YO LA TENGO
The purpose of a greatest-hits collection is not to repackage a few chart-topping numbers as a “new” Britney Spears album, but rather to highlight key moments in a band’s prolific career. That’s why we need more retrospectives like Yo La Tengo’s Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs, 1985-2003. The Hoboken, N.J-based trio is responsible for nearly a dozen innovative indie-pop records, all of which exhibit a fierce desire to take chances without stressing over the end result. So why aren’t they blowing up the mainstream? Maybe their ever-evolving sound freaks out those who prefer things status quo. Or perhaps their involvement with the “F—k Bush” festival during this year’s presidential campaign turned off people who love freedom. The world may never know. Olpin Union Ballroom at the University of Utah, 200 South Campus Dr., 8 p.m. Info: 585-9010.
Also Thursday: Bellydance Superstars (El Kalah Temple); Jason Mraz (Suede); Jimmy Newquist (Velvet Room).
Thank God for Rick Allen. Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer is an inspiration to any musician who’s ever lost a limb, or in the case of Redd Tape’s Lindsey Heath, suffered enough trauma to warrant the end of a promising career. Heath spent seven months nursing skateboard-related injuries before the local quartet could start working on material for their sophomore album. Now they’re back, and ready to unleash the Tremula. Longtime friends of RT will notice a few changes, including a new Sean on keys and a more mature sound. Some might mourn the loss of “Favorite Day,” but according to Heath, clarity will soothe their aching hearts. “The music is coming more easily. I believe that we have tapped into a fountain of pureness. We seem to be channeling it with the greatest of ease,” she said. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
BLACK EYED SNAKES
According to their Website, Black Eyed Snakes “sound like the look in a desperate man’s eyes when he’s got nothin’ to lose and you do.” That’s because the boys from Duluth, Minn., are a band possessed. This is Low vocalist Alan Sparhawk’s helter-skelter alter-ego ditching ludes to sidestep with demons. Watch as he speaks in tongues, melding punk and blues into freakish harmony. Listen to his distorted take on Moby and wonder why you ever doubted his potential to burn this mother down. Tonight kicks off the band’s two-date Utah tour (winding down in Ogden). Bad Brad Wheeler, who recently won the showdown to Austin’s South By Southwest festival with his band The Legendary Porch Pounders, swears these guys are the real deal. So what are you waiting for? Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East., 10 p.m. Info: 746-0558.
FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES
According to City Weekly’s hardcore source, Mr. Pain, Fear Before the March of Flames is “what the kids are into these days, what with the Used and all.” For those of you unfamiliar with Burt McKracken and Co., that would make the Aurora, Colo.-based Flames more of an indie/screamo hybrid than a death metal spinoff. Tonight they’ll take the stage with If Hope Dies, Zao and Cherum, the latter composed of homegrown heroes who one day plan on forming a band that plays nothing but Metallica, At the Gates and Iron Maiden riffs with a few catchy choruses thrown in for good measure. “They will be wildly famous,” said Pain. Wagstaff Theater, 8932 S. State, 7 p.m. Info: 597-3817.
Also Saturday: The O.A.O.T.s (Lo-Fi Café); Black Eyed Snakes (Brewskis, Ogden).
REVEREND HORTON HEAT
It’s fitting for the Reverend Horton Heat to roll in on a Sunday. The Texas rockabilly trio is a find option for those who, while craving spiritual nourishment, prefer to steer clear of neighborhood wards. Jim Heath, aka the Rev, and his merry cohorts have spent 20 years delivering sermons on the virtues of women, booze and vintage cars. 2004’s Revival is a somewhat sobering Yep Roc debut, balancing classic party themes with mature reflections on the death of a parent and a friend losing his battle with the white devil. Like all good bands trading late-night drug binges for early-morning sun salutations (see Velvet Revolver, Rolling Stones, etc.), RHH is slowly adapting to middle-age. But don’t expect any Billy Joel-type shenanigans. They still know how to bring the noise. Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. Info: 534-6325 (part of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Convention).
Also Sunday: The Exit, Rolling Blackouts (Lo-Fi Café).
CHER, VILLAGE PEOPLE
Back in the ’70s, a fun little group called The Village People pulled the wool over our nation’s eyes with seemingly wholesome songs about macho men and hanging out at the YMCA. Now remember, this was before society had accepted homosexuals and … what? We’re still not over that? But I thought the cop, leatherman/biker, cowboy, construction worker and Indian showed Americans that line dancing is a hell of a lot more productive than bigotry. Now they’re touring with Cher, another all-star celebrity breaking stereotypes through self-parody. Delta Center, 300 W. South Temple, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 325-7328.
DEATH BY STEREO
Rage Against the Machine’s Zach de la Rocha once said, “Anger is a gift.” The members of Death By Stereo took this advice to heart. The so-called SoCal punks latest release, Into the Valley of Death, is an ire-fueled rant against societal ills like child-molesting Catholic priests, repressive governments and elitist bullshit. Basically DBS is looking to uphold original punk ethic by showing the next generation that knowledge trumps whatever product Hot Topic is currently touting as “totally subversive.” “I, personally, would just like to make people think rather than sing about how cool I look or whatever,” lead vocalist Efrem Shulz told Skratch. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 6:30. Info: 480-5634.
Wednesday: The Thermals (See Music, p. 51); Otep (The Circuit).
Tift Merritt (Liquid Joe’s, Feb. 8). Social Distortion (In the Venue, Feb. 11). Secret Machines (Lo-Fi Café, Feb. 12). Legendary Shack Shakers (Urban Lounge, Feb. 15). Bettie Serveert (Velvet Room, Feb. 19). Sage Francis (Lo-Fi Café, Feb. 23).