The Word (1/31): Chronicle’s guide to the SLC music scene

By By Makena Walsh and By Makena Walsh

By Makena Walsh

Talib KweliJan. 31Harry O’s (427 Main Street, Park City) 8 p.m.$25

Brooklyn native Talib Kweli left dubious underground hip-hop label Rawkus Records in 2004 after the release of The Beautiful Struggle to found his own record company, Blacksmith — which would usher in the release of 2007’s Eardrum. This was a natural move for the veteran Kweli (the Swahilian word for “true”), who has been spitting Afrocentric rhymes since Black Star’s (a collaboration with fellow artist Mos Def) ’98 debut.

LiarsJan. 31Urban Lounge (241 S. 500 East) 9 p.m.$12Chagrined for being lumped into New York’s dance-punk scene, Liars have repeatedly duped fans and music critics alike by stylistic overhauls in each of their seven full-length albums. What else could be expected from the group who created, with the help of TV On The Radio’s David Andrew Sitek, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned? This from the group so original they have their own instrument, an electric 12-string third bridge overtone zither created on request by Yuri Landman.

Vinyl WilliamsJan. 31Solid Ground Café (655 E. 9800 South, Sandy)7 p.m.$6I must confess, my partiality for Vinyl Williams stems in part from our shared geographic heritage — group front man Lionel Williams and I hail from the same small, Swiss locale. We’ve never met, but I’ve heard of Lionel before — it’s common, small-town knowledge that his dad was the drummer for Air Supply (the Australian soft-rock duo of the ’70s and ’80s). Imagine my delight then, upon learning of Vinyl Williams’ scheduled stop in Utah and the forthcoming release of the group’s Talks In Her Sleep EP. I’ll leave it to the group to describe its musical pathos: “We play music to play it live, and when we play it live we play it loud.”

Mike RelmFeb. 2EnergySolutions Arena (301 W. South Temple) 8 p.m.$79 to $349Mike Relm wears a black suit and mixes turntablism with visual images plucked from the collective memory of 21st century American culture (think “Office Space,” Charlie Brown, “Fight Club”). According to Wikipedia, there’s actually a term for this: VJ-ing. During his distinguished career, Relm has shared tour bus and stage alike with such august hip-hop staples as Gift of Gab, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Lyrics Born.

Jason IsbellFeb. 2Paladium (615 N. 400 West) 9:30 p.m.$15Alabama boy and former fifth member of alt-country heavyweights Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell left that group on “amicable” terms to strike out on his own in 2007. The same year saw the release of his debut, Sirens of the Ditch, on New West Records — backed by a nation-wide tour with his own 400-Unit band. Isbell’s rock-country hybrid record, in which he creates a new southern mythology, was supervised by Spooner Oldham, of Neil Young and Aretha Franklin notoriety.

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