Choice of Reign became Silvercrush, Used became The Used, and now another Utah band has signed a major-label deal contingent on a name change: Meet the Universal recording artists formerly known as No Release, Acroma. The foursome have been sequestered in a recording studio for months with producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of a Down); the first single, “Sun Rises Down,” hits radio in February, while the CD, Orbitals, arrives shortly thereafter. Will Acroma’s polished new nü metal top their homeboys’ debuts? For a band with no release (ha!), the advance industry buzz is hot. Friday, Dec. 13 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 467-JOES, 9:30 p.m. (with Royal Bliss). Also @ The Urban Lounge, Saturday, Dec. 21 (with Magstatic and The Downers).
Portland funk-soul brothers Rubberneck are one of those bands who tour so hard and hit town so often that they tend to be taken for granted. A new album release, however, tends to shake up the status quo, and Ego-Maniac (Big Wheel) is indeed shakin’ it. Rubberneck’s third longplayer doesn’t stray far from their bottom-heavy/horn-powered Latin-groovy territory; it just updates the sonic thump. “If you listen to the new soul and funk out there right now, you’ll find our muse,” says leader Ricardo Ojeda. “We just like to come at it with an old-school approach.” Friday, Dec. 13-Saturday, Dec. 14 @ The Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, 355-CLUB, 9:30 p.m.
Give Kevin Bacon credit: He has a sense of humor about the movie-star-as-rock-star thing. When he guested as himself on Will & Grace recently and commented that he has an entire laundry room full of unsold Bacon Brothers CDs? Big funny. Kevin and brother Michael’s 2001 album, Can’t Complain (Rounder), may not be a platinum juggernaut, but it is a solid chunk of roots-rock Americana beyond the grasp of, say, Keanu Reeves. “I think people realize that this isn’t about feeding egos or getting more adulation,” Kevin told City Weekly last year. “We think these songs are good and that we have something to offer.” Saturday, Dec. 14 @ The Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 435-655-3114.
No, they aren’t affiliated with Johnny Knoxville’s psycho-stunt crew. This Jackass is a SoCal country-punk-rock outfit whose two-stepping backbeat is provided by ex-Bad Religion drummer Pete Finestone—if he happens to like bashing himself in the nuts with a sledgehammer occasionally, that’s his business. According to Jackass’ hyphen-crazy bio, their “rooster-stompin,’ knee-knockin,’ hip-swayin,’ cousin-swappin’ rock & roll” is akin to “Madonna on a gallon of moonshine, Johnny Cash on crack and the Backstreet Boys with two black eyes.” “Hank III covering the Reverend Horton Heat” will also do in a pinch. Saturday, Dec. 14 @ Xscape Basement, 115 S. West Temple, 8 p.m. Tickets: 877-548-3237 (With Old Man Johnson and Unlucky Boys).
Sure, Scarface has a new album (The Fix) out and a hot label (Def Jam South) to run, but what about a Geto Boys reunion? “Not a chance,” the ex-member told MTV. “If you see that happening, just know they gave me a bunch of money.” Scarface would need it least, having built a solo hip-hop career out of the incendiary Houston crew’s ashes to become the rapper’s rapper, a vet today’s biggest stars still look up to. “I appreciate that, man. I could have easily been lost in the wash like a whole lot of other good rappers.” Sunday, Dec. 15 @ Axis, 108 S. 500 West, 712-5050, 9 p.m. (with Eric Sermon).
As great as it would be to report that legendary comic book hard-ass Steve Canyon has finally started his own band (how’s that for an obscure reference?), Kansas City’s Canyon are merely named after a big hole in the ground. Mind you, it’s the best-sounding hole you’ll ever fall into, an emo-tinged reverb panorama of psychedelic collages and country-fried slide guitars gently propping up roots-cosmic songs about everything gone gloriously wrong, as documented on Empty Rooms (Gern Blandsten). Another hint as to where their heads are at: Canyon have been known to encore with Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” Sunday, Dec. 15 @ Todd’s Bar & Grill, 1051 S. 300 West, 328-8650, 9:30 p.m. (with The Rodeo Boys).
Steeped in the Stevie Ray Vaughan/Robert Cray school of stinging, Stratocaster-soaked blues, Chicago’s Todd Tijerina is more ego-free soul man than six-string showboat. Not that he can’t burn a fretboard, but Tijerina and his band lay down a tune and a rock-solid groove well before the solo sparks fly, not the other way around. Nothing against your over-the-top guitar heroes, but it’s refreshing to hear a young blues-slinger who puts his audience above his own stroke-fests. “I live to play,” Tijerina says. “I’ve always loved music, but the blues is my first real and lasting sweetheart.” Monday, Dec. 16 @ The Dead Goat Saloon, 119 S. West Temple, 328-GOAT, 9:30 p.m.
He’s called “the Mexican Elvis,” but the mighty El Vez is an artist (that’s right, artist) who deserves props on his own terms. Obviously not one to follow musical trends or perceived common sense, the diminutive duke came out swinging—literally—last year with Boxing With God, a sassy ‘n’ spiritual cuisinart of rockabilly, gospel, R&B, punk and The Word. It’s a hot record, but the onstage revival is the only way to feel the full power of El—he’ll put the fire of the Lord in your belly; his scantily-clad Elvettes backup singers will ignite it somewhere, uh, lower. Wednesday, Dec. 18 @ The Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, 355-CLUB, 9:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman (Kingsbury Hall, Dec. 19). Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash (Zephyr Club, Dec. 19). Red Hot Chili Peppers (Park City Mountain Resort, Dec. 20). Guitar Shorty (Dead Goat Saloon, Dec. 23). Tone Loc (Port O’ Call, Dec. 26). Spearhead (Harry O’s, Dec. 27). Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons (Zephyr Club, Dec. 27-28). Jesse Dayton (Zephyr Club, Dec. 31). The Used (Xscape, Jan. 3). Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker (Abravanel Hall, Jan. 7). Bone Pony (Port O’ Call, Jan. 18). Juliana Theory (Xscape, Jan 27). BR5-49 (Zephyr Club, Jan. 28). Coldplay (Saltair, Feb. 7).