MUSIC PICKS: DEC 9 - 15 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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MUSIC PICKS: DEC 9 - 15 

CHVRCHES at The Union Event Center, Friendsmas21 at The Urban Lounge, A Galaxy Band Christmas Cabaret at Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, and more.

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SEBASTIAN MLYNARSKI & KEVIN J THOMSON
  • Sebastian Mlynarski & Kevin J Thomson

CHVRCHES at The Union Event Center
Specializing in the kind of glittery, stuttering, euphoric indietronica that made them festival favorites alongside groups of the same mind like Purity Ring and The Naked And Famous, CHVRCHES have long been a decidedly good-time band. However, that's changed somewhat with their recent album, Screen Violence, which came out this year and which they're touring behind now. The album delves into all the horrors of being a woman, being in the spotlight and the specific horror of being both of those things at once, utilizing tropes from the horror film genre to get there. The 10 tracks on the album go from the visceral violence of drowning and running for one's life, to maddening psychological horror ("He Said She Said") where frontwoman Lauren Mayberry exclaims that she feels like she's losing her mind in a world of hypercriticism and double-standards. The dropp-y beats and undulating synths that have defined CVRCHES' sound over the years find a new purpose here, casting the album with a shade of anxiety and crisis. There's even a guest appearance from The Cure's Robert Smith to put things decidedly in the category of darkness. Catch the touring Scots and the whole album when they stop at The Union Event Center on Friday, Dec. 10, alongside opener Donna Missal. The show is all-ages, starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $34.50 at theunioneventcenter.com.

Friendsmas21 at The Urban Lounge
Right on the heels of Friendsgiving gatherings are Friendsmas gatherings—though following different kin-based holidays, both share festiveness and the value of uniting with friends for holiday revelry. Friendsmas21's Punk Rock X-Mas is no different, and it's just the place for SLC punks to gather and celebrate the spirit of the season—for a good cause. Alongside entertainment from local punk rock band Racist Kramer, who just released their new album In Redemption this year, the event is also going to be a fundraiser benefiting the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. Host Terry Myers will keep things light as the bands keep things heavy; besides Racist Kramer's rapid-fire punk stylings, Fail To Follow and Cop Drama will also keep the evening rowdy, alongside acts like Dana Shroyer. The event is free, which should make it even easier for attendees to shell out for the raffle, which features thousands of dollars in prizes from local businesses. X-Mas with all your punk friends goes down on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., and the show is 21+. Visit theurbanloungeslc.com for more info.

A Galaxy Band Christmas Cabaret at Sugar Space Arts Warehouse
If you'd prefer your holiday celebrations come with a little glitz and glam, head over to the Sugar Space Arts Warehouse this weekend for just that. There you'll find a holiday cabaret put on by the one and only rock 'n' roll drag queen Marrlo Suzzanne and his crew of similarly stunning musicians, the Galaxy Band. Suzzanne has made quite a name for himself over the last few months, ever since City Weekly profiled his efforts to fuse all the fun of a full band performance with the dazzle of a drag show. For this event, he'll be combining his repertoire of '70s and '80s rock covers with more seasonal material, and there's no doubt he'll add the appropriate holiday flair. He won't be onstage alone, either. Joining him in song will be more local drag artists and singers, like Giovanna Doty, M'lady Wood and Skye Dahl. With entertainment covered, attendees can also look forward to refreshments at the Sugar Space Cafe, which includes a full bar. And what Christmas Cabaret would be complete without an appearance from Santa Claus himself? After the revelry, snag a Polaroid with the Claus on your way out, and don't forget to tell him that for Christmas you want more cabarets like this one. This event is all-ages, starts at 7 p.m. and is $10 - $20 at facebook.com/sugarspaceslc.

LANE JACKMAN
  • Lane Jackman

ill.Gates at Soundwell
Local electronic music lovers and event promoters Syndicate are here just in time for the holidays with an annual tradition well worth checking out. For their annual Abominable Snow Bunny Ball, they've booked electronic music producer ill.Gates as headliner, and he'll play nicely with the other acts on the lineup and with the wicked theme for the night—The Nightmare Before Christmas. ill.Gates himself specializes in a trippy, jumpy kind of production that's still moody and low-key at most moments—his music doesn't overwhelm the senses as much as it feels like it'd be easy to step into the show late and immediately melt into his vibes. Support comes from SLC-based artist Dekai, who will also be celebrating the release of his latest EP, LEVEL UP, which drops the day before the show on Friday, Dec. 10. The songs on the EP feature a lot of multi-dimensional, deep and rippling production that contrasts often against big, blown-out beats that only add to the rich textures Dekai has crafted. Joining Dekai is another SLC local, Syn.Aesthetic, who also favors trippy, bass-filled production. Syndicate's Abominable Snow Bunny Ball comes to you this Saturday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. at Soundwell. The show is 21+ and tickets are $16 at soundwellslc.com.

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Caroline Polachek at The Urban Lounge
Weirdo pop has been the pop that's been booming with listeners the last few years; it's the kind of stuff that takes the tropes and the bright-and-shiny sheen of pop production that have known radio fame over the last few decades, and strips off the traditional bubblegum. A slew of artists are taking their own freaky interpretations of pop into the mainstream, and Caroline Polachek is one of them, with her ethereal, sensual and surprising productions. Besides constructing engaging and emotional landscapes lately with the help of P.C. Music affiliate Danny L Harle, her super-high soprano voice is incredibly unique, varying from swooning sighs to sharp gasps to guttural screams, all at dramatically-timed moments. She even used her voice as an auto tuned guitar solo machine on hits like "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings," from her 2019 album Pang—a work which journeys through heartbreak and all its phases. Though this marked her first solo album under her own name, Polachek has actually been a wavemaker for a long time—in 2008, her band Chairlift released their first album, Does You Inspire You, which put them and her on the map of indie disruptors at the time. Listening back to that, it's clear that Polachek's long been a visionary when it comes to making fresh, startling and delicious music. Her latest, the 2021 single "Bunny Is A Rider," is far flung from Pang's pained yearnings—it's dance-ready and made for flirting. So go do both at her show on Saturday, Dec. 11 when she comes to The Urban Lounge with opener Oklou. At press time the show is sold out, but find updates at theurbanloungeslc.com.

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