Tag Archives: Lost Lake Lounge

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Mykki Blanco & Cakes da Killa at Lost Lake

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Photos: Sandisz Thieme, Sanjana Stein

While Lost Lake has seen its share of excellent rock, rap, soul, and other acts, I kinda doubt the still-fresh venue has seen anything quite like the recent Stunt Queen Tour, featuring Mykki Blanco and Cakes da Killa. In front of a packed 16+ house, Blanco filled the night with her own brand of hardcore-styled, fluid-gender rap/performance art, after Cakes da Killa kept the crowd warmed up and hyped.

Blanco played a set a little heavy with material from her latest, “Mykki,” but didn’t fail to play earlier material from “Gay Dog Food” as well. The all-ages crowd ate it all up, constantly and sweatily pogo-ing, jerking, and slamming in front of the low stage, while Blanco furiously spat out tomes about our fucked-up world in punk influenced raps. At one point she belted out some acapella musings that almost sounded more like poetry slam than rap.

The audience was there for two reasons: the music and Blanco’s strong, beautiful personality – and they got what they came for. She ensured the younger crowd that they were in for it because it’s not every day that they’d get to see art explode into life like this, right in front of them. Too often lumped into the  NYC gay rap “bucket,” Blanco actually has more in common with Andy Warhol’s Factory and the Riot Grrrl movements, and she excels at standing out. Not just because she’s often in drag – she wore an impressive long black wig for most of the performance, and a leopard-skin-textured mini skirt as well – but because her attitude is constantly in-your-face, aggressive, provocative, and extremely intelligent.

Unwilling to be confined to the small, constantly red-it stage, Blanco migrated at one point through the crowd to take a spot on top of the bar on the other side of the lounge, drawing half the crowd into the much smaller room along with her. The fact that most of the crowd was under 21 was a sign, too – music has no age limit or preference, and Blanco is fully on board with all-ages shows. Two visits ago, in fact, Blanco played at Rhinoceropolis – the legendary all-ages DIY venue – and loved it.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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 used to for a while). At least his answers came back as quickly as they were quick – and smarter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the interview, as promised:

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

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

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

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

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

TK – Hot, very long drives, very nice folk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to “Rainboat” –


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