Deep Into the Grooves – Vinyl Records

Photos by Steven Vargo

Photos by Steven Vargo

When you drop a needle onto a vinyl record, you bear witness to an experience that requires a conscious participation. Record collecting is a culture that invites people from all walks of life to enjoy music on a readily reliable format. It is for the casual listener, and of course for those who actively seek out deep and obscure cuts of music.

Records have seen a renewed popularity since about 2005, and as a result, are available almost everywhere. They can be found at chain stores, boutiques, and of course, shops like Diabolical Records, Randy’s Record Shop or Raunch Records. For the purists who frequent these stores, record collecting never went out of style. However, in the last few years it has become relatively trendy and mainstream.

Dig the full article published by Utah Stories!

SDS Fundraiser: A Night of Punk Rock for the People

On September 30, the University of Utah Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society will be putting on a fundraiser at Diabolical Records. They are hoping to raise enough money to send 10 of their chapter’s members to the SDS Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The convention will be held on October 9 and 8.The fundraiser has an impressive lineup with locals All Systems Fail, Bancho, Cady Heron, Sympathy Pain, Hylian and touring act neutral shirt providing the entertainment. Also included during the event will be art, tasty treats, and a raffle. To find out more, I sat down with University of Utah’s SDS President Theresa and member Doug to find out what can be expected from this event and from the University of Utah’s SDS chapter.

NixBeat: What is the agenda for the SDS National Conference in October?
Doug and Theresa: The conference consists of plenaries and workshops for both Saturday and Sunday; workshops have a variety of topics, while plenaries set out broad outlines for the coming year for national SDS. For example, our current national campaign, Education for All!, is a broad outline of goals such as support for affirmative action, undocumented access to education, and tuition decreases, and was passed at last year’s conference.

NixBeat: How did you attract bands like All Systems Fail to play the benefit show?
Doug: To a large extent it was just a natural outgrowth of the really great DIY ethic held up by the bands who are playing. We were able to get in contact with people various ways, through personal connections and the local music scene generally, but the folks who agreed to play didn’t really need any prodding or persuasion. They’re just great people generously donating their time as a great testimony to Salt Lake’s local music scene.

NixBeat: The San Diego Lo-Fi pop group neutral shirt is also on the bill, what’s the story there?
Doug: A friend of mine was a very hard working person organizing a lot of DIY shows in Salt Lake, but they moved off to Sweden. So neutral shirt was looking to put on a show in Salt Lake on the 30th for a while and they got a hold of my friend, who had actually helped us with some advice organizing our show, who forwarded them to us and we threw them on.

NixBeat: What other activities will the SDS fundraiser include?
Theresa: We’ll hold a raffle and have some speeches from SDS members.

NixBeat: Does this show include the participation of other organizations?
Doug: We’re hoping to see some old friends from other groups (in addition to new friends, of course) but, while we work with various groups on campus and throughout our communities. No other activist groups are formally involved in the fundraiser itself.

NixBeat: How much money does SDS need to raise to get its members to the conference?
Theresa: We are hoping to raise about 300 dollars.

NixBeat: Why is SDS having their fundraiser at Diabolical Records?
Doug: Diabolical and its owners, Adam and Alana, are great resources in local music and host shows really often, generally for free. They were definitely the most obvious option among (sort of) established venues in Salt Lake, and they were kind enough to tell us yes when we asked.

NixBeat: Does the local SDS chapter coordinate with other national branches of the organization?
Theresa: Absolutely; national work amongst members from various chapters has been crucial for local work and building the national student movement. We give each other advice, help build new SDS chapters, and plan national events like the national convention through regular conference calls and communication on social media.

NixBeat: SDS stands in solidarity with 17 year-old Abdi Mohamed who was shot by an officer of the SLCPD. What actions is SDS taking to support Mohamed and stand in opposition to police brutality?
Theresa: Many SDS members consistently attend solidarity events for Abdi organized by Utah Against Police Brutality.

NixBeat: What other campaigns is SDS involved in?
Doug and Theresa: SDS’s main focus is the Education for All! campaign. We demand access to state-funded scholarships for undocumented students in Utah, which is currently illegal under state Senate Bill 81. We’re trying to build momentum and support around town and on campus for this goal through rallies, call-ins, and education (flyering, panels, etc) in order to amend—and hopefully, eventually repeal—this bill. Beyond this, we have also worked behind the slogan Dump Trump! and we organized a protest of Trump when he was in town. We try to stay abreast of struggles going on in our communities—usually not in as much of a formal group role, but to lend our support as individuals to organizing around town.

NixBeat: Has the recent controversial rhetoric used by GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump inspired curiosity toward SDS from the wider student population on campus?
Doug: We had a big presence protesting him when he was in town in March which got our name out to some people, and a lot of people can get behind “Dump Trump.” So it’s a slogan we have on some of our pamphlets and such. I would describe it as Donald being a man that people can easily agree to oppose, so we’ve used that a little bit.

NixBeat: What’s next for SDS?
Doug: We’ll continue to focus on our demand for state-funded scholarships for undocumented people, and the amendment of SB81; we’ll post about future events to that end on our Facebook page and spread the word on campus. We’ll continue working on this concrete, material goal and on building the student movement, and anyone interested in helping us is welcome to join. Attendance at future events, meetings and our fundraiser this Friday will be hugely appreciated and go a long way towards progressive change in Utah.

The requested donation for attending the fundraiser at Diabolical Records is $5. According to their event page, all donations will go to the planning of and travel to the National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information on the University of Utah’s SDS chapter, check out their Facbook page: https://www.facebook.com/UofUSDS/?fref=nf


Tonight, Diabolical Records will be hosting the official return of the band Dead Bod after a two-year hiatus. At the show, they will also be releasing a self-titled EP containing the only four songs ever recorded by the band.

The sheer brutal and raw energy of the Dead Bod EP is absolutely astounding. These cats capture a moment of punk history defined in L.A. between 1978 and 1983 and bring it back to light for the contemporary listener. It should not a surprise, then, that such a stunning delivery can only come from some of Salt Lake’s finest musicians. This company of outlaws boasts the familiar faces and talents of Dustin Yearby, Terrence Warburton, Shaun Sparks and Natasha Sebring, who each have distinct roots in the Salt Lake music scene.

Dig the full article published @ SLUG Magazine!!

Beware! Here comes the Brain Bagz

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Left to right (Max Wilson, Kristen Maloney, Mikey Blackhurst, Elisar Soueidi)

If one has not paid witness to the fury that is Brain Bagz, they are most certainly missing out. Their style blends a mix of influences and dare say, goes beyond the boundaries of any generic label. Brain Bagz consist of Mikey Blackhurst, Kristen Maloney, Elisar Soueidi and Max Wislon. They formed in early 2015 out of the ashes of garage punk band, Swamp Ravens—a band that Maloney and Blackhurst had started a couple years prior. Swamp Ravens played various Salt Lake clubs and could regularly be seen at Diabolical Records. Though they played host to many different lineups and they were always a presence to be considered— and it was a surprise to many when they finally folded. “{Swamp Ravens} just fizzled out,” says Blackhurst. “It was kind of unfocused.” Maloney adds, “…We went through so many band members…every time we get a new member, we would write all the songs—in my opinion it got better every time—and finally after the last breakup we had Jared Soper and Courtney Holman in the band. I loved the set up, we made some great music—they’re good musicians—but once they were out of the band we were like ‘k this project this project’s done.’ ”

The absence of Swamp Ravens was a notable loss in the Salt Lake music scene, however Blackhurst and Maloney were determined to start something new and fresh. In perhaps perfect timing for the Quintron and Miss Pussycat gig on June 03,2015, Brain Bagz had come out of the woodwork with a new line up and sound. Brain Bagz’s boasted a diverse inspiration that varied from rockabilly, blues, weird punk and even modern culture. “Everyone in this band listens to different stuff,” says Blackhurst. “We’re all familiar with blues, soul, funk and jazz.” With such a wide and deep appreciation for music and culture it can be rather difficult to pin them down to a genre. But that’s not a concern for Brain Bagz as they do not feel the need to be limited and that is something that shows through their music and even defines their reason for playing.

For Brain Bagz, their motive for playing is based purely on the need to make music rather than make money. Maloney says, “I’d say with Brain Bagz, we’ve had people who really care about it, whereas with Swamp Ravens we had some people who kinda care.” Brain Bagz has been subject to some line-up changes, though, not as drastic as with Swamp Ravens. Since the Quintron and Miss Pussycat show, Brain Bagz lost their drummer and synth player—a departure it is stressed that was on good terms—but in the switch up, gained the talents of Soueidi and Wilson. Speaking of their new members Blackurst says, “Now we have people that are fucking into it, who fucking care about it.” Brain Bagz current line-up act very much like a family. “I like that we pick people over they’re musical abilities. We knew Elisar could play guitar, could play bass, she was a fantastic musician {who} didn’t know shit about drums when she joined the band, and we’re like we don’t care. We know you can play and we’re not a real technical band,” says Maloney. “We just want to play rock n’ roll.”

Maloney and Blackhurst’s appreciation for all things rock n’roll is a passion that translates into all aspects of life. It is a love that has found them attending Goner Fest in Memphis, Tennessee two years in a row and somehow they have managed to survive with their livers intact. With certain excitement Maloney says,“It’s overwhelming in the best way possible, because you’re watching the best bands from 1AM to 4 AM and you’re at the bar the whole time.” This pilgrimage to Goner Fest has also contributed to an already budding awakening toward a more global rock n’ roll community. This more global outlook is felt to be largely lost in Salt Lake City. The reason according to Maloney is largely due to bands skipping over Salt Lake in favor of the touring the west coast with the result being the loss of said bands cultural influence on the local scene— however, according to Maloney that too is beginning to change. Brain Bagz cite Diabolical Records as the place that has greatly contributed to expanding and diversifying Salt Lake’s music scene and it is a shop/venue that Brain Bagz has played often.

It is at Diabolical that the members of Brain Bagz have been able to connect with the music community, both local and worldwide. With the emergence of a flourishing scene and with their experiences at Goner Fest,both Maloney and Blackhurst are inspired to take their music to new heights. Maloney speaking of her inspiration says, “Seeing these bands, meeting these bands, like we need to get our shit together. We need to get back on top of it…and to get out of Salt Lake.” Riding this wave of enthusiasm, Brain Bagz have hit the Salt Lake circuit hard in the last couple of months. They have played with the likes of GO!Zilla, Cool Ghouls, Rich Girlz,Salt Lake Spitfires, Blood Purge, Handiecapitalist and Lysol (Seattle). Their ambition is, however, set higher and they are set to bust out of Salt Lake City in March/April of 2016 for a west coast tour. If you’re smart you’ll check them out as they plan to infect:

March 26th Boise TBA,
March 27th Seattle TBA,
March 28th Portland @ The Know,
March 29th Sacramento TBA,
March 30th SF @ Hemlock Tavern,
March 31st Oak TBA,
April 1st LA @ Nela’s,
April 2nd LA @ Permanent Records,
3rd Las Vegas @ TBA

Dig Brain Bagz’s Bandcamp and their Facebook page for all things Brain Bagz!!


The last group of the evening, Gif Set, comprises Korey Daniel Martin (Foster Body), Travis Michael (The Nods), Cathy Foy, Michael Wright and Jared T. Soper (Swamp Ravens). Photo: Andy Cvar


On Dec. 12, 2014, over 70 individuals—from different spectrums of the SLC/Utah music scene—signed up to be randomly selected to play in bands for Diabolical Record’s BANDEMONIUM. These new groups would be given two weeks to practice and strut their stuff for 10–15 minute sets of improvisation, music or whatever. Before setting foot down the dark, black-iced Edison Street, I got the word from record shop owner Adam Tye several hours prior to the gig on what to expect from what is sure to be one of the most impressive examples of Salt Lake’s musical talent in practice. Tye says, “It was an idea Alana [Boscan] and I had a few months ago. Our show for the 26th fell through, so we decided to give it a try. We thought it would be a fun way to get people from different music circles to get together and create something unique.”

Read the full story @SLUG MAG!!


Kepi Ghoulie of the Groovie Ghoulies toured through SLC with Mean Jeans. Photo: M.A. BARATTA


Tonight’s adventure is brought to you by the essentials of a rock n’ roll diet, beer, pizza and loads of coffee for good measure. After consuming these givers of life, I find myself again facing down the dark alleyway that leads to the most notorious music shop in Salt Lake City, Diabolical Records. Through its doors, one can see that the speakers are already set up, ready to dish out dual lobotomies inspired by the teenage angst of Mean Jeans and Kepi Ghoulie. Though, to receive these power blasts to the psyche, one will have to wait, for a while….

Read the full story @SLUG MAG!!

See pictures of the gig @SLUG MAG pics taken by M.A. BARATTA 


Photo: Pooneh Ghana


Venturing into a night characterized by the allure of downtown’s illuminating lights, I glide past the sprinkling of hip, art types who are coming out of the shadows for gallery stroll. My journey takes a sharp turn up the most-visited alleyway in Salt Lake City. I am here tonight, for my soul has been starved too long for the sound and atmosphere of live music. Unsurprisingly, this means I am back at Diabolical Records, leaning against a shelf full of vinyl, waiting with anticipation for the wall of sound that floods the room after the PA is switched on. Though this action produces more of a reverberation than a melodic sound, it is enough to start the induction into a rock n’ roll infused psychosis. This is the start of what could be good, bad or ugly…..

Read the full story @SLUG MAG!!


The Clash (Problem Daughter) brought a lot of energy into the room. Photo: Gilbert Cisneros

The month of October is a 31-day-long endurance test of sin and debauchery. Every party or night of heavy partaking prior to All Hallows’ Eve is a stepping stone to build the tolerance of the faithful for the ultimate celebration of horror-filled thrills and chills. By this, I mean the traditional celebration of paying respect to the great punk bands of years before by playing the devil’s music for Punk Rock Halloween. This year’s bands chose to emulate The Clash (Problem Daughter), Nirvana (Chalk), Devo (Foster Body) and Beat Happening as performed by various members of Prince Polo. Making my way to the center of the city, my depraved senses gravitated toward the heart of downtown, to where the music surely will be—Diabolical Records……

Dig the full story @SLUG MAG!! 


For the full story Check out SLUG MAG!!

Monorchist blast with a punk rock barrage. Photo: Steve Chapman

Attempting to escape the blistering heat that defines this Friday evening, I find myself at Beer Bar waiting for tonight’s festivities to kick off. Early as ever and due to a late set up, my journey here is plagued with the temptation of imposing more financial strains on my wallet. Simply meaning I’ve already spent 45 minutes listening to various 45s at Diabolical Records and I need to go into temporal exile from the lures of an addicting habit. My exile is brief—I come back to find that things are still not yet underway. But I find that the members of Monorchist are tailgating in the parking lot. After introducing myself, I am invited to join them in some pre-gaming before their big comeback gig…

For the full story Check out SLUG MAG!!


Radioactivity resolves any rock n’ roll doubts.

Piercing through my consciousness like nails on a chalk board, the feedback from Murder Mystery Party’s amps brings my focus onto the band. Now, fully aware of my surroundings, I realize that I have been to this particular place before. I have again found myself at Diabolical/ Albatross Records. Again I am here to check out some of the coolest rock n’ roll gigs Salt Lake has to offer, as well as to tempt the lightening of my wallet. This place usually attracts a steady contingent of regulars, and tonight is no different. Scattered around the store are some of Salt Lake’s hip weirdo population. Some are checking out records, while most have their attention toward the makeshift stage. Though, it is at this moment that I notice the audience seems a bit smaller in size. Something I find odd, considering that tonight I am told something awesome is going to take place…

Read more @ SLUG MAG!!