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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 HeyReverb.com 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.

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

Barbizon
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 HeyReverb.com 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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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!

Enjoy!

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=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/MAtt_Shupe_Holyoke.mp3″ 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=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/Thurston_Moore_Illuminine.mp3″ 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=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/Il_Cattivo_Good_Friday_Motherfucker.mp3″ text=”Il Cattivo – Serenity Prayer”]

 

Keep Comin’ back!

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

(This time I’ll keep it up! I Promise!)


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