LIVE MUSIC PICKS: SEPT. 12-18 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks


Rachael Yamagata, Zach Djanikian, Foreigner, Man Man, GRLwood, Palace of Buddies, and more


  • Laura Crosta

Rachael Yamagata, Zach Djanikian

The word "mesmerizing" is frequently used to reference a sound that's alluring or hypnotic in an otherwise suggestive sense. In Rachael Yamagata's case however, her music gives meaning to what the term might have originally implied. Over the course of a career that spans 20 years, four albums, six EPs, innumerable collaborations and, frankly, more singles than we're easily able to calculate, she's developed a singularly seductive style that offers all the definition needed. Her creativity and approach capture a specific mood and mystique that graces her musical palette. Her smokey voice delivers earnest yet sage lyricism befitting someone possessing her wide landscape of musical experience—one where she brings forth starry guitars, jazzy-but-not-too-much-so piano, and production that goes from dynamic to minimal with ease. Her work has found its way into multiple television and film scores and soundtracks, where the atmospheric ambiance provides a perfect complement to all that's taking place on-screen. Those who have witnessed her hypnotic performances in person can attest to the fact that her music and corresponding stage presence are not something to miss. So how does Yamagata equate with a practical definition of mesmerizing? The whole package of her work and her persona manage to cast a hypnotic spell. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m., $28, 21+,

  • Johnny Gates


Loved by the masses but loathed by the critics, Foreigner was considered a supergroup of sorts when they initially emerged in the mid-'70s. Because some of its musicians had been in earlier outfits, they gained immediate credibility and an open invitation to secure a record contract. Guitarist Mick Jones had played in a later incarnation of the group Spooky Tooth, sax player Ian McDonald was a veteran of King Crimson, drummer Dennis Elliott was with the English prog band If and singer Lou Gramm was the former frontman for an Upstate New York outfit Black Sheep. Keyboardist Al Greenwood and bassist Ed Gagliardi found a good fit and allowed the Yanks to gain equal footing with their British compatriots. The Anglo-American combination helped enhance their image and bring credibility at a time when Top 40 radio was mostly given over to disco divas, and savvy rock bands seemed to be a dwindling commodity. Foreigner proved their prowess by dominating the airwaves through a succession of singles ("Feels Like the First Time," "Cold As Ice," "Hot Blooded," "Double Vision," "Head Games," "Urgent," "Waiting For a Girl Like You," "Juke Box Hero," "I Want To Know What Love Is" are but a few) that became Top 40 staples. Plenty of folks scorned them despite their commercial success, but more than 40 years later—despite personnel changes that left Jones as the original band's sole survivor today—it's evident that Foreigner's legacy is here to stay. (Lee Zimmerman) Days of '47 Arena, Utah State Fairpark, 155 S. 1000 West, 7:30 p.m., $25–$45 (includes Fair admission), all ages,

  • Pootie Evans

Man Man, GRLwood, Palace of Buddies

In the mid- to late 2000s, experimental collective Man Man cultivated a zealous fanbase thanks to incendiary live shows and frenetic onstage energy. But behind the piano-pounding histrionics lay the heart-wrenching perspective of frontman Ryan "Honus Honus" Kattner, who somehow informs his tales of zombies, werewolves and spiders with a throbbing, sobbing emotionality rooted in doo-wop, freak rock, ragtime and jazz. Across five full-length albums, Kattner has sung of self-mutilation, disastrous romance and the hellscape of late capitalism, viewed through the eyes of an unhinged young creative. But that sorrow and despair are refracted through a kaleidoscopic lens thanks to some of the wildest backing instrumentation on the planet: French horns and flutes, bass clarinets and euphoniums, keytars and clavinets. After a long hiatus that saw Kattner work with indie supergroup Mister Heavenly, record a children's album and release his first solo record and accompanying film, Man Man returns in 2019 with a retooled lineup, a move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and a two-song single for Sub Pop records. His much anticipated return is accompanied by Kentucky-based duo GRLwood, self-described as "Kentucky fried queerdos," whose music stands right up to Man Man's with its erratic sensibilities. Longtime locals Palace of Buddies open for both, after a booked and busy summer opening for acts like Phantogram at Ogden Twilight and Death Cab for Cutie at the Kilby Court Anniversary Block Party. (Nick McGregor) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $17 presale; $20 day of show, 21+,

  • Dan Almasy

Torche, Pinkish Black, Kælan Mikla, No Sun

In the early 2000s, the underground metal scene saw a flourishing of new talent across America, with scores of artists boldly blending genres and styles in search of fresh sounds to guide metal into the new millennium. Torche was one of those artists, mixing the crushing, downtuned riffage favored by contemporaries like Mastodon and Black Tusk with soaring, anthemic choruses that wouldn't feel out of place on modern-rock radio. Although they've never dominated the airwaves the way some fans wish they did, songs like "Kicking" and "Across the Shields" are as irresistibly hooky (dare I say poppy?) as sludge-metal gets, the kind of propulsive rock music that has garnered the Miami quartet a strong following outside the metal community, including members of Mogwai and Dredg. The band has even expressed a discomfort with being labeled exclusively as a "metal" band, with frontman Steve Brooks describing Torche in an interview with Spin as "metal-influenced, but ... not a metal band," and stating that their approach is simply to "get in a room and just write whatever." Torche is fresh off the release of their fifth studio album Admission, and Salt Lakers are able to experience the band up-close and personal when they stop by for a set at Diabolical Records. Texas synth-band Pinkish Black opens along with dark wave artist Kælan Mikla from Iceland and locals No Sun. (Nic Renshaw) Diabolical Records, 238 S. Edison St., 7 p.m., $20, all ages,

  • Mike Miller

Tobi Lou, Lil Trxptendo

If someone made a list of the most promising up-and-comers in music, Tobi Lou would be right at the top. The young Chicagoan is a vibrant rapper and singer who will undoubtedly win you over. After all, he is quickly becoming king of the bop—"Buff Baby," "Darlin'" and "Just Keep Going'" among them. Having just released his first full-length project, August's Live On Ice, Tobi Lou is currently in full-on attack mode (despite his best efforts to cancel himself on Twitter). It's hard not to be overcome by the youthful exuberance pulsing through a Tobi Lou song. He's consistently infectious, fun, sometimes melancholic, but most of all, he's straight-up magical. With lyrics like "I'm a buff baby but I dance like a man," Tobi Lou has a youthful self-awareness that's funny and incredibly approachable. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone out there quite like Tobi. Check out his music videos if you really want the full introduction and a lead-in about what to expect from his show. Start with "Troop," and continue down the rabbit hole. Joining him is the D.C. Metro Area's rising teenage rap star Lil Trxptendo, who spins out the same kind of sweet, DIY, mini-R&B sound that fans of Tyler the Creator have been intent on flooding the internet music world with for the past two years or so. His own brand of whimsical, danceable pop hypnotizes show-goers just as much as Tobi's, making the two a perfect matchup. (Isaac Biehl) Kilby Court, 748 S. Kilby Court, 7 p.m., $16 presale, $18 day of show, all ages,

  • Jacob Blickenstaff

Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo is one of those bands you will always remember discovering. For me, I was 19 and living in a turkey farming community during the summer. I only had one friend, since the rest of the college town had left while I finished a lowly internship. One day, we flew kites and listened to Yo La Tengo's 2000 album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. I will always remember that evening. "Saturday" brings me back to the laconic porch-sitting I also did that summer. "My Little Corner of the World" is the late night Gilmore Girls binges, and "Nothing to Hide" is the early morning runs. Yo La Tengo is the friend who never truly leaves your life, the friend you had one really good conversation with at a party who even knows how many years ago, and every time you meet again, the time that's passed is acknowledged warmly. Thunder without lightning. Their first album, Ride the Tiger, was released in 1986, and they've kept going since then. There's a Riot Going On was released in 2018, and it's the band's softest, most lullaby-like album in a while. I say in a while, because 19 albums span those 30-plus years, and there's almost certainly something in that discography even a dutiful fan has overlooked. With a rotating lineup over the years, part of the joy of Yo La Tengo is that they've explored so much of their sound and expounded on their influences to a point that familiarity with them means drinking from a deep, almost bottomless well—though it's always a welcome, comforting drink. (Parker S. Mortensen) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., sold out at press time, 21+,