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DenverThread Picks of the Weekend – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

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This year, as you’re getting ready to load up on tryptophan, relatives, scotch and football, we’ve got a few recommendations to make sure you get a good filling of music to hold  you over the holiday. We’ve picked out quite a selection of underground coming through Denver over the next week or so, from straight

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#UMS2015’s DenverThread Recommends Lineup for Day #4

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

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

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

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

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After a righteous kick-off evening for the 2015 Denver Post UMS, tonight the festival will no doubt really start to gain momentum. Over 300 bands in total, over four nights, across more than 20 venues, this year’s UMS is bigger than ever, and promises to push the South Broadway district in Denver beyond some limits. If

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The Helio Sequence - Photo: William Anthony

The Helio Sequence Bring A Chill to Denver Friday Night

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Along their near two-decade rise in indy music, Brandon Summers and Benjamin Welkel—the duo known in ensemble as The Helio Sequence—haven’t had it entirely easy. Mostly due to Summers’ near career- and band-ending vocal troubles in the mid aughts, the band seemed doomed for a few years. But lifestyle changes, dedication and vocal exercises pushed Summers back into

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

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

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

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“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

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

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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

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

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“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:

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

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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),

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

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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

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

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

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Riot Fest Denver, Day 1 – Review/Slideshow

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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

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

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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

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Here’s Your #UMS2014 Day 3 Lineup

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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

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

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

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Riot Fest Denver Map

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

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

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

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Damon 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

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Igy & the Stooges, Riot Fest 2013

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

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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

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

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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 –

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

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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

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

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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

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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.

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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

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Clarke Sondermann's Record "The Echo Trail"

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

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“… 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

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Beware of Darkness – Orthodox, the DenverThread Record Inter/Review

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LA’s Beware of Darkness played the Larimer Lounge a few days ago, and those of you who were there no doubt saw a hi-energy performance that will likely be relegated to many “Were you there when…” threads of conversation soon enough.  If you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s probably just a matter of time

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Breathe Owl Breathe are on their way to Denver & Boulder this weekend. Don't miss your chance to catch these iconoclasts. (Photo: http://pitchperfectpr.com)

Breathe Owl Breathe Brings its Genre-Smashing style to Denver, Boulder

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  Breathe Owl Breathe – a new-to-some-of-us trio from East Jordan, Michigan – has trouble, it seems, comfortably fitting in. They have that trouble in the most beautiful, dreamy ways imaginable. Vocalist Micah Middaugh’s smooth baritone – at times evoking The National‘s Matt Berninger, sometimes Roxy Music‘s Bryan Ferry, but mostly channeling Nick Drake  – perfectly

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Suicide Girls Rocked Lodo with the Blackheart Burlesque Saturday Night

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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

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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

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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

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Suicide Girls in Repose (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

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

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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

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Riot Fest Denver, 2013 – Live Blogging from the Ashtray Floors

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Keep checking back – we’re going to be live blogging this bitch all day – and maybe all night – from the ashtray floors, covering all the filthy jokes -and the music too! If you’re here in May Farms, hook up! Hashtag #DenverThreadRiot to get your pics, vines, notes, loves, hates and everything onto the

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The Riot Fest comes to Byers, CO this weekend. (Map: RiotFest.org)

Look out Byers – there’s a RIOT going down – this weekend

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If you haven’t heard of the impending onslaught of music about to hit Byers, Colorado this weekend, you’ve definitely been living under a rock. Or, maybe more likely, you’ve just been listening to the wrong music for the past few decades – in which case this, the last of the blockbuster summer festivals for 2013,

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

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

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Flume will fill the Fox with some purple bliss during tonight's SOLD OUT show. (Photo: Flume)

Flume is Wrapping Up the Western US Tonight at the Fox Theatre in Boulder

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Judging by his electronic wizardry, Flume is definitely a product of the i-generation. Born in 1991, Harley Streten has never known a world without the internet, and might just be one of the poster children of an era that’s (maybe) destined to be the fastest-growing humans ever. Streten’s taken his piece of it (so far)

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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)

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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

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Fire starters del Desmadre, a Molotov Cocktail

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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.

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METZ - earning their capitalized moniker - play the Hi-Dive Tuesday, May 7. Be there - you'll regret otherwise. (Photo: Colin Medley, SubPop)

METZ to hit the Hi-Dive in Denver – You’ve Been Warned

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The power of a trio probably comes from its simplicity. Probably (at least that’s my take, and I’m sticking with it). It’s been proven again, and again and again – Rush, The Minutemen, Nirvana, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, ZZ Top, the Police – even Triumph (ferchrissakes) – all innovators, all brilliant (well – I’ll

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Iceage at the Marquis Theater – Live Review & Photos

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Coming from Denmark means that, invariably, at some point you’re going to get a Hamlet comparison – probably from a smart-assed music journalist. So here goes – Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt definitely rocks a Hamlet-esque demeanor, both on record and onstage. At their Denver show at the Marquis theater last Thursday night, he sulked in the

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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

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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

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IceAge, From Denmark, play Marquis Theater tonight (Photo: Alberte Karrebaek)

Warsaw, via NYC & Copenhagen: Iceage coming back to Denver Tonight

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If you’re not planning to be at the Marquis Theater tonight to catch Iceage, you’re giving up on the chance to see a replay of the power that anchored most of  post-punk. At the very least, we’re going to be in the presence of a band whose noise and passion invoke Warsaw (pre-Joy Division, and

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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

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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

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Blues Control - from PA

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

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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,

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Flaming Lips mix it up with Terror? New release announced!

It’s been a good three years since their last release – the seminal (in so many ways) “Embryonic” – so it’s a damn good thing that Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips have announced their next release. On April 1 (in Europe, April 2 in the US), Wayne and the globe’s purveyors of positive are

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds announced the February release of their first new record since 2008 - "Push The Sky Away."

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: New Record in February, Ogden Theatre Show in April

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are scheduled to release a new record – their 15th overall and first since 2008’s “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!” “Push The Sky Away” will drop on February 18th (February 19th in the US). They’ve also announced some North American tour dates, including one at the Ogden on April 3rd (tickets

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David Eugene Edwards leads Wovenhand Friday night, November 16, at the Oriental Theater, kicking off a new tour of Western cities. (Photo: Wovenhand)

Heavy with Joy: An Inter/Review with Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards

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Wovenhand released “The Laughing Stalk,” the Denver-based band’s seventh studio album, in September – so we may be a little late in reviewing. But then, so is Friday night’s CD Release Dance  at the Oriental Theater – November 16, 9:00 PM, with Reverend Deadeye – a little late in coming (and we’re happy to take

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METZ is invading - but they're Canucks, so it's cool. (Photo: Colin Medley)

REVERB Review – METZ, Live at Larimer Lounge, 11-12-12

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If you’re unfamiliar with METZ, you’re behind on the buzz. Their loud, crunchy, loud, fun, loud, shit-hot, loud and aggressive (did we mention LOUD??!!) style is exploding into venues and destroying hipsters in its wake. It was on display last night at the Larimer Lounge, and we were there with HeyReverb.com. Take a few minutes

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Mike Watt and The Missingmen, live at Larimer Lounge, April, 2011 (Photo: Mike McGrath)

Mike Watt – the DenverThread Interview: Touring Econo, Jamming Austere, Pure Dada

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Watt covered some major ground in that short time. From his current stint with the Stooges, to some of the history of Minutemen and his beloved San Pedro (CA), to the tour he was bout to kick off in a few days, he led me on a musical, improvisational, stream-of-thought journey – and maintained his reputation as one of rock’s nicest guys you’d ever want to talk to.

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Henry Rollins entertained a packe Paramount Theater for damn-near three solid hours. (Photo: Swift River Productions)

“I told you all that to tell you this.” Henry Rollins speaks out at Paramount Theater, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012

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When Henry Rollins speaks, it’s kind of amazing how many – and which – people listen. His background – longtime lead singer of seminal punk act Black Flag, provocateur, film and TV star and the epitome of prolific when it comes to writing – is nothing to balk at, to be sure. But he hasn’t always been seen as the erudite, polite-alomst-to-a-fault, 21st Century renaissance philosopher that he’s grown into over the past decade.

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Slim (Photo: Gary Isaacs)

New Year, New Venue – Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is changing up New Year’s Eve

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One of Denver’s most popular New Year’s Eve parties is about to change. For the first time in about a decade, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club won’t be helping Denver fans jettison the old year for a new one – at least, not at the same location. After a long string of consecutive, packed shows at

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Girl Wreck Presents is booking more and more great bands throughout Denver. (Photo: DenverThread)

Live Review – Agent Orange Tears Up the Oriental with Raucous Surf Punk

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“This place is so awesome,” exclaimed Mike Palm, frontman of Orange County’s legendary surf punk trio Agent Orange last night in the Oriental Theater. “Not like the Bluebird.” His mini-review of another of Denver’s fine venues came just before the band ripped into “Living In Darkness,” one of a 20-song set that lasted a too-short

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Local connoisseur Andrew Novick collaborates with a delicious Turkey Leg (Photo: Jeff Ball)

The Denver County Fair offers a local music tribute, and plenty of food and fun, to boot!

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There’s not much that compares to a day at the fair, which is why Denver has rejuvenated the tradition. Well, actually the city just started the tradition last year, but it was based on plans from more than 100 years earlier. This weekend brings the second Denver County Fair to the National Western Complex, starting

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Searching for Elliott Smith

Film Review: Searching for Elliott Smith at the Oriental Theater

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I learned tonight that I knew a lot less about Elliott Smith than I thought – thanks to the chance to see “Searching for Elliott Smith,” the documentary about this tortured musical genius – still looking for a real distribution deal –  at the Oriental Theater. There’s a brilliant scene in the film that tells

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UMS 2012 Has Come & Gone, Denver – Recaps & Photos

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This year’s Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (UMS) may have been the biggest and best yet, and – barring the weight of the tragedy in Aurora that clouded an otherwise perfect opening night – all four days went off without a hitch. As in previous occurrences since the festival relocated to South Broadway, The UMS invaded nearly

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Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art hosts "Don't Look Down," along with Audiovore.

Who’s Playin’ What Where!? – July’s Heating Up

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Denver’s amidst a record-setting streak of over-90-degree days (we’re on day nine – or ten – or somewhere around there, now). We wouldn’t be surprised to find that this heat wave is being fanned by the lineup of shows July has to offer. If you’re able to peel yourself from the naugahyde, or leather, or

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Phil "The Fan" at work behind the scenes.

Who’s Playin’ What – Wait! Too Much to Report, from Denver and LA Punk Legends to Hobo Heroes – Just GO!

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As usual, when the summer rolls into its own – and as of this writing this one’s only one day old (but that day’s holding in enough heat for a friggin’ month of ’em….) – Denver plays host to more and more bands from out of town, and the local scene takes a boot, too. There are so many things to go and see over the next two weeks, we’re seriously considering just letting the heat evaporate us, so we can be a mist traveling through town, visiting all the venues we can each night – and a few of them simultaneously.

Or – that could be the heat getting to us.

In any case, from a surprising visit from Black Flag and hardcore guitar hero Greg Ginn – at Bar Bar, no less (and, rumor has it, FREE) – to what promises to be a stunning Larimer Lounge set with Thurston Moore (he’s stopping by Boulder, too, but who wants to drive that far?), to the dueling summer showcases – Westword’s (This weekend) and The UMS (in late July), there’s definitely no shortage of places to get your fix of good music.

So take lift the needle off your new Bieber disc (say, does he even know how to play any of his own vinyl? Does his stuff come out on vinyl? Nevermind – don’t wanna know) and get outside to see and hear some good music.

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Erik Husman at the Walnut Room, Denver, 03-24-11

Erik Husman: Golden Troubadour to Throw a CD Release Party May 10 – Then: Hiatus

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Golden’s Erik Husman, along with his then-band The Golden Rule, recorded a full-length album at the Walnut Room on March 24, 2011.  Now, nearly 14 months later and going solo, Husman is ready for the CD release party. It’s set for this Thursday night at Mead Street Station – 3625 W. 32nd Ave in Denver

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Adam Yauch - RIP - You will be missed. (Photo used under Creative Commons License)

Take A Minute for MCA – RIP Adam Yauch, Namasté

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When MCA and King AdRock announced a few years ago that the Beastie Boys would be delaying the release of their next album due to Adam Yauch beginning a battle with throat cancer, I don’t think anyone of us fans took the news lightly. But I also don’t think many of us ever thought the

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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Aurora Fox Studio Theatre, September 7 - October 28, 2012

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” Synchronicity and the Populist Promise of Kickstarter

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Ben Dicke, local theater professional, looks for Kickstarter Funding to Premiere the Controversial Emo-Punk Musical at the Aurora Fox, Just in Time for Election Day.

Could it be any more … prophetic?

In an election year that’s rife with populist rhetoric, where pundits on both sides seem to pontificate endlessly about the problems of the common folk of Main Street, the excesses of the rich and Wall Street, and how neither side has the right idea about either, Ben Dicke, a local theater teacher and accomplished producer, director, playwright and performer, has been called by the muses to produce an uncannily appropriate play in the Aurora Fox – “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

These always tricky (or so I’ve been told) muses have called out to him over an emo-sounding band (actually, it could be argued that emo – with its roots in common angst and the everyday futility of making it through in an overwhelmingly unfair (but often tearfully beautiful) world – might be the epitome of rock’s populist side), to produce and act in one of American Theater’s few emo-rock operas. And – also like much of the real-life action and rhetoric of this year’s supremely important pastime – this musical-American-political-history-lesson-slash-controversial-production promises to pack a strong comedic punch.

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Alash Ensemble – Tuvan Throat Singing – Comes to Swallow Hill this Friday, April 6

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If you’ve heard it, chances are you’re either mesmerized by its outlandish beauty, haunted by its sweeping sonics or fascinated by the physics. Either way, there’s not another vocal style that’s anything quite like Tuvan throat singing. And there’s no touring troupe that pulls it off like the Alash Ensemble. Four native Tuvans, Alash have

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Dirty Femmes will play Violent Femmes first LP in its entirety, Sat., April 7, 2012 at the Hi-Dive.

American Music: Local trio Dirty Femmes to cover the Violent Femmes first LP, Sat., April 7 at the Hi-Dive

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How often do you find yourself inadvertently – almost subconsciously humming Blister in the Sun, Kiss Off, Add It Up, American Music or just about any of the seminal hits from early alt-folk (alt-punk? folk-punk? Angst-folk?) trio Violent Femmes? I know for me – and a whole sew of folks who were dragging themselves through

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Flipper at the Lion's Lair - 3/29-30/2012

DenverThread Interview – Flipper – Steve DePace

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OK – Who remembers Flipper?

More appropriately: Who knows why they should remember – or at least be aware of – Flipper?

Get this: – It could be argued that without Flipper, there may have been no Nirvana, or much of the sloppier side of “Grunge,” or at least the whole scene would likely sound a little different (less sloppy, maybe?). Disagree? Let’s discuss (in comments).

In any case,regardless of what we all think, Flipper has left an indelible mark on music in its 33-years as a band on this accursed planet. A deep-cut-with-a-dull-blade, thick and juicy sludge trail, maybe – and one that may have laid the original tracks for sludge metal bands like Sunn-0))), Sleep, The Melvins and the like – but indelible nonetheless. And if that kind of connection can hold true, then we should all remember Flipper, and they should be held aloft in our music appreciation lists alongside heavy hitters like Black Flag and Black Sabbath, in reflection of their contributions.

I think that Flipper may indeed have been before its time in a sense. We were described as a Grunge Band in 1980, a full 10 years before it became a musical format. – Steve DePace

And – even if you disagree, or don’t even know whether or not you agree – you’re in luck, because Flipper is holding a two-day residence this Thursday and Friday – March 29th and 30th – at the venerated Lion’s Lair to kick off another long touring season (Europe – for about a million dates – is next). The seminal pre-post-hardcore-avant-sludge-proto-noise-punk band is celebrating two Punk Rock Art Show openings in Denver this week with the shows. First, on Thursday, March 29th, “Ruby Ray: Punk Passage” opens at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center (445 S. Saulsbury St., Lakewood), and celebrates the San Fransisco punk scene of the late ’70s. Then, on Friday, March 30th, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver will open up “Bruce Conner: The Primal Scene of Punk Rock,” which focuses on the San Fransisco punk scene in 1977, with flyers, photos and videos.
But enough of anything not about Flipper. In sync with the two-show Lions Lair residence, DenverThread spoke with Flipper drummer Steve DePace about Flipper’s history, now and future, and a few other things. Check it out – and get to these shows:

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Night of Joy - Hardcore Girls Are A Hoax

New Threads You Need Now – Night of Joy, Achille Lauro, Lee Ranaldo, Willis Earl Beal – more!

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Night of Joy, Achille Lauro, Black Postcards (Local); Lee Ranaldo, Willis Earl Beal, Jeffrey Lewis (not local)

Well – This post we’ve got a bucket of sounds, and none too soon (having missed a while – our apologies)…. This one features a slew of locals – two from the same label (Hot Congress) and another totally DIY group that’s almost too new … but has promise. It also features a pile of national acts – a few coming to town soon, but all should be traversing your grey matter between you headphones – if not already, then soon….

Night of Joy – Hardcore Girls are a Hoax

Night of Joy has been around the Denver scene doing everything themselves for a bit – and have always been mighty impressive. Pulling its sound from somewhere amidst the part of New York’s late ‘70s No-Wave scene led by Lydia Lunch’s Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Glenn Branca’s Theoretical Girls and of ‘80s Post-punk like UT and Big Black, and ‘90s Breeders and Bikini Kill, Hardcore Girls are a Hoax (available now on Hot Congress Records’ site, officially released March 21st) is a solid, visceral ride.

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

The DenverThread Interview: Michael Gira

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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.

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….

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Radiohead, in an image from March 3, 2012

Live Review: Erik Husman Reviews Radiohead at the 1st Bank Center, March 13, 2012

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Local troubadour Erik Husman – of Erik Husman and the Golden Rule – was lucky enough this week to be able to stop in and take in Radiohead’s sold out Tuesday night show at 1st Bank Center, and was also gracious enough to write DenverThread a review of what will, no doubt, stand as one

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Arlo White from The Pretty Sure will be showing off his vision at the Broomfield Auditorium until mid-February. THe PRetty Sure will be playing on CapHill in Denver Saturday, January 21st. (Photo: Hypnotic Turtle)

Who’s Playin’ What Where? DenverThread’s Gettin’ Out Guide – January 20 – February 4

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DenverThread’s guide to where you should be and what you should be seeing – and, of course, hearing – for the next few weeks around Denver. The “Planet Rock” Art Show is Now Open in Broomfield, Artist’s Band The Pretty Sure Play Saturday Night Arlo White really is a post-post-postpunk-post-renaissance man. As many places and

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Join my band!

Shooting My Rock n’ Roll Wad, With Revenge

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For our inaugural post for Unraveler, we’ve got a treat. Guest author Mike Argeropoulous, a native of Chicago by way of Marquette, Michigan – and plenty of hilarious and creative stops in between – offers a cautionary tale. Whether you believe it or not, enjoy the tale of revenge, of the slacker variety, as Argeropoulous

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Black Heart Procession and the Saw

Live Review: Black Heart Procession at Hi-Dive, Monday, December 12, 2011

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You could say that The Black Heart Procession bears a large portion of responsibility for the sound of “indie” today, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Since the members’ initial involvement in the seminal Three Mile Pilot in the late ‘90s, they’ve been championing a slow, psychedelic-but-gruff Pink Floyd style that’s only been solidified and made 

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Copy Copy Copy

New DenverThreads: Kissing Party, Erik Husman and the Golden Rule and Mombi bring more to Denver’s sound

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Kissing Party – Waster’s Wall Kissing Party’s latest record, “Waster’s Wall,” still reflects a little more Belle & Sebastian than it’s probably meant to. And I’m putting that out there right away because of Gregg Dolan’s reported frustration with that comparison. But it’s not mired in the Brit-pop band’s lo-fi jangle. For this record, the

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Pull on this Thread: Get your Rocktober started with terror at Bar Bar this Friday!

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Aside from the fact that all the calendars around us agree, how else can you really tell Rocktober is beginning in full swing? Zombiecrawl is right around the corner, we can smell snow in the air (already!) and Spirit stores are popping up like Starbucks. And, while your heart might be racing at the prospect of next year possibly being the first (since most of you were born) to not feature a new season of The Simpsons, there’s a much more traditionally terrifying option happening at Bar Bar this weekend to kick off the 2011 mile High Horror Film Festival – the Mile High Horror Film Festival Showcase.

And, it’s FREE.

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Who’s Playin’ What – Where? Weekend of Sept. 30, 2011

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Seems like this may be the beginning of the season of harvest in music, too – at least here in Denver. This weekend features a few awesome CD releases from local bands, and more! Read on to find out about two back-to-back Hot Congress release nights and an alt-country visit from Brooklyn to the Lion’s Lair. Is it just us, or is the heavy weight of Rocktober just around the corner?

Friday night showcases some fantastic Denver indie-meets-post-punk with the release party for Kissing Party’s “Waster’s Wall” album (officially out on October 18). One of Denver’s most promising acts at the moment, Kissing Party bring together a sort of Belle & Sebastian feel to their sound, with a tint of bubble gum and a Manchester shadow.

Saturday night brings the CD release party for Sun Red, a five-piece born out of the wreckage of Denver’s (Die)Pilot, full of sweeping and tenacious prog-esque constructions spearheaded by Gene Brown’s strong vocals. Their sound wavers across indie lines that corral such masters as Stephen Malkmus or Lou Barlow, but is very much something they’ve concocted on their own.

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Hook and company brought a missing sound to ears that had been waiting for some time. (Photo: Al de Perez)

Live Reverb – Peter Hook & the Light play Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures,” Bluebird, 9-19-2011

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At the risk of eliciting a chorus of jaded groans: Yes, Peter Hook & the Light, led by the bassist for the influential Joy Division, performed a rousing rendition of the post-punk swan song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” last night at the Bluebird in the first of two encores. Did you think they wouldn’t?

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Denver City Saltlicks perfect the punk meets jug band meets surf genre, right here in Denver. (Photo: MySpace/DCS)

New Threads – Denver’s Denver City Saltlicks and Josh Novak, Toronto’s Fucked Up

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Fucked Up – David Comes to Life (2011) Fucked Up’s latest offering is much less an album than a movie, really. Listening to it, it’s hard to avoid imagining complex, high-budget plots and huge swaths of dramatic interplay as the vignette of David – the everyperson – unfolds. The concept album’s story lends itself: angst-ridden

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Wayne Coyne exudes a constant, and constantly enlightening, positivity. (Photo: Michael McGrath)

The Flaming Lips deliver Pink Floyd like no other – in their soundtrack to a hell of a life

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In January, ’95 or ’96 (who can say for sure?), after a Flaming Lips show that (despite the fact that they’d opened for, of all bands, Candlebox) remains one that shaped my world view, my friend and I approached an open side door, shivering and giggling as we continued to find bits of confetti in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are our toppers for Friday, July 22 – and we’re happy to say that it was a damned tough job boiling the lineup down! The first few are our predictions for Friday night’s owners of the UMS. Scroll on down for a listing of the rest of our recommendations, in chronological order (still just a fraction of all the action!).
Friday’s UMS Lineup is owned by …
Colourmusic –
3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @11PM

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

Cue Colourmusic.

‘Nuff said. Go see them.

SRSLY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hell – we’d give up our tickets for the aforementioned shows for these, if the economy didn’t already make us feel like grade-H junkies (when are you gonna get the chance to see The Tubes again, right?)

Best Bet – Accordion Babes, Sunday night, July 10, at the Lion’s Lair (2022 E. Colfax, Denver – Thanks to Amber Lee Baker and Renée de la Prade – known together on this tour as The Accordion Babes – these once pernicious precursors to the keytar are inching ever closer to private & sultry boudoir serenades than adolescent living room talent shows.

— ••• —

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

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

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Matt Shupe - The Greying Heart

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

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Starting a new job can suck – especially for your online magazine. That’s the explanation for my long absence on the ‘Thread – and I’m stickin’ with it. Now to get back into the swing, and get you readers some well-deserved regularity… But on with the news: This week we’re presenting three fantastic albums, starting

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Surrealist musicians of Montreal frolicked behind frontman Kevin Barnes last Sunday at the Bluebird, and brought a solid funk into Denver. (Photo: Patrick Heagney)

Reverb Thread – Live Review: of Montreal @ Bluebird Theater, Sunday, May 8, 2011

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Kevin Barnes doesn’t need to play the omnisexual androgyne anymore. That was how it felt Sunday night anyway, when Of Montreal played the Bluebird Theater.

While their Sgt. Pepper’ed, more pastoral oeuvre has long since faded, some of the over-the-top erotic energy that the band is known for has also been eschewed in recent years. The pandemonium has calmed, in favor of a much more consistent blend of “Free Your Mind (And Your Ass WIll Follow)” Funkadelic and pre-“Purple Rain” Prince — though there was still a strong undercurrent of Beatles and Bowie. Barnes’ revived focus on the music was obvious, and welcomed.

The stage show was only slightly paired down, really. While previous gigs featured complex stage shows through which Barnes cavorted in Ziggy Stardust androgyny with foxes and pigs, this show was less surrealist burlesque and more glam/funk rock. There were still foxes, giant butterflies and pigs, of course, romping beneath psychedelic geometries projected on the band and colorful live video on a screen above them.

Oh, and there was also a repeating lucha libre theme, this time.

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Threading Now – Denver Day of Rock uses local musicians to create community, still needs volunteers

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On Saturday, May 28th, Concerts For Kids will be presenting Denver Day of Rock, now in its third year, in downtown Denver. With a slew of bands – both local and national acts – that cross genres from pop/rock to Zydeco, the all-ages event is a perfect opportunity to get everyone in the family out in front of some decent live music.

Denver Day of Rock was put together by Concerts For Kids for the first time in June of 2009 as an all-day outdoor music event designed to raise awareness of children in the Denver community, and the many charities that exist that help them. In just three years, the show has grown from two stages in two completely separate parts of town and a show at the Fillmore, to five stages along the 16th Street Mall and more than twenty bands.

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Nick Rhodes hasn't changed a whit after three decades in Duran Duran. Their show was brilliantly satisfying, if a little long of tooth at times, las Wednesday at the Ogden (Photo: Nathan Iverson, HeyReverb.com)

Live Reverb Review – Duran Duran at Ogden Theater, Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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Up close in the tightly packed confines of the Ogden last Wednesday night, the original members of Duran Duran might have looked even better than I remembered them when they were helping to lay the foundations for MTV.

And their performance didn’t disappoint, either.

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The Outfit - Broken West Wishbone Test

New Threads – From Denver: Deadbubbles, The Outfit; from Oakland: tUnE-yArDs

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This week we offer a look at a few new threads that run the gamut in sound and intention, and we like just about all of it. From a well-deserved (if awfully early in the their life) tribute to Denver’s Deadbubbles, to The Outfit’s indecipherably titled debut – still full of promise, to tUnE-yArDs, an

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Live Threads – Reverb: Wye Oak at Larimer Lounge, Saturday, April 2, 2011

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At the Larimer Lounge on Saturday night, Jenn Wasner mentioned that she and bandmate Andy Stack of the Baltimore band Wye Oak, were tired. And justifiably so, having come from Salt Lake City that day, and in the very beginning of a 10-day stretch of their current tour that travels through the midwest and up into Montreal before they get a night off.

This apparent exhaustion, however, didn’t seem to make any difference in the duo’s performance.

A more valid reason the two should be tired, in fact, was the fury and passion they poured into an hour-long set. Often lumped in with indie or folk rock bands, presumably due to a tendency to alternate between screeching distortion and sparse minimalism on record, the pair was anything but mere folk that night. Wasner wailed meditations on solitude, love and aloneness and masterfully wrangled her guitar, while Stack covered the rest. Stack’s ability to multi-task the entire balance of such a huge sound — playing a trap set with both feet and his right hand while pounding on keyboards for both bass and melody with his left — was stunning to watch.

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New Threads – Inactivists release “The War on Jazz Hands” to a hungry public at the Walnut Room

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If there’s one thing we need less of in this world, it’s got to be those annoying flapping fingers at the end of swirling hands, and a more worthy cause for war probably doesn’t currently exist. And yet, as a country, we’re dang near broke. But I already digress . . .

This sentiment comes from the title of The Inactivists’ latest record, “The War On Jazz Hands.” The Denver band remains one of the local scene’s hidden treasures, and the title’s an adroit summation of their personality and style: playful like They Might Be Giants with an adult humor that hovers around that of Ween, but remains more explicitly juvenile. And yet, they’re always musically complex, diverse and accomplished, in the only way that would ever allow a true theremin artist – in this case the accomplished and extremely talented Victoria Lundy – to fit in.

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Erik Husman at the Walnut Room, Denver, 03-24-11

Live Thread – Erik Husman @ the Walnut Room, Thursday, March 24, 2011

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The Walnut Room provided the perfect flavor of intimacy and concrete last Thursday night to encompass – enthrone – the recording of a local fledgling artist’s second album. The 50-some people gathered to watch and listen to Golden’s Erik Husman were treated to a mix between Merle Haggard and a Pete Seeger that spent more of his life on the rails than in protest. Husman, suffering from a cold that caused between-song hacks, sniffles and a dry-throated rasp, nevertheless marched all of us through two sets of some emotive, lively tunes, most of which were original.

And that crowd loved every one.

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Golden’s Erik Husman records sophomore effort @TheWalnutRoom Thursday night

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One of the more popular new trends lately has been a band’s live rendition of an influential record from their past. It’s a pretty cool thing, too, to see bands like Pixies play albums we all grew up listening to, live, in their entirety.

It’s not often, though, that we get to share the stage with the performers to help create a recording that just might become one that everyone remembers years from now. This Thursday, local troubadour Erik Husman and the Walnut Room are offering just that opportunity. Husman, a brand-spanking new addition to the scene, out of the city of Golden – will be playing a set of all new material that night, and recording the entire affair, and will produce the result as his second release.

“I’m kind of freaking out, really,” said an almost giddy Husman when I sat across from him in a Golden bar recently. “It’s not like preparing for a gig. I’ve got to do about 180 hours of studio performance [about the time it took to record his first album] free-form, live, in one take. There’s no going back,” he added. “But it’ll be the most genuine thing, the only way to capture the real me.”

Husman’s style ranges from rough spirituals and anthems that recall Woodie Guthry and Pete Seeger with heavy influence from classic country, to a solid indie feel with a little more more than a nod to the Radiohead crowd.

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"The Love Project" attempts to capture that intangible evidence of connection. (Photo: Lucia De Giovanni)

What/Where This Weekend? The “Love Project” debuts, and Sunder plays at the Larimer Lounge

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This weekend’s one night stand will feature some photos from the “My Life” project, but is focused on “The Love Project.” As the Denver Post’s John Moore reported recently, “The Love Project” came out of De Giovanni’s deep desire to “… figure out how to recognize real love,” as a result of her last breakup. The methodology of each shoot is to open the shutter quickly, again and again and again, for one minute, and one minute only, as the couple in question attempts to show her their love. One and only one photograph is chosen to represent the couple, and becomes a vision of their connection.

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Strings & Wood, local music and art non-profit, throws a 2-year anniversary tonight at the Oriental

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If you’re unfamiliar with Strings & Wood Concerts, and your tastes run towards the more melodic and folksier side of acoustic rock, this weekend may be the perfect opportunity for you to get to know the local promoter and community advocate. Strings & Wood is celebrating their second anniversary in business with a concert and benefit that features a stellar lineup of local solo artists and musicians at the venerable Oriental Theater (44th and Tennyson in NW Denver) on Friday night, February 4th. The show will feature some of Colorado’s best acoustic and vocal bands, singer/songwriters and collaborations, as well as visual and design artists, silent auctions and even a professional on site massage therapist.

Founded by – and still run by – local professional photographer Art Heffron, Strings & Wood Concerts’ non-profit mission, according to their bio, is to promote “… live music, visual arts and social justice in the local Denver community.”
“Strings & Wood produces intimate, living-room style concerts at Denver’s top venues while striving to support the featured artists. Musicians take home 90% of the total ticket sales and 100% of merchandise sales. . .”

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New Music Threads – Local heroes Veronica & The Raven & The Writing Desk offer up fun and surreal tunes, and live shows to fill your holiday nights

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Three veteran Denver artists, all previous members of bands that have long since passed into legendary status – and that enjoyed that status off and on during their active years as well – have pooled their talents and love of straight ahead punk/indie rock with a simple aesthetic and an indelible stripe of mischievous humor and made a record that just about everyone can fall in love with, and have loads of fun through all of its just over 30 minutes.

Ted Thacker and John Call – wicked guitarist and gigantic drummer, respectively, who both played in Baldo Rex in the ’90s – joined with Andrew Koch , formerly of Tiger Beat, on bass to finally record 12 songs, many of which have been mainstays for the trio’s sporadic shows over recent years, and have released it independently. The title is apropos, as they’ve all three been immersed in the ephemera of becoming while the band has frequently taken a back seat. But, thanks to their dedication (and maybe a little help from the gods of awesome rock), the album has finally come together – and it’s worth every week of the time it took.

The debut from Denver band The Raven and The Writing Desk, “Recidivist,” took time to grow on me – but I’m glad I let it. On first listen I thought the record’s 8 songs would have some trouble floating out of a typical too-folky, hip and indie vibe – something Denver has plenty of, and too much of it is depressingly average. After setting the collection aside for a while, though, I found myself haunted by some of the music’s undercurrents, and succumbed to further exploration. Good thing, because the record has grown on me after delving further in and, though it still suffers at times in the way most freshman efforts do, I’m intrigued, more satisfied, and look forward to watching them grow in Denver.

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Live Review: Kate Nash @theOgden, November 6th, 2010

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What a delight Kate Nash turned out to be at her first-ever visit to Denver for an Ogden show last Saturday night. I expected her to be perfectly satisfactory; what I didn’t expect was to be challenged by and enthralled with this rising Brit-pop sensation, right from the first warbling of her remarkable voice to the final, giggling post-encore farewell.

On record, Nash is comparable to the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, at least vocally, and her songs tend toward over-wordy, romantic pop. Live, she’s a different story.

Last Saturday night she was more like Poly Styrene, the frantic lead singer of the early punk band X-Ray Spex, than a light-hearted, soft spoken folk singer. She brought a definite, mature and sexy riot grrrl aspect to her songs as well, reminiscent of a young and brash Liz Phair, and positively bled Morrissey influence from time to time, sans all the whining and dour phraseology.

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Gangcharger and Smoothbore – two Denver bands release new tunes, noise in a new direction

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There aren’t too many bands that can withstand an entire personnel change and keep going. There are even less that come back stronger for it – but Gangcharger is one that has. Ethan Ward’s love child – with huge emphasis on the love – has not only rebounded after being abandoned by virtually every member of the band over the course of late 2009, he’s driven the rebuilt band beyond anyone’s expectations, maybe beyond his own – and definitely miles beyond the previous lineup’s promise – with their latest release, “Free Exhaust.”

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HeyReverb! Live Review: Sonic Youth @the Ogden – 10/04/10 – on a BRAND NEW Reverb site!

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After last Monday night’s show at the Ogden Theater, I’m convinced that Sonic Youth are immortals – beings that refuse to age. What else explains their uncanny ability to remain constantly relevant, prescient – and continuously young – in the face of a culture hell bent on replication of the popular, and often the most vapid? Of course, we could agree that the members of this group of musicians – more a family than a band, really, after nearly 30 years – are intuitive charlatans, well-versed in manipulation of guitar strings, effects, anti-rhythms and atonality, but also steeped in the pop ethos that breeds automatic acceptance – or intrinsic danceability.

But then, you’d also have to explain short lives of other bands that sprung from that same NYC, post-post-punk, “no-wave” noise scene that attempted to espouse that same musical ethos. The truth is, Sonic Youth has proven they’re not only the only surviving band from that movement – but that they’re the most deserving.
They’re the only band that mastered the ability to turn pop sensibility on its ear, wrestle it through dissonant filters, and still know how to present the outcome in an irresistibly accessible way, without giving up any of their D.I.Y., no-wave roots.

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Nuns of Brixton, a Clash tribute band in full convent regalia, played Bender's Tavern in front of a rapt crowd last Friday night (Photo:Michael McGrath, denverpost.com/reverb)

Reverb: Nuns of Brixton, Gestapo Pussy Ranch @Bender’s Tavern, September 24th, 2010

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Having seen Jim Yelenick in his other bands — the hardcore Pitch Invasion and the hilarious acousti-punk Sputnik Slovenia — I figured I’d seen the gamut of his personas, and loved them all. But none topped his loose adaptation of Joe Strummer in a full nun habit, wildly leading a packed house through a litany of the best tunes from the Clash. Yelenick fronted local quintet the Nuns of Brixton (a Clash tribute band) last night at Bender’s Tavern and put on a simultaneously heroic and hilarious show — all in full convent uniform.

The Clash, a.k.a. “The Only Band That Matters,” has forever topped my live dream list. I’m a bit skeptical of tribute bands, so I was prepared to take in a mediocre show at best, but I knew I’d enjoy just being a part of the nostalgia.

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Reverb: Live Review of Bobby Bare Jr. @ the Hi-Dive, and Bobby’s reply. . .

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I reviewed Bobby Bare Jr.’s show at the Hi-Dive on South Broadway last Wednesday, September 15, for Denver Post Reverb, and Bobby took the time to comment. I was shocked, and pretty stoked – but not too surprised. I’ve seen him a number of times, and have known him to be damned personable, approachable and easy to talk to. What concerned me was that he seemed just a little pissed at my review – because I pointed out that this show was a little “morose,” in comparison to past ones.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Bare’s been through Denver a number of times in the last six or so years, usually with his band the Young Criminal Starvation League. He consistently entertains full houses with a show bursting with energy, smiles and laughs and filled with hopelessly catchy tunes and brilliant lyricism. While the lyricism and catchy tunes haven’t changed, Wednesday night’s performance was much heavier, more morose. He used to play barefoot, howling impossibly quaint stories that inspired giggles more than sympathy from behind an unwieldy mop of sweaty curls, out of a mouth always bent from recent laughter.

But on Wednesday he wore a dark blue jacket and slacks, a white cowboy hat and shoes. His hair was still a wild mass with a mind of its own — it’s gained even more independence over the years — but it wrapped a lined face adorned with sensible glasses. And his mouth inspired a visage of Joe Cocker crooning amidst considerable pain, rather than ebullience.

He looked and performed more like a later-in-life Roky Erickson than the wonderful and careless Bobby Bare Jr. that has been here before.”

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New Music Threads – Murder Ranks and St. Elias add new life to Denver music

Reaching back to the tradition of dancehall, the updated, stripped down and visceral outgrowth of reggae that revitalized that already tired genre, Murder Ranks uses its basic musical tenets to distill a sweet, strong and minimalist – but sickeningly catchy – punk/dub concoction, and layers it upon modified (sometimes completely transfigured) dancehall riddims. But, where dancehall deejays may use horn sections, other instruments and/or background singers to enhance riddims that they chant and toast over, Murder Ranks reworks these parts with their instruments, and with Scratchie’s vocals, to fit their own aggressive and fun style.

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King Scratchie receives a comforting - and absorbent - hand from Jerk-O the Clown. (Photo: Joe McCabe, Reverb)

REVERB: Warlock Pinchers’ reunion show – There was blood, and so much more . . .

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Cheerleaders, men in diapers (one of them covered in blood) and a clown with a mohawk making balloon animals. That was the scene on the Gothic Theatre’s stage last Friday night.

All of that, and there was also a rock band — Warlock Pinchers, one of Denver’s legendary locals from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s — tangled up in there somewhere, celebrating a reunion after nearly two decades of separation, in front of a packed and ecstatic house. Nothing strange about that lineup, at least not if you’re familiar with the Pinchers’ history.

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Warlock Pinchers together again, shown here at an L.A. practice. (Photo: Beth Herzhaft)

If you catch one show this year, make it this weekend: Warlock Pinchers are back!

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If you were anywhere around the scene in Boulder and Denver in the late ’80s, chances are you were not only familiar with the Pinchers, but you probably carried some of their merchandise with you daily – clipped to your backpack or in your pocket – or you wore out your shield t-shirt as you attended other local shows, PETA rallies, and the occasional CIA hiring protests. These boys – King Scratchie (AKA Daniel Wanush), and K.C. K-Sum (AKA Andrew Novick), EE-Rok (AKA Eric Erickson), DD-Rok (AKA Derek van Westrum), 3KSK (AKA Mark Brooks) and a drum machine – were tearing up backyards, basements, punk venues like Boulder’s Ground Zero and warehouses with a fusion of Faith No More and Beastie Boys’ funk/punk/hip-hop, industrial and hardcore thrash, all wrapped up in intelligent and hilarious, tongue-in-cheek punk rock rage directed towards a spineless, shallow and directionless society.

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The UMS: 4 incredible days, 300+ bands, memories that won’t soon fade

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One impossibly acceptable truth: four days and nights of anything might be just about too much. This is what I found myself thinking last night as I carried pieces of a guitar, smashed onstage at the 3 Kings Tavern by a member of the local band Gangcharger, from venue to venue at the end of the best rock festival in the west. After over 300 bands had played their hearts out to thousands of Denver’s music lovers, the effort at the end looked still unfinished, still full of promise, melody, pounding rhythms, desperate screams and wild howls. All of that formed the beginnings of memories that will never fade.

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High-flying antics are in store when Lucha Libre Mexicana comes to the UMS! (Photo: giantbomb.com)

The UMS, Day 3 – So many bands, so little time! More pre-kus from DenverThread

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Now that we’ve got two, fat and sassy days of the Underground Music Showcase under our belts, the real monster is being unleashed. This weekend, as in festivals past, begins the real UMS proper, and there are more bands, artists, venues, drinks and awesome food today than both of the previous two days combined!

Today also brings out the two-day visit of Lucha Libre Mexicana – a wonderful experience by any standards – in the Groove Automotive Stage at 3:45 & 5:15. If you haven’t seen the masked luchadores before – don’t dare miss this act! You’ll definitely regret it. . . .

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The UMS: Day 2 – DenverThread haikus the bands to see tonight!

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Here’s to the hope that you had a fantastic first night of the 10th Annual Underground Music Showcase all along about a mile of South Broadway last night! Having been to all ten years’ shows, I have to say last nights showing was among the most impressive so far. There were lines about 20 people deep at the box office from the second it opened at 5:30 PM, and crowds were filling all of the eight venues that were showcasing live talent until early into Friday morning.

So – as promised – read on for some haiku-sized recommendations for shows to see tonight at UMS: Day 2!

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Ready for the UMS? Check out these Haiku pointers – to help you make the most of it!

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Denver, The UMS, Day 1, Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 –

It’s come around again. The UMS – Denver’s pinnacle celebration of the local music scene – is upon us, and this year, the festival’s tenth anniversary, this beast has grown, nearly to the point of bursting. Four days, over 20 venues, and over 300 bands, comedians, burlesque and other performance artists (are you a fan of Lucha Libre? Then plan to spend Saturday & Sunday afternoon on South Broadway!) – it boggles the mind!

And yet, this is the sound of our town, and it’s just down the street – and some of it’s even FREE! Denver’s scene has grown with at least the same fury as the UMS over the past ten years, branching out from almost every genre, weaving in and out of each other like trade winds and crosscurrents, and creating new ones along the way.

So how do you decide who to see, after all? Over 300 bands, playing over 4 nights, means . . . something like 75 options per night (not that they’re all split up that way, of course). Without cloning, your chances to see everything is nil. . . Click through to see some suggestions to help you make up your mind!

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Reverb: Maraca Five-0, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club @ the Larimer Lounge

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Judging from the sounds that burst from the Larimer Lounge stage last Saturday night, Colorado is no longer landlocked, and Denver now sports beachfront property.

Those sounds came from local instrumental legends Maraca Five-0, who have reunited after six years to debut as opener for Slim Cessna’s Auto Club — one of a short list of shows this summer.

Actually, it’s far less than fair to classify Maraca Five-0 as a mere “surf band.” While they echo the sound of the Ventures, Laika & the Cosmonauts, Link Wray and Dick Dale, their interpretation of it evokes much more.

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King Buzzo, Melvins' frontman, at the Ogden Theater. (Photo: Joe McCabe/Reverb)

Live review: The Melvins @ the Ogden Theatre

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Mud. Mud and muppets. Those two words best describe the feeling inside the Ogden on Tuesday night, as the Melvins took over the venue on their last U.S. date before heading up to Canada.

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New Threads: New tunes from Gypsy Nomads, Mad Dog and the Smokin’ Js and Deadbubbles

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The summer music overflow has begun, and Denver looks to be deluged with a constant influx, through-flux and home-spun-flux of music for the season, both live and recorded. Upstate New York’s Gypsy Nomads have released a new collection of twelve songs laced with oodles of magic – of both the cabaret/vaudeville and faerie ilk – that will have even the driest of cynics swaying, maybe even singing along, to the duo’s French medieval folk meets West-Mass punk instrumentation. Mad Dog and the Smokin’ Js recently released a live recording of a show at the Tomichi Tavern in Gunnison, CO that captures the bands’ sonic mayhem and should whet any aficionado’s roots appetite. Among other projects – which include a tribute album (currently in the works) and hosting the legendary Hugh Cornwell (frontman of the seminal British punk band Stranglers) in a truly exclusive show recently – Deadbubbles recently produced the “24 Hr. Nemesis” EP, a collection of early ambient recordings featuring White and current guitarist Paul Humphrey.

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Murder Ranks plays a fantastic fun brand of dancehall and hard dub, welcomes the highly anticipated return of Denver’s beloved Warlock Pinchers

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Legendary front range provocateurs and pranksters Warlock Pinchers are getting back together for a show in August, and they’re determined to cash in on the nationwide – worldwide – “remake trend.” Of course, unlike much (most? all?) of the other remake grout that’s been piling up in our entertainment culture for lack of bricks, these guys promise to offer premium, relevant and fun entertainment, chock full of their characteristic DIY, punk rock/hip hop/scramble-wave hybrid mayhem.

Odds are they’ll be among the few projects that will deliver – and deliver over and above. And there will be plenty of merchandise to boot.

The show, scheduled for August 6th at the Gothic Theatre, promises to hold numerous surprises – from airborne meat (likely as not raw) to go-go dancers to cellophane-wrapped band members, in the vein of past extravaganzas. Those legendary shows featured shenanigans like all of the above, as well as various liquids and solids being dumped, sprayed or otherwise unleashed upon their audiences – all in front of pre-recorded (on cassette!) drums and live bass, guitars, screeching, rapping and scratching. In a word, unpredictable. In another word, unmatched – maybe unmatchable. This time, though, all instruments will be live, as the band has taken on Melvins drummer Dale Crover up on a decades-old offer to play with them.

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Live DenverThread Review: Ideal Fathers with Solar Bear, St. Elias at Hi-Dive, 04/29/10

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This part of the Denver scene continues to grow in both band members and fans, and the Hi-Dive hosted an all-local, all noisy and all fun lineup that showcased some of them last Thursday night. Including Solar Bear, Ideal Fathers, St Elias and Colors, it attracted a more than modest crowd, and kept the fans fascinated – often dancing to some metal-dipped prog-rock and post punk.
Solar Bear and St. Elias bookended Ideal Fathers’ set with a somewhat similar vibe based in different sub genres of prog, which actually made the latter band’s style stand out. Not that the two are clones – to the contrary.

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Katy Taylor plays a beautiful, easy and happy folk, perfect for happy hour, or an entire evening. (Photo: MySpace)

Who’s Playin’ What, Where? This Week – Katy Taylor, Salesman, Ideal Fathers

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With a beautiful, lilting voice delivering delicate and passionate songs that recall a younger, more relaxed Suzanne Vega, local troubadour Katy Taylor will be gracing Trios Enoteca this Friday night, to accompany the restaurant’s well-made cocktails, beers, wines and foods. Taylor fits well in the smooth, low-lit atmosphere of Trios – though she would also fit impeccably in a larger venue – with her powerful, folky compositions and accomplished acoustic guitar.

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Threading the Scene with Denver City Saltlicks – The DenverThread Interview

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Denver City Saltlicks – or DCS – pack a musical punch with tunes that explode out of their private backwoods still and into your face with the force of a moonshine firehose. As it finds its way down your throat, it burns with a feeling like it’s removing most of the smooth lining, and then sits inside, warming while it generates a small nuclear reaction that powers unstoppable hips, cheeks and ankles. I defy you to avoid dancing next time you see them live, without suppressing an inevitable and overwhelming full body twitch fit.

The four-piece, currently fronted by ‘Bama Slim and Cate Hate, a brother and sister team that covers vocals, ukelele, washboard and the “Blue Spruce” Johnson (look below for more on this fabulous home-grown piece of music history) and joined by bassist George Wilson and Bullseye Dray, the drummer, can just as easily croon any packed bar into a teary singalong with vocal stylings akin to a duette between a young Elvis and a punkier, grittier Supremes’ Diana Ross. And they fill in the spaces everywhere in between with solid delta blues, smoking surf guitar and frenzied, scathing punk rock – it all depends on their mood, and possibly the heat in the room at the time.

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Thoughts on Malcolm, with a resounding R.I.P. . . . .

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Malcom McLaren died this week, and judging by many comments on Facebook, there seem to be many folks that are much less than mournful. In fact, some seem jaded to a level at which they feel the need to express their dis-ease with being the least bit affected by this monumental swindler’s passing, in very cavalier – even snide – ways. This is funny to me – strange, and strangely typical – that “jadesters” would be so judgmental, so quickly, and with such bravado in large measure.

I have to call bullshit on their attitudes – or at least their cavalier comments – and cite the place McLaren occupies in rock history in his defense.

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The Lumineers play in Denver now, straight outta Brooklyn. (Photo: MySpace/The Lumineers)

DenverThread New Music Reviews – The Lumineers, Salesman

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Two new bands, both associated with Colorado, unleash some damned good EPs on the scene. The Lumineers just moved here from the insanely creative hotbed of Brooklyn, NY about 5 months ago, and we’re ecstatic to have them. After all, the flow of musicians and great music has seemed to be going in the opposite direction of late. Musically, their seven-song, self-titled EP often approaches Radiohead’s signature quiet, tied-up desperation, then moves towards the Avett Brothers’ brilliance in composition and lyricism, and channels that through rhythms that often recall civil war marches.
Salesman brings a huge, flailing guitar sound, strong vocals and soft, driven rhythms, based in Austin-by-way-of Cañon City. This four-piece answers the question: “What would’ve happened if Jeffrey Lee Pierce hadn’t died, and instead invested in a little voice coaching?” Or – maybe a lot of voice coaching.

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DenverThread Live Review – Gangcharger plays a secret show at Skylark, Thursday, 03/25/10

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. . . saw a Gangcharger onstage that has mastered not only its sound, but also its whole rhythmic philosophy. The sound entwines early, frantic and noisy Sonic Youth rhythms inside Kevin Shields chord habits and unleashes a sound that feels like it’s locked you in the trunk of a 1981 Camaro, as it drives at 145 MPH deep into the Western Slope towards Utah, and forces you to enjoy every minute of it.

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Ideal Fathers plays a smart, thrilling, fast-paced style that lends itself to high-intensity slasher films, especially if they're made in Japan. (Photo: MySpace/Ideal Fathers)

The “Denver Sound,” long dead, makes room for lighter, noisier, funner genres in the scene

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The world-famous “Denver Sound” has petered out.

Which is not to say that the beautiful, often over-the-top and heavy handed gothic alt-country sound isn’t significant anymore – not at all. That sound helped put Denver back on the musical globe in the ’80s and ‘90s, and still attracts its fair share of fans. It’s still appreciated world-wide, and many remain ravenous for it – especially in Europe.

But it exists currently in a type of atrophy in Denver – it’s taken a back seat that has allowed an insurgence of more than a few different genres to begin to flourish, or re-flourish, as the case may be. Denver has a strong music scene – perhaps the strongest in the US (at the moment) – and part of its strength comes from its wide variety. So if the sometimes overbearing popularity of the “Denver Sound” – indeed the often overweighted nature of the sound itself – is waning, it can only be good news for the lighter, the more pop-y, the innovative and indie, or the more aggressive and punkier genres.

And that’s exactly what’s happening in the bar, dive, club, backyard and warehouse scene right now.

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Live DenverThread Review: The Inactivists provide some sweet, sickly heartbreak for the love-challenged

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Scott Livingston isn’t someone you want to wrong, particularly in the arena of love. As frontman of Denver band The Inactivists, a band known for its nerdy humor mixed with artsy rock, he’s got a soapbox that’s pretty tall. And with the band’s latest record, “Love Songs and Other Songs About Love,” they’ve taken the heartbreak of a dissolved relationship and bent it into an aural sculpture on a framework of sardonic and geeky wit, and Livingston is the mouthpiece.

Even more extreme than the record, Inactivists’ live show is one to be reckoned with, and they showed it off last Saturday night (January 30) at the Walnut Room in front of an impressive crowd. Behind his electric ukelele, Livingston cuts an impressive figure that belies the internal strife his lyrics portend. He’s more than well met by Victoria Lundy’s wild and earthy performance on the theremin and Pattie Melt’s smooth, punky saxophone and accordion, Matt Sumner’s bass funk and Kelly Prestridge’s complex rhythms.

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Lion’s Lair Art Shows: East Colfax finds Jesus, and he’s hangin’ at the Lair!

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Matthew Hunter is keeping his artful promises, and this time the results approach the sacred – and may come close to a little of the profane as well. Hunter promised himself recently that he would hold a cooperative art show in the Lion’s Lair, Denver’s venerated punk rock dive, every other month into perpetuity, or for as long as he (and the community) could stand it – whichever comes first.

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Threading The Scene: The Inactivists spread their love straight into the heart of Denver

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I’ve been introduced to the perfect collection of songs to commemorate the “holiday,” complete with the appropriate level of irony, humor and lovelorn misgivings in The inactivists’ “Love Songs & Other Songs About Love,” released last year. So much more than merely a pile of rosy, soap opera schmaltz, this record, through The Inactivists’ sharp wit and sense of humor, represents probably the most honest revelation of love from the eyes of a constantly unrequited nerd (and let’s face it, all of us have been that, at one time or another), played by a band of Muppets that landed a daily gig in a bar inside David Lynch’s cranium.

The five piece plays an eclectic style of pop that defies any one genre, and deifies many. Sometimes it’s funk from Sly & the Family Stone – albeit often with an overwhelming flavor of Morris Day & The Time – and sometimes it’s arty rock from bands like King Crimson, or sick and flirty forays into psychedelia that rival Butthole Surfers’ wildest.

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Michael Gira, from Angels of Light, is planning to revivify his earliest project, the seminal noise band Swans, this fall. (Photo: Anne Helmond)

Music News: Michael Gira announces plans to reactivate Swans in the Fall

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Michael Gira, founder of Young God Records and vocalist/visionary front for Angels of Light, used to live a somewhat louder existence. An existence replete with just as much musical and lyrical beauty as the Angels’ output of over the past decade, but one that was also terrifyingly violent, brutal, hostile and swathed in a noise that had not been heard before, and has (so far) not been heard again since it was silenced with the death of his first band, Swans.

And Gira has announced what was constantly up to now only seen as an impossibility: he’s decided to reactivate the legendary band, and will release a new collection of songs (tentatively) in the fall of 2010. Plans for touring are also reportedly in the works.

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The Reverend and band serenaded a nonplussed Boulder audience last Friday night. (Photo: Todd Radunsky/Reverb)

The Reverend Horton Heat @ the Boulder Theater, 01/15/10 – Reverb

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As far as psychobilly goes, you’re not likely to find a better practitioner than Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath and the rest of his legendary trio, the Reverend Horton Heat. The Texas group graced the Boulder Theater last Friday night in the middle of a multiple night tour in Colorado. Too bad the Boulder crowd didn’t completely wake up for the show!

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Denver's Gangcharger offers a thick sound that may well be the loudest in Denver. (Photo:MySpace)

New CD Reviews – Denver Local Edition! Gangcharger, Ideal Fathers offer new tunes

Two local bands make some fantastically furious noise with two new EPs. Denver fans of loud, noise-addled shoegaze rock and wild, frenetic screaming punk will rejoice!

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Reverend Peyton led his Big Damn Band in a wild set of country-blues-punk at the Larimer last Saturday night. (Photo by Joshua Elioseff/Reverb)

The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band @ the Larimer Lounge, 01/09/10 – Reverb

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Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band kicked off their tour of the American West last Saturday night at the Larimer Lounge fresh and full of their characteristically furious country blues spirit, and added some punchy humor to the mix, to boot.

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Slim Cessna’s Auto Club @ the Bluebird Theater, 12/30/09 – Reverb

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Leave it to Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, who have put on one of Denver’s best live shows for more than a decade, to be the only band that could outdo their own reputation. That’s what happened last Wednesday at the Bluebird in the first of two New Year’s Eve celebratory shows. The six-piece not only proved their consummate showmanship, often sardonically tongue-in-cheek, but also a grasp of drama, playing as the cast of the classic cartoon Popeye. And they added some new tunes to their set — the first in more than three years.

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Melt Banana @ the Bluebird Theater – 12/07/09 – Reverb

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For the first 25 minutes of their set at the Bluebird Theater Monday night,Melt Banana blasted the crowd with a melange of noise and darkness — pierced only by the members’ head-mounted lights — that felt like my imagination of shock therapy, without the benefit of that thick piece of rubber they shove in your mouth to keep you from biting through your tongue. Never have I been so impressed by the venue’s sound system, nor have I ever felt the need to don earplugs so badly. And yet I, along with the smallish, half-capacity (at best) crowd, loved every ear drum piercing minute of it. So much so that when the four piece settled into more accessible, 30- to 90-second pieces with recognizable rhythms and chords for the remainder of their set, we all seemed to miss the cacophony.

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The Don’ts and Be Carefuls, Josephine & the Mousepeople @ the Meadowlark – Reverb

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It’s no shock that DBCs are gaining a following, and quickly. As Banker said in a recent interview: “We want to play music that is crazy fun, but also has some substance to it. We want people to have so much fun they shake where they stand.”

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Threading the Scene: An Interview with The Dont’s and Be Carefuls

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Officially a band for just under two years (and a significant part of that time was spent finishing school up in Greeley), Denver’s The Don’ts and Be Carefuls are quickly racking up a live history that many local bands would die for. In that short time, they’ve shared the stage with bands like Hot IQs, Tapes ‘N Tapes, Mumiy Troll and HEALTH, to name a few, and they’re already throwing an EP Release party Friday night, December 4, at Meadowlark.

Not to say they sound alike – well, maybe a little (I wouldn’t be surprised to find that their sheet music shared similar coffee stains) – but Hot IQs corpse has barely quit steaming, and with The DBCs, Denver’s already faced with a suitor more than capable of helping us to move out of mourning, and back on to the dance floor. This band’s catchy thrash-while-you-stomp-and-giggle style is bound to prick up more than a few dozen ears after Friday night, and should be well on its way into the local scene’s psyche by the time the weekend’s over.

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Pixies @ the Fillmore Auditorium (Day 1) – Reverb

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If you were a young adult anywhere near the “alternative” music scene in 1989 when the Pixies’ “Doolittle” album was originally released, you remember its buzz. This was no “ordinary” record, and it came from a decidedly un-“ordinary” band, at least for their time. Its significance has more than survived the test of time, which is exactly why the band was at the Fillmore Auditorium on Monday night to perform the whole damn thing — along with some subsequently released B-sides from around the same time.

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Mason Jennings, Nathaniel Rateliffe & the Wheel @ the Bluebird Theater – Reverb

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You might think that Mason Jennings’ decision to become a member of Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label family would be an iffy move for the fiercely independent singer-songwriter that he is, and whether the association would soften his style. I did, until I saw him play at the Bluebird last Friday night. I was certain I would be subject to a too-clean, pop-folky string of bouncy, happy tunes, the ilk of which build up the majority of Johnson’s oeuvre. Not so. Jennings remains a strong, almost surly and unabashedly political songwriter, with more in common with Paul Westerberg or Elliott Smith than the lighthearted crooner.

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Threading the Scene: Denver’s Deadbubbles’ unbeatable live show comes easy, but packs plenty of raw power

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Arlo White has always wanted to be in a band. “Ever since I was a kid,” he told me during a recent discussion, “I’ve always been focused on the idea of being in a rock band . . . .” After years of trying repeatedly to pull friends, friends of friends, people he’d meet at shows – and just about anyone else – into his dream, he’s finally met it with Denver’s Deadbubbles. This band is one that Jack Black’s character in “School of Rock,” die-hard rock ‘n roll fan Dewey Finn, would be proud of – one that mixes passion and simplicity with solid knowledge and respect for the classics.

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DenverThread Live Review: Vitamins w/The Outfit, Meadowlark, 11/7/09

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The Meadowlark Bar continues to set the bar for live national and local lineups in a hip, comfortable environment night after night. Last Saturday’s lineup was no exception, and featured The Outfit and headliners Vitamins, both originally from Greeley, after being supported by Johnny Burroughs (also a Greeley native) and Seattle’s garage-bluesy The Curious Mystery. The last two groups stole the night, and each packed the place with what looked like two separate crowds.
Vitamins’ style ranges from sweeping, ethereal arrangements that recall Cocteau Twins and Ride, to grooving psychedelic noise pop reminiscent of Sonic Youth or Yo La Tengo. Strong, anchoring euro-jazz bass lines and often sparse, lilting vocals also add an otherworldly, Stereolab quality to it as well. Their mixture of these influences creates a sound that’s almost entirely their own – but not quite. For a relatively young band – they formed in 2005 in Greeley, and transplanted themselves in Denver not too long after – they’ve come a long way in a short time, but still seem to favor different influences on an almost song-by-song basis. Overall, though, the variety makes for one of Denver’s more exciting live shows.

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Live review: Art Brut @ Bluebird Theater 11/6/09 – Reverb

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Argos’ stage persona, always confident and mumblingly hilarious, seemed to continuously morph. He channeled Mark E. Smith, Lester Bangs, John Lydon and Joey Ramone — sometimes all four at once — in front of the constantly wild antics of Catskilkin and Future. All of it was backed by the rhythm section formed by Feedback’s raucous bass and Breyer’s pounding drums.

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Valient Thorr @ the Larimer Lounge, 11/5/09 – Reverb

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Lead singer Valient Himself, as wild and provocative a character as you’re likely to find across the metal spectrum, carried both the crowd and the band with his over-the-top antics and supercharged metabolism, screaming to the head-banging mosh pit about conspiracies behind the government, endless partying and the eventual rise of an army of partially robotic and undead police, destined to take over the state if we don’t maintain a vigilant watch every second.

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Reed Bremmer leads Speedwolf through a set of screaming speed metal at the Larimer Lounge last Thursday, opening for Valient Thorr. (Photo: DenverThread)

Speedwolf hits the road to tour the midwest, after opening for Valient Thorr at Larimer Lounge

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One of Denver’s hardest working metal bands, Speedwolf, is about to embark on a week-long tour of the midwest to spread their raucous brand of speed metal to the heartland. Starting out in Des Moines, IA on Thursday, November 19, the band will play shows back-to-back every night for six nights, traveling through Chicago, Lakewood (Ohio), Lansing, St. Louis and Kansas City before heading back home to Denver (dates are listed below). Seems exhausting, but if any band can pull it off and live to tell about it, it’s this one.

After months of playing multiple shows around Denver nearly every week, the band is excited to take their high energy, explosive speed metal show on the road – and answer to the public that’s been calling them out. They’ll be sharing stages on the tour with bands like Borderline Insanity, Animal Mothers, Calin’s Murder, Music Hates You, Wastelander and Die Wasted, among others, but they’re most excited to be playing a few with Nunslaughter and SuperChrist.

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Jam Space USA and Whisper Fiercely have joined forces to help your local band grow. Their debut will be held at an industry shindig this Sunday, November 8, starting at 4PM.

Fiercely Local: Jam Space USA and Whisper Fiercely join forces for the Denver music scene

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Two local businesses, each with some pretty serious clout and equally serious dedication to the local Denver music scene, recently joined forces to offer local bands, beginners or otherwise, a huge resource center to help them succeed. Whisper Fiercely has been a successful production company for the past two years and have always focused on the local. The group offers bands (and other businesses) design, merchandise, promotion and marketing help, and were also instrumental in organizing, promoting, booking and executing EchoFest ’09, the local band extravaganza (there were over 20 local bands on the lineup) at Echo Mountain. Jam Space USA, a local studio facility on North Federal, opened just a year ago, and offers local musicians professionally and fully stocked and wired studio and recording space, as well as promotional support. A few months ago, Whisper Fiercely moved into the building, and the two have decided to collaborate.

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Jay Munly, in full and redemptive sinner persona, mesmerized the Bender's audience on Halloween night. (Photo: Haley Carnifax/Reverb)

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club @ Bender’s Tavern 10/31/09 – Reverb

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“Just like Slim!” “Just Like Munly!” The two centers of the cyclone that is the live performance of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club hollered these lines again and again at each other during their anthemic “He, Roger Williams” at Bender’s last Saturday night.

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Night of the Living Barn @ Lions Lair, w/SlakJaw & Denver City Saltlicks, Saturday, 10/24/09

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Barn art, live performances by two of Denver’s best old-timey bum-core bands and the best damned dive bar on the country’s longest main street – all of this came together last Saturday night for the “Night of the Living Barn” at the Lions Lair.

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e-town with Moby, Nellie McKay @ the Boulder Theater, 10/25/09 – Reverb

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Moby is an erudite speaker, full of easy wit and loads of charm. He seemed thoroughly at home as he and host Nick Forster talked about things as provocatively disparate as religion, politics and climate change. When asked about his Christian beliefs — something Moby has been repeatedly chided about over years past — he retorted that “the agenda of the Christian right has almost nothing to do with the actual teachings of Christ.”

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Great Lake Swimmers @ the Larimer Lounge, 10/21/09 – Reverb

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Great Lake Swimmers’ beautifully sparse folk seemed more than a little incongruous among the torn paper and haphazardly stapled flyers on the walls of the Larimer Lounge last Wednesday night.

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The Pogues @ Ogden Theatre, Friday, 10/23/09 – Reverb

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The full eight-member band proved as much at the Ogden Theatre on Friday night with a resplendent performance of more than 25 songs that more than wiped the slate clean.

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. . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead w/Future of the Left, Bluebird Theater, Tues., 10/20/09 – Reverb

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You couldn’t ask for a more apt pairing of bands than Tuesday’s Bluebird Theater lineup of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Future of the Left — particularly in size. Both feature overwhelming avalanches of pure volume, corrupted beautifully by strong melodies and ferocious rock rhythms. And both have a stage sound that can never be replicated on record.

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High Art and Bum Core!! “Night of the Living Barn” comes to The Lion’s Lair Oct 24, 2009

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This Saturday night, October 24th, the Lion’s Lair has a special night planned that will include art, Bum- and Old-Tyme-Core and corn on the cob. And Matt Hunter, who plays the “gut-bucket bass” for local legends SlakJaw, wants all of you to join us for it.

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Elin Palmer (CD release), Sissy Wish @ the Hi-Dive – Reverb

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While last Saturday’s Hi-Dive show was originally setup to celebrate the release of Palmer’s first solo CD, “Postcard,” circumstances cast a sort of pall over it that made it seem more like a goodbye party than a debut.

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Surf-rock's favorite luchadores, Los Straitjackets, have released another rockin' collection of Christmas tunes. (Cover: Yep Roc)

New Release: Los Straitjackets “Yuletide Beat” available for pre-order – and they have a groovy Holiday Gift Pack, too!

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Rock’s favorite luchadores, Los Straitjackets, continue to set the wave for shimmering yuletide surf-rock joy with their latest release, “Yuletide Beat,” available for pre-order from Yep Roc Records now. A follow up to their massively popular 2002 holiday release “Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets,” the new record has been made available in a VERY limited edition (1,000 CDs/1,000 vinyl copies) for order now.

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Yo La Tengo @ the Ogden Theatre, 09/10/09 – Reverb

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Now in their 25th year together, the Hoboken trio have a cache of music that crosses and re-crosses genres but always remains within their own style. Their show featured Ira Kaplan’s signature reverb and tremolo-drenched guitar and overloud keyboards supporting his often sparse vocals, backed up by wife Georgia Hubley on drums and vocals and James McNew on bass and guitar.

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Butthole Surfers, Psychic Ills, Circle # Dot @ the Ogden Theatre, 10/09/09 – Reverb

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If you’d never seen Butthole Surfers before last Friday night’s show at the Ogden, then you were treated to a mild spectacle. On the other hand, if this show was a chance for you to revisit the band after their many years away from stages (as it was for me), chances are you found yourself more than a little disappointed. After existing almost entirely upon a reputation for wild, often violent and over-the-top live shows and a general band attitude that matched, their somnambulistic performance that night just didn’t cut it.

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New Release: Local Shakedown, Vol. 3 – Radio 1190’s brilliant snapshot of the Denver scene

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If you’re familiar with Radio 1190 (KVCU Boulder, The University of Colorado at Boulder’s independent station) in general, or their weekly Friday afternoon show dedicated to the local scene in particular, you already have a pretty good idea of the significance of this release. “Local Shakedown, Vol 3,” is the third installment of the radio station’s compilation of the best of the local best, and this year’s promises to be the best so far.

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Sian Alice Group, Gangcharger @ the Hi-Dive, 10/06/09 – Reverb

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Sian Alice Group filled the Hi-Dive last Tuesday with a resplendent sound that coaxed visions of quiet, snow-filled night streets as easily it did hot, tribal raves in the desert. Unfortunately, their tremendous performance was about all that filled the venue, as the crowd was far smaller than it should have been, even for a school night.

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She Wants Revenge, Kill Hannah @ the Bluebird Theater, 10/4/09 – Reverb

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The band’s show at the Bluebird Theater last Sunday night turned out to be a perfect place to show off their emulative prowess, featuring a playlist of songs heavily influenced as much by old school bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, the Cure and Soft Cell as Interpol and Nine Inch Nails, and with more than a bit of Rick James’ funk.

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New Releases: Lisa Germano, Elvis Perkins In Dearland – 10/06/09

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Germano: The first time I heard the ethereal, esoteric and often terrifying music of Lisa Germano on her CD “Happiness” in 1994 (through oversized headphones attached to my DiscMan), I was immediately addicted.

Perkins: Elvis Perkins’ musical genre falls somewhere between dixieland jazz and “freak folk,” between Hollywood and Bourbon Street. He and the other members of ” Elvis Perkins In Dearland” are about to release the new 6-song “Doomsday EP,” a perfect melange of their sound, October 20.

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Clutch's Neil Fallon, schooling willing followers at The Fillmore last Wednesday night. (Photo: Mateo Leyba, Denver Post)

Clutch @ The Fillmore, 09/30/09 – Reverb

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Clutch is heavy. Heavy enough to pull in all the roots of punk, metal, funk and grunge and bundle them into the perfect musical explosive. Their performance at the Fillmore last Wednesday proved it, as they pummeled a more than willing, near capacity audience with over 90 minutes of material from all over their musical history.

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"43rd Street Zoo Presents" wants you to see the music they see in Denver's scene.

Introducing: 43rd Street Zoo Presents – promoting Denver’s punk and techno scenes

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“. . . . Our vision for 43rd Street Zoo Presents [is] to bring together the people of two different music scenes, and to expose people to music they might not otherwise consider listening to. Cardinal, whose real name is Kevin Carlberg, is from the drum and bass/techno scene, and I have my roots in punk and rock. We cross-promote across the two scenes, and have begun building a community around this concept at different venues around Denver, including the famous Lion’s Lair on Colfax Ave.” – Brandi Darling of 43rd Street Zoo Presents, on promoting two of Denver’s strongest scenes. . . .

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Echofest ’09: In this case, it’s the first time that’s charmed – Echo Mountain – 09/26/09

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While the new outdoor festival, put on for the first time last Saturday at Echo Mountain, is certainly no Monolith (yet), it was well attended, and went off pretty much without a hitch.
Arranged and staged in a cooperative effort between local sponsor JamSpace, local promoter Whisper Fiercely and Echo Mountain, the all-day festival featured a lineup of about 20 local Denver bands on two stages, set up smack in the middle of the mountain’s bunny hill and nestled against the “magic carpet” lift, and attracted a crowd that at one point looked like it was comprised of more than 100 fans, despite some pretty stiff winds, wild temperature swings, and a rugged, campground atmosphere.
As you can imagine, putting on any live show isn’t a walk in the park. There are so many places where things can go wrong – from bands canceling at the last minute (even if they do actually call and let the promoter know) to equipment problems, to a myriad of other problems, any of which have the potential to bring all the promoter’s and venue’s efforts to naught, which is to say nothing about any return on their investments in both time and money.
Try and imagine doing it outside, on the side of a mountain, in the middle of a skiing/boarding park, more than 30 minutes from downtown, and more than 12 miles from the nearest significant power grid. Not only are there the usual equipment and sound considerations to contend with, but now you’ve added weather, terrain, transportation and power challenges that no other venue faces, even on their worst day.

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The Alltunators, Velvet Cash, Jimbo Darville and the Truckadours, New Ben Franklins @ the Meadowlark, 09/24/09 – Reverb

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Velvet Cash played a strong set of great psychobilly at Meadowlark last Thursday night, in what was supposed to be one of the final outdoor shows of the season.

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CYPB: Already at the top, these young pipers have their eyes on world domination . . .

The Colorado Youth Pipe Band, the only competitive pipe band in Colorado comprised entirely of youth under 18, competes regularly – locally, nationally and internationally – against all-adult bands, and has for a lot of years. Their first competition was just about 20 years ago, as a matter of fact, and they’ve not missed a year since. And, in the past three years, the CYPB Competition Band has dominated all of the major Front Range contests, gaining or retaining status of “Band of the Games” for nearly every one.

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Upcoming Show: Pink Mountaintops w/Snake Rattle Rattle Snake – Hi-Dive, 11/21/09

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Pink Mountaintops, perhaps the closest thing to a perfect mashup of shoegaze and freak-folk, have announced a Denver date at Hi-Dive on November 21, 2009, in support of their recently released third record, “Outside Love.”

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Topper, Mick and Billy - together for rock and rehab! (photo: Tom Sheehan/J.G.D.)

Billy Bragg teams up with “Clash”-ers Mick Jones & Topper Headon for “Jail Guitar Doors”

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VIDEO CLIP! For the first time in nearly three decades, Mick Jones and Topper Headon from The Clash, have reunited in the studio! Along with Billy Bragg, they met recently to record a new version of The Clash’s 1977 punk rock hit “Jail Guitar Doors” to help a charity that distributes musical instruments to prison inmates.

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Riverboat Gamblers, Kill City Bombers, Pitch Invasion @ Larimer Lounge, 09/15/09

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Despite sharing nearly all of the characteristics that define many of the other bands in the melodic punk genre, Gamblers are head and shoulders above any I’ve heard in a while, both in skill and passion.

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For the Holidays: Los Straitjackets – new holiday album, ¡Viva Christmas! tour, with El Vez, in the works

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America’s favorite surfing luchadores, Los Straitjackets, are mere weeks away from releasing a brand new Christmas album, a follow up to their extremely popular “‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets,” released in 2002.

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Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips on Colbert Report

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Wayne Coyne spoke briefly to Stephen Colbert, and the entire band performed “Convinced of the Hex,” from the new album “Embryonic,” Wednesday night.

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Revolting Cocks @ the Gothic Theatre, 09/13/09 – Reverb

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The feeling behind songs like “Cousins,” “Robo Bandidos,” and set-ender “I’m Not Gay” seemed to fall flat. . . . the type of industrial punk they were pawning, infused with a cheap strip-joint aesthetic is more worn out, old and embarrassing than the strippers one might find at said strip-joint.

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Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highlands Festival, 09/12-13/09 – Reverb

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Weaving ubiquitously through all of it was the music. From so many pipers practicing simultaneously (a cacophony that everyone should experience), to the competing full bands on the field, to the large and small musician’s tents hosting performances with endless combinations of Celtic folk and rock . . . .

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Last Minute Live! It Should’ve Been Lars w/Speedwolf – TONIGHT, Oriental

It Should’ve Been Lars and Speedwolf, who were supposed to play in Aspen tonight, have moved their show to The Oriental, on 44th & Tennyson, in Denver.

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Madness releases a new album – 1st in ten years!

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Madness, legendary 2 Tone/Second Wave UK ska/punk band from the mid’70s, is releasing their first record of original material in ten years, on Yep Roc! records. “The Liberty of Norton Folgate” is slated for release on September 29, 2009.
You can pre-order the record here, or stream it online HERE.

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Ween @ Red Rocks, 09/06/09 – Reverb

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Ween have . . . aged well (only too evident in Gene’s now-grey, newly short hair), and comfortably wield many varying musical styles with aplomb. Their tight grasp on the building blocks of so many genres, arguably born out of a deep-seated irreverence for all of them, has given them the ability to create true-sounding originals full of wit, charm and sarcasm, with mere hints of mockery.

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Git Some @ Bender’s Tavern, Sept. 5, ’09 – Reverb

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Git Some gets a lot of their sound from the now defunct Denver band Planes Mistaken for Stars, once home to both Keener and French (and once voted Denver’s best band in the Denver Post’s Underground Music Poll), but this band’s take on the music is somewhat less dramatic. They’ve kept the weighty metal chords in their sound, but have added a Jesus Lizard-meets-Black Flag song structure, which seems to give the sound some lift. Where PMFS reflected the more traditional, sour sturm und drang behind emo, Git Some offers a faster, more careless attitude.

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Interview: The Alltunators, courting Denver with a sweet, folksy, bygone sound

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Both live and on record, The Alltunators masterfully mix honest and passionate acoustic constructions behind Jessica Slater’s heartfelt lyrics and sweet and earnest, soft-spoken vocals, and add brilliant, bluesy jams behind Andy Miller’s sassy juke joint crooning. . . . The result is a summery Sunday afternoon feeling – fresh, relaxing, almost drowsily comforting.
I had a chance to interview the band recently about where they’ve come from, and where they’re going.

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Modest Mouse @ The Fillmore, Sept. 2, 2009 – Reverb

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I love it when two drummers can pull it off playing together, and Green and Plummer played as if they were one — with the benefit of eight limbs. At the same time Fairchild’s guitar performance came as close as possible to actually replacing Johnny Marr, arguably one of indie rock’s most innovative players.

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Fruit Bats w/Death Vessel, @ Larimer Lounge, August 29, 2009 – Reverb

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[Eric D. Johnson’s Fruit Bats] weaved a ’70s-tinged folky-pop tapestry that recalled as much Supertramp and the Allman Brothers as My Morning Jacket and, yes, just a slight dusting of the Shins, as they choogled through an hour-long set of alternately jammy and poppy tunes.

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Reverb Interview: Fruit Bats

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“. . . it’s hard to make the Shins comparisons on Fruit Bats’ excellent new album, “The Ruminant Band,” which edges closer to the rambling vibe of ’70s classic rock than the Shins’ ’60s-tinged missives.” – John Wenzel, Denver Post

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The Flaming Lips bury Red Rocks with confetti, lasers and peace

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Having seen the Flaming Lips some 12 times over the past 15 years, the question I kept pondering before their next appearance was “How are they ever going to be able to top the last one?”
Since their appearances on the side stage in 1994’s Lollapalooza tour – the last time they put on any type of “regular” show – the Oklahoma natives seem to out-do themselves on every tour. August 23rd’s Red Rocks show was no exception.

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Spot @ The Meadowlark, August 21, 2009 – Reverb

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did have some idea of what type of music Spot would offer up that night, though, and he did not disappoint. In fact, his skill, jovial charisma and simple, blues-driven, folky punk did everything to completely wipe away any preconceived images I may have had, and replaced them with an almost loving respect for the gentleman musician he really was.

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Sonic Youth @ The Ogden, and Akron/Family @ The Bluebird, July 31, 2009 – Reverb

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. . . the five-piece showed the surging Denver throng that it has reached a sort of musical plateau, one where it can perform just about any collection of new, old and really old material with aplomb and brilliance. They can whip any crowd into a throbbing fury, and then easily coax it back into placidity.

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John Doe and the Sadies @ the Lion’s Lair, July 28, 2009 – Reverb

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From the first plea in their opening cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Stop the World and Let Me Off,” you could feel that last Tuesday night’s set from John Doe and the Sadies at

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Mr. Black Francis @ The Walnut Room, July 29, 2009 – Reverb

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Black Francis — a.k.a. Frank Black, a.k.a. the leader of alt- and indie heroes the Pixies — is a storyteller. His ability to thread a yarn through rambling, surrealist lyrics is only exceeded by his talent in wrangling pure and simple rock that’s a worthy backdrop for them.

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Frontside Five, Git Some, Speedwolf @ the Marquis Theater, 07/16/09 – Reverb

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Frontside Five has reached a sort of plateau in skate-punk, which actually involves leaving behind much of the genre’s simplicity in favor of some more complex rhythms, and a slightly more metal edge.

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Denver International One-Man-Band Fest @ 3 Kings Tavern, 07/12/09 – Reverb

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There are some artists that need to be alone, and then there are those that just plain can’t play with anyone else. It’s the latter group that put themselves on stage as a one-man-band — performing with total musical independence, total responsibility.

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Slim Cessna’s Auto Club @ the Larimer Lounge, 07/15/09 – Reverb

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. . . the fervor, the excitement, the downright religious intensity Slim Cessna’s Auto Club brings to the stage never seems to fade, though I, like hundreds of other natives, have seen it regularly since they started out in 1992. . .

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Jonathan Richman @ the Lion’s Lair, 07/01/09 – Reverb

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Jonathan Richman has a deeper affection for the Lion’s Lair than we thought. He played in the tiny Colfax dive-bar a year ago . . .

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The always-provocative Mirah played at the Hi-Dive last Sunday.

Mirah @ Hi-Dive, April 12, 2009 – Reverb

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Portland singer-songwriter Mirah introduced herself at the Hi-Dive Sunday night by saying “My name is Mirah, and I think I’m actually wearing a bra!” In one simple, quirky sentence about a slightly provocative item of clothing, walls of listener/performer separation instantly evaporated, and we felt as close to Mirah as her skin-tight shirt.

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Motörhead, Misfits @ the Fillmore Auditorium, 09/06/08 – Reverb

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The last time I saw Motörhead was with Black Sabbath at the Paramount Theatre, some 10 years ago, and Lemmy looked older then than he did Saturday night at the Fillmore fronting his legendary metal band.

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Valient Thorr @ the Larimer Lounge, July 16, 2008 – Reverb

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In front of blister-fast rhythms and searing metal riffs, Valient Himself screamed songs into the mosh pit on subjects ranging from how poorly George Bush is handling this country and the Iraq war . . . .

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Matmos @ the Boulder Theater, July 15, 2008 – Reverb

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Drew Daniel bounced around his table like an animated mad scientist leaning over his mixing boards, laptops and synths and frantically grabbing, mixing, and manipulating sounds. M.C. Smith sat at his table fingering his synth, and then strumming, scratching and hitting the strings on his guitar. Over their heads played a black and white video of a young blonde Adonis-looking character, masturbating in a hot tub.

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Nashville Pussy w/Hemi Cuda @ the Larimer Lounge, July 11, 2008 – Reverb

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Take that thick, moonshine-soaked, screaming guitar work, along with inherent lyrics about living and driving (just like the Duke boys) between the still and the roadhouse in your tricked out Charger, or in your pick-up — complete with confederate flag and gun rack — and add a healthy dose of Cramps-style psychobilly and AC/DC-style metal and screaming — and you come close to what Nashville Pussy serves up on stage every night.

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Filter @ Bluebird Theater, July 7, 2008 – Reverb

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Though [Patrick] screamed often in anger about the disgust he holds for the situation we find our society in — centered around the Iraq war, but certainly not limited to it — he could have been reading off of cue cards at times.

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