Author Archives: Billy

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DenverThread Picks of the Weekend – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

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This year, as you’re getting ready to load up on tryptophan, relatives, scotch and football, we’ve got a few recommendations to make sure you get a good filling of music to hold  you over the holiday. We’ve picked out quite a selection of underground coming through Denver over the next week or so, from straight up folk, to singer-songwriter smoothness, to grindcore and the beauty of fuzzed-out stoner rock. Read on – and listen – to find out just what you’re in for from these shows.

FUZZ
Sunday, November 22 – Bluebird Theater

Rock’s latest answer to James Brown, workaholic guitarist Ty Segall‘s latest trio promises to pound the fuzz into and out of you this Sunday night at the Bluebird. With Segall on drums for this endeavor, this trio envelopes all the best creamy goodness of Mudhoney, with more than a little Sabbath mixed in (maybe a result of guitarist Charlie Moothart’s  Ozzy-esque whining drone). Wicked stoney guitar riffs, heavy bass and blasting drums are in store. If you’re not feeling stoned soon after you arrive, you will – whether you smoke or not. Check out “Rat Race,” from the new album FUZZ II, to get a taste:

Fuck the Facts
Monday, November 23 – Mutiny Information Café

If your cup of tea includes screeching, lightspeed guitars, screaming vocals, and plenty, plenty, plenty of glorious feedback, make sure you don’t miss Fuck the Facts at Mutiny Information Café this Monday. This Canadian grindcore band may just be the perfect way to prepare your ears and head for the inevitable screaming – from parents, siblings or brand-new young-uns – you’re heading into for Turkey Day. If nothing else, this band will make you thankful for earplugs. Take a listen to “La Mort I,” from their latest Desire Will Rot, released last summer. It won’t get quieter than this – guaranteed:

Abby and the Myth
Wednesday, November 25 – Herman’s Hideaway

How about a soupçon of straight up folk for the night before the big feast? If you’re into the music that The Lumineers and Brooklyn’s latest folk fad has popularized over the past few years, you’ll love this set. Guaranteed to put a lift in your step, this acoustic group led by the multi-talented Abby Posner centers on her talents with strings, and a strong vocal range. Check out “This Room,” from For You, the Spring, below:

Joel Ansett
Thursday, November 19 – Soiled Dove Underground

New to Denver as of this past Summer, Joel Ansett shows off a tender skill at crooning that recalls Sufjan Stevens or a slightly-less edgy Ed Sheeran. A golden voice and solid songwork pair well with strong lyricism – which is probably why Ansett was able to raise enough money via a recent KickStarter to record his debut album, due to be released on November 23. Listen to “Already In Love” below, while you get your tickets online.


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#UMS2015’s DenverThread Recommends Lineup for Day #4

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We know – we’re a little more than hungover ourselves, trying to remember whether the pounding behind our eyelids is more PBR or Zebroids, or if the taste encrusted on our lips is ketchup or blood. But, hey – it’s #UMS2015 – and that’s what it’s all about. Need to get back on the dog-haired horse and jump right back into the swirling abyss – that’s the only cure….

We can help. Each and every day, DenverThread is publishing recommendations – by the hour – for bands you need to see in this crazy, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out, and while you’re meandering down South Broadway!

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 4, Sunday, July 26…

12:00 PM – Punch Drunk Munky Funk – Illegal Pete’s

There’s probably nothing better to ease you into Day #4 then some groovy, easy, funky jazz, and Fort Collins’ Punch Drunk Munky Funk has the perfect thing. Cure your hangover with pumping, jazzy basslines, tropical drums, and horns galore – and a breakfast piña colada, of course. Here’s a little ReverbNation and Soundcloud action for you to get  you ready.

1:00 PM – Big Wild Wings – Irish Rover

Salt Lake City’s Big Wild Wings comes close to the feeling of Cocteau Twins, Xymox and the like – with an expansive, light feel. Lyndsi Austin’s well-rounded vocals float above symphonic guitars and synth, playing with the horizon and buzzing in and around your thoughts, while you succumb to a calm satisfaction. Test the noise out for yourself on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

2:00 PM – Professor Fox’s One Man Band – Illegal Petes

We love one-man-bands – maybe because this place so often feels like a one-man-operation, with the same frenetic need-six-hands action all the time. Fort Collins’ Steve Jones (Professor Fox) may appear to be a simple folk/Americana act, but he brings a certain intellectual gravity to his music, as well as some downright shit-hot guitar, foot- and bodywork. Get you some on Soundcloud for a bit.

3:00 PM – 40th Day – 3 Kings Tavern

40th Day started in Denver in the mid ’80s, and spent a decade as one of the area’s strongest acts with a definite post-punk, noisy and alt-gothic feel. The band re-formed a few years back and the’re back for #UMS2015, and still going strong, by all accounts. Recalling acts like Siouxsie & the Banshees, Joy Division and the like, they’ll bring a sinister feel to South Broadway, anchored in bass and strong vocals. This act will be well worth it – and gives us all a chance to step back into the days when Denver’s scene was thick with an atmospheric, full beauty. Catch them on Bandcamp.

4:00 PM – Jux County – 3 Kings Tavern

More from 3 Kings’ hosting of the history of Denver Music, Jux County bring together pieces of country and punk in a way that drives hard and frantic. Recalling the sounds of Mission of Burma, Jux County is a sort of ’80s-’90s Denver supergroup, featuring local heroes Andy Monley, Ron Smith and Chris Pearson, and have never really stopped. Check out their alt-country punk rock on Soundcloud.

5:00 PM – Panther Martin – Irish Rover

Panther Martin envelop their audience with a smoky atmospheric sound full of huge drums, heady guitars and whisping vocals. Drenched in ubiquitous reverb and echo, Panther Martin slink into the room slowly, grab your consciousness and pull you along for a dreamy ride. Check them out on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

6:00 PM – Sparkle Jetts – Hornet Restaurant

Arlo White’s Sparkle Jetts fling around a strong, glam-heavy ’70s based rock with aplomb and shock – and it’s only one of White’s Denver-based projects. And all of them rock the pants off this town every week in one way or another. Star-powered, blues-rock based groove is on deck at the Hornet – don’t miss this. Get ahead on them on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

6:30 PM – Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Main Stage at SSFCU

If there’s one reason to see the UMS live and up close, it would be to catch Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. this is a band that not only has defined the Denver music scene for more than two decades, they’ve also got a live set that is impossible to match  – or beat. Slim, Munly, Reverend Dwight Pentacost, Danny Pants, Big Bad Bob Ferbrache (who’s Absinthe Studios has a long history of recording a lot of Denver’s best talent – and more) – all in the frantic milieux of a tent revival. Happy, jumpy, almost overwhelming – Slim Cessna will rock you indelibly. Catch some on Bandcamp.

7:00 PM – The Patient Zeros – Brendan’s Pub

 

The Patient Zeros bring a soulful, punk spirited blues rock show to you as a two piece drums and guitar combo. Catch them on Bandcamp to start.

8:00 PM – Kinky Fingers – Irish Rover

Power pop at its most explosive, Kinky Fingers represent for Denver. They combine Surf, Psych, Soul and Country into a strong, flammable mess that lives in your brain for weeks. Find them on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

9:00 PM – Montoneros – Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que

Montoneros spin out dreamy, spacious rock, and pull you in with solid pop hooks and rhythms. Mathy, edgy, a tad emo (but not too much) Montoneros will leave calm and whole again. Try them out on Bandcamp.

10:00 PM – The Still Tide – Eslinger Gallery

The Still Tide play a simple, yet sweeping, brand of folk pop, with more than a little coloring of shoegaze in it’s roots. The band just moved to the clean air of Colorado from the bustle of New York, with Aaron Latos and Anna Morsett (once from These United States) in tow, and their music sounds spacious and open, like the mountain country. Catch them on Bandcamp – or, better, at the Eslinger Gallery – to make your own decision.

11:00 PM – Black Lamb – 3 Kings Tavern

Black Lamb have been a part of Denver for so long it seems they’re just part of the black in the streets, constantly under construction, constantly cracking and breaking, but always the same streets. Brian Hagman leads this sludgy metal mess like a more conscious Ozzy Osbourne, circa “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” (but only slightly more conscious). Hagman, though, brings in a wanton carelessness and passion that’s all too real, slow and unflinchingly heavy guitars and impossibly huge drums and bass back him up. End  your UMS experience with about a trillion slow sledghammer punches to the head at 3 Kings, and go home happy, sated and ready for Monday. Get some sound samples on their Facebook page.


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#UMS2015, Day #3 – DenverThread’s Approved Lineup is Here!

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Well – here we are, in the thick of it, the UMS, day #3. At this point, you’re probably feeling the heat, sweating out the alcohol (soon to be replaced), trying to stretch your extremities and get them back under your control, and wondering how you’re still awake. But it’s really just begun. This is the long stretch, and it’s time for you to really begin to take in the deep, pungent aroma and humidity of the UMS.

We can help. Each and every day, DenverThread will publish recommendations – by the hour – for bands you need to see in this crazy, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out!

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 3, Saturday, July 25…

12:00 PM – A Giant Dog – Hi-Dive

Reaching back to proto-punk roots in The Stooges, or “White Punks on Dope” Tubes, Austin’s A Giant Dog belts out garage rock that will light a fire under you. Everything is fast, loud and aggressive, exciting, and a little precocious. It may be early for a Hi-Dive Austin Party experience, but this band will help that breakfast beer cure your hangover, and get you in shape for another UMS day. Check them out a bit on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, to make sure your head’s in this game.

1:00 PM – Sun Blood Stories – Skylark Lounge

Boise, Idaho’s Sun Blood Stories weaves a sometimes dark and scary, sometimes playful brand of psychedelia that you’d probably expect to hear out in the Idaho landscape – or the Mars landscape. Echo-laden, majestic, big sound, and wide, open spaces come to mind and vision when they’re playing. It’s a ride through a black hole, but a comfortable one. Get some for yourself on Bandcamp and Soundcloud to feel that gravity.

2:00 PM – Obscured By Echoes – Hi-Dive

The Austin Day Party continues at Hi-Dive with the Texas-based psych band Obscured By Echoes. This band is sure to shake the ground beneath you, with overtones of Bowie, Eno, and TX faves Black Angels. OBE sounds a little more mature than Angels, really – more comfortable, not trying quite as hard. Take advantage of this chance to see it for yourself, and prove us wrong.

3:00 PM – Covergeist – Historians Ale House

Justin Dunning has his hand in something wet with rock n’ roll. Straightforward guitar – slide and otherwise – colors his jam, and an alternating smooth croon and Mudhoney howl. Take in this show as one that might just invigorate you the way a great adventure film could, and then slingshot to the rest of day #3. This is the kind of moonshine that’ll make that happen. Listen on Soundcloud and see if you disagree.

4:00 PM – Paw Paw – Eslinger Gallery

Now that the afternoon has likely started to turn into a more quiet affair, a little ambient, calming music may be in order. Step in Paw Paw – musical child of Eston Lathrop, formerly of Woodsman. Lathrop has a brilliant sense of rhythm and world music, which he uses to ground his ambient guitar, loop, echo work. Find Paw Paw on Bandcamp, and buy what you can!

5:00 PM – Codename: Carter – 3 Kings Tavern

The songs Pussy Galore listened to while dressing, tunes that Bond – James Bond – couldn’t get out of his head – these are the fodder of Codename: Carter. Skillful guitar work that makes you feel like you’re already on an impossible – and impossibly groovy – mission, just making it past the guards and into 3 Kings – this is what Codename: Carter has to offer. And you’ll love it.

6:00 PM – Pale Sun – Eslinger Gallery

Expansive, giant, cavernous – a few words that come to mind about Pale Sun. If you remember Denver heavy hitters Bright Channel and Orbiteer, or Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Monofog, and you like the heavier, echoing side of those bands, you’ll love Pale Sun. Huge guitars, colossal drums, endless reverb, the feeling of floating into the atmosphere of a gas giant, slowly descending forever to its tiny core, Pale Sun can ensure you land safely. Get you some, on  Soundcloud.

7:00 PM – Cloacas – Illegal Pete’s

Santa Fe’s Cloacas (\klō-kus\) take Americana to another level. On the one hand, they appear to be your common, garden-variety banjo, jug, nose harp and saw playin’ country ensemble. But then they bring in a kind of humorous gothic element, and twist it up into a jangly dancing good ol’ time. Before haunting the crowd again with something you’d hear, when  you’re lost in the desert, wafting on a hot breeze from just over that next hill. Down there. Yeah – just one more hill away, forever. Check them out on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, then get into Illegal Pete’s, before you get lost, too.

8:00 PM – Eros and the Eschaton – 3 Kings Tavern

Jump back into the dreamy pop side of the UMS with Eros and the Eschaton – recent transplants to Colorado Springs from way out Southeast. This group dabbles in shoegaze, with a rural, almost woodsy feel.  They comfortably mix Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine with muted sun in cedars, and a  little Yo La Tengo vibe. Check them out on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

9:00 PM – Shady Elders – 3 Kings Tavern

Shady Elders have been climbing up in the Denver scene for just a few years, but they definitely have a strong foothold. Dreamy is too simple a word for their style, but it’s close. Summer music, Lana Del Rey, Beach House – all of these apply, too. But Shady Elders doesn’t stop there. They expand into an all-encompassing, foggy world that feels more like the David Lynch side of a dream. Catch their tunes on Bandcamp and Soundcloud to get a taste for yourself.

10:00 PM – The Traveling Suitcase – Irish Rover

Oshkosh, Wisconsin spit out The Traveling Suitcase, after shoving a landfill of Led Zeppelin-era big guitar music, Black Keys-heavy blues strings and mathy, thumping beats into its mouth. This trio will wake you out of the dream state you’ve been in for the past few hours – if you’ve been following our map of #UMS2015’s best bands by-the-hour. Come prepared – listen to the Suitcase on Bandcamp and Soundcloud before you enter.

11:00 PM – The Gamits – Hi-Dive

Solid, loud and fast Punk Rock is still alive in Denver, and The Gamits are part of the tartan. The Gamits have been many parts of Denver’s punk scene for more than two decades, and they’re still going strong. Crunchy guitar bashing, bass and drums, fast lyrics and a little melody promise to inspire your second (or third, or fourth) wind, and propel you long into tomorrow. Get some on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, too.

12:00 AM – Accordion Crimes – Irish Rover

Accordion Crimes brings a Jesus Lizard/Big Black post-hardcore feel to the UMS, late at night in this case, designed to open your eyes to the pounding, screaming, scraping, bruising side of music. Angular, minimal and perfect are the best words to describe Accordion Crimes – but the best way to get the vibe is to see it yourself, In the meantime, here’s some from Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

1:00 AM – Zebroids – Hi-Dive

What better way to wrap up #UMS2015 Day #3 than with some bass-heavy, fast, loud and riveting garage punk? The Zebroids have the pill for you, and they’re administering heavy dosages at Hi-Dive. After feeling the heat of this group, you’ll feel fine crawling back to your bed and passing into palookaville – or you just as likely might want to just kick down the walls and open up some space into tomorrow morning, buzzing until sunup. Get some on Bandcamp.


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DenverThread’s Bands to Catch at #UMS2015, Night #2, Friday, July 24

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After a righteous kick-off evening for the 2015 Denver Post UMS, tonight the festival will no doubt really start to gain momentum. Over 300 bands in total, over four nights, across more than 20 venues, this year’s UMS is bigger than ever, and promises to push the South Broadway district in Denver beyond some limits. If you’ve been to any of the past 15, you’ve probably got a plan to navigate all the noise, talent, fun and debauchery that is the UMS. If not – make one (take Nate Hammond’s (of the Epilogues) advice on Reverb, to get an idea why).

We’re here to help, too. Each day, DenverThread will publish recommendations – by the hour – for bands you should probably see in the multivariate, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out – and, ferfuckssake, bring plenty of water to STAY HYDRATED! Contrary to our belief around here, beer and whiskey can’t replace water.

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 2, Friday, July 24…

6:00 PM – In the Whale – Main Stage @ SSFCU

In The Whale will kill the Main Stage @ SSFCU at 6PM.

In The Whale will kill the Main Stage @ SSFCU at 6PM.

Straight outta Greeley, originally, this duo is making whale-sized waves just about everywhere they play – and rightfully so. Their take on garage punk meets some sort of mutated blues-metal inspires the courage grab the apple of your eye and lay a healthy, sweaty kiss on them, and then swallow a stupid-giant shot of rotgut, and then dump said apple and be on your way. Let the live show speak for itself, but, in the meantime, listen to the maelstrom on Soundcloud and Bandcamp to get a taste.

7:00 PM – A Shoreline Dream – Illegal Pete’s

A Shoreline Dream play at 7pm, Illegal Pete's (270 S. Broadway).

A Shoreline Dream play at 7pm, Illegal Pete’s (270 S. Broadway).

If you like your music with a long gaze into the mechanics and beauty of your shoes, then A Shoreline Dream is for you. Channeling bands like Slowdive, Ride, and the less bombastic sides of My Bloody Valentine, ASD create huge, beautiful noises drenched in reverb like gelatin, melodic, whispy, yet heavy and heady. ASD has steadily and methodically plugged away at their fame since 2005, and are building their own independent shoegaze empire along the way – and they deserve it. Try them on for size at Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and then catch them live at UMS.

8:00 PM – Deer Creek – Brendan’s Pub

Deer Creek will bury Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway) in doom at 8PM.

Deer Creek will bury Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway) in doom at 8PM.

What better place than Colorado to foster and grow stoner sludge metal? Well, at least in the last couple of years, anyway. Deer Creek have been growing their doom metal in the progressive state of legal weed since 2002, and are turgid ambassadors of the genre. This band rides the same bongwater waves as Electric Wizard, Sleep, The Sword and Sunn O))) – all grandchildren of the legendary Black Sabbath – and they ride it well – slowly, heavily, darkly and doomed. Check them out on Bandcamp before you dive into the murk.

9:00 PM – Whilt – Brendan’s Pub

Whilt - the "h" is silent. At Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway) at 9:00 pm.

Whilt – the “h” is silent. At Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway) at 9:00 pm.

While you’re slogging yourself out of the muck and doom, and still in Brandan’s, just take advantage of the location and schedule to rest and catch Whilt. This ooutfit brings much the same type of doom metal, but may even be a tad heavier than Deer Creek. While you’re there, maybe you can wonder why Brendan’s has all the luck, and is carrying all the weight of metal on #UMS2015 night 2. Maybe you’ll want to hear Whilt on Bandcamp, too.

10:00 PM – Echo Beds – Brendan’s Pub

Echo Beds brings demolition to Brendan's (404 Broadway) at 10:00 pm.

Echo Beds brings demolition to Brendan’s (404 Broadway) at 10:00 pm.

It’s beginning to look like Brendan’s is the place where all of our readers & fans (all ten of ’em) will be getting their drink on, listening to what might be the heaviest venue of this, #UMS2015, Night #2. Because now there’s the spinning, sparking, grinding wheel of noise rock that is Echo Beds. If you like the “Saw” series, you’ll love this set. Recalling greats like Einstürzende Neubauten, Crash Worship, and Throbbing Gristle, Echo Beds brings the chaos and beauty of factory-style industrial noise to the stage – endearing those who whistle to the sounds of traffic and construction. Get a load of this on Bandcamp and Soundcloud before  you opt into any sort of timpanic prophylactic.

11:00 PM – The Yawpers – 3 Kings Tavern

The Yawpers will demolish 3 Kings Tavern (60 S. Broadway) at 11:00 pm.

The Yawpers will demolish 3 Kings Tavern (60 S. Broadway) at 11:00 pm.

Imagine Led Zeppelin, on speed, headlining a bluegrass revival tent, and you might come close to the high-energy, skillful and fun rock n’ roll that Boulder’s Yawpers play with. If 3 Kings isn’t a single mass of sweaty, hopping and moshing humanity by halfway through their second song, well then, The Yawpers aren’t doing their job. But that’ll never happen, because these boys never fail to deliver, and in a big, explosive and sweaty way. If you need more convincing, get a taste on Bandcamp or Soundcloud before you frantically tear towards 3 Kings.

12:00 AM – Musclebeach – Brendan’s Pub

Musclebeach will entice with hardcore at Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway), 12:00 am.

Musclebeach will entice with hardcore at Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway), 12:00 am.

Straight up, fast, loud and screaming hardcore – a little mathy, maybe – is what Musclebeach will treat you with at Brendan’s (I know – again witht he Brendan’s Pub!). Great fast guitar work, a scream in the midst of the mess and tight drum/bass arrangements will re-energize a likely exhausted South Broadway. Listen to this on Bandcamp, the get in there and bang your head to a few more PBRs.

1:00 AM – Plum – Hi-Dive

Plum will grace the Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway) with serious psychedelia at 1:00 am.

Plum will grace the Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway) with serious psychedelia at 1:00 am.

Nothing like ending a night of great music with a dip into some Beatles-y psychedelia, and Plum are the band to do it, and the Hi-Dive is the place to dance to it. Plum also brings in influence from Tame Impala and Ratatat, for good guitar measure, which is bound to please your groove-hungry ears. get a load on Soundcloud to see what we mean.

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The Helio Sequence - Photo: William Anthony

The Helio Sequence Bring A Chill to Denver Friday Night

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Along their near two-decade rise in indy music, Brandon Summers and Benjamin Welkel—the duo known in ensemble as The Helio Sequence—haven’t had it entirely easy. Mostly due to Summers’ near career- and band-ending vocal troubles in the mid aughts, the band seemed doomed for a few years. But lifestyle changes, dedication and vocal exercises pushed Summers back into performance in time to record their fourth album, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead.”  That same dedication has resulted in a pretty strong sixth effort, their self-titled new album released last month on Sub Pop. The Helio Sequence is on tour across North America now, and stopping tomorrow night in the Larimer Lounge, with Lost Lander and Reuben Hollebon, so you have a chance to catch the chill first hand.

The two compiled the ten songs as part of a game with their Portland friends called the “20-Song Game.” The rules were to record 20 songs in one day, then have a listening party with the other bands and musicians to hear the results. It was also meant to be a creative exercise, to help musicians push through creative blocks, to create in the moment, and to learn to take the good with the bad. According to Sub Pop’s press release, Summers and Welkel didn’t quite stick with the progress as planned, and instead decided they’d stretch the exercise out to a month, make as much music as possible in that time, and apply it to the creation of their next album.

Here’s a sample: “Stoic Resemblance,” from “The Helio Sequence”

“The Helio Sequence” album, though satisfying overall, is surprisingly a little tame itself—even for another chillwave offering. While you can hear a new sense of urgency in the songs—it’s evident that they were moving from one experiment to the next pretty quickly (they actually came up with 26 songs over the course of the month, and kept ten for the record). But there’s also a subtle repetition from beginning to end—maybe the result of moving too quickly.

“Battle Lines” starts the record slowly, with a great summer-psychedelia feel, showing off more of Summers’ guitar work (which, perhaps fittingly, recalls work by the iconic Andy Summers, who, along with Stewart Copeland, formed the strongest portion of great ’80s band The Police, albeit with a little Pixies’ roughness).The next highlight is “Stoic Resemblance,” (listen to the MP3 above) a pretty perfect summer afternoon soundtrack mainstay. Welkel’s drumming across the record remains strong and innovative. “Red Shifting” moves in with an anthemic feel, and leads into maybe the album’s best piece, “Upward Mobility” (see the beautifully animated video below).

By most accounts, though, the duo’s live set is more than strong. Don’t miss the chance to catch this still-climbing Portland Chillwave duo at the Larimer Lounge, Friday, June 5th, and see for yourself.


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Hypnotic Turtle Radio presents “Mothersbaugh/Still,” a Web-Radio Simulcast, TONIGHT!

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If you haven’t had enough of Mark Mothersbaugh – and, really, who can say they have? – be sure and tune into Radio 1190 at 9:00 PM tonight, Thursday, May 21, to catch a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get even more! Local wonder-star and rock legend Arlo White will host an interactive event showing off the collaboration Mothersbaugh led with the Clifford Still Museum that just recently left town, complete with music created just for the event.

White got together with Mothersbaugh before the DEVO founder and all around brilliant genius pulled his circus out of Denver, and the two formed a show that only Hypnotic Turtle could produce. The plan is to spin music inspired by the Myopia show that dominated Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art for the past year, and simultaneously post images on Hypnotic Turtle’s  web and Facebook sites.

If you’re familiar with White’s projects – the legendary Deadbubbles, The Pretty Sure, Diablo Montalban and his most recent activity, Sparkle Jetts – you already know there’s a lot to look forward to. It’s not too far out of reality to say that White probably holds the reigns of Stooges-style rock n’ roll in Denver.

 

Just Tune in… For your own good….

 

In the meantime, here’s some classic Deadbubbles, covered by the inimitable Sparkle Jets. Enjoy!


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Henry Rollins: “You and I are brilliant. WE, however, aren’t doing so well….” Live Review at Boulder Theater, May 16, 2015

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Henry Rollins, while impressed at Colorado's evolution as far as cannabis (he doesn't partake himself), had some choice words about the rest of the good ol' USA and its questionable character in his spoken word set in  Boulder, as well as that  of its leadership, and many of its citizens.

Henry Rollins, while impressed at Colorado’s evolution as far as cannabis (he doesn’t partake himself), had some choice words about the rest of the good ol’ USA and its questionable character in his spoken word set in Boulder, as well as that of its leadership, and many of its citizens.

“WE are not gonna make it,” asserted a more-grim-than-usual Henry Rollins to a standing room only audience at the Boulder Theater last Saturday night. “YOU will be fine. YOU and I are brilliant, and will do magnificent things. But WE don’t look to promising.”

To understand Rollins’ point, best to be familiar with his belief system. At many points in the past 4 decades, Henry Rollins has been a cultural revolutionary, a social weathervane, more than a few rock stars, a repeatedly successful actor (in films and TV series of varied critical acclaim, and sometimes dubious value), a radio and TV host, a writer, a motivational speaker, and a historian. But, most consistently, Rollins has been the definition of a self-made, blue-collar renaissance man, erring more often than not on the optimist side of human potential, constantly railing against a tendency for too many humans to do stupid, obstinate and short-sighted things.

Not so much this time, though.

The “WE” Rollins kept bringing up during his non-stop two-hour rant in Boulder (during which, ironically, he spoke about the Ramones’ non-stop, no-break live shows) is the collective, misdirected group-mentality that now seems to permeate so much of the media and collective thought in America, at least from his point of view. Between most of his stories throughout the evening—from his tales about travelling alone through much of Central Asia and balking at the archaic practices of arranged marriage and mind-boggling defenses of both Vladimir Putin and communism, to his experiences in Cuba “…just before Starbucks moved in”—he kept harping on the hopelessness he’s been seeing in the American “WE.”

“…no one was wolfing down five pizzas at a time or enacting weird scenes from “Reefer Madness”…. The police – the police were hilarious! They were like Maytag Repairmen!”

“WE are not going to make it,” he growled, deep into the second hour. “WE are slipping straight back into the primordial ooze, frantically looking for a tail to stick back onto our asses and cutting into the sides of our throats to re-form gills so we can crawl back into the seas, and backwards in evolution.” Optimism be damned—apparently we’re too far gone for hope, or at least that giant group of us is.

He wasn’t negative through his whole speech, though.

Rollins spent a considerable amount of time praising Colorado for the success of the new “weed culture” growing here, and thanking the local population for leading the way. He described—at length, and in the environment of his most consistent current project, the show “10 Things You Don’t Know About…” that he hosts on History Channel’s H2 network—the 2014 “Cannabis Cup” held in Denver, where he and a large crew came to document the progress.

“Nothing was on fire,” he pointed out. “Everyone behaved themselves as adults (for the most part), no one was wolfing down five pizzas at a time or enacting weird scenes from “Reefer Madness”…. The police – the police were hilarious! They were like Maytag Repairmen!” He then went on to thank Coloradans for taking the first sane steps in the drug wars, and for lighting the way for everyone else.

He also spun a positive story about a Commencement Address he’d delivered to Burbank’s Woodbury University the week before—his second to a graduating class over the past 6 years or so. In his address, he told the soon-to-be graduates that “…this is the most amazing century to be alive in,” quite passionately, by his own account. Maybe even angrily.

He noted that, after he spoke, he counted a vast majority of obviously foreign students graduating from Woodbury, which he took as a mixed sign. “These graduates are coming to America, from places where they’ve learned to value education, to get an education in the best schools in the world and take it back to their homes,” he said. “[Soon] they’ll be back, with inventions, with innovation that will change the world. Want a solar panel? BZZZAP! There you go! We made that! We invented that! What have you been doing?”

Switching seamlessly into the hopeless, American “WE” guise, he uttered, “Rubbing sticks together and hating [homosexuals].” Like he said, WE aren’t showing much promise.

In a strange—but poignant— way, Rollins schooled all of us in optimism, inside what may have been the bleakest content over the past few times he’s stopped in Boulder to dispense his brand of Punk Rock wisdom. He left the stage with a giant grin, though, apparently pretty certain he’d made a few impressions. His words may not have changed many of the innovative minds he’d met here, but I’d like to believe those words helped to solidify some strong, youthful optimism that we all can carry on.


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Twin Peaks Explodes Out of Chicago Garage, and Into the Hi-Dive This Thursday

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Twin Peaks joins the latest episode of the UMS-curated Red Bull Sound Select Series this Thursday, May 14, at the Hi-Dive.

Twin Peaks joins the latest episode of the UMS-curated Red Bull Sound Select Series this Thursday, May 14, at the Hi-Dive.

It’s inspiring, all the bands buzzing around now that are making rock fun again. Bands like Japandroids, No Age, Fucked Up, Thee Oh Sees – all are about having a blast playing with a sound they love, and that lays the audience flat, under a rockpile of noise. Add Twin Peaks to that list. This four piece veteran band of the Chicago DIY scene is making waves with a live show that’s approaching legend. Their showing at this year’s SXSW in Austin has definitely turned heads, for the better, and probably for a long time.

Maybe it comes from overwhelming familiarity, or the actualization of late night sleepover conversation describing their rock & roll dreams – most of Twin Peaks’ members have known each other since grade school. Frontman Cadien Lake James, bassist Jack Dolan, guitarist Clay Frankel and drummer Connor Brodner have been part of the Chicago scene since high school, in one form or another. James cut his rock biz teeth in Teenage Dream, playing shows in front of single-digit audiences. Whatever the reason, this band has hit on a combination of sound and energy that leaves crowds sweating, frenzied, ecstatic.

Sometimes channeling a misty melodic memory of Oasis with a strong shot of New York Dolls, but more often resembling the Big Star that Paul Westerberg‘s Replacements dreamed of being (give a listen to “Ordinary People,” below, to see for yourself), Twin Peaks builds a sonic wall of reverb-drenched chords, interlaced with perfect Pixies noodling and solid drums. On top of that – in most tunes – James layers a full, round baritone that approaches Jim Morrison’s, with a vocal swagger that likely makes Mick Jagger nostalgic.

“Ordinary People” – from Wild Onion (2014)

Even on record, their sound and energy is contagious. It’s almost creepy how quickly some of the tunes on “Wild Onion,” the band’s latest release, become comfortable beneath skin & muscle, and comfortably wrap themselves around your bones. The wilding freedom of “I Found A New Way,” the complex psychedelia of “Strawberry Smoothy” and “Strange World,” the ’70s theme music of “Telephone” and the Cheap Trick of “Flavor” – this record shows many levels of pop sensibility and creation that belies even the combined ages of all four band members. Wild Onion doesn’t sound like a sophomore piece – it’s closer to a picture of a band who have reached their stride. And that’s why the buzz they’re enjoying about now – having outshone most of SXSW alongside other newly big acts like Courtney Barnett.

Denver is lucky to be welcoming Twin Peaks to the Hi-Dive this coming Thursday, one of three bands playing in the latest episode of the UMS-curated Red Bull Sound Select series. In this small venue, this band promises to blow more than doors down – they’ll likely blow your mind as well. Don’t miss this 18+ show – $3 entry if you RSVP – $15 if you don’t. And if you make it in the door – which seems a little unlikely at this point, considering the band’s popularity right now.

Take a look/listen to their video for “Making Breakfast,” below, and see if that doesn’t make you hungry for this brand of garage rock. See you there, Denver.


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Shonen Knife Ready to Destroy Denver, with a Little Help from Denver

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Shonen Knife will attack Denver - and win - Thursday night, October 16, starting at the Oriental Theater.

Shonen Knife will attack Denver – and win – Thursday night, October 16, starting at the Oriental Theater.

“Just the idea of a trio of Ramones worshiping Japanese girls roaming the earth playing their own brand of J-Rock, J-Pop, Pop/Punk Fun Time Soup, was good enough for us,” recalled local musician Arlo White, of Denver’s Sparkle Jetts. “When we finally heard them it was exactly like what it sounded like in our heads: Pure Innocence, Straight forward Rock and Roll Fun!”

It’s a pretty perfect way to describe Shonen Knife,  one of the ’80s and ’90s more obscure, but most delicious, Japanese exports. You may think that bands like Guitar Wolf hold the J-Punk torch (and they do, handily – but not completely), but it’s Shonen Knife that made the first real stab (pun fully intended) of Ramones-powered pop from Japan into America. Shonen Knife – and particularly Naoko Yamano – have enjoyed 32+ years of existence, and haven’t wavered once from their original happy, poppy, cat-, food- and youth-loving brand of punk rock. And they’re not about to slow down.

The latest incarnation of the trio, featuring Yamano on guitar and vocals, Ritsuko Taneda on bass and Emi Morimoto on drums, is touring in support of the band’s 20th release, “Overdrive,” and they’re appearing at the Oriental Theater in North Denver this Thursday night. Not a show you want find out too late that you missed! Tickets.

“Overdrive” is solid, just like it sounds, focusing on ’70s rock a la Kiss, Deep Purple or Thin Lizzy, but with the same naive, happy charm that the Knife has always been known for. Kittens, noodles, green tea win out over heartbreak, overdose, alcohol or endless groupie groping on this record – but the charm we’ve all come to love far outshines the gritty, grimy shortcomings (after all, we get plenty of ’70s lubed-up glam porn from all the Kimye crap, don’t we?).

We had a chance to reach out and touch Yamano while she was on the road, between nearly 7-day-a-week gigging, to ask her a few questions. She was kind enough to reply – and we love her and the band all that much more for it. Read on:

DenverThread: Wow – nearly 33 years, and 20 albums, all amped full of consistently catchy, unavoidably addictive Ramones-y power punk. Any end in sight? Do you plan to retire, or keep kicking ass until you just can’t anymore?

Naoko: Keep kicking ass is ROCK! But if there will be no Shonen Knife fans, I have to retire.

DT: Many of your dates on this US tour are back-to-back. Is it exhausting – just how you like to roll?

Naoko: Actually, long drive makes me exhausted but once I see our fans at our show, I get power.

DT: Since the happy, positive power behind your output hasn’t, how has your world view changed over the past 30+ years?

Naoko: My world view hasn’t changed. I just get well experienced.

DT: So much rock n’ roll is heavy, emotional, overbearing (especially in the US), yet you are constantly able to maintain a light, carefree feeling in the subject matter and feel behind your songs. Do you think that comes from your own personal outlook, or your upbringing in Japanese culture?

Naoko: It comes from my personal character. Many bands are singing about love in Japan and US and  sometimes about social problems in US. I don’t want to be the same with others. I like to make one and only unique music.

DT: There are so many to choose from – and they’re all great – do you each have favorite Shonen Knife songs/albums?

Naoko: I always prefer the latest album. Thus “Overdrive” is the best so far. I especially like “Black Crow”, “Shopping”, “Like a Cat” and “Jet Shot”.

DT: Your songs often have a food focus – and the USA spreads a giant table of wonderful, tasty – and sometime just plain weird – food choices. Anything in your travels that fits in the “weird,” “super-weird” or “just plain crazy” category?

Naoko:  “Weird” — “chicken cutlet waffles and hazelnut chocolate cream on the side”. I like the taste of both chicken cutlet and waffles but the combination is a little odd. Waffles should be separated from chicken. “Super-weird” — too colorful artificial colored sweets and cakes.

DT: Is there any American food you just couldn’t do without?

Naoko:  I don’t have any particular food but American Rock.

DT: You seem to be cat lovers – why is that? Are they more preferable than other animals in your opinion? More preferable pets than dogs? (Full disclosure: I love both, but prefer cats).

Naoko:  I love both two but for dogs, I have to take them outside for walk. Cats are more free and independent.

DT: Your sister Atsuko used to design and make all of your costumes – does she still influence the onstage costumes?

Naoko:  She made our new costumes. Her design and sewing is the best!

DT: Did you know any of the opening bands for the Denver show – Sparkle Jetts, Sonic Archers 0r 9 Volt Fatale – before hearing they were opening for you?

Naoko:  I don’t know them but I’m looking forward to play with them.

DT: Do you often find bands on tour that you end up really liking, or following? Any that stick out from other sites on this tour?

Naoko:  I like [The] Mallard that they opened up for our US tour in 2012 in the west coast.

Don’t miss this one, presented by local promoter Girl Wreck Presents, at one of Denver’s classic, beautiful venues – the historic Oriental Theater. Besides the headliners, there will be an impressive collection of Denver local bands warming up and filling out the lineup, including glam rockers Sparkle Jetts, Mod-Brits The Sonic Archers and noise merchants 9 Volt Fatale.

Continuing from above, Sparkle Jetts’ Arlo White – also the host of Radio 1190‘s Hypnotic Turtle Radio, and a Denver celebrity in his own right, had a few things to say:

Sparkle Jetts are… “Whitney Rehr (guitar/vocals), vocal/guitar goddess and one of Denver’s most underrated performers, also plays in Gata Negra, I’m A Boy, and Meta Lark. Arlo White (lead vocals), flat-footed, rock and roll mephisto, formed DEADBUBBLES and The Pretty Sure, and currently hosts Radio 1190’s Hypnotic Turtle Radio. Hope Bertsch (drums), crazed, primal powerhouse, also plays in The BlackoutsChris Keift (bass), lays down the low end with post-punk devotion, was the bassist for The Dirty Lookers.”

“We’ve all been around the Denver music scene for a long time, playing in various bands, and the stars finally aligned,” White went on to explain. “Our uniting of superpowers came about almost a year ago, and we’re now ready to use our powers for good!”

“SPARKLE JETTS are currently playing a mixture of songs from my previous bands DEADBUBBLES and THE PRETTY SURE, plus SPARKLE JETTS originals,” he continues. “I want SPARKLE JETTS to be Denver Rock City’s go to band for the pure Rock and Roll experience!”

Once again – you don’t want to miss this one. We’ve been fans of Deadbubbles and The Pretty Sure since their get-go. We know what you’re going to like.

 


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Riot Fest 2014, Denver, Day 3 – Review, Slideshow

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Manchester Orchestra brought it hard and loud to the final day of this year’s Riot Fest. (Photo: Isobel Thieme/DenverThread)

The rain was the winner of the day for day three in Denver – and not just because The National gave up and stormed off (pun intended). The day was eventful, with a brilliant set from The Violent Femmes (wherein Gordon Gano revealed his new Colorado residency – and showed off his new drivers license), covering their whole first album, joined by the Horns of Dilemma – totaling somewhere around 10 additional horns of all types. Manchester Orchestra may have had the strongest set of the day, bringing their unique, loud and gratifying brand of post-hardcore back to Denver. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes reuinited for a satisfying hardcore bout, while Cerebral Ballzy put on a fantastic – and fantastically fast – version of their own Bad Religion meets meth hardcore set. Wounds debuted from Dublin – bringing some great feeling screamo to the Revolt Stage, and then the rain really set in. Sound on the May Farms Stage began to degenerate with the TV on the Radio set, and was totally gone by the time The National tried to close down the festival. Crowds were sparse – even for Wu Tang Clan.

Here’s our abbreviated slideshow of Day 3:


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Riot Fest 2014, Denver, Day 2 – Review, Slideshow

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Robert Smith and the Cure at Riot Fest 2014, Denver

Robert Smith fronted The Cure for more than 3 hours of classics, and class, on Riot Fest Denver’s second night. (Photo: Oliver Thieme/DenverThread)

The second day of Riot Fest was probably the festival’s longest – both in terms of bands in the lineup (there were many) and the time everyone seemed to be waiting for their heroes to take the stage. Early in the day, The Bots and Larry and His Flask started the punk rock and folky punk rolling, Dum Dum Girls added their brand of powerpop-driven, clean and exciting music and Clutch pushed the afternoon into overdrive. Atlanta’s Baby Baby took the Revolt Stage by storm with a happy, explosive straight up rock set, complete with a pianist atop his instrument, lobbing Red Bulls onto the crowd (note to self -a n to you – next time this band is in town, make it a date – they’re pure fun, exciting party music). Dads followed Baby Baby – although they almost didnt’t because of a faulty chord – all post-hardcore and barely emo.

Hot Snakes, Descendents, City and Colour and Social Distortion filled up the afternoon on one side of the festival, while The Used, Plague Vendor, Bring Me the Horizon and A Day To Remember fulfilled all the post-emo and hardcore needs of about a thousand kids on the other. As the sun set, the excitement of seeing Robert Smith and The Cure settled in, and you could feel the huge crowd in anticipation. Smith and his band delivered – and then some.

The Cure played for nearly four hours, interrupted only at the end of their songs by Smith’s signature “‘K’you!” The amazing thing was that the band had little stage set (only an infinity-mirrored backdrop, some fog and mostly purple lighting, really) and minimal real crowd interaction. And yet the engagement with everyone in the huge audience was stronger, more palpable than for any other band in the lineup to that point. They played every song you’d expect to hear, and every song you’d want to hear, and didn’t pull many punches (with the possible exception of “100 Years” from Pornography). But what we realized as we listened is that their history is cornerstone to the whole reason festivals like Riot Fest exist. These are songs that are in your blood, and they’re still punk rock (not fast & furious, but defiant and individual). Few bands last as long (nearly 40 years) in the spotlight, and maintain their unique sound as well as The Cure has. All we got form the stage was the music, as it is, no flair, pyrotechnics, confetti or giant balloons. And it was all we needed.

Check out our slideshow of Night two:

 


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RiotThread14! Here’s your Live Blog from the Hot Asphalt….

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Here it is! Riot Fest Denver, 2014 – and we couldn’t be more excited – and ready for a music, fun, beer, booze, family and punk rock weekend! Keep checking back here all three days for reviews, news, photos, and live blogging from the ground. We got you all tied in and threaded with RiotThread 2014!

 



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