Haunted Hotel/Machete Massacre, Azure Ray, Senses Fail, Sufjan Stevens, Tim Kasher 

Live: Music Picks Oct. 28-Nov. 3

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  • Azure Ray
Friday Oct. 29
The Haunted Hotel/Machete Massacre

It’s dueling dates of dastardly deeds and daring costumes at a few of Salt Lake City’s massive dance clubs this weekend. The Haunted Hotel launches its three nights of partying with DJ Handsome Hands, Supa Mario and host Lyric. Over at The Bay, they’ve dubbed their Friday night bash the “Machete Massacre,” and they have the actor who played Machete in the movie, Danny Trejo, on hand to host a party that also includes a live performance by Digital Underground’s Shock G, doing the hits like “The Humpty Dance” and “Doowutchyalike.” The Hotel, 155 W. 200 South, 9 p.m., $25 for three-day pass; The Bay, 404 S. West Temple, 9 p.m., $15

Saturday Oct. 30
Azure Ray

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the dynamic duo Azure Ray (above right) released their album Hold On Love. Thankfully, the new set from Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor was well worth the wait; Drawing Down the Moon, released in September, is a lush collection of the twosome’s signature ghostly balladry and melancholy vibe. Produced by Crooked Fingers’ Eric Bachmann, the new songs are so lushly orchestrated and beautifully constructed that you’ll forget the darkness and heartbreak that seemed to inspire most of them. Tim Fite and James Husband open the show. The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m., $12 advance/$15 day of show

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Senses Fail
One could have been forgiven for considering New Jersey screamo rockers Senses Fail a bit on the serious side, given the overwhelmingly dark thoughts permeating the band’s first three albums. Singer and lyricist James “Buddy” Nielsen would even agree with you. That makes the borderline feel-good vibes on the band’s new album, The Fire, all the more noteworthy. As Nielsen puts it, “Instead of just being about negative things, this time it’s about being able to work out and break through those negative things, to find a way to get rid of things you’ve held onto for years.” Sounds like someone has spent the time between albums finding his happy place, or on the therapist’s couch. Even so, the aggression of the band’s music remains. Bayside, Title Fight and Balance and Composure are also on the bill. In The Venue, 579 W. 200 South, $15 advance/$18 day of show

Monday Nov. 1

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Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens’ last full-length album of new, original tunes—2005’s Illinois—left critics breathless and fans with a new hipster hero to worship, and an unusually worthy one at that, given Stevens’ undeniable songwriting chops on that slab of conceptual pop. Stevens’ new collection, The Age of Adz, is sonically miles away from Illinois, relying on a slew of electronic loops and synthesizers instead of the acoustic instruments he formerly favored. Gone, too, is the bevy of historical allusions, in favor of lyrics that are more personal, perhaps as a means of offsetting the colder musical background. Where the two works don’t differ, though, is in their presentation of an artist easily bored with the status quo, always pushing himself in new directions. And what more could a fan want than that? Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, 8 p.m., $34

Wednesday Nov. 3

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Tim Kasher
Tim Kasher is a remarkably prolific songwriter and performer; between his two bands—Cursive and The Good Life—he released nine albums between 1997 and 2009. But his 10th release is the one he chose to release under his own name, as a solo artist, and The Game of Monogamy is certainly a singular achievement in Kasher’s catalog. Recorded in the dead of winter in Whitefish, Mont., bordering Canada and Glacier National Park, the album is an incredibly intricate and theatrical undertaking. Some songs offer immediate pop pleasures (“Cold Love”), while others are incredibly quiet and sparse (“A Grown Man”) or sweeping and symphonic (“A Grown Man”). That makes sense, given that members of the Glacier National Symphony were recruited to lend a hand while Kasher recorded in his small rented house and a local music studio. Watching Kasher recreate The Game of Monogamy in concert should be a treat. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $12

Coming Soon
All Time Low (Avalon Theater, Nov. 4), The Beach Boys (Covey Center, Provo, Nov. 4), Free Moral Agents (Bar Deluxe, Nov. 4), So You Think You Can Dance (Maverik Center, Nov. 4), Kate Nash (In The Venue, Nov. 5), Mae (Avalon Theater, Nov. 5), Mayer Hawthorne (The Urban Lounge, Nov. 5), The Rocket Summer (Club Sound, Nov. 5), Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band (The State Room, Nov. 5), Gordon Lightfoot (Kingsbury Hall, Nov. 7), Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (Kilby Court, Nov. 7), Aloe Blacc (The Urban Lounge, Nov. 9), The Heavy (Club Sound, Nov. 9), Ladytron DJ Set (Bar Deluxe, Nov. 9), Meg & Dia (Avalon Theater, Nov. 9), Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats (In The Venue, Nov. 9), Yo Gabba Gabba (Maverik Center, Nov. 9), Donavon Frankenreiter (The Depot, Nov. 10), Eisley (In The Venue, Nov. 10)

Dan Nailen

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