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FUZZ_II_1_by_Denee_Petracek copy 2

DenverThread Picks of the Weekend – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

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.

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

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!

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

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

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!

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

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

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 on stage aug 2014 use this

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

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 2 – Review, Slideshow

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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Riot Fest Denver, Day 1 – Review/Slideshow


Wayne Coyne leads the explosion of love and light at Riot Fest Denver, Day One. September 19, 2014 (Photo: Isobel Thieme, DenverThread.com)

Day one is in the books. Riot Fest started off hot, and ended cool on the asphalt outside of Sports Authority Field last night, with The Flaming Lips winning the night. Die Antwoord had a popular set that welcomed the sunset – but it lacked much more than shock value, really. Gogol Bordello threw a frenetic party full of Eastern Bloc gypsy tunes, which had a huge crowd dancing and jumping for about an hour, but Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips stole the night with their usual psychedelic freakout, starting with a brilliant version of The Chemical Brothers’ “The Golden Path” – I mean, has anyone ever heard the Lips do that one live? Confetti explosions, a giant chromed ballon in the shape of the words “Fuck Yeah Riot Fest,” lights and a walk across the audience in a giant balloon. What more could you ask for?

Aside from some frustrating crowd control details (three – THREE – lines one had to stand in to get a beer? Really?), the show went off smoothly, and the place was packed. Check out our slideshow, and get out there tonight for more!

Don’t forget to follow our Live Blog page for up-to-the-minute news!


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Three Down, One More Night – Our Recommended #UMS2014 Day 4 Lineup

One. More. Day. Much more music!

If you’re still walking today, or, like so many of us, reaching for that hair of the dog to keep going ONE. MORE. DAY., we applaud you. We’re starting our Sunday lineup late … after getting in some well-needed log-sawing….. Nonetheless, here’s our Day 4 recommendations. Now leave us alone. we just want to see some music.

 4:00 pm – StaG (presented by Reverb) – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

StaGListening to StaG, we can’t help but be reminded of Alt-J, just a little bit. Innovative melodies, great pop hooks and rhythms layered on top of dancing rhythms and electronic atmospherics will bring you to a catharsis, even this early in the evening. Listen to their 2013 LP, “Difference,” to get  a peek.  ★★★★ (4 Stars)

5:00 pm – The Ghost-Towners – Gary Lee’s Motor Club and Grub – 176 S. Broadway

Ghost-townersThe Ghost-Towners pay tribute to some of the most American of Americana, shelling out gut-wrenching, shit-kicking classic country songs with real, honest-to-ghost flavor and passion. Grab a lager and just sit back and nurse your little black, broken heart to this one, sporting a few members from Denver’s legendary Bum-core band Slakjaw. You’ll be happy you did.  In the meantime, enjoy “Heartaches By The Number” to whet your appetite, below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

5:00 pm – LSD Bags – 3 Kings Tavern – 60 S. Broadway

LSD-Bags-Jessica-Gregory-06-960x496Superfuzzy stoner rock that evokes part Pink Floyd and  T. Rex, part Flaming Lips, LSD bags both look and sound like you’d expect from their name. Con’t miss them, though – they’ve got what you need to get through the night, flying high. Check out “Creature,” below. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

6:00 pm – Codename: Carter – Skylark Lounge – 140 S. Broadway

Codename-CarterWear your shades and long coats to this set, and maybe an ascot. Codename: Carter step aside from an earlier instrumental (and brilliant) Denver project from years ago, Maraca 5-0, and have entered the world of the music behind high intrigue, spy missions and back alley information exchanges (most likely accompanied by steamy, quick romances). Get a bang of  “Truth Syrum” for your palate. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

7:00 pm – Bummer – 3 Kings Tavern – 60 S. Broadway

BummerRemember Ed Hall? Remember The Jesus Lizard? Big Black? Do you even remember last night? Bummer is here to force-feed you the noise – evoking recent heavy exploders like Metz, Buildings and Pissed Jeans, these guys are all scream, distortion and pure power. What else is there to do in Olathe, Kansas, anyway? Be prepared for some serious head-banging in the Tavern, complete with sweat, beer-mist, spit and – probably – a little blood. Since all four tracks are fucking awesome, check out their latest – “Milk EP” – to test your earplugs and neck/shoulder muscles. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

8:00 pm – Kitty Crimes – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

KittyCrimesKitty Crimes – the hippy-trip-hop project of local celeb Maria Kohler (also home to M and the Gems, Harpoontang and more) – seems to be perpetually on the verge of national breakthrough. Since her self-release of the wildly popular “FInd A Penny,” she’s been closer and closer to a household name. Catch her in one of the places we’ve seen all of her personalities – the Hi-Dive – before she’s too big! Check out the high-test “Yogue Out” to prepare. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

9:00 pm – Joshua Novak – The Safari Room – 414 Broadway

Josh-NovakJoshua Novak has been a master of Pop for years, and has been one of Denver’s most accomplished and celebrated songwriters for as long. Now would be the time to catch his pop-hook brilliance, sweet melodies and heartfelt lovesongs, and to see him play the guitar left handed, upside down and backwards while he’s tearing your heart out. It’s pretty cool. Get a hit of “Breathing,” below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

10:00 pm – Miss Miniver Rose – Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

Miniver_RoseLizzy Allen, who you may remember from Denver’s Vitamins, or from the Flaming Lips “Dark Side of the Moon” tour on backup vocals for “The Great Gig in the Sky,” moonlights on her own as Miss Miniver Rose, a truly shimmering, intimate – almost private – persona. Listen to the haunting “Bottom Feeders” to see what you think.  ★★★★ (4 Stars)

11:00 pm – Rose Quartz – The HI-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

RoseQuartzRose Quartz – formerly Flashlights – may be the best way to wind down your UMS experience. With their feet firmly planted in soul, this duo pulls off an electronic menage that evokes Soft Cell and Kraftwerk, as much as Marvin Gaye. What a great way to dance the last of your buzz from such an unmatchable weekend of great music. Check out “Scarves” and see what we mean. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

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Here’s Your #UMS2014 Day 3 Lineup

The DenverThread hour-by-hour guide to The UMS, Day 3 – You’re Welcome!

After two days of ear- and heart-blasting music, lights, beers and friends, The UMS is probably starting to feel like home to you by now. The problem is, there are still two full days left – and more acts than ever to try and catch! So – we’re going to help you out again, with a lineup of acts by the hour, recommended by DenverThread, and guaranteed to leave a mark – on your soul as well as your record collection. Take a deep breath, a swig of your courage of choice and hold on – here we go with UMS 2014 Day Three!

1:00 pm – Eldren (Presented by Spokesbuzz) – Irish Rover, 54 S. Broadway

Eldren-I-Live-in-Beauty-02Eldren explode from the stage with an overwhelming psychedelia that evokes Polyphonic Spree and – yes, I’m gonna say it – Electric Light Orchestra. There may be just seven members, they sound closer to 10 or 15. Big, lovely bombast and pure party happiness. Check out “Yankee Stargazer,” below. ★★★ (3 Stars)

2:00 pm – Inner Oceans (presented by Holy Underground + MusicFestival App) – The Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway

Inner Oceans 1.jpg Griff Snyder of Inner Oceans. Photo: lucaventer.com.Sweeping synthesizers over thumping bass hits and soft, shoegazey vocals lead you down into a cool, cavernous calm. This is where Inner Oceans lives, and where they want you to come and stay. Check out “Ready Your Ghost,” and see how you feel about spending time there. (Inner Oceans also plays at 4:00 pm Sunday, at the Skylark, if you miss this afternoon’s performance). ★★★★ (4 Stars)

3:00 pm – TV Girl (presented by Holy Underground + MusicFestival App) – The Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway

TV-GirlTV Girl lands at the Hi-Dive from hometown L.A., and bring in happyhappyhappy trip-hop mixed with fresh samples and throaty harmonies. If this doesn’t start off your Saturday evening in grand, Summer Pop style, you’d probably better have a few more shots before your next band. Check out “The Getaway,” and tell us it doesn’t melt you like a popsicle. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

4:00 pm – E.C. Lab – The Hornet – 76 Broadway

EC-LabEC Lab plays a simple, powerful brand of bluesy garage that evokes a little bit of Black Keys, a little bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers (back when they were screaming about real men and coyotes, not lamenting their Californication). The duo is part of L.A.’s The Royal Heist, and will rock the heat into your afternoon. Bring a towel. Check out “No Longer” and see (The band is so far underground that the only place y ou can hear them – outside this afternoon at the UMS, is on MySpace. Go figure.) ★★★ (3 Stars)

E.C. Lab on MySpace

5:00 pm – Two Tone Wolf Pack – Skylark Lounge – 140 S. Broadway

2-tone-wolf-packTwo Tone Wolf Pack may be the strongest example of what used to be called the “Denver Sound” at this year’s UMS. Based in some mixture of Appalachian Mountain music, Pentacostal tent revivals and gothic country, the sound defined much of the music coming out of Denver around the time the UMS was just cutting its first teeth (see 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, The Denver Gentlemen, Munly, and so many more). Two Tone Wolf Pack aren’t reviving it, though. They’re living the music, and the backwoods, jumping a train to the next town lifestyle, and howling about it. Great, great stuff. Check out “Dead Men Hangin’,” below. ‘Nuff said. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)


6:00 pm – Sugar Skulls & Marigolds – Brendan’s – 404 N. Broadway

Sugar-SkullsDanny and Andrew Aranow – both play in other Denver bands (Monroe Monroe, Microdots, Saturn Cowboys) – step right smack into the haze of Colorado’s most popular new retail item with this instrumental stoner rock band. If you’re not partaking – either with edibles, vape or the old fashioned way – you’re probably going to feel like  you have after their set. Great time to grab a basket of friings with those beers and mules. Have a listen to “The Coked Out Bunnies EP” while you spark up. ★★★ (3 Stars)

BONUS! Three – that’s right THREE – recommendations for 7:00!

We just couldn’t break these ties….

7:00 pm – AAN – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

aaan.wideaAAN create melodious, dreamy folk that actually brings their home of Portland, OR to life in front of you. Easy, sweet pop hooks and vocals that approach the clean Jeff Buckley range over accomplished, math-ey guitars, synths and rhythms. This set should be a great time to wind down and re-charge for the rest of your UMS night. Check out “Amor Ad Nauseum” to get a taste of the Portland air. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

7:00 pm – A Shoreline Dream – Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

a_shoreline_dream_COASTAL_HIRESSimply put, A Shoreline Dream is HUGE. About to hit their 10th year in existence, they completely envelope the shoegaze genre, and then some. Their sound threatens to encompass the entire festival, but it feels as intimate as your 3am drunk dials or light blue 5am consummations. We don’t know how they’re going to fit all of that int the Irish Rover, but it’s definitely going to be worth it. Listen to “The Land of Those Who Wander EP,” below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

7:00 pm – Joy Subtraction – Eslinger Gallery – 118 S. Broadway

If you stop by for a minute in the Shoreline Dream set to re-energize, then you’ll be ready for Joy Subtraction. Just don’t miss this one. Joy Subtraction welds together the heavy sounds of Black Sabbath and Black Flag with the screaming sarcasm and rage of Future of the Left in the heat of pure, molten rock ‘n roll. This band will make your skin crawl – in a really, really good way. Not to be missed! Check out their “Essential…” album, preferably very, very loudly, below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

8:00 pm – Best Creeps – Illegal Pete’s – 270 S. Broadway

Best-CreepsWhen I found out that the Cramps spent years playing with no bassist, it blew my mind. Such an ominously, sickly sweet sound, seemingly from a torture chamber beneath some New Jersey garage, really. And I cried when Lux Interior died. If any of this resonates with your rock ‘n roll fantasy, you’re going to just love Best Creeps. Great, reverberating, old-school garage shockabilly at its best. Check out “A Fever,” again – loudly. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

BONUS! Two – that’s right Two – recommendations for 9:00!

9:00 pm – Shady Elders – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

shadyelders2013-04-05Shady Elders may just be the best example of what might be the new “Denver Sound” (see Two Tone Wolf Pack, above, for reference). With the dreamy, almost shoegazy vocals of Fox Rodemich, alternately shimmering and thickly distorted guitars and a distinct pop sensibility, this trio delivers where shallow bands like Tennis just can’t cut it. Have a listen to their “No Favors EP” and see for yourself. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

9:00 pm – Sputnik Slovenia – The Safari Room – 414 Broadway

YelenickJim Yelenick may be the hardest working man in Denver punk rock. Besides relentlessly – and brilliantly – spewing out acoustic covers of punk rock (and other) classics like “Police On My Back,” “Beat On The Brat” and “True” (a more heart-wrenching cover of the classic Spandau Ballet song you will never hear), Yelenick also leads Denver’s habit-adorned Nuns of Brixton (the only Clash tribute band that matters), as well as his own punk troupe Pitch Invasion. He also works with Jet Black Joy, Evil Hick and Negative Man – and he somehow also finds time to sleep and eat. Take some time to catch him, and bathe in his comfortable humor, with and inimitable charm. In the meantime, sample some good old “I Fought the Law,” below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

10:00 pm – Kissing Party – Moe’s Original Bar B Que – 530 Broadway

kissing-partyKissing Party is quintessential post-punk with strong pop hooks and shimmering guitars. In a word – sweet. But they’re also a bit weighty at times, crafting the perfect Denver love song from time to time. Have a listen to their “Winter In The Pub EP” to see what  you think, then get on over to Moe’s for some great BBQ while you take in their live antics. ★★★★ (4 Stars)

11:00 pm – Thanks For Everything – Illegal Pete’s – 270 S. Broadway

Thanks For Everything used to be The Life There Is. They make a sort of intense, slower psychedelic pop rock. Listen to “Weekend,” then go see them. ★★★ (3 Stars)

12:00 am – Black Lamb – Brendan’s – 404 N. Broadway

black_lambBrian Hagman leads the heavy, Black Sabbath in hell assault of Black Lamb. It’s something you need to see to believe. So do that. In the meantime, listen to a simple, glorious playllist, and relax your neck. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)


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It’s The 2014 UMS! Looking for Your Very Own Lineup?

Category : NewsThreads

DenverThread Recommends, Hour-by-Hour Picks for Friday, July 25

Whether you’re an old-school UMS stalwart or this is your first time being subjected to the Rocky Mountains’ hugest underground music festival, it helps to get a little direction from a trusted source. So we here at DenverThread – having been to virtually every UMS (in some form or another) since the very first volley in the Bluebird Theater so many years ago – have taken some time to put together a recommended lineup for Friday night, July 25th, 2014. Feel free to use our short recommendations, and a few samples, to help stem the firehose of music you’re about to subject yourself to….

7:00 pm – Popwreck – Illegal Pete’s – 270 S Broadway

Popwreck+at+the+meadowlarkPopwreck is Aaron Hobbs’ perpetual – and perpetually better and better-sounding – musical vehicle he formed in 2008, with a few ex-Acrobat Down members and other locals. Weaving together gritty melodic imploded folk a la Sebadoh, Red Sammy and the like, Hobbes’ band is always a UMS hit. Songs undoubtedly splintering from Acrobat Down and the underrated solo project Hobbs, NM like “Don’t Kiss Me Yet” feature exquisite heartbreak and loving angst with an explosively spiky-punk backbeat. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Listen to “Don’t Kiss Me Yet,” for proof

8:00 pm – The Still Tide – Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

amorsett_1Anna Morsett (Ark Life, These United States) unleashes her throaty, Angel Olsen howl over strong guitar to produce truly beautiful tunes. Deep, reverberating folk, with a heavy dose of dreamy psychedelia may make you feel like you’re already asleep, and loving it. ★★★★ (4 Stars)
Take a listen to the latest offering, “Tinder:”

9:00 pm – Eros & the Eschaton – The Hi-Dive – 7 So. Broadway

eros_press_560Recent transplants from North Carolina to Colorado Springs, Eros & the Eschaton make beautiful, more-than-traditional shoegaze that will undoubtedly have your ears ringing through the next few bands you see tonight. 2013’s “Home Address for Civil War” is one of our favorite discoveries of this year (we received it as the duo came into Colorado in March), certain that it’s going to make waves in the Colorado music scene. The duo just released a new song in time for The UMS, “Cry,” that you can hear below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

10:00 pm – Colfax Speed Queen – 3 Kings Tavern – 60 So. Broadway

colfax-speed-queen2Now it’ll be about time to wash off some of the dreamy-beauty-pop, and get e little dirty, and Colfax Speed Queen is the perfect solution. Straight up grage rock, with a welcome tinge of The Motor City Devils, CSQ mixes well with a few shotgunned boilermakers, while you get ready for a new tattoo. Check out “Skeleton Man” (below) and see for yourself. ★★★ (3 Stars)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/99453568″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

11:00 pm – Il Cattivo – Brendan’s – 404 No. Broadway

il-cattivoIl Cattivo is one of Denver’s many underground super groups, featuring longtime members of Machine Gun Blues and Black Lamb, among others.Il Cattivo, under the psychotic, slobbering and horrifying howls of Brian Hagman, bring a sort of meta-metal to the stage not seen often outside of The Jesus Lizard, Pissed Jeans and the like. Perfect to get you ready for a restless, drunken slumber, bound for a ripe hangover.  Here’s “You, Again.” Try it – you’ll like it. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

12:00 am – The Yawpers – Skylark Lounge – 140 So. Broadway

YawpersIf you like Led Zeppelin’s early blues, you’ll love the Yawpers, for sure. If you love Bluegrass, you’ll also love the Yawpers. If you love straight on, frenetic, passionate and sweaty rock and roll, you’ll fucking want to marry, ingest and assimilate The Yawpers into your very colon, to keep them forever a part of you. But – don’t do that. ‘Cos we want some, too. Sample below…. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/116753300″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

This playlist should settle your tummy for a raunchy, restless night, setting you up for a perfect UMS Saturday! Look back to DenverThread tomorrow for more lineup recommendations! And get out there and see the beauty!


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Riot Fest Denver Map

UPDATE: The Show Will Go On – Riot Fest Relocated!

“…we all know if we were named “Good Ole Country Riot Fest,” we would have never been in this situation.”  – Michael “Riot Mike” Petryshyn

Riot Fest Denver Map

Riot Fest will take place, despite Arapahoe County’s best, short-sighted and ignorant efforts, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.

Some of the dust has settled – and that pun is definitely intended – in the Riot Fest vs. Arapahoe County and Byers drama, with Riot Fest organizers settling on holding this year’s 3-day event at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. That’s today’s big announcement, straight from Riot Fest and Denver promoter of the festival, Soda Jerk Presents:

“Riot Fest is happy to announce that after visiting many great venues over the course of the past week that Sports Authority Field at Mile High will be the official home for Riot Fest & Sideshow, Sept, 19-21, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

Although dozens of venues were interested in hosting the event, organizers chose the stadium for several factors, one of which being that stadium management have allowed Riot Fest to recreate Byers, Colorado and May Farms on the new fest grounds.  Riot Fest made many friends in the Byers community, and it truly saddens organizers to be forced to move the fest away from its inaugural home – but if the farm is unavailable, they’ll bring the farm to Denver. Moreover, as previously promised, free parking will be made available to the festival’s patrons, and Mile High’s location will allow for public transportation options through the RTD.  All tickets will be honored at the new location and refunds for those who purchased camping spots will be processed starting today.”

The good news is that all of our tickets will be honored, of course, and all the bands scheduled to play at May Farms are still scheduled to play, and (so far) in the same lineup. The bad news is that the camaraderie and festival culture that can only be found in the associated campgrounds will be absent – or at least reduced to a day-by-day thing.

Of course, the organizers are putting their best face on it, but it’s painfully obvious that the new location brings what was growing into a potentially fantastic – and lucrative – yearly festival that might one day have reached the level of famous festivals like Coachella, Sasquatch, Bumbershoot and more down to the level of just another Warped Tour (no offense, young punks, but I think we can agree on this). This isn’t the fault of the promoters, the Riot Fest organizers, the bands or anyone else that loves the show – this is the fault of a few narrow-minded people out in the Colorado plains that feel that a little more traffic in their struggling town is more of a threat than the economic and community benefits that having the festival at May Farms would have brought – along with that traffic.

“… the way this is unfolding … Colorado ends up looking like a backwater, close-minded state, scared of diversity.”

Michael Petryshyn released an official statement saying as much (you can read the entire statement below), and stirring the pot (as it should be) with the Arapahoe County officials that made the decision to deny the festival’s permits, and plans to still file a formal appeal to the board.

“…it has to be stated with deafening clarity that we wanted to make Byers, Colorado our home for Riot Fest for years to come,” said Petryshyn, in his statement released today. “Elementary ideological forces and manipulation veiled in contradictory legal jargon prevented us from coming back to May Farms this year. Simply, we were duped.  Certain groups, residents and so forth did not want YOU or US in their town, and there is something morally dishonest and unforgivable with their actions,” he added. “I cannot fathom that in 2014 certain social mores grounded in revulsion and irrationality, of course, by a limited howling few, can inflict such harm in a town or in a county.  It’s disgusting and these people should feel ashamed.”

The drama, it seems, will continue, and that’s a good thing – we need the discussion, and the clarification. One of the most upsetting parts of the way this is unfolding is the fact that, once again, Colorado ends up looking like a backwater, close-minded state, scared of diversity – just like we did in 1992 when voters approved Amendment 2 (now overturned, thankfully). Sadly, the ideology of a few inconvenienced residents trumps any benefit the festival may have brought to the town – such as increased business, taxes, etc. And those residents should be ashamed.

The Riot Fest organization is also offering Byers residents a pretty sweet deal. From the press release:

  • Any Byers resident who wants to come to Riot Fest this year will receive complimentary tickets as well as free daily shuttle service to and from May Farms and Sports Authority Field.  Details will be announced next week on how residents can sign-up for this.
  • Riot Fest will also allow several Byers businesses and other I-70 Corridor businesses who supported them free vending space at no cost.
  • Riot Fest has also announced a $5,000 scholarship to be awarded to one graduating senior who plans on majoring in music, arts, business or marketing.  Riot Fest has now asked other partners, industry friends and other Colorado businesses to contribute in hopes of getting that scholarship up to $20,000.

Click on the image above to download a PDF for your own sweaty little hands! OR – better yet, go to RiotFest.org and create your own lineup!

At the end of the day, Colorado gets its festival, and so do the 17,000 or so fans – at least for now. The future is uncertain for returning festivals – and could also be for other events that might raise the ire of the local yokels. It seems damned short-sighted, and a sad state of affairs, honestly.


Michael Petryshyn’s  full statement (with some additional advice from Crass):

Statement Regarding Riot Fest & Sideshow in Denver, Colorado

Before I begin what will probably be a long-winded concerto of a statement, it has to be stated with deafening clarity that we wanted to make Byers, Colorado our home for Riot Fest for years to come.   It’s a community we care about tremendously, just like Humboldt Park, in Chicago and just to pack up and watch the town disappear in our rear window is not an option.

In just over a year, we became part of the May Family and Gary, Stacie and their children became part of ours… the relationship is beyond normal kinship. And, I wish I wasn’t hunting for words in describing the bond between our two families — a perfectly succinct account for the fans. But, it’s hard enough writing about the Mays and the deeper I dig to find words, the harder it becomes to explain.   There’s no defense mechanism for this one to hide or bury inside a wrinkle… I’m just tremendously sad.

At the same time, I am utterly incensed.   Elementary ideological forces and manipulation veiled in contradictory legal jargon prevented us from coming back to May Farms this year.   Simply, we were duped.  Certain groups, residents and so forth did not want YOU or US in their town, and there is something morally dishonest and unforgiveable with their actions.  Sean and I, along with our partners at Soda Jerk Presents, have been mum throughout this entire ordeal, but that will stop today.  We have officially filed an appeal with Arapahoe County as of this morning and, needless to say, we are doing this because we are in the right.  I cannot fathom that in 2014 certain social mores grounded in revulsion and irrationality, of course, by a limited howling few, can inflict such harm in a town or in a county.  It’s disgusting and these people should feel ashamed.  I will refrain from commenting any more on these matters, but, with complete conviction and certitude, more will come to light and all fans will know what precisely transpired.

To continue, we were essentially tossed out of Byers and after visiting several sites during our week here, we decided on Mile High. After much thought about the pros and cons about moving to the stadium versus other venues, the fact that the stadium is willing to allow us to transform their grounds and recreate Byers and May Farms swayed our decision.There are hundreds of agricultural towns across the U.S. who are struggling for survival, dismissed by their neighbors and political representatives at a state and federal level. There is no glossing this over… Byers is not an economically robust town.  In parts, it’s certainly poor.  And would Riot Fest be the end-all-be-all to save this town economically?  Of course not.  This takes multiple businesses and forward thinkers to take this kind of risk.  We were up for that risk, because it’s evident we’d sell more tickets in Denver proper.  But that’s not what Riot Fest is…. And it never will be.  People thought we were crazy for choosing Humboldt Park in Chicago, but we knew we were right.  Fast-forward three-years later, Humboldt is fast becoming its own economic engine … and we are proud to be a part of that rehabilitation.   The thing is that we never wanted to change ideological mindsets in Byers – that’s not our job and no side will ever win.  However, we whole-heartedly believed that we could have been a preamble for growth, and, in turn, help the town be heard for real and legitimate concerns: infrastructure.

Now, to the Riot fan base.  I’m sorry for all of this and I thank you for standing alongside us.  Sean and I, along with our partners at Soda Jerk Presents,will be forever grateful to all of you.  And even after the curtain closes this year, I know I will look back on these last few weeks and smile because our Riot fans stood alongside us.  The biggest apology to the fans goes to the people who were planning on or purchased camping.  Obviously, camping refunds will be processed today, but, I know that isn’t enough and neither is an apology.  You guys, above everyone, bought into Riot Fest and the experience we were providing in Colorado.  I will find a way to make this up to you in the next few weeks. I promise.

With all of that said, I’d like to thank the residents and businesses of Byers, Strasburg and the surrounding areas.  Your letters of support have not been overlooked.  More importantly, I’d like to apologize to the youth of Byers.  I know many of you are disappointed and outright angry, but please do not shun or mistreat anyone for the decision that was made.   Community is based on divergent opinions and backgrounds and knowing that will guide you through any irrationality that may come your way in the future.   When I was a teenager, music and lyrics guided me and helped me discover the world outside of Blasdell, New York.  So, I will leave you with the following lyrics that helped me become the person I am today:

Be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do
I am he and she is she but you’re the only you
No one else has got your eyes, can see the things you see
It’s up to you to change your life and my life’s up to me
The problems that you suffer from are problems that you make
The sh** we have to climb through is the sh** we choose to take
If you don’t like the life you live, change it now it’s yours
Nothing has effects if you don’t recognize the cause
If the program is not the one you want, get up, turn off the set
It’s only you that can decide what life you’re gonna get

The fact of the matter is that even in this day and age, ignorance resides and the words “Riot Fest” unfoundedly scares people.   Punk rock still scares people.  Intelligence and wit scares people.  And we all know if we were named Good Ole Country Riot Fest, we would have never been in this situation.

Your grateful chum,

Riot Mike


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AmenDunesAlbumArt copy

Amen Dunes “Love” Reaches Inside and Pulls You – Record Review

AmenDunesAlbumArt copyDamon McMahon’s musical totem might just be a pair of interlocked, somnambulist ghosts, deeply in love and nonchalant, full of both deep talent and a perfect euphoria. “Love,” McMahon’s latest release under the Amen Dunes project, is their soundtrack to nightly meanderings.

What McMahon started with Amen Dunes in 2006 – a meandering, ultra-solo musical meditation project, mostly recorded by himself (and, apparently, often with no real desire to release any of it beyond maybe a few copies for friends and acquaintances) has blossomed into a unique, and uniquely mesmerising and strong, record.

Fiercely independent, on “Love” McMahon seems to teeter just over the edge of traditional songsmithing, with no care whatsoever that the tempo in one part of a song might slow down a tad, or a guitar chord or lick may sound more like a flub than intentional. In the opening chords of the record’s first track, “White Child,” a second acoustic guitar bangs ariff that’s perfectly off-key and out of register before McMahon’s howl begins – and the rest of the tracks all seem to hesitate, waiting for all of it to mesh. Where other musicians might re-take that one, McMahon doesn’t seem to care. Or, perhaps, it’s just that this type of perfection – somewhat Jandek-ian – is all he cares about.

This record is an expression, more than a collection of songs. Deep, barrelling horns bellow behind marching, reverberating drums, draped by McMahon’s alternately warbling and mumbling vocals. On the record’s most produced track, “Lonely Richard,” McMahon seems to lament what feels like a self-imposed isolation with his unmistakable vocals – approaching the spiraling obsessions of Syd Barrett, but not quite as scarily sad. The late bridge sounds forced – like McMahon intends on making his jaunt away from the initial melody work on the fly, no matter what. Buy, again, it’s perfect, haunting. Other songs seem to meander like a quiet walk through some Japanese gardens, late at night or before Dawn, like the quiet, smiling “I Know Myself,” or a night spent calmly tossing, turning, thinking – insomniatic – in “Lilac In Hand.”

McMahon collaborated with a few noted iconoclasts for “Love,” including members of Iceage and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the result is a much more full, exciting record than past work.

Amen Dunes will be playing at Lost Lake Tavern (3602 E Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado 80206) Monday night, July 14, along with Axxa/Abraxas and Prism Waves at 8:30 PM (Tickets – $8 in advance, $10 DOS). Don’t miss a chance to catch what will likely be a bigger scene very soon.

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Igy & the Stooges, Riot Fest 2013

Riot Fest Daily Lineup Revealed – and Tickets are Going Fast!


The day by day lineup for Riot Fest Denver, 2014

News from May Farms – well, from Riot Fest organizers who WILL be at May Farms September 19 – 21 of this year – is that they’ve set up the final day-by-day lineup of the more than 60 acts that will rock the dustbowl again this year. This also means that now single day and two-day passes are available for sale. If you want to get into the action – but don’t want to lay down the three-day price for bands you don’t need to see (although we can’t imagine that being the case, honestly) – now’s  your chance to pay for the lineup you do want to see. Tickets are available online HERE.

If you do want to see the whole shebang, but still need it to be a little less of a bruising to your wallet, don’t forget that there are still 3-day passes – regular and VIP – available for purchase through RiotFest.org’s unique Layaway! Yeah – just like Sears –  you can pay off your September fun in four easy payments – and still get to see that great full lineup!

Wait! That’s not all! Just like years past, the nice folks a Riot Fest have also launched the “Custom Lineup” option – meaning you can arrange your own lineup (based on who’s playing when & where), so you can see everything you want. Build your own lineup now – it’s easy! And yes, the infomercial hype jargon is our way of showing our excitement.

And, while we have your attention, remember to come back to DenverThread.com for various updates, band profiles, news and other items of interest as we lead up to the Fest. Well, all that and regular, new and exciting content about what’s happening with music from our perspective, and how it threads through and around your life.

Here’s that day-by-day lineup:

Friday, September 19 – Gates open at 2:30 PM





















Saturday, September 20 – Gates Open at Noon:
























Sunday, September 21 – Gates Open at Noon:






















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Want a RIOT of your own? Riot Fest Wants to help!

Igy & the Stooges, Riot Fest 2013

Iggy & The Stooges took over the Riot Fest last year, and invited just about everyone onstage with them! (photo: Christopher Andrew & Cobra Productions)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or maybe in North Korea) for the past month or so, you’re well aware that the Riot Fest & Sideshow is coming to Denver in September – and with the traveling festival’s most impressive and exciting lineup yet (see below). Featuring more heavy hitters than ever before – like The Cure, The Flaming Lips, The NationalWeezer, Primus, Slayer, Die Antwoord, Gogol Bordello, and so many more it’s insane – this year’s festival in May Farms promises to be the best yet. And, it’s no wonder that a huge portion of tickets – the first three price tiers – have already sold out, leaving those of us with day jobs scrambling to find every dime in every couch we’ve crashed on to save up enough to get to go.

BUT – never fear! The Riot Fest team have come up with a way to help make the dream of attending this Summer’s most incredible festival and closing out the Summer of 2014 with an unforgettable bang as affordable as possible: A ticket layaway program! You can find the official rules for the new deal here, but simply put, you can buy as many tickets as you want, and pay them off in monthly installments as the Riot Fest gets closer. Buy your tix in June, and you get four installments to pay for ’em, and in july, you get three installments. How easy is that? Now you can have your riot and eat too!

Not only have the Riot Fest organizers, in cooperation with local promoters Soda Jerk Presents, offered up a great weekend in September (and a nifty way to pay for it), but they’ve also arranged some unforgettable acts with the “10 Years. 10 Essential Albums.” lineup, which will feature ten of the bands in the Chicago and Denver lineups playing their most essential albums, each in its entirety, to celebrate the festival’s tenth year in existance. So far Riot Fest has announced nine of them, three of which will happen in Denver:

Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking (Chicago)

The Offspring: Smash (Chicago)

Weezer: “The Blue Album” (Chicago & Denver)

Slayer: Reign in Blood (Chicago & Denver)

Samhain: Initium (Chicago)

NOFX: Punk In Drublic (Chicago & Denver)

Descendents: Milo Goes To College (Chicago)

Naked Raygun: Throb Throb (Chicago)

The Get Up Kids: Something To Write Home About (Chicago)

Not too shabby! A chance to witness some of rock’s most influential bands play their masterpieces, line for line, live!

And keep your eyes on DenverThread – here on our site and on Facebook and Twitter, too, as we get closer to the event. We’ll be running stories weekly featuring individual band profiles, history and trivia (so you can talk up your hipster friend’s parents while you’re waiting for the next act), as well as playlists and record recommendations. Hell, we’ll probably throw in a few contests as well!

See you at the Riots this year! Here’s the official lineup (so far):


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Guided By Voices at the Gothic Theatre, June 4, 2014 (Reverb Review)

Guided by Voices played the Gothic last Wednesday night, fueled by just the right cooler-full. (Photo: John Moore - Denver Post Reverb)

Guided by Voices played the Gothic last Wednesday night, fueled by just the right cooler-full. (Photo: John Moore – Denver Post Reverb)

Robert Pollard and his “Classic Lineup” of Guided by Voices played the Gothic Theatre last Wednesday night – with a vengeance. For nearly three hours, and through upwards of 50 tunes and including three set-long encores, Pollard and the boys proved to a modest-but-rabid crowd that age ain’t nothin’ to the true rock ‘n roll heart.

More than that, GBV once again proved that they’re one of rock’s best live acts. Period. They emulated every seminal band from every significant genre of rock from the past 4 decades – Ramones, Stooges, Motorhead, British Invasion, Psychedelia – and they made each genre their own. Check out my full review of the show over at Reverb, and catch the rest of John Moore’s brilliant photos.

At this rate, Pollard will be seeing all of our funerals before slowing down.

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Angel Olsen Brings Her Sultry, Heartbroken Yodel to Denver Monday Night

Angel Olsen will bring her sultry, heartbroken yodel - and her powerful songwriting - to the Larimer Lounge monday night. You don't want to miss this one. (Photo: Zia Anger)

Angel Olsen will bring her sultry, heartbroken yodel – and her powerful songwriting – to the Larimer Lounge monday night. You don’t want to miss this one. (Photo: Zia Anger)

With a voice that warbles with Slim Whitman‘s famous yodel and holds June Carter Cash‘s throaty, confident depth, Angel Olsen will be serenading a smallish Colorado crowd this Monday night, March 10th, in the perfectly appropriate intimacy of the Larimer Lounge. Olsen has been an indy music darling over the past few months, with some pretty fawning coverage in Spin Magazine, a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR, and some heavyweight status at next week’s SXSW festival, all of it well-deserved.

With nothing but a guitar and her sultry voice – including a haunting yodel she wields like a cold, lonely weapon – Olsen portrays loneliness, heartbreak and yearning on a deep, intensely personal level. So personal, in fact, that sometimes her confessional style approaches the incongruous and disconnected style of Jandek –  music’s ultimate outsider. But she comes back strong within each song with a wave of sensuous beauty that threatens to overwhelm, following along songwriting steps laid by the great Leonard Cohen.

She’ll be supporting her powerful second record – Burn Your Fire for No Witness, released on Jagjaguwar Records on February 18, 2014 – at the Lounge Monday night, her last US show before the SXSW gig, after which she’s headed to conquer Europe for a while. Be sure to get there before she gets too big for this kind of intimacy. Listen for her yearning in the steamy “White Fire,” or the quiet torment in “Lights Out,” and try not to be taken in.

Here’s a video of “High Five,” from the new record. Don’t miss this show – unless you’re resigned to being OK with just finding her along with everyone else next week.

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Clarke Sondermann's Record "The Echo Trail"

Local Record Review: Clarke Sondermann Makes Films, Not Just Music, With His Laptop

Clarke Sondermann's Record "The Echo Trail"

Clarke Sondermann’s “Echo Trails” conjures up intimate, quiet walks, and envisions pretty excellent films.

“… here’s the last two years of my life, documented and recorded mostly on a laptop,” announces – or opines –  local musician Clarke Sondermann on his Bandcamp page that hosts “The Echo Trail,”  his debut release. It’s a statement that creates a number of possible, but very immediate, reactions – from repulsion to curiosity – and too often might lead to a click through to the next artist. But, if you follow that impulse (in this case anyway) you run the risk of missing out on a serious find. Not just a gem in the midst of so much mediocrity in the self-published online music world, Sondermann’s work comes from a focused, tender heart – awash in just as much drama as there is subtle laughter, and almost as much angst-ridden love as there is pure hope.

This collection of thirteen tunes belies Sondermann’s life as a high school senior (he recently graduated from Denver School of the Arts). They sound like stories from a soul that’s done some traveling – on long, internal and external trails.

Stylistically, the songs are mostly simple, ruminations that really conjure the intimacy of a closed bedroom – purposely hidden, and not just to have time and space to compose. At their worst (a place that, mercifully, they seldom reach), they recall a shade of Ben Folds. But at their best, they invoke the melodic intelligence of Stephin Merritt (more Future Bible Heroes than Magnetic Fields – but just a little), the indie crooning of Joshua Novak and the psychedelia of The Flaming Lips – leaning towards the spirit of “Clouds Taste Metallic” and “The Soft Bulletin,” but in a deeply intimate, quiet way. Definitely recommended for headphones, especially walking alone, and preferably after dusk.

…the songs are mostly simple, ruminations that really conjure the intimacy of a closed bedroom – purposely hidden, and not just to have time and space to compose.

Four simple notes begin “Intro,” ushering in the rest disguised as film. “The Art of Falling Apart” starts off with that disconcerting Ben Folds feel – but quickly overcomes the threat with a song that’s got both deep introspection and Nintendo-style melodic goofiness. And that feeling survives most of the record.

It’s interesting that “The Sounds of the World Waking Up” samples a small bit from Donnie Darko – from Donnie’s visit with his shrink where he angrily decries the need for the dead rabbit – his nemesis – to be mourned. The sample crystallizes the feel of the whole record – it feels like we imagine Donnie Darko does when, in the film, he passes through his epiphany, and realizes just what to do, and that everything is going to be just fine, just fine. The feeling is filled with the necessary sacrifice, too (no spoilers – if you haven’t seen Donnie Darko yet).

That’s enough to whet any appetite – take a listen to the record, streaming below, and remember to buy a copy. As befits this traveled soul, Sondermann is off to do some world traveling – likely building more stories. What better way to send him off, in return for a truly remarkable effort from your hometown?

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Suicide Girls Rocked Lodo with the Blackheart Burlesque Saturday Night

Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque heated up Lodo Saturday night. (Photo: DenverThread)

Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque heated up Lodo Saturday night. (Photo: DenverThread)

The Suicide Girls – that world famous group of beautiful, and beautifully decorated, pinups – presented their latest version of the Blackheart Burlesque last Saturday night to a packed, panting house.

Suicide Girls Rocked Lodo with the Blackheart Burlesque Saturday Night

So much more than your average burlesque, this Blackheart version tapped Star Wars, Game of Thrones and about a million other pop culture icons as bedrock for some hot, sensuous choreography. And – besides a few of the necessary accouterments that various costumes required and their signature ink and piercings – these ladies wore nothing much more than panties and pasties. From the opening number, featuring a steamy dance to Kenny Rogers & the First Edition’s hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (hat tip to The Big Lebowski) – just after kicking off a maligned stripper grinding to “Hey Big Spender”- to a troupe of scantily-clad Imperial Storm troopers, these ladies kept an already sweating, sardined crowd rapt and yelling for more. The show was masterfully hosted by Katherine Suicide, and featured dancers BambuBricksieMaxxy,Priddy and Razzi – ostensibly the best of the thousand-plus bunch.

But – rather than gum it up with my words – let the photos speak:


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A masked Mike Scott recites W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" in front of his Waterboys at the Boulder Theatre, October 13, 2013. (Photo: Mike McGrath)

The Waterboys at Boulder Theatre, October 13, 2013 – Live Reverb Review

A masked Mike Scott recites W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" in front of his Waterboys at the Boulder Theatre, October 13, 2013. (Photo: Mike McGrath)

A masked Mike Scott recites W. B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming” in front of his Waterboys at the Boulder Theatre, October 13, 2013. (Photo: Mike McGrath)

Under a wide-brimmed fedora and sporting his signature mass of unruly hair, Mike Scott led the current iteration of the Waterboys through nearly two hours of spirited, Irish-tinged folk rock at the Boulder Theater, delighting an older crowd of ardent fans along the way.

The group’s most recent record, ”An Appointment with Mr. Yeats” (released in Europe in 2011, but just last March in the U.S., officially) features 14 luminous musical interpretations of some William Butler Yeats’ famous mythical poetry. A few of them made their way to the setlist on Monday, but the set meandered over much of Scott’s storied 33-year career as well.

While the thought of parlaying some of Ireland’s greatest lines from perhaps its greatest wordsmith into rock ‘n roll may seem precarious at best, the Waterboys proved their mettle and did it well on the record. And live versions heard Monday at the Boulder Theater added yet another level to their mastery. A rendition of “White Birds” contained all the dramatic power of the poem’s violent sea imagery (a long recurring theme in Scott’s music), but “Mad as the Mist and Snow” stole the night. Beginning alone onstage at the keyboards, Scott was joined by a masked Steve Wickham playing the electric fiddle, flanked by a masked guitarist Jay Barclay. Both of the musicians eventually played a swordfighting duel with their instruments when the song climaxed. As the sweeping emotion calmed, Scott appeared on stage in a mask, and recited Yeats’ “The Second Coming” amidst the cacophonous noise — a near perfect image of what the poem may have looked like in the mind of Yeats himself.


Read the entire Review, and see all of Mike McGrath’s spectacular photos, on Denver Post Reverb…


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Suicide Girls in Repose (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque – Inked Punk Rock Pin-Ups Take Over Lodo!

Suicide Girls will take on Lodo Saturday night, October 19 (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Suicide Girls will take on Lodo Saturday night, October 19 (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Tomorrow night the Summit Music Hall in Lodo will host some of the most raucous, sensual, smart,  inked and shapely punk rock you’re likely to see anywhere. Suicide Girls – the “… online community that celebrates alternative beauty and indie culture,” will be presenting Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque to an undoubtedly hip Denver crowd.  If  you don’t already have tickets, you might as well pack up the car and head for Salt Lake City for Sunday night’s show, or to Seattle for Tuesday’s – the Denver show has been sold out for a while. To get a taste of what you’ll be seeing on stage, take a gander at the slideshow below (WARNING: While none of the images are full-on NSFW, they’re damned close! Gaze accordingly – you’ve been warned…).

That tour created what the troupe claims is a community with “…tens of thousands of models who have submitted MILLIONS of photos  to [their] website hoping to earn official SuicideGirl status.”

When Suicide Girls put together their first burlesque tour in the early ‘aughts, they knew they were offering their audiences something new, refreshing and fun. They also knew they were putting something new, fresh and strong  on stage every night. This interpretation of  burlesque was based in the same vitriol and vehemence that spawned Punk Rock (yeah, with capitals!) in the mid-’70s, with a newfound venom and oodles of sexy defiance. What they may not have known was how deeply their desire to bring back to life the then-staid American Burlesque genre – lethargically kicking and screaming to the worn down tune of “The Stripper” – might affect the members of those audiences, and the power of the ripple effect the tour produced on the genre as a whole.

That tour created what the troupe claims is a community with “…tens of thousands of models who have submitted MILLIONS of photos  to [their] website hoping to earn official SuicideGirl status.” It popularized a community that “…carefully chooses the most unique, beautiful women from those submissions and invites them to join our sorority of badass bombshells and geek goddesses,” and gave all of those millions of people the 21st-century version of the circus that every kid, at one time or another, dreams desperately of running away with.

Missy Suicide  (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Missy Suicide (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

This year’s tour – which started in Cleveland,OH on October 11 – stops in a different city nearly every night (consecutively and with very few nights off) until it wraps up the US leg in New Orleans on December 5. DenverThread had a chance to talk with Suicide Girls co-founder Missy Suicide about the new production, and a little about the mark the SG Community has made on pop culture. Read on to get a taste of the intelligent, enlightened world of the Blackheart Burlesque ….

 DenverThread: Tell us about the reasoning behind re-opening the Blackheart Burlesque after six years of quietly growing the Suicide Girls Community. Any chance this tour is a recruiting tool for erstwhile hidden – maybe unaware – future Suicide Girls to join the movement/army?

Missy Suicide: We did a mini book tour last spring for a book we put out called Hard Girls, Soft Light and even with just listing the book signings as Facebook events the word got around so quickly – and the turn out was so incredible -we were just blown away by the enthusiasm for seeing  and meeting the girls live in person. With 500-750 people showing up to have a few of the girls sign a book in a comic shop, we knew we had an opportunity to create a better experience than just a signing for our fans, and so we decided to re-imagine and re-create our Burlesque show from the ground up and put it back on tour.  We are always looking for new girls and the girls are passing out cards to recruit the lovely ladies who come to the shows.

DT: What’s the reaction been, overall, over the first portion of the tour?

MS: Really positive!  People have been posting pics to Instagram and really enjoying the show.  It is a lot of fun.
DT: Over the last decade or so, burlesque in general (as opposed to stripping and punk rock shows – which, on their own, certainly provide a service, but certainly not one as grounded and complete as Suicide Girls)  seems to have been enjoying a resurgence – which could be a result of the number of hip, indie tattooed kids reaching drinking age and attending. Thoughts?

MS: When we first put out our SuicideGirls Burlesque tour in 2003, we were the only people who were doing non-traditional, non-old fashioned burlesque on a large scale. We were excited to put on a sexy performance that didn’t involve feather boas and songs like “Hey Big Spender.” We wanted to use modern music and references to modern pop-culture but still put on a show in the spirit of old time burlesque. Now, ten years later, there are a lot more non-traditional burlesque acts around, and some of them are doing really fun and different kinds of shows. Devil’s Playground and their Star Wars Burlesque is a great example of just how diverse and non traditional the Burlesque scene has become.

Also – look at the spectacle performers like Lady Gaga put on at live shows. People have seen a lot and it’s much harder to show them something that really feels new and original.

We really had to take the spirit of pop-culture modern burlesque that we pioneered ten years ago and up the production values, sexiness and performances by a factor of ten. It’s the same kind of Burlesque show we used to do, but this time I think we have executed at a much higher level in almost every respect: dancer abilities, costumes, choreography, everything.

DT: It seems pretty obvious (to me, anyway) that Suicide Girls – both the movement and the individuals – is likely largely responsible for the resurgence of club-level burlesque over that period of time, starting with its start in 2001. Would you agree? Are you happy to take credit for that development (of course, considering the power and influence the whole concept/group/community has had on all of us)?

MS: I do believe that we helped to pioneer punk rock burlesque but we haven’t been on tour in 6 years – and there have certainly been lots of other people that have been working hard to keep it going while we have been at home.   I hope that people are blown away by the show that they see today.  I hope as we have gotten older and more mature as a company our main evolution has been in upping our game every year. I think we learn how to do what we do better, we listen carefully to our large audience and take what they say into consideration and improve the quality and artistry of what we produce. I hope that people who came to our show 6 years ago see that and people who are seeing it for the first time just enjoy a great show.

DT: I’ve long been impressed by the punk rock aspect of suicide girls, which, as a distinguishing characteristic, seems to put this show into a different arena altogether than either old-time burlesque, ink culture or punk rock – but the mix of all of them have certainly changed each individual phenomena – and all of them for the better. What do you think?

MS: Thanks!  We wanted to create a show that our audience would want to see.  A show that included a variety of music and pop culture references,  embodied the sexy spirit of the girls on the site and would exude the confidence of the women who call themselves Suicide Girls.  It is an eclectic mashup for sure but we hope that it works and that people enjoy the show.  We think we have created the right mix to make one hell of a good night.  We hope you agree.

DT: An underlying theme behind the Suicide Girls is the concept that this community is a haven for real women (and men?), away from the often overwhelming pressure to meet some sort of idealized “American Beauty,” and to embrace one’s natural beauty. Its continued popularity and consistent growth attests to the power of that message. How much of that growth and influence do you attribute to SG’s existence itself, and how much is a coincidental convergence with some natural. generational (and, some might say, inevitable) improvement in self-esteem  – if only in reaction to the overwhelming resistance to – and repudiation of – that bullshit ideal?

MS: I think Suicide Girls is a place that celebrates a wide range of beauty.  In 2001, we started Suicide Girls we built it as a community for alternative culture people to discover each other, have discussions and post and look at photos of alternative pin-up girls. And in the 12 years since we launched, we have had hundreds of thousands of people post tens of millions of comments and millions of photos on our website. Over the years we have made 6 movies for Showtime, 3 books, a magazine, a series of comics and countless other creative endeavors, all of which have contributed to our place in pop culture.  It’s been an amazing adventure.  I am not sure how much of our popularity can be attributed to the fact that we do exist vs. the improved self esteem of the youth of today.  It’s kind of a chicken and egg type of question.

DT: Is there – in your opinion/observation/experience – any truth to what I just pointed out above (that self-esteem in upcoming generationals is improving overall), or do you find even more reason to sound even more alarm (is Miley a product more than a symptom?)? In other words, does the future look bright, or bleak, for the younger, heavily inked and (seemingly) more jaded kids of today?

MS: I think for sure growing up in the internet age has allowed this generation both access to an incredibly diverse amount of information and a thicker skin to cyber haters – because of all the anti bullying campaigns and simply growing accustomed to the trolls. The more diverse the population the harder it is to narrowly define beauty or desirable characteristics.  Since pretty much the whole world has access to the internet and we all carry it around in our pockets now, it is really hard to live in a super categorized John Hughes real world anymore.   I think the internet has been a win for self esteem and more informed people all around.

DT:  How receptive is the Suicide Girls community to likeminded folks that want to “runaway and join the SG circus?” Any advice for the hopeful youth as far as getting to be one?

MS: Do it! :)  Have confidence, persistence and apply:  http://suicidegirls.com/model/

The SuicideGirls are the most bad ass sorority of awesome women in the world!  They are constantly having shootfests around the world where girls hang out, meet up and shoot photo sets. The girls pretty universally will tell you that they have gained confidence met some of their best friends through the site.

Anyone who is interested in applying should submit an application to http://suicidegirls.com/model/  One of our model coordinators will help them navigate the process of shooting a set and figuring out all the paperwork.  Once a set is submitted our members take it from there and if the set is well received the girl will become an SG.  If your first set isn’t accepted, keep trying!  SuicideGirls don’t give up so easily.

DT: What’s your tour mix for this leg of the tour?

MS: We made a handy playlist from the show here:  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?feature=edit_ok&list=PL-FC-XO5Mm6Jhv_KBpf-UjdT_IVp00aOn

The Denver version of the Blackheart Burlesque is sold-out, but that shouldn’t prevent you from seeking out some of these badass inked punk rock women online. Check out their Pinterest page, for a start (is is just me, or does the fact Suicide Girls has their own Pinterest seem just the right kind of iconoclastic?)! If you’re not at work, you can also go to the Suicide Girls Tumblr (this one – not surprisingly – is DEFINITELY NSFW!).

If you have tickets to tomorrow’s show, we hope you’re ready. Here’s the slideshow:


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Live Review: Flume at Boulder’s Fox Theatre, September 7, 2013

Category : NewsThreads

Flume takes the Fox Theatre in Boulder last Saturday night. (Photo: DenverThread)

Flume takes the Fox Theatre in Boulder last Saturday night. (Photo: DenverThread)

As expected, Harley Streten took EDM and Dubstep giants to task last Saturday night in Boulder. In front of a sold out Fox Theatre, he drove his project Flume over an almost religiously ecstatic audience, washing them in light, deep bass and high bliss for over 90 minutes. Streten – a youngster in age (still just 21 – Streten’s only been able to order drinks at the clubs he’s been touring in the US for almost a year) and career – could be the next big thing for the never-sated i-generation. Where Dubstep gods like Skrillex were mopping up venues of all sizes and claiming most of the EDM airplay with intimidating, blast-beat, screeching, distorted wub and massively dropped bass, Flume has proven that the sound needs to be toned down a bit.

Spinning most of the tunes from his debut eponymous album, Steten filled a small, unassuming stage presence with enough easy charisma to make the entire floor swoon, only to be brought back to consciousness with perfectly dovetailed electric catharsis, and soft, warm, still heavy but more inviting drum and bass.

Popular tunes like “On Top (featuring T.shirt),” “Holdin’ On,” and “Insane (featuring Moon Holiday)” got as bombastic as the Streten would allow – but always kept that smooth groove as their base. “Sleepless (featuring Jezzabell Doran)” and “Left Alone (featuring Chet Faker)” swathed a drenched crowd like spirituals, and “More Than You Thought” pounded that crowd into grins. The light show – while not as huge as other shows on the tour – added an edge to push the Fox towards – but not into – communal seizure (though I feel the seizure would have been welcomed by these fans).

Enjoy the slideshow below – taken entirely on my iPhone (which explains some – but not all – of the lo-fi nature of the shots. The rest of the blame goes to my lack of real skills and a true photographer).

And – while we’re not really fans of either the Grammy Awards or predictions – it wouldn’t be surprising to see Flume mopping up some of that attention next January (but if Streten gets one, we’ll be happy to take the “heard it here first” credit).

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Buildings hit Lost Lake Lounge on Colfax tonight. You may need protection.

Buildings Coming to Lost Lake – Maybe Bring a Helmet (Brian may need one)

Buildings hit Lost Lake Lounge on Colfax tonight. You may need protection.

Buildings hit Lost Lake Lounge on Colfax tonight. You may need protection.

In response to my (admittedly) short-shrift email interview questions, Buildings drummer Travis Kuhlman returned a few short answers. I deserved it (see the whole thing, below) – lugging around a day job doesn’t bode well for blogs (especially when said job requires enough sleep to warrant missing more of the late night than I’ve been used to for a while). At least his answers came back as quickly as they were quick – and smarter.

The most revealing – or poignant (trust me, not a word I’d ever anticipated using in relation to this trio)? In response to my query: “Bigger influence: Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard or Big Black? Thoughts? Others?” Kuhlman replied: “They’re all great. Although we sound more like Jesus Lizard, not a terrible band to sound like eh?”

Of course he’s right on all counts – but particularly in his description of Buildings’ sound. They do sound most like The Jesus Lizard (thankfully so), but they also wrap in a pound or so of Pissed Jeans, METZ and some unmistakable Steve Albini noise, to boot. The Minneapolis trio do a wonderful job of not only recharging the sound and chaos of these bands, they also push it just a little further. Not too much yet, but they’re still young – their debut album “Braille Animal” only appeared in 2008, followed in early 2012 with the current “Melt, Cry, Sleep.”

This latest offering (yeah, it’s almost 2 years old – so?) is a consistent, soggy sledgehammer, and it’s a perfect rendition of the play on book/movie titles in its moniker After a listen, I have no doubt that Singer Brian Lake – much like David Yow – is much more prone to follow the record title’s path than to get anywhere near an “Eat, Pray, Love” situation (or anywhere near Julia Roberts, either, though I could be wrong about that).

The latest record - "Melt, Cry, Sleep" - is not a romantic memoir. Not at all.

The latest record – “Melt, Cry, Sleep” – is not a romantic memoir. Not at all.

“Born On A Bomb” slaps you around a little, maybe with a stoneware coffee mug in its large hand, after which “Invocation” solidifies the Jesus Lizard comparison (bass player Sayer Payne – who has since left the band to be replaced by Ryan Harding – is the spittin’ sonic image of David Wm. Sims all over this record, and maybe nowhere as much as here). “Mishaped Head” drives the nail further into your forehead, and then “Night Cop” pours on the concrete.

Buildings will be at the Lost Lake Lounge tonight (Wednesday, August 21), and you may want to wear a hard hat. Based on what we’ve heard, the trio is aptly named – since they tend towards destroying buildings from the inside with a chaotic act. It’s almost a little miracle they are planning to play this show, considering the tour they’ve had. The van was broken into in San Francisco (personal items and more were stolen – you can donate at PayPal using the buildingsisaband@gmail.com email to help them recoup, if you so desire), Lake somehow damaged his head at the band’s performance at Total Fest in Montana, and tourmates Hawks’ Mike Keenan injured an ankle in Seatlle. Needless to say, the bands feel a little spooked, but more than happy to soldier on.

Go out and support them – and Glass Hits, too – at  Lost Lake tonight.

Here’s the interview, as promised:

DenverThread – Bigger influence: Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard or Big Black? Thoughts? Others?

Travis Kuhlman – They’re all great. Although we sound more like The Jesus Lizard, not a terrible band to sound like eh?

DT – This tour seems to have been a royal pain in the ass – but sometimes these circumstances turn into great epics. Would you say this tour is going in that direction? Or are y’all about ready to crawl into a bed for a week and shut out the world?

TK – It’s been a very rough tour. I honestly think that if Hawks didn’t join us halfway through we might be at home right now. People have been very generous to us and supportive, there’s still people who care about independent bands after all!

DT – Can you give us a quick rundown of tour life this time around?

TK – Hot, very long drives, very nice folk

DT – What happened to Brian’s head, and is it ok?

TK – Something happened at Total Fest in missoula, not quite sure what’s wrong with it but it doesn’t work at all. Just pile it on the “bad let’s blow more money shit pile.”

DT – What’s your assessment – as a band – of the genre in which you find yourselves, related to (maybe annoyingly) Pissed Jeans, METZ and the like? Obviously you make the music that you love – but what are your thoughts on that sludge/punk/noise “genre” that seems to be gaining some traction (and do you agree it is)?

TK – I think its great, sub pop better fucking sign us, like, sooner than later.

DT – What’s on the van cd player on this tour? What’s on your car stereo when you’re home?

TK – We listen to all kinds of stuff. Its best to not listen to loud music all the time in the van, kinda drives you a little mental. At home its the same. It’s good to chill out to some The Band or Neil Young every now and then. There’s been a lot of No Means No and Pygmy Shrews lately.

Welcome to “Rainboat” –

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Fire starters del Desmadre, a Molotov Cocktail


The true Fire starters del Desmadre – Molotov, 2013

Somewhere in the middle of the hot desert between Tucson, Arizona and San Diego, California, a tour bus carries a band of explosive cocktails to another kick ass tour destination.  To the untrained eye and ear, these guys look like a bunch of rockers who just like to party, and sing about girls and sex. And yes, they do love to party and sing about the sexy ladies, but listen to their politically charged songs and you might start to understand the social commentary behind their sucker punch lyrics.

These self-denominated “fire starters del desmadre” (fire starters of chaos), most commonly known as the Mexican rap/punk/rock band Molotov, are coming to Denver as part of the Jägermeister Music Tour. Red and Jerry’s on Santa Fe & Oxford will host their debauchery in our Mile High City on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

It’s not only enticing that Molotov is (finally!) coming back to Denver, but that they are the first Latin group to headline the Jägermeister Music Tour. DenverThread contributor MissReported dared to interrupt the shenanigans on said tour bus for quickie interview sesh with Mr. Tito Fuentes (singer/guitar), which resulted in a lot of laughter, slang, and heated discussions, roughly, as follows:

DenverThread: What does it mean for you guys to be the first Latin group to headline the Jägermeister Music Tour?

 Tito Fuentes: “‘Chido’. We knew the brand since the 90’s when Metallica used it a lot and they have a sticker of it on their guitars. We also drank it a lot in Europe. It’s a pure rock and roll brand and they support us in what we say.”

DT: Up until this leg of the tour, which city has been your favorite to play in?

Tito: “Each city has its own peculiarity. Dallas was a ‘reventón’ (chaos/raving/awesome). It was so cool because there was a big fan group and ‘gringos’ who didn’t know what to expect of our show, but love the music. Wherever there’s more people screaming, that’s where it’s the best. We are the fire starters ‘del desmadre’.”

DT: What do you expect of the concert goers in Denver?

Tito: “Denver has a lot of our ‘paisanos’. It’s ‘chido’ and it’s been a long time since we have played this city. We have a lot of fans and we’re counting on them to start the party. ¡Caíganle al concierto! (Drop-in to the concert!).”

DT: You’re super famous in México and Latin America. Would you say that you have managed to cross over entirely to the English-speaking market and how have you managed that transition to the US musical stage?

Tito: “It hasn’t been easy. We have worked very hard to get to where we are and I think it still hasn’t been a complete transition. You see that when you go to our shows and you see a lot of Latin fans and some ‘gringos’. And even though our lyrics sometimes attack the US government, the ‘gringos’ that go to our concerts might not agree with their government, so they can relate to our songs. You can never generalize (about our audience).” *There’s a ruckus on the bus and I can hear the other band members talking to each other about this question.*

“There’s also a big nostalgia movement right now. So you will get a lot of the 90’s bands coming back to play concerts and the fans that are a little bit older coming out to see us. But for example, in Germany, half of the fans were local and there were very few Latinos. We still haven’t seen that here. They still see us as Mexicans.”

DT: We love your tributes to Queen, José José, and other artists. Are there other artists that you would like to collaborate with or do a tribute?

Tito: “Whenever we are playing covers, it’s because they are specific projects, and we have to ask the label’s permission, pick the songs, and go through a complicated process to be able to do it. We avoid doing stuff like the Beatles because they will never give us the rights to ‘re-imagine’ their songs. But now, everyone does everything… We would love to collaborate with Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) or Glenn Danzig (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig)… but we are not killing ourselves over collaborations.” *Laughs*.

DT: You guys are characterized by being a living incarnation of controversy – or you “can’t hold your tongue,” like my madre would say. You posted on @MolotovBanda that you were going to stop using the term “maricón” (a derogatory word for homosexual) in your song “Puto” supporting Esteban Navarro in Chile (attacked and almost killed for being LGBT). Some people claim that you have not done what you pledged to do. But then, how can you strike a balance between being supportive and auto-censoring yourselves?

Tito: “The intention is what’s very important with this word. (The word) is part of the song’s lyrics, the context, or that which we are referring to. When you don’t understand the language, there’s a problem. I didn’t get to live through the hate behind that word. It was just a slang phrase that kind of means ‘cowards’ and we would say that the government was ‘puto.’ We’re not interested in being politically correct. What happened in Chile is a tragedy, but the way that we use this word, it’s more of a natural expression. These are words that we use and represent relief or venting. When you try to explain this to another culture or another country, the word takes on a different meaning. It actually means ‘man-whore’ or ‘man-prostitute’ in other Spanish speaking countries.”

Catch Molotov on the 2013 Jagermeister Tour, which makes a stop at Red and Jerry’s in Denver on August 21st. Here’s a taste from this year’s SXSW:


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Girl Wreck hosts the 2nd Annual Girl Wreck Fest at the Oriental tomorrow, April 6, 2013

Girl Wreck takes over the Oriental tomorrow night for 12 hours of local rock

Girl Wreck hosts the 2nd Annual Girl Wreck Fest at the Oriental tomorrow, April 6, 2013

Girl Wreck hosts the 2nd Annual Girl Wreck Fest at the Oriental tomorrow, April 6, 2013

Coachella? ATP? Lollapalooza? All of these mega fests are announcing/leaking their mega line ups – but who in Denver needs them? Wanna usher in the Spring and Summer music season in style?

Head up north to the Oriental Theater, where you’ll catch the 2nd Annual Girl Wreck Fest – two stages and 12 solid hours of music, all local, all woman-run (or at least woman-centric) bands – for only $10. How can you beat that? Staying off the street and listening, meeting, drinking with, wrestling with (if that’s your thing) some of Colorado’s newest, most exciting local acts – all brought together by Girl Wreck Presents.

GWP is the brainchild and obsession of Brandy Darling, a promotional company that’s dedicated get some of the coolest music nationwide – worldwide – to stop in Denver and play for you, and Darling is well-connected enough to be making the company a growing, successful operation. Paired with local venues – the Lion’s Lair in the past, and the Oriental now – Girl Wreck has become a force to be reckoned with. And this year’s festival is a perfect celebration of that force.

Featuring more than 20 bands on two stages – including The Blackouts, Throttlebomb, Gata Negra, The Ghost-Towners, Crash, Salt, 9 Volt Fatale, The Front (WY), Buteo Buteo, In The Company Of Serpents, The Cutthroat Drifters, Mike Borgia & the Problems (MO), The Lollygags, Chella Negro & the Charm, The West, Dead Orchids, Fujita Scale, Atomic Americans, Paris By Sea, Tender Krease (NE), Number Station, Brian Parton, and more – this is Denver’s first Spring festival.

Don’t miss it. You’ll regret it for years – I promise.


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Hi-Strung are on their way to becoming one of Denver's best, behind Samantha Doom's bass and insight.

New Local Threads: Hi-Strung – “Malfunction” Review

Hi-Strung are on their way to becoming one of Denver's best, behind Samantha Doom's bass and insight.

Hi-Strung are on their way to becoming one of Denver’s best, behind Samantha Doom’s bass and insight.

Concept albums often seem to ride a dangerous road – too easy to marginalize of the story doesn’t carry, or if it’s too sentimental. Too easy to ridicule if the story takes over the music. Too easily misunderstood – and therefore run over roughshod by critics. Which is why it’s pretty refreshing to listen to Denver band Hi-Strung’s brand new effort “Malfunction.”  Nine songs  – more bits and pieces of lead singer/bassist/songstress Samantha “Doom” Donen’s interpretation of the inevitable effects of romance – strung together to tell a story we’re all way too familiar with.

Check out the title song: Hi-Strung – Malfunction

Doom has a long history in the Denver scene, having played with bands like Overcasters, Hexen, The Blackouts and others since moving here from Canada. Hi-Strung is her first self-driven project, and well-deserved. “Malfunction” is the first of (hopefully) many efforts – also a side effect of Doom’s period of recovery from a major accident a few years ago. The new record’s a fitting tribute to that recovery – solid, strong, haunting and unique.

"Malfunction" is Hi-Strung's symphonic post-punk new release. Hits the streets March 16, 2013.

“Malfunction” is Hi-Strung’s symphonic post-punk new release. Hits the streets March 16, 2013.

Starting with the giddily and appropriately named “Happy,” this record travels down the rabbit  hole of a weekend – or a lifetime – as the main character stumbles  through what Hi-Strung seems to believe is the inevitability of heartbreak, disarray and finally self-discovery through annihilation – “Kamikaze” style – that comes with love.

It’s a common theme, for sure – one of Rock n’ Roll’s cardinal themes – which makes it easy to relate to, but also opens the band up to overwhelming commonalities – and potential obscurity. Fortunately, Doom and the rest of the band – Danielle Wells on cello Shane Hartman (Black Lamb) on drums, Brian Fausett (Hexen) on guitar and Maia Fortis on electric violin and vox – portray the story with a strong symphonic pop hook and intriguing post-punk flavor. Wells’ cello weaves in and out of the wail of Fortis’ brilliant violin, both of which are accented by Fausett’s solid psychedelic guitar work. The mix is almost cinematic, infectuos and definitely becomes subdural.

Doom’s vocals – sometimes she evokes the more guttural side of Johnette Napolitano, others just a little like Dale Bozio, but always strong, haunting – anchor the band and the tale alongside her heavy, thumping bass and Hartman’s thunderous drums. There are times – in the midst of the frenetically beautiful “Snap,” or the wailing “Malfunction,” for instance, that she leaves the music and becomes the voice in your own head, swirling in the whirlpool of misread intentions and dashed hopes that too often become the trademark of romance. The buildup half of the album  – “Happy” (the elation of new prospects, excitement, hope), “Weird” (assimilating the other person) “Big Bang” (the lust session, appropriately) and “Lullaby” mimic the early “salad days” well – with almost Shakespearian progress. When you hit “Snap,” you know where  the main character is headed, and Hi-Strung does a fantastic job breaking the whole thing open.

Samantha Doom on thunderstick and heartbreak, in front of Hi-Strung.

Samantha Doom on thunderstick and heartbreak, in front of Hi-Strung.

Sir Richard Burton’s “George” in Edward Albee‘s brilliant “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff,” one of cinema’s most poignant representations of the drama that envelopes our bleary visions of love in comparison to the realities of our relationships – spoke of “Historical inevitability.” In his case it was the central theme of his life, made real by the constant cuckolding and malformed hell of the relationship he shared with Elizabeth Taylor’s “Martha.” No – I’m not equating “Malfunction” with as long-standing and weighty a masterpiece as “Wolff,” but there’s definitely a sharing of minds between Doom’s and Burton’s vision of the trappings of romance. Both are believers, it seems in the historical inevitability of heartbreak.

In Hi-Strung’s case, though, there’s a light at the end – where the character of this tale emerges from the mess newly aware, after killing herself (romantically speaking) in “Kamikaze.” If this record’s any indication, there seems to also be some bright, exciting light looming for this band as well.

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Blues Control - from PA

Live Review: PA’s Blues Control w/Psychic Ills, Hi-Dive, Thursday, March 7

Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho - Blues Control - make fun, hissing, noisy jazz rock.

Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho – Blues Control – make fun, hissing, noisy jazz rock.

Blues Control has a reputation. The duo – Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho, originally from Queens, NYC and now calling Coopersburg, PA home – are known as “unclassifiable,” “completely unique,” “incomparable.” Reviews tend  to color the duo as almost inaccessible, even opaque. They were in the Hi-Dive last Thursday night, and proved that these adjectives, while accurate – don’t cover the band.

One thing critics don’t seem to give Blues Control credit for is the level of humor, playfulness hiding behind their complexity, but it was palpable at Thursday’s show. Waterhouse weaved fuzzy guitar leads between and around Cho’s jazzy piano samples – her constructions evoked Sesame Street childlike simplicity, and then migrated into Gershwin meets Thelonious Monk – and looped in samples and echoes as Cho switched to thumping on a three-stringed guitar, mixed heavily enough into the low end to mimic a bass. The brilliant “Iron Pigs” felt like a march soundtrack that could easily have accompanied a Middle Earth campaign, while “Love’s A Rondo” spun a thick, mathematic spell on the room.

The overall effect was a druggy sonic mist that easily overtook the small Hi-dive, but would probably have no more trouble filling up a much larger space. BC dealt in complexity from the cavelike stage – and looked comfortable, though they seemed penned in with all their wires and synth equipment – but made it feel simple, fun – more than just druggy. It felt as if there might be a joke on all of us – and particularly the critics that call them un-labelable. As they performed, it became increasingly obvious that they were merely enjoying themselves, and challenging us to join in.

Most of the audience did – and grinned into a contact-buzz that was (mostly) based in melody and deep, pounding reverb.

Blues Control are fucking with us, and we love it.

Blues Control are fucking with us, and we love it.

BC opened for longtime psychedelic wonder band Psychic Ills – who most of the audience were really there to see – but for my money the night belonged to the PA duo. Psychic Ills  came off as a shiny, well-rehearsed period piece in comparison the Blues Control’s free, organic play.

Take a look at the video for “Iron Pigs (Drag City Limits performance),” to get a glimpse of Blues Control’s simple humor amidst complexity (this compression into a room that looks not much bigger than an office bathroom isn’t too far off from their stage position on Thursday night – though the Hi-Dive gave them plenty of room). Then listen to “Love’s A Rondo.” And then keep an eye out for their next Denver visit – it’ll be well worth your time.

Blues Control – Love’s a Rondo

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Gira as the Steston-wearing noisemonger. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

The DenverThread Interview: Michael Gira

Michael Gira appears this weekend at the Oriental Theater. (Photo: Carlos Melgoza)

Michael Gira appears this weekend at the Oriental Theater. (Photo: Carlos Melgoza)

Gira discusses SWANS and more, before an upcoming gig with Wovenhand, The Howling Hex, March 24 at the Oriental Theater

When I discovered SWANS at a 1986 punk show at the Eagle’s Lodge (they played cuts from their then-current LP “Greed,” with two bombastic drummers, thundering bass and bulldozing guitar, Jarboe screaming and Michael Gira – barefoot, shirtless, drenched and suffocating himself with a mic chord and self-loathing howls of terror – or pain – or disgust) it was one of the shows that changed my life, and cemented my lifelong involvement in the interpretation of music – especially live music. And it wasn’t just because I was one of two people that I know actually enjoyed the show (my date being the other – and we still talk about that day).

It was because I knew I’d seen something musically that, in my young 20-year-old mind, made no sense. In the context of destroying buildings with sonic explosions, or of torture, or of avalanches of rock and mud tearing through entire villages – sure, in that context what I’d experienced made sense. But not as music. My body, though, felt otherwise, and that gut feeling has remained with me since then.

“It’s like a monk vomiting, somewhere off in the distant Himalayas.”

– Michael Gira, describing his and SWANS unique sound

Fast forward 26 years, and SWANS remains one of the most intriguing and influential musical artforms in my life. And they’ve gone through a world of evolution – from that aggressive, sonically crushing noise in the ’80s, through a terrifyingly beautiful and complex oeuvre of sonic sculpture as the ’90s progressed, to a recently reformed, fully formed and mature modern prometheus the likes of which would likely make Mary Shelley quiver with delight upon discovering – so complete a match for something so human, so man-made, horrifyingly misshapen – and perfectly sublime.

Suffice to say that, if you haven’t seen or experienced SWANS – even on record – do it. The visionary leader behind the seminal noise and eardrum-crunching band, Michael Gira (pronounced gear-AH, I now know), is beginning a tour of the western side of the US and Europe, and is stopping here at our beloved Oriental Theater this Saturday night, March 24th, for a solo opening spot to “warm up” for David Eugene Edwards’ local behemoth Wovenhand, and featuring The Howling Hex.

It’s a pairing not destined to happen again – to miss it would be a huge mistake. Gira was gracious enough to take some time to talk with me about SWANS, his views on illegal downloading, his music, David Eugene Edwards and more. Read on to see what we talked about….

“Read More”

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


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:

[slideshow_deploy id=’5022′]

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

Category : NewsThreads


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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Jack Name's "Light Show," released january 21, is some heady psychedelic stuff.

Don’t Miss Jack Name tonight at the Hi-Dive. You’ll know why before Dent May starts.

Jack Name's "Light Show," released january 21, is some heady psychedelic stuff.

Jack Name’s “Light Show,” released january 21, is some heady psychedelic stuff.

Free this Saturday night (February 1)? Not any more, you’re not.

Time for you to get your Gary Numan-meets-Alice Cooper groove on and go see Jack Name (aka John Webster John – touring as guitarist with White Fence) – opening for Dent May – at the Hi-Dive. Seriously, this Los Angeles psych-soothsayer promises to grab anyone in the audience for his set with some heavy electronic psychedelia, all wrapped in a heady David Lynch mist – guaranteed to leave you with a somewhat uncomfortable, but warm, contact buzz.

Name’s opus, “Light Show,” released January 21, is a journey through a post-apocalyptic city being cleansed by rival gangs, narrated in a type of narcotic stupor by that world’s savior. Ambitious and psychotropic, to be sure, but that’s not the important part right now.

What’s important for you to know, as you will be experiencing name’s journey on the small Hi-Dive stage, is that, musically, this album is brilliant. It may take a listen or two, but the glam-rock-Broadway sound of this epic eats into your brain pretty quickly. On the second or third listen, I couldn’t help but imagine a Brian Eno meth head streaming down Road Warrior highways, one ear constantly wired to a never-ending playlist that includes Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Gary Numan, Alice Cooper and Rocky Horror, in an endless shuffle.

Putting Name in the driver’s seat of that imagery, it’s no wonder he might feel he’s that world’s savior. He not only speaks the language of the savage gang, but hums the music of their simultaneous salvation and destruction. How he intends to get this across to an undoubtedly mouthy buzz crowd at the Hi-Dive is challenging – but is it something you want to risk missing?

Here’s a sample of the chaos, in “Pure Terror.”

Make sure you show up early, and give this one a listen. I doubt it’ll be something you forget too soon.