LIVE: Music Picks, Jan. 5-11 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

LIVE: Music Picks, Jan. 5-11 

Badflower, Martian Cult, Slow Caves and more.

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THURSDAY 1.5
Badflower

It's so weird how major labels operate now. They've always looked for the marketable moneymakers, but now they seem totally confused. So much so, that they sign bands like Badflower, who're more or less a straight-up rock 'n' roll band. Sure, you can pick out alternative rock influences, and even some indie fandom, in their mostly blues-based sound, but it boils down to pure rock. There's no bid to join an extant movement. They don't cop a look beyond jeans and T-shirts (aside from the Amish hats they wear in one of their videos). Instead, they appear focused on writing epic, stomping, anthemic rock songs that sound as good in a club as they would in an arena. Which is refreshing, to say the least. Could it be that Universal/Republic figured out that simple is good? Maybe, maybe not. But if there was ever a time when we needed a return to basics in the mainstream, it's now. (Randy Harward) Liquid Joe's, 1249 E. 3300 South, 8 p.m., $7 in advance, $12 day of show, 21+, liquidjoes.net

click image Martian Cult - SHEA LEDESMA
  • Shea Ledesma
  • Martian Cult

THURSDAY 1.5
Martian Cult, Dream Slut, Slick Velveteens, Beachmen

This is Martian Cult's debut show. Why cover a band we haven't heard yet? Have you ever bought a record based solely on a band name (or cover art or song titles) and it turns out to be pure gold? Any good music glutton has a story like that, and the satisfaction accompanying semi-blind buys is enormous. Now, Martian Cult isn't entirely new to the scene. You might have caught one of the six shows they played as Terracotta (a name that's not nearly as far-out, alien sects being far sexier than earthenware ceramics), and three-fifths of the band Moonlight with Daisy and the Moonshines. But Terracotta—Jared Asplund (vocals), Elowyn LaPointe (bass), Blair Draper (drums), Justin Richardson (guitar)—played soul/R&B, while Martian Cult (all of the above plus Derek Clark on synths) plays, according to Asplund, "post-punk, I guess. Or prog punk." Whatever it is, I'm following a hunch that I'll dig it. Support acts include Dream Slut (a new City Weekly obsession), Slick Velveteens and Beachmen. (RH) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., free, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

click image Reverend Horton Heat - GENE AMBO
  • Gene Ambo
  • Reverend Horton Heat

THURSDAY 1.5
Reverend Horton Heat

Are they psycho, or simply psychobilly? That's the question the fans and followers of the Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath) have been pondering for more than 30 years. Indeed, purveying an approach generally described as "country-fed punkabilly," the Rev created a signature sound that combines his own singular form of pure punk insurgence with rock, rockabilly, surf and swing. Led by singer-guitarist (and native Texan) Heath, the trio combines an homage to country legend Johnny Horton, a shortened version of Heath's last name and presumably a heightened sense of reverence for the music they make. Over the course of a dozen albums, they've even wrangled their way into the mainstream courtesy of commercials, cartoons and video games. And dang, when you have such idiosyncratic icons as Tony Hawk, Beavis and Butt-head and Hot Wheels tapping your tunes, stardom seems inevitable. Or not. It's likely Reverend Horton Heat are destined to remain cult faves, too rowdy for all except a restive few. No matter. Feel the Heat, fuel the frenzy and let this turbulent trio do the rest. No need for reverence. (Lee Zimmerman) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $21 in advance, $26 day of show, depotslc.com

click image Slow Caves - BODIE HULTIN
  • Bodie Hultin
  • Slow Caves

FRIDAY 1.6
Slow Caves

With its general jam-band mentality, Colorado isn't exactly known for synth-punk, but Slow Caves have created a mighty buzz in the two years since releasing their self-titled debut—enough to bring them a national profile. Their website says they were originally inspired by "late nights in Hollywood, car chases, red-eye flights and vintage skateboard videos," but insists the band's sole goal is "to make quality music that lasts in your mind forever." OK, that description is a bit ambiguous, but there's nothing vague about the band's visceral delivery, singer Jakob Mueller's caressing croon, or the group's relentless rhythms. Don't let the name fool you; Slow Cave's music isn't at all meditative like their handle might suggest. It's aggressive, surly and sonically striking—a sound that takes them to a higher plateau. (LZ) Diabolical Records, 238 S. Edison St., 8 p.m., $5 suggested donation, facebook.com/diabolicalrecords

click image Michel Camilo - INGRID HERTFELDER
  • Ingrid Hertfelder
  • Michel Camilo

SATURDAY 1.7
Michel Camilo Trio

Hailing from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Michel Camilo started playing piano at age 9, and caught the jazz bug at 14. That was roughly 1968, and nearly 50 years later, he's a legend. Maybe not in the same sense as the cats who influenced him—guys like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea whose names register higher in pop cultural awareness. But in jazz circles, he's a badass, the recipient of numerous prestigious appointments, awards and designations recognizing his contributions to jazz music and his jaw-dropping live exercises in musical prestidigitation. He's performed with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to George Benson to Celia Cruz to Esperanza Spalding. This week he performs with Cliff Almond and Lincoln Goines—the same musicians who accompany him in the award-winning 2015 documentary Playing Lecuona, a tribute to the late Cuban composter Ernesto Lecuona. For a taste of what they're serving, search "Para Vigo Me Voy" on YouTube. (If you're short on time and just wanna see the Camilo's fingers in full flurry, skip to 3:48—but you're just gonna play the whole thing, anyway.) (RH) Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m., $29.50, artssaltlake.org

click image Super 78 - DARRAGH SKELTON
  • Darragh Skelton
  • Super 78

TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY 1.10-11
Stale Street Thingy Wingy feat. The Nods, Super 78, Muzzle Tung, 90s Television and more
The Stale Street Underground, like the late, storied Moroccan, was a commune/venue for local musicians—and the 11 bands playing this two-night reunion of sorts all had members who at one time called it home. That includes a lot of bands you know. Night 1 consists of sets by The Nods, Cupidcome, The Artificial Flower Company, Eleventh Door, Echoplaxia, while Night 2 features Super 78, Muzzle Tung, 90s Television, Lord Vox and Bengt & Hoochie Power. Alas, the "Thingy Wingy" part of the title appears not to be an allusion to the night's eats. So don't expect big plates of wings. They should recruit local musician/filmmaker Dan Morley to right this wrong. Like the two venues, his wings are legend. Speakin' of the Moroccan—how about a two-night reunion of those bands? (Randy Harward) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $3 per night, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

click image Lil’ Smokies - KIRSTEN COHEN
  • Kirsten Cohen
  • Lil’ Smokies

WEDNESDAY 1.11
Lil' Smokies, Michelle Moonshine
Just when you think every other newgrass/nü-grass or progressive bluegrass band sounds the same, or at least does the same increasingly lame classic-rock covers shtick, along comes a band like the Lil' Smokies. While they're not averse to dropping a cover—like their ace retread of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," their originals aren't the usual hipster-ly take on high-lonesome acoustic Americana. Instead, their songs are most redolent of a New England band that used to be a popular draw here in Salt Lake City during the mid-to-late '90s Zephyr Club scene: The Courage Brothers. Singer-Dobro player Andy Dunnigan, in fact, bears a striking vocal resemblance to lead Co-Bro Todd Thibaud. The songs have the same quiet ache and intensity, too. If you have a taste for that band, and solid acoustic musicianship influenced by more than Americana, you'll gobble up Lil' Smokies. (RH) O.P. Rockwell, 628 Main, Park City, 9 p.m., $15 in advance, $17 day of show, oprockwell.com

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Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman

Bio:
An accomplished writer, blogger and reviewer, Zimmerman contributes to several local and national publications, including No Depression, Paste, Relix and Goldmine. The music obsessive says he owns too many albums to count and numerous instruments he’s yet to learn.

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