Monthly Archives: July 2011

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Kevin Greenspon plays with light at the same time. (Photo: Kevin Greenspon)

Ambient drone is so neither, when you step into it … – An interview with Kevin Greenspon

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Kevin Greenspon plays with light at the same time. (Photo: Kevin Greenspon)

Kevin Greenspon plays with light at the same time. (Photo: Kevin Greenspon)

So I guess it’s customary to pull a quote from the interview in question for an appropriate headline – but I didn’t. I pulled this headline out of the feeling I got from reading Kevin Greenspon‘s answers to my questions this evening, while being washed with his compositions.

I came across Greenspon’s work as a result of a Facebook post about his tour from my friend Crawford Philleo (of local upstarts Vitamins), which has a stop here tonight at Rhinoceropolis. After sampling a few moments, I was intrigued, to say the least. Greenspon’s ambient constructions, accented often and effectively with miniature bouts of cacophonous noise, immediately led my mind back into the experimental music of Glenn Branca and the NYC No Wave scene of the ’70s, and simultaneously recalled the new feeling of Brian Eno‘s earliest ambient work. But it also sounded improvisational, unintentional, and yet anything but.

See Kevin Greenspon tonight at Rhinoceropolis, with Ancientcrux, Married in Berdichev, Gemini Trajectory and Ideal Living – ALL AGES, $5

I was also reminded of pianist Keith Jarret‘s unforgettable works, spiritual and cathartic as any music I’d ever heard, that I explored in my late teens – and that undoubtedly led later to my deep appreciation for the beauty of incongruous, atonal, arrhythmic and insolent noise – something over which I’ve never gotten, and that I hope I never will.

As I said, there’s nothing improvisational about these pieces. Like a great director or painter, Greenspon is always 100% in control, ahead, and can account for every crest and trough of each sound wave he’s passing along.

I immediately fired off a few questions to Greenspon after hearing some of his work, and he answered quickly. Read on to get a glimpse into the workings of the musician and artist behind this intense music.


Here’s a sample of what you’re in for – to enjoy while you read…

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Kevin Greenspon – Bloom”]


DenverThread (DT) – I wonder if many critics are quick to put you in the Brian Eno camp of ambient, or Thurston Moore/Beck noise. But I hear a more Philip Glass/John Cage compositional influence (and what I heard today has had me listening to Glenn Branca again). Who do you count as your major influences?

Kevin Greenspon KG – On tours and in emails, I’ve actually received several comparisons to each of the artists you’ve mentioned among many others in the more present canon. Most people find it strange when I explain that while I’m familiar with their work, they’re not actually in my typical listening regimen. For the most part, I try not to repeatedly listen to too much music in those veins with any regularity. Naturally, I am influenced by contemporaries and pioneers in the field of experimental subgenres but focusing on them too much can be limiting to one’s own work.

Truth be told, I derive a lot of ideas from more conventional pop music and the radio. One of the elements of mainstream or accessible music that greatly interests me is pacing: the rhythm of how songs ebb and flow between sections, such as verses, choruses and bridges. A large proportion of ambient and experimental composition music invests heavily in long-form pieces that develop slower than most popular music. For the most part, I’ve found this to be somewhat inhibiting for me. This has led me to develop an interest in assembling songs that capture the glacial feel of music that falls under the ambient umbrella but also to condense them into a succinct pacing that is more akin to something you’d hear on top 40 radio: albums rife with 3 minute pieces in which sections change in patterns and timings quickly, with a familiar rhythm.

DT – I know you’ve said that you put a ton of work into your compositions/performances and that they’re not “just improvisational.” That said, how much weight do you put on the spirit behind them? Do you identify with Keith Jarrett, in that the feeling drives the sound, and if you find one you love you dig into it and explore it?

KG – I put a high value on the spirit or character behind the music. For me, feeling and sound are symbiotic; one cannot simply drive the other. It’s more of a tug-of-war or balance in which the two constantly play off each other. In this sense, writing, recording and performing can not be solely rooted in either feeling or sound. Different blends of the two are what stimulates the process of developing or reworking compositions.

For example, near the start of “Threshold” from my Common Objects LP, there is an arpeggiated guitar part that I fade in while tapping the frets on my guitar. The tones, note sequences and timing on the recorded version are different from when I perform it live. I feel the difference in the situation of listening to the record in a comfortable setting at home beckons a slower and more relaxed delivery. Live, this song is most commonly performed as a crossfade out of and into different songs than on the sequence of the album. Because of this change of feeling that is based in the order of songs (and what moods they convey) when performed live, I opt for a more urgent delivery of those notes as a prelude to the quick progression that follows shortly after in the live suite. There’s even a section where I have a sequence that taps along the lower strings, which is not even on the record, and all this happens in about 45 seconds as the first section of the song comes into it’s own. There are numerous situations like this that help me shape the performance of pieces that are already defined as songs on record, but take on a different character simply out of the feeling that comes from being in a live performance space, so the feeling and music are definitely dependent on each other.

Furthermore, I may arrive at a show and feel that certain songs won’t work in the feeling of a particular venue or situation, and omit them from a set in lieu of something more appropriate to the circumstance, such as when weighing the differences of performing in an art gallery or living room house show. The feeling of the spaces themselves is different and this can also factor into the music.

DT – It’s easy to attach a soundtrack feel to instrumental music, and that’s mostly (I find) unfair. Do you have any literate, cinematic or theatrical themes that you attach to your music, or that you build from?

KG – There is a storytelling nature that I find important in this sort of music. It’s a quality that gives certain albums a relatable feel as opposed to general experimentation or sounds without reason. However, I don’t want to subject audiences to specific ideas like they are hard-and-fast boundaries that define my songs. For example, I’ve seen a lot of albums that are intended as a “soundtrack to a non-existent film” which strikes me as odd. To me, that sort of thing implies there is something you may be missing when listening to it. My idea is to have listeners and live audiences develop their own stories, and for the music to be a vehicle for self-narration and not a defined road I put people on. This is why I opt to not use titles such as “And Then The Rain Fell On Our Weary Backs Like Diamonds From Trees” which is sadly too common in instrumental music. I prefer vaguer titles that fit together on an album as pieces of a conceptual puzzle, pieces whose shape and imagery is developed by listeners. The word associations are general guides along a path that is specific for myself, but offer different routes for audiences.

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Wait for it… the UMS isn’t over yet. It’s just getting stronger. Trust us.

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Not to worry - it's just getting stronger before its inevitable demise. (Photo: Rupert Murdoch - indirectly)

Not to worry - it's just getting stronger before its inevitable demise. (Photo: Rupert Murdoch - indirectly)

The mighty UMS weekend may be drawing to a close, but it’s far from done. The last day brings some of the best of the bunch, and you won’t want to miss any of it. All three days previous have been more than spectacular  – and have shown off the Denver scene for what it is: strong, diverse and more than anything just plain good.

So you’ll want to dust off your flippy-floppies and saddle up your hangover, drench yourself in sunscreen and get out on Broadway lickety-split – before it wraps itself up and we kiss another year goodbye!

The final day has its work cut out for it, with a lineup that’s definitely up to the task. Read on to see a few of our recommendations.

Today’s UMS is proudly brought to you by:

Jesse Hunsaker's calling it quits - can't believe it's already over. (Photo: Ideal Fathers)

Jesse Hunsaker's calling it quits - can't believe it's already over. (Photo: Ideal Fathers)

Ideal Fathers – Indy Ink @6PM

Ideal Fathers has found itself finally, and just as they’re about to call it quits. Frontman Jesse Hunsaker’s gettin’ hitched, and moving to Iowa to raise a family and dream about making his kids into the next David Yow or Steve Albini. The rest of the band are all in other bands like Gangcharger, The Outfit and Sunder – fitting for a band that will go down in history as a seminal Denver music fertilizer. Guitarist Adam Rojo brings an East Bay Ray-meets-Andy Gill sound to their infectiously danceable sound, anchored by Mike King’s remarkable bass skills and Mike Perfetti’s wicked skin-thrashing. Don’t miss this one – you’ll regret it, and it’s almost their last.


Jen Korte defines a beautiful life lived in her music. (Photo: Jen Korte)

Jen Korte defines a beautiful life lived in her music. (Photo: Jen Korte)

Jen Korte & the Loss – South Broadway Christian Church @8PM

Don;t be fooled by the name – Jen Korte brings together the sound of a beautiful life, simply put. We can only guess the “Loss” part might refer to some sort of innocence lost – and the band’s songs sweat with enlightenment.  Korte and Jessica DeNicola share vocals, though Korte’s are strong and sensual enough to attack them solo, without a doubt. Her personality will fill up both the room and your spirit, and you’ll leave better for having taken it in – trust us.




Night of Joy bring the noise. (Photo: @NOJTPO)

Night of Joy bring the noise. (Photo: @NOJTPO)

Night of Joy – Club 404 @3PM

Night of Joy is all power, wrapped in a whip-smart package. Led by the bass antics of local journalist Bree Davies and  shreeking, Tom Verlaine-esque axework of Val Franz, this trio deserves top billing anywhere. Recalls the best of Television, with a minimal no wave, DIY aesthetic. Don’t miss them.




Denver City Saltlicks - Keepin' it salty and sweaty for years. (Photo: DCS)

Denver City Saltlicks - Keepin' it salty and sweaty for years. (Photo: DCS)

The Denver City Saltlicks – Club 404 @6PM

Ol’ ‘Bama Slim plays his hand-built 1-string 2X4 like no-one else – ‘cept maybe the eternally and beautifully damned soul of Robert Johnson – while Cate Hate literally comes close to melting her washboard and bruising herself with the spoons. In a word, this band kicks 110% of your ass, and doesn’t take any prisoners! ‘Cept you’ll probably want them to take them with you when they’re done.



Overcasters deserve to be at the top of the Denver heap - finally. (Photo: Overcasters)

Overcasters deserve to be at the top of the Denver heap - finally. (Photo: Overcasters)

Overcasters – 3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @6PM

Overcasters seems to have lived a long, dramatic life, much like that of frontman Kurt (Ottoway) Overcaster’s, but they’ve made it through splendidly. Even better – Ottoway and company use that rich experience and their own stubborn dedication to fuel an opulent psychedelic style. Recalling a little bit of Echo & the Bunnymen (especially with guitarist John Nichols’ homage to Will Sargeant style axework), Overcasters have landed on top of the Denver scene – where they deserve to be.




The DenverThread UMS List – Day 4

Moon Tides – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @3PM – If you can gaze at your shoes while surfing, this is what you’d be listening to.

Sauna – Indy Ink @3PM – More landlocked surf goodness (does this seem to be a trend in Denver?)

Green Typewriters – Illiterate Gallery @3:30PM – Eerie, sweet twee-dream pop, complete with theremin. How can you go wrong?

Kevin Costner Suicide Pact – Delite @4PM – Ambient, instrumental post-rock – cathartic, and it tends to get loud (ask them, it’s true!).

Thee Goochi Boiz – Club 404 @4PM – Once, there was punk. Thee Goochi Boyz found some, and are using it’s power for evil. Join in the fun!

A Shoreline Dream – Moe’s Original Bar B Que – Verizon Wireless Stage @4PM – Post-rock-drenched psychedelic reverb is their forte, and these fellas know how to dish it up.

200 Million Years – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @4PM – Pure, funky beauty, somewhere around your shoes, keep looking while you listen – you’ll find it. We love these guys!

the Shady Babes – Indy Ink @4PM – These guys start where the Breeders left off – with real, straight up rock, laced up with attitude.

Tangle – TS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage @5PM – We just realized we don’t glamourize nearly enough DJs. Tangle’s a great place to start. Seriously.

The Bottesini Project – The Bottesini Project @5PM – If you like Coltraine, Philip Glass and John Cage, this is where you want to be at 5.

Married in Berdichev – Delite @5PM – These vocals are what they’re talking about when people mention “music of the spheres.” We love this music – it makes us appreciate weather (whatever that means).

the Down – Club 404 @5PM – Fuzzy guitars and twang – perfect for a case of Old Style and sickly-sticky BBQ. MMMMMMMM…

Radical Knitting Circle – South Broadway Christian Church @6PM – Folky treats that recall Beatles’ and Garfunkel’s mythical children.

Colfax Speed Queen – Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @6PM – Straight up, out-in-the-back garage rock, the best kind of horror b-movie soundtrack.

Kal Cahoone and The Dirty Pretty – South Broadway Christian Church @ 7PM – Beautiful, strong vocals that recall Siouxsie Sioux, backed by a true gothic country sound. Not to be missed.

the Outfit – Club 404 @7PM – Solid, straight up hard garage dance rock, also sort of a supergroup around these parts.

Pythian Whispers – Indy Ink @7PM – Local music journalist Tom Murphy’s experimental post-punk noise machine. Definitely worth a listen.

Fairchildren – Goodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage @7:30PM – We can’t stress this enough: You MUST SEE THIS BAND! That is all.

School Knights – Club 404 @8PM – Cool garage post-punk, with the emphasis on the punk part. Dare you not to dance!

Pacific Pride – Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @8PM – these guys are great punk – but we can’t help but think this is the band Alice Cooper always really wanted to be in. Oh well – maybe in his next life.

Bop Skizzum – TS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage @9PM – Flobots ex-gutarist’s longtime love – all funk and cool.

Fingers of the Sun – Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @9PM Oh my! This band is fun like a teen makeout session, and may make you almost as sweaty! We warned you!

Cannons – 3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 10:30PM – Loud, droning and sweet like dark, dark, dark chocolate. No more, no less.

Il Cattivo  – 3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage – Superpowerd thrash metal, fueled by all the bandmembers’ communally similar drug addled and brilliant minds. DO NOT MISS.

After this, if you’re not suffering from a short case of the music DT’s, well, we don’t know what to tell you. Go home and sleep ’til next year. We think the UMS is only going to get bigger….

Follow us!!

Be sure and follow @DenverThread on Twitter to receive live updates on UMS shenanigans! Follow @RVRB – the Denver Post’s Twitter, while you’re at it! We’ll be trolling the same places as you, and would love to say hi!

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The UMS hits full speed today – plan accordingly! Don’t worry – we’re here to help.

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Day Three - and we're hitting top speed!

The 11th Annual UMS is now in its third day, and rounding the inside corner to slingshot itself into full, reckless, dangerous and foolhardy speed, and you’re going to want to grab on for dear life about now, and hold on. It’s going to get a lot more beautiful before too long, and there’ll be more than you can imagine to see, hear, taste and drink.

All the more reason to follow our recommendations for which bands to see, where, and just a little bit of why.

Today’s also the day that the all ages crowd can take the most advantage of the many, many options – and we’ve put a little emphasis on the bands playing that anyone can see, to encourage you to get out from under the Xbox and GET OUT HERE, NOW!

Today’s UMS is brought to you by:

Mombi plays beautiful, deep ambience. Deep, and sexy. (Photot: Mombi)

Mombi plays beautiful, deep ambience. Deep, and sexy. (Photot: Mombi)


Illiterate Gallery (All Ages)   @ 5:30

Breathy, quiet atmospheric electronic ambient sounds that almost beg to be visual. Mombi’s sounds infiltrate the air like watercolor paint into wet paper, and then imbues the audience. It’s addictive. Watch out.


The Blackheart Procession will dazzle you with heavy hearted love stories. (Photo: The Blackheart Procession)

The Blackheart Procession will dazzle you with heavy hearted love stories. (Photo: The Blackheart Procession)


The Blackheart Procession
Mayan Theatre @ midnight

They used to be Three mile Pilot (and some say they are again), but they made their biggest splash in the late ’90s and ‘aughts as the Procession. With their slow, dirge-like folk, they leave you with a feeling of being magically fucked with. Depressed, but strangely careless and optimistic. You’ll probably skip down Broadway when you get out. Seriously.



They should call him Marathon Mark. (Photo: Darin Spring)

They should call him Marathon Mark. (Photo: Darin Spring)

Mark Mallman
Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 11PM –

Chances are you’ve never seen anything like a Mark Mallman performance – and maybe you never will. They don’t make them like Mark anymore. They stopped with the likes of Freddy Mercury, Elton John  and Roger Daltry (which in NO WAY is supposed to bring Mallman’s sexuality to mind). But speaking of sex, did we mention he’s got the sexiest show around?    Minneapolis must  have to get written consent from other cities before they let him visit – his shows are HUGE, passionate cathartic piano-based anthemic pop-rock – and 1000% (typo intended) pure fun…. If you see one show Saturday, MAKE THIS ONE IT.

(But seriously, why would you limit yourself with only one?)

BNLX bring the fuzz to the table. (Photo: BNLX)

BNLX bring the fuzz to the table. (Photo: BNLX)



BNLX –  Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage
@ 6PM

BNLX are a duo of noise that mixes a little New Order/Joy Division with a little Jesus & Mary Chain and X feel, and add their own fuzzy, fun style. Criptic press notwithstanding, they’re currently riding a national buzz – and it’s well-deserved. Check ’em out, and let them singe your ear-hair.



Accordion Crimes will get your Loaf up and screaming. (Photot: Accordion Crimes)

Accordion Crimes will get your Loaf up and screaming. (Photot: Accordion Crimes)




Accordion CrimesHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage
@ 5PM

Accordion Crimes seems drunk sometimes, on skinny NC punk legends Archers of Loaf, with a Big Black back. It’s all smashing noise, noise, noise – and worth the inevitable Hi-Dive heat.




Fairchildren - one of Denver's gems - oozes sophistication. (Photo: Fairchildren)

Fairchildren - one of Denver's gems - oozes sophistication. (Photo: Fairchildren)

FairchildrenSouth Broadway Christian Church
(All Ages)   @ 5PM (also 7:30 Saturday @ Goodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage)

Fairchildren started as Nathaniel Rateliff’s backing band and includes some of Denver’s finest talent. Fronted by the fantastic Julie Davis (of Bela Karoli, among millions of other projects), they bring an air of sophistication, and a touch of Euro-folk, to the air. Well worth the time to see both sets, in our humble opinion.






The DenverThread List:

Tulip Wars3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @3 PM –  Moody postpunk, dream-surf

Mercuria  and the Gem StarsIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 3PM – Indy space folk

Marcus Church & the LevelsClub 404 @ 3PM – Early REM-ish Brit-pop

MicrodotsTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages) @ 3PM – Moody, quiet post-punk with poppy ends.

Blue Million MilesHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 4PM – Spaghetti Western meets dark surf, slow metal.

All Liver No OnionsIndy Ink (All Ages)  @ 4PM – Nathan & Stephen/Polyphonic Spree madness – WITH 15 MEMBERS!!

Instant EmpireTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages)  @4PM – Somewhere between The Hold Steady and The Decembrists in style, passionate and cool in delivery.

Boulder Acoustic SocietyGoodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage @4:30 – Deep rooted acoustic with punk enthusiasm – might be one of Denver’s Avett Brothers.

The CavesIndy Ink (All Ages)  @ 5PM – Remember Prefab Sprout? The Caves do, with a dose of shrill psychedelic folk from KC, MO.

Young CitiesTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages)  @ 5PM – Emo punky power pop – perfect for the all ages crowd

Bare Bones3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 6PM – Probably among the last defenders of the old “Denver Sound,” Bare Bones brings back a beautiful  alt-country gothic folk to the stage.

The KnewGoodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage @ 6PM (also Irish Rover – Red Stripe Stage on Sunday @9PM) – Straight up hard rock, ‘70s reo-phyte style, originating from Greeley. Also sporting a reputation as really, really great guys.

DeerpeopleGoodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage @ 6PM – More beautiful, strong indie Oklahoma piano-led rock – recalls the The Wedding Present, and maybe some White Rabbits and Belle & Sebastian.

My Gold MaskHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 7PM – Electro-proto-new wave, sample and rhythm driven, with strong, sultry vocals. Fittingly from Chicago.

MaudlinSkylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM – Holy Pixies, Batman! Talk about the ultimate complement. Adding a little Peter, Bjorn & John makes this band a solid Weezer power pop rival.

Cotton KeysIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 7PM – Guitar pop, with a sort of Superchunk meets Built to Spill feel. Nicely done.

Le DivorceHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 8PM – Punky PJ Harvey heavy rock ‘n Roll – Superstar Kitty Vincent fronts this with her powerful personality. It’s a perfect fit.

The Beaten SeaSouth Broadway Christian Church (All Ages) @ 8PM – Iron and Wine-esque quiet folk, also a little Mumfords.

VitaminsClub 404 @ 8PM – Is there something called “Post-New Wave”? Vitamins has it. Guitar-based pop rock. Lizzy’s vocalizing w/ Flaming Lips on tour for the Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Safe boating is No AccidentIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 8PM – Fun Americana-folk.

Red Eye Gravy3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 9PM – Literally country punk from Oklahoma. Bring your shit-kickers!

GoldenboySkylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 9PM – recalls the beautiful stillness of Elliott Smith, with strong guitar – a soft melodic pop treat.

WanderduskClub 404 @9PM – A funky, American almost version of Bjork or CocoRosie, believe it or not – maybe the UMS’s most original sound.

The DendritesTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage @ 9PM – Fit for your rock steady/ska fix!

Mike Marchant’s Outer-Space Party UnitClub 404 @ 10PM – Space folk, “drugs to take music to” music, One of Denver’s best, and truly a great lyricist.

The HollyfeldsIrish Rover – Red Stripe Stage @11PM (Also at Goodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage, Sun @ 3:45) –  Brilliant Americana, country folk with strong harmonies.

Two Tone Wolf PackMichelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar @ 11PM –  Think Violent Femmes’ “Country Death Song.” Yep – ’nuff said.

Houses3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ Midnight – Sort of a Denver supergroup – huge, classic rock sound – well done.

PowerpointClub 404 @ midnight – Straight up hardcore punk rock. Need we say any more? No stage diving – since there’s no stage!

BarnacleClub 404 @ 1AM – The dirt underneath true metal, thick with thrash, and rust.

Follow us!!

Be sure and follow @DenverThread on Twitter to receive live updates on UMS shenanigans! Follow @RVRB – the Denver Post’s Twitter, while you’re at it! We’ll be trolling the same places as you, and would love to say hi!

Tune in tomorrow for Sunday’s List!

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The UMS is rockin’ – Here’s DenverThread’s list for Day Two

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Day one’s in the books, and it looks as if the 11th Annual UMS is off to a roarin’ start!

But – if you thought last Thursday night’s activities were brilliant, epic, miraculous – or tragic, melancholy, maudlin – hold on to your pants. The momentum’s just beginning!

Friday is the New Black

Here are our toppers for Friday, July 22 – and we’re happy to say that it was a damned tough job boiling the lineup down! The first few are our predictions for Friday night’s owners of the UMS. Scroll on down for a listing of the rest of our recommendations, in chronological order (still just a fraction of all the action!).

Friday’s UMS Lineup is owned by …

Oklahoma breeds strange, beautiful happiness. Colourmusic said so. (Photo: Colourmusic)

Oklahoma breeds strange, beautiful happiness. Colourmusic said so. (Photo: Colourmusic)

3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @11PM

Oklahoma seems to be fertile ground for a sort of bombastic optimism. Or maybe it’s a heightened sense of existentialism that leads artists to just say “Fuck it! I’m partying!” And then watch everything in their lives happily begin to fall into place. It’s chaos at its most beautifully complex, and most hilariously sublime.

Cue Colourmusic.

‘Nuff said. Go see them.



Twin Guns bring the psyche in from Brooklyn. (Photo: Twin Guns)

Twin Guns bring the psyche in from Brooklyn. (Photo: Twin Guns)

Twin Guns (NY)
3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage
@ 8PM

Out of Brooklyn-by-way-of-Pueblo (at least half of the duo), Twin Guns flail with a furious, drug-addled  post core drenched in reverb, and make a rock noise that recalls Spacemen 3, Alien Sex Fiend and BRMC and a few more like them. Sure to leave you massaging your ears, grinning, possibly sleep-drinking (or feeling like you have been).




Joshua Novak = talent. (Photo: MySpace)

Joshua Novak = talent. (Photo: MySpace)

Joshua Novak
Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 10PM

Denver’s Brit-pop superstar in hiding, Joshua Novak channels both Liam & Noel, and a little Difford & Tillbrook through his brilliant compositions. Just look at how he (famously) plays his guitar – outfitted for a righty – upside down and lefty! Then tell us you’re not entranced…

But it’s the music, really, that gets you. It’ll stick to you, too!



Virtual CH is Chrisn Harrington - the 21st-Century 1-Man-Band! (Photo: Virtual CH)

Virtual CH is Chris Harrington - the 21st-Century 1-Man-Band! (Photo: Virtual CH)

Virtual CH (Chris Harrington – MN)
Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM

Minnesota’s Chris Harrington will blow your mind. Visually and musically. There’s something extreme about playing everything yourself. Something more than an inability to delegate. Can’t put my finger on it, but Harrington has it – in spades.

Prepare for the ultimate in a unique one-man band experience – two screens (one Harrington on bass, one Harrington on drums) and Harrington on guitar. And it’s all live. THAT is worth the price of admission on its own, if you ask me…


As promised: Here’s the rest of the DenverThread list for UMS Day Two

And we keep chuggin’ through all the excess. like a kid in a candy store. A candy store filled with sonic booms in the shapes of giant lollipops, and screeching metal marshmallow puffs – wait, where were we going with that?

Anyhow – here’s the list:

AlamedaHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 6PM (also Illiterate Gallery @ 7:30 Sat) – Plays a quiet folk-pop, imbued with Nick Drake, steeped in Simon & Garfunkel.

Night Sweats3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 6PM – is electronic that reminds us of the popular Girl Talk mashup style.

Lee Penn Sky (ID) – Hornet- RMCAD Stage @ 6PM (Also at Michelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar @ 7PM Saturday) –  plays strained, pristine folk rock that recalls Bill Callahan and the great  Townes Van Zandt. Try not to cry when you read about Sky’s Idaho life, and then when you hear how he’s made music out of it…

MetermaidsGoodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage @ 6:45 PM – are a solid, hilarious hip hop rock band from NYC, recalling Flobots, and mixing in their own blend of hip.

The Omens3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 7PM – play fast, hard postcore, with a tint of burlesque goth and solid shockabilly.

Fierce Bad Rabbit – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 7PM – Play passionate, anthemic string-laden pop – we can’t help but think of DeVotchka, with Built To Spill-leaning vocals

Mr AnonymousTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage @ 7PM – formerly a member of longtime boulder band The Samples, is a new Dancehall/Reggae force, collaborating at times with legends like Ranking Roger, Sly & Robbie, and more.

EpiloguesGoodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage @ 7:30 PM – Power pop/hard rock – recalls Silversun Pickups

VarletHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 8PM – Lilly Scott (American Idol ex-contestant) – features sultry pop, sweet vocals – if a little light headed.

Andy Monley and the High HorsesMoe’s Original Bar B Que – Verizon Wireless Stage @9PM – is Ex- Jux County/Czars/Velveteen Monster hero Andy Monley’s new project – sheer guitar rock, with a swinging undercurrent.

Glass Hits3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 9PM – Play a heavy, shrill, metal noise – reminiscent of Big Black, Shellac and The Jesus Lizard.

Sage FrancisGoodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage @ 9PM – Plays solid, smooth hip hop-indie, or poetic rap, recalls an angrier MC 900-ft Jesus

Lil’ ThunderClub 404 @ 9PM – Marie Litton (Ghost Buffalo) plays solid, strong, rooted guitar rock.

Gardens & VillaHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 10PM – Strong indie synth postpunk.

Kingdom of Magic3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @10PM – Sludge punk stoner thrash – perfectly pounding, sweaty, sexy.

Kissing PartyIrish Rover – Red Stripe Stage @ 10PM – A replicant Belle & Sebastian in Denver – well worth the wait.

GenerationalsHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ Midnight – Cool pop, this duo channels the best parts of T-Rex in their indie aesthetic.

Git Some3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ Midnight – Sexy noise punk metal slash sludge, perfect to inspire nuclear-locomotive sex drives.

Follow us!!

Be sure and follow @DenverThread on Twitter to receive live updates on UMS shenanigans! Follow @RVRB – the Denver Post’s Twitter, while you’re at it! We’ll be trolling the same places as you, and would love to say hi!

Tune in tomorrow for Saturday’s List!

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The 11th Annual UMS Starts Today – So do DenverThread’s lists – here’s day one

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The 11th Annual UMSIt’s here! And it’s definitely THE highpoint of Denver’s summer music season! A full Red Rocks schedule, the Warped and other festival tours, multiple nights of Widespread Panic – even the monster U2 show in Invesco Field at Mile High – all pale in comparison to the magnitude of this weekend’s pinnacle. The 11th Annual Underground Music Showcase (UMS) starts this Thursday evening, and will dominate a few square miles of South Broadway for the following three nights.

This year’s show features close to 300 bands, comedians , singer songwriters and other talents, and will be housed in a huge number of venues, restaurants, bookstores, skateboard shops and t-shirt shops along South Broadway (here’s a handy listing, with a MAP!) – including two major outdoor stages – from 6th Avenue at the top to Cedar at the bottom.

Needless to say, the choices for live music abound – heck, they’re pretty overwhelming. Let’s face it: there’s no way anyone can possibly see all that the UMS has to offer, and it’d be a miracle to see everything you’d like to see. So let us at DenverThread take a little of the pressure to decide off of your shoulders, with our daily preview lists for this year’s festival.

Through the weekend, we’ll be listing our choices of the best things to see – for a lot of reasons. Whether your tastes run into the sludge-stoner-metal quagmire, meander through dreamy twee-pop or get hypnotically lost in psychedelic shoegaze, we’ll get you where you want to be, and make sure you’re catching something you’ve hopefully never seen before while we’re at it.

We’re also going to run quick, haiku-style reviews of the previous night’s highlights – so you can see what you missed while catching the best – and we’ll be in full collusion with with loads of social interaction. Make sure you’re following @DenvrThread and @RVRB on Twitter, and searching for #UMS and #DenverThread hashtags to get the whole story!

Day One – Follow this list, if you can!

Here are our recommendations for a solid foray into the thick of the Rocky Mountain region’s largest single music festival. Times, of course, are scheduled – but may run late (as hard as all those UMS volunteers work to keep things going smoothly!). Scroll down past the top owners to see the DenverThread List!

Owning Thursday’s Lineup:


TRAINING TO BE A BAND ... OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE. (Photo: Barbizon - the band, not the agency)

3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 7PM

Remember the old-school modeling house? This group of  local heroes from Hearts of Palm and Mouth Full of Thunder and few more offer up some crunchy dance, with a sort of  New Order funky metal tinge.





Guantlet Hair plays reverb-drenched surf punk. (Photo: Gauntlet Hair)

Guantlet Hair plays reverb-drenched surf punk. (Photo: Gauntlet Hair)


Gauntlet Hair
Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 9PM
7 S. Broadway

Denver’s Gauntlet Hair plays a cool, intriguing brand of reverb-soaked, psychedelic surf punk that’s easy to get lost in. The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drodz agrees – and if that’s not enough endorsement, take my word for it! Check out a brand new FREE MP3 from our friends at One Track Mind to see for yourself! GO!



No guarantees if Tiana's a no show!

No guarantees if Tiana's a no show! (Photo: Hot White)

Hot White
Club 404 @ 9PM
404 N Broadway

One of Denver’s most exciting live acts, with a solid No Wave feel – a la Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, The Contortionists, etc. But last year’s UMS had the trio performing as a duo because Tiana Bernard – lead singer, bassist and the transfixing center of the live show’s energy – had a conflicting engagement. The result was less a performance than a sad bitch session directed (strangely) at the crowd.



The Bonnie Situation

Aptly named - great garage rock, out of storage! (Photo: The Bonnie Situation



The Bonnie Situation
Club 404 @ 11PM –

Sporting an old school, pre-“Denver Sound” Denver sound, The Bonnie Situation blasts their audiences with a shrill garage punk – fast, loud and explosive. Worthy of the band’s namesake from the film Pulp Fiction, the band features members of local bands The Fluid, Blackouts and others.




And The List . . .

Four toppers just isn’t enough – we know that! So here’s a list of our Thursday night recommendations – in chronological order! (How’s THAT for help in planning!?) Each one has a few words of recommendation/direction. Comment as you will – we’re sticking by them!

Try and make it to all of these – we dare you! If you do, you’ll win the supreme satisfaction that can only come from a job well done! Well, that and a pretty rough hangover, we’d bet….

Bury my BonesClub 404 @ 6PM –  A newer shoegaze two piece – think  Lust Cats of the Gutters howling out moonlight-stricken melodies with Yo La Tengo

Science PartnerSkylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM – Tyler Despres’ latest project ( from Dualistics) is full of crunchy, funky pop – think Weezer meets Dump

Vicious WomenClub 404 @ 7PM – Plays a noisy, thrusting industrially pleasing mess – think Big BlackShellacMinistry

Dirty Mittens (Portland) – Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 8PM – Play a pleasing, misty folk. Think Frente!  Or Nouvelle Vague well mixed with The Head and the Heart.

Amazing Twin (used to be Old Radio) – Moe’s Original BBQ Verizon Wireless Stage @ 8PM – Offers some sublimely sloppy-pop, guitar-driven psychedelic shoegaze folk rock – and features Denver scenesters from Houses, Action Packed Thrill Ride, Hindershot and others.

The Spires (Ventura, CA) – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 8PM  – play a beautifully quiet rock – think Galaxie 500 redux, put simply, like the band.

Don’ts and Be CarefulsThe Hornet – RMCAD Stage @ 9PM – play Buzzcocks-inspipred dance pop – it’s super fun. And, their new, 2nd album is coming out this fall!

Porlolo3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 10PM – plays a quiet, passionate and darkly humorous style of folk – think a higher-brow, more substantial Danielle Ate the Sandwich (probably asking for it there, huh?).

Fellow CitizensMoe’s Original BBQ Verizon Wireless Stage @ 10PM – play a solid post-rock passion, mixed in intriguing, psychedelic shoegaze – think American Mogwai.

Royal BangsHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 11PM – Hmmmmmmm…. This makes us imagine a show where Flaming Lips meets Colourmusic (ALSO a UMS band playing Friday!!), at a Cheap Trick show with The Strokes opening. What say you?

Lexigram (formerly Yerkish) – Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage@ 11PM – Play a fun, furious post-core prog rock – fast & loud. They recently changed their well-worn name, but not their style – thank God!

El Ten Eleven (LA) – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ midnight – is a prog instrumental post rock duo – sort of Ratatat, a shade grunged – they do a great cover of Joy Division’s “Disorder,” which will leave your heart and soul enrapt.

The LandgrabbersClub 404 @ midnight – play a searing-hot style of country garage punk – fast, fun, furious – and perfect to wrap up the night with a few boilermakers.

So that’s our list for Thursday night, July 21, at the 11th Annual Underground Music Showcase. Follow, listen, learn – and love. It’s your town, and your scene!

Follow us!!

Be sure and follow @DenverThread on Twitter to receive live updates on UMS shenanigans! Follow @RVRB – the Denver Post’s Twitter, while you’re at it! We’ll be trolling the same places as you, and would love to say hi!

Tune in tomorrow for Friday night’s List!




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Accordion Babes, July 10, 2011, Lion's Lair, Denver

Who’s Playing What Where? Accordion Babes, Mancub and The Tubes (Yes – The Tubes)

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The summer in Denver is starting to snowball.

Besides the fact that the town was almost washed away in an almost biblical downpour (deluge?) on Thursday, and that A-Basin has JUST CLOSED for the season last weekend (and was more crowded than I ever remember seeing it – though the powder was replaced with lumpy mashed potato slush), the live shows are piling up. It’s pretty nonsensical, really – there’s no way you’re going to see even half of what’s happening. Just give it up and take our advice. And this weekend seems pretty typical – at least for the next eight weeks or so (did I mention The UMS is coming?).

If you’re not already married to the sold out Avett Brothers’ weekend – spanning Boulder and Red Rocks, both Friday and Saturday – or planning to swoon with the rest of the more mature set at the Botanic Gardens listening to Chris Isaak’s crooning (also sold out), here are some bitchin’ alternatives. Hell – we’d give up our tickets for the aforementioned shows for these, if the economy didn’t already make us feel like grade-H junkies (when are you gonna get the chance to see The Tubes again, right?)


Accordion Babes, July 10, 2011, Lion's Lair, Denver

Accordion Babes entice you with the sexy sounds of their cherished instruments, Sunday night, July 10, at the Lion's Lair. (Photo: Accordion Babes)

Best Bet – Accordion Babes, Sunday night, July 10, at the Lion’s Lair (2022 E. Colfax, Denver

Accordions used to be the instrument parents forced kids to drag out of their closet to show off to Oma & Opa, much to the kids’ (absolutely justified) chagrin. Used to be. Thanks to Amber Lee Baker and Renée de la Prade – known together on this tour as The Accordion Babes – these once pernicious precursors to the keytar are inching ever closer to private & sultry boudoir serenades than adolescent living room talent shows.

Which, by the way, is not meant to take anything at all away from the incredible art some artists are making with accordions. Just a way to set the Babes apart.

This pair of burlesque-sexy women bring a life to the squeezebox that has always seemed to percolate beneath its awkward visage, inside the simultaneously heady and earthy music of gypsies and street performers. Dressed to the nines, they bring an alpha-gypsy feel to their performance (Like this), and you’ll find yourself uncontrollably spinning and writhing as they lay out their intoxicating tunes. While Baker brings her own brand of polka-meets-cabaret to envelop her seductive balladry, de le Prade adds her unique zydeco/celtic-meets-punk attitude to the menu (Like this). The result of the tag-teaming duet is definitely powerful, and addictive.

And that’s just the performance.

Did we mention these women ooze burlesque? Well – to give you an idea: The duo will not only be selling CDs at the show, they’re also going to be hawking de la Prade’s wildly popular, socially conscious and environmentally friendly Accordion Babes Pin-Up Calendar. Besides Baker and de la Prade, the calendar features many women posing with their favorite accordions in the tradition of the classic pin-up.

From the Calendar website: “The Accordion Babes Album & Pin-Up Calendar is sultry, sexy, sassy, silly, sweet, and impassioned… I was mostly referring to the music, but that’s a good description of the pin-ups too! The women you are about to see are not just models; they’re damn fine musicians, playing one of the world’s greatest instruments.”

Don’t miss the chance to catch this duo live, and introduce (or indulge, or rejuvenate)  yourself and all your friends’ love for one of the world’s misunderstood, and wrongly maligned, instruments.

Sunday night, at Lion’s Lair (2022 E. Colfax, Denver), 8 PM.

Friday – The Tubes, featuring Fee Waybill, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver

Honestly, after The Tubes’ horrible run of accessibility peaked with “She’s A Beauty,” it was hard to keep paying attention to Fee & the group. We remember the disappointment we felt as “White Punks on Dope” faded further and further into the past.

But – That was the past. Turns out the group is still alive, and like so many other bands of late, have been touring on a reunited bill for the past four years or so. At least reuinited with Waybill (other members never really stopped).

If only to see what may have come from the 20-plus years they’ve put between now and their biggest hit, and the 30 they put between now and their best, we recommend checking this one out.

Friday, July 8, Soiled Dove Underground (7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver), 8 PM.


Denver's Electo-Pop meets Shoegaze band, Mancub (Photo: Mancub)

Denver's Electo-Pop meets Shoegaze band, Mancub (Photo: Mancub)

Saturday – Mancub, Flashlights and Mercuria and the Gemstars  – Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver

Flashlights, one of Denver’s newer, light-up electro-pop numbers, just got signed wicked fast to a record deal, and just released a new EP last month, but they still remember their base. So they’re opening a show for some local scene-mates, Mancub, at the Hi-Dive Saturday night. Mancub is a duo that’s building a reputation for using lo-fi electronics and hands-on passion to make a kind of electro-shoegaze combination. Worth taking in, if only to see their dexterity and sound combo skills. Plus, lights from both bands should make everyone feel a little bit interplanetary.

Flashlights bring the dark, too (Photo: Flashlights)

Flashlights bring the dark, too (Photo: Flashlights)

Get there early to catch what promises to be a great show from local stalwart Mercuria (part of Denver bands like Houses, Widowers, New Denver Orchestra, Mike Marchant and Science Partner – to name a few), and her latest project, Mercuria and the Gemstars. We think the $9 cover will be worth it to hear her songwriting skills alone.

Saturday, July 9, Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway, Denver), 8 PM.


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