Slick Velveteens release self-titled debut
Nearly six months ago, Bountiful’s Slick Velveteens were as fresh-faced and underdeveloped as their name implies—and I said so, when blurbing their then-imminent tour-sendoff show at The Urban Lounge. At the time, their entire recorded output consisted of three live clips from a December 2016 appearance on Park City TV’s Mtn Views
. The tunes weren’t ready—and one felt out of place, so the tour seemed oddly timed, too. But bassist Brandon Richter told me they’d only been together a few months when they taped those segments. With that in mind, I figured that they were hittin’ the road in order to bond and smooth out the rough edges.
On Slick Velveteens
, the band is close to achieving that end. It’s packed with 133 percent more music—four new tunes supplementing the original three: “Crooked Stare,” “Cold Feet” and “Rogue.” Once more, singer/lead guitarist Devi Strill is a stronger presence compared to singer/rhythm guitarist Kenz Waldon. When Strill takes the lead, the band’s identity is clearest. The songs combine elements of garage rock, classic rock and punk that’s fit for anything from a dive or roadhouse to an arena. In the time since their PCTV appearance, the songs—while still somewhat not fully formed—are really filling out.
It does sounds as though the band did try to inject more stank ‘n’ sneer into Waldon’s “Crooked Stare,” but Waldon’s breezy acoustic guitar and airy, cutesy, restrained 21st-century indie-pop vocal style just don’t fit. It doesn’t sound like Slick Velveteens; it sounds like Slick Velveteens backing up a singer-songwriter friend. Even on “Slick Holly Blue,” when she gets a little feistier, and another semi-acoustic track, “The Lorax,” she’s clearly restraining her inner beast. She sounds like she’s holding back; the whole time, you’re praying for her to just unshackle the motherfucker, and cop some of Janis Joplin’s badass, brassy power. Sandwiched between the bluesy blast of “Tell Me Twice (Don’t)” and the rowdy fist-pumper “Cold Feet,” it’s a frustrating detour.
That said, on “Twice” and “Mind Trip,” when Waldon and Strill sing together, they get closer to their ostensible aim: a two-headed, co-ed splicing of Jefferson Airplane and the Ramones. Waldon sounds emboldened when she’s not the main focus. Considering that they’ve come this far in six months, they’ll probably get where they need to be in another six—when Waldon gets good and pissed.
Live Redux: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Das Energi
Rodrigo y Gabriela
There are a couple of shows that we couldn’t squeeze into the paper this week, but still warrant mentioning. Friday and Saturday at Saltair, it’s more about moving the rest of your body. V2 Presents stages another iteration of its hugely popular Das Energi festival. As usual, the EDM event spans two nights. Friday night’s headliners are Zedd and Knife Party, while Saturday’s will be Diplo and Adventure Club. Of course, that’s not the extent of the lineup, which is typically deep with around three dozen other acts, including Zomboy, Ephwurd, ARMHMR, BlackGummy, Tydi, Dieselboy and local boy Nate Lowpass. And with EDM being all about atmosphere, there’ll be plenty of side action, too, with vendors, art installations and relaxation areas.
The other show is by classical-flamenco-metal guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who’ll show off their hyper-dexterous fingers-on-strings acrobatics at The Depot tonight. For anyone who likes gloriously vulgar displays of instrumental virtuosity—with exotic (for gringos) flavor—RodGab is a real treat. Expect plenty of nylon-string shredding tonight, some of it powerful, some of it pretty—all of it awesome.