Archive for December, 2009
It’s time, once again, for a concert calendar update. This time will be a special all New Year’s Eve update with a few of our top picks for your December 31st. A quick note: events sell out, so please check with the venues prior to going out.
Paper Bird & These United States: Hi-Dive, $20. Probably the top pick for our tastes (as well as users over at Gigbot, where you can see just about every show that’s going on in Denver). Paper Bird is some of the best bluegrass out there and These United States are redefining what it is to be an American rock band.
DeVotchKa & Gregory Alan Isakov: Mercury Cafe, $47. The intimate upstairs dancehall at the Mercury Cafe is the kind of place that looks like a movie. Lights, music, and dancing. There are fewer better ways to ring in the New Year.
The Knew & Brothers O’Hair (and others): Larimer Lounge, $10. For the patron who does not want to spend all of their money on entry to a show (and maybe have a little to get some champagne), there’s up-and-comers The Knew with Faceman and Brothers O’Hair.
STS9: Wells Fargo Theater, $65. I put this one on here because we’re going to the December 30th night of their stay-over in Denver. For fans of electronic and dance-beat music, this should be a hot ticket.
Drag The River & Motorhome: Road 34, Fort Collins, $8. For those seeking some fine alt-country with their festivities, consider Fort Collins’ own Drag The River, a band now legendary on the scene.
Being on vacation is great. No work, no school, nothing to do. To fight boredom I decided to head to downtown Fort Collins for some Northern Colorado-grown folk and indie-rock on a Sunday night. Rather than writing about each band I’m just going to post a few photos from the night’s sets. Enjoy.
Danielle Ate The Sandwich
Sour Boy, Bitter Girl
It’s December 25, and most of you won’t be reading this until after the New Year, but here are some special free downloads that Denver artists are offering as a download this season.
I Am The Dot – Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley Cover) (right clisk “save as”)
There are many ways I could go about starting this review. Perhaps one would be to talk about how Vices I Admire made the move from Fort Collins to Denver around the same time I did. While they kept making music and recording a new record, I decided to start writing about music. Maybe I could start by drawing comparisons to other bands, there are a few to be made here. Vices newest record The Politics of Apathy is a bit like a roughed up version of Incubus with a little bit more attitude. Or, perhaps, I should start by saying this: Vices I Admire have recorded a record that has “in your face” guitar-rock sound, but also realizes that simply blasting people away with rock is not enough.
This record comes kicking right out of the gates. “Keep Killin’ Me” has the kind of driving guitars and catchy choruses that will get anyone moving. The closest thing to a single on the record is track #2, “Heartbreaker.” This song ebbs and flows, while focusing on a central guitar riff. While the rest of the record maintains a similar level of “rock-ness,” not every song is intended to be a head-banger. “Denouement: An Intermezzo” starts the second half of Politics with a simple mix of piano and vocals. However, no momentum is lost from the piano intermission. Even the last track “Monster” keeps high spirits in a Zebrahead-esque manner.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of this record is that Vices I Admire is offering it as a free download via their website. However, that’s not all! (I’m starting to sound like an infomercial pitchman, dang). They’re giving the physical-copy CD a proper release with a show at the Bluebird on January 1. The show is only $5 with a discount ticket available on www.vicesiadmire.com
Listen to Heartbreaker right here
Julio Enriquez over at Cause=Time did something quite mentionable and interesting: he got a bunch of writers/bloggers/music-heads from around Denver to submit their “top 10″ lists for 2009. I did one called “Top 10 Cover Songs At Denver Shows (in no particular order).” So head over there to read up on the best of what 2009 had to offer.
So I’ve been majorly swamped with finals, but here are the newest free music from around Denver and the interwebs. Happy Holidays, this may be the last post until New Year’s.
As the decade draws to a close, music reviewers have taken to making lists of the best and most influential albums of the 00’s. With this in mind, rather than reviewing a new release this week I thought it would be fitting to talk about one of my personal favorites, Wilco’s 2002 record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Recorded at a time when Wilco was on the verge of going big, Foxtrot almost didn’t happen. The arduous experience of recording and dealing with record labels and line-up changes was documented in a feature-length documentary from Sam Jones titled I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. Eventually, however, the record saw the light of day and has remained a staple in the Wilco catalogue.
From the opening track, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” Jeff Tweedy & Co. set the foundations for the entire record. A combination of Wilco’s “wall of sound” recording techniques and Tweedy’s subtle, yet strong, vocals establish the overriding themes that carry throughout the rest of the album.
From the start Foxtrot ebbs and flows. While “Kamera” is an upbeat pop song, “Radio Cures” quickly drops down to more introspective lyrics and melodies, picking back up on the single “War on War.” I could continue giving play-by-plays of each track, but that would be long and wordy, so here are the highlights.
“Ashes of American Flags” is a great slow burner, “Heavy Metal Drummer” will inevitably get stuck in your head (it is just that catchy), and the closer “Reservations” is hauntingly beautiful (it will give you goose-bumps).
Perhaps what sets Yankee Hotel Foxtrot apart from most albums made during the last 10 years is that it has incredible replay value. Each time I listen to this record I find something new that I had not noticed on previous listening. Furthermore, the lyrical themes have remained relevant and possess a rare timelessness.
Watch the opening credits to the film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart below.
I once worked retail. Anyone who has done likewise (or who has simply spent a lot of time in shopping malls any time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s) knows the terror that is overplayed Christmas music. Fear not! There are alternatives for people who want some holiday cheer without consuming the thick-sugary-syrup that seeps out of shopping-mall stereos.
Sufjan Stevens: Songs For Christmas (Volumes I-V): For several years Stevens has been quietly recording and releasing Christmas EPs full of traditional and original songs. His recordings of songs such as “Lo How A Rose e’re Blooming” and “O Holy Night” remind the listener about the classic hymns that have all but gone by the wayside. However, Stevens’s original works are the real highlights of this box set (which comes with stickers and goodies). “Sister Winter” and “That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!” hearken back to the soft sounds of his Michigan record, while “Get Behind Me, Santa!” and “Christmas in July” are slightly more joyful.
While this box-set came out a couple years back, Stevens hasn’t quit making these holiday records. Last year Songs For Christmas Volume VIII: Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Infinity Voyage leaked. While this EP has more experimental sounds (in the vein of Enjoy Your Rabbit), it also contains what may be my favorite Christmas song of all time, “Christmas In The Room.”
MxPx: Punk Rawk Christmas: The “Left-Coast Punks” of MxPx have been releasing a new Christmas track every year for about the last decade. This year they finally decided to put them all together into a full-length record. This may be one of the few places you get a holiday song about zombies (as heard on “Christmas Night of the Living Dead”).
Julian Koster: The Singing Saw At Christmastime: Julian Koster may be one of the few musicians capable of cutting down a Christmas tree with his instrument. The former Neutral Milk Hotel singing saw player released his take on the standards last year. This may be one of the oddest records (Christmas or not) out there, but it certainly has a unique charm.
Every semester the CSM band and choir put on an excellent program, here are a few of my shots from last weekend’s show.
See the full photo set over at The Oredigger.
The holiday season is upon us once again and that means gifts! Keeping with their own traditions, Fort Collins coffeehouse / music venue Everyday Joe’s has released its 3rd annual compilation Love Everyday Joe’s Vol. 3: Wake Up, O Sleeper as a free download (with highly suggested donation-action). This year’s comp. features some Fort Collins favorites such as Candy Claws, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Katie Herzig, and Denver artists Paper Bird, Oh Starling (Dan Craig & Jessica Sonner), and John Common, just to name a few. The entire mix is a brimming with great wintery tunes that will be a welcome change to those over-played cheesy Christmas songs the shopping malls have been playing since Halloween.
Everyday Joe’s is one of my personal favorite venues in Fort Collins. I have been to countless shows there and will be headlining a benefit concert at Joe’s on December 19th with my band The Heritage Music Collective. The show has been dubbed “States Filling Plates” by Bryan Collins, the event organizer who hopes to fight hunger through art and music. Collins and his band Otherwise The Locusts will also be playing in addition to friend-of-the-blog Danielle Ate The Sandwich. For more information on the show please follow this link or for more info on “States Filling Plates” click here.