, 2022 Slick Velveteens will open for Thelma & The Sleaze at Kilby Court in Salt Lake City. How did you get on this show and what can readers look forward to for your performance?

Waldo: We met Mo from Daytime Lover during a recent show we played together. She recently became the new local booker for Kilby Court and asked if we wanted to play it. I’m a huge Thelma & the Sleaze fan so getting the chance to open for them is going to be epic! We’ll get the party going with our high-energy performance to give Thelma & the Sleaze a warm SLC welcome.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteen’s last release was the Sweet Victim single in 2020. Do you have plans for another single or album?

Slicks: We’ve been working on a full-length album for the last two years. It’s become a longer process than originally thought because we keep pulling new inspiration into it, making it evolve into the exact artistic expression we want it to be. The album is called “SHOCK VALUES” and it will be released by the end of the year.

 NixBeat: Where would you like to see Slick Velveteens go from here?

All of Slicks: It would be amazing to have Slick Velveteens become as big as The Beatles (yeah, I said it!) but, overall, I love where Slick Velveteens is right now. It’s become such a collaborative project that is bigger than any of us separately. All ideas are welcome and nothing is too weird to suggest. In a group that is very much grounded in the D.I.Y. mentality, the sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish together. I hope we can continue making shit we think is really cool. But, of course, we would love to focus on Slick Velveteens full-time— touring, making videos and albums until our hearts are content. The coolest thing of all would be to have a cult following. One day!

For more about Slick Velveteens check out their website!

Preaching the Ballads of Jacob T. Skeen

Jacob T. Skeen is Salt Lake City’s wild one-man band extraordinaire. Skeen has opened for numerous acts, enjoyed residences at several Salt Lake establishments and played at Craft Lake City and the Utah Arts Festival. Although his roots are blues-based, he plays with styles twisting rockabilly and garage punk sensibilities by expanding their boundaries into the realms of the unknown. This is superbly displayed through his shock and awe performances blending heavy and strikingly apocalyptically haunting sounds. It’s as if though being subject of a sermon that shakes the foundation of rock n’ roll.

Skeen’s interest in music started in Junior High School. He found himself drawn to heavy metal music, skate boarding, and by extension skate boarding music videos. It was during this immersion that he discovered Black Sabbath’s catalogue and explored their jazz and blues influences. Skeen sought out more artists and would visit his local library. There he would listen to albums by artists like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

After graduating High School, Skeen followed his religious upbringing by serving a Mormon Mission in South Africa. Every day, he devoted his energy to reading the bible and all the standard material from the Church of Latter Day Saints. He also began to gain a perspective about the wider world. “When I told them I was from Salt Lake city, they never even heard of it.” Skeen says, “There’s a lot clashing between different cultures. It’s hard to gain that perspective if you don’t interact with other cultures.” He observed differences, but also how Hip Hop music from the United States influenced the music culture of South Africa.

When he returned to the States, Skeen was eager start performing. He eventually found himself playing for a Gospel Church based in Ogden, which served an African American congregation. Skeen would also show up at bars and play blues standards for patrons. After a while that proved very limiting. He says, “Today’s culture of the blues I hate. It’s turned into old guys having jam sessions. Everyone wants to play like Stevie Ray Vaughn.”

Not to be deterred, Skeen sought to carve his own path by writing music based on his own experiences. “I’ve been to the surrounding states around Utah and then Africa. I always felt like a liar trying to play traditional blues lyrics.” He says, “I grew up in Salt Lake City. I don’t know what that’s about.  I was playing blues I didn’t feel comfortable singing it. It’s not my background. It’s not where I come from.”

While Skeen draws influence from the blues and the vibrant nature of gospel music, he devotes his practice toward finding a harmony between his Christian lifestyle and belief. “The types of music I’m playing, it’s loud and its weird.” He says, “I have to be creative in coming up my own thing to do. I am heavily influenced by early African American gospel music. It’s huge. That music is loud, its wild and it was rock n’ roll and was blues before those things came out.”       

Having a religious background emboldened Skeen’s song writing. “I love learning that stuff. It gives more meaning to me.” Skeen says, “That’s where I get my ideas from. Reading and studying religious texts. That stuff influences me.” Skeen’s uses of religious imagery, like stars or pentagrams, could easily be mistaken for reference of the occult. However, if one really pays attention to Skeen’s work, they will find a clever appreciation for religious symbolism, and in his own way keeping it alive.

After putting together his one-man band ensemble, Skeen sought an audience. In 2017, Blood Shot Bill was due to play the Garage on Beck and Piper Down Pub. Wanting to be involved, Skeen at first tried in vain to get onto the bill. His luck changed when he got Brad Wheeler’s attention. From there he was introduced to Shane Keil and added to the lineup. “I experienced all the coolest bands in one night.” Skeen says, ”I didn’t know this kind of scene existed in Utah. People writing rock n’ roll music and doing new things.”

From there Skeen hit the ground running and looked to get on as many like-minded shows as possible. Admittingly reaching out for gigs is brutally time consuming. it did pay off for him though. He opened for Bob Log III, Oliva Jean. Freight Train Rabbit Killer, Ghalia Vault ,and Reverend Dead Eye. In April of 2018, Skeen– along with Los YaYaz– performed for Reverend Beat-Man and Nicole Isobel Garcia. “I was even nervous playing that show. Reverend Beat-Man is pretty anti-religious.” Skeen says, “I like the music. It’s fantastic. The show was fantastic. The subject matter I kind of hold back on it. It’s pretty worrisome. “

Despite the concern for Beat-Man’s subject matter, Skeen got on rather well with him. Beat-Man helped Skeen in with this gear. He even remarked that Skeen and Los Yayaz were the best opening acts that had so far on the tour, and in turn gave Skeen a Voodoo Rhythm Records business card. 

By 2020, Skeen had several tours under his belt, a full length album on the way and a gig with the Invasione Monobanda festival lined up in Italy. The album, called Death, Thou Shalt Die was self-released on April 6, 2020. To celebrate, Skeen planned to have a massive party upon his return to Salt Lake City from Invasione Monobanda. Unfortunately, the world halted and life as previously known changed dramatically by the Corona Virus Pandemic.

As live shows were canceled —including Invasione Monobanda—Skeen tried to make the most of it by live streaming performances and collaborating with other artists. “I did a live stream album release because I wasn’t able to do an album release show when the album came out.” Skeen says “Everyone was doing the live stream thing. Which is a tricky world too. I hated a lot of that stuff. Mainly just point an iPhone at yourself and play a show, which is boring.”

 Luckily Death, Thou Shalt Die was well received by fans and gained attention via online platforms. He says, “I had 500 copies of the record pressed. Half of them are gone.” 50 records made it to Italy and had already been distributed. Which is great, since overseas shipping costs expensive. Most of the subsequent records were put together with Skeen’s DIY mailers and shipped through the post. This was largely thanks to taking advantage of Bandcamp’s fee waving of all sales during the first Friday of each month.

Locally, Skeen waited before trying to distribute Death, Thou Shalt Die to record shops. “I waited a long time on the record stores.” He says. “It just been this last week that I went to all the local record shops and got the record in there.” Unfortunately, some shops like Raunch Records were not interested in Skeen’s album. Skeen feels that this is because he may not be as familiar to Raunch’s clientele as compared to other shops in the Salt Lake Valley.

Those who have listened to Skeen’s record, know it boasts a raw and doom harkening sounds. The artwork can throw off the casual observer, since it looks like a terrible Christian record one could find at a thrift shop. The style of Skeen’s record was carefully put together to reflect old Mormon culture.

Skeen also felt judged based on appearance. Usually clean cut, Skeen dresses somewhat conservatively, as though just leaving church. Death, Thou Shalt Die cover art displays Skeen praying in a full suit and includes various religious affiliated symbolism found around Salt Lake City. Skeen observes that religious iconography is largely absent from modern places of worship. He says, “I’m kind of taking it, because they’re not using it.”

Keeping to form, Skeen even included a hymn sheet that looks like Mormon religious texts. If one reads closely, they’ll find Skeen’s lyrics derive from passages and verses found in religious texts. Skeen says, “I think it’s funny. Like I said, I kind of enjoyed it in way. You know Raunch, especially the Heavy Metal Shop, the stuff they have on the walls– anything goes. The fact I’m making them nervous makes me laugh.”

The mastering for the record also included a touch of Latter Day Saint to it. It was done by an engineer from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s broadcast studio. “He mastered my record for me. Which is amazing. I thought was hilarious and very fitting.” Skeen says,  “I literally brought my cassette recorder that I had mixed down on.  He ran it through all of the church’s equipment that they do a lot of their stuff on.” Although, not revealing the studio engineers name, Skeen was sure to credit him for his help.

Apart from record sales, Skeen found some time to perform during the height of the pandemic. “I was pretty fortunate there was a lot of stuff going on still. “He says, ““I worried about the audience more than anything.” Skeen managed to play some bars, and a few of the Sartain and Saunders sponsored bike cruises. He even found time to collaborate with Corey Cresswell (International Society of Rock n’ Roll) and Mariano Wilson (Los YaYaz) on a band called The Escalante’s. This venture proved to be short lived. Only lasting for a few shows, the experience reinforced Skeen’s preference to do it alone. He says, “We were like a real band, get together write a bunch of songs, record it and then break up.”

At the moment Skeen has not been actively searching for shows. Skeen has been taking time to reflect on his craft. Skeen says, “I feel like I’m in a transition right now.” This means being open to different methods of making music. For example, Skeen has been moving away from strictly recording analog by utilizing digital production. Experimenting with digital recording gave Skeen music new life. Results of this labor can can be heard with Skeen’s latest recording for the upcoming SLUG Magazine’s Death By Salt compilation.  He says, “It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done.” This new recording is largely influenced by his frustrations and will feature electronic drums, yelling and fuzz guitar. 

With a year to think things over, Skeen has decided that he wants something more than just regular bar shows. “It’s not worth it anymore.” Skeen says, “I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy playing to rooms where people don’t care and aren’t listening to music.” That doesn’t mean he hasn’t performed. Gigs at venues such as Aces High Saloon have afforded Skeen the ability to to ramp up his performance style, much to the excitement of his audience. He says, “I think people are hungry for that.”

For more about Jacob T. Skeen check out their Bandcamp!

Dancing Through The Evolution with Jeffery Hacker

Jeffery Hacker, Ashley Mietus and Scarlett Hacker. Photo by Clayton Holyoak (aka Goose) at Crucialfest

Jeffery Hacker has long been involved with shaping Salt Lake City’s Music Scene. His passionate presence is widely felt, whether it’s through Djing his famed Dance Evolution parties as DJ DJ/DC,  bartending and managing at Metro Music Hall, or by his enthusiastic and constant promotion of local and touring acts. For these reasons, he has earned a place as a staple in Salt Lake City’s growing underground music community.

Unfortunately, because of the Coronavirus pandemic there is a necessity for the implementation of a Statewide lockdown and quarantine. One of the consequences is Salt Lake’s nightlife coming to a complete and sudden halt. Among the many industries affected by these measure is entertainment, with venues like Metro Music Hall temporally shuttering it’s doors.

For the first time since 2004, Hacker has had to find a new gig to sustain himself and his family until Metro Music Hall opens up again. I caught up with Hacker to see how things are going. We discussed his legendary DJ nights, the importance of Salt Lake City’s nightlife, managing Metro Music Hall, meeting Peter Hook and more.

NixBeat:  You used to run a weekly DJ night called Dance Evolution. How did this night start and what kind of music did you play?

Hacker: At the time it started out of necessity.  We wanted to dance to all kinds of music and the only thing available in SLC at the time were dedicated genre nights.  Going out and hearing everything from The Faint to Usher sounded like a great time, so we just did it ourselves.  Every night always started out as indie as possible, morphing into more of a pop night around 11 and ending with as much punk, emo and metal as the crowd would let me get away with for giant sing-a-longs.  It was awesome seeing people from different social groups meeting each other and becoming friends.  We actually hosted several “DE TATTOO” days where we partnered with Goodtimes Tattoo and they just tattooed DE logos on everyone.  Seeing all the different types of people coming in bonding with their new friends is something I don’t think any of us will ever forget.

NixBeat: In a Facebook post from December 8th, 2016, it was mentioned Dance Evolution went through a lot of changes, including jail time. How did Dance Dance Evolution Evolve over time?

Hacker: As the night got bigger I always ended up catering to the masses more.  Honestly that’s my biggest regret over the years.  I think what made the night special was exposing people to music they didn’t know and changing that up to keep up with random requests took the soul of the night away.  It was still super fun, but I think the night should have gone the other direction and become 100% indie dance.  I did have a stint on house arrest for a DUI (don’t drink and drive kids) but luckily DE had built up enough DJ’s over the years to have plenty of people fill in.  I actually moved to Denver for a year as well, and even though I managed to fly back to SLC almost every week for the party. There were still some shows I wasn’t able to make it.  Thankfully Brenton Leu, Justin Hollister, Tyler Lusk and Erik Olsen came into my life and became the best party throwers this city has ever seen.  They held down the fort just fine.

NixBeat: In the same Facebook Event Post, the description mentioned that Dance Dance Evolution helped bridge communities in Salt Lake City. How did Dance Dance Evolution accomplish this?

Hacker: We threw a weekly party for over 13 years, in that time we were lucky enough to meet what feels like just about everyone in SLC.  I think our specialty was focusing on crossing genres not just in what music I played but also what guests we would bring in.  One of my favorite memories of all time was one of our infamous water slide parties.  During the summer we would get a giant 33 foot tall water slide set up on the patio and people would just go insane.  At one of these parties we had a touring death metal package performing alongside the legendary drag performer Ursula Major.  Needless to say every single person looked insanely confused as they arrived but by the end of the night literally every single person in the venue was just having a blast on the water slide with their new best friends.  It wasn’t all debauchery though, we also were lucky enough to be at the right place and right time to help some people out in need.  We’ve hosted countless benefits which really shined a light on how amazing the people in this city are, and seeing people at their best always breaks down barriers and helps people come together.  

NixBeat:  What about DJ nights do you think are important to a music community?

Hacker: I’m from a generation where “going dancing” was everything.  I met all my friends at a dance night.  I met my wife at Area 51, and hit on her by getting Max the DJ to play her song next.  I think for a lot of people going dancing at a club playing a specific type of music is how they find “their people”.  Once they become a regular they know they’ve found their home.  It becomes a part of their routine and in a lot of ways it’s their singular release from the day to day grind of their lives.  Dance nights are VITAL to the music community as a whole because they become the primary source of in-person networking.  I can’t count how many shows were booked and planned out on the patio of metro at a DE party. 

NixBeat: How did you become involved with operating Metro Music Hall and what kind of changes have you seen it go through?

Hacker: Super long and confusing story so here is a short version:  Years ago we were at the Trapp Door (which is where the Metro is currently located) and the staff was treated very unfairly by the owner so 100% of us left and went to take over a venue called Club Edge.  About two years after we took over Edge, the owners sold it and the new owners kept all of us on.  After a while there the new owners wanted a better location, so we moved to the 200 S. location and changed the name to the Metro Bar.  Again a few years later they decided they wanted a bigger location so we came full circle and moved back to the original location of the Trapp Door.  These owners eventually decided to sell as well so I begged them to sell to Will Sartain and Lance Saunders with S&S Presents.  They obliged and now I work with the best team this city has ever seen.  Slowly but surely they’ve transformed the newly named Metro Music Hall into what I honestly believe to be the greatest venue in Salt Lake.  Full circle.

NixBeat:  What kind of clientele typically attends concerts at Metro Music Hall?

Hacker: Honestly?  Every type you can imagine.  We host all manner of events so the age range varies from 21-80.  I would say the regulars could be described as open minded and enthusiastic music lovers.  It doesn’t matter what the show is, they will always be there with open ears.

NixBeat:  Metro Music hall has attracted big name and local acts to play there. Some of these acts include MC5, The Black Lips and Gary Neumann. What has been your favorite show(s) at Metro Music Hall?

Hacker: My absolute #1 show will probably forever be Peter Hook.  I get star struck super easy and usually I will shy away from acts I’m super into, but Peter was just the nicest guy ever.  Realizing I was having a normal conversation with a living legend to this day gives me butterflies.  Death From Above 1979 was another act I couldn’t believe played here.  I’ve played them multiple times a night, every night I’ve dj’d and here they were on our stage.  I felt the same way about The Faint, The PresetsCut/Copy and dozens of others.  We’ve hosted Doyle and Michael Graves of The Misfits several times too.  If 15 year old me knew that one day I’d be eating birthday cake with Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein I would have died. 

NixBeat: What are some Salt Lake City bands you are currently enjoying and what about them makes them stand out?

Hacker: Choir Boy is pretty much my favorite band right now in general, so it helps that not only are they from here but several of the members work at Metro from time to time.  Mortigi Tempo, Lord Vox, Violet Temper and NVM are bringing a whole new scene to the city I think on top of being the most consistently impressive bands I’ve seen. 

NixBeat: With the onset of the Coronavirus, a lockdown order has been issued on Salt Lake City’s venues, bars and restaurants. How has this affected Salt Lake City’s nightlife and music community?

Hacker: It drove a stake through our hearts.  Right now there is absolutely nothing to be done though.

NixBeat: How are you and the rest of employees of Metro Music Hall coping with the lockdown?

Hacker: Some of us found new jobs to fill the gap until we can open again.  I luckily snagged a spot at Amazon which is my first new job since 2004, so it’s kind of fun.

NixBeat:  Are you seeing any attempts to rally behind those affected by the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Hacker: I think right now it feels like a lot of help is up in the air.  I’ve seen many groups pop up attempting to set up financial aid for musicians and serve industry people but I think right now most people are waiting on the government to figure something out. 

NixBeat: Do you think Salt Lake City’s nightlife and music scene will be able to recover from the effects of the Coronavirus?

Hacker: 100% I know we will recover fully.  Unfortunately though, I think it will take a lot longer than we might think.  I don’t want to speculate and risk being wrong, so I’ll just say it can’t come quickly enough.

Utah’s newest radio station KUAA

Brad Wheeler, photo by Mike Jones

Don’t Touch That Dial!

KUAA and Brad Wheeler Groove a Mix of World Music

Tune your radio dial to 99.9 FM, and if you are within range, you will hear the unique sounds emanating from Utah’s newest radio station, KUAA.

Founded by Derek Dryer and now headed by (Bad) Brad Wheeler, this non-profit station broadcasts a diverse mix of multicultural and bilingual music spanning genres and styles. Originally, KUAA (the Utah’s newest radio station) broadcasted from within a closet at the Arts Alliance building on 663 West and 100 South. In late 2017, Dryer wanted to really establish KUAA and brought in Wheeler shortly after he departed from KRCL. Initially, Wheeler was hesitant about getting involved and says, “I wasn’t really sure if his audience would embrace me.”

However, Wheeler offered to take over for 72 hours to see if he could make the station live up to Dryer’s expectation. After Wheeler programmed a multilingual mix for KUAA, the station began attracting attention. “I don’t really feel like I did it so much — I feel like the music did it on its own,” Wheeler says.

Check out the full article, published at Utah Stories.com!

Mortigi Tempo — Spread The Disease

Mortigi Tempo
Spread The Disease
Self-Released
August 23rd, 2018

Mortigi Tempo produced something delightfully refreshing and different with their new album. It’s called Spread The Disease. After a pint it’s the kind of music that leaves an infectiously subversive impression. Stylistically, Mortigi Temp seem to touch a kind of indie-rock twirling with elements of industrial influencing post punk that somehow mixes into a gothic feeling ensemble. To be sure, it’s the sort of music that celebrates the ominous while invoking a surrender to move about like an idiot after too manic inducing substances.

Spread The Disease firmly grabs a hold of it’s listener and electrifies them to dance. This is evident within only listening to the first few seconds of the first track “Spread The Disease.”  This song starts off with an intro featuring a politically charged PSA on the dangers of complacent boredom courtesy of a prerecorded reading of Wallace Shawn’s “My Dinner With Andre.” It’s dark and warms up for a wild post punky ride of a tune with a strong back beat and erry synth. Think of Love and Rockets with a dash of Killing Joke infused with HMLTD.

The entirety of Spread The Disease is like a wild ride. “Chrome Plated Cookies” breaks off the previous tracks path into the realm of something groovy and indie. While “Jesse Wants To Steal” breaks into a sound invoking nostalgia for early noughties alternative rock.

Further down the track listing each additional tune comes across with a stark difference from that of before. By the end, this albums concluding track “Aftermath” leaves one feeling a bit empty inside—not unlike the commercial driven culture that the first track warns against.   

From start to finish Spread The Disease is brilliant. It pulls it’s listener through the depths of being warned against a rampant self-contented culture. It it is done so in a superbly entertaining way and performed with music that begins by begging one to dance and then to gradually succumb to the mind numbing effects of sounds found in droning of Neo-psychedelia.  

MortigiTempo have a unique talent and they superbly demonstrate it through a diversity in style that truly shows offs the majesty of their skill. As a whole Spread The Disease is well worth the listen and it’ll be interesting to see what MortigiTempo comes out with next. Be sure to watch them closely.

Salt Lake Rockabilly Presents: Paul “Woody” Woodmansey

Photos courtesy of Paul Woodmansey.

Once a month, Piper Down echoes with rock n’ roll music that defined the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The event behind the music is called Salt Lake Rockabilly Presents. It is a themed club night with live bands and both digital and vinyl DJ’s spinning original Rockabilly, Doo Wop, R&B, Hillbilly, Western Swing and more. It is hosted by Paul “Woody” Woodmansey and Jon Grippe. Woodmansey collaborative partnership with Grippe began shortly after moving to Utah from England. “Jon was one of the first Rockabilly people I met here in Salt Lake and he had been putting on shows over the past decade or so.” Woodmansey says, “He had contacts with the owner of Piper Down and we decided that it would be a good place to start a regular night for Rockabilly music.”

Read the full article published at Utah Stories!!

 

Los YaYaz — Born Dead

Los YaYaz Right to Left (Shane Kiel, Aaron Wilkison, Mariano Wilson and Micheal Flecha.

Los Yayaz
Born Dead
Self-Released
Released: 05/12/2018

Los YaYaz have blazed through the Salt Lake City music scene by combining the wild and primitive style of Los Yetis and Los Saicos with the intensity of The Sonics. This new record maintains their iconic blended style with all the trappings of repressed teenage angst and longing desperation. Their delivery is raw and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn Born Dead was some long lost garage-punk- unknown. Historically, Los YaYaz perform  both in English and Spanish. Born Dead, however, has all tracks recorded in English. This album was recorded live, and is only available on cassette or via their bandcamp.

Born Dead contains covers of well-known tracks like The Sonics “The Hustler” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man.” Listening to these covers it’s clear that the Los Yayaz have done their homework and almost own each song as their own. The the cover of The Bel-Aires “Ya Ha Be Be,” really shows of Los YaYaz  their musical tightness. It comes across as a more comfortable tune to cover as it appears that they are having a blast recording this track.

Out of all the covers on Born Dead, “All Black & Hairy” is easily my favorite. This track captures the haunting nature of Screaming Lord Sutch with the moody yet dirty nature of rock n’ roll found six feet deep. Joining Los YaYaz on  the organ for  “All Black & Hairy” is producer Dennis Fuller (also of The Boys Ranch).

The real magic on Born Dead is the original Los YaYaz material.  Largely written by vocalist Mariano Wilson,songs such as “Just a Little Bit” and “Sad and Blue” stay true to 1960’s garage rock form by betraying the familiar teenage garage punk themes of snotty adolescent defiance and love. With “Sad and Blue” the Los YaYaz boast a real moody groover. In a way it almost reminds me of the recently unearthed Sites N’ Sounds “The Night Is So Dark.” The difference between the two is a discernible roughness that will inspire listeners to sway and stomp their way to the grave.

The only departure of from the garage rock sound is with Aaron’s Wilkinson’s’ “Nerd Basher.” While definitely influenced by a more aggressive late 1966 garage rock sound, this track falls more in line with the attitude of 1970’s punk with the jet-fuel aggression of The MC5.

Overall, Los YaYaz bring a much needed revived sense of passion into garage rock. It’s clear that with Born Dead that they have refined their sound. Furthermore, these guys know their roots and have yet to cease bringing back a bordering untamed nature. Their use of covers are fine here and there, and they do them justice, but Los YaYaz demonstrates the knack for solid material with their own songs. Looking forward, I hope to hear more Los YaYaz originals—maybe even a return to some Spanish sung tunes.

It would be a tragedy if Born Dead is lost to unknown pages of history, so do yourself a favor and pick up their tape. Los YaYaz’s Born Dead demonstrates that rock n’ roll is here to stay and it’ll never die. Born Dead is a must own for anyone who boasts a love for garage rock. Pick it up.

For more from Los Yayaz check out their Bandcamp and Facebook.

Also check out their new music video for “The Shadow.”

 

Rebel Rebel — The Gospel Truth

Rebel Rebel
The Gospel Truth
Self-Released
Street: 07.24.2017

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.

For more about Salt Lake City’s Rebel Rebel, check out their bandcamp and give their Facebook Page a like. 

Exploring a Vague Space

Peach Dream performs at Vague Space. Photo by Mike Jones.

Vague Space is the venue that is replacing Daley’s Clothing in Sugar House. Owner and operator, Spencer Daley, started Daley’s Clothing in 2015. It was originally called Daley’s Men’s Shop, but once the clothing store began selling women’s clothing, it was renamed to be all-inclusive and non-gender specific.

In 2016, Daley set his sights on establishing a small DIY venue in the basement of the shop. He was keenly aware of the loss suffered by Salt Lake’s creative community during the Sugar House redevelopment that started in 2007. Daley says, “The lack of a music venue in Sugar House is surprising considering the origin where Sugar House came from.”

Check out the full article on Vague Space published by Utah Stories!!