PUNKS VS. PSYCHOS
Hellcat Records’ second not-quite-annual Punks vs. Psychos Tour looks even punkier and more psychotic than the last one—and whoda thought that was possible? The lineup of Tiger Army (Bay Area psychobilly kings), The Business (British punk veterans), Roger Miret & The Disasters (ex-Agnostic Front singer’s new deal), F-Minus (brutal SoCal punks, probable show-stealers) and U.S. Roughnecks (Sacramento hardcore dudes) is actually heavier on punks than psychos, but Courtney Love is on another label and kinda busy with her own problems right now; maybe next time. THURSDAY, April 8 @ In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
In completely unrelated news, Moscow, Idaho’s Sweatshop Band are the latest touring entry in that wacky genre-blend of bluegrass, funk, reggae, world beat, rock and folk—or, as usually referred to more simply here, hippies who jam. Besides the requisite wicked instrumental chops and facial hair, however, the Sweatshop Band actually have a sense of humor, as evidenced on tunes like “Disco Fever,” “I Wanna Be a Pimp” and (props to Mad TV) “Lowered Expectations” from their CD, Mr. Green (TheSweatshopBand.com). Still, punks and/or psychos should steer clear. THURSDAY, April 8 @ The Hog Wallow Pub, 3200 Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., 9:30 p.m. Info: 733-5567.
There’s some kind of music-scene buzz going on in Omaha; perhaps you’ve heard of it. Athens dream-pop duo Azure Ray—ex-Bright Eyes members Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor—moved there to record last year’s gorgeously haunting Hold on Love (Saddle Creek), an album as uplifting as it is downbeat. “We don’t want to be depressed and sad and have fears and harbor dark feelings, and yet they are there,” Fink told Free Williamsburg. “Music is a good way to release and show people that someone else feels this way.” FRIDAY, April 9 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. All-ages. Info: 320-9887 (with Okkervil River).
THE WITCHING HOUR
Denver multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer Kenny James has recorded and toured with the likes of George Clinton & P-Funk, The Samples, Nina Storey and many more, but The Witching Hour is his own one-man project—sort of. James writes and plays everything in the studio, but onstage his “spirit-walker” alter-ego Stormy Chase takes over in the spotlight. Last year’s Crimson Glory Symphonies (TheWitchingHour.net) has invited comparisons to vintage My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult, Sisters of Mercy and even Moby, spanning the gap between polished industrial metal and A Clockwork Orange. FRIDAY, April 9 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-0255.
Named after a ’70s kung fu flick, Portland metalheads 36 Crazyfists are really just four transplanted Alaskans screaming and kicking all over Headbanger’s Ball every weekend with “At the End of August” from their second album, A Snow Capped Romance (Roadrunner). About the disc’s decidedly un-metal title, it’s an homage to the band’s former home. “The record for me just reflects on the positive things in my life,” singer Brock Lindow says. “Growing up in Alaska, and my friends and my family; just being excited to be alive.” SATURDAY, April 10 @ Albee Square, 115 S. West Temple (basement), 8 p.m. All-ages. (with Walls of Jericho and Martyr A.D.).
“Right now, music is in such a bad way that we need to start over—like the Beatles in 1963 or Nirvana in 1991,” Utmost frontman Don Flamenco told Las Vegas’ CityLife. “I do think a lot of people are tired of the fake American Idol crap.” The Utmost, a Sin City pop-punk foursome specializing in three-chord/three-minute songs that rock far more than whine, may not be the next Beatles or Nirvana, but Don (other last names: Falsetto, Ferrari) deserves props for not citing “Nickelback in ’01.” SATURDAY, April 10 @ Lo-Fi Café, 165 S. West Temple, 8 p.m. All-ages. Info: 949-6324 (with The Chemistry and EWI).
CAPTURED BY ROBOTS
Didn’t think the Captured By Robots experience (aka instrumental mastermind Jason Vance and his band of homemade ’bots) could get any more surreal, but here comes The Ten Commandments Tour, inspired by the movie if not the original text. “We will divide the movie up into 10 songs, we will each be playing the actor who plays each biblical character in the movie, and will play varying styles of music depending on the scenes, from old-school funk to brutal metal.” Paging Mel Gibson, Mr. Gibson ... SATURDAY, April 10 @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9:30 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with Red Bennies and Stiletto).
EYEDEA & ABILITIES
Alternative Press calls ’em “the Shaq and Kobe of underground hip-hop,” while the crew of Eyedea (the MC) and Abilities (the DJ) half-jokingly liken themselves to Led Zep’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page—can’t go wrong either way. The St. Paul, Minn., duo’s hot sophomore album, E& (Epitaph), puts rapid-fire rhymes and blazing decks on equal ground, all rock & roll-like. “We think about trying to write choruses and trying to get the turntables to sound like a guitar,” Eyedea told the Argus Leader. “We’re making hip-hop music, but it’s our version of hip-hop music.” MONDAY, April 12 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. All-ages. Info: 320-9887.
With the bluesy guitar bluster of Keith Richards and the tough-mama swagger of Lucinda Williams, Atlanta’s Michelle Malone has always been more of a rocker than a folkie. Last year’s Stompin’ Ground (Daemon) has been the under-recognized singer’s most talked-about disc to date, though she hasn’t changed much at all. “It’s cranked up and stripped down,” Malone told Access Atlanta. “It’s specific to Georgia in that it has all the great Georgia roots influences mixed in there, including acoustic, old-school electric, a little Southern blues and gospel, and a whole lot of rock & roll.” TUESDAY, April 13 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-0255. Also: THURSDAY, April 15 @ Gold Miner’s Daughter, Alta; FRIDAY, April 16 @ Mo Diggity’s, 3424 S. State.
Fantomas (In the Venue, April 15). Himsa, Death By Stereo (Albee Square, April 17). The Strokes, The Ravonettes (In the Venue, April 19). Def Jux Tour (Kilby Court, April 19). Stellastar (Liquid Joe’s, April 21). International Noise Conspiracy (In the Venue, April 22). The Thrills, Sleepy Jackson (Suede, April 23). The Long Winters (Egos, April 24). The Rapture, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (In the Venue, April 24). Blondie (Harry O’s, April 26). The Crystal Method (In the Venue, April 28). The Supersuckers (Suede, April 28). Blink-182, Cypress Hill (E Center, April 30). Dick Dale (Liquid Joe’s, May 5). Slipknot (In the Venue, May 5).