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LIVE MUSIC PICKS: AUGUST 8-14

Janis Ian and Livingston Taylor, Sunsleeper, Ugly Boys, Winter Forever, Shine Arrowmaker, and more.

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LLOYD BAGGS
  • Lloyd Baggs

FRIDAY 8/9 – SUNDAY 8/11
Janis Ian and Livingston Taylor

Janis Ian has never been afraid of courting controversy. As a teenager, she made an instant impression with her song "Society's Child," which was widely covered but also banned from several stations because it described an interracial relationship. Her best known hit, "At Seventeen," shared the sadness of teenage girls who never get asked out because they can't compete in high school popularity polls. Her defiant stand against the Recording Industry Association of America didn't exactly endear her in music business circles, either. Likewise, coming out as a lesbian gave her other obstacles to overcome. Ironically, it was none other than Bill Cosby (not exactly an arbiter of sexual standards) who created trouble for Ian early on when he witnessed her resting her head in the lap of a woman who was her chaperone while backstage at a TV taping, and subsequently spread the word that she wasn't suitable for family entertainment. Fortunately, none of those incidents impeded her progress. Over the course of her career, Ian has accumulated two Grammys, stellar album sales, chart triumphs and any number of other accolades. Her songs have been covered by numerous other artists, while her best-selling memoir established her as a leading social commentator and important voice for women in music. As for Livingston Taylor, credit him with carving out a lengthy career apart from that of his big brother James. His enduring identity as a singer and songwriter is a triumph all his own. (Lee Zimmerman) Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main, Park City, 8 p.m., $49-$53, all ages, egyptiantheatrecompany.org

KESLER OTTLEY
  • Kesler Ottley

SATURDAY 8/10
Sunsleeper, Ugly Boys, Winter Forever, Shine Arrowmaker

Local band Sunsleeper's new album shows they are nothing if not relatable. The band's debut release, Stay the Same, was in large part Jeffery Mudgett (guitar and vocals) dealing with the reality of change, which is plain to see from the song and album titles alone. "Come Back Home," "Best Friends Forget," "Break or Bury"—it all smacks of the classic emo melancholy of time slipping through fingers, of months that fly by. "I know that people change/ Not expected from you/ But I'll probably change too/ I swear I can change if I have to." This release was a good one, but it tread worn ground, especially for 2016. What's surprising about their newest release from this July, You Can Miss Something & Not Want It Back, is that it resonates harder despite still wading through more familiar emo muck. These songs carry the thoughts of their predecessors toward a more processed endpoint. From "Better Now": "Finally feeling a calm/ Am I really worthy of love?/ Enough will never be enough/ Bury the lead and admit it was." It retroactively makes Stay the Same more interesting, and inspires curiosity as to whether Sunsleeper will continue to take their discography into account for subsequent albums. Regardless, the new album is more varied and textured than Stay the Same, and hearing Sunsleeper live will be a good benchmark as to whether you'll want to keep them on your radar. (Parker S. Mortensen) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 7 p.m., all ages, $6 presale, $8 day of show, kilbycourt.com

MARCUS HANEY
  • Marcus Haney

TUESDAY 8/13
Mumford & Sons, Portugal. The Man

This British folk rock band, known for their bluegrass influence in soaring hits like "I Will Wait" and their literary references, took a departure from their usual fare for their fourth studio album, Delta. Rather than embracing the anthemic, declarative writing from their previous three albums, this one proves more intimate. Still implementing the acoustic guitar, banjo, piano and double bass that fans have come to recognize as the band's signature style, the album was called "tender" by New Music Express. "I think at the beginning [of recording the album] we kind of fell back in love with the old instruments we didn't play on Wilder Mind, like the acoustic stuff and the more folky instruments, but conscious [about] how we can make these instruments sound not like these instruments, which opened up a whole new world for us," guitarist Winston Marshall told the BBC. In an interview with Rolling Stone, keyboard player Ben Lovett said the album discusses "the four Ds: death, divorce, drugs and depression." Although it's a more introspective album, it still holds the sweeping emotion Mumford & Sons fans are used to, and the tour will, of course, include old favorites. Joined by Portugal. The Man as the opening act, the outdoor show promises a lively evening. (Amanda Taylor) Usana Amphitheatre, 7:30 p.m., $29.50-$128, all ages, saltlakeamphitheater.com

ELISE TYLER
  • Elise Tyler

TUESDAY 8/13–WEDNESDAY 8/14
Damien Jurado, Corrina Repp

Some songwriters bounce between sounds, trying out new ideas to see what fits, or following the winds of stylistic change. Others build their oeuvre slowly, chasing their individual muse with the confidence that success will follow. That's the best lens through which to view Damien Jurado, whose 25-year, nearly 20-album career has unfolded bit by bit. His dusty, dark and cinematic folk-rock folds in elements of psychedelia, and his narrative twists and turns are prime fodder for intellectual indie rock fans. But there's nothing twee about Jurado's artistry—instead, it overflows with the kind of bleak emotion made famous by Elliott Smith while finding melancholy joy in the complicated nature of humanity. Perhaps that's why Jurado has cultivated a small but fervent fanbase; it's easy to slap him with the "musician's musician" tag, especially given his stints on respected record labels like Sub Pop and Secretly Canadian, and his longtime collaboration with late, great indie rock producer Richard Swift. After Swift's death last year, Jurado shifted away from the dense, cinematic sound of his 2010s trilogy Saint Bartlett, Maraqopa and Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son and recorded his latest album, It Took the Shape of a Storm, in a stark, stripped-down manner. "For Richard, it was always about capturing the performance," Jurado told The Stranger, "not about recording. He didn't really care about that." Utah fans will be blessed with not one but two chances to catch Jurado's riveting performance—at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo on Tuesday night, and at The Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. (Nick McGregor) Velour Live Music Gallery, 135 N. University Ave., 8 p.m., $18 presale, $20 day of show, all ages, velourlive.com; The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m. $18 presale, $20 day of show, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

ABBY GILLARDI VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Abby Gillardi via Wikimedia Commons

WEDNESDAY 8/14
Lord Huron, Madeline Kenney

If you're like me, and have been coasting on Lord Huron's 2012 album Lonsesome Dreams, it's time for a check-in. The group's two releases since—2015's Strange Trails and 2018's Vide Noir—still evoke the weary traveler, open plains vibe for which you might have come to love in them, but the sound is bigger and grander, perfect for an amphitheater. Vide Noir in particular has some jam band-esque tracks that should play well. Madeline Kenney is a great fit, too, as an opener: Since her initial 2016 release Signals, Kenney has hit a stride. Not that Signals wasn't unremarkable (Chaz Bundick, aka Toro y Moi, helped produce and probably contributed to its somewhat all-over-the-place sound), but with releases like 2017's Night Night At The First Landing and 2018's Perfect Shapes and this year's singles "Nick of Time" and "Helpless," Kenney has found her strengths. Her voice is the kind that can anchor a song or launch it into orbit. Often Kenney keeps her vocals in the familiar indie wrapper, but Perfect Shapes shows a willingness to contrast her music against herself, sometimes making her sound like a stranger in her own album. "No Weekend" features a pinging synth and wandering saxophone you might not think to meld with Kenney's voice, but it works, and the album is full of such surprises. Perfect Shapes is like an artist catching themselves after a long time spent falling: There's a relief of safety, and almost immediately a pitch toward something new, something fun. (PSM) Red Butte Garden Amphitheater, 2280 E. Red Butte Canyon Road, 7:30 p.m., sold out at press time, all ages, redbuttegarden.org/concerts

ALICIA COLLINS
  • Alicia Collins

Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, Quaker City Night Hawks, Lo-Pan
Corrosion of Conformity was a band seemingly destined to take the metal world of the '90s by storm. Although they had already shed most of their hardcore roots by the time the decade began, it wasn't until their 1994 major-label debut Deliverance that they truly hit a sweet spot. Fusing satisfyingly chunky stoner metal riffage with Skynyrd-esque southern rock attitude, CoC developed a catchy yet hard-hitting formula that proved successful with classic rock enthusiasts and metalheads still clutching their early Black Sabbath records, and managed to slot in perfectly with the burgeoning grunge craze as well. Still, subsequent albums didn't quite live up to the commercial and critical success of Deliverance, and the band eventually splintered apart before going on hiatus in the mid-aughts. CoC reunited in 2010 (sans longtime frontman Pepper Keenan) and released two more albums to little fanfare, but Keenan's return to the fold in 2014 brought some substantial buzz, and their most recent album—2018's No Cross, No Crown—has been hailed by many as the band's finest effort since their '90s heyday. CoC will be playing at The Complex this week along with NOLA sludge stalwarts Crowbar; Texas hard rockers Quaker City Night Hawks and Ohio desert rock outfit Lo-Pan open. (Nic Renshaw) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 6:30 p.m., $24.50, all ages, thecomplexslc.com

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