Utah is known for having an outsized number of excellent bands streaming tunes into the ears of eager local listeners. Imagine Dragons, Fictionist and Neon Trees all hail from the Beehive State, just to name a few of the more recent groups to make it big. All of them started playing locally at places like Urban Lounge, Velour and Muse Music, where you could go and see the next big thing tonight if you really wanted to. Right now there are hundreds of fantastic bands playing all the time. Here’s a sampling of three of the best, and we’ll be featuring more soon.
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Hometown • Provo
Genre • Pop, punk, anime, fun times
Favorite track • “Heaven Is a Place in Space”
Next show • March 5, Black Pyramid Recording, Provo
Members • Karly Zobrist, guitar and vocals; Katrina Ricks, bass and vocals; Bret Meisenbach, drums and vocals; Pat Boyer, guitar; Mike Dixon, guitar.
<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 100%; height: 142px;” src=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2053961785/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/” seamless><a href=”http://babyghosts.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-in-a-vacuum-7”>Ghost in a Vacuum 7" by Baby Ghosts</a></iframe>
Baby Ghosts are all about having a good time and making music that’s just as silly as it is danceable. They’re not trying to win any awards. They’re not trying to be your favorite band. But they very well could be, with a catchy, upbeat sound that will make you want to “shut up and move your butt,” as vocalist and guitarist Karly Zobrist put it. Baby Ghosts have a lyrical charm that can’t be found in many other bands around town.
“Don’t take us too seriously,” said founding member Bret Meisenbach. “Unless you want to. We’re not the boss of you.”
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Hometown • Provo
Genre • Indie pop, synthpop
Favorite track • “Way With Words”
Next show • Feb 28, The Complex, Salt Lake City | March 11, SXSW, Austin, Texas
Members • Libbie Linton, vocals and guitar; Spencer J. Harrison, synth, keys, bass.
<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;” src=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3925476002/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/” seamless><a href=”http://mideau.bandcamp.com/track/way-with-words”>Way with Words by MIDEAU</a></iframe>
Synthpop two-piece Mideau seems to take its cues from artists like St. Vincent and Wye Oak, producing melody-driven pop songs with an indie core.
“Think Fleetwood Mac and Beach House having a sleepover,” said singer Libbie Linton.
Vocal delivery from Linton is spot on, skillful and soulful but without tipping over into the overly affected style you’d expect from traditional female pop stars. While it’s not a straight pop delivery, it’s definitely on the opposite end of the alternative spectrum from Baby Ghosts, for instance.
Mideau has been booked to play the upcoming SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, and released a new EP nationwide. Things are definitely on the up for Mideau.
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Hometown • Salt Lake City
Genre • Glo-fi, psych
Favorite track • “Lexiconographer”
Next show • April 5, Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City.
Members • Taylor Clark, drums; Craig Murray, guitar and vocals; Josh Brown, bass; Andrew Sato, keys.
<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 100%; height: 142px;” src=”http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1462899798/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/” seamless><a href=”http://koalatemple.bandcamp.com/album/did-you-like-a-puppy”>Did You Like A Puppy? by Koala Temple</a></iframe>
Dreamy and psychedelic, but upbeat and melodic, Koala Temple is a glo-fi band that sneakily winds its way into your head and lodges itself there after just a few songs. The band’s extremely lo-fi sound on records could give you the mistaken impression that it’s just imitating a much older style of music, but Koala Temple’s music is quite modern and ridiculously listenable. You can’t really compare it to popular psych bands like Tame Impala, but if you use that band as a starting point, Koala Temple is about 100 miles to the east and 5 miles in the fifth dimension.
Plus, these guys are constantly playing, with a show every other day it seems. So they’ve got a hardworking spirit behind their off-kilter sound.
Whatever else they are, they’ve definitely got the ability to entrance listeners and keep them lost in a song.
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