This is it… the last post on Something Like Sound. If you followed this blog during its lifetime, thank you. If you just found this randomly, have a look around- there’s a lot here. There really is not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said, so this post will be brief.
As some may know, I am moving to the live music capitol of the world: Austin, TX. This decision is not the result of having too much fun at SXSW, it came about because of my professional career choices and hate of cold weather and snow. Will I start a new blog down there? I don’t really know at this point, but I imagine it’ll be hard for me to just quit a night-job I’ve found so fulfilling over the past 2 and a half years.
The following is a list of things I learned while writing Something Like Sound. Hopefully these will help any other aspiring music bloggers:
- Always carry earplugs: It’s never too early to protect your sense of hearing.
- At outdoor festivals wear sunscreen, drink water, and eat enough to avoid passing out.
- Tell people about things you like, don’t waste your time with things you don’t like: I tried to only focus on the good instead of being negative about what I didn’t like.
- Get enough sleep: I did college without caffeine and never once pulled an academic “all-nighter.” I was able to go to at least 1 show every week and graduated Magna Cum Laude. My secret was being well-rested and fully present in my activities.
- Network, network, network: Especially in music it’s not about how good your writing is or how snappy your photos are, it’s all about who you know. Furthermore, print up some business cards with your basic contact info.
- Be friendly: Always give everyone a fair chance and try to make a good first impression.
- Support your locality: Love the place you live.
I’ll end by thanking a bunch of people: Jake Rezac and Spencer Nelson helped start Something Like Sound and put up with my sometimes-obsessive management of the site. Dave Herrera and everybody at Westword supported this thing before it was really anything at all, and they’ll still be here after I’m gone. Thanks to other Denver music people who will still be here and are awesome (in no particular order): Tiffiny Kallina, Julio Enriquez, Joe McCabe (& the REVERB crew), Erin Barnes (& the Donnybrooks), Jake Martin, Lance Stack, Evan Mellichampe and James Irvine at Vinefield, and Heather Browne. Last, but certainly not least, there’s the musicians who understood what I was about and helped along the way: Zach Tipton, Eric Peterson, The Knew, Danielle Anderson, Lucas Johannes (and everybody at Hot Congress), Jonathan Alonzo, Rande Kamolz, FC/KCSP, Leighton Peterson, and many more.
Sorry to everyone I forgot to thank, and sorry to the bands who submitted stuff that I never got to. The site will remain up indefinitely and our compilations will still be available for free download.
Tim Weilert, Graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, Class of 2011
While remixes are usually reserved for dance/electronic music, local mix-tapist/remixer/producer/experimentalist Patrick Lee took on the unique challenge of spicing up a track from The Knew. “The Key” appeared on last summer’s EP Before It Ends and already had a healthy dose of The Knew’s brand of dance-rock before Lee got to it. The result is a beats-meets-rock tune that showcases the talents of both the originators and the remixer.
You can catch The Knew live this Friday at Hi-Dive as they play with an extended line-up. Patrick Lee will be there playing organ and a 3-piece horn section will round out the 8-man Knew. Also playing: The Swayback and The Photo Atlas.
Well everyone, this is it: The Something Like Sound Graduation Party & Farewell Showcase. An event to celebrate ends and beginnings. Come down to the Meadowlark on Friday May 13th for a night of music and revelry as Fellow Citizens, Red Fox Run, PANAL S.A. DE C.V., and Thrifty Astronaut provide the tunes. Mines students get in for free and it’s just $7 for everyone else. Don’t miss this event! Click the poster above for the Facebook invitation.
There are good days, then there are excellent days. Today was one of the latter variety. In the two-and-a-half years I have spent crafting articles here at Something Like Sound I have witnessed an explosion on the Denver music scene. The number of local-centric blogs has steadily increased as Denver set about carving a place on the national scene. I’ve seen bands come and go, I’ve spent long hours writing, sorting through photos and wading through seas of sweaty concertgoers. There have been times when I wanted to quit, and there have been moments of sheer ecstasy. At the end of today I can say I’m honored to have found a place in the history of Denver’s music scene as an archivist, patron, and lover.
The news of winning Westword’s “Best Music Blog” for their Best of Denver 2011 issue truly made my day. Joining the ranks of Donnybrook Writing Academy and One Track Mind is an accolade I’m proud of, thank you. Perhaps now would be an opportune time to make the following announcement: I will be retiring Something Like Sound on May 13, 2011.
After trying to find someone to take over, I determined that it would be better to end SLS when I graduate from Mines. This website is ripe with my personality and experiences- it is, for the most-part, my college music experience. The site itself will stay up indefinitely, as an archive of the Denver scene from 2009~2011. I will make the following promise though: If any student at Mines wishes to start their own music blog I will gladly help them start it up and make networking connections (I still feel like CSM needs representation on the local college-music scene).
Thanks again to everyone who helped out along the way. Stay tuned for the last month and a half of Something Like Sound- there are still more articles to be written. Also, keep your calendars open for May 13th, because we’re going out with a bang- a night of music and celebration at The Meadowlark (more details soon). I am moving to Austin (the live music capitol of the world), so chances are I’ll get the itch to start blogging again, just with a new project…
South By South-West (SXSW) was two weeks ago, and I have only now found time to write down some of my thoughts. Life has been busy, but this post is better late than never. Without further ado: The Best and Worst of SXSW 2011
Showcase: Impose Magazine (3/18 at the Long Branch Inn)
Baths and his impressive digital skills
The heart of SXSW is discovery. I stumbled upon this showcase after a day of hanging out with FLASHLIGHTS and the crew from Speaker Snacks and I stayed after they left for the evening. Impose‘s lineup was the kind which could be a festival all its own- featuring GOBBLE GOBBLE, Braids, Baths, Weekend, Cloud Nothings, and No Joy. An eclectic mix of dance, electronic, punk, and lo-fi kept me intrigued and waiting for the next act. See more photos here.
Sets: The Strokes (3/17 at Auditorium Shores) & Memoryhouse (3/17 at Swan Dive)
The packed crowd at The Strokes
There were so many great sets during the week that I couldn’t choose just one to feature. The Strokes, those mainstream, larger-than-life rock stars showed their gusto by headlining the Auditorium Shores stage (one of the largest at SXSW) and cemented their spot with a full fireworks display during their finale.
Canadian chill-group Memoryhouse bathed in blue light
One group that I made an effort to see was Memoryhouse. After being taken with their recent 7″ a few months ago, I determined that I wanted to see them live. Turns out they’re even better live than on the recordings. Their set at the excellent Brooklyn Vegan showcase allowed me to cool off from the heat of the day and bask in the soothing music.
Place to park: East of I-35
The neighborhoods surrounding the historic French Legation Museum had some prime parking spots. Being east of I-35 ensured that the typical downtown traffic was less and the relative lack of “no parking” signs was encouraging. Furthermore, our car never got towed, ticketed, or broken in to. Last, but not least, from the museum it was only a short walk to get to 6th downtown, or any number of spots on the east side (including the Long Branch Inn, Cheer Up Charlie’s, and the Fader Fort). Only complaint: you had to get there early to snatch a spot
Free booze: New Belgium Fat Tire beer at SpokesBuzz party
Fort Collins’ian Danielle Ate The Sandwich at the beer-lover’s favorite party
Maybe it’s because I grew up in Fort Collins, maybe it’s because they make a damn good beer; in either case the free Fat Tire from New Belgium hit the spot at the SpokesBuzz party. There were also some great Colorado-local acts there (including blog-favorite Danielle Ate The Sandwich). Next year, when I’m living in Austin, I will go to any party that has free Fat Tire.
Free food: Rachael Ray’s party
Rachel Ray’s party had a marked lack of hipsters
Where to start… perhaps the fajitas, or the chili, or the burgers, or any number of other fantastic snacks made food-personality Rachael Ray my favorite person on our last day in Austin. While the music was not quite up to my tastes, the food certainly was. Add free Blue Moon and margaritas to the mix and it was all worth it.
Way to spend your time: Standing in line for Purevolume House & Fader Fort
Toro Y Moi played the Fader Fort… although waiting in line sucked
We got in to Austin on the Monday of SXSW. We spent Tuesday standing in lines. For 5 hours we waited to get wristbands to the “super-exclusive” (read: over-rated) parties thrown by Fader and Purevolume. The worst part: We didn’t even go to any of the mediocre showcases at Purevolume and I only went to Fader once for Toro Y Moi.
Mode of transportation: Walking
So many sore legs
Being on your feet for an entire day is one thing, walking around on the concrete for 6 days is just masochistic. If it weren’t for the logistical nightmare, we would have all been riding bicycles and saving our energy for more important things (read: drinking). I suppose walking wasn’t the absolute worst mode of transport, I saw some pretty dorky looking people riding Segways.
Decision of the week: No sunscreen on the first day
Charlie Sheen called, he wants his look back
That’s me after our week in Austin and 16 hour car ride home. Do I look burnt out? Sure I do! The entire week would have been much more pleasant if I hadn’t gotten sunburned the first day while waiting in endless lines. Be safe kids, wear sunscreen at SXSW. Note to future companies who want my respect/business at SXSW: In addition to giving away free booze, give out some sunscreen too.
Hangover: The day after the Sony party
Technology giant Sony threw a party to show off their fancy TVs and computers, we showed up just because they had one of the best open bars at all of SXSW. Unfortunately it was a little too good and the next day felt terrible. It reminded me that drinking in moderation is important, and having a designated driver is even more important (I didn’t drive home that night).
In late 2009 Something Like Sound released Colorado Sounds, a compilation of music from the Centennial State. Two years later Colorado Sounds Volume 2 is making its debut with an expanded roster and greater diversity of sound. The new release comes just weeks before Denver bands and fans swarm Austin, TX for the annual SXSW conference (where download cards for this free compilation will be liberally distributed). Curator Tim Weilert designed this project with one goal in mind: expose people everywhere to the quality and uniqueness of modern music in Colorado.
- Dan Craig – Enough – from Alchemy
- Gregory Alan Isakov – Evelyn – from This Empty Northern Hemisphere
- John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light– In My Neighborhood – from Beautiful Empty
- The Raven and the Writing Desk – Space Grenade – from RECIDIVIST
- Flashbulb Fires – Revenge Song – from Glory
- The Knew – Yellow Moon – previously unreleased
- Monroe Monroe – Ready The Fall – from Love Wins EP
- American Tomahawk – Sunshine People – from Contradictions, Generalities, and Future Criminals
- Fingers of the Sun – In My Basement – previously unreleased
- Amazing Twin – Naked Girl, Pt. 2 – from New Wives’ Tale
- Makeout Point – Don’t Drown Me, Please – from Don’t Look Up
- Safe Boating Is No Accident – Who Will Marry You? – from Isn’t It Fun?
- Thrifty Astronaut – Middleclass Suburban Teenager Blues – from Caffeine Heartache
- I Am The Dot – We Have Not Arrived – from Bridges EP & A Collection of Songs (2008-2010)
- FLASHLIGHTS – More Sunlight – from FLASHLIGHTS EP
- Fellow Citizens – Cincinnati – from Fellow Citizens
- The Biz – Infinite Light – from The Ancient Future
- PANAL S.A. DE C.V. – You Knew I Was A Snake – from You Knew I Was A Snake Single
- At The Forefront – Till I Find You – previously unreleased
- Tjutjuna – Mosquito Hawk – from Tjutjuna
February 2, 2009 was the day when Spencer Nelson, Jake Rezac and I started Something Like Sound. Prior to 2009 we had all been regular contributors and managers at the Colorado School of Mines student newspaper The Oredigger. Spencer initially suggested the idea of a music blog and I replied “How will we ever come up with enough content for it?” If only I had known the response that we’d get, then I would have started earlier. In the time since those first posts (and our archive filled in with old newspaper reviews), we’ve seen and done things which I could have only imagined. I have personally worked with some of the best and brightest bands and music professionals across the country and if it weren’t for them SLS would be nowhere.
Spencer has since graduated, Jake has decided to focus on other projects, and I am preparing for graduation and relocation to Austin, Texas. At this time I’m working on releasing a new compilation (hopefully before SXSW), managing Buckingham Pie Group, sorting through photos, and writing reviews. What will happen to SLS when I graduate? The honest truth is I don’t know. As a student publication, this blog must represent the voice of musically-minded Mines students. I will try to find fresh blood, but if I don’t the Something Like Sound story may come to an end.
In any case, we’ll throw a big party in May to celebrate music in Denver and my graduation. It’s been quite the ride, thanks for reading/listening/watching/supporting.
ps. if any bands are interested in playing the SLS bash in May send me an e-mail.
Rob Drabkin’s actual birthday is today, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday for the party. Each year for the last four years Mr. Drabkin has thrown a birthday bash, and every year the party gets bigger. Last year we covered the party at the Soiled Dove Underground and this year we’ll be at Casselman’s to celebrate. After the birthday show (and a few more local dates), Rob is set to hit Europe in March before coming back to the western United States in April/May as a part of the Muse’s Market Tour. Presale tickets for Rob Drabkin’s Fourth Annual Birthday Bash can be purchased here.
1. Never Ending Math Equation: The first Modest Mouse record I ever heard was b-side compilation Building Nothing Out of Something. This album-opening track made its debut as a part of the Sub-Pop 7″ club. Due to the nature of this song, it might be viewed as a transitional piece linking the more-produced The Moon & Antarctica with seminal indie-jammer The Lonesome Crowded West.
2. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes: Of all the songs on The Moon & Antarctica, this track has the most infectious bass-line. Coupled with four-on-the-floor beats and a few inventive lyrics, “Tiny Cities” stands out for its simplicity and tone.
3. Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine: Another album-opening track, “Shoeshine” is a multi-part journey into the tragedy of western suburbia. From it’s straightforward opening to the somber bridges claiming “the malls are the soon-to-be ghost towns,” it is a fitting opener to The Lonesome Crowded West.
4. Black Cadillacs: 2004′s Good News for People Who Love Bad News brought Modest Mouse into the mainstream with “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty.” While the record as a whole isn’t my favorite, “Black Cadillacs” always piqued my interest. I think what caught my attention was the attention to detail with regards to lyricism and composition.
5. Paper Thin Walls (live): While the studio-version of this track appeared on The Moon & Antarctica, my favorite rendition came on the official-bootleg-live record Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again. After the brief track Isaac Brock proceeds to explain why Modest Mouse will never, ever play “Free Bird” in one of the greatest rants ever recorded.
6. Interstate 8: I’ll end this post with a jammer from the 1996 EP of the same name. This track really embodies the classic noodley-guitar work that helped to define the group’s sound and influence a wave of non-traditional guitar-based music.
Maybe it’s the snowy weather, maybe it’s popular trends, maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been introduced to so much good gaze in the last few months. In any case, here are three bands gaze/ambient/dreampop/experimental acts for your consideration.
This duo from Toronto, Ontario (that’s in Canada, for those of you who never took geography) combines ethereal melody with a certain 80′s pop sensibility. I recall first seeing the video for “Heirloom” (embedded below) and being swept away by the beautiful visuals and healthy dose of reverb. Memoryhouse is currently in studio recording a debut full length and has released several singles and EPs. For more information and demo recordings, visit the group’s tumblr page.
2. Heinali and Matt Finney
A mix of spoken-word and layered ambient music, the music of Heinali and Matt Finney sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine mixed with introspective voice-overs from an art film. To understand the full cinematic nature of this group, watch “Under God’s Heaven” (embedded below). Heinali is from the Ukraine and Matt Finney calls Alabama home; the two are currently working on a new record.
3. The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact
Disclaimer: My tape label, the Buckingham Pie Group, is releasing the new KCSP record on Tuesday. I will not post a purchase link for my label (due to the conflict of interest), rather all links will take you to the band’s pages.
As a side-project of local group Fellow Citizens, the Kevin Costner Suicide Pact focuses more experimental, ambient, and improvisational music. Songs take shape from repeating loops, a plethora of effects pedals, samples, and live instrumentation. In its live form KCSP ebbs and flows from one musical thought to the next. In recorded form layers of sound build to peaks and sink into white-noise. Decay, the newest record from KCSP drops tomorrow (1/11/11).
Bonus: Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine