Category Archives: ThreadedTweets

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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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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!

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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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Matt Shupe - The Greying Heart

New(ish) Threads – Reviews of new(ish) Matt Shupe, new Thurston Moore, and Il Cattivo

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Starting a new job can suck – especially for your online magazine. That’s the explanation for my long absence on the ‘Thread – and I’m stickin’ with it. Now to get back into the swing, and get you readers some well-deserved regularity…

But on with the news: This week we’re presenting three fantastic albums, starting with one that’s won my mind and heart, even though it’s about a year old, in Matt Shupe’s “The Greying Heart.” Then get a load of the beauty of Thurston Moore’s new solo work, “Demolished Thoughts,” and finally the grandiloquent metal/thrash of Il Cattivo’s “To Bring Low An Empire.”

MP3s too!


Matt Shupe - The Greying Heart

Matt Shupe – The Greying Heart (2010)

Matt Shupe may be Denver’s answer to Syd Barrett. His latest record, The Greying Heart, while it doesn’t necessarily lead you to believe that Shupe’s traveling down a rabbit hole into agoraphobic obscurity, sure leaves a magical taste. The flavor starts with Barrett, but also adds a touch of Neil Young that brings the quiet up to a rock sound the former could never really approach. Take a listen to “Holdout” and its sad lament and try to avoid any thought of Young’s work on the Dead Man soundtrack, or a dip beneath Harvest Moon. The record’s opener, “Hart’s Island Babies,” oozes The Cure (from around Seventeen Seconds) through a filter of Opal at its folky base, and “Reality Song” is a quiet, melancholy breakup story that sits comfortably in the space between Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Each of these songs has a hook – some more intimate than others, but all a little infectious. “Holyoke,” easily the record’s highlight, perfectly combines the magic of Shupe’s storytelling with a traditional pop-folk, and recalls the easy psychedelia of Donavan in trio with Simon & Garfunkel in its sway. Listen below for yourself – and try not to feel like you’re on your way to some small hamlet in a wooded clearing, expecting leathered flasks filled with mead-y beer.

Shupe has a long history in Denver, playing for a few of Denver’s most influential bands – like, for instance, the seminal Denver Gentlemen – but seems to remain under known overall – unfairly. He did appear on Deadbubbles’ tribute album, Reclamation Now!, with a pristine cover of “Zoo Kicker and I” that wins the “sounds most like a sober Robert Pollard” award.

I hope Shupe has plans to expand, ‘cause when this record catches a few more ears, it’s sure to take off.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Matt Shupe – Holyoke”]


Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts - Sweeping, Beautiful, Autumn.

Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts (2011)

Sonic Youth has been a major subconscious aquifer in my life since I first saw them, here in Denver at the German House (behind the Fillmore Auditorium off of Colfax, for all you young’uns) in 1986. For the longest time, noise-freak that I was, I was under the impression that it was Lee Renaldo’s noisy constructions that I always hooked me so deeply. Thurston Moore seemed, to my early-twenties, jaded and anti-pop (anti-construction, anti-song, anti-you-name-it) sensibilities, to be the more traditional of the two. He was the one that brought the pop to songs like “Cool Thing,” “100%” and “Teenage Riot.” Moore was always the Mick Jones to Renaldo’s Joe Strummer. Part of this impression probably came out of the experimental discs I’d found from Renaldo overseas and in NYC.

Then, when 1994’s “Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star” came out, I suspected I was dead wrong. As I located and consumed more of Moore and company’s experimental work – particularly the SYR Series – I knew I was not only wrong, but being just unfair. Moore has always brought an indelible experimentalism to Sonic Youth, but it’s been anything but pop. If anything, it was Moore who used to play chords and tunings that recalled the type I’d play on endless loop as I was playing with noises myself way back then – because they were so addictive, so fuckin’ cool.

Moore’s Catalyzing Continues

And now, “Demolished Thoughts,” Moore’s latest solo effort, has proven beyond any doubt that my early delusions about the two guitarists were dead wrong. Not so much reversed – more that they both had their unique hooks, and both have always had tremendous hold on their musical genius – they’ve just always catalyzed impossibly well. And Moore’s musical catalyzing continues unabated, and reaches another new level on this album, with Beck in the producer (and sometimes participant) position.

“Demolished Thoughts,” to add to the earlier water metaphor, holds a super-clear, purified beauty that Moore’s compositions have always alluded to – and that they have sometimes achieved, underneath and throughout the noise of Sonic Youth. His melodies have always bracketed his simple, yet incredibly powerful imagism. Beck’s involvement may have influenced the more symphonic, almost melancholy air of the record, but it positively seeps with Moore’s creative personality form deep inside every track. These tunes are enveloped beautifully by the beauty from violinist Samara Lubelski and Mary Lattimore’s incredibly sensuous harp. Together, all three make up a sound that comes close to what Moore does with his guitars alone – without mimicking those sounds in the least – and it works perfectly in the acoustic. The occasional addition of the other players – drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Bill Nace and bassist Bram Inscore, and Beck as well – adds an almost a passing waft of flavor to an already overwhelmingly seasoned mix.

Lyrics like “Sunday lights/Come take my nights/And I’ll bend down/To my knees and die./Illuminate/My soul to take/Illuminine/Your clear cool wine,” from “lluminine” (probably the best song on the album – at least it’s the most indicative) leave a feeling of late Sunday afternoons, either inside from snow or outside in a leaf-strewn gully. Check it out below for yourself.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Thurston Moore – Illumine”]


Il Cattivo - To Bring Low An Empire

Il Cattivo - To Bring Low An Empire - The sound for what eats you, and then spits you out, molten.

Il Cattivo – To Bring Low An Empire (2011)

Is it just me, or does it seem that Denver’s scene is crawling with “supergroups” nowadays?
From Fairchildren (made up of Nathaniel Rateliff’s The Wheel (itself one of the guilty), Bela Karoli and The Centennial – plus more multitasking talent), to Houses (with members of Hearts of Palm, Harpoontang, Widowers, Blue Million Miles and others), to last year’s UMS champs Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (with members of members of Bad Luck City, Monofog, Mr. Pacman and Hawks of Paradise), the musical incest seems to have grown rampant. Of course Denver’s scene,  like many another cities’ strong, fervent and highly talented ones, has always swung that way – to a degree. It just seems more infectious now than it has. Denver, it seems, is ready for one of Pete Frame’s famous family trees.

I could be wrong.

But here’s another to add to the list anyway: Il Cattivo. (And, for the record, this one wins. Just plain wins. Period.) Il Cattivo features members of former and current bands including Black Lamb (Brian Hagman), Plains Mistaken For Stars (Matt Bellinger), Ghost Buffalo (Jed Koop), Machine Gun Blues (Holland Rock-Garden) and Taun Taun (Matty Clark). All of these guys are Denver metal/thrash/punk heroes, and all of their associated bands hold various legendary places in the Mile Hi Metal Pantheon (such that it is, or exists, or whatever). But in Il Cattivo, the best of their best has been magnified, intensified, codified and perfectified (as of now a word). The result is something the loose, bluesy thrash bombast side of Denver has been stretching, growing and just missing for far too long.

Il Cattivo’s first effort, To Bring Low An Empire, proves it. From Hagman’s opening wails help to start “Long Gone John” the mood is set – and it’s too late, you’re already drunk. The Rock-Garden and Bellinger guitar assault rides hard and sloppy on Kopp and Clark’s (drums and bass, respectively) thrusting, tank-driven rhythms, all over the road – and sometimes off – until the whole thing comes to a twisting, tumbling halt. This is when you know you’re probably not going to remember where the bruises came from in the morning – between songs – until it starts up again.

Mid-record, “Salt Skinned Girls” fools you with a quickly broken promise of a little accessible respite, until Hagman’s huge voice opens the ground and swallows you up in his signature, mesmerizing howls. The record climaxes with the thick, fast sludge of “Serenity Prayer” (at one time aptly titled “Good Friday, Motherfucker!”) and then gets even louder and faster.

Actually, “Serenity Prayer” isn’t the only climax, but enough spoilers. Listen below to that one, and then go get the record to fill your metal hole.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Il Cattivo – Serenity Prayer”]


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Keep your ears and eyes open, and check back to DenverThread about every two weeks for more reviews!

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