The DenverThread hour-by-hour guide to The UMS, Day 3 – You’re Welcome!
After two days of ear- and heart-blasting music, lights, beers and friends, The UMS is probably starting to feel like home to you by now. The problem is, there are still two full days left – and more acts than ever to try and catch! So – we’re going to help you out again, with a lineup of acts by the hour, recommended by DenverThread, and guaranteed to leave a mark – on your soul as well as your record collection. Take a deep breath, a swig of your courage of choice and hold on – here we go with UMS 2014 Day Three!
1:00 pm – Eldren (Presented by Spokesbuzz) – Irish Rover, 54 S. Broadway
Eldren explode from the stage with an overwhelming psychedelia that evokes Polyphonic Spree and – yes, I’m gonna say it – Electric Light Orchestra. There may be just seven members, they sound closer to 10 or 15. Big, lovely bombast and pure party happiness. Check out “Yankee Stargazer,” below. ★★★ (3 Stars)
2:00 pm – Inner Oceans (presented by Holy Underground + MusicFestival App) – The Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway
Sweeping synthesizers over thumping bass hits and soft, shoegazey vocals lead you down into a cool, cavernous calm. This is where Inner Oceans lives, and where they want you to come and stay. Check out “Ready Your Ghost,” and see how you feel about spending time there. (Inner Oceans also plays at 4:00 pm Sunday, at the Skylark, if you miss this afternoon’s performance). ★★★★ (4 Stars)
3:00 pm – TV Girl (presented by Holy Underground + MusicFestival App) – The Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway
TV Girl lands at the Hi-Dive from hometown L.A., and bring in happyhappyhappy trip-hop mixed with fresh samples and throaty harmonies. If this doesn’t start off your Saturday evening in grand, Summer Pop style, you’d probably better have a few more shots before your next band. Check out “The Getaway,” and tell us it doesn’t melt you like a popsicle. ★★★★ (4 Stars)
4:00 pm – E.C. Lab – The Hornet – 76 Broadway
EC Lab plays a simple, powerful brand of bluesy garage that evokes a little bit of Black Keys, a little bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers (back when they were screaming about real men and coyotes, not lamenting their Californication). The duo is part of L.A.’s The Royal Heist, and will rock the heat into your afternoon. Bring a towel. Check out “No Longer” and see (The band is so far underground that the only place y ou can hear them – outside this afternoon at the UMS, is on MySpace. Go figure.) ★★★ (3 Stars)
E.C. Lab on MySpace
5:00 pm – Two Tone Wolf Pack – Skylark Lounge – 140 S. Broadway
Two Tone Wolf Pack may be the strongest example of what used to be called the “Denver Sound” at this year’s UMS. Based in some mixture of Appalachian Mountain music, Pentacostal tent revivals and gothic country, the sound defined much of the music coming out of Denver around the time the UMS was just cutting its first teeth (see 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, The Denver Gentlemen, Munly, and so many more). Two Tone Wolf Pack aren’t reviving it, though. They’re living the music, and the backwoods, jumping a train to the next town lifestyle, and howling about it. Great, great stuff. Check out “Dead Men Hangin’,” below. ‘Nuff said. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
6:00 pm – Sugar Skulls & Marigolds – Brendan’s – 404 N. Broadway
Danny and Andrew Aranow – both play in other Denver bands (Monroe Monroe, Microdots, Saturn Cowboys) – step right smack into the haze of Colorado’s most popular new retail item with this instrumental stoner rock band. If you’re not partaking – either with edibles, vape or the old fashioned way – you’re probably going to feel like you have after their set. Great time to grab a basket of friings with those beers and mules. Have a listen to “The Coked Out Bunnies EP” while you spark up. ★★★ (3 Stars)
BONUS! Three – that’s right THREE – recommendations for 7:00!
We just couldn’t break these ties….
7:00 pm – AAN – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway
AAN create melodious, dreamy folk that actually brings their home of Portland, OR to life in front of you. Easy, sweet pop hooks and vocals that approach the clean Jeff Buckley range over accomplished, math-ey guitars, synths and rhythms. This set should be a great time to wind down and re-charge for the rest of your UMS night. Check out “Amor Ad Nauseum” to get a taste of the Portland air. ★★★★ (4 Stars)
7:00 pm – A Shoreline Dream – Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway
Simply put, A Shoreline Dream is HUGE. About to hit their 10th year in existence, they completely envelope the shoegaze genre, and then some. Their sound threatens to encompass the entire festival, but it feels as intimate as your 3am drunk dials or light blue 5am consummations. We don’t know how they’re going to fit all of that int the Irish Rover, but it’s definitely going to be worth it. Listen to “The Land of Those Who Wander EP,” below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
7:00 pm – Joy Subtraction – Eslinger Gallery – 118 S. Broadway
If you stop by for a minute in the Shoreline Dream set to re-energize, then you’ll be ready for Joy Subtraction. Just don’t miss this one. Joy Subtraction welds together the heavy sounds of Black Sabbath and Black Flag with the screaming sarcasm and rage of Future of the Left in the heat of pure, molten rock ‘n roll. This band will make your skin crawl – in a really, really good way. Not to be missed! Check out their “Essential…” album, preferably very, very loudly, below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
8:00 pm – Best Creeps – Illegal Pete’s – 270 S. Broadway
When I found out that the Cramps spent years playing with no bassist, it blew my mind. Such an ominously, sickly sweet sound, seemingly from a torture chamber beneath some New Jersey garage, really. And I cried when Lux Interior died. If any of this resonates with your rock ‘n roll fantasy, you’re going to just love Best Creeps. Great, reverberating, old-school garage shockabilly at its best. Check out “A Fever,” again – loudly. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
BONUS! Two – that’s right Two – recommendations for 9:00!
9:00 pm – Shady Elders – The Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway
Shady Elders may just be the best example of what might be the new “Denver Sound” (see Two Tone Wolf Pack, above, for reference). With the dreamy, almost shoegazy vocals of Fox Rodemich, alternately shimmering and thickly distorted guitars and a distinct pop sensibility, this trio delivers where shallow bands like Tennis just can’t cut it. Have a listen to their “No Favors EP” and see for yourself. ★★★★ (4 Stars)
9:00 pm – Sputnik Slovenia – The Safari Room – 414 Broadway
Jim Yelenick may be the hardest working man in Denver punk rock. Besides relentlessly – and brilliantly – spewing out acoustic covers of punk rock (and other) classics like “Police On My Back,” “Beat On The Brat” and “True” (a more heart-wrenching cover of the classic Spandau Ballet song you will never hear), Yelenick also leads Denver’s habit-adorned Nuns of Brixton (the only Clash tribute band that matters), as well as his own punk troupe Pitch Invasion. He also works with Jet Black Joy, Evil Hick and Negative Man – and he somehow also finds time to sleep and eat. Take some time to catch him, and bathe in his comfortable humor, with and inimitable charm. In the meantime, sample some good old “I Fought the Law,” below. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
10:00 pm – Kissing Party – Moe’s Original Bar B Que – 530 Broadway
Kissing Party is quintessential post-punk with strong pop hooks and shimmering guitars. In a word – sweet. But they’re also a bit weighty at times, crafting the perfect Denver love song from time to time. Have a listen to their “Winter In The Pub EP” to see what you think, then get on over to Moe’s for some great BBQ while you take in their live antics. ★★★★ (4 Stars)
11:00 pm – Thanks For Everything – Illegal Pete’s – 270 S. Broadway
Thanks For Everything used to be The Life There Is. They make a sort of intense, slower psychedelic pop rock. Listen to “Weekend,” then go see them. ★★★ (3 Stars)
12:00 am – Black Lamb – Brendan’s – 404 N. Broadway
Brian Hagman leads the heavy, Black Sabbath in hell assault of Black Lamb. It’s something you need to see to believe. So do that. In the meantime, listen to a simple, glorious playllist, and relax your neck. ★★★★★ (5 Stars)