Skip the Hilary Swank Amelia Earhart biopic and let your fantasies take flight through Fanfarlo’s “I’m a Pilot,” a sweeping, cinematic ode to avi ation-speed fanatic Howard Hughes. The track appears on the U.K. group’s latest LP, Reservoir, which contains flashes of Beirut’s lush orchestration and David Byrne’s dreamy vocals in a frequently magical, musical stew. Live, the artists are known to swap instruments on a whim, a feat that’s always fun to watch up close and personal. You might even rise from your pew and spontaneously sing their praises. Or, maybe simply lounge about as if enjoying sitting-parlor appeal. The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m. Tickets: TheStateRoomSLC.com
Everyone, be sure to thank Mason Jennings’ son for asking his father, “What’s an electric guitar?” The query prompted Jennings, long recognized for his fairly mellow folk sound, to step it up and record a truly rockin’ album. For those who prefer artists with a little meat on their delivery, Blood of Man offers something the Minneapolisbased musician never quite achieved through his previous releases—no matter how hard-hitting their lyrical content, quieter songs about wavering faith and other typical human travails pale in comparison to a track like “City of Ghosts.” Powerful and thrilling, the album suggests that perhaps Jennings will be equally explosive onstage. In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m. Allages. Tickets: 24Tix.com
The tabloids might be more interested in Kate Hudson and A-Rod’s budding romance (and whether Phillies pitcher Chase Utley delayed their secret wedding by being a badass baseball player), but music lovers are too busy enjoying new jams by Hudson’s ex Chris Robinson to, frankly, give a damn. Robinson and the rest of the Black Crowes have withstood external and internal tribulations to deliver consistently solid output of Southern roots-rock anthems for 20 years—and counting. Their latest release, Before the Frost (which comes with a code to download a second set of songs), is no exception. Recorded live in Levon Helm’s studio, the album offers few surprises but instead cruises along the tried-and-true terrain that makes the Crowes such a stadium draw. Find your best pair of worn-out jeans and get ready to raise a beer to the band that declares with uplifting guitar jams, “No more drama”! The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: DepotSLC.com
It’s often amazing to hear what musicians are able to cook up from the dusty dregs of their basements. Old Canes, for example, recently released an album whose most boisterous tracks seem outsourced from a rowdy pub or packed studio. The band’s mastermind, Chris Crisci (The Appleseed Cast), recruited several of his Lawrence, Kansas peers to build on the foundation for Feral Harmonic (Saddle Creek), which sounds best when it whips strings, harmonica, bells and whistles into a frenzy. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com (with Victory Heist)
THE PLATTE CD RELEASE
When Nebraska native Andrew Shaw first relocated to Utah, his music contained a bright, shiny-penny quality that inspired cynical listeners to yearn for just a smidgeon of his apparent optimism. Even, songs about breaking up boasted silver linings. Since then, the local artist has put out several albums, on his own—under different monikers, including Chanticleer the Clever Cowboy and more recently, The Platte—and with Calico, whose minimalist aesthetic resurfaces on Shaw’s new triumph, Grus. “I wanted to make an album that was intimate and patient,” he says. Shaw labored over each arrangement, painstakingly recording one instrument at a time, building increasingly layered compositions in his condo while his wife (Mary Toscano, a visual artist who helped craft Grus’ gorgeous packaging) cooked or worked in the background. He spent a lot of time in his head, plagued by doubt and grappling dark subject matter, namely the death of a close friend who drowned when the two were teenagers. Grus explores feelings of latent grief and how our dearly departed are frozen in time. “I would hate to be forever judged as the person I was at sixteen,” Shaw says. “I was so innocent and naive, which makes me wonder how I’ll look back on myself 13 years from now.” With Grus as a marker, he should feel proud. Slowtrain, 221 E. Broadway, 6 p.m. All-ages. Free.
Arguably, Puscifer is not simply a side project for Maynard James Keenan who, though best known for his work in Tool and A Perfect Circle, is constantly on the prowl for new ways to express his creative impulses. The multi-instrumentalist is also an accomplished artist, wine maker and … comedian. Surprised? Don’t be. Puscifer debuted as a fictional band on Mr. Show. Plus, Keenan’s unconventional humor propels his music and marketing techniques, which effectively get folks all hot and bothered over their un-PC design. Puscifer is currently touring in support of “C” is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here). Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: ArtTix.org (with Neil Hamburger)
The Dutchess & The Duke (Kilby Court, Urban Lounge, Nov. 19); Joshua James (Slowtrain, The State Room, Nov. 20); Billy Joel, Elton John (EnergySolutions Arena, Nov. 20); Thrice (In the Venue, Nov. 20); GWAR (Great Saltair, Nov. 21); Pink Mountaintops, Black Hens (Urban Lounge, Nov. 23); Bone Thugs N Harmony (Great Saltair, Nov. 25); Little Sap Dungeon (Club Vegas, Nov. 25)