Something Like Sound

Archive for May, 2009

Concert Review: Lucero, Sold Out at the Bluebird

by on May.31, 2009, under Concert Reviews

“Denver was our first home away from home” explained Lucero guitarist Brian Venable in our interview before the band took the stage at the Bluebird on a gorgeous Colorado Friday night. From the start, I could tell this was going to be an interesting night. First of all, we weren’t the only press/bloggers there (also folks from AmericanIndie.net, Colorado Tapers, Suburban Home Records, and the Westword Street Team, to name a few).The interesting thing about Lucero is that they’re never made it big, yet they play shows to sold out crowds of screaming fans just like any band you’d hear on mainstream radio. Well, it was one of those nights, a roudy, ramblin’ Memphis rock show made specially for the homegrown Denver fans.

Up first was Chuck Ragan, singer for punk outlet Hot Water Music. Ragan’s raspy vocals and intense demeanor got the crowd warmed up as Lucero’s Ben Nichols would occasionally wander on to the stage to sing along with Chuck. I think the best way to describe the set would be to call it a mix of oldschool Johnny Cash and the shear bad-ass-ery of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry. Ragan, along with various backups (including pedal steel, fiddle, and accordian), played through a handful of songs with dynamics changing from rousing, upbeat numbers to more contemplative slow songs.

As Lucero took the stage they didn’t immediately rip in to one of their more popular songs, but instead began slowly with a cut from their early days. “This was the third song I ever wrote for this band,” remarked Nichols. However, the slow start didn’t stop the crowd. Even after the first song, deafening applause and cheering erupted, allowing the band to segway into another song. The set really began to pick up when they played their cover version of Jawbreaker’s “Kiss the Bottle,” and from there on out it was like a runaway train. I think they started playing sometime around 11 pm, and definitely did not finish until 12:30 am.

Throughout the night Lucero played songs from their newest, recently recorded, yet-to-be-released album (which is still technically untitled). However, they remained true to their fans and played some of their all time greats, including “Sixteen,” “That Much Further West,” and my personal favorites “Here At The Starlight” and “Slow Dancing.” During the evening, Jon Snodgrass, of Drag The River, showed up to support Lucero. Most notably, Snodgrass sang along toward the end of the set during “Tears Don’t Matter Much,” wherein he and Nichols argued about who was going to play guitar.

Well, this has been a rather long review, but then again, this was one of the longest shows I’ve been to (in recent memory). After over a decade on the road, Lucero still knows how to put on a world-class show. Check back within the coming days (hopefully not weeks), to watch our interview with John and Brian from Lucero.

Words by Tim Weilert, Photos by Bengsoon Chuah

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Audio Interview: Goldfinger

by on May.29, 2009, under Interviews

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Yet another pretty old interview. This time with punk rock heavyweights Goldfinger before E-Days 2008. Warning to anyone who’s easily offended, they do use coarse language.

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Audio Interview: I Hate Kate

by on May.28, 2009, under Interviews

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Another old interview from before we officially started Something Like Sound. I talked with I Hate Kate’s lead singer Justin Mariuello before their set at E-Days 2008.

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Album Review: M. Pyres – Consider Me, Ghost

by on May.27, 2009, under Album Reviews

Introduction: In a digital world sterility is commonplace. Finely polished products line the shelves, their contents  twisted and transformed by over-production and auto-tuning. Enter M. Pyres. Matt Sage of Fort Collins produces music for the love of the art form, no gimmicks, no frills, just quality sounds from the underground.  To the casual listener, the underground scene may be a frightening and strange place, full of scoffing hipsters and l0-fi recordings. However, what we’ve found is quite the opposite. Music at this level is no longer a consumer driven experience, but instead is a tight-knit community wherein creativity and uniqueness are the motivation.

Memorable Song: Some critics have been loving on “Fort Rage,” which is definitely a good track early on in the record, but my personal favorite is definitely “Yes, Pleas.” The straightforward beats, catchy guitar riffs,  rhyming lyrics and healthy dosage of fuzz makes this track stand out. Standing out is an important aspect when considering this record which contains 21 tracks, with many songs blending together into a continuous expression of sound.

Forgettable Song: As mentioned, this album is 21 tracks long, which means that there will be some tracks that just fade into the background (although that may actually be the intention on some of them). With that in mind, there are 6 instrumental/sound tracks titled “Spectre” scattered throughout Consider Me, Ghost. They are forgettable in that they have no lyrics to hook the listener and are all very short (about a minute a piece). However, they serve an important purpose: bringing it all together.

Final Thoughts: Despite the rough, unpolished sounds of Consider Me, Ghost, M. Pyres has managed to create something unique that has a fair amount of replay value (I think I’ve already listened to this record 3 times, with more coming). The guitars on this record are definitely reminiscent of early Neutral Milk Hotel, but I’m weary to draw too many comparisons (like I said earlier, this is quite unique, although not necessarily an acquired taste). Fir Traders Union (http://firtradersunion.blogspot.com/) offers this record, and virtually all of their releases, for download on their site. If you feel so inclined, you can even pitch them a few bucks for a physical copy.

Watch “Yes, Pleas” Live here

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Album Review: The Heyday

by on May.26, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background: When I talked with The Heyday leadman Randy Ramirez, he described the band’s sound as a sort of joyful reminiscence of summertime (a heyday). This Denver-based pop/rock group got their start after deciding to get serious about music after high school. As a group with an active touring schedule, they have been supporting their self-titled record for over a year now, but we decided to give it a thorough listening now.

Memorable Song: The single “Come In Or Stay Out” is a good representative track for The Heyday. Last spring I saw these guys open for Limbeck, and when I talked with Ramirez last week he mentioned their influence in their sound. There is just a hint of country amidst the straightforward rock structure of this song. Furthermore, the lyrics do an excellent job of storytelling and have some real substance. However, we’re not here to just talk about singles, so I’d also suggest “Lights, Camera, Distraction.”

Forgettable Tune: Perhaps my one complaint with this record is that the later tracks begin to blend into together. This is a problem with most pop records, the entire first half of the album is spent drawing the listener in, then suddenly nothing else is done to keep the listener’s attention. There are a few change-ups, such as the acoustic “Lost With You,” and fortunately the final song “Where I Want To Be” does a good job of wrapping things up.

Closing Thoughts: As I listen to this record and write the review dark clouds fill the sky and rain drops cover my windows, yet I am filled with a certain positivity. I look forward to hearing and seeing what these guys have planned (I believe they’re working on new material and a music video for “Come In Or Stay Out”).

Even though we hadn’t heard this record entirely at the time, we decided to nominate The Heyday for the Westword Music Showcase (as I mentioned earlier, I saw them open for Limbeck last year, but either way, see our full list of nominations here). Please consider voting for them in the showcase here.

Watch the video shoot for “Come In Or Stay Out” here

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120 – 101

by on May.25, 2009, under Blogs

Let’s go all the way to the championship!

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R.I.P. Jay Bennett

by on May.25, 2009, under Blogs

Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco (and contributor to the prolific Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album) passed away last night. He was 45 years old. He will be missed

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Audio Interview: Green River Ordinance

by on May.25, 2009, under Interviews

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I dug this up from before we even started the blog. Since this interview took place in October ’08 (homecoming), Green River Ordinance has gone on to release their major label debut Out of My Hands on Virgin Records.

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Audio Interview: The Heyday

by on May.22, 2009, under Interviews

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Pop-rockers The Heyday are a Denver-based band with a loyal local following. Something Like Sound had a chance to chat with guitarist/singer Randy Ramirez about making music. Expect to see an album review soon.

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Album Review: Paper Bird – Anything Nameless and Joymaking

by on May.20, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background: Paper Bird is one of those local groups we’ve had a hard time classifying. Perhaps, rather than trying in vain to describe what eclectic mix of bands they sound like, or where they fit into the Denver-scene, I’ll tell a story. A few years back I had just read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and was fascinated with the prospects of taking to the roads and rails to patch my way across the great expanses of American countryside. In fact, I met several hobos and drifters who told me stories of their travels, it was quite the cultural experience. When listening to Anything Nameless and Joymaking, I was instantly brought back to those nostalgic feelings of Americana and a sort of renewed manifest destiny.

Memorable Song: The opener, “St. Louis,” typifies the rambling lifestyle I described above. A joyful mix of banjo and horns accompany lyrics describing a singing traveler who moves from town to town. The rowdy mix is reminiscent of old fashioned folk and spirituals, with a hint of cajun flavor. It’s like listening to Bob Dylan without the distracting Woody Guthrie impressions (especially on later tracks when they throw harmonicas into the mix).

Forgettable Tune: Despite the charming lyrics, the first time I listened to “Bumblebee,” I did not realize the song had been playing until it was over. Perhaps it’s the more chill and relaxed approach taken on this tune that makes it fade into the background. When I listened to the track again it reminded me of something you might hear in the background of a movie scene taking place in a park.

Final Thoughts: Paper Bird is definitely going to be a busy group for the next few months. This summer they’re playing the Mile High Music Festival, and they are currently in the studio working on new material. Also, they’re a part of this great music collective called “Long Spoon,” (which also includes the likes of Ian Cooke, Bela Karoli, and Pee Pee, to name a few). In closing, Paper Bird has an organic sound that resonates with nostalgic sentiments for simpler times, something with which I can easily identify. Check them out at http://www.paperbirdband.com/ and consider voting for them in the Westword Music Showcase.

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