Tag Archives: Noise

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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 up folk, to singer-songwriter smoothness, to grindcore and the beauty of fuzzed-out stoner rock. Read on – and listen – to find out just what you’re in for from these shows.

FUZZ
Sunday, November 22 – Bluebird Theater

Rock’s latest answer to James Brown, workaholic guitarist Ty Segall‘s latest trio promises to pound the fuzz into and out of you this Sunday night at the Bluebird. With Segall on drums for this endeavor, this trio envelopes all the best creamy goodness of Mudhoney, with more than a little Sabbath mixed in (maybe a result of guitarist Charlie Moothart’s  Ozzy-esque whining drone). Wicked stoney guitar riffs, heavy bass and blasting drums are in store. If you’re not feeling stoned soon after you arrive, you will – whether you smoke or not. Check out “Rat Race,” from the new album FUZZ II, to get a taste:

Fuck the Facts
Monday, November 23 – Mutiny Information Café

If your cup of tea includes screeching, lightspeed guitars, screaming vocals, and plenty, plenty, plenty of glorious feedback, make sure you don’t miss Fuck the Facts at Mutiny Information Café this Monday. This Canadian grindcore band may just be the perfect way to prepare your ears and head for the inevitable screaming – from parents, siblings or brand-new young-uns – you’re heading into for Turkey Day. If nothing else, this band will make you thankful for earplugs. Take a listen to “La Mort I,” from their latest Desire Will Rot, released last summer. It won’t get quieter than this – guaranteed:

Abby and the Myth
Wednesday, November 25 – Herman’s Hideaway

How about a soupçon of straight up folk for the night before the big feast? If you’re into the music that The Lumineers and Brooklyn’s latest folk fad has popularized over the past few years, you’ll love this set. Guaranteed to put a lift in your step, this acoustic group led by the multi-talented Abby Posner centers on her talents with strings, and a strong vocal range. Check out “This Room,” from For You, the Spring, below:

Joel Ansett
Thursday, November 19 – Soiled Dove Underground

New to Denver as of this past Summer, Joel Ansett shows off a tender skill at crooning that recalls Sufjan Stevens or a slightly-less edgy Ed Sheeran. A golden voice and solid songwork pair well with strong lyricism – which is probably why Ansett was able to raise enough money via a recent KickStarter to record his debut album, due to be released on November 23. Listen to “Already In Love” below, while you get your tickets online.


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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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Matt Shupe - The Greying Heart

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

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Starting a new job can suck – especially for your online magazine. That’s the explanation for my long absence on the ‘Thread – and I’m stickin’ with it. Now to get back into the swing, and get you readers some well-deserved regularity…

But on with the news: This week we’re presenting three fantastic albums, starting with one that’s won my mind and heart, even though it’s about a year old, in Matt Shupe’s “The Greying Heart.” Then get a load of the beauty of Thurston Moore’s new solo work, “Demolished Thoughts,” and finally the grandiloquent metal/thrash of Il Cattivo’s “To Bring Low An Empire.”

MP3s too!

Enjoy!

Matt Shupe - The Greying Heart

Matt Shupe – The Greying Heart (2010)

Matt Shupe may be Denver’s answer to Syd Barrett. His latest record, The Greying Heart, while it doesn’t necessarily lead you to believe that Shupe’s traveling down a rabbit hole into agoraphobic obscurity, sure leaves a magical taste. The flavor starts with Barrett, but also adds a touch of Neil Young that brings the quiet up to a rock sound the former could never really approach. Take a listen to “Holdout” and its sad lament and try to avoid any thought of Young’s work on the Dead Man soundtrack, or a dip beneath Harvest Moon. The record’s opener, “Hart’s Island Babies,” oozes The Cure (from around Seventeen Seconds) through a filter of Opal at its folky base, and “Reality Song” is a quiet, melancholy breakup story that sits comfortably in the space between Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Each of these songs has a hook – some more intimate than others, but all a little infectious. “Holyoke,” easily the record’s highlight, perfectly combines the magic of Shupe’s storytelling with a traditional pop-folk, and recalls the easy psychedelia of Donavan in trio with Simon & Garfunkel in its sway. Listen below for yourself – and try not to feel like you’re on your way to some small hamlet in a wooded clearing, expecting leathered flasks filled with mead-y beer.

Shupe has a long history in Denver, playing for a few of Denver’s most influential bands – like, for instance, the seminal Denver Gentlemen – but seems to remain under known overall – unfairly. He did appear on Deadbubbles’ tribute album, Reclamation Now!, with a pristine cover of “Zoo Kicker and I” that wins the “sounds most like a sober Robert Pollard” award.

I hope Shupe has plans to expand, ‘cause when this record catches a few more ears, it’s sure to take off.

[wpaudio url=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/MAtt_Shupe_Holyoke.mp3″ text=”Matt Shupe – Holyoke”]

 

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts - Sweeping, Beautiful, Autumn.

Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts (2011)

Sonic Youth has been a major subconscious aquifer in my life since I first saw them, here in Denver at the German House (behind the Fillmore Auditorium off of Colfax, for all you young’uns) in 1986. For the longest time, noise-freak that I was, I was under the impression that it was Lee Renaldo’s noisy constructions that I always hooked me so deeply. Thurston Moore seemed, to my early-twenties, jaded and anti-pop (anti-construction, anti-song, anti-you-name-it) sensibilities, to be the more traditional of the two. He was the one that brought the pop to songs like “Cool Thing,” “100%” and “Teenage Riot.” Moore was always the Mick Jones to Renaldo’s Joe Strummer. Part of this impression probably came out of the experimental discs I’d found from Renaldo overseas and in NYC.

Then, when 1994’s “Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star” came out, I suspected I was dead wrong. As I located and consumed more of Moore and company’s experimental work – particularly the SYR Series – I knew I was not only wrong, but being just unfair. Moore has always brought an indelible experimentalism to Sonic Youth, but it’s been anything but pop. If anything, it was Moore who used to play chords and tunings that recalled the type I’d play on endless loop as I was playing with noises myself way back then – because they were so addictive, so fuckin’ cool.

Moore’s Catalyzing Continues

And now, “Demolished Thoughts,” Moore’s latest solo effort, has proven beyond any doubt that my early delusions about the two guitarists were dead wrong. Not so much reversed – more that they both had their unique hooks, and both have always had tremendous hold on their musical genius – they’ve just always catalyzed impossibly well. And Moore’s musical catalyzing continues unabated, and reaches another new level on this album, with Beck in the producer (and sometimes participant) position.

“Demolished Thoughts,” to add to the earlier water metaphor, holds a super-clear, purified beauty that Moore’s compositions have always alluded to – and that they have sometimes achieved, underneath and throughout the noise of Sonic Youth. His melodies have always bracketed his simple, yet incredibly powerful imagism. Beck’s involvement may have influenced the more symphonic, almost melancholy air of the record, but it positively seeps with Moore’s creative personality form deep inside every track. These tunes are enveloped beautifully by the beauty from violinist Samara Lubelski and Mary Lattimore’s incredibly sensuous harp. Together, all three make up a sound that comes close to what Moore does with his guitars alone – without mimicking those sounds in the least – and it works perfectly in the acoustic. The occasional addition of the other players – drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Bill Nace and bassist Bram Inscore, and Beck as well – adds an almost a passing waft of flavor to an already overwhelmingly seasoned mix.

Lyrics like “Sunday lights/Come take my nights/And I’ll bend down/To my knees and die./Illuminate/My soul to take/Illuminine/Your clear cool wine,” from “lluminine” (probably the best song on the album – at least it’s the most indicative) leave a feeling of late Sunday afternoons, either inside from snow or outside in a leaf-strewn gully. Check it out below for yourself.

[wpaudio url=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/Thurston_Moore_Illuminine.mp3″ text=”Thurston Moore – Illumine”]

 

Il Cattivo - To Bring Low An Empire

Il Cattivo - To Bring Low An Empire - The sound for what eats you, and then spits you out, molten.

Il Cattivo – To Bring Low An Empire (2011)

Is it just me, or does it seem that Denver’s scene is crawling with “supergroups” nowadays?
From Fairchildren (made up of Nathaniel Rateliff’s The Wheel (itself one of the guilty), Bela Karoli and The Centennial – plus more multitasking talent), to Houses (with members of Hearts of Palm, Harpoontang, Widowers, Blue Million Miles and others), to last year’s UMS champs Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (with members of members of Bad Luck City, Monofog, Mr. Pacman and Hawks of Paradise), the musical incest seems to have grown rampant. Of course Denver’s scene,  like many another cities’ strong, fervent and highly talented ones, has always swung that way – to a degree. It just seems more infectious now than it has. Denver, it seems, is ready for one of Pete Frame’s famous family trees.

I could be wrong.

But here’s another to add to the list anyway: Il Cattivo. (And, for the record, this one wins. Just plain wins. Period.) Il Cattivo features members of former and current bands including Black Lamb (Brian Hagman), Plains Mistaken For Stars (Matt Bellinger), Ghost Buffalo (Jed Koop), Machine Gun Blues (Holland Rock-Garden) and Taun Taun (Matty Clark). All of these guys are Denver metal/thrash/punk heroes, and all of their associated bands hold various legendary places in the Mile Hi Metal Pantheon (such that it is, or exists, or whatever). But in Il Cattivo, the best of their best has been magnified, intensified, codified and perfectified (as of now a word). The result is something the loose, bluesy thrash bombast side of Denver has been stretching, growing and just missing for far too long.

Il Cattivo’s first effort, To Bring Low An Empire, proves it. From Hagman’s opening wails help to start “Long Gone John” the mood is set – and it’s too late, you’re already drunk. The Rock-Garden and Bellinger guitar assault rides hard and sloppy on Kopp and Clark’s (drums and bass, respectively) thrusting, tank-driven rhythms, all over the road – and sometimes off – until the whole thing comes to a twisting, tumbling halt. This is when you know you’re probably not going to remember where the bruises came from in the morning – between songs – until it starts up again.

Mid-record, “Salt Skinned Girls” fools you with a quickly broken promise of a little accessible respite, until Hagman’s huge voice opens the ground and swallows you up in his signature, mesmerizing howls. The record climaxes with the thick, fast sludge of “Serenity Prayer” (at one time aptly titled “Good Friday, Motherfucker!”) and then gets even louder and faster.

Actually, “Serenity Prayer” isn’t the only climax, but enough spoilers. Listen below to that one, and then go get the record to fill your metal hole.

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

 

Keep Comin’ back!

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

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


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