BEAR VS. SHARK
Detroit’s Bear vs. Shark are proof that, 1. Great band names are still out there and, 2. Emo-adjacent rock needn’t be the predictable thrash ‘n’ splatter it’s fast becoming in the mainstream. Right Now, You’re In the Best of Hands (Equal Vision), the fivesome’s debut, mixes brutal riffage and smart wordplay with latent prog-rock tendencies for something that at least seems brand new. THURSDAY, June 17 @ DV8 Basement, 115 S. West Temple, 7 p.m.
SPANKY VAN DYKE
You might remember J. Majesty, an alt-rock band of a few years ago made up of ex-Salt Lakers relocated to New York, fronted by a singer-guitarist named Spanky Van Dyke. JM is no more, but now Van Dyke has absorbed more local players (members of Cosm, Gerald Music, Quadraphonic and Rope of Bullets) and recorded Sketches of Grace (SpankyVanDyke.com), a striking album of country-tinged chamber pop being released tonight. FRIDAY, June 18 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255 (with Six-Sided Box).
Like suckers, there’s a new tribute band born every minute—but one dedicated to British goth-metal cowboys The Cult? Seems as likely as Cult singer Ian Astbury joining a Doors tribute band ... Wait, that’s happened, too. Electric: A Tribute to The Cult play tunes spanning 1985’s Love to 2001’s Beyond Good & Evil, and even toss in some Doors material—see how it all comes around? FRIDAY, June 18 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637.
The middle (Earth) ground where experimental alt-rock geeks and Renaissance-fair groupies sit down and drinketh from the same goblet is Faun Fables, a duo (ethereal vocalist Dawn McCarthy and multi-instrumentalist Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) who fuse old-old-school British folk and mystic D& imagery into melodically accessible weirdness. Faun Fables’ new Family Album (Drag City) could bring out your inner morbid Hobbit. SATURDAY, June 19 @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9:30 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with Purrbats).
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a hundred times: Richmond Fontaine are one of the best bands Portland, Ore., has ever produced—and they reprove it every few years. The latest reminder is Post to Wire (El Cortez), the fifth in an unbroken chain of gorgeous alt-country albums filled with ragged guitars and ragged-ier characters that sometimes make you wonder what the big deal is about Wilco, anyway. SUNDAY, June 20 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255 (with Motherless Cowboys).
THISTLE, AMP LINE
Hearkening back to the ‘90s heyday of Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, Soul Asylum (pre-Winona) and the like, Cincinnati’s Thistle power-jangle through catchy tunes like they’ve been at it for 10 years—coincidentally, they have. It took that long to finally release Tired Anchor (Tiberius), the trio’s dead-solid debut album. Plus, Thistle shares band members with Amp Line, a foursome dedicated to that long-lost art of instrumental guitar rock. SUNDAY, June 20 @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-0572.
WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB
The Washington (as in D.C.) Social Club’s “Not a Rock Star,” from their buzzed-about debut Catching Looks (Bad Man), is the most insanely hooky slice of guitar-bashing new wave never recorded in 1979. Even better, Marty Royale & Co.’s live shows are fast becoming the stuff of underground legend, espousing lefty politics as much as the joys of hip-shaking rock & roll. MONDAY, June 21 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with And Juliet and Pleasure Club).
THE LIVING END
AC/DC, INXS ... The Living End? Looks like it’s finally come to pass: The punky rockabilly trio who began 10 years ago as a pub cover band have become Australia’s biggest thang-still waiting on a Kylie Minogue ruling, however. Modern Artillery (Reprise), the End’s fourth and latest, is their most pop-polished outing to date, recalling Green Day’s once-maligned crossover into the mainstream. Now everybody sounds like Green Day; stock those stand-up basses, music shops. TUESDAY, June 22 @ In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Known (or not) as the bassist for Omaha indie darlings The Faint, Joel Peterson is also the lone MIDI mastermind behind Broken Spindles, a programmed project more orchestrally sophisticated than the usual composer/computer duo. His new Fulfilled/Complete (Saddle Creek) has been hailed as the invisible bridge between Philip Glass and Trent Reznor, but it’s still thumpingly ‘80s dancetastic. WEDNESDAY, June 23 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with El Toro and Take the Fall).
SISTER MACHINE GUN
Remember the great industrial-metal commercial grab of the mid-’90s, when bands like Filter and Stabbing Westward ruled for five minutes before everyone decided to just stick with Nine Inch Nails? It was a fine time for trench coats, as well as Chicago’s Sister Machine Gun, who rose above the fray with Burn (‘95) and Metropolis (‘97), among other albums. Now they’re back, presumably in black. WEDNESDAY, June 23 @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9:30 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with Christ Analogue and Manufactura).
ASYLUM STREET SPANKERS
Austin’s 1920s-centric Asylum Street Spankers have stuck to their “no electricity” guns for nearly a decade now, playing unplugged the way their bawdy mix of country swing, jazz, blues and everything else was meant to be: “We never once ran into another group ballsy enough to tell 300 people to shut up and listen then make them grateful they did.” Will it work in yakity-yak Utah? Here’s hoping. WEDNESDAY, June 23 @ Halo, 60 E. 800 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 363-4522.
Utah Arts Festival (Library Square, June 24-27). 311, The Roots (Usana Amphitheater, June 25). Beloved (DV8, June 28). The Dead (Usana Amphitheater, June 29). South Austin Jug Band (Gallivan Center, June 30). Rush (Usana Amphitheater, June 30). Legendary Pink Dots (In the Venue, July 1). Josh Todd (Egos, July 3). Clutch (Lo-Fi Café, July 7). MC 5, Supagroup (Egos, July 7). John Mayer, Maroon 5 (Usana Amphitheater, July 8). Diana Krall (Abravanel Hall, July 14). Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash (Egos, July 15). Vans Warped Tour (Utah State Fairpark, July 17). Sarah McLachlan (E Center, July 19). Reverend Horton Heat (In the Venue, July 22).