Something Like Sound

Archive for September, 2009

Another one bites the dust

by on Sep.26, 2009, under Blogs

I just got this email from The Finest, one of the last independent record stores in the Northern Colorado region. I have long been a supporter of indie shops, but especially the Finest. It will be sad to see them go.

Friends and loyal customers:
It is with great sadness that I must announce that The Finest Record Store be closing its doors after 35 years in Ft Collins.  A store closing sale will begin on Thursday October 1 at 10am to liquidate all merchandise in our store, including all CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl records, t-shirts, posters, memorabilia, and more.  We will be open today through Sunday the 27th, then we will be closed Monday the 28th through Wednesday the 30th to re-price merchandise and prepare the store for the liquidation sale.  All of our merchandise, store fixtures, furniture and equipment will be sold.

The store is closing due to current business conditions, an expiring store lease, the inability to find a buyer to keep it going, and my desire to exit retail and spend more time with my wife and 5 and 7 year old daughters.  I have been employed at the Finest since 1981, and have shopped here since 1976, so this decision is extremely difficult.  However, it’s time to call it a day.

On behalf of myself, countless friends and ex-employees over the years, it has been an honor to bring the joy of music to so many people all of these years.  I know that The Finest made a difference and a lot of people happy for a very long time.  it’s been a great ride!

Stop for some great deals in October and to say goodbye.  We will have a final edition Finest T-shirt available, and some giveaways throughout October.  Again, thanks for everything throughout the years!!

Jim Risser, owner

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Audio Interview: Frank Turner

by on Sep.23, 2009, under Interviews

Frank Turner is a British folk-singer with a new record called Poetry of the Deed. We talked with Frank before his gig opening for Gaslight Anthem at the Ogden and have this audio interview to share.

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Photo by Bryan Lambert

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tangled; we weave

by on Sep.22, 2009, under Blogs

When I woke up this morning I had to drag myself out of bed. The grey (or gray?) skies and cold weather almost had me convinced that staying in bed would have been a better choice. After finally mustering up the courage to face the day I checked my email. To my delight there was one in there from friend of the blog Eric Peterson (of Houses, Roger Roll, Old Radio, and every other band in Denver). From his message:

The gist of it is that I’m working with my friend Jennifer Brookes on a collaborative art project called tangled; we weave.  Each week, Jenny will take about 180 photographs and string them together into a stop-motion piece.  Completely independent of her, and under a pact of secrecy, I will compose a thirty-second piece of music.  Every Tuesday, we show each other what we’ve made, combine them into a video, and post it to our website.

I watched the first one and was impressed by the haunting beauty of it. They’ll be putting out a fresh one each week  and there’s an RSS feed for that, and a podcast on iTunes as well. Watch “One” below.

One from Jenny and Eric on Vimeo.

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Album Review: Dinosaur Jr. – Farm

by on Sep.22, 2009, under Album Reviews

After over 20 years as a band (including a brief breakup during the late 90’s), Dinosaur Jr. is at it again with their newest record Farm. Even from the album art, it becomes increasingly evident that this record is an interesting listen. Dinosaur Jr. has always been marked by a few key features: mind-blowing, ear drum shattering loudness, tempered with J Mascis’s laid-back vocal style.

To achieve the full Dinosaur Jr. experience, this album was reviewed while on a short hour-long road trip to Fort Collins. Even during the parts of the trip where I became stuck in rush-hour traffic, the feel-good rock sounds blasting out of the speakers transported me to a place of musical bliss.

The upbeat “I Want You to Know,” is a good example of the current Dinosaur Jr. sound, complete with driving, brightly over-distorted guitars, and a slight bit of pop-sensibility on the lyrics. Another up-front punk song is “Over It,” the first track from Farm to receive a video (which is rather classic, featuring the band skateboarding and bmx’ing while on tour).

However, not every song is in-your-face loudness and punk rock. “Plans” scales back on the beats and guitars and brings a more mellow vibe to the record. “Said the People” also brings a similar sound and offers a nice change-up from the rest of the generally noisy record.

Overall, Farm does a nice job of bringing Dinosaur Jr. to an entirely new generation of fans. It is accessible while still remaining true to the sound that the group took years to develop. Dinosaur Jr. is currently on tour and will be making two stops in Colorado on October 29 (at the Boulder Theater), and October 30 (at the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins).

Watch the video for “Over It”

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This is going to be awesome!

by on Sep.21, 2009, under Blogs

Today has been a day of great news for Colorado music. First, it was announced that Hearts of Palm would be reuniting for two legitimate farewell shows (Nov. 6 & 7 at Hi-Dive), then this! Perhaps one of my all time favorite local groups, Five Iron Frenzy is finally getting around to releasing their DVD. Hopes are high, more details will be reported as they come in.

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The best things on the web are FREE

by on Sep.20, 2009, under Downloads

It’s high time that I sat down and pointed you in all directions at once. All over the web there are great, free & legal downloads from some of Colorado’s finest (bands, that is… the police don’t really have much out there). Just click on the images to go to the places.

Savoy – Self-Titled EP: The entire thing is free on the group’s website. Unfortunately we missed their set at Monolith, but fear not! They’re doing a show November 21 at the Bluebird.

Hello Kavita – To A Loved One 2 song sampler. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from these guys, but they’re finally releasing another record on October 23 at the Hi-Dive, with Houses and It’s True! Even just listening to the 2 sample tracks, I’m excited for what these guys have in store.

Arliss Nancy – Dance To Forget: Fort Collins own answer to Lucero, this record is technically a $5 donation, but you could get it for free if you really like. Click back a few pages to see our review.

Rob Drabkin – On These Heavy Feet: Rob’s still got this link up for people to download his full length. He did it as a way of saying “Thank You” for all the cool stuff that his fans have helped him with this summer.

Dualistics – Last Call single: Featuring the sharp new song “Last Call” and a great b-side “Sabbatical,” this is a must download for fans of solid rock music. The file also contains a few tracks from this group’s self-titled EP.

Pretty Lights – Discography: Pick up Filling Up The City Skies and Taking Up Your Precious Time for free from the Fort Collins-based group. Definitely listen to “Solamente.” Also, just announced, the new Pretty Lights record Passing Behind Your Eyes will be available October 6.

Drag The River - Live at the Starlight: This long-out-of-print record is still being offered as a free download by our friends at Suburban Home Records. It’s a great live album and a bit of CO music history.

Rabbit Is A Sphere – Discography: It was sad to see these guys go on indefinite hiatus, but you can still enjoy their music and a high-quality bootleg via the link.

M. Pyres – Consider Me, Ghost and other FTU albums: Matt Sage of Fort Collins is quickly becoming a lo-fi phenomenon (if there can even be such a thing). Give Consider Me, Ghost a listen, then stay tuned for Apart The Echo, which is coming soon.

Young Coyotes – Basement EP: Possibly one of my favorite recordings released this year, Young Coyotes have their first EP (which was recorded… in a basement) for free on their website.

Cowboy Curse – Nod Up And Down: I first heard this band at the UMS this year. Definitely check out their song “Negative Space.”

Alright, that’s enough for now, I’ll let these build up a bit then do another one in another month or so.

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Concert Review: Gaslight Anthem at the Ogden

by on Sep.17, 2009, under Concert Reviews

While some of us were at Monolith on Sunday evening, Jake went downtown to cover this show at the Ogden.

Frank Turner: Having listened to his new album, Poetry of the Deed, and talked to this British punk singer-turned folk artist before the show, I was very excited to hear Frank Turner’s live act; Turner did not disappoint. Years of playing punk shows with his old band, Million Dead, taught Turner to electrify a crowd, even with the low-key acoustic set he presented at the show. The passion and energy Turner created more than filled the gap that other instruments fill on his album. Between songs, Turner created a familial atmosphere in the room which few bands can emulate. Turner’s set, although excellent, was a bit out of place, compared to the punk and rock sets which would follow.

The Loved Ones: I had never heard of Philadelphia punk band The Loved Ones before last weekend’s show. Their style was a sharp contrast to Turner’s set, but the band’s upbeat and intense sound was an enjoyable addition to the show. The majority of the crowd appeared to have not heard the band before their show, but after a few songs, the crowd’s near-malaise was turned to enthusiasm. The band’s sound was, with some exceptions, standard punk. However, their stage presence more than made up for their lack of uniqueness.

Murder by Death: Murder by Death is one of the most unique bands in the (somewhat) mainstream circuit. Lead singer Adam Turla has been compared to Johnny Cash and many songs are driven by the electric cello of Sarah Balliet. Their songs about the devil and zombies coincide well with their rock meets old west sound. All of this made for a wonderful show which was well-appreciated by the Ogden crowd. This high-energy set may have been the best of the night, musically.

Gaslight Anthem: By the time Gaslight Anthem was setting up, The Ogden was teeming with fans of the headliner. Gaslight Anthem’s unique blend of Punk and Classic Rock attracted a very diverse crowd to the show, but everyone seemed happy with what they heard. Like the previous sets, Gaslight Anthem’s was full of energy. This effected their sound a bit, with more punk coming out than their albums would indicate. However, this was certainly not a bad thing; rather, it provided a new look at their songs, which was unexpected and well-received. Much to the excitement of Gaslight Anthem’s long-time fans, the band finished with a three-song encore including songs from their first releases.

Words by Jake Rezac, Photos by Bryan Lambert

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Album Review: Maserati – Passages

by on Sep.16, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background
Coley Dennis, Matthew Cherry, Steven Scarborough, and Phillip Horan started the band Maserati in 2000 while living in Athens, Georgia. In 2001, the band self-released their first album, 37:29:24, followed by The Language of Cities (2002) and Confines of Heat EP (2003) which were both released on the indie label Kindercore. The band then signed with Temporary Residence and released Inventions for the New Season in 2007 and their latest album, Passages, in 2009.

Maserati can best be described as post-rock, but has also been described as progressive-rock and perhaps even psychedelic. The most noticeable attribute of this genre is the lack of singing; it is usually completely instrumental based music.

Memorable Song
A very predictable and repetitious melody conveys most of “Thieves” but it is strangely attracting. There is nothing definite that separates this song from the rest except that it has a slightly darker sound. On an album that is light and has a sound that correlates to a dance/techno style, this track offers something a little more mysterious. The change is the best part of this song and is exacerbated by the monotony found on the rest of the album.

Least Favorite Song
“The World Outside (The Loving Hand Remix)” is composed of various sections. There are odd pauses and weird buzzing sounds as well as strange human noises. The song does not seem to fit together and is very jerky, but maybe that is what the band was intending. Given the context and style of the rest of the album, the song just does not fit.

In Closing
The post-rock genre is one that has many slight variations that are impossibly hard to quantify. How does one album become better than another? There are many stylistic changes between bands, some rely on heavier drums, and others prefer to focus on varying the sounds produced by a guitar. Only truly devoted followers of post-rock bands are able to pinpoint what makes a specific band or album great. To most, all albums sound the same, neither terrible nor tremendous. This album fits into that category; there is a lack of musical complexity and variety that is present elsewhere in the genre.

Many of the rhythms employed by each instrument on different tracks are very similar and the variance in key signatures and even notes throughout a particular song are absent. One highlight of the album is the presence of good dynamic changes; swells of volume allow the music to not become too mundane. Overall, if you are not a fan of post-rock, this album has nothing that will change your opinion; if you are a fan, this album might or might not interest you, again, preference will decide.

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Festival Review: Monolith

by on Sep.15, 2009, under Concert Reviews

Since this is the first bit of free time I’ve had since getting back from the weekend’s festivities, the review will be for both days. Similar to what I did for the Westword Music Showcase review, each band gets 50 words max.

Saturday

Gregory Alan Isakov: The first set we saw all weekend was from one of Colorado’s best singer-songwriters. Gregory played a solid set, which included my favorites “Virginia May” and “Big Black Car.”

Speakeasy Tiger: We didn’t catch much of this set, but it reminded me of any number of 80′s girl-pop bands.

Lydia: It was my second time seeing this group, and I actually appreciated their set more having listened to their record. The vocals came off a little sharp, but in the end it turned out to be a well-rounded set.

Danielle Ate The Sandwich: Danielle was in her prime as she played to a packed crowd at the smallest stage. Along with her bassist Dennis, this was probably one of the best sets I’ve seen her put on.

Frightened Rabbit: Only caught a few songs there, really nothing to write home about.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: It was during this set that everything got soaked (and didn’t dry for the rest of the day). ‘Pains’ reminded me of The Clash mixed with a touch of the Smiths (at least Johnny Marr’s guitar tone).

OK GO: Their good song was good, although they didn’t have any treadmills in tow. It was danceable at best.

The Walkmen: Another set in the rain. I might have zoned out for a good portion of The Walkmen. They were good, but didn’t really have any songs that stood out.

M. Ward: While he did play a couple songs from Hold Time, I really wished he would’ve played more from that record. However, ending the set with “Roll Over Beethoven” had to be one of the highlights for the entire day.

Boulder Acoustic Society: We determined that these guys took all of the gypsy and punk aspects of DeVotchKa and boiled them down into pure energy.

Girl Talk: Perhaps the best set of the entire first day, Girl Talk didn’t let the rain keep things from getting good. It was like a high school dance on speed. Not only was it fun to dance to, I also found spotting where samples had come from as another layer of enjoyment.

Of Montreal: I was not prepared for what happened during this set. There were people in costumes and strange projections. It was probably equivalent to taking a bunch of acid then having a psychedelic trip. However, it was still an amazing set and a good way to end the day.

Note: We skipped Yeah Yeah Yeah’s headlining set to beat the traffic. Also, we were cold, wet, and feeling rather miserable.

Sunday

A Shoreline Dream: We were at it early again the next day and caught this band’s day-opening set. It was rather odd to see such a dark, prog-rock set indoors while the noon-time sun was brightly shining outside.

Jim Mcturnan and the Kids That Killed the Man: I actually ran in to drummer John Fate the previous day and he encouraged me to catch this set. I have also determined that Mike Marchant is in every band in Denver. As far as the set went, I like how Westword described it: “Dinosaur Jr. minus ten 100 watt Marshalls, a few temper tantrums and the pretension.”

We Were Promised Jetpacks: One suggestion I have for Monolith next year is do something different with the indoor stages. We were promised a We Were Promised Jetpacks set, but were forced to wait in the lobby for most of the set since the room was at capacity. However, we did catch the amazing ending to the Broncos game while waiting there, so not all was lost.

There you have it, a review about a band that really didn’t involve the band at all. Actually what we did see was quite good.

Rahzel: I am still in awe of this man’s beat-boxing ability. He had a DJ up there with him, but often just ‘boxed the beats himself. Also, he could actually sing, not something that can be said of all rappers.

Monotonix: I really didn’t know what to expect here. It was like if Borat had a cracked out old-school punk rock band. It was definitely a highlight for the entire weekend.

The Dandy Warhols: Stoner music, ‘nough said.

The Thermals: This Portland group played through a number of mildly enthusiastic songs, including a Sonic Youth cover. Overall, the simplicity of this band had me a little bored.

HEALTH: Since I had a hard time getting any good pictures, I tried to take one that reflected how it felt to be there. A violent jumble of noise and drum beats, HEALTH’s set was unlike anything I’d ever heard. It shook me to the core, but had danceable beats at certain points.

French Horn Rebellion: I got really bored very quickly with this group. It was standard electro-pop with absolutely no attitude whatsoever.

Methodman & Redman: I’m fairly certain there was a cloud of weed-smoke floating over the amphitheater during their entire set.

Passion Pit: More dance music, although this stuff had a full band, so it was more enjoyable. However, I really could not find a way around the singer’s ridiculous falsetto, it was incredibly distracting.

Phoenix: Once again, a decent band, but no real stand-out songs. It was danceable and played well with the main stage atmosphere, but kinda fell short.

Chromeo: This Canadian duo outdid most of the other electro-pop acts in that they also played live instruments.

The Mars Volta: The headliner for the second night was not a let down in the least. The energy that singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez brought to the stage had people in a frenzy. They played through a number of newer songs before playing my favorites “Drunkship of Lanterns” and “The Widow.” At one point they even played “Eunuch Provacateur,” a song from their first EP saying it was a response to the breakup of At The Drive-In.

Suggestion for how to actually sell out Monolith next year: Get At The Drive-In to reunite and play a one-time-only show.

Overall, Monolith was a good weekend, although there were several times during Saturday that I felt like going home (the weather was bringing me down). Overall there were a few gems in there, but for the most part it was a lot of hipster-dance and fairly generic rock.

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Video: Backstage during The Mars Volta

by on Sep.14, 2009, under Videos

I’m still not entirely sure how it happened, but I managed to get backstage during The Mars Volta’s headlining set. I took this short (30 sec) video for your enjoyment. A full review of the weekend’s festivities (with photos) will be coming soon.

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