Tag Archives: UMS

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The UMS 2016 – Photo Gallery Flashback

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The 16th Annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase has come and gone, but the images of such a stellar, bombastic weekend remain. Enjoy a selection of moments DenverThread caught – call it a little flashback. We had so much fun, and we can tell you did, too….

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The UMS Day 4 – Cure for the Hangover: Final List of Must-See Bands, By the Hour

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Day 4 – Underground Music Showcase – we’re almost at the end of this fantastic display of talent. And, no doubt, more than a few of us are sporting some monster-sized headaches. No worries – music (and especially live music) is the best cure for any hangover. And the UMS has plenty more to give.

Before you go, have a look through our recommendations for the best music each hour. And remember to bring water. Plenty of water. And underwear (‘cos you never know).

Here’s your hour-by-hour lineup for UMS Day 4

12:00 p.m.

Bella Musser

Punch Bowl Social

Bella Musser’s soft croon may be the perfect solution for your morning hangover, and a great way to ease into the day. But watch out, ‘cos that same voice packs a punch. Check it out —≥

1:00 p.m.


Skylark Lounge

Sultry, soulful, quiet and smooth – Drea. M brings a dose of R&B to her set of what might at first be mistaken for alt-folk. Her melodic constructions, rich with brilliant harmonies and inching into electronic orchestration evoke strong emotion, and lift you up into her realm. Get a taste —>

2:00 p.m.

D. Edward

Skylark Lounge

It’s still early in the afternoon, but D. Edward’s soulful, poppy rhythm & blues may just encourage you to order a cocktail and sit back, and let the smooth rhythms sooth  you. Have a listen —>

3:00 p.m.


Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Couches – straight outta the Bay Area – create an interesting brand of fuzz/grunge that’s maybe equal parts Dinosaur Jr. and Modest Mouse, with some obligatory Ty Segall for good measure. Listen to their muff, then prepare to be lost, like a nickel, deep in their cushions… —>

4:00 p.m.


Blue Ice Lounge

Qbala comes from the North in Colorado (Loveland, to be exact), with strong, vital hip-hop. Powerful lyrics, smart, sweeping orchestration and sick beats make up the in-your-face world they encompass. Listen in —>

LSD Bags

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

The psychedelic grunge that LSD Bags deals is both HappyToxic and intoxicating. ’70s-influence mix with vocals that recall early Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This is definitely a soundtrack to take edibles to. Get some —>

4:30 p.m.

Adia Victoria

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Adia Victoria is a juxtaposition. She straddles folk rock and an answer to Afropunk, with huge songs built on strong, smart poetry. Every once in a while, she evokes a little of Suzanne Vega, spelling out melancholy, beautiful stories that will keep you awake into the night. Sample a bit —>

5:00 p.m.

Shady Elders

3 Kings Tavern

Shady Elders keep clawing their way up to the top of Denver’s local scene with their deep, reverb-drenched postpunk and Fox Rodemich’s sultry, sensuous vocals. Think My Bloody Valentine meets Lush. Have a listen —>

5:30 p.m.

The Yawpers

Main Stage @ Goodwill

If they’re not careful – or maybe if they are – this may Boulder’s Yawpers’ last visit to the UMS. They’re moving quickly up to the surface and out of the underground, with a sound that blends mountain-grown furious bluegrass with the best parts of Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull. Git you some, while you still can —>

6:00 p.m.


Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Megafauna play a brand of psychdelic grunge that comes across as big as Texas – maybe ‘cos they’re from Austin. Huge, grungy, twisted melodies and fuzz, all right. Check it —>

6:30 p.m.

Sunflower Bean

Main Stage @ Goodwill

This New York trio takes the best of the Brooklyn folk renaissance and turns it inside out a little, with some serious indie-styled psychedelic pop. Harmonies, jangling strings, huge drums – and it’s danceable. Listen in —>

7:00 p.m.

Modern Leisure

3 Kings Tavern

Modern Leisure, Casey Banker’s latest project – and he has many, many projects and a long local music history (Don’ts & Be Carefuls, Shady Elders, and many more) – features a melancholy pop sensibility inside an almost easy-listening chill-folk container. Good vies, all around – except the stories seem to be all about heartbreak. Listen in —>

7:30 p.m.

San Fermin

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Another Brooklyn-based product, San Fermin play a strong chamber-pop remeniscent of Arcade Fire and The National. Strong vocals, huge musical constructions designed to bowl you over. Hera it —>

8:00 p.m.

Plume Varia

3 Kings Tavern

Denver’s Plume Varia deliver a dark, heavy and brooding electronic/dream post-punk mix. Their music builds from deep, haunting synths and pounding rhythms up to Cherie Cobbs’ throaty & ethereal vocals, evoking winter in an Eastern Bloc country towards the end of the Berlin Wall. Have a taste —>

9:00 p.m.



Boulder’s Bandits spit out a huge, guitar-centric metal/grunge sound akin to Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. Huge guitars, truckloads of fuzz, twisted vocals and bombastic drums. Here’s some for you —>

10:00 p.m.

The Kinky Fingers

3 Kings Tavern

This Denver-based duo has refined an American blues meets surf rock sound that blasts away layers of clothing if you get too close. Sort of like a light-hearted Black Keys (in subject matter, not so much sound – Kinky Fingers have a huge, heavy sound that easily rivals the Keys’), informed by Link Wray and Dick Dale, for sure. Look out, In The Whale… jus’ sayin’. Have a bang of this —>

11:00 p.m.

The Other Black

Irish Rover

Cosmic Slim, formerly of Air Dubai, brings a huge funk project to the stage – sometimes consisting of as many as 25 artists – that will blow your mind. If there’s a genre that envelops Parliament/Funkadelic and the explosive, ecstatic gospel that overjoys black churches, this must be it. Have a bite —>

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The UMS: Day 3 – The Motherlode – Best Bands to See, By the Hour

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The first full, long day of Underground Music Showcase – The Motherlode – is upon us. This day requires planning, supplies, water, and – depending on how  you handled your Friday night – painkillers and a little dog hair. This is the day the UMS really gets into form, each new band exploding into the scene, bands stepping on each other from venue to venue, out in the street, lines for drinks, entrance, food, fun. IT’s all building up to the first night of giant crowds in the Goodwill parking lot, screaming, dancing, sweating, laughing as the stages explode with lights, sounds, chaos and love.

All the more reason that you should take heed to this list of bands to not miss in this musical maelstrom. Enjoy!

UMS Day 3: Bands Not To Be Missed, By the Hour

12:00 p.m.



Tisper is Samwise Carlson, from Boise, ID. The chamber folk Carlson constructs, besides being intricate and ornate, may be the best way to slowly nurse your way into the afternoon. Think Nick Drake, or Joanna Newsom, and dusty sunbeams in a cool basement. Listen —>

1:00 p.m.

Transistor Send


Transistor Send – or Casey Cathey – is bedroom chill, made to mix with the early morning, snowing, heating up, realizing, all of it. This is music that cures hangovers by forcing you to simply remember your favorite films, and breathe. Sample a tune —>

2:00 p.m.

Marshall Poole


Marshall Poole represents the Boise, ID scene with a heavy psychedelia that recalls just the right amount of Smashing Pumpkins, with a healthy smidge of Monster Magnet. Perfect for really awakening your skin & bones. Take a lick —>

3:00 p.m.



We recommended you see these visionaries last night – but we’re doing it again. There’s hope here, wrapped in psychedelic lullabies and afternoon crib tales. So, maybe, there’s a world of sound here that makes everything feel better. Also: Portland. Listen —>

3:30 p.m.


Main Stage @ Goodwill

Flaural are, put simply, Denver’s answer to Tame Impala – but close in hand. Strong guitar and synth pop meld into danceable, trip-able tunes that delight. Thoughts? —>

4:00 p.m.


Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Retrofette fulfill a late ’80s dance-pop that reminds us of bands like Blancmange, or Soft Cell (without the resentment). It’s refreshing, but also makes us feel old. But that’s no reason for you to miss this brilliant psych synth pop! Get it! —>

Male Blonding

Skylark Lounge

Male Blonding are already enjoying the beginning of a buzz in these parts, and seem destined to take up the diaspora from the Front Range in the near future. Their guitar-driven indie pop/post-punk mix is genuine, enticing, intriguing. Have a go —>

4:30 p.m.

Methyl Ethel

Main Stage @ Goodwill

This project from Perth, the product of Jake Webb, feels as big as the sky, and as heavy as high school. Webb seems to channel Sallie Ford in his vocal style, at times. Transformative chords and blow-out rhythms cajole your ears to keep your eyes open. Check it —>

5:00 p.m.


Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Experimental electronic music, with a post-punk feel, makes Holophrase a contender. Their artistic perspective and rebellious ethic produce a danceable, yet abrasive. mix. Listen —>

Best Creeps


Best Cresps are the band we were talking about when we mentioned rock ‘n roll induced psychopathydelia. These are the kids that lead your teens back to the garage nuggets that thay’d probably never hear, if it wewern’t for this group of Stooges-minded infidels. Pure insurrection, pure beauty. Have some —>

5:30 p.m.

Residual Kid

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Never let it be said that rock ‘n roll is for anyone but the youth. Never let it be said that rock ‘n roll comes from anyone but the youth. Germs meets Nirvana at the rough and tender ages of 16, 17, and so much more. Let me know I’m wrong. —>

6:00 p.m.

Poison Rites


I’ve seen both GBH and Mötörhead; I know both GBH and Mötörhead; this band is neither GBH nor Mötörhead. But they’re goddamned fun, and spew a virulent old school punk that shows that they know where their roots are. Listen. Slam. Chicken walk. GO!! —>


3 Kings Tavern

I’m a sucker for Television, Richard Hell, Wire, and all the NYC punk from the late ’70s. Apparently, so is Omni – from Atlanta. Guitar-driven, complex, almost math-y, they toy with a refreshingly smooth, complex, and exciting musical landscape. Give it a listen —>

7:00 p.m.


3 Kings Tavern

Sunboy seems to live in the continuum that includes Beck, The Flaming Lips, and Tame Impala, but often brings a cool Mac Demarco chill to the mix, accompanied by the arcade sounds of video games. Maybe it’s poolside – probably not beach side – music. Thoughts? —>

Church Fire

Irish Rover

Do not underestimate a Church Fire – band, building, or otherwise. This incarnation, the band Church Fire, builds an electronic industrial slew that recalls latter-day Ministry, or Nitzer Ebb and the like, but keeps a cool ethereal side to offer cool existential balance. Let us know what you think. —>

8:00 p.m.

Eros and the Eschaton

3 Kings Tavern

The wall of sound is this duo’s hometown. Melodies inspired by shoegaze, vocals piped in over foggy mountaintops, guitars as heavy as tectonics, as far-reaching as the original butterfly. We’re lucky this band calls Colorado home. Get in on it. —>

The Munsens

Skylark Lounge

There is no hope without an understanding of hopelessness. The Munsens know this, and they’re making stoner rock that’s designed to make us pull over in the beautiful terrain around Colorado Springs – the city they call home. Hold onto your earplugs, and play this loud. LOUD! —>

8:30 p.m.

Thee Oh Sees

Main Stage @ Goodwill

John Dwyer’s psychedelic revolution has blessed the UMS with its presence. What more do you need to know? How about some tunes? —>

9:00 p.m.

Sputnik Slovenia

Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub

What can you say about Sputnik Slovenia, really? Always a fixture of the Denver scene, and an inspiration, like Carl in “Straight to Hell,” only legit. Here’s a tune to let you feel a little of the magic. —>

10:00 p.m.



We’ll let you in on a secret: Spells is the next big thing. The Next Big Thing. Honest, thrashing, melodic, authentic punk rock, with a purpose – or maybe many. This band started at the frontier beyond the stage – they play right in the audience (drums included) – which means you gould get a guitar in the eye. Totally worth it. Listen, then see. —>

11:00 p.m.

Dirty Few


It’s almost like it’s planned. At this time of night, it’s almost like this is where you need to be. You’re dirty. Your friends, at this point, are few. but your resolve is only subject to your state of mind. Or maybe to your ability to stumble to the Hi-Dive and catch this band, the one designed to inject pure fun into you at your most tired hour, and get you back on the road to redemption. Or was that survival? No matter … Dirty Few. ‘Nuff Said. —>

12:00 a.m.

Joy Subtraction

Skylark Lounge

Formed in the space between where Joy Division and Joy Multiplication lived, Joy Subtraction are destined and dedicated to marauding the musical landscape with an sarcastic tongue, and a sardonic wit. Oh, and a severely punk rock attitude. Get a taste. —>

Kitty Crimes

Irish Rover

Kitty Crimes is the explosive, sensual persona that’s embodied by another local hereo – Maria Kohler – worn like the guise of  super hero. Kohler easily negotiates the sine line between rap and traditional R&B, with expertise. Listen. Just – listen. Then get there. —>

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DenverThread + The UMS = Bands You Should See, Every Day, By the Hour

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The Underground Music Showcase launches tonight – and, with any luck, promises to be much more satisfying than the other two media circuses over the past two weeks.

More than 400 bands, across 20 stages on South Broadway must seem like a mighty big bite to take out of Denver – but we’ve got you covered. Each day, you’ll find a listing of bands DenverThread recommends, by the hour, to help you make those split-second decisions necessary for a full, enjoyable, enlightening, loud and beautiful experience. Each day, just be sure to check in on DenverThread.com before heading out into the heat, to get some quick descriptions on the bands we think are your best bets for each hour of the day.

Here’s the list for Day 1: Thursday, July 28


8:00 p.m.

Champagne Charlie

3 Kings Tavern

This hometown roots/folk band is sick with Tom Waits, but lunges into a quick, jazzy psychedelic, almost stoney vibe in the midst of  many songs. The trombone may be the highlight of your night. Have a taste to the right.

Teacup Gorilla

Illegal Pete’s – Inside

Guitar-driven dark pop oozes from this four-piece, channeling equal parts Pixies, Joy Division, and Minutemen. There may be a little taste of Violent Femmes in there as well, just for safe measure. Maybe they seem a little all over the place – but the bands they’re all over are great ones, at least. Their debut album “The Holes They Leave “ is a worthy challenge. We’re loving “Just Like That” a lot today. Check it out to the right.

9:00 p.m.

Gasoline Lollipops


A little bit country, a little bit punk, a little bit AC/DC, and a sweet, nostalgic whiskey-trickle of Denver BumCore! heroes Slakjaw, the Lollipops make a mix that sets the stage for the square-dancingest mosh pit in history. Imagine skanking to the commands of the barker in the Hi-Dive – how could you miss it? Our favorite from the debut ep “Dawn” is “White Trash.” Check it out just to the right.

The Milk Blossoms

Gary Lees Motor Club and Grub

This experimental 3-piece leads you down a luxurious rabbit hole directly into David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” Experimenting with soulful vocals, beatboxing, ukelele and dark, sinister and sad melodies, they first recall CocoRosie, but The Milk Blossoms seem to feel the funk and despair just a little more. They’re definitely one of Denver’s finest experimental bands – “Worrier” is a challenging, beautiful album – and we’re in love with the ultra-dark and haunting “Ghost No More.” You can get haunted by it, too, just over there, to the right.

10:00 p.m.

Soft Skulls

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Imagine Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in an orgiastic, sweaty pile on the floor with Ty Segall. Brian Jonestown Massacre playing Strokes and Jesus & Mary Chain covers on a flatbed truck, speeding through a mountain pass and loud enough to hear for miles. That’s Soft Skulls, the latest local super group led by Jim McTurnan, longtime Denver scene heavy. Check out “Trance,” from their debut, right over there —>.

11:00 p.m.

Beat Soft Pop

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Lyrically informed by poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jim Carroll, Beat Soft Pop recalls early CBGB’s punk rock in NYC. Musically, they recall Television, James Chance and the Contortions, a more melodic Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and more from the Bowery scene of the ’70s – guitars, reverb, chorus pedals, drums; a little atonal, passionate, noisy, and exciting. “Northwest Girlfriend” tells the story pretty well. Check it out…..

Hotel Bar

The Hornet

Hotel Bar are not only a pretty raucous punk rock trio in the tradition of  bands like Descendents, Blink 182, Sum 41, or Alien Ant Farm – they’re also apparently beer slingers & bartenders around Denver. In other words, they’re all your best friends, making some exciting, melodic punk, just for you. Check out “Calm,” over to the right, and see if you disagree.

I know, right?

12:00 a.m.

Bad Licks


I guess it seems pretty unfair that there’s only one band playing by midnight tonight. Too bad – life isn’t fair. At least there’s one band playing – why not focus on the positive? And Bad Licks isn’t just a band – they’re a great band. A Denver Super Group, featuring members of The Blue Rider, Rootbeer and Mermentau, and with drums being handled by local hero A. Tom Collins. They’re a psychotic, psychedelic soul band, straight out of the garage. Well, more accurately, straight out of the Hi-Dive Basement, where they recorded the “Demos,” to the right, straight to tape.

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The Underground Music Showcase at 16: Priceless

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gauntlet_hairFour days in the summer that change the course of the summer – almost every one of the last 15 times – The Denver Post Underground Music Festival is once again upon us. Featuring more than 400 bands – the vast majority of which are local Denver bands – performing on 20 stages along South Broadway, the Rocky Mountain region’s largest music festival (and, some say, the Only Festival That Matters this (and Every) Summer) starts this Thursday, July 28, and runs through Sunday night, July 31st.

Watch DenverThread.com for daily listings of “Best Bands To See at UMS By the Hour,” all weekend!

During this weekend, if you’re on South Broadway from about 4th Avenue all the way down to Alameda, you’ll probably see hundreds – thousands – of local and regional hipsters walking, both in packs and alone, faces in their phones and (as likely as not) gently stumbling from stage to stage, zombie-like. But this group won’t be the Pokémon Go-playing crowd. They’ll be stumbling from the exhaustion of seeing their 50th band over 2 days – and only half way through Day 3.

Dehydrated, delirious, afflicted by sound – some with earplugs still lodged in both ears. These music fans will be roaming the festival in search of new, undiscovered underground bands. Or they’ll be desperately trying to get to see their hometown faves after catching something they’ve never heard of – destined to become their next hometown faves.

Or, you may see some of them running wildly down Broadway – guitar, drums, bass (and sometimes amp, or mic, or mic-stand) in hand, rushing to get to the gig their first band is playing that started while their second band was finishing up. Denver’s got a friendly, cooperative scene – one that fully supports members of many bands playing in other bands with members from many other bands. Yet, they all sound different, unique.

It’s not the “Denver Sound” anymore

There’s something that comes through in all these local acts that’s somehow intrinsically Denver – despite recent floods of talent (and bodies) from both coasts that threaten to dilute the stream (but fail, for the most part, thank goodness). It’s hard to put your finger on it – and I don’t mean the country-goth “Denver Sound” of the ’90s & ‘aughts, born on the backs of classic Denver bands like 16 Horsepower and The Denver Gentlemen, and that lives on quite well in the sound of the brilliant Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and a few other bands. This sound just as often owes more to ’70s country or prog rock as it does to ’60s hard psychedelia, or to mid-’70s punk, late ’80s shoegaze, or ’90s grunge/metal.

Maybe it’s the sound of a town/scene that has largely accepted just about every genre at one time or another, as well as spawned as many that moved to the coasts and – in some cases, for some short periods of time – took over. I’m looking at bands like The Fluid, DeVotchkaNathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – bands that still (if they’re around) call Denver their home (or at least their birthplace). Denver’s always been a “stop on the way to somewhere else” – San Fransisco, L.A., Chicago, NYC. But it’s always been welcoming, and supported its musicians with more than enough venues, usually filled with more than enough wild, enthralled but discerning fans.

The UMS is a celebration of all of that talent, but it’s also a celebration of those fans, those audiences, the venues, the support systems – all of it. Brave the heat. It’ll be worth it.

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Why The UMS is the Only Festival That Matters

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vinyl-records-945396_1920It’s a pretty bold statement, to be sure. But I’ll stand by it. The UMS – taking place this week from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31 in over 15 venues on South Broadway and featuring upwards of 400 bands (the vast majority of which are local Denver acts) – is, in fact, the only festival that matters. And here’s why….

I just had the pleasure of taking a class taught by none other than Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore at Boulder’s Naropa University, a part of their famous and influential Summer Writing Program (SWP). The class itself – titled “Rock ‘n Roll Consciousness” – was a mindblowing, bucket-list-kicking, poetic and musical experience I’ll never forget. It was also largely about influences, roots of some of my favorite bands, originators of punk, post punk, and more.

Some of them were poets – Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot, Bill Knott, Allen Ginsberg were all major influences for both Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine from Television, and Patti Smith, the central focuses of our class, really – but some of them were records. Not just any records, but records from that quirky, sometimes magical Holy Grail of both new, vital, world-changing music and supremely crappy pop, country, dance, and other music: the “Vinyl Cutout Bin.”

In this digital age, where so many music lovers are unfamiliar with the concept of “listening to an album,” let alone actually owning one, local music scenes, and local shows are effectively the only thing close to the Cutout Bin.

I remember sitting in the class – I myself a few decades older than most of my classmates (well, except Clark Coolidge – a regular teacher and contributor to the SWP since its inception in 1974) – listening to Moore explain to a group made up largely of millennials what a “Cutout Bin” actually was, and grinning nostalgically.

The Cutout Bin = The Holy Grail

So you know, the Cutout Bin was a place that bloated, greedy (and dying) record companies would dump hundreds, even thousands of records that they couldn’t sell, usually in supermarkets, department stores, even record stores, to allow these outlets to sell them at a deep, deep discount (like, ¢.99). For whatever reason, if a label spent the money to record and produce, say, 150,000 copies of some band’s record, and sales came up short, they’d write off the vinyl copies and deliver them to the retailers.

These retailers would usually cut out a corner, or drill a hole in the label, or slice the upper corner of the record, and dump them all into a bin – sometimes hidden in the back side of the electronics section, but just as often even up in the front of the store. Record collectors – mostly teens with very limited access to very limited funds (like myself) – often found these bins the perfect place to discover new music, and build their record collections.

Moore explained how, in his youth growing up in Connecticut, he would mine the cutout bins and found such treasures as Stooges records – something he (and we) might have never heard if it weren’t for the Cutout Bin.

The UMS is Damned Important

This is why The UMS is so damned important, fun, educational – even magical. There are bands you have the opportunity to see on this explosive weekend that you may never have another opportunity to see (unless you’re already a denizen of Denver’s music scene – in which case, you’re probably in one or three of these bands). Sure – someone may tune you into Spells if they’ve seen one of their explosive, literally-in-your-face punk rock sets, or the over-the-edge psychedelic blowout of Best Creeps, or the alt-psycho roots rock of Gasoline Lollipops – but how many friends do you really have that are that cool?

The UMS is your cool friend and is put together once a year to bring you the best of the best from the local scene, mixed with a whole pile of national underground bands that might have also found themselves represented in the Cutout Bin 40 (or so) years ago. The UMS is your opportunity to catch bands that will be the ones you’ll be introducing  your grandkids to as the originators of the beats they’re torturing you with while they refuse to get off your lawn. These bands are the next Stooges, the next 13th Floor Elevators, maybe even the next Beatles.

And, for your convenience, we at DenverThread will be providing band recommendations for EACH. Hour. Of. Each. Day. Check back in every morning, before you head out into the maelstrom of hundreds of bands, and chek out our expert opinions on who we think you should see every hour. You’re welcome.

See you on South Broadway this Thursday. Or Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. If you don’t have tickets yet, get on it!

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#UMS – The Best Music Festival in the West – Announces 2016 Lineup

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Another summer, another UMS. It’s become a highpoint and hope for the festival season around Denver, and continues to gain national and international notoriety every year, and this year’s bound to be no different – and maybe even better than ever!

The 16th Annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (UMS) has just shot the first volley of this year’s lineup – which will eventually encompass over 400 local, national and international bands playing in a buttload of unique and welcoming venues on South Broadway in late July. The Baker neighborhood is destined for its annual takeover byt a flood of bearded, tank-top-wearing hipsters and music buffs, aficionados, critics, fans – and the occasional professional musician here and there, from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31.

You can get your tickets here, right now!

Each year, the UMS celebrates Denver’s constantly thriving music scene, and invites underground acts from across the country and around the world to play out in the summer sun and into the late evenings, serenading lucky natives and tourists alike across miles of South Broadway. Here’s a listing of the first 32 bands:


Polica Thee Oh Sees Allah Las
San Fermin Lee Fields & the Expressions Yawpers
Adia Victoria The Bright Light Social Hour The Bunny Gang
Covenhoven Dirty Few Rob Drabkin
Emerald Siam The Epilogues Flaural
Fort Frances Methyl Ethel Plum
Porlolo Promised Land Sound Shady Elders
Slow Caves The Raven & the Writing Desk So Pitted
Sound of Ceres South of France SPELLS
The Still Tide Strawberry Runners Sunboy
Ultimate Painting Wiredogs

Take a look at all the options – and this is just the first volley  – and less that one-tenth – of the overall, four-day lineup. Can you afford to miss any of this? We think not. Especially now that you know – or you will by the end of this sentence – that the UMS proceeds go to the artists, first, and then to the Denver Post Community Foundation and Youth on Record – two heartily worthy causes.


Don’t delay – get your tickets here, today.  See you there.



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UMS 2016 Earlybird Ticket Alert!

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Once again, The UMS, Denver’s premier independent music festival, is literally around the corner! Not as close as we’d like – this year’s festival, the 16th consecutive edition, will take over South Broadway and show off Denver’s eclectic, almost overwhelming indie rock scene for four days, from July 28 – 31 – but it’s close enough that those of you with mad org skills and a love for the music can buy tickets now!

If you’re ready to commit to the long weekend – and we know you are – you can now take advantage of the availability of a limited number of four-day passes on sale now for a measly $40. That’s only $10 per day! Before  you know it, that price will be going up to a (still remarkably reasonable) $55 – only $13.75 per day of rockin’ madness.

The UMS is more than Denver’s best music festival – it’s a juggernaut of bands, speakers, panels, information sessions, innovation, booze, beer BBQ and mayhem, literally packed into a stretch of South Broadway. Past years have featured upwards of 350 bands, in more than 20 venues over the four days of the festival, and that’s just a part of the fun. This year boasts more than 400 acts, all housed in an eclectic selection of South Broadway venues between 6th Avenue and Alameda. The majority of acts are locals, though the past few years the number of national (but still largely underground) acts has increased – proof that everyone wants to be a part of the festival.

If, by some terrible mishap, you’re still unfamiliar with the UMS, take a look at this video recap from last year’s fun:

Now, go buy your tickets, and start catching up on rest – you’ll need it.

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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 horse and jump right back into the swirling abyss – that’s the only cure….

We can help. Each and every day, DenverThread is publishing recommendations – by the hour – for bands you need to see in this crazy, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out, and while you’re meandering down South Broadway!

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 4, Sunday, July 26…

12:00 PM – Punch Drunk Munky Funk – Illegal Pete’s

There’s probably nothing better to ease you into Day #4 then some groovy, easy, funky jazz, and Fort Collins’ Punch Drunk Munky Funk has the perfect thing. Cure your hangover with pumping, jazzy basslines, tropical drums, and horns galore – and a breakfast piña colada, of course. Here’s a little ReverbNation and Soundcloud action for you to get  you ready.

1:00 PM – Big Wild Wings – Irish Rover

Salt Lake City’s Big Wild Wings comes close to the feeling of Cocteau Twins, Xymox and the like – with an expansive, light feel. Lyndsi Austin’s well-rounded vocals float above symphonic guitars and synth, playing with the horizon and buzzing in and around your thoughts, while you succumb to a calm satisfaction. Test the noise out for yourself on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

2:00 PM – Professor Fox’s One Man Band – Illegal Petes

We love one-man-bands – maybe because this place so often feels like a one-man-operation, with the same frenetic need-six-hands action all the time. Fort Collins’ Steve Jones (Professor Fox) may appear to be a simple folk/Americana act, but he brings a certain intellectual gravity to his music, as well as some downright shit-hot guitar, foot- and bodywork. Get you some on Soundcloud for a bit.

3:00 PM – 40th Day – 3 Kings Tavern

40th Day started in Denver in the mid ’80s, and spent a decade as one of the area’s strongest acts with a definite post-punk, noisy and alt-gothic feel. The band re-formed a few years back and the’re back for #UMS2015, and still going strong, by all accounts. Recalling acts like Siouxsie & the Banshees, Joy Division and the like, they’ll bring a sinister feel to South Broadway, anchored in bass and strong vocals. This act will be well worth it – and gives us all a chance to step back into the days when Denver’s scene was thick with an atmospheric, full beauty. Catch them on Bandcamp.

4:00 PM – Jux County – 3 Kings Tavern

More from 3 Kings’ hosting of the history of Denver Music, Jux County bring together pieces of country and punk in a way that drives hard and frantic. Recalling the sounds of Mission of Burma, Jux County is a sort of ’80s-’90s Denver supergroup, featuring local heroes Andy Monley, Ron Smith and Chris Pearson, and have never really stopped. Check out their alt-country punk rock on Soundcloud.

5:00 PM – Panther Martin – Irish Rover

Panther Martin envelop their audience with a smoky atmospheric sound full of huge drums, heady guitars and whisping vocals. Drenched in ubiquitous reverb and echo, Panther Martin slink into the room slowly, grab your consciousness and pull you along for a dreamy ride. Check them out on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

6:00 PM – Sparkle Jetts – Hornet Restaurant

Arlo White’s Sparkle Jetts fling around a strong, glam-heavy ’70s based rock with aplomb and shock – and it’s only one of White’s Denver-based projects. And all of them rock the pants off this town every week in one way or another. Star-powered, blues-rock based groove is on deck at the Hornet – don’t miss this. Get ahead on them on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

6:30 PM – Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Main Stage at SSFCU

If there’s one reason to see the UMS live and up close, it would be to catch Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. this is a band that not only has defined the Denver music scene for more than two decades, they’ve also got a live set that is impossible to match  – or beat. Slim, Munly, Reverend Dwight Pentacost, Danny Pants, Big Bad Bob Ferbrache (who’s Absinthe Studios has a long history of recording a lot of Denver’s best talent – and more) – all in the frantic milieux of a tent revival. Happy, jumpy, almost overwhelming – Slim Cessna will rock you indelibly. Catch some on Bandcamp.

7:00 PM – The Patient Zeros – Brendan’s Pub


The Patient Zeros bring a soulful, punk spirited blues rock show to you as a two piece drums and guitar combo. Catch them on Bandcamp to start.

8:00 PM – Kinky Fingers – Irish Rover

Power pop at its most explosive, Kinky Fingers represent for Denver. They combine Surf, Psych, Soul and Country into a strong, flammable mess that lives in your brain for weeks. Find them on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

9:00 PM – Montoneros – Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que

Montoneros spin out dreamy, spacious rock, and pull you in with solid pop hooks and rhythms. Mathy, edgy, a tad emo (but not too much) Montoneros will leave calm and whole again. Try them out on Bandcamp.

10:00 PM – The Still Tide – Eslinger Gallery

The Still Tide play a simple, yet sweeping, brand of folk pop, with more than a little coloring of shoegaze in it’s roots. The band just moved to the clean air of Colorado from the bustle of New York, with Aaron Latos and Anna Morsett (once from These United States) in tow, and their music sounds spacious and open, like the mountain country. Catch them on Bandcamp – or, better, at the Eslinger Gallery – to make your own decision.

11:00 PM – Black Lamb – 3 Kings Tavern

Black Lamb have been a part of Denver for so long it seems they’re just part of the black in the streets, constantly under construction, constantly cracking and breaking, but always the same streets. Brian Hagman leads this sludgy metal mess like a more conscious Ozzy Osbourne, circa “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” (but only slightly more conscious). Hagman, though, brings in a wanton carelessness and passion that’s all too real, slow and unflinchingly heavy guitars and impossibly huge drums and bass back him up. End  your UMS experience with about a trillion slow sledghammer punches to the head at 3 Kings, and go home happy, sated and ready for Monday. Get some sound samples on their Facebook page.

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

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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 the long stretch, and it’s time for you to really begin to take in the deep, pungent aroma and humidity of the UMS.

We can help. Each and every day, DenverThread will publish recommendations – by the hour – for bands you need to see in this crazy, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out!

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 3, Saturday, July 25…

12:00 PM – A Giant Dog – Hi-Dive

Reaching back to proto-punk roots in The Stooges, or “White Punks on Dope” Tubes, Austin’s A Giant Dog belts out garage rock that will light a fire under you. Everything is fast, loud and aggressive, exciting, and a little precocious. It may be early for a Hi-Dive Austin Party experience, but this band will help that breakfast beer cure your hangover, and get you in shape for another UMS day. Check them out a bit on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, to make sure your head’s in this game.

1:00 PM – Sun Blood Stories – Skylark Lounge

Boise, Idaho’s Sun Blood Stories weaves a sometimes dark and scary, sometimes playful brand of psychedelia that you’d probably expect to hear out in the Idaho landscape – or the Mars landscape. Echo-laden, majestic, big sound, and wide, open spaces come to mind and vision when they’re playing. It’s a ride through a black hole, but a comfortable one. Get some for yourself on Bandcamp and Soundcloud to feel that gravity.

2:00 PM – Obscured By Echoes – Hi-Dive

The Austin Day Party continues at Hi-Dive with the Texas-based psych band Obscured By Echoes. This band is sure to shake the ground beneath you, with overtones of Bowie, Eno, and TX faves Black Angels. OBE sounds a little more mature than Angels, really – more comfortable, not trying quite as hard. Take advantage of this chance to see it for yourself, and prove us wrong.

3:00 PM – Covergeist – Historians Ale House

Justin Dunning has his hand in something wet with rock n’ roll. Straightforward guitar – slide and otherwise – colors his jam, and an alternating smooth croon and Mudhoney howl. Take in this show as one that might just invigorate you the way a great adventure film could, and then slingshot to the rest of day #3. This is the kind of moonshine that’ll make that happen. Listen on Soundcloud and see if you disagree.

4:00 PM – Paw Paw – Eslinger Gallery

Now that the afternoon has likely started to turn into a more quiet affair, a little ambient, calming music may be in order. Step in Paw Paw – musical child of Eston Lathrop, formerly of Woodsman. Lathrop has a brilliant sense of rhythm and world music, which he uses to ground his ambient guitar, loop, echo work. Find Paw Paw on Bandcamp, and buy what you can!

5:00 PM – Codename: Carter – 3 Kings Tavern

The songs Pussy Galore listened to while dressing, tunes that Bond – James Bond – couldn’t get out of his head – these are the fodder of Codename: Carter. Skillful guitar work that makes you feel like you’re already on an impossible – and impossibly groovy – mission, just making it past the guards and into 3 Kings – this is what Codename: Carter has to offer. And you’ll love it.

6:00 PM – Pale Sun – Eslinger Gallery

Expansive, giant, cavernous – a few words that come to mind about Pale Sun. If you remember Denver heavy hitters Bright Channel and Orbiteer, or Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Monofog, and you like the heavier, echoing side of those bands, you’ll love Pale Sun. Huge guitars, colossal drums, endless reverb, the feeling of floating into the atmosphere of a gas giant, slowly descending forever to its tiny core, Pale Sun can ensure you land safely. Get you some, on  Soundcloud.

7:00 PM – Cloacas – Illegal Pete’s

Santa Fe’s Cloacas (\klō-kus\) take Americana to another level. On the one hand, they appear to be your common, garden-variety banjo, jug, nose harp and saw playin’ country ensemble. But then they bring in a kind of humorous gothic element, and twist it up into a jangly dancing good ol’ time. Before haunting the crowd again with something you’d hear, when  you’re lost in the desert, wafting on a hot breeze from just over that next hill. Down there. Yeah – just one more hill away, forever. Check them out on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, then get into Illegal Pete’s, before you get lost, too.

8:00 PM – Eros and the Eschaton – 3 Kings Tavern

Jump back into the dreamy pop side of the UMS with Eros and the Eschaton – recent transplants to Colorado Springs from way out Southeast. This group dabbles in shoegaze, with a rural, almost woodsy feel.  They comfortably mix Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine with muted sun in cedars, and a  little Yo La Tengo vibe. Check them out on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

9:00 PM – Shady Elders – 3 Kings Tavern

Shady Elders have been climbing up in the Denver scene for just a few years, but they definitely have a strong foothold. Dreamy is too simple a word for their style, but it’s close. Summer music, Lana Del Rey, Beach House – all of these apply, too. But Shady Elders doesn’t stop there. They expand into an all-encompassing, foggy world that feels more like the David Lynch side of a dream. Catch their tunes on Bandcamp and Soundcloud to get a taste for yourself.

10:00 PM – The Traveling Suitcase – Irish Rover

Oshkosh, Wisconsin spit out The Traveling Suitcase, after shoving a landfill of Led Zeppelin-era big guitar music, Black Keys-heavy blues strings and mathy, thumping beats into its mouth. This trio will wake you out of the dream state you’ve been in for the past few hours – if you’ve been following our map of #UMS2015’s best bands by-the-hour. Come prepared – listen to the Suitcase on Bandcamp and Soundcloud before you enter.

11:00 PM – The Gamits – Hi-Dive

Solid, loud and fast Punk Rock is still alive in Denver, and The Gamits are part of the tartan. The Gamits have been many parts of Denver’s punk scene for more than two decades, and they’re still going strong. Crunchy guitar bashing, bass and drums, fast lyrics and a little melody promise to inspire your second (or third, or fourth) wind, and propel you long into tomorrow. Get some on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, too.

12:00 AM – Accordion Crimes – Irish Rover

Accordion Crimes brings a Jesus Lizard/Big Black post-hardcore feel to the UMS, late at night in this case, designed to open your eyes to the pounding, screaming, scraping, bruising side of music. Angular, minimal and perfect are the best words to describe Accordion Crimes – but the best way to get the vibe is to see it yourself, In the meantime, here’s some from Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

1:00 AM – Zebroids – Hi-Dive

What better way to wrap up #UMS2015 Day #3 than with some bass-heavy, fast, loud and riveting garage punk? The Zebroids have the pill for you, and they’re administering heavy dosages at Hi-Dive. After feeling the heat of this group, you’ll feel fine crawling back to your bed and passing into palookaville – or you just as likely might want to just kick down the walls and open up some space into tomorrow morning, buzzing until sunup. Get some on Bandcamp.

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

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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 you’ve been to any of the past 15, you’ve probably got a plan to navigate all the noise, talent, fun and debauchery that is the UMS. If not – make one (take Nate Hammond’s (of the Epilogues) advice on Reverb, to get an idea why).

We’re here to help, too. Each day, DenverThread will publish recommendations – by the hour – for bands you should probably see in the multivariate, over-stuffed, incredible lineup. Come back here and catch the day’s recommendations before you head out – and, ferfuckssake, bring plenty of water to STAY HYDRATED! Contrary to our belief around here, beer and whiskey can’t replace water.

Here’s our by the hour lineup recommendation for Day 2, Friday, July 24…

6:00 PM – In the Whale – Main Stage @ SSFCU

In The Whale will kill the Main Stage @ SSFCU at 6PM.

In The Whale will kill the Main Stage @ SSFCU at 6PM.

Straight outta Greeley, originally, this duo is making whale-sized waves just about everywhere they play – and rightfully so. Their take on garage punk meets some sort of mutated blues-metal inspires the courage grab the apple of your eye and lay a healthy, sweaty kiss on them, and then swallow a stupid-giant shot of rotgut, and then dump said apple and be on your way. Let the live show speak for itself, but, in the meantime, listen to the maelstrom on Soundcloud and Bandcamp to get a taste.

7:00 PM – A Shoreline Dream – Illegal Pete’s

A Shoreline Dream play at 7pm, Illegal Pete's (270 S. Broadway).

A Shoreline Dream play at 7pm, Illegal Pete’s (270 S. Broadway).

If you like your music with a long gaze into the mechanics and beauty of your shoes, then A Shoreline Dream is for you. Channeling bands like Slowdive, Ride, and the less bombastic sides of My Bloody Valentine, ASD create huge, beautiful noises drenched in reverb like gelatin, melodic, whispy, yet heavy and heady. ASD has steadily and methodically plugged away at their fame since 2005, and are building their own independent shoegaze empire along the way – and they deserve it. Try them on for size at Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and then catch them live at UMS.

8:00 PM – Deer Creek – Brendan’s Pub

Deer Creek will bury Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway) in doom at 8PM.

Deer Creek will bury Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway) in doom at 8PM.

What better place than Colorado to foster and grow stoner sludge metal? Well, at least in the last couple of years, anyway. Deer Creek have been growing their doom metal in the progressive state of legal weed since 2002, and are turgid ambassadors of the genre. This band rides the same bongwater waves as Electric Wizard, Sleep, The Sword and Sunn O))) – all grandchildren of the legendary Black Sabbath – and they ride it well – slowly, heavily, darkly and doomed. Check them out on Bandcamp before you dive into the murk.

9:00 PM – Whilt – Brendan’s Pub

Whilt - the "h" is silent. At Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway) at 9:00 pm.

Whilt – the “h” is silent. At Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway) at 9:00 pm.

While you’re slogging yourself out of the muck and doom, and still in Brandan’s, just take advantage of the location and schedule to rest and catch Whilt. This ooutfit brings much the same type of doom metal, but may even be a tad heavier than Deer Creek. While you’re there, maybe you can wonder why Brendan’s has all the luck, and is carrying all the weight of metal on #UMS2015 night 2. Maybe you’ll want to hear Whilt on Bandcamp, too.

10:00 PM – Echo Beds – Brendan’s Pub

Echo Beds brings demolition to Brendan's (404 Broadway) at 10:00 pm.

Echo Beds brings demolition to Brendan’s (404 Broadway) at 10:00 pm.

It’s beginning to look like Brendan’s is the place where all of our readers & fans (all ten of ’em) will be getting their drink on, listening to what might be the heaviest venue of this, #UMS2015, Night #2. Because now there’s the spinning, sparking, grinding wheel of noise rock that is Echo Beds. If you like the “Saw” series, you’ll love this set. Recalling greats like Einstürzende Neubauten, Crash Worship, and Throbbing Gristle, Echo Beds brings the chaos and beauty of factory-style industrial noise to the stage – endearing those who whistle to the sounds of traffic and construction. Get a load of this on Bandcamp and Soundcloud before  you opt into any sort of timpanic prophylactic.

11:00 PM – The Yawpers – 3 Kings Tavern

The Yawpers will demolish 3 Kings Tavern (60 S. Broadway) at 11:00 pm.

The Yawpers will demolish 3 Kings Tavern (60 S. Broadway) at 11:00 pm.

Imagine Led Zeppelin, on speed, headlining a bluegrass revival tent, and you might come close to the high-energy, skillful and fun rock n’ roll that Boulder’s Yawpers play with. If 3 Kings isn’t a single mass of sweaty, hopping and moshing humanity by halfway through their second song, well then, The Yawpers aren’t doing their job. But that’ll never happen, because these boys never fail to deliver, and in a big, explosive and sweaty way. If you need more convincing, get a taste on Bandcamp or Soundcloud before you frantically tear towards 3 Kings.

12:00 AM – Musclebeach – Brendan’s Pub

Musclebeach will entice with hardcore at Brendan's Pub (404 Broadway), 12:00 am.

Musclebeach will entice with hardcore at Brendan’s Pub (404 Broadway), 12:00 am.

Straight up, fast, loud and screaming hardcore – a little mathy, maybe – is what Musclebeach will treat you with at Brendan’s (I know – again witht he Brendan’s Pub!). Great fast guitar work, a scream in the midst of the mess and tight drum/bass arrangements will re-energize a likely exhausted South Broadway. Listen to this on Bandcamp, the get in there and bang your head to a few more PBRs.

1:00 AM – Plum – Hi-Dive

Plum will grace the Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway) with serious psychedelia at 1:00 am.

Plum will grace the Hi-Dive (7 S. Broadway) with serious psychedelia at 1:00 am.

Nothing like ending a night of great music with a dip into some Beatles-y psychedelia, and Plum are the band to do it, and the Hi-Dive is the place to dance to it. Plum also brings in influence from Tame Impala and Ratatat, for good guitar measure, which is bound to please your groove-hungry ears. get a load on Soundcloud to see what we mean.

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