Park City Institute Presents Locals Live
The emphasis on local performers in our local music sphere is, despite the circumstances, uplifting and refreshing. The Park City Institute, for their part, saw the importance of new avenues for local artists even before all this started. Locals Live, which is now launching mid-COVID, is a locals-only event meant to uplift and provide new stages to artists on the Wasatch Front and Back. Now, with those artists needing support more than ever, they're soldiering on with the idea, reformatting it to an Internet-friendly platform. After kicking off with home sets from Small House Strings on May 16 and Mary Beth Maziarz on May 23, they're following it up with a performance from The Take 5 Jazz Quartet on May 30. "We wanted to highlight local artists with the same high-quality technical performances that our patrons have come to expect," Executive Director Ari Ioannides says of the program, which hopes to eventually make use of normal venues for the streaming performances. Whether they can do that soon or not, though, there will be more line-ups to come, so if you need something to make your Saturday feel like a Saturday, tune into the Facebook live-stream or their YouTube channel to view the set. Visit facebook.com/parkcityinstitute for more info and updates.
At Long Last: Palace of Buddies
The best locals are never only in one place at once, and that's true for Palace of Buddies, an SLC band that's been around forever. Made-up of Tim Myers and Nick Foster and their distinct methods of looping and triggering song-parts to make their duo-hood sound like much more, Palace of Buddies hasn't been particularly active in the years since their 2011 release Summertimes. The new, quar-released album, Idle Tremors, came out in May, after years of the prolific pair splitting time between projects like Foster's Carl Cassette, It Foot, It Ears and Salt Lake Electric Ensemble, and Myers's own project Famous Relatives. "We took a long unintended break from recording," Myers says. "We played many shows in between that time, started writing new material and even spent time on the road. I think that some of the lag was due to other musical endeavors we both pursued and the ever-growing complications of life." This was the year they intended to tie up the loose strings on the long-gestating album, and the pandemic hitting only gave them more urgency to master the record and get to vinyl pressing. Myers says, "We felt like it would be a perfect time to release a digital version while people had time to listen, and were possibly looking for something new to listen to." The result is in line with the rest of their work, but with a thoughtfulness in each song that Myers attributes to just taking more time—proving that waiting for the right moment can make all the difference. Stream Idle Tremors on Spotify or Bandcamp at palaceofbuddies.bandcamp.com, and look out for future post-COVID show dates.
Going Live from The Harrington
While American Fork's Fork Fest has been pushed to Sept. 5 this year instead of its usual mid-summer date, they're going on with the show by moving into the historic Harrington School in American Fork. While the 117-year old building awaits its full renovation to become The Harrington Center for the Arts, the 20-years-abandoned building—which is registered as a historic landmark—has made the perfect backdrop for a series of live-stream events throughout May organized by the Fork Fest folks. The event series started out with local artist Ryan Innes—recently featured on NBC's singing competition show Songland—on May 9, followed by famed local folk artist Joshua James on May 16 and local band Book on Tape Worm on May 23. The final date of the line-up is a little more on the up-and-coming side, but has really got something going. Springville-based artist Emma Hardyman (aka Little Moon), who has probably the most high-pitched and angelic voice in the whole state, was recently featured with a slew of collaborators (some of Utah County's most prolific, including producer Bly Wallentine) on NPR's Best of 2020 Tiny Desk Contest Entries. The submitted video is a well-produced collage of socially-distanced video clips of all the instrumentalists, with Hardyman's voice the glue connecting them. This will be one stunner not to miss, and no doubt she, like Innes and James, will transform the cold, abandoned space of The Harrington into something warm and humble. Find past performances posted on The Harrington Center for the Arts YouTube page, and don't miss Little Moon at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 30. Find updates at facebook.com/ForkFest or at harringtoncenter.org.
- Michael James Morgan
Urban on the Move
Whether S&S owners knew they were filling two gaps in the local "going-out" scene or not when they came up with their latest solution to presenting music live is unclear—but they just might have. That is, if their 999 Ride-esque Concert Cruise concept actually takes off. An attempt to solve the predicament of no summer shows happening at their number of venues, the Concert Cruise pairs socially-distanced music sets (in the same vein as The 8eat1ful5 sets going on outside E3 Modern every Sunday night lately) with the movement of group bike rides for a rather roguish response to our pandemic world. Venue Media Manager Nic Smith said before the launch of the first Cruise, "This is meant to be a regular show—or as regular as possible, given the circumstances. It doesn't make sense for our venues to be open right now, so we believe we have found a new way to make an enjoyable live music event possible, while still respecting health and safety measures. We are hoping this is a great experience not only for us, but for the artists and everyone who attends as well." It must have been, considering their May 16 launch event sold out, despite S&S underselling it below their target "capacity" of groups of 12 distanced riders. Those who attended stopped at locations around the city to see 10- to 15-minute-long sets before moving along, at a distance from the bands and each other. The event costs $30, with participating local artists (Daytime Lover, Dad Bod, 90s TV, Static Replica, Midnight Palm, Tyke James, First Daze, Mitochondria and Marny Proudfit among them) getting a cut. However, despite this positive opportunity for artists, there still remains the question of safety and sustainability. The hunger to see live music is clearly evident, but even with a strictly controlled environment of masked-bike riding between sets and distance between viewers and performers, the event could still feel unsafe for some. Those who do feel comfortable can keep an eye out for their upcoming Cruises—which will likely sell up to their capacity—on Instagram @sartainandsaunders.
Local Binge: Swoody Records
Just in time for another one of Bandcamp's waived-fees days (see feature, p. 22)—which they've been doing on the first of every month since quar stalled the profits of the music industry—here's another great resource for digging into all things local, and especially small-time folks who need support now more than ever. Swoody Records is a treasure-trove of local goods, featuring albums by the likes of Secret Abilities (the project of label-owner David S. Abegg), Fisch Loops and Whisperhawk among many others. Besides offering the typical album or EP by a single band or artist, the label takes inspiration from songwriting traditions or happenings of the past, which are often expressed via big grab-bags of compilations. One of them, That Guy At The Party, is a compilation of covers in the style of "that guy (or gal) at the party that brings their guitar and plays all the hits no matter how well they know them." Another, dated back to 2013 titled The Song Poem Project vol. 1, features poems-turned-songs written and swapped between artists from Utah and beyond. I was delighted upon browsing to find my friend Nate Housely featured on two songs, who has played as PTO around SLC on-and-off for several years. That's the thing about big archives of music like this—it's not just music, but a collection of art by the people you might know in everyday life, just down the block. Swoody is still busy releasing new stuff during quarantine, including the home-recorded Exposure by Elaine Frances and the March-released Broken Hearts Association by Whisperhawk. Take some time to browse swoodyrecords.bandcamp.com and maybe purchase some downloads, cassettes or other merch from the label on Bandcamp's next waived fee day, June 5.