PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRSnn
Countless hip-hop heads can see clearly now. Every day is bright and sunny with People Under the Stairs’ Stepfather blasting on their stereos. Double K and Thes One’s first album in four years features more of the smooth operators’ signature machine-gun rhymes and groovy backbeats combined with unseen maturity. “Days Like This” is PUTS “Dear Mama” while “Reflections” sounds like something Black Eyed Peas might have cooked up before boobs became gospel. If you miss the days when underground really meant something, put your money where your mouth is and check out tonight’s show, featuring official tour season member Jaz Mak. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 746-0557 (with Time Machine).
Also Thursday: The Wiggles (E Center). Boy Sets Fire (Avalon). Secret Lives of the Freemasons (Club BoomVa, Ogden). Necrophagist (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).nn
Brother Ali stings like his namesake'you never see it coming. On Champion, he delivers a sucker punch to the soul. Another Rhymesayers all-star, the Minneapolis-based emcee head-bobs and weaves across old-school R&B tracks with a style that’s borderline creepy. Confident and aggressive, Ali comes off like a postal-service livewire on his last nerve. We can all rest easy, however, knowing that the self-proclaimed devout Muslim reserves his battles for the mic. In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 6 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com (with Atmosphere and Los Nativos).nn
Also Friday: A Film in the Ballroom, Neon Trees (Kayo Gallery). School of Rock: Jimi Hendrix Show (The Circuit). Koufax (Avalon). Greeley Estates (Club BoomVa, Ogden). BJ Thomas (E Center). Screaming Condors CD Release (Liquid Joe’s). Rodeo Boys (Urban Lounge). BT (The Depot). Deconstruct (Club Vegas). Under Radar (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).nn
While a surprising number of musical acts seemed to phone in their performances at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Imogen Heap worked overtime to prove her ethereal electronic recordings translate onstage. The former Frou Frou singer/producer/engineer orchestrated an impressive set of synthesizers, wind chimes, drum machines and several homemade instruments in an effort to completely integrate her vocals with a so-called backing track. Perhaps even more inspiring is how Speak for Yourself came into being: Dropped from her record label, Heap fell into debt, remortgaged her property and used the funds to produce the now highly acclaimed album. Nice tale, huh? Still, such talents must be seen to be believed. In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com.nn
Iceland might be green, but judging from the country’s most popular musical exports, its terrain is more like a snow globe'delicate, playful and surreal. Some enjoy the winsome peculiarity of artists like Björk and Sigur Rós. Others find the latter too bizarre. Until recently, the nymphlike quartet wrote lyrics in Hopelandic, a nonsensical language built on high-pitched vocals. With Taak, vocalist Jón Bor (Jónsi) Birgisson switches to Icelandic. Of course, most people still can’t understand a word he’s saying, but that’s really not the point. Sigur Rós creates ambient, aural landscapes where dreamers can escape if only for the duration of one truly magical show. The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 9 p.m. Tickets: DepotSLC.com.nn
Also Saturday: The Wolfs, Red Bennies, The Rubes, The Heaters (Kayo Gallery). School of Rock: Ramones Show (Realms of Inquiry). High Violets (Captain’s Quarters). Tiger Saw (Kilby Court). Tech N9ne (Great Saltair). Crown City Rockers (Urban Lounge). Downfall CD Release (The Whiskey). Beard of Solitude (Burt’s Tiki Lounge). Her Candane (Todd’s Bar & Grill). Sutra: DJ Brisk (Harry O’s, Park City).nn
Royal Bliss CD Release (Gallivan Center). The Aquabats (In the Venue). Dog Fashion Disco (The Ritz). Go Figure (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).nn
Much like the High Plains drifter, Jucifer come from nowhere, and they go home to no one. Well, not exactly: Singer/guitarist Amber Valentine and drummer/husband Edgar Livengood originated in Athens, Ga., but now literally live on the road in an RV loaded with dozens of tattered amplifiers and a couple of dogs. The duo’s releases (the last being 2004’s War Bird) are dynamic studies in hushed beauty that turns to distorted ugliness in an instant, but the live show is mostly about the heavy-metal thunder: That wall of speaker cabinets isn’t for show'they’re all plugged in and roaring. Jucifer just signed with Relapse Records; At the Hands of Our Intercessors is set to drop this fall. You should have your hearing back by then. Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255.nn
Also Wednesday: Taproot (In the Venue). Cougars (Kilby Court). Cave of Roses (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).nn
The Slackers (The Depot, May 11). Kelly Joe Phelps (Egos, May 13). Ministry (Great Saltair, May 14). Starlight Mints (Velour, May 16). Gomez (Suede, May 17). De La Soul (Harry O’s, May 19). Black Eyed Peas (E Center, May 20). Wolfmother (In the Venue, May 23). Theo & the Skyscrapers (Urban Lounge, May 24). Matt Costa (Avalon, May 25). The Fall (The Depot, May 25). 30 Seconds to Mars (Avalon, May 28). I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness (Kilby Court, May 29). Gretchen Wilson (Usana Amphitheater, June 3). DJ Quik (Harry O’s, June 3). The Walkmen (In the Venue, June 6). The Eels (The Depot, June 6). The Liars (In the Venue, June 12). Hank Williams III (The Depot, June 19).