LIVE MUSIC PICKS: JAN. 16-22 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks

LIVE MUSIC PICKS: JAN. 16-22

Brett Dennen, Your Smith, Chelsea Jade, Cursive, Cloud Nothings, Criteria, Loom, and more.

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MICHAEL GOLDBERG
  • Michael Goldberg

THURSDAY 1/16—Friday 1/17
Brett Dennen
With his carrot-top hair and bespeckled visage, Brett Dennen resembles someone who's always been prone to pick up a guitar and use it to earn the status of being one of the cooler kids in class. Not surprisingly, he first learned to play at a summer camp, where his counselors force-fed him a steady diet of Neil Young, John Denver, Joni Mitchell and other soft-core artists that typify the sounds most budding singer-songwriters are weaned on. He later became a counselor at that same camp, and nowadays, he continues to support the charitable organization that sponsors it. Nevertheless, Dennen set his sights higher early on, embarking on a career that's yielded six albums and five EPs over the past 15 years. He still looks to the masters for inspiration, citing Paul Simon, Van Morrison and Cat Stevens as his iconic ideals for his own melodic approach. Even at the outset, he was touted as an artist on his way up, and his various contributions to film and TV scores and soundtracks affirmed the fact he was able to connect with the masses. At age 40, he still manages to maintain that peppy, all-American image and a voice that's effortlessly alluring, but any hint of lingering innocence finds common ground with songs that are thoughtful and often humorous as well. In Dennen's case, truth and charm have always gone hand in hand. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $40, 21+, thestateroompresents.com

ERICA HERNANDEZ
  • Erica Hernandez

FRIDAY 1/17
Your Smith, Chelsea Jade
After a decade spent weaving sweet indie-folk gems from her Minnesota home base, Caroline Smith cut her hair, overhauled her artistic approach and moved to Los Angeles. There, the 31-year-old found creative freedom, trading acoustic roots for delectable soul-driven synth-pop—and a newfound sense of remove thanks to a new stage name, Your Smith. "I compromise too much," she told Atwood Magazine in 2018. "When I invented [Your] Smith, I was able to embody somebody that just had a lot less fucks to give. It felt very freeing to be ... a little more unapologetic for who I am, and what I want, and what I want to say with my music." Two EPs released on taste-making electro-pop label Neon Gold Records highlight her multitudes: On the cover of 2018's Bad Habit, an uber-cool, sun-dappled Smith hangs in an orange grove while a cigarette dangles from her mouth. Last year's Wild Wild Woman, on the other hand, sprinkles in funky guitar riffs and icy beats, all while featuring a close-up of a denim-clad derriere on the cover. Recent press photos, including a November 2019 shoot for Playboy, showcase a timeless, androgynous look—Your Smith paying tribute to icons like David Bowie. "Not everyone has to like you," she told Playboy while reflecting on the empowerment baked into songs like "You Could've Told Me" and "In Between Plans." "That helps me a lot as my armor. I want to wear slacks; I want to wear a dress sometimes. I'm still exploring what that means to me and I don't have the answers." Don't miss the chance to watch Your Smith work through such alluring quandaries on her debut headlining tour. (Nick McGregor) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 8 p.m., $13 presale; $15 day of show, all ages, kilbycourt.com

ARIEL PANOWICZ
  • Ariel Panowicz

SATURDAY 1/18
Cursive, Cloud Nothings, Criteria, Loom
Kicking off during the rise of indie-rock popularity, Cursive has been delivering post-hardcore tinged rock jams to audiences since 1995. And since their rise in the early aughts, they've released eight full-length albums, maintaining their fanbase and obtaining new listeners (like me!) over time. With all of this and a short hiatus under their belt, they released their ninth studio album, Get Fixed, in October, refreshing their setlist with brand new tracks that are just as charming and ear-catching as their vintage tunes. Cloud Nothings and Criteria (the other band featuring Cursive founding-member Steve Pederson) accompany Cursive on this tour, both offering their own Midwest-emo-based flavor profiles. Cloud Nothings, from Cleveland, Ohio, hopped onto the scene in 2010 with a garage-infused pop-punk sound, which morphed into a masterful approach to post-punk on 2012's acclaimed Attack on Memory, a style which they've spent the intervening years digging deeply into. Criteria adopt that same sort of energy with a punchier delivery and scratchier vocals. Each touring act, while leaving their own unique fingerprints all over the bill, rides a similar wavelength and share in reveling in the post-punk debauchery that Cursive set the tone for all those years ago. Local act Loom opens up the show for these bands, showcasing their intense and eclectic soundscapes. This perfect pairing of local and touring acts is a definite must-see this weekend. (Zaina Abujebarah) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., $20 presale; $22 day of show, 21+, metromusichall.com

CHRIS PIZZELLO
  • Chris Pizzello

SATURDAY 1/18
Shooter Jennings, Mike & The Moonpies
Ever since Hank Williams Jr. hit the Nashville scene in the mid-'60s, the children of musical legends have attempted to find success with songs of their own. Such music can be incredibly difficult to judge without bias; do we give them a free pass because of their lineage, or do we hold them to an impossibly high standard because we love their parents' records so much? So it's perhaps to Shooter Jennings' credit how easy such questions are put to rest when listening to his recorded output. The son of outlaw country legend Waylon Jennings has been forging his own path in country music and beyond since the turn of the century, standing out from his alt-country contemporaries by incorporating classic rock flourishes that feel surprisingly credible. Jennings insn't afraid to stray from his genre of origin, either, pivoting toward alternative and industrial rock with only the barest hint of a southern twang on 2010's Steven King-assisted Black Ribbons, a concept album that plays out like '70s Pink Floyd by way of '80s ZZ Top and '90s Nine Inch Nails and features its own video game spinoff. Shooter Jennings is currently touring in support of his 2018 album Shooter. Joining him in SLC is Texan Americana outfit Mike & The Moonpies. (Nic Renshaw) The Commonwealth Room, 195 W. 2100 South, 9 p.m., $27, 21+, thestateroompresents.com

KESLER OTLEY
  • Kesler Otley

SUNDAY 1/19
City Ghost, Milk Money, Pick Pocket
There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a perfectly curated local showcase. This collection of different rock-rooted outfits, City Ghost, Milk Money and Pick Pocket, all bring something unique to the table, yet maintain a cohesive and well-arranged lineup. While both City Ghost and opener Pick Pocket lean more toward the indie rock side of things, they explore the genre via different paths. They avoid the folky-tinged soundscape the genre has adopted throughout the last few years, and they each carry their own arsenal of personality. Where City Ghost features gorgeous, raspy vocals and a Manchester Orchestra-reminiscent structure to their songs, Pick Pocket provides an easy listening experience, with bouncy and energetic aesthetics. Milk Money adopts a heavier tone, reflective of the members' roots in punk and hardcore. Their sound is built on the foundation of grunge and rock of the 1990s, evident not only in their music sonically, but in the structure of their lyrics as well. Their sound is laced with the nostalgia of what alternative rock once was, and Milk Money breathes some much-needed new life into the genre. This trio of indie-rock revivalists take over The Urban Lounge for a laidback evening that's sure to be full of head-bopping. (ZA) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., free, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com