Archive for October, 2009
When classes ended at the Colorado School of Mines in May of 2009 we got a wild idea: let’s curate a compilation of our favorite local acts and give it away for free! Over the span of 6 months we managed to gather a group of songs that reflect the diversity and quality of the Denver music scene. It is my hope that everyone can find a track that they enjoy on this compilation and discover something wonderful and new. Please support the artists who contributed by purchasing their music and attending their concerts.
It’s been a while since I did one of these, but there are too many good shows coming up to not do one.
November 6&7 – Hearts of Palm / Nathan&Stephen at Hi-Dive: Most people think you can only say goodbye once. Heart of Palm are doing it twice! The Hi-Dive is sure to be packed both nights.
November 16 – Terra Naomi at the Walnut Room: For fans of solid female musicians (i.e. Regina Spektor, Joan Baez, etc.) check out this L.A.-based singer-songwriter.
November 17 – Pixies at the Fillmore: Where is my mind? More importantly, where are my 50 dollars? oh that’s right, it’s a Fillmore show.
December 31 – Paper Bird & These United States at Hi-Dive: What better way to ring in the New Year than with some kick-ass bluegrass and top-notch indie rock?
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Greg before his sold out show at the Bluebird a couple weeks ago. This video comes a bit late because I’m now running Windows 7 (and have been for a month now). A note to all Sony Handycam users with Windows 7: there is no USB support, so you’d best be getting some firewire action. I figured some geekery would be good to keep the blog from getting too musicy (after all we are engineers). Expect to see our interview with Hello Kavita coming later this week.
Saturday night I once again found myself at the Bluebird for a farewell concert. To say that the going-away party for Everything Absent or Distorted was not a passionately epic occurance is to undermine the intentions of the entire evening.
Jim McTurnan & The Kids That Killed The Man kicked off the night to a modest (albiet, relatively small) crowd of EAoD fans dressed completely in white. Their set was solid despite being short their usual extra guitarist.
Armed with the tools of rock and roll (i.e. guitars, lots of hair, and mustaches) The Knew continued the show with their brand of music suitable for any party. Perhaps the best parts of The Knew’s set were when drummer Patrick Bowden supplemented his percussion with harmonica parts.
Finally it was time for the band everyone was there to celebrate: Everything Absent or Distorted. During the hour+ set, I am fairly certain that EAoD played every song they’ve ever written (and even a couple of covers). While tuning between songs various members took the time to pay grattitude to those who had supported the group throughout the years.
Highlights of the evening included (but are not limited to) a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Holland, 1945″ which I think may have been better than the original. A stunning and ruckus rendition of “Japanese War Tuba,” complete with a horn section that included Leanor Ortega (of Hearts of Palm / Five Iron Frenzy) and Shawn King (of Devotchka). And last, but not least, the final number: “Gospel of Slight Rust.” I found myself singing along to the haunting words:
“If you come back you can always find us”
We will be here EAoD, and if you decide to come back some day you will find us waiting, dressed in white.
The Hi-Dive was abuzz with well-wishers and friendly faces on Friday night as Hello Kavita took the stage to celebrate an album 9-months in the making. The night played through with a variety of “feel-good” tunes and stellar performances.
Up first was It’s True!, an Omaha-based group with a strong grasp of dynamics. At certain points there was nothing except soft, beautiful melodies, however, within the same song grand crescendos swept over the stage and out into the crowd. Unlike most bands who shift quickly from quiet to loud, It’s True! managed to do so with a certain grace that was charming.
Hometown heroes Houses took the stage to further warm up the cozy room. Ripping through nearly every one of my favorite songs from their Spring and Summer EPs, they managed to pull off a solid set without a proper sound-check. Perhaps my favorite tune was a new song called “Scone.” As the set closer, this song started out very much like any other Houses tune, then dropped down and built up into an amazing climactic ending.
If you haven’t read my review of To A Loved One, go do that before reading this. As Hello Kavita started played through their set, each of the songs from that record came to life in a new and transcendent way. While the recorded version of To A Loved One maintains a certain warmth, its live counterpart embodied a heartfelt and moving form that cannot be recorded (even on analog tape).
As the set closed out, singer Cory Teruya invited Houses up to the stage for a lively rendition of Neil Young’s “Alabama.” It was probably one of the best things I’ve seen (and heard) in quite some time. Something Like Sound will be giving away one copy of To A Loved One at some point in the near future (once I can think up a non-lame contest)…
Today’s post is brought to you by: THE FUTURE… how cosmic! Seriously though, I’m proud to introduce the newest song from I Am The Dot as a free download right here. I Am The Dot, as a quick refresher (because you already know this stuff, right?) is the solo project of Zach Tipton, who currently resides in Denver and plays with Young Coyotes (one of our favorite local groups). He’s produced a four track EP, which is downloadable over at Get Off The Coast. A mix of Motown melodies and beatbox-esque percussion, Zach has managed to create some really unique songs.
The download for today is a new song, not on the EP. “Quantum Thoughts” was recorded as a part of the Denver Show and Tell Project. Each month the curators of the project select a different theme and receive submissions from local artists. According to Zach, “This month was supposed to be a ‘future’ song, or something that sounds like it could be recorded way out in the future.”
DOWNLOAD “QUANTUM THOUGHTS” (right click “Save As”)
If Everything Absent or Distorted really is a love story, as their parenthetical subtitle implies, then the four tracks on The Lucky One EP are the epilogue to a violent and beautiful tale of romance. Impassioned refrains have been softened by the work of time, and the whiskey-soaked anthems of yesterday are now a thing of reflection.
Opening with “The Lucky Ones Get A Break,” self-realization floods in through my stereo speakers. Slowly burning through six-minutes, this song sends the listener into contemplation. “Perhaps I can be lucky too?”
The energy picks back up with “Four and a Half Centuries.” Driving guitars and smashing drums soon flow into “Infant In Arms.” The sheer size of EAoD goes on display as instruments being layering and building on one another. The lyrics showcase this group at their best: “…going too fast with an engine made of stained glass…” genius.
“Closer Than You Think, Part III” is a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the formerly ruckus closing track from The Soft Civil War. Opening with the words “Every time I close my eyes, I think about the ones that died, who had the book but never wrote it down, who had the song but never made a sound.” Although it’s sad to see them go, it’s a far sadder to think, “What if they had never been?” Bravo gentlemen, you’ve made your mark on this city and you will not soon be forgotten.
Listen to “Closer Than You Think, Part III via Fuel/Friends
However, EAoD isn’t advertising their farewell show (THIS SATURDAY AT THE BLUEBIRD!!!) as any sort of melancholy event, stating that, “We will be mourning nothing and celebrating everything…” Furthermore, they’re encouraging everyone to come out in their Sunday-best whites (screw everyone who thinks it’s past Labor Day, they don’t know what they’re missing). I’ll be there, white shirt, white tie, white pants, where are you going to be?
As a special treat, EAoD is letting us post “The Lucky Ones Get A Break” for free download right here! So please download this song and go to the show.
DOWNLOAD “THE LUCKY ONES GET A BREAK” (right click, “Save Target”)
“Monday morning, give us our razors, feel like dying, but we’ll just shave and go on…”
I remember the first time I heard Hello Kavita. It was at the 2009 Westword Music Showcase, and I thought someone had kidnapped Jeff Tweedy and forced him to play a small theater in Denver. While Hello Kavita does often draw comparisons to Wilco and Neil Young, they possess a distinct originality and cohesive sound.
I recall first listening to “Sunday” and “To A Loved One” as part of a free-preview (see below), and thinking “If the entire record is this good, then this might just be one of the best Denver-local records of the year.” Now, during what may be my 6th or 7th listening of the entire To A Loved One album, I am convinced.
From the first track, “I’m Not,” singer Cory Terayu’s soothing voice and lyrics couple with the incredible production values to leave the listener excited and eager for more feel-good tunes. Other highlights include the sleepy horn-parts threading their way though “Pillar” and the soft steel guitar parts on “The Last Time.” However, it’s not just the music that is memorable, lyrical hooks and imagery evoke a certain nostalgic response on the part of the listener. I have jokingly said, “Hello Kavita managed to make Wilco (The Album) better than Wilco did.” To prove this point, just listen to “This May Be Over Someday.” However, despite all the comparisons to that Chicago-based group, “Colorado” closes out the album as a song about the resilience of life in the centennial state.
Hello Kavita is offering a small taste of the full record with free downloads of “Sunday” and “To A Loved One” through this website. They have also been gracious enough to put the entire album on their MySpace player (which we’ve embedded here), so you have no reason to not hear these guys. Finally, the release party for To A Loved One is going down this Friday (October 23) at the Hi-Dive (click on the poster for more info).
Gregory Alan Isakov has played an interesting role for the past several months. Rather than being the one with his name up on the marquee, or the man with the hot spot on the festival schedule, he’s been the humble opener. Perhaps it was this humility (and the down-to-earth atmosphere) that made his grand headlining show / vinyl release party at the Bluebird all the more enjoyable.What was even more amazing: the entirely Colorado-local lineup sold out the venue.
The first act was singer-songwriter Andy Thomas (who may possibly be the busiest guy in Denver, holding down jobs at Suburban Home Records & Westword while also drumming for Only Thunder). Thomas, armed only with his acoustic guitar, belted through a quick, folksy set that had a slight punk-feel (similar, I suppose, to Chuck Ragan, but more stripped down).
Friend to the blog Danielle Ate The Sandwich was next. What I found more amazing than just the set was the fact that the house was fairly packed by the time Danielle (& her bassist Dennis) took the stage. Not much more can be said about Danielle’s set than has been said in past reviews: it was charming and her music quickly drew in everyone present. As I recall, the sound-quality that night was superb, and Danielle’s set played incredibly well with the crowd.
Changing things up a bit, Eleanor took the stage with a full-band presence that their mellow pop-styling. The experience was moving, especially for singer Ryan Brasher, who apologized for getting choked up during the second song. Among the highlights were the songs “Would I Have Chosen You?” and the set-closer “It Takes One To Know One.”
By the time Gregory Alan Isakov and his band took the stage, the crowd had reached maximum capacity. Kicking off the set with “Big Black Car,” Isakov & Co. played through nearly every song from 2007′s That Sea, The Gambler and 2009′s This Empty Northern Hemisphere. What captured my attention was the sheer beauty, quality, and simplicity of Greg’s work. Isakov was not the only one who played a solid set, his band was spot-on. After over an hour, everyone left the stage only to return twice for encores. I sincerely doubt that anyone in the crowd left that night feeling as though their money wasn’t well spent.
There are a few loose ends to tie up here. First, we got a video interview with Greg, it will be posted when I find the time to edit the footage. Second, our friend Lance from The Flat Response was there, perhaps he’ll post the sets from that night (I know I’d appreciate them). Finally, This Empty Northern Hemisphere is now available on vinyl, go pick up a copy from Suburban Home Records.
House parties are an interesting breed. Most degrade into endless games of beer pong, meaningless drabble, and the eventual (and far too often inevitable) hangover. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard about the Hot Congress party going down at Patrick Kelly’s Pearl Street bungalow. The tiny apartment was actually much nicer than the fliers and facebook events made it sound, but it was still cramped like nothing else. However, all that to be said about house parties and such, it was probably one of the best parties I’ve been to in a while. A few highlights included Fissure Mystic’s cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” and Old Radio’s cover of The National’s “Apartment Story” (these band’s original songs were also quite enjoyable). Instead of continuing on in my ranting and raving, here are some of the better photos from last night’s show.
Night of Joy
The Jim Jims
We’ve also got a copy of the newly released Hot Congress #1 compilation, featuring Achille Lauro, Fissure Mystic, The Pseudo Dates, Vitamins, and a bunch of other Hot Congress bands. To win this puppy, simply follow Something Like Sound on Twitter and be the first person make this your status “@somelikesound makes me happier than getting punched in the face! http://bit.ly/rJefP”