For her latest album, Amy Speace pulled what you might call a “Bon Iver,” holing up in a remote cabin after a painful, drawn-out breakup. The New York City-based folk artist filled her vacuumed-out soul with all the trappings of a soured relationship—pain, confusion, fear and subsequent revelation—to record an LP with teeth. Killer in Me is a hearty work that showcases Speace’s continued evolution as a songwriter who fled poisonous “city noise” and rediscovered the country girl within to emerge her strongest self. It often seems those comfortable enough to reveal their flaws are the ones worth admiring. Speace’s humble, amiable storytelling skills translate to a stage show that will have you hanging on her every word. She hits town tonight as part of Intermountain Acoustic Music Association’s monthly spotlight. Coolers welcome! South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 6876 S. Highland Dr., 7:30 p.m. All-ages
VELOUR FOUR-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Each time Velour’s birthday rolls around, it seems like the Utah County all-ages venue should be celebrating much more than four years on the scene. Since opening in 2006, Velour has proved invaluable to not just Provo kids/musicians but also nationally renown touring acts that appreciate owner Corey Fox’s unfailing attention to detail. The modest-sized club has nurtured up-and-coming artists and watched many of them attain great heights, including recent major-label recruit, Isaac Russell (formerly RuRu). Like Salt Lake City’s Kilby Court, performers hold a special place in their hearts for Velour; and this weekend, names both familiar and new will give it a proper toasting. Tonight’s lineup features Neon Trees (2009 City Weekly Music Award winners), Seve vs. Evan, Location Location and Gypsy Cab. Tomorrow night brings to the stage Russell, Moses, Desert Noises and Archers Apple. Velour, 135 N. University Ave., Provo, 8 p.m. All-ages (also Saturday)
Why did it take Tash a decade to release his sophomore solo album? The follow up to his 1999 debut, Rap Life, sums up the gap between LPs in its title: Control Freek. It might be intentionally misspelled, but the term’s original meaning is in tact. Largely known for his role as one-third of Los Angeles hip-hop veterans The Alkaholiks, Tash spent much of the last decade jumping through music-industry hoops and fighting with his label for creative control. Apparently, he’s pleased with the outcome that evidences the West Coast party boy hasn’t changed his stripes. Serious Alkaholiks followers will breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing tracks like “How Hi Can You Get?” Uprok, 370 S. State, 5:30 p.m. All-ages; Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com
The Glitch Mob emerged, in a way, out of multiple mistakes. In this case, “mistake,” or “glitch” refers to a loosely defined subset of electronic music defined by its malfunctioning parts. Compositions are cut open, their guts sounding like distorted shattered glass. Hip-hop, heavy metal, dubstep and other flavors help spice the dirty, sexy stew whose potency boils over onstage. The talented group of producers give laptop-based shows a good name, bringing a physicality to their performances like rico suave Dan Deacons. Each member started out as a solo artist, and some followers believe self-proclaimed crowd slayer Edit achieves even greater heights on his own. The East Coast-bred West Coast transplant takes his work incredibly seriously so you can lose yourself in the bass-heavy bangers. Edit records at a snail’s pace to ensure the result is cutting edge and timeless. Whatever his intentions, the jams have major swagger. Edit’s 2008 single featuring J Dilla, Phat Kat and Dabrye says it all: “The game is not over.” In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m.
Often described as stand-ins for Phish, Umphrey’s McGee share less in common with the beloved Vermont jam band. The seasoned musicians are more apt to lose themselves in an epic guitar solo than to fine-tune an extended technical noodle. At least, such is the sound presented on the group’s eighth studio album, Mantis. Developed over the course of 20 months, the record reflects a vested interest in riffs shaken and stirred into 10 tracks of complex, chest-pounding classic/prog-rock. More than a decade into their career, Umphrey’s stays relevant through musical innovation and by cultivating unique relationships with their audiences. The Midwest artists are known for interactive live shows that at one point involved the crowd texting in suggestions for their improvisational sets. The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m. Tickets: DepotSLC.com
ACCESS FILM-MUSIC PARTY
The 2010 Sundance Film Festival doesn’t officially kick off until Jan. 21, but eager film buffs and music lovers can get a leg up on the annual event with tonight’s Access Film-Music sneak-peek launch party. Featured performers include Ellis (Minneapolis), Sarah Sample (Seattle), Jamie Meyer (Sweden), acoustic-duo Moors & McCumber (Wisconsin) and local artists, Celtic rockers Swagger and theremin/Chapman Stickpowered Zentherstick. Access Film-Music showcases will continue throughout the week in Park City, but the Salt Lake City installment is open to the public free of charge. Piper Down, 1492 S. State, 8 p.m.
Howie Day (The State Room, Jan. 21); ASCAP Music Cafe (Park City, Jan. 22-29); Brendan Benson (Urban Lounge, Jan. 22); Excellence Gospel Choir (Grand Theatre, Jan. 23); Ginuwine (The Rail, Jan. 23); GZA (Urban Lounge, Jan. 23); Big Head Todd & The Monsters (The Depot, Jan. 23); Ivan Neville Dumpstaphunk (The State Room, Jan. 25); White Denim (Urban Lounge, Jan. 26); Rusko (W Lounge, Jan. 27)