Archive for November, 2009
There is a sort of joyful bounce that winds itself along the melodies throughout Glory, the premiere full-length album from Denver-based Flashbulb Fires. Formerly known as Fiancé, Flashbulb Fires has taken the accessible piano-pop-rock format and produced a solid album with considerable replay value. Glory certainly appeals to fans of The Fray, but also draws enough parallels to the likes of Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens to be acceptable by the most staunch non-conformist music aficionados.
From the first two tracks, “Pyramid Scheme” and “Revenge Song,” it becomes obvious that the listener is in for a treat. The songs do a good job of setting up the tone for the rest of the album while showcasing the Flashbulb Fires sound at its best. While a general theme threads its way through the album, each song maintains a certain air of individuality. This, in and of itself, makes Glory one of those albums that has excellent replay value.
“Rope and River” combines Sufjan-esque bells and piano with moody vocal delivery similar to Eleanor (another Denver band). In stark contrast “Brunette” is a short, poppy number that sounds like it could be a television theme song. Toward the end of the album “Ambulance” turns up the folk with soft slide guitar, harmonized vocals, and acoustic guitar.
Flashbulb Fires will officially release Glory on December 18 at the Hi-Dive. Also playing that night are Danielle Ate The Sandwich and Kissing Party. Free downloads of the tracks “Revenge Song” and “Ambulance” are available at www.flashbulbfires.com.
Listen to “Ambulance” (via OneTrackMind)
The Bluebird was cold and quiet on Tuesday night as a dedicated few came out for Young Coyotes and Fiery Furnaces. With a rather unassuming attitude everything played through with a sort of simple, laid-back vibe.
Young Coyotes started the night up by playing what they were calling “Possibly our last show.” Although unclear about whether any other subsequent appearances are in the works, it did not appear that Young Coyotes would be calling it quits for all of eternity. In fact, they played a couple of new songs which I though were better than some of their previous material. “Hammering” showed a certain maturity both musically and lyrically. Overall, the set was drenched in reverb and a superb way to start the evening. Also noteworthy: Zach Tipton’s ‘fro has gone from great to epic.
Fiery Furnaces took the stage and I did not know what to expect. Having only seen a few videos of the group online I was unprepared for the delightfully fuzzy guitars and constant time-shifts. While the near-constant change-ups kept the growing crowd on its toes, they eventually became a little predictable and thus some people started loosing interest in the music. The Fiery Furnaces set as a whole was still quite enjoyable: a rowdy mix of blues, surf, jazz, punk, and rock.
Hey everyone, here are a few shows of note:
TONIGHT: Young Coyotes and Fiery Furnaces (Bluebird, 8pm). Rumored to be Young Coyotes last show, if you haven’t seen this dynamic duo yet this might be your last chance. While you’re at it, download our compilation, they’re on there with “When I Was In The Fire.”
December 4: Take, Candy Claws, & Old Radio (Lion’s Lair, 9pm). See Candy Claws live and in person (as opposed to their global internet tour). Also, Old Radio puts on quite an enjoyable show (not to mention this one is only $5, so don’t miss it). Celebrate National Cookie Day in style!
December 12: Hot Congress CD Release Show (Oriental, 8pm). A few weeks back we covered the Hot Congress Prevue Party and picked up a copy of their very first compilation. Well, now they’re giving it a proper celebration and release. Performing that night will be Achille Lauro, Vitamins, Fissure Mystic, and Action Packed Thrill Ride.
December 12: The Wheel with Houses, Bad Weather California, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Taun Taun and more! (Bluebird, 8pm). If there was ever a show that combined a bunch of my favorite local bands it would be this one. Unfortunately you’ll have to choose because it’s also on Dec. 12.
December 18: Flashbulb Fires CD Release Show (Hi-Dive, 10pm). We’ve got a full review of this group’s first full-length Glory coming next week and I can tell you that it is definitely worth checking out. Also playing that night: Danielle Ate The Sandwich.
December 31: Paper Bird & These United States New Year’s Party (Hi-Dive, 9pm). Ring in the New Year with a little bit Paper Bird’s brand of “joyful music.” Also rock out to the alt-indie goodness that is These United States.
Attention good, philanthropic people of Colorado: Monolith needs your help. It appears as though the festival has felt the pressure of the rough economic times. Josh Baker, Monolith big-cheese, has made his rounds to the other local blogs (Backbeat & Reverb) to drum up support (the situation even got a quick blurb on Stereogum).
To do a quick bit of editorializing, here’s my opinion of the whole situation. Monolith is a fantastic festival (just see our coverage from this year’s installment), but I don’t know if Red Rocks is the best venue choice. While the main stage is scenic, every other stage was far away and the indoor spots were filled to capacity (and climbing those stairs ~20 times that weekend was not a highlight, especially when they got wet).
Also, if they do manage to get back on their feet, I’d like to see Monolith occur about 2~3 weeks sooner. Not only would that help avoid the crappy weather commonly seen in Colorado around mid-September, but they could draw more college students who have returned to the state, but have not started classes yet (as I recall, the week after Monolith sucked for schoolwork).
For many years Colorado had not been host to a world-class indie-music festival. When Monolith started up a few years back it not only showcased national talent, but proved that Denver could support such a festival. Let’s not let Monolith fade into obscurity. Below is their plea and a link to where you can donate.
Dear Monolith Fans, we are very saddened by the nature of this announcement but wanted to bring it to you first…
We are very saddened by the nature of this announcement but wanted to bring it to you first. We feel like we have always been very fan-centric, honest and open with you therefore it’s important to us to communicate the severity of our current situation. We have tirelessly promoted and produced the Monolith Festival for 3 years now. Over the course of those three years we have witnessed some amazing performances, met a bunch of great friends and produced a very special event that filled our voracious appetite to deliver the most amazing new artists in the world. Many of you who know us know that we do this out of sheer pleasure, undesirable love of music and a vehicle to tout our admiration for hardworking musicians.
With that said, the future of the festival is very grim. A tough economic year and an opening day of chilling rain combined to put a serious dent in our humble operation. We have continued to pursue any and all options that would allow us to recover from this year and head into 2010 with full steam. At this point in time, we have been unable to secure any options. We are communicating this message to you – the fans, the media and the artists who have supported time and time again for good reason. We hope that somewhere, in our vast network of music lovers, that there may be someone with the means to pull us up by our boot straps and give us chance to continue building this amazing event.
If you have any input or know of someone who may be interested in investing in/purchasing our small but mighty event, we would love to speak with them. We have a number of options available for interested parties/individuals. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, this is our last resort and we have explored just about every option that is available to us. To the folks who we still hold financial obligations to, we whole-heartedly appreciate your patience and willingness to work through this tough time with us.
A very special thanks to the fans who have bought tickets, told your friends, blogged and shouted from the mountaintops about their admiration and love for Monolith. We encourage you to continue this as it can only help our cause. We would also like to thank our loyal, generous sponsors who have been there for us year after year. Specific thanks and credit goes to Esurance who saw our vision for this event and remains the sole reason why this event was even possible.
If you’d like to support the cause, and see a 2009 highlights video:
Visit our Monolith Kickstarter/Video Page
Best Regards, MONOLITH Team
Contact us at email@example.com
Today is officially Lo-Fi Sat-ur-day, I have declared it so. There are all sorts of delightful lo-fi things happening in Colorado, here are some of the highlights.
M. Pyres & New Past Tense live from the LOW KEY
After one of their shows got canceled this last week, M. Pyres & Co. decided to record a show in their basement and broadcast it to the world for all to enjoy.
I Am The Dot – Treetops (Feat. Boneless)
Zach Tipton is up to something again. This time he’s collaborated with visual-audio-artist Boneless on a song that is “filled with ambient dreamscapes.” We are streaming the song right here and offering a free download.
DOWNLOAD “I AM THE DOT ~ TREETOPS (FEAT. BONELESS)” (right click “save as”)
Candy Claws Online World Tour
Another lo-fi group from Fort Collins is playing shows via the internet. Candy Claws has partnered with blogs from all across the world to bring the songs from their latest project In the Dream of the Sea Life to listeners via videos. Recently they made a stop at another Denver blog, Cause=Time, to play an acoustic version of their song “Lantern Fish.”
Fall is upon us. The air is crisp, the trees are bare, and denizens of Denver have been basking in the Indian summer that has enveloped the city over the past few days.
Opening with the instrumental “Lightening,” the glockenspiel and sunny electric guitars of the past Houses EPs have been replaced with classical guitar and a string section. This, more matured, opener is a bit of a harbinger for what the rest of the record has in store. Fading out into tribal drums and layers of guitars and echo-y keyboards, “Down To The River” has some definite feel good 70′s rock sounds. In fact, the entire record sounds as though it came from a past decade; it has the same laid-back vibe that so much of my warm-toned, dusty vinyl record collection contains.
Moving from one 6-minute+ track into another, “Red Feather” had me convinced that Houses kidnapped Carlos Santana (or at least his guitar tech). Trying to identify where I had heard that tone before drove me a little crazy. The Eagles? Dire Straights? Kansas? Neil Young? Perhaps in little bits, but I definitely feel like they’re channeling Santana on this track.
The EP’s closer is “Black Hawk,” a 7-and-a-half minute musical roller coaster. Kinsey Hamilton’s soft vocals meld with the reverb to form a slowly building intro. From the rather-chill beginnings, the song ebbs and flows into a ruckus guitar-drenched climax, ending soon thereafter.
While Fall is certainly a great listen and it definitely showcases the more instrumental side of Houses. There are no sing-alongs on this album, and the guitar-driven jams don’t behave as politely as tracks on the past two EPs did. I was a little surprised to not hear “Rainy Day Parade” or “Scone (Hangman’s Noose),” since both of those tracks have seen a bit of live-play from the group as of late. Perhaps they might make an appearance on Winter…
Fall will be formally released this Saturday (November 14) at the Larimer Lounge with special guests Action Packed Thrill Ride! and The Knew. As a special treat we’ve got “Red Feather” here for your listening pleasure.
It’s been a year of good-byes on the Denver music scene. This summer Hot IQs called it quits, a couple weeks ago Everything Absent or Distorted said farewell, and this past weekend Hearts of Palm (aka Nathan&Stephen) played a pair of final shows. Hearts of Palm unofficially broke up last year, but never had a proper sending-off, so they re-grouped and packed-out the Hi-Dive for the last time.
This review only covers their Friday night show (International Day at CSM, aka “the tastiest day of the year” was Saturday, so that show was not covered). The concert had a rather odd lineup: the progressive rock Titan Courageous, the heavy metal To Be Eaten, and finally the indie-pop-with-a-horn-section Hearts of Palm. While the other groups had personal connections to the headliners, it certainly made for a bit of a weird lineup.As Hearts of Palm took the stage a fog machine began to fill the space with smoke; flood lights illuminated the stage and the 9-person band (which consisted of at least 3 Till brothers) filled the stage to capacity. Playing through a few of their more upbeat numbers at the beginning of the set, singer Nathan McGarvey kept saying, “Alright, we’ve got one more for you” (even just 2 songs in).
The crowd quickly warmed up and began to sing along with the classic H.o.P. tunes “No Water” and “Happier.” It was certainly a family affair as Stephen Till took the time to thank his parents, especially his mother, who “birthed about half of the people on stage.” Similar to the EAoD farewell a few weeks ago, Nathan&Stephen played through every song they had ever recorded and released. While they did not necessarily need to reunite for a farewell show, everyone on hand greatly appreciated the opportunity to see Hearts of Palm say a proper good-bye.
As a special treat and addendum to this review, Something Like Sound is proud to partner with KVDU to present a previously un-released acoustic session with Hearts of Palm, recorded in November of 2008. The radio-set even features a couple songs that were never formally released, so this is a must-download for any H.o.P. fan.
1. Like You Don’t Care
2. Give “em Hell
3. Be Okay
5. Tip Your Glasses
6. Little Squares of Paper
7. Tunnel of Love
“I’m very close to selling my car so i can make this record happen” were the words Zach Tipton used back in September when I Am The Dot was just starting to gain momentum. The musical project, a bit of a solo venture, finds Tipton guiding the listener through a musical existential journey that is best described as “Apocalypse Pop” (a phrase found on the I Am The Dot MySpace page).
Things are looking up for the project and the record has come through to fruition. The 4 tracks of I Am The Dot hit iTunes yesterday and will see wider availability in the coming days. Also recently announced: a tour! Zach will be playing the Hi-Dive January 7, with a west-coast tour following. Also be sure to check out our recent premiere of non-EP track “Quantum Thoughts” here. Embedded below is the MySpace player, with the EP and “Quantum Thoughts.”
In a continuing effort to get you to actually listen to my recommendations, here are some more links to free and legal downloads of Colorado bands.
Albums and EPs
(only available until Nov. 15 for free)
Live Recordings (from The Flat Response)
I found this while perusing American Indie the other day. This post, however, has nothing to do with Denver whatsoever, but it has everything to do with one of our favorites, Bon Iver. The group is going on a bit of a hiatus (don’t worry, there’s still Volcano Choir to keep us all occupied), but they let a recording of their last show for a while get posted by 88nine, a radio station in Milwaukee. Be sure to listen through the whole thing, because the preface to “Wolves” definitely gave me goosebumps, it is so hauntingly beautiful. We’ve embedded the podcast so you can listen here.