Back in the day my favorite Salt Lake City local band was Form of Rocket. Their second album Lumber is an all time classic in my mind. I rarely go out to see local bands just like most Utah citizens, but I always made an exception for Form of Rocket. These dudes were so awesome live, because they always went absolutely nuts on stage. All three of their albums the aforementioned Lumber , their first release Se Puede Despedir A Todos and their third album Men all are must haves. Then a couple of years after they released Men they broke up and their was a big hole left in my heart. After that I kind of lost track of what the band members had been up to until just recently when I discovered La Verkin which features former Form of Rocket memebers Ben Dodds (bass, vocals) and Peter Makowski (guitar , vocals). Their new band has finally filled that hole in my heart.
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Salt Lake City’s La Verkin is a power trio that also features the machine like drumming prowess of Clayton Binks formerly of The Hell Press and Cop and a Criminal and they are basically a super hero version of the Jesus Lizard, Shellac, and Young Widows combined. In case you’re not from Utah the band is named after the actual town La Verkin, which is in the southern part of the state and has a population ab out 4,700 people. The name of the town is actually a bastardized version of La Virgin (Spanish for the virgin). Its for this reason and the towns comical yet ridiculous stance on being a United Nations free zone, while also enacting law requiring all citizens of legal age to carry a fire arm that the band chose this name. The name La Verkin to me sounds like the best possible name ever for an old creepy aunt that has a mustache and likes to kiss you face a lot. So in that respect, I guess La Verkin is a lot better band name than “Old Creepy Mustached Pervert Aunt” (haha).
The band came together about a year and a half ago when Binks ran into Makowski at a Minerva / Eagle Twin show (both exceptional bands as well). Makowski and Dodds’ previous band Accidente (also awesome) had just broken up and the two were looking to start up a new project. So the three members began jamming together with the idea of focusing more on the rythm and energy of the music as opposed to just musically wanking the hell out of their respective instruments.
Well the result of La Verkin’s year and half marriage together has resulted in the hell child EP Judge the Judger. Which is six tracks of pure kick ass post-hardcore noise rock. These dudes took everything that was is awesome about all three members previous band’s and streamlined it into some really great distorted dynamic angst filled jams. Binks’ (who also makes his own drums, how cool is that?!) drumming is a total terminator throughout the entirety of the EP and reminds me of John Stainer’s playing in early Helmet releases. Dodds’ bass tone is exceptional as usual, which I think is in part because of the super cool Travis Bean and Electric Guitar Company aluminium neck basses that he uses, the crunch and the grit of the low end really intensifies each and every song. Makowski’s guitar work acts as the delicious treat to the majority of Judge the Judger with his playing coming in out of each track and driving the songs to near high speed collisions at times.
Every song on their new release is about as amazing as it can get, but the highlights for me are the beginning track “The Darkness” which really shows the band at their full destructional force and the slow prodding track four “Hey, Stand Up”, which is a great example of Makowski’s nuanced and tasteful playing. The half spoken / barked vocals featured on Judge the Judger from Dodds and Makowski serve as exceptional lead element for the La Verkin’s songs, with the delivery and lyrics having a total anarchist damn the man vibe.
I can’t help, but think what a perfect soundtrack Judge the Judger would be to the old school movie Falling Down, you know the movie where Michael Douglas loses it and goes on a rampage while blowing stuff up with a rocket launcher. La Verkin’s music is total rocket launcher music, eliminating everything in its path and then calming down from time to time just to re-load and blow something else up again. So if you like rocket launchers, total chaos, and people flying of the handle as much as I do than La Verkin is the band for you.
Download Judge the Judger (name your own price).
La Verkin’s Facebook.
La Verkin’s Tweets.