nSPARTA, SOUND TEAM
nIt’s still hard to believe The Mars Volta and Sparta were cut from the same cloth. While traces of their At the Drive-In roots remain, neither band clings to the sound that made El Paso proud. Sparta tried to bury the past, but their post-hardcore divorce left them rather bland, forgettable'some might say, radio-friendly. Still, Sparta’s third release Threes is impressively tight and catchy. For something more invigorating, don’t miss fellow Texan opening act Sound Team. Despite massive buzz among online indie-rock publications and the ever-influential blogosphere, the Austin sextet played to a crowd of maybe a dozen appreciative fans at Kilby their first time through Salt Lake City. Let’s not embarrass ourselves again. In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
JELLO BIAFRA: SPOKEN WORD
nSpoken-word artist/former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra turns crowds on and off in equal measure. His political rants and raves are, for some, hard to take in such brazen form. Others consider him a beacon of truth in this Bush II world. Like Henry Rollins (minus the steely eyes and refrigerator neck), Biafra finds endless fodder for his speeches in every bungled presidential step'war, FEMA, nonexistent health care, legalized torture'enough to fuel the three-disc In the Grip of Official Treason. The album covers events spanning 2000 to 2006, though there’s little worry he’ll have trouble coming up with further beef for tonight’s performance. Become the media. Olpin Union, University of Utah, 200 S. Central Campus Dr., 6:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
Also Thursday: Australian Pink Floyd (E Center); Ouija Radio (Urban Lounge)nn
nI want to love Joanna Newsom. I want to share in the excitement that the fairylike harpist inspires among her devoted followers. I want to, but I can’t. Some find Newsom’s high-pitched, childish vocals endearing'an added bonus to her magical stories about bridges and balloons, sprouts and beans, and other allegories shaped from fantastic accomplishments in rhyme. But every crack and warble breaks the spell for this listener, even when, as on her latest release, Ys, she’s accompanied by sweeping orchestration and flawless production courtesy of Steve Albini. Of course, one woman’s nails-on-chalkboard is another’s earth angel. I still want to believe. The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 9 p.m. Tickets: DepotSLC.com.
Also Saturday: Angels & Airwaves (In the Venue); Gwar (Avalon Theater); Robert Randolph & the Family Band (In the Venue); Salt City Derby Girls Recruitment Party (Urban Lounge); I Can Lick Any S.O.B. In the House, Hillstomp, The Earps (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Miss Crazy (Club Vegas); Del the Funky Homosapien (Suede, Park City)nn
nTHE PIXIES: LOUD QUIET LOUD
nThe Pixies recently announced plans to record new material in an effort to dodge a trip through the county-fair circuit. Why stay together just to perform the same hits over and over ad nauseam? Until then, relive the (recent) glory days via a free MVD/Big E’s/SLUG screening of LoudQuietLoud, a documentary whose name refers to the Boston quartet’s influential approach to songs. The film captures Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Loverling on their 2004 reunion tour, with all the tension, fighting, laughter and music that followed onstage and off. The group’s volatile chemistry strangely mirrors their aural ups and downs, which of course makes for compelling footage. But personal drama can’t trump the thrill of watching Deal’s giant grin as she plays, reminding us why they got together in the first place. Brewvies, 677 S. 200 West, 9 p.m. Free. Info: Brewvies.com.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo (The Depot); Jamie Lidell (Urban Lounge)
n“I can improv for days but my written shit is better,” Prozak Turner says on “I Wanna Go Home.” Believe that. The Foreign Legion emcee bunkered down in Ireland for months penning material for his latest solo record, Bangathon, after Dreamworks Records folded, leaving Turner’s official debut Death, Taxes & Prozak in limbo. While his shelved work, featuring golden touches by J. Dilla (R.I.P.), Pete Rock, Madlib and The Alchemist, is available in bootleg form, the new album presents a more mature artist who now releases everything through his label Hungerstrike to ensure that written shit reaches all the right people before things really get whack. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
Also Wednesday: The Hush Sound (In the Venue'see Music, p. 52); Oh My God, Beauty Shop (Burt’s Tiki Lounge)nn
Godsmack (E Center, Nov. 9). Ciara (Harry O’s, Nov. 9). Ben Lee (Avalon Theater, Nov. 10). Lee “Scratch” Perry (The Depot, Nov. 14). Wolf Eyes (Urban Lounge, Nov. 17). P.O.S., Cecil Otter (In the Venue, Nov. 17). The Toasters (The Depot, Nov. 20). Cannibal Corpse (Avalon Theater, Nov. 22). Alice In Chains (Great Saltair, Nov. 22). Black Label Society (The Depot, Nov. 22). L.A. Guns (Club Vegas, Nov. 24). Queensryche (The Depot, Nov. 28). Panic! At the Disco (E Center, Nov. 29). The Lemonheads (The Depot, Dec. 1). The Dears (Urban Lounge, Dec. 4). Artemis Piledriver (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Dec. 5). Plus 44 (In the Venue, Dec. 7). Big John Bates (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Dec. 9).