“Why does it feel so good to be bad? Why does it feel so right to be wrong?” Scott Stanton wails on “Love Me,” confessing a weakness for guilty pleasures. As leader of Causey Way, Stanton makes a point of purging perceived sins. In fact, his Florida-based new-wave/dance-punk collective is bandied about in press reports as somewhat of a cult, with converts uniting as a musical force known to insiders as Aural Communications and Entertainment (ACE). Whether based in kitschy concept or dead-serious faith, ACE’s pulpit punk is a welcome salve for secular heathens waiting for someone to show them the way. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Julia Mecham, Lauren Wood and Instant Karma).
Also Thursday: The Slackers (Velvet Room)nn
Pepper (In the Venue'see Music, p. 48), The Loyal CD Release (Kilby Court); Insatiable, Afro Omega (Velvet Room); Tanglewood (Egos); The Briggs (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Bloodkin Tour (Suede, Park City)nn
Jamie Stewart’s father once told him, “Any time you’re doing something in music that makes you feel kind of uncomfortable, then something actual is happening.” The aspiring artist took this advice to heart and formed Xiu Xiu, a group defying convention with bittersweet symphonies. Stewart breathes quiet fire across icy electronic tundra. In moments of silence, you can still hear him sighing'anguished and relieved. La Foret, the band’s fourth studio album in four years, is slightly unnerving. But like the mysterious guy from your high-school French class, it’s also incredibly sexy. Kilby Court, 741 S. 331 West, 7 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Buttery Muffins and Good For Cows)nn
Holy smoke on the water! What do we have here? Heavy organ, epic riffs and flamboyant vocals, all wrapped in a psych-rock bun. Wait, is this the Apes? It is! These rockers make a poignant case against intelligent design, evidencing evolution through classic sounds and forward-thinking performances. Known for fierce, chaotic performances, the Washington, D.C.-based artists have the power to induce primal dancing among anti-Darwinian zealots. Their latest, Baba’s Mountain, captures live-show intensity in 13 tracks including rousing numbers “The Zookeeper’s Night Out” and “Imp Ahh.” Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 10 p.m. Info: 521-0572 (with The Rodeo Boys)nn
Also Saturday: Freedom Blast: Kelly Clarkson (Rice-Eccles Stadium); Stadium of Fire: Lonestar, Mandy Moore (LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo); Punk Rock Karaoke (Egos); Kaskade (W Lounge)nn
Hot Rockin’ 4th: Chris Cagle (Lorin Farr Park, Ogden)nn
In need of some positive vibrations? Try Troubled Hubble, a group of self-proclaimed geeks crafting carefree sounds for the morning after. “We hope it helps people exercise,” Chris Hubble told The Onion. “It’s music to jog to, or a warm-up tape for a wrestling or gymnastics team.” Strong pop-driven beats, catchy choruses…according to local musician Will Sartain, these guys will be blowing up in a year’s time. Don’t wait for them to acquire major-label status before watching them through the glare of green fiberglass. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7:30 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Victrola, The Tremula and Autopilot)nn
Also Tuesday: Charlie Don’t Surf, The Steers (Burt’s Tiki Lounge)nn
Any band hailing Christopher Walken comes up roses in my field. And while Walken is more likely obsessed with the letter “W” than the masterful actor and his surname, these SoCal post-hardcore rockers deserve respect for emitting hernia-inducing sounds. Not ones to rush the creative process, they’re currently planning to release a full-length debut reflecting seven years of practicing and perfecting metal-fueled vision. In the meantime, they’ll keep rocking the suburbs with San Francisco-bred tourmates, Hightower. Enjoy. Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-0572.nn
SALT LAKE CITY INT’L JAZZ FESTIVALnn
Free. Free. Free. Did I mention the Salt Lake City International Jazz festival is a pro bono affair? This four-day event (launching tonight with a tribute to Dave Brubeck; resuming Friday, July 8 and continuing through Sunday, July 10 at Washington Square) features a wide range of artists old, new, traditional and experimental including Spyro Gyra, Cold Blood, Eddie Daniels, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Salt Lake Alternative Jazz Orchestra and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Segue into the weekend with solid musical performances, fresh air and tasty concessions you can purchase through money saved at the door. Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 8 p.m. Info: SLCJazzFest.com. Free.nn
Also Wednesday: Dead Poetic (Mo’s Grill); Slough Feg (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Blues Traveler (Suede, Park City)nn
Salt Lake City Int’l Jazz Festival (Washington Square, July 8-10). Ben Harper (Kingsbury Hall, July 7). Steve Miller Band (Usana Amphitheater, July 8). Motion City Soundtrack (In the Venue, July 8). Kansas (Sandy Amphitheater, July 9). Ray Lamontagne (In the Venue, July 12). Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand (Gallivan Center, July 13). 50 Cent (Usana Amphitheater, July 15). Corrosion of Conformity (Club Vegas, July 15). Vans Warped Tour (Utah State Fairpark, July 16). Brian Jonestown Massacre (Velvet Room, July 18). Mark Knopfler (Abravanel Hall, July 20). The Caesars (Lo-Fi Café, July 21). Alkaline Trio (In the Venue, July 27). U92 Summer Jam (Utah State Fairpark, July 30).