Live: Music Picks July 25-31 

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FRIDAY JULY 26

The Deadstring Brothers
The vision of America conjured by The Deadstring Brothers is one of howling coyotes, rugged mountains and sunsets untouched by a city skyline. So, it’s surprising that they hail from Detroit, not the wide-open West. The band, formed in 2003 with current and former members of Whitey Morgan & the 78s, Willie Nelson’s band and others, dishes up rootsy rock blended with urban blues and good ol’ Americana country, an influence that became more pronounced after frontman Kurtis Marschke relocated to Nashville in 2010. The Deadstring Brothers’ fifth album, Cannery Row (Bloodshot Records), released in April, is made up of 11 twangy, dust-kickin’ tunes full of smooth vocal harmonies, warm guitar and pedal steel that dips and soars like a hawk catching an updraft. The White Buffalo is also on the bill.
The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m., $18


SATURDAY JULY 27

Red Bennies Farewell Show
It’s true. Red Bennies, self-described as “SLC’s best and oldest rock group” on Facebook, are calling it quits after this final show, and then drummer Dan Thomas is moving to Los Angeles. Since 1994, Red Bennies have seen a rotating lineup, fluctuating around the one constant in the group, singer/guitarist David “Payneful” Payne, and the latest incarnation—with bassist Tommy Nguyen rounding out the group—has been melting faces as effectively as ever. The band’s heavy sound is, well, challenging, but cathartic, with grating, harsh guitar and more screaming than singing, as heard on fan favorites like Hey Rocker, released in 2005, and 1999’s classic self-titled album—but who are we kidding, more folks know it as “The Chicken Record.” Come out and wish Red Bennies well, and if you leave this show without your ears ringing, you’re doing it wrong. Thanks for the rock, guys. The Pentagraham Crackers and Night Sweats are also on the bill.
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $5


TUESDAY JULY 30

Frightened Rabbit

There must be something in Scotland’s rainy weather that produces great indie-rock. Frightened Rabbit, a five-piece based in Glasgow—the home of the influential indie-rockers Belle & Sebastian—blends complex drums and fuzzy-edged guitar with burred vocals and intriguing pop melodies, as heard on the band’s latest album, Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic), released in 2012. On the 12-track album, frontman/songwriter Scott Hutchison is unflinching in his gaze upon the weakness inherent in human nature as a whole, as well as his own shortcomings, such as when he sings, “If you want a saint you don’t want me,” in “December’s Traditions.” The moody, metaphor-heavy tunes also have a strong storytelling thread and plenty of clever turns of phrase, woven through a sound that’ll perk up the ears of Arcade Fire and Pixies fans.
The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $17 in advance, $20 day of show

Merle Haggard
With his rough-around-the-edges life story, masterful picking skills and an instantly recognizable voice, country legend Merle Haggard is a product of the saving grace of music. His parents were “Okies,” who migrated to Bakersfield, Calif., from Oklahoma during the Great Depression and settled down in a refurbished boxcar. When he was 9, his father passed away, and the loss drove Haggard to a rebellious life of raising hell. Over the coming years, he dealt with drug and alcohol abuse and served multiple stints in jail, but through all of the pain and hardship, he never lost his love of music—discovered at the age of 12 when he picked up his first guitar. But it wasn’t until age 20, when he saw Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin penitentiary in 1958, that he realized music was his calling. He went on to become one of the most influential artists in country music, and one of the “last true outlaws of American music,” says Rock Cellar Magazine. Paul Thorn is also on the bill.
Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7:30 p.m., $35-$50

The Soft White Sixties
If you combined the beats of The Black Keys and the sound of Muse, the result would be The Soft White Sixties. Their blend of bluesy rock, aggressive guitar riffs and groovy melodies is perfectly complemented by frontman Octavio Genera’s raspy, soulful voice, which gives The Soft White Sixties’ music a gritty, vintage-y feel—almost a ’70s-rock vibe. The band just started touring to promote their long-awaited debut full-length, Get Right. All their songs are sure to get your heart racing, but keep an ear out for “City Lights”; if it doesn’t get you moving or fist pumping, you might not have a pulse. The Weekenders and Starmy open the show. (Renee Estrada)
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $7


WEDNESDAY JULY 31

Chance the Rapper

Arguably the most original mixtape to come out of 2013 is Chance the Rapper’s free-to-download Acid Rap. The Internet-only release is packed with guest features from seminal rappers like Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Twista and Childish Gambino—effectively creating an atmosphere of an entertaining, drugged-out safari through the south side of Chicago. Though heavy in over-the-top drug references, Acid Rap’s main appeal comes from the 20-year-old’s insanely creative wordplay. On the track “Smoke Again,” Chance rhymes with a nasally, Kendrick Lamar-like delivery: “Flip the candy yum, that’s the fuckin’ bombast. Lean up on the square, that’s a fucking rhombus,” referring not to his love for geometry but of his nickname for dipping a cigarette in cough syrup. Though shallow on the surface, this album is a sobering reminder of why rap fans love dumb but entertaining things from very talented artists. Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Vince Staples and The Internet are also on the bill. (Colin Wolf)
The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7:30 p.m., $26 in advance, $30 day of show

The Infamous Stringdusters
The groovy newgrass created by this ruckus-raising quintet from Charlottesville, Va., is evidence of their knack for honoring traditional bluegrass while toying with diverse influences of rock & roll, jazz and jam-band music. In fact, this description from their Facebook “about” page couldn’t describe their genre-pushing sensibilities more accurately: “... not your granddaddy’s bluegrass. Unless your granddaddy was Jerry Garcia.” Their latest album, Silver Sky (High Country Recordings, the band’s own label), released in 2012, is a toe-tapping collection of 11 songs that touch on subjects like the great outdoors and life’s simple pleasures. With their onstage energy, The Infamous Stringdusters are one seriously dynamic act you won’t want to miss. In an interview with City Weekly in February, dobro player Andy Hall said, “There’s a lot of weird stuff in the world, so, hopefully, when people come see us … it can be something that’s uplifting and positive.” Benyaro will get the night started.
The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $20

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