Live: Music Picks Aug. 8-14 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks

Live: Music Picks Aug. 8-14




John Lee Hooker Jr.
It’s probably hard not to feel like you’re living under a shadow when you have a parent who’s as famous as blues legend John Lee Hooker. But his son takes the high expectations of listeners and critics in stride, unafraid to strike out in his own creative direction. With his father to look up to and a steady diet of blues music from influential artists such as Washboard Willie and Jimmy Reed, Hooker Jr. was performing on the radio by the young age of 8. He became an accomplished bluesman in his own right, but one who doesn’t stay within the confines of traditional blues. Instead, he calls his hybrid sound “two parts R&B, one part jazz and down-home blues.” His most recent album, All Hooked Up, released in 2012, is as smooth as a late-night cocktail. (Kolbie Stonehocker)
The Green Pig Pub, 31 E. 400 South, 10 p.m., $10 in advance, $15 day of show


Clear Soul Forces
It’s unfair to call any decent rap act from Detroit a “Dilla baby,” which critics often do, but there’s no denying that Detroit’s Clear Soul Forces are reminiscent of Michigan’s mid-’90s, golden-era groups like Slum Village and Athletic Mic League. Their debut album, Detroit Revolution(s), released in 2012, is a throwback to soul-inspired, tag-team boom-bap. Producer Illajide pulls samples from classic Motown R&B and underground classics like “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers.” Their sound isn’t anything new, but in an era flooded with trap rappers, sometimes nostalgia is refreshing. BPos, DopeThought, James Gardin, House of Lewis 1/2-E, New Truth, Negrodomus, Tobe Kang, Fukwitme Committee, DJ Planit, DJ Nizzle and DJ Electronic Battleship are also on the bill. (Colin Wolf)
The Project, 258 W. 700 South, 8 p.m., $5 in advance, $12 day of show

There’s no better way to kick off the end of summer than jammin’ at a reggae show, listening to tunes from Hawaii natives Iration. Although the band members hail from Hawaii, Iration formed in Santa Barbara in 2004 and has since headlined national tours and also played at Lollapalooza in 2011. Automatic, the band’s third full-length album, hosts the same unique blend of reggae, rock and pop with playfully alliterated lyrics and easy listening for which Iration is recognized. Although Iration won’t be able to get in a surf sesh while in Utah, they will be spreading the aloha spirit and sharing the “love in all its forms” that, as they say on their blog, has always inspired their music. Through the Roots, Fortunate Youth and Micah Brown are also on the bill. (Kate Ayer)
Friday 8.9 @ The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7:30 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 day of show


The Spyrals
If you were cruising along a lonely highway on a black motorcycle after zombies  had destroyed humanity, The Spyrals is what you’d wish you could have playing on your jury-rigged tape player as you did some drive-by shambler-skull-smashing. The brand of garage psych-rock put out by this San Francisco-based trio is influenced by ’60s rock, as heard in their reverb-fuzzed guitar, ominous vocals, down & dirty bass lines and infectious drumbeats. In an interview with the band-review website Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie before performing at its SXSW showcase in the spring, drummer Elliott Kiger said, “If Creedence, The Stones and 13th Floor Elevators had a baby—we’d be that baby.” The Spyrals’ sophomore album, Out of Sight, released in June, is more jangly than their debut self-titled album, with more movement and less sticky drone, but no less muscle. Give “Comin’ Down” a listen—and then another and another. Max Pain & the Groovies, Super 78 and Red Telephone are also on the bill. (Kolbie Stonehocker)
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $6

The Polyphonic Spree
While eating Lucky Charms when you were a kid, wasn’t it the best thing ever when, after picking out all the nutritional (read: gross) cereal, you were left with a bowl of sugary, pastel-colored marshmallow shapes? The Polyphonic Spree is like the musical version of that sweet happiness—if you happened to pair your breakfast with some weird cartoons. With an ever-changing ensemble of singers and musicians (currently, the group has 22 active members), this Dallas-based choral symphonic-pop-rock band, led by frontman Tim DeLaughter, describes their music as “psychphonic” on their Facebook page—grandiose, but utterly danceable and joyful. The Polyphonic Spree’s latest album, Yes It’s True (Good Records Recordings), was released Aug. 6, and features more drum machine and freer instrumentation than their previous work. Check out “You Don’t Know Me,” a sparkly spoonful of pop. Harper Simon & the O’s open. (Kolbie Stonehocker)
The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $20


Kurt Vile & the Violators
Maybe it’s the title of the opening track on Philadelphia singer/guitarist Kurt Vile’s latest album, Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze (Matador), released in April, but “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day” will make you feel as if you woke up on Vile’s couch some quiet, still morning, and he said, “Hey, man, check out this song I just wrote.” That feeling of intimacy continues throughout the rest of the album, which, through songs like “Pure Pain,” “Too Hard” and “Goldtone,” gives listeners a glimpse into the intricate inner workings of Vile’s brain. His mumbly voice, revealing lyrics and blending of acoustic and electric guitar echo his influences of classic songwriters like Tom Petty and Neil Young. Sonny & the Sunsets will open the show. (Kolbie Stonehocker)
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $13 in advance, $15 day of show

The Melvins
It’s been 30 years since Washington sludge-metal/post-punk weirdos The Melvins rose out of the ocean and proceeded to assault listeners’ ears with their experimental, bizarre noise. Sure, for the uninitiated, what The Melvins called “music” back then was borderline unlistenable, but like sea monsters who don’t give a damn about silly things like roads or song structure, they struck out into unknown territory and ended up influencing Seattle’s grunge scene. They had a close collaborative relationship with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and bands like Soundgarden and Tool also drew from their heavy sound. The Melvins’ latest album, a collection of covers titled Everybody Loves Sausages (Ipecac), released in April, is a schizophrenic tango between songs from a smattering of disparate artists, from Venom and Queen to The Scientists and The Kinks.  Honky is also on the bill. (Kolbie Stonehocker)
In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 7 p.m., $17.50


John Butler Trio
This Australian trio produces beats that just can’t be categorized. They’re certainly a roots and jam band, but they also infuse their sound with elements of bluegrass, folk and rock, making for an original sound that’s earthy and sets them apart. Vocalist/guitarist John Butler has incredible vocal versatility and even raps in some songs. While each song is unique, they still have bright melodies and funky guitar riffs that get you dancing and, at the very least, make you smile. Keep an ear out for “Ocean”; unlike the band’s other songs, it’s entirely instrumental. The tension ascends and falls throughout the song, making for an ethereal and beautiful sound, and proves that the band isn’t afraid of experimenting and trying something new. Zach Heckendorf opens the show. (Renee Estrada)
Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7:30 p.m., $23-$38

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