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SALT LAKE CITY — Social distancing has thrown a wrench in Utah’s live music scene. Many upcoming shows, including acts such as MXPX, Cher, The Temptations and Tiger Army have been postponed.
But not even a novel coronavirus can come between you and your headphones.
If you’re looking for some tunes to help you get through the pandemic, you can find them right here in the Beehive State. Here are seven Utah bands to check out.
The Aces are a four-piece indie pop band that quickly outgrew their Provo roots. In 2017, the band’s debut single, "Stuck," reached No. 38 on Billboard’s list of top alternative songs. After extensive touring to support their debut album, "When My Heart Felt Volcanic," The Aces are back with a brand new single, "Daydream." And it’s not just a clever title; the song is a perfect piece of breezy pop with an incredibly catchy, dancey hook.
After pausing just long enough to make a greatest hits album out of his 200-song catalog, former Provo resident Drew Danburry has turned to animation for his song "Mediocrity."
"I thought if I made a hand-drawn animation myself it would demonstrate the idea of mediocrity well, since I had never animated anything in my life," he said. "This song encapsulates everything I've ever done in the past 15 years in the most efficient and succinct way." Watch the video here.
Provo indie rockers The Solarists have trouble sitting still. Since hitting the scene in 2016 with their debut EP "Strange Love," the band has been churning out new singles and EPs every few months. Their latest is a moody-yet-dancey piece of guitar rock called "Lonely." The band says a new EP will be done by the end of the year.
Brandon Flowers is not only the lead singer of The Killers, but he’s the most famous person to ever work at the Taco Time in Nephi. For the past 20 years, his band has put out hit after hit — plus they just dropped a new single, "Caution." But Flowers has also released some impressive solo work. Check out the excellent "Crossfire" and gospel disco jam "Can’t Deny My Love."
In 2019, Salt Lake-raised one-man-band Ritt Momney released an album all about breaking up. His friends used his guitar-and-vocoder jam "On Love" to create a not-really-related music video in homage to Napoleon Dynamite. Both the dancing and moon boots are on point. Plus the song is pretty great.
Stretch Armstrong (aka Stretsch Armstronng, aka Stretch Magnifco)
In the mid-'90s, Utah was the center of the ska universe. And Stretch Armstrong was the main attraction. In their heyday, the band was playing to thousands of eager skankers and, over the course of just a few years, the band released three albums and an EP that helped define the era. Though their CDs are hard to find today, thanks to the internet the music lives on. Check out the album "Lollygag" here, and a dozen other ska gems at the Utah Ska Preservation Project.
Utah ska music didn’t die after the ‘90s. It just took a little nap. Bands like The Anchorage from Salt Lake are not only keeping ska alive but continually pushing the genre’s boundaries. Their new single, "What We Go Through," is a mini masterpiece and hearkens to the best work of RX Bandits. Utah ska is in good hands.
Did I miss a local band you love? Share it in the comments.
Looking for more Utah music? Lucky you, I made you a mixtape.