DELTRON 3030, THE DEPOT, Monday, Nov. 10, 9 p.m., $20
Even though Deltron 3030 took more than a decade between album releases — 14 years to be exact — you’ve heard the members of the band in other projects, most notably as members and collaborators with animated supergroup Gorillaz. Producer Dan the Automator, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and DJ Kid Koala all have healthy solo careers as well. But when they join up for the spaced-out tunes filling their self-titled 2000 album and last year’s Event II, they deliver some music few would even think of as “hip-hop.” It’s funky, jazzy, and stretches out in all kinds of directions lyrically as Del raps about taking on intergalactic corporate overlords. Live, they trio adds live guitar, bass and drums to flesh out the tunes in most excellent ways. I just saw the band last week, and it was well worth checking out. Add in Kid Koala doing a masterful turntable set to open the show, and it’s one excellent way to spend a Monday night.
WAMPIRE, THE GARAGE, Friday, Nov. 7, 9 p.m., $tba
Wampire songwriting duo Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps didn’t take much time to rest after touring for about a solid year after the release of their debut album, Curiosity, last year. Rather than relaxing and basking in the attention that album brought to their surreal brand of pop-rock, they jumped right back into the studio and started working on a new set of songs with producer Jacob Portait (of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) in Brooklyn. The songs on their new album, Bazaar, are a natural extension of their first, blending some insistent hooks with some off-kilter riffs and nods toward old pop tropes. The duo added some new blood to the recording process in touring drummer Thomas Hoganson, who also has skills on piano and sax. The expanded studio lineup certainly served Wampire well on Bazaar, and a touring version of the band will no doubt bring even more to the table when the band plays The Garage. Locals Color Animal and 90s Television are also on the bill.
3HATTRIO, KEN SANDERS RARE BOOKS, Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m., $20
The 3hattrio will seriously challenge your idea of “folk music” with the sounds filling their new album, Year One. While the band members all live along the Virgin River in southwestern Utah and write songs inspired by the wild landscapes of the West, incorporating jazz, blues and classical styles, even touching on world music here and there. The remarkably diverse sound is fueled by the varying experiences of each of the trio. Hal Cannon plays some banjo and sings; you might have heard him previously playing with Red Rock Rondo or Deseret String Band, or producing radio and TV documentaries. Bass player Greg Istock is a painter and desert-lover who transplanted from Florida to Utah. And violinist Eli Wrankle is a 17-year-old with a classical background — he’s the concert master of the Hurricane High School Orchestra — with a knack for improvisation. The show at Ken Sanders Rare Books has limited seating, so swoop on tickets while you can.
FREEMAN, THE STATE ROOM, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m., $17
Dance music is a fickle thing, arguably the genre where it’s hardest to have any kind of staying power as an artist thanks to the ever-shifting sands of stylistic trends and technological advances.
That makes the success of long-running duo Erasure all the more remarkable. For nearly 30 years, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have crafted songs capable of filling danceclub floors and landing on the pop charts at the same time. They’ve sold more than 25 million albums, created some 40 hit singles, and consistently thrilled audiences filling venues large and small with their visual flair and ability to deliver live.
That seems especially true in Utah, where Erasure has long been a remarkably popular attraction. At the old ParkWest mountainside concert venue (now The Canyons), they set the record for the largest-ever crowd to pack the hillside, more than 20,000 people. The Utah LGBT community naturally is part of the fanbase of the out-and-proud duo, but clearly a lot of folks whose religious or political beliefs don’t naturally jibe with Erasure’s find the synth-pop created by Bell and Clarke irresistible as well.
Bell has a pretty good rationale for Erasure’s popularity in the Beehive State, where they will perform once again on Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre.
“It’s always a lovely surprise to play there,” Bell says. “I think the Utah people are a state of great singers, and this comes out of their spirituality. And spirituality transcends all political persuasions, hopefully.”
Of course, Erasure finds rabid fans everywhere, and of all stripes. Bell considers Erasure fans a mix of “synth enthusiasts, Vince fans, girls who love the music, and gays, lots of straight people, and bears, and a few closets. All [fans] primarily for the music and performance. Prejudices and worries are left at the door.”
Considering the fervent fanbase, Bell mentions vivid memories of “people singing all night long outside the hotel room in Buenos Aires.” Thankfully, there’s never been a particularly scary fan interaction for Bell, “apart from some really pushy fans who tend not to respect your boundaries.”
Most recently, Erasure released their 16th studio album, The Violet Flame, and it’s full of the optimism and insistent hooks that have marked all the duo’s releases to date. Bell says the writing and recording of the new set “was very laid back and easier compared to usual, I think because Vince and I had very clear minds” going into the process. As for their ability to keep sounding of-the-moment so many years after they first joined forces, Bell says “it’s probably because we live for the moment, and don’t particularly follow current trends.
“Sometimes we are lucky in that our music seems to hit a nerve and sounds current and fresh.”
ERASURE, CAPITOL THEATRE, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m., $29.50-$85
THE AFGHAN WHIGS, THE URBAN LOUNGE, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 9 p.m., $25
It strikes me that one of the underplayed stories in music this year is the return of the Afghan Whigs after a lengthy hiatus. While the band was never the biggest sellers among the slew of alt-rock bands that got some taste of the mainstream post-Nirvana, they were certainly one of the most critically lauded thanks to outstanding albums like Gentlemen, Congregation and Black Love. They were the first non-Northwestern band to sign to the pioneering SubPop label, and they certainly stood out from the ’90s-rock crowd thanks to their predilection toward soul and R&B, and singer Greg Dulli boasted one of the more distinctive croons/howls on the (alternative) radio and MTV. Earlier this year, the band released its first new music in 16 years, once again on SubPop Records, and Do The Beast measures up to any of the band’s previous albums. After seeing them play most of it live at the Bumbershoot music festival in September, I’d even say it exceeds a lot of the old catalog. Dulli’s voice is in fine form, the expanded lineup locked in tight. This will be one of the best shows of the fall, guaranteed. Joseph Arthur opens the show.
FOXYGEN, THE URBAN LOUNGE, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 9 p.m., $15
Los Angeles duo Foxygen had already created a rep as experimental pop-rock masters thanks to early musical efforts that blended some orchestral pop with lo-fi chops. On their new album Foxygen…And Star Power, they push their musical palette to pleasing new extremes via a sprawling double-dose of songs running 82 minutes. It’s a concept album of sorts, involving a bunch of guest musicians, some monster-sized musical suites, and something about UFOs. I didn’t spend that much time trying to suss out the story, because the simple pleasure of listening to two young songwriters exploring every musical idea they could fit into a new batch of songs was enough. They’re a little bit retro, nodding to glam acts of yesteryear along the way, and that just makes me dig them all the more. Should be a great live show. Dub Thompson opens.