LIVE MUSIC PICKS: DEC. 12-18 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

LIVE MUSIC PICKS: DEC. 12-18 

Angel Olsen, Vagabon, It foot, it ears, Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out, Picnics at Soap Rock, and more.

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CAMERON MCCOOL
  • Cameron Mccool

FRIDAY 12/13
Angel Olsen, Vagabon
Asheville, N.C.-based singer-songwriter Angel Olsen's earliest recordings seemed to be an exercise in extracting as much nighttime as possible from a reverb-drenched microphone. On the 2012 track "Acrobat," she waltzed over sparse acoustic plucking and gentle waves of organ with a prayer: "I want to be made out of love/ I want to be made into life." It's a dramatic lyric that many singers might fumble, but out of Olsen's mouth, it landed with the weight of a suckerpunch. Since then, Olsen has made the transition from dusky, lo-fi noir to a sound that includes full-bore indie rock and all the space between. To some fans, these new records lack the late-night devastation that defined her early work. But what is it that compels these fans to recognize only the most high-contrast, darkest themes as serious and important? Is it a failure to engage the art beyond its immediate aesthetic, or plain-old sadism? Whatever the case, it's a short-sighted dismissal of the huge scope uncovered in Olsen's new work. The 2019 album All Mirrors still plays with the nihilistic and contemplative moods Olsen is known for, but injects them with destabilizing moments of hope, whipping up feelings that are richer and more social. The old-Hollywood string arrangements paired with confident bass and vacuum-like drones still conjure black-and-white noir, but vivid reds and purples seep through. Opening for Angel Olsen is American-Cameroonian artist Vagabon, whose indie-pop bounces comfortably between introspective synth-pop, switchblades-out post-punk and autumnal acoustic ballads. (Alex Murphy) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 9 p.m., $30–$35, 21+, depotslc.com

EMILY BENNETT
  • Emily Bennett

SATURDAY 12/14
It foot, it ears, Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out, Picnics at Soap Rock
The local band named It foot, it ears—aka guitarist Jason Rabb and drummer Nick Foster—is the definition of experimental music. Their latest release, Teeter, in 2017, and though it clocks in at only around 15 minutes, the album is the equivalent of taking a wrong turn into an unfamiliar neighborhood and walking into an art gallery full of work that seems completely alien. The second track on Teeter, "Jump Rope," is mildly unsettling in this "stranger in a strange land" sort of way, while a song like "It Rag" is more aggressive in its rise and fall. Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out hails from New York, and brings a similarly unnerving two-piece sound as Fiona Gurney and Niko Wood play guitar and drums respectively. Their newest album, Growth and Healing Through Bringing Others Down, just dropped Nov. 29, and the track the band released earlier, "For All the Days That I am Happy," is straightforward compared to the tenor of their previous album. I'd describe their discography as a vacillation between odd, punctuating riffs and thrumming, constant forward-momentum. Finally, Picnics at Soap Rock is the brainchild of local Chazz Pitts, spun out of Pitts' desire to move away from a prior project that was more focused on an acoustic indie sound; the new sound is, by contrast, more ambient, angsty and unspooled. (Parker S. Mortensen) The Loading Dock, 1498 S. Major St., 8 p.m. $10, all ages, facebook.com/loadingdockslc

CASSIE ANDERSON
  • Cassie Anderson

SATURDAY 12/14
The Backseat Lovers, Blue Rain Boots, Dad Bod

For most of the past 15-odd years, Provo has indisputably been at the forefront of Utah's independent music scene, to the point where many in-the-know locals will instantly recognize the "Provo sound" of eclectic, hook-driven indie rock. However, Salt Lake City recently has been giving its southern neighbor a run for its money, with artists like Ritt Momney and The Backseat Lovers spearheading a new crop of ambitious young bands, each one peddling their own colorful brand of indie songcraft. The Backseat Lovers have arguably been the most successful of the bunch, drawing large crowds and building a devoted local following over the past 18 months. Their success isn't unmerited, either—frontman Josh Harmon has found a comfortable niche of angsty, nostalgic lyricism and down-to-earth vocals, and the band as a whole displays a natural gift for upbeat, easygoing tunes. Their recent debut LP, When We Were Friends, highlights the band's more sensitive and folkier side, but make no mistake: These guys still know how to absolutely bring the house down, especially at their live shows. The Backseat Lovers perform at The Greek Station (formerly In The Venue), joined by fellow locals Dad Bod and Blue Rain Boots. (Nic Renshaw) The Greek Station, 577 W. 200 South, 6 p.m., $12, all ages, sartainandsaunders.com

ANDY TENNILLEE
  • Andy Tennillee

MONDAY 12/16
Patterson Hood
The Drive By Truckers are a terrific band, but they've also provided a springboard for other artists who have ventured out on their own. Consider Jason Isbell, one of the band's co-founders who left to subsequently become one of Americana's leading lights. Patterson Hood hasn't made that move—at least not yet—but he has forged a successful solo career even while maintaining his commitment to his day job for better than 20 years. Granted, he's only managed to release three albums on his own so far, but considering the dozen studio efforts he's made with the Truckers—their latest, The Unraveling, will be released in January—nobody could accuse him of being a slacker. In fact, he's something of an activist. He took to the trenches to protest the building of a new Walmart in his hometown of Athens, Ga., and voiced his opinion in a New York Times editorial that explored his experiences growing up in the South as someone who loves it, but who also understands the awful parts of its past and present. He also keeps his cultural connection intact by making music that's gritty, defiant and full of devotion to the very core of Southern musical spirit. Those who want to know more are well advised to read the memoir he wrote on the road, Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, an unfettered glimpse at a particularly difficult time in his life. Or simply catch him in concert, and share in the celebration he finds in his art and avocation. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $30–$45, 21+, thestateroompresents.com

LACEY TERRELL
  • Lacey Terrell

TUESDAY 12/17
Thievery Corporation, Natalia Clavier
Want a midweek pick me up of smooth jams? Park City Live has got you covered with a special evening made up of just that on Tuesday, when notorious electronic duo Thievery Corporation brings their wide catalogue of low-key but experimental acid-jazz to the stage. Made up Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the two have been crafting their sound since the mid-90s, moving from experimental, abstract instrumental music and acid-jazz obscurity to a quickly growing fame throughout the late '90s with the addition of vocals from featured artists, and from their dabbling in genres like reggae, Middle Eastern music, hip-hop and a lot of bossa nova. They quickly found fame when, in 2000, their song "Lebanese Blonde," featuring tripping beats and a groovy Indian sitar was featured in the film Garden State (for which they won a Grammy), and lending even more to their distinctly early-millenium lounge sound. As new influences made their mark on each of their new efforts throughout the millenium, they still maintained a very cinematic but chill vibe throughout all their music—sexy but distant at once. The label that they grew their sound on, their own Eighteenth Street Label, is now home to other artists, including their opener for the evening, Buenos Aires-born Natalia Clavier, whose love of jazz led her to Barcelona and then New York to develop what is now a stark and seductive sound rooted in minimalist hip-hop beats more than anything. Fans of any of the genres mentioned above would do well to see these artists that make it all melt together. (Erin Moore) Park City Live, 427 Main, 7:30 p.m., $49.50–$100, 21+, parkcitylive.net

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