- Pony Logan
Punk Rock Halloween Kicks off Halloween Month
Never has it felt less immature and more ... prophetic that, over the years, Halloween has become a celebratory feeling recognized over the whole course of October, rather than just a day in October. October is Halloween. And if we need a whole month of feel-good grinning jack-o-lanterns, the mirth of dressing up like a freak or the fun of decorating one's home, it's now, during the most depressing, mind-fuckingly awful year in memory. Thankfully, S&S are helping to kick off the month right by starting Punk Halloween earlier than it's probably ever been, by assigning the theme to their next Concert Cruise on Oct. 3. A former SLC tradition put on by—you guessed it—a bunch of SLC punks, it's fallen by the wayside a bit in the past few years, lacking organization or maybe venues willing to host the rowdiness of Halloween revelers or bands dressed like Nirvana. Traditional Punk Rock Halloween concerts feature bands dressing up and playing as iconic punk and rock bands, and this time around features the locals as, respectively: Dream Team tripling it up as the Stooges, Dead Kennedys, and Rage Against The Machine; Depends as Descendants; Spirit Machine as Misfits; Color Animal as The Clash; and Thunderfist as Ramones. The cruise will follow the pattern of all past cruises, with multiple mystery spots revealed only after you start the cruise and begin following the guide around town. GREENBike also offers a $1 passcode with each ticket, so even if you don't have a bike, you can coast along with all the ghosts of rock 'n' roll's past. Visit sartainandsaunders.com for tickets and more info.
Pony Logan's Big, Open Emo Sky
While the beginning of this year found Pony Logan wrapping up a chaotic electronic album under the moniker of Easy Tiger, this time around he's experimenting once again, with the country album he promised in City Weekly's brief interview a few months ago. With the help of Super Young Adult's production once again, this album is an experiment in tropes that pull from early-2000s country music aesthetics and twang, as well as emo rap and pop a la 100 gecs, to create an unexpectedly harmonious fusion of very modern pop and country music stereotypes. Plucky, melodic guitars meet auto-tuned vocals that somehow don't overtake anything with their glossy weirdness. Sweeping synths rumble beneath the vocals on "Big Sky;" glitchy ones skip through the delicate "Shania." It all calls to mind the weird but tender music of Alex G, which also rotates between strange synth work and emotive acoustics—yet The Big Sky owes deeper debts to the modern electronic production popular on Soundcloud. The album is also deeply romantic—a dependable theme found from song to song, but nowhere as tenderly as on the spoken word "Pony Poem," which features the soft crackle of a fire and the chirping of crickets as the weary-sounding cowboy narrator re-spins clichés of burning, yearning and undying romance into earnest sounding professions of love. Samples from Frank Ocean's "White Ferrari" and Kasey Musgraves' "Space Cowboy" further the romantic vibe, while the latter sample helps more firmly embed the Old West tropes that are the album's meat and potatoes (ahem, cooked over a campfire). The Musgraves sample also contains a reference to Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," making this some kind of Russian nesting doll of country song references. It's clear that Pony Logan is one hell of an experimentalist, and here it lands in a fresh, constantly surprising and often heartwarming way. Fans of Orville Peck and 100 gecs, here's the child you never knew they had.
Back to the Beehive with Phobia
At the beginning of this year, we highlighted the release of Phobia the Greatest's debut album release, at the now-shuttered Gold Blood Collective. The Los Angeles transplant is taking some time to work on even more music, and with the release of the single "Sad Girl Anthem," it's immediately apparent that the young artist is continuing in much the same vein as was established by her debut album Black Harts Forever. As cliché as the phrase "sad girl anthem" might sound at this point, especially to anyone online where any emotional song can be captioned "this is my sad girl anthem," the phrase is right at home in Phobia's style of emo rap— emphasis on the emo. Spare guitars accompany predictable lyrics that still end up being pretty punchy, such as "I feel like my life was a tragic mistake / I act out just to hide all this pain," and later paring the refrain "sad girl anthem" with "having all these tantrums." It's certainly a brattier take on emo rap than usually is seen, especially for a song that's all about being a sad girl, a trope of tears and delicacy. The production, along with the accompanying video are glossier than past work, though, the latter exhibiting smooth transitions and a swirl of a light show. Phobia returns to perform in Utah at the Beehive, which recently opened again in September. Keep an eye on facebook.com/thebeehiveSLC for information on the upcoming show, and stream "Sad Girl Anthem" on Spotify on Oct. 2. Keep an eye on facebook.com/thebeehiveSLC for information on the upcoming (socially distanced, masked-up) event, which will feature several other TBA locals, a fashion show and vintage and streetwear pop-up booths. You can stream "Sad Girl Anthem" on Spotify.
- Karyn Johnston
- Standards and Substandards
Van Sessions at Ogden Art Stroll
While it feels weird to recommend going indoors while the pandemic is still very much a reality, Ogden's Monarch building—which is part of their First Friday Art Stroll that includes many different parts of Ogden such as the historic district around 25th Street and Union Station—is pretty big, airy and safe. The Monarch has its own history too, but more importantly, it's a huge space. That already made it perfect for the Banyan Collective's live filmed podcasts from inside their TanVan, which are filmed in front of the art stroll audiences and with new featured artists each time. Though the Van Sessions podcasts usually feature an indie bent, this time around those who stroll into the Monarch to see the performances coming from around the van can look forward to some jazz standards from the aptly named quartet of Standards and Substandards. They'll be accompanied by the alt-leaning pop act New Distraction. If you decide to mosey over to the Ogden Art Stroll, just be sure to wear a mask and keep your distance from others as you enjoy not just the Banyan Collective's Van Sessions, but everything else in downtown Ogden, too. Find more info on this and upcoming Van Sessions shows at facebook.com/thevansessions, and see what else is going on at Ogden's First Friday Art Stroll at facebook.com/OgdensFirstFridayArtStroll.
- Kristen Beck
Kristen Beckwith's True Story
It's one thing to be keeping up with virtual concerts or making new music during the pandemic, but quite another to be busy releasing one's debut album. Such is the case for the Salt Lake City soloist Kristen Beckwith, who's not only been doing just that, but still sharing her uplifted and positivity-raining songs via virtual concerts and sneak peaks at the production of some of the songs on her album. Titled A True Story, the album is a collection of songs so deeply romantic that they verge on spiritualism, sweeping into what comes across as a transcendental peace that it's easy to feel jealous of. But songs like "Single Life" not only stand out for their Taylor Swift-esque eye-rolling at one's own desperation and punchy pop production, but for calling back to a time where Beckwith found the love that appears so often elsewhere on the album. According to Beckwith, her songwriting also refers to all the chaos that comes with mental illness and loss, too, not just all the abundant goodness that rings on songs like "Free." A labor of love that's lasted the past two years, the album—which drops on Oct. 2 on all streaming platforms—couldn't be coming out at a better time, when many could use a little something like Beckwith's wholesome warmth to lift them up. Follow her on Instagram @kristenbeckwith_music or at facebook.com/kristenbeckwithmusic for news and updates on her live streamed concerts.