Live: Music Picks Mar. 31 - Apr. 6 

Red Rock Hot Club, Joanna Newsom, Sunflower Bean and more

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THURSDAY 3.31
Red Rock Hot Club

With spring in the air, it's a good time to start getting out and enjoying the Excellence in the Community concerts again. Thursday's free show features the Red Rock Hot Club, a quartet purveying acoustic "gypsy swing dance tunes." The group, which has been kicking around the local music scene since 1999, is staffed by local virtuosos including guitarist Pat Terry of Salt Lake City ska stalwarts Insatiable, as well as John Flanders—typically known for blowing a mean sax—on woodwinds. The lineup is rounded out by guitarist James Martak (The Jukejoint 45's, The Atomic Deathrays) and bassist David Bowen, who fronts his own trio and invented the "Bassboard," a one-string bass he plays with his feet. Expect to see some flashy musicianship tonight. (Randy Harward) The Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 7:30 p.m., free, ExcellenceConcerts.org

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SATURDAY 4.2
Joanna Newsom

A young harp prodigy, Joanna Newsom was in her early 20s when Will Oldham discovered her and took her on tour with him in the early 2000s. Later, she became Oldham's labelmate, when her debut CD The Milk-Eyed Mender was released by Drag City in 2004. Since then, she's released album after album to critical acclaim, and her associates form a list of usual suspects in the indie hipster music scene, including Bill Callahan and Devendra Banhart. She was twice selected to perform at the tastemaking UK festival All Tomorrow's Parties (in the 2010 edition, curated by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and again in 2012, chosen by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum). Newsom also started booking acting gigs, appearing on Portlandia, as well as acting in and narrating the film Inherent Vice, based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name.
One of Newsom's most notable achievements, however, is making the harp cool to denizens of the indie music world, although her seductively pixie-ish voice is no small part of the appeal. Her newest release, Divers (Drag City, 2015), comes five years after Newsom's epic three-disc set, Have One on Me. This is an artist for whom everything, from album covers to music videos to total presentation is a multi-faceted work of art. In a world where music is something you consume online, and as a result can often seem one- or two-dimensional, Newsom makes music feel expansive and all-inclusive again. Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes opens, playing an all-new solo set. (Brian Staker) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $29 in advance, $35 day of show, DepotSLC.com

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Sunflower Bean
Brooklyn scenesters Sunflower Bean marry dream pop and mild psychedelia in a lustrous, glossy mix that doesn't always reveal all their various influences, which range from the Beach Boys to Black Sabbath to Bauhaus and beyond. But bits and pieces peek through at moments on their debut full-length, Human Ceremony (Fat Possum): "Wall Watcher" leads off with a fuzz riff that sounds like T. Rex by way of Death From Above 1979, while "Easier Said" is a jangly confection that makes it look easy. The band's name suggests an organic-ism that makes the eclectic moments not feel momentary or fleeting—not like the band is trying on different stylistic garb, but that it's part of who they are. After several EPs and singles, Human Ceremony is a confident, assertive collection. It's all unified behind the airy, classically trained vocals of Julia Cumming. This stuff really put one in a mind of '80s psychedelic revival bands like Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade and the Bangles. In just a few short years, they've become one of the top bands in the Brooklyn music scene, and it's a great chance to see a hot, happening band here. Weaves and New Shack open. (BS) Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $10, KilbyCourt.com

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Ruthie Foster
Calling Ruthie Foster a blues artist is accurate, but also incomplete. While the singer-songwriter-guitarist can play the blues with aplomb, she brings enough folk, rock, soul and gospel into the mix to transcend the genre. Instead, she's more like John Hiatt than John Lee Hooker—an artist whose palette includes more than just primary colors. That doesn't stop her from earning accolades from the blues community, including the Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female) in 2013 and 2015, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album (for 2013's Let It Burn). Her eighth album, Promise of a Brand New Day, came out on Blue Corn Music in 2014. (RH) George S. & Dolores Dore Eccles Center Theater/Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd. (Park City), 7:30 p.m., $25-$75, EcclesCenter.org

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Underoath, Caspian
When teasing their upcoming reunion tour, Underoath dropped the cryptic message, "Rebirth is coming." It's kind of a cheeky tease for a Christian band, showing they're perhaps not taking themselves and their reunion tour too seriously—while still giving the fans what they want. The post-hardcore (isn't that just screamo?) band welcomes frontman and one-time Salt Laker Aaron Gillespie back into the band, and will play two fan favorite albums, They're Only Chasing Safety (2004) and Define the Great Line (2006) in their entirety. Opening the show are Massachusetts outfit Caspian, touring behind last year's serene masterpiece Dust and Disquiet (Triple Crown). (Randy Harward) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 6:30 p.m., $25 in advance, $30 day of show, TheComplexSLC.com

MONDAY 4.4
Arkells, Dreamers

In 2012 at South by Southwest, I was all about getting to one show: The Jesus and Mary Chain. Since the Scottish shoegazers had booked only one gig during the festival, everyone called me a fool for making the long walk across town and standing in a line that would surely only lead to me hearing Chains' muted set from the street. Ha! Not only did I get in, but I got to see Titus Andronicus and Arkells. The latter, hailing from Canada, played an irresistible set of catchy, up-tempo, soul-infused rock & roll that took my mind off my aching feet—and stuck with me even after I'd seen The Jesus and Mary Chain for the first (and probably only) time in my life. That's saying something. The band's latest, High Noon (Universal Canada/Dine Alone, 2014) finds them refining their sound and their songwriting chops on hooky anthems like "Fake Money" and "Cynical Bastards." It won't be long before this thinking-man's Walk the Moon is dominating the airwaves. Tonight, Arkells share the bill with Dreamers, a Brooklyn band that weaves the sweet sound of '70s punk into radio-ready dance rock, for a band hipsters and mainstream monkeys alike will enjoy. New Jersey's Karma Killers open. (RH) Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 day of show, KilbyCourt.com

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WEDNESDAY 4.6
Anders Osborne, Sister Sparrow

With his freshly released eleventh album, Spacedust & Ocean Views (Back on Dumaine Records), Swedish singer-songwriter and guitarist Anders Osborne focuses on the songs. That might disappoint some fans, who came aboard because of Osborne's six-string heroics. The thing is, Osborne has earned a reputation as an ace songwriter over the past 27 years and, for his last few albums, the narrative has been all about his guitar chops. You can't blame the guy for wanting to remind people he's no one-trick pony. Besides, there'll be plenty of room for his sinewy slide licks in his live set. Openers Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, led by powerhouse vocalist Arleigh Kinchloe are promoting their new double-live album, Fowl Play. (Randy Harward) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $27, TheStateRoomSLC.com

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