Preview: July Talk with Darkbird

I first saw July Talk in Prague during their 2015 European tour. I had just arrived in the city, so I set out to discover how folks in the Czech Republic rocked and rolled. I stumbled upon a venue called The Roxy (it sounded so West Hollywood). So, down the rabbit hole, I went. July Talk, a Canadian indie-rock band headlined. Not familiar with this relatively new band, I didn’t know what to expect. I discovered a five-piece band whose music vacillated between dark, thunderous gothic alt-rock and more contemporary, breezy light pop. The music paired perfectly with the host city’s medieval, gothic architecture and post-Soviet optimism. 

July Talk’s expertly crafted music and stage show embraced life’s contradictions. Their show felt like a push and pull between love and hate, dark and light, good and evil. Peter Dreimanis’ raspy, gothic rock voice spewed from the pillars of hell. In contrast, Leah Fay’s innocent, wispy, saccharin-pop vocals conjured the beauty to Dreimanis’ beast. The lead vocalists artistically played out life’s imbalances in songs like “Guns + Ammunition” and “Summer Dress.” On stage, Dreimanis and Fay performed the songs with the sexual tension of a seedy motel room. The chaos and seduction of their stage performance gave their music a unique artistic depth and brought it to life. 

Fast-forward seven years and July Talk is coming to The Urban Lounge on Nov. 29, 2022, and I can’t wait to see them again. Since our chance meeting in 2015, the band has released two more full-length albums and a new EP in 2022. Their self-titled debut record received a Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year (2015). The Juno is Canada’s version of the Grammy. The band released their second album, Touch, in 2016 which included the aptly titled song “Push + Pull,” a single that held the #1 spot on the Canadian Alternative Radio charts for thirteen weeks. Their tune “Picturing Love” reached #2. All three of July Talk’s studio albums have won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year.

July Talk’s avant-garde alt-rock/indie pop music is both hypnotic and catchy. In concert, they bring the songs to life like a rock opera. Don’t miss an opportunity to see this multi-award-winning quintet from north of the border. It’s your chance to travel down your own rock ‘n’ roll rabbit hole.

Austin-based Darkbird opens the show with their disco-pop new wave revival. Their 2021 single “Heartbeat” is a Blondie-styled retro dance number that’ll get you in the groove. Their latest single “Kiss Goodbye” rides the same new wave with an ’80s synth dance beat and a Devo-like guitar riff. They can quickly change lanes to Runaways-fashioned punk rock in “Bad Self.” If you listen closely you might even get a hint of Brenda Lee in “All There Is.” Without losing any authenticity, Darkbird blends ’80s new-wave flavors with modern indie-rock ingredients to create a tasty musical treat.

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John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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