The New Familiars
Hailing from North Carolina and named “Best Local Band” by Charlotte’s alt-weekly, Creative Loafing, The New Familiars dance all over the boundaries that separate folk, blues, country and bluegrass in much the same way as the Avett Brothers. They have all the intricate acoustic musicianship a twang-head could ask for, but they’re also not afraid to genuinely rawk. The boys share duties on guitars, mandolin, standup bass, banjo and drums, and judging by their live CD released last fall, The New Familiars are capable of touching on as many musical styles as they touch stringed instruments. This show is the kick-off to a free Thursday night concert series at Kimball Junction’s Newpark Town Center; two days later they’ll join the fun at Cedar City’s Groovefest music festival. Newpark Town Center Amphitheater, 1476 Newpark Blvd., Park City, 6 p.m., Free
Saturday June 26
The languid lyrical style of Def-Jux dude Cage is not everyone’s thing. Actually, maybe it is—his Shia Labeouf-directed video for “I Never Knew You” has been viewed nearly a million times on YouTube. That Cage has a video to view at all is a small miracle; a drug-addled and violent childhood fed the creativity of his early rapping efforts, landing him a major-label in the late ’90s, but they also stopped that early career path dead in its tracks when he couldn’t stay straight while recording. He eventually kicked the array of drugs he favored and turned to progressive and political hip-hop with his one-time group The Weathermen and now with his labelmates on Def-Jux. And the Labeouf connection? Apparently Mr. Transformers is interested in playing Cage in a bio-pic. Mind State, Sick Sense & Skinwalker open the show.The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m. $10 in advance, $12 day of show.
When Gared Moses bailed Salt Lake City for the Bay Area five years ago, his band Callow was working the jangle-rock angle. In the intervening years, though, some lineup changes and musical wandering have led the band into more brooding, indie-folk territory for its newly recorded demos. Now, Moses and Co. are bringing the new approach through the old stomping grounds for a whirlwind of Utah appearances, including a couple of stops at Borders stores, radio in-studio appearances on KRCL and UtahFM.org, and a headlining gig at The Woodshed accompanied by Bronco and Oh! Wild Birds. The Woodshed, 60 E. 800 South, 9 p.m. $5
Monday June 28
Mates of State
Married couples try a lot of things to keep their relationship interesting. I can only imagine that is doubly important when the couple in question is also a two-person synth-pop crew like Mates of State, who also need to keep the musical life as happy and happening as the home life. This duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel seem to have hit on a couple of good ideas in 2010. First, record a bunch of your favorite tunes by the likes of Nick Cave, Girls, Death Cab for Cutie and Fleetwood Mac and release the tasty batch of bubblegum-pop as Crushes (The Covers Mixtape). Then, put together a tour unlike any you’ve ever undertaken before. For Mates of State, that means filling its “Summer Crushes” tour with a carnival atmosphere, including the presence of sword swallowers, magicians and contortionists, and invite along multi-media opening acts like Free Energy to get the party started. In The Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7 p.m., $16 advance/$20 day of show
Tuesday June 29
Walter Trout & The Radicals
Guitar whiz Walter Trout says he named his new album Common Ground because “in this modern world which seems to be so filled with polarization, disagreements and cruelty, I feel that it is important that we try to find some place where we can bond and come together in our common humanity.” At the very least, we can bond in awe of this ridiculously talented guitar player, once a part of John Mayall’s Bluebreakers alongside Coco Montoya and a one-time John Lee Hooker sideman. For the past 21 years, Trout’s been working solo-style, and Common Ground is his 19th album on his own. The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $15 advance/$20 day of show
Wednesday June 30
The new Steel Train album, arriving the same week the band plays Salt Lake City, sounds to me like the soundtrack to a long-lost John Hughes teen rom-com. It bounces from earnest, anthemic declarations of love to jaunty dance-rock, and it all sounds BIG. You have your big, multi-tracked choruses, big, overproduced instrumental jams, and some big statements, like this lyrical nugget from album opener “Bullet”: “We are the last generation of hope, and I wouldn’t mind if together we died alone.” The band’s singer and songwriter Jack Antonoff claims, “This new record is about getting the fuck out of bed with your mind open to the world—no bitterness.” The self-titled Steel Train album is certainly a joyful noise, as he intended, even if it missed its era by a couple of decades. Matt Embree of RX Bandits and Young The Giant open. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 6:30 p.m., $12 advance/$14 day of show
Every Avenue (The Complex, July 2), Carrie Underwood (LaVell Edwards Stadium, July 3), D.I. (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, July 3), OneRepublic (Deer Valley, July 4), G.B.H. (Club Vegas, July 6), Trampled by Turtles (The Urban Lounge, July 6), Joan Baez, Guy Clark (Red Butte Garden, July 7), Lamb of God, Hatebreed (Great Saltair, July 7), Mirah (The Urban Lounge, July 7), Streetlight Manifesto (The Complex, July 7)?