MUSIC PICKS: JUL 28 – AUG 3 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City

MUSIC PICKS: JUL 28 - AUG 3 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City

Punch Brothers and Watchhouse with Sarah Jarosz @ Red Butte Garden
Providing astute examples of how reverence for the roots can blend seamlessly with contemporary credence, the Punch Brothers, Watchhouse and Sarah Jarosz have transformed the image of bluegrass from that of back-porch buskers to artists that enjoy a sizable festival following. Consequently, credit Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre with a triple bill featuring the three exceptional examples of today’s acoustic music scene. The Punch Brothers are a supergroup of sorts, consisting of multiple players—Chris Thile (mandolin), Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar) and Paul Kowert (bass)—who are each highly-regarded in their own right. Double Grammy nominees, they draw on genuine populist appeal. Their latest album, Hell on Church Street, serves up a style some call “American country-classical chamber music.” Watchhouse explores similar territory, and though they changed their name—they were known previously as Mandolin Orange—this Chapel Hill, N.C.-based duo have attracted a rabid fanbase courtesy of appearances at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals. For her part, Sarah Jarosz can claim a spate of Grammy nods, Americana Music Association honors and membership in the all-star trio known as I’m With Her. This exceptional line-up performs at Red Butte Garden (2188 Red Butte Canyon Road, Salt Lake City) on Thursday, July 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Garden members get in for $55, and tickets are $60 for everyone else. Get them at (Lee Zimmerman)

C. Valenta @ Metro Music Hall
Out last week, C. Valenta’s new EP Kids At Play is an incredibly listenable if not more edgy version of the artist locals have come to know. The Salt Lake City-based artist has been putting out singles for some time, often introspective and critical songs about himself and the world around him. On his latest, the opening track “Tag” sets things up moodily, conveying a certain kind of paranoia, and also what it feels like to constantly be the victim of paranoia. Following that one tense track, the album still contains—in his style—the juxtaposition of dreamy, woozy production with recitations of Valenta’s bleak realities. On “Cops & Robbers,” he states, “the system was not built for me / I should have paid attention to what they taught us in history / every person that I loved has been locked in a cage / every story that I tell comes with its own page.” But on middling tracks like “Simon Says,” he reflects, “mom said you could do anything / I just wanna live / grow old and watch my kid have a kid and his kid have some kids.” Valenta is a realist, but his music always has a way of coming back ’round—stylistically, aesthetically, thematically—to looking up and making sweet music out of it all anyways. Hear the songs off the latest EP when he performs at Metro Music Hall on Friday, July 29 with DJ Vili Vil, Kire, Dedric Dean, DouMie and LaKell. Doors to the 21+ show are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10 at (Erin Moore)


Eichlers, dynastic, Orange Soda and Fuckskin @ The Beehive
In a 2020 interview with Eichlers, the artist told City Weekly, “I’m a small artist, and if people who don’t know me personally find my record and like it, I wanna create that friendship, essentially, that’s more than just from friend to artist.” Russ Wood, the artist behind the hyper-ska project, was talking about the release of his first album, i may b cute, but I’m dumb af. Since then, you could say that Eichlers has made a lot of friends-slash-fans. On this year’s follow-up album, My Checkered Future, Eichlers sings on the opener “Hi (Album Edition)” with stoked disbelief, “I think I just wrote a fucking hit / I was really just about to quit / I get so discouraged when I’m stressed / trying to be better than the rest.” Not only does his second album build exquisitely on the first—which fused the trappings of super sad emo rap with those of classic, upbeat ska, binding them with hyperpop—but he’s built a real following, getting some well-earned write-ups, recognition and even vinyl collabs from nationwide pubs like Brooklyn Vegan and The Hard Times. Since relocating from SLC to his Bay Area hometown, he’s done amazing work with other Bay artists, including his tourmate dynastic. Locals Orange Soda and Fuckskin will open at the all-ages show, which goes down Friday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at The Beehive. Tickets are $12 at—EM


Foxing, Greet Death, Home Is Where @ Soundwell
Despite the band name’s literal meaning—which refers to the brown spots on aging paper—Michigan trio Foxing brings modern experimentalism to Midwest-emo and math rock sounds in their latest concept album Draw Down The Moon. The album thrives on baroque-esque features like repetitive melodies over the top of an eerie basso continuo guaranteed to keep a listener on their toes. Themes of repetition are heavy on “Go Down Together,” foreshadowing the title-track which revisits the same idea. When the lyrics begin sounding redundant, the plot twists with sounds that seem to repeat the same message, but without the words. Other tracks like “At Least You Found The Floor” dance around hope–Conor Murphy sings,”this isn’t the floor yet / it’s gonna get much worse than this.” The final track “Speak With The Dead” parallels the beginning of the album’s effective changes in tempo, adding rhythm variations driven by not only the ample drum presence but the lack thereof in captivating breaths of silence. The record is enthralling enough through a speaker, demanding the listener’s attention at all times—but to experience it live will likely only get better as the night goes on. The show comes to Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 30 at Soundwell. Doors for the all-ages show are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $18 at (Brooke Williams)

The Supersuckers and Speedealer @ The Urban Lounge
Rowdy, rambunctious and a perfect example of insurgent attitude, The Supersuckers sadly reside below the surface compared to better-known Americana outfits that share their same roots-rock intent. Nevertheless, they could be considered forerunners of the genre, having made their bow more than 35 years ago. Mainstay Eddie Spaghetti remains the sole constant, but the current trio’s decisive delivery finds their allegiance to alt-country, cow-punk, edge and aggression still effectively intact. AllMusic puts it best, describing their style as “the bastard songs of Foghat, AC/DC and ZZ Top after being weaned on punk rock, unafraid of massive guitar riffs, outsized personalities, or pledging allegiance to sex, weed and Satan with a wink and a nudge.” For their part, the veteran Texas-based band Speedealer continue to tout their 2019 release Blue Days Black Night with the same combination of energy, intensity and abandon. Put the two together, and the result is a decibel-defying, air guitar-inspiring, uninhibited expression of rock and roll frenzy that’s certain to exceed any and all expectations. Consider these two outfits equally adroit at combining volume and veracity, and when the two share the stage at The Urban Lounge on Saturday, July 30, you may want to brace yourself for a true sonic extravaganza. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets to the 21+ show are $20 presale, $22 day-of-show. Get them at (LZ)

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