MGMT, Ogden Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Tinsley Ellis, Hosannas, Alborosie 

Live: Music Picks June 3-9

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Friday June 4
MGMT

I would suggest MGMT’s sophomore album, Congratulations, is one of the more obvious cases of songwriters growing up afflicted with ADD, but the fact the duo of Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser was able to create an epic-length track like “Siberian Breaks”—clocking in at more than 12 minutes—shoots that theory to hell. Instead, I’ll attribute the duo’s expansive sonic palette to a genuine curiosity about all manner of psychedelic-pop. From songs name-checking two of the duo’s major influences—“Brian Eno” and “Song for Dan Treacy,” named for the cult Brit musician—to the aforementioned prog-rock-length “Siberian Breaks,” MGMT spends much of its second album trying to recapture the freshness of its breakthrough 2008 debut, Oracular Spectacular, with varying degrees of success. Chances are the new songs will be better live, since the touring band Vanwyngarden and Goldwasser put together for its Spectacular run played a major role in recording Congratulations. Tame Impala opens the show. In The Venue, 200 S. 600 West, 6 p.m., $25.50

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Ogden Folk & Bluegrass Festival
This year, the festival’s third, organizers have outdone themselves in putting together three days of stellar roots-music—featuring both local and national artists—that is easily worth the drive from the Salt Lake Valley. The two main headliners include one I’ve been dying to see and one old favorite who is on my radar at all times. The old fave is Dave Alvin, formerly of The Blasters and X and a longtime solo artist—one serious player and songwriter; he headlines the Friday-night session and is part of my “do not miss list” as a music fan. And Eilen Jewell just came to my attention in the past year or two. The Boise-born and Boston-based performer delves into all manner of Americana styles on her albums, indicative of her love of folk as well as early Elvis and Buddy Holly. Her 2009 album, Sea of Tears, is a brilliant set that should be in the collection of any Neko Case or Patty Griffin fans. Jewell performs Saturday night and joins the Sacred Shakers for a gospel-tinged set on Sunday. Check the festival’s Website for a complete schedule. Fort Buenaventura, 2450 A Avenue, Ogden, Friday-Sunday, $40 weekend pass/$20 per day

Monday June 7

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Tinsley Ellis
Like many an American, the Atlanta-bred Tinsley Ellis came to learn about his own country’s blues legends via the British Invasion bands of The '60s who honored their blues influences openly, groups like the Yardbirds, Cream, the Rolling Stones and The Animals. Unlike many an American, though, Ellis followed those bands into the music business himself, fashioning himself into a scorching blues guitarist who first took over the Atlanta club scene, then going nationwide with his first Alligator Records release, 1988’s Georgia Blue. More than 20 years later, Ellis is a touring fiend, delivering more than 150 shows a year both headlining and sharing the stage with blues-drenched comrades like The Allman Brothers. When Ellis plays Salt Lake City, Guitar Cat and The Prowlers will open. The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $15 advance/$20 day of show

Tuesday June 8

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Hosannas
Portland’s Hosannas are dedicated lo-fi artists, recording to analog four-track tape in the living room of an old house to capture the sounds for their new collection, Then & Now & Then. Surprisingly, though, the band’s music sounds anything but low-rent, incorporating some intricate guitar work, electric piano, synthesizers and the occasional percussion frenzy to create an edgier-than-typical style of orchestral pop distinctly their own. Led by brothers Richard and Brandon Laws, Hosannas also boast that killer harmony-vocal magic that somehow seems easier to attain when siblings share a band. Hosannas, formerly known as Church, have no fewer than three Utah stops planned on their current tour, including shows at St. George’s Mojo Underground on June 6 and Provo’s Velour on June 7 before landing in Salt Lake City for a show with The Continentals, Silver Antlers and Lake Mary opening. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $6

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Alborosie
I’ve probably heard of stranger things than an Italian becoming a reggae superstar, but nothing leaps immediately to mind. Alborosie started his career in his native Sicily as a teenager obsessed with the sounds of Jamaica, eventually forming a band called Reggae National Ticket that sold hundreds of thousands of albums. In 2001, Alborosie decided to go solo, and he moved to Jamaica to truly immerse himself in the Rastafarian and reggae culture. After working as a producer and engineer, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter got down to business, first releasing Soul Pirate, and then last year putting out his sophomore solo disc, Escape from Babylon. His current jaunt across the western United States is his first trip to America, and includes a stop right here in SLC. Natural Roots and Babylon Down Sound System open the show. The Hotel, 155 W. 200 South, 8 p.m. $12 advance/$20 day of show

Coming Up
Cute Is What We Aim For (Murray Theater, June 10), Drag The River (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, June 11), Imogen Heap (The Rail, June 12), Indigenous (The State Room, June 12), Brian Jonestown Massacre (The Urban Lounge, June 14), Delta Spirit (The Urban Lounge, June 14)

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