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Desert Noises breaks out 

Utah indie rock quartet makes friends across the country

Kyle Henderson and his bandmates in Desert Noises love being on tour. I mean, really love it. They've been on the road almost nonstop for the last four years ­— they were home for a total of about 45 days in 2014. For the Utah-based indie rock band, they wouldn't have it any other way.

"I see my parents about as much as a lot of people in the country see their parents," the singer/guitarist says. "We're from everywhere as much as we are from Utah. We look forward to towns because you get to visit friends and hang out as much as you get to play a show."

Making friends is one way they've been able to stay on the road so consistently ­— traveling from coast to coast getting offered places to stay and making return visits. The current tour, in support of their 2014 album 27 Ways, brings them back to the Evening Muse on March 4.

Research Desert Noises online and you'll undoubtedly find plenty of focus on how they left the Mormon Church, making them sound far more rebellious than they actually are. The four bandmates ­— Henderson, Tyler Osmond (yes, related to those Osmonds), Pat Boyer and Brennan Allen ­— haven't been ostracized by their families. They actually credit their Mormon upbringings for helping with the friendly accommodations on the road.

"In a lot of ways, it taught us how to be good people and be respectful," Henderson says. "A lot of times we'd be staying at people's houses and the way I grew up is to wash dishes and make my bed and leave it better than you found it. People who let us stay with them really respected that and would have us back and that was a huge help. We didn't have the money, so there was no way to tour without that."

In Charlotte, it's no surprise they stay with Don and Laurie Koster at their south Charlotte home, affectionately known as the "Rock 'n' Roll Motel." Henderson says they've become like family and call Laurie's mother, "grandma." The Kosters were even invited out to Utah for a big barbecue with all of their families.

For the band, it's those connections that have kept things interesting and friendly while traveling. They didn't grow up together and only met through the Utah music scene. Henderson spent some time touring with singer-songwriter Joshua James, but it was after he hooked up with Desert Noises that he truly found a sonic homeland.

Henderson says 27 Ways is a great representation of the band — where the twenty-somethings were as songwriters and musicians at the time it was written. Solid harmonies and playful riffs join forces for a classic rock sound with an indie foundation and garage energy. They know when to push toward the boundaries of something pop but rein it in.

That sound is still developing, too. "I don't know that the next album will sound like that," Henderson says. "I don't know that we've reached the area of 'this is how the band sounds.' I think we're always changing and evolving and things are happening all the time — personal and within the band. A lot of that will come out in the writing and the way people play."

The band has grown a lot on the road — no surprise, since they spend so much time there. But Henderson can look back to one defining moment in Cleveland. The band woke up with little money in their pockets (Henderson tells me $35; other stories online say $20) and little idea of where to go next. A phone call from a friend offered them a tour for $100 a night. They've basically been touring ever since.

"A lot of things that happened in the first few years as a band were really tough, but shape you as a human," Henderson says. "You wonder if it's time to hang it up, but something would happen to give you motivation to keep going and put your heart into it. Now, we look back at those experiences and laugh. Imagine being stuck in Cleveland with $35 and you're all 21, dirty as hell."

These days, Henderson relishes every experience. He looks forward to North Carolina's Southern hospitality the most. (Wrightsville Beach inspired the song "Grandma Looks.") He says that everyone here is so nice and wants to hang out; it's the people they look forward to seeing the most.

"You can't pay to do what we do," Henderson says. "You can't pay to sit on a roof in Brooklyn and have a barbecue. You can't pay to shoot guns in a basement in Detroit, either. It's stuff like that — wild house parties in abandoned buildings and playing rock 'n' roll music. Giving it all your heart and becoming best friends with people. It's shaped us in a lot of ways."

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