- Jason Thrasher
Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons Return to SLC
Readers who were savvy to the Utah music scene in the '90s and early '00s may remember the stalwart musical act Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, a band with a rotating cast of members, all centered around the illustrious and ambitious Joseph. A transplant to the area in 1996, Joseph would go on to put out solo albums in tandem with his band's records, spending the bulk of the years after the millennium wandering among different tours, bands and recording projects, dotting almost every year of the past two decades. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Joseph will make a return visit to SLC when he stops in at The Garage on Beck between May 21-23, in support of his most recent album, the late-2020 release The Beautiful Madness. The album is the product of a longtime friendship between Joseph and Patterson Hood of Drive-by Truckers, who produced the album. Hood has claimed Joseph not just as a friend, but one of his favorite songwriters, and he shows that by lending Drive-by Truckers as a backing band on The Beautiful Madness, which also features support from Jason Isbell. The 10-track work touches on the darkness of the human condition and current politics. Moods range from the playfulness of "(I'm In Love With) Hyrum Black" to "Dead Confederate," a spare track where Isbell lends keening slide guitar to a tale about the un-reckoned-with legacy of racism in this country and its latent violence, all delivered from the perspective of a confederate statue on its way down. Besides its compelling themes, the album's songs are really just masterful. At press time, the dates at The Garage were sold out, but console yourself by checking out his amazing album, wherever you stream.
Diego Brazuca Band at Soundwell
Craving a little heat from south of the equator? Utah's own Diego Brazuca Band has got you covered on Sunday, May 23. The band fuses musical motifs from Brazil and the U.S., creating a sound of wailing vintage-styled electric guitars, percussion that swings tropically and charismatic, spirit-lifting Portuguese lyrics that make you think you're on the beaches of Rio. On singles like 2020's "Quarentena," the band's leader—the Diego Brazuca at the center of the band— briefly sings in English to say, lightheartedly, "this quarantine will bring us together." In some ways, that's true. While gathering in person has been a less-frequent affair for most of us this past year, it's also reminded many how valuable our friendships and families are. After all, they do say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. There's no reason to be distant from Soundwell this Sunday, though. If you've never seen the Diego Brazuca Band before, this is a great opportunity to do so, considering there are no openers, meaning that Diego Brazuca and company will be taking over the stage for the night. Doors for the show are at 7:30 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. GA for the show starts at $12, but private tables for parties of up to eight are available for $125. Visit soundwellslc.com for more info and ticket prices. All COVID restrictions remain in place, and descriptions of those can be found online, too.
Rock & Roll at The Block
Located at 625 S. 600 West in downtown SLC, The Block is a large, new-ish venue usually home to dance music. Whether it's EDM, other types of electronica or disco-themed nights put on by the Social Disco Club, party music is usually what can be found bumping at The Block—in the before times, anyways. Now that shows are beginning to be feasible again, it seems they're branching out into new territory—namely, the territory of rock 'n' roll. Several SLC rock bands will be entering the venue for a night simply and aptly called Rock & Roll at The Block, happening Friday, May 21. The first band announced on the lineup was the local psych rock trio The Fervors, but they've since been joined by several others with even more TBA. Confirmed stage companions do, however, include Italo disco-meets-'80s post punk in the band Cupid Come, and more psychedelia will bump up against The Fervors' stuff by way of the trio Blood Moon. There's also some variety by way of the blues rock and grunge fusion band Ark Animalz. While The Block started easing back slowly into shows in March, they're ramping up for a summer of weekend fun. This show is only $10 and starts at 7 p.m. Visit @theblockslc for more updates and visit @rocknrollattheblockslc for lineup information and links for tickets.
- Russ Dixon
Mat and Savanna Shaw at the Eccles Theater
If you missed the viral launch of Utah's latest wholesome music-makers this past year, they're here for you in fully-arrived, star-power form with an upcoming date at Live! at the Eccles in downtown Salt Lake City. Mat and Savanna Shaw are the stars in question, and the daddy-daughter duo has much more to offer than was on display when they went viral near the beginning of the pandemic by covering "The Prayer," a song made famous by Celine Deon and Andrea Bocelli. Their version of "The Prayer" would go on to conclude the album that they ended up recording together in 2020, Picture This, which is chock-full of other covers like the tear-jerker "I Hope You Dance" and classics like "Let It Be," all polished by the Shaws smooth harmonies. That album was quickly followed by a Christmas release in Merry Little Christmas, and if it seems like they'd have taken a break after that, you'd be wrong, because now they have a third album to their credit. Stand by Me will be another collection that "celebrates an aspect of companionship that makes our lives meaningful," with more worshipful covers like Carrie Underwood's "Keep Us Safe" and even a cover of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers' "Something Just Like This." The show is on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be found at LiveEccles.com or by calling 801-355-ARTS. All attendees must wear masks, and seats are being sold as pairs distanced from other parties, though larger groups can call the aforementioned number for accommodations. The show will also be live-streamed, and tickets for that can be found at matandsavannamusic.com.
Song of the Week: "Screens for a Catch (Fur Bearing Eyes)" by Bardo Pond
In the last "Song of the Week" entry, I mentioned being in a music slump. That had me forgoing the small tradition I've established here during pandemic coverage, because I was still slumped. But I have found some comfort in noise, nonetheless. That's thanks to Bardo Pond, a band I discovered when they did a split with Yo La Tengo in 2015 called Parallelogram. They are one of those bands that has a penchant for long, winding songs that last a while and employ many a pedal, plus heavy doses of white noise, feedback and distortion. Born out of the '90s, they existed somewhere in between the kinds of bands who founded the "space rock" genre, like Pink Floyd, and those who were gaining some mainstream success after the millennium, like Mogwai. I often return to Parallelogram, which finds the latter band in less-popular form, indulging in totally noisy drones (my favorite kind of Yo La Tengo, sorry to the "Autumn Sweater" fans) on the 23-minutes-long "Electric Eye." Bardo Pond's track, though, is my favorite of the long-winded pair. "Screens for a Catch (Fur Bearing Eyes)" starts out innocently enough as it first climbs to a flute-assisted crescendo, before descending into a pool of sweet, rippling acoustic guitar that shifts into weightier electric plucks, a darker kind of ripple. From there, sludge-paced drums come back, along with lo-fi flute and distortion, all of which build to a slow, yet sudden and cacophonous conclusion — like a tidal wave sucking water out to sea before sending it rushing quickly back. Despite these descriptions, it—and most of Bardo Pond's other work—is soothing to listen to. It fills the space it's in with a wash of sound, and that's all any of us music lovers really want, isn't it? You can stream it wherever you stream.