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Various Artists
Death By Salt
SLUG Magazine
www.slugmag.com


I'm spooked that someone from Salt Lake Underground knows my phone number. I'm freaked that they found out my real name and the periodicals I write for. I'm creeped out that on the cover of their zine out of Utah is T-Model Ford-- an old bluesman I'd seen days earlier in New Orleans while on vacation. And I'm daunted at the prospect of covering a 3-disc 60 band comp. I swear, every band in SLC past or present is on this thing. So let's begin.

You want stoner rock? I'll fix you up right, my man. How about Salt City Bandits or some Sherlock? I got some JW Blackout that sounds like 1972. Erosion is the shit if you want some freaked out Sabbath meets Zeppelin. Red Bennies got a sweet riff that sounds like kettledrums, but a nagging guitar line. Like Eddie Vedder, Starmy has that Robert Plant warble and pulled down vocals. They like a slow groove, and unexpected harpsichord. Sloppy, raw garage with a southern bent and manly vocals make Thunderfist kin to Kings Of Leon.

Oh, you like folk? I got a swirling Debi Graham that sucks you into a dark whirlpool that Ani DiFranco would chuck her whole catalog into if she ever heard it. Stacey Board makes a healing sort of music with one simple guitar and her understated voice. T-Bone (not Burnett) plays soulfelt alt-country with harmonica straight out the jailhouse. Brownham has the most incredible two-part harmony ever recorded, and a wonderful boxcar beat. I'm currently making a CD of nothing but their dreamy "Winter Blackbirds." "Movie Man" is Bob Moss' hilarious straight-faced folk ballad of B-Movie director Al "Satan's Sadists" Adamson. "He cranked them out/at three per year/like a plot from one of his movies/he was found buried under his jacuzzi/murdered by the handyman." Moss' picking and harmonica are as strong as that of Phil Ochs, but a very different sort of folk hero.

Alterna metal entries include the rage against tool of The Blue Collar Line and Form Of Rocket, The funkified Nurse Sherri and screamo bile-drivers NIMH. New Transit Direction's Sound Garden without the sludgy guitars. Meanwhile, Hudson River School whispers deceptively to draw you close enough, then screams bloody murder. Metal purists will be appeased by the twin guitar-work of death heads Le Force, who don't even need vocals to kick your ass. While Never Never brings Laibach cookie monster vocals into the thick mix. Days Of Less have a touch of classical emerging from the screaming depths of hell, or south Florida which is also hot and birthed death metal.

If it's punk you want, we have the desperation of The Corleones, the humorous hardcore "Ted Nugent" from The Kill Patricks, or the scorned woman fury of Stilleto, juvinile hardcore from Mental Midgets and the basic garage of One Way Nowheres. For rap, there's The Numbs with a soulful backing, uplifting encouragement from Facts, and Fantazmic 4's brilliant sinister rhymes-"We tear up MC's as if we had claws/I'm stopping your flow like my name was menopause"--. B-movie strains warble in and out like a bad trip while samples appear in lieu of lyrics and the boys jump back in like nothing happened.

You han't heard country punk until you've dug the bombastic moonshine-fueled Debonairs. These boys take back all the dark Americana Nick Cave stole for The Birthday Party and show him how its done. Coyote Hoods turn in a nearly gospel Leonard Cohen tune full of begging and regret. Something's gone dreadfully wrong with Dan Morely. Brother man's fallen into a world of Tom Waits' Bone Machine and can't escape the freaked out clarinet or the cartoon pink elephants. A damn cool band with a damn fool name, Fifi Murmur turns blues-rock into a fascinating dark psych-out. This is one bad Doug Sahm trip. Before you attempt to use a vocoder, sequencer or falsetto, please refer to guy who makes up The Parker Sisters to learn how it should be done. Like a very sleepy, gentle Underworld, he's practicing pneumatic Tai-Chi people.


The Buddha Brothers are an acidic hilarious hybrid of Cop Shoot Cop and Happy Flowers. "Why" ponders eternal questions, "Why have I never seen the white whale?/(Moby Dick...can I say that?)/Why was Walt Whitman Gay?/Why is Fender considered the quintessential guitar/?Why do I wish to be financially recompensed for playing music?" The foreboding piece is chock full of literary references. Hell, the bass player's name is Kilgore Trout! On "Bird Shit Bombs," The Purr Bats have a compatible Happy Flowers sound, though with a new wave bent. Over the Casio, they chant, "Missed the point entirely/yeah if there is one." And speaking of new wave, Rope Or Bullets make intriguing stop and go garage with a spry sense of humor like a new wave Zager & Evans. Whilst The New Evils push a buzzy keybord into mature post-punk spy music. The very cool Vexations prove the mathematical theorem Gary Numan + Joy Division = The Mansions. The New Evils brand of smartass, creepy soulwave is a far cry from bassist Mike Kirkland's work in Prong. And Dulcesky could pass for shoegazers with their sorrowful tales and jagged-over-fuzz guitars. Echoey, warm keyboards emulate the vocal reverberations.

For the bad news, COSM is different for dance music. Farty synths and sugary girlie vocals are backed by impressive but excessively fast drumming to which no one could possibly dance. Annoying Throwing Muses hippy jazz? Redd Tape have that and more! Not only do slo-mo blues rockers Mooseknuckle rhyme "lady" "baby" and "maybe," but they couldn't hold a tune with gorilla snot. Iodina attempt to replicate the Tasmanian Devil screaming and math-rock changeups of John Zorn's Torture Garden. Now why would anyone want to go and do that?

This is an impressive and quite frankly, noble project. The state of Utah should use this in all tourism materials. The packaging and artwork are great, and the slick booklet makes for great bathroom reading. The skinny on all the artists is revealed, like the fact that out of 60 bands Dave Payne is in 65 of them. (We knew Utah was incestuous, but Jeez Amity!) For $15 you can pick this up at the Slugmag website, these people know your name and phone number anyway and will hound you until you do.

-Ewan Wadharmi

TRACK LISTING

Disc 1
1. Red Bennies, Walk Right In
2. Starmy, It's Easy
3. Thunderfist, Rock n' Roll
4. Chinese Stars, Your Electrocution
5. Silvox, Your Taste
6. The New Transit Direction, City Line
7. Redd Tape, Anchors Away
8. Purr Bats, Bird Shit Bombs
9. The New Evils, The Way
10. The Blue Collar Line, Heartship Through the Stars
11. The Numbs, Dedication
12. T-Bone, Drink Yourself to Sleep
13. The Killpatricks, Ted Nugent
14. Le Force, We May Belong to You, But Our Souls Belong to Satan
15. Never Never, Ritalin
16. Day of Less, Apnea Test Failed
17. COSM, Uneasy (Prototype Remix)
18. Bob Moss, Movie Man
19. The Vexations, Space-Themed Song
20. One Way Nowheres, Day After Day
21. Get Stakerized, Get Stakerized

Disc 2
1. JW Blackout, Whiskey, Weed & Wild, Wild Women
2. Books About UFO's, Espionage (DPful remix)
3. Stiletto, Blue Eyes Black
4. The Cronies, Has Been Neutralized
5. Erosion, The Monster That Remained in the Mind of the Orphaned Boy
6. Debi Graham, Cravings
7. The Downers, No Safe Place
8. The Corleones, Damned Anyway
9. Hello Amsterdam, Cold to Come
10. The Coyote Hoods, The Hate Seed
11. Rope or Bullets, I Love Personality
12. 12th Street Staggers, Show No Mercy
13. Salt City Bandits, Swimmin' in Booze
14. Then Blood, The Teeth Must Be Destroyed at All Costs
15. Dead in the Womb, The Feeling
16. Fantazmic 4, Mommy
17. Deep Six Holiday, Lower
18. Dan Morley, Stealing Claire's Prescription
19. Hudson River School, Straitjacket
20. Mooseknuckle, The Woman Song


Disc 3
1. Form of Rocket, Keep Smilin' Ed Smart
2. Nimh, Port of Morrow
3. Fifi Murmur, You Got the Eyes
4. Sherlock, Slow Burn
5. The Switch, I Don't Know
6. Brownham, Winter Blackbirds
7. Stacey Board, The Stone
8. Tolchock Trio, Square Candies
9. The Debonairs, Train Song
10. Iodina, Does Your Momma Make Gravy?
11. Gerald Music, Tekla
12. The Mental Midgets, ADHD
13. Parker Sisters, Shotgun Colorman
14. Nurse Sherri, Let it Go
15. Facts, Walks of Life
16. Dulcesky, Lands
17. SLAJO, Vultures
18. Buddha Bros. Why?


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