Something Like Sound

Tag: Achille Lauro

The Vinefield Agency Launch Party and Artist Showcase

by on Oct.19, 2010, under Concert Reviews, Photos

When I walked in Casselman’s Bar & Venue off Walnut St in LoDo, it was definitely a change from the sticky beer floors, the 1o foot wide stages, and graffiti covered bathroom stalls that I was used to. I’m not saying I was uncomfortable, I’m just saying it was an adjustment. I mean, they had a man in the bathroom to turn the water on for you and smell you to see if you needed cologne. But once I had scoped out my environment and found a group of hipsters to stand near (notice I said “near,” they still haven’t accepted me as their own), I grabbed a Newcastle Brown Ale and prepared myself for Vinefield Agency’s lineup for the night.

To start off the night, the MC (dressed in an all denim suit I might add) introduced I Know Your, Rider, a band he said (and they later confirmed) was loud. They played a solid set, filled with tremolos, head banging, and that rock beat they said they were gonna bring. I took home one of the sharpie’d CD they were giving away because, despite not having any lyrics, these guys new how to rock.

Rachel James Project

The next band reminded me that this was a showcase, which in my mind is the concert equivalent of that sampler you order when you want to please everyone in your party of six, a little bit of hot wings, chicken strips, avocado egg rolls, mozzarella sticks, etc. Sitting behind her piano Rachel James played with passion and sang the pop melodies that make her so appealing. Even with the absence of their usual guitar edge, the Rachel James Project provided the energy to follow a much more rock-sound without missing a beat.

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Audio Interview: Achille Lauro

by on Oct.12, 2010, under Interviews

Hot Congress recently posted about some of the press surrounding Indiscretions, the newest release from Achille Lauro. As part of their post they used a video I shot of the group while I was living in Chicago. Seeing that video reminded me that I did an interview with singer Matt Close following the show (and promptly forgot about it). Unfortunately the video was ridiculously dark, so I decided to save face by sprucing up the audio from that interview for this post (there’s still some motorcycles in the background, sorry). So now, even though the references about being in the Midwest are all outdated, you can enjoy my chat with Matt Close.

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Introducing the Vinefield Agency

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Blogs

I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted about a PR agency, but then again I’ve never encountered a group with the far-reaching appeal and artist roster of the Vinefield Agency. As a way of kicking things off in style, they’ve put together a showcase for some of Denver’s most talented acts (well, at least the groups they represent). Just a quick glance at the flier lineup was enough to catch my attention (i.e. it’s super stacked and also a ridiculously cheap ticket). The Vinefield Showcase will be happening this Friday (October 15) at Casselman’s and features The Knew, Achille Lauro, John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light, A. Tom Collins, 200 Million Years, and at least 6 more acts. Tickets are just $5 presale and $10 day-of (click on the flier for more details).

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Video: Achille Lauro – No Brakes (Live in Chicago)

by on Aug.18, 2010, under Videos

This will likely be the last post until I regain consciousness some time next week. That’s because I’m coming back to Denver this weekend and need to pack and tie up my loose ends around Chicago-towne.

Either way, here’s a video I shot at the recent Achille Lauro show I covered. “No Brakes” is probably one of my favorite Achille Lauro songs and this rendition was certainly something to write home about.

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In Photos: Achille Lauro at Martyrs’

by on Aug.12, 2010, under Concert Reviews, Photos

It was a Hot Congress invasion on the Windy City Wednesday night as Achille Lauro came through to play Martyrs’ as part of their midwestern summer tour. The group, as always, brought a unique blending of styles which resulted in a set that turned out to be rather danceable (a couple ballroom-style-danced during most of the songs). My personal favorites “No Brakes,” “Summertime,” and “Unicorns and Consent” made appearances in addition to a new song called “Technicolor Heartache.” Denver-based poet Ken Arkind opened with an extended version of his poem about Los Angeles titled “Maggie.”

Ken Arkind

For more Achille Lauro and Ken Arkind visit Hot Congress. While you’re there, download Hot Congress #1, a compilation featuring both artists. To see more photos from the show click here.

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UMS Preview: “Who?” (7/22) & (7/23)

by on Jul.16, 2010, under Blogs

Before I get to the question “How?” there’s the little matter of who to see at this year’s UMS. While this list is by no means a picking of “who’s hot and who’s not,” it might be useful for those not well versed in the Colorado music scene. This post covers the first two days, July 22-23.

THURSDAY, JULY 22

Act So Big Forest Showcase (Skylark, 7pm-12am): Featuring some of the best music that Fort Collins has to offer, the Act So Big Forest collective has their own showcase during the UMS. Swing by the Skylark any time on Thursday to catch the likes of Good Evening Titan, Paean, Sour Boy Bitter Girl, and Candy Claws. Roger, Roll will be closing out the evening’s showcase.

Hot White (3 Kings, 9pm): Don’t be surprised if somebody gets a beer thrown at them during Hot White’s set. The trio packs quite a punch and doesn’t take crap from anybody.

Ian Cooke Band (Hi-Dive, 11pm): The always enjoyable Ian Cooke will be playing a full band set. Hopefully he’ll play “Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme” or whatever that song is actually called.

Paper Bird (Hi-Dive, 11:55pm): Why not end the evening feeling joyful? Paper Bird takes on the Hi-Dive’s closing spot on Thursday but will also play a set at 7:30 pm on Friday at the Goodwill lot stage.

FRIDAY, JULY 23

A Mouthful of Thunder (TS Boardshop, 6:30pm): We haven’t actually had a chance to see Stephen Till’s newest musical project since Hearts of Palm broke up (and started playing again). However, hopes are high for what AMoT’s MySpace page dubs “Christian Rap/Punk/Regional Mexican.”

Action Packed Thrill Ride (Club 404, 7pm): Last time I saw Action Packed Thrill Ride my roommate got me really drunk. As I try to recall, it was pretty great; although the morning after was a bit rough. Maybe this time we’ll all be a little more sober (or maybe not?).

Kaiser Cartel (Hi-Dive, 8pm): I saw KaiserCartel a couple times during last year’s UMS. The Brooklyn-based duo is one of the few out-of-town acts playing, so be sure to catch this set.

Lil Slugger (Brown Barrel Tavern, 9pm): These guys are the only band I know that has their own series of comics. Also, a free full length album to download via Hot Congress.

11:55pm: Take Your Pick: Why do they always do this? There are definitely more than 4 bands I’d like to see all playing at the same time. Oh well, catch them if you can. Houses (Hi-Dive), Achille Lauro (Club 404), Fellow Citizens (Skylark), Young Coyotes (Irish Rover) and more.

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Balancing act: the 2010 Westword Music Showcase

by on Jun.27, 2010, under Concert Reviews

This year’s Westword Music Showcase was a balancing act between seeing groups we’d never seen before and old favorites. The day’s schedule put some of our favorite groups on during the same time-periods, as well as pitting groups we’d heard great things about against groups we knew to be spectacular. The solution we decided on was this: with a few exceptions, we’d spend no more than 25 minutes at a particular set, giving us time to rush to other shows going on at the same time and catch the end of their act. While we hated to leave some of our favorite acts early, we also got to see a good portion of Denver’s amazing music scene.

Mike Marchant

We started the day off at Bar Standard for Mike Marchant’s set. As always, the passionate playing of Marchant and the rest of his band was emotive and powerful. The group ended their set with a medley of songs. As always, Marchant’s much-vaunted songwriting ability and huge stage presence provided a great way to kick off the day.

Houses

Every Houses show seems to be exponentially better than their last, and we couldn’t resist sticking around the Bar Standard to catch the beginning of their act. Although the massive band was playing on a stage the size of a small apartment’s living room, their presence filled the whole of the venue. The venue filled up as Houses took the stage, and the group’s unique combination of indie and classic rock didn’t disappoint. Sadly, after we heard some of our favorite songs, we faced our first scheduling conflict of the day and left to see Achille Lauro.

Achille Lauro

This band has become much better live since last time we saw them. They easily filled up the huge space of the Curious Theatre and the on-stage banter between band members filled a void that was present in the past. Although we only caught the end of the set, we were happy to hear some of our favorite songs – “No Breaks” and “Friend’s War,” included in the mix.

Danielle Ate the Sandwich

Though we’ve seen Danielle countless times, with her being up next in the Curious, we couldn’t help but stay for a few of her songs. Charming as ever, Danielle was joined by her occasional bassist Dennis for what is always a treat. We heard a few delightful and quirky songs from her upcoming album Two Bedroom Apartment before leaving for the next act.

Kinetix

After the soothing and relaxed playing of Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Kinetix’s set at City Hall was auditory whiplash. Kinetix may be, musically, the polar opposite of every band we’d seen so far, but the passion and energy they played with easily allowed us to switch gears. While their style makes it temping to call them a jam band, Kinetix is much more than this – interesting and catchy hooks combined well with a powerful beat that got a packed crowd moving. This was the most exciting act we’d seen all day, and kept us going as the day wore on.

Accordion Crimes

Next was Accordion Crimes at Sutra. An incredibly high-intensity band, Accordion Crime’s music matched the packed, hot, and sweaty atmosphere of Sutra. The group was extremely tight and blew us away with their musicality. Despite a few technical hic-ups, the show was very powerful and passionate.

Ian Cooke

The Curious Theatre was running a few minutes later than most of the other venues and we were lucky enough to catch the end of Ian Cooke’s set. Having seen Cooke’s solo set a few weeks ago at the D-Note, it was amazing to see how different he was with a full band. The full band provided a much fuller sound to the songs and gave a wholly different character. Songs that are beautiful from their simplicity in his solo act become beautiful from their exceptional orchestration in his full set. The two or three songs we saw from Cooke were enough to remind us of his incredible musical talent.

Hello Kavita

The 4:15-5:00 slot provided another tough choice – favorites Hello Kavita, Candy Claws and Astrophagus were playing, exceptional national act Neon Indian started at 4:30, and a number of great bands we’d not seen live were playing at the same time slot. While we wanted to get to as many of these bands as possible, we just couldn’t skip the exceptional band Hello Kavita at the Curious. Their set started off a bit disappointingly, their first song or two not being as clean as we’re used to. However, the band seemed to make a few adjustments as their act went on, and the relaxed pop sounds of the band filled the air of the Curious Theatre and made us remember why we like this band so much. Forced to move on to the next act after a few songs, we were very sad to have to miss the end of Hello Kavita’s set.

Candy Claws

Candy Claws’ almost indescribable music is a great treat, and we were happy to head to Vinyl to see their ethereal poppy set. The band seems extremely focused and professional when they perform, but the music they play has a tone of unbridled, child-like joy. The huge band barely fit on the stage they were put on, but they were still able to delight the audience. Their less-than-standard approach to pop music was a perfect preface to Neon Indian, playing on the main stage.

Neon Indian

Neon Indian’s minimalistic psychedelic pop filled the air as we entered the main stage for the first time. While the large crowd enjoyed the music, Neon Indian isn’t fit for an outdoor stage. Too much of the group’s brilliant music was lost due to crowd noise and a lack of boundaries to contain it. Certain sounds, subtle and masterful in their recorded music, were overpowering in the outdoor stage. As such, we left after a few songs, heading indoors again.

Chain Gang of 1974

City Hall was packed for the super-intense music of Chain Gang of 1974. Both die-hard fans and newcomers filled the venue, dancing and screaming to the up-beat music of Kamtin Mohager and back-up musicians. Mohager is more of a rock star than anyone else in the Denver music scene, strutting around the stage like Keith Richards and filling the stage with an intense presence. More importantly, his intensity backs up his music, which is at times psychedelic, at times punk, and at times pop, but always dancy and powerful. This was quite the switch from the previous few groups we’d seen, but it was a welcome change and a great way to set the mood for the passionate performers we’d end our night with.

John Common and the Blinding Flashes of Light

With the Curious Theatre still running a bit late, we were able to catch the end of John Common and the Blinding Flashes of Light’s set. It was standing room only in the venue and the huge crowd wasn’t disappointed. The group lived up to its name, as their intensity of playing was almost disorienting. Although we only caught the last few songs the group played, we’re already looking forward to seeing them again when the UMS comes in July.

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

While the Curious was full for John Common, it seemed to overflow when Snake Rattle Rattle Snake took the stage. The group brought the crowd to its feet by halfway through its first song, and the band’s pounding dance rhythms kept the audience dancing the whole way through. While we had originally wanted to see some other groups playing at the 6:15 time slot, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s music kept us glue to their set (and had we wanted to leave, the massive crowd seemed un-navigable). Easily the highest-energy group of the day, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake was a great way to end the local portion of the showcase.

Superchunk

After seeing an incredible group of Denver musicians, Superchunk’s indie rock/punk playing seemed a bit lacking in intensity. Perhaps this was due to them being outdoors, but the group’s fabled energy didn’t seem to come across. Still, the music was excellent, and more than made up for their lack of intensity.

Ghostland Observatory

Finally, after a surprisingly short wait, the headliners come on the main stage. Ghostland Observatory is famed for their amazing light shows and huge stage presence, and their performance on Saturday showed how deserving of that fame they truly are. While their music was not our favorite style, the performance nevertheless made it a show worth going to. After a long day, only an exceptional show could have kept us interested – and Ghostland Observatory provided exactly what we needed.

“It’s a city holiday today, right?” said a young woman parking her car on S. Broadway Saturday morning. “It’s the Westword Music Showcase – we must be able to park for free!” That sort of passion for music and love for the Denver music scene was the highlight of the day. Each concert we’ve been to since last year’s Westword has seemed to be better than the last, and this year’s showcase was a culmination of the great music scene Denver continues to develop.

Check out The Flat Response for some great recordings from Saturday’s concert, including Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Dirty Projectors, Flashbulb Fires, and Superchunk. http://www.theflatresponse.com/

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The Westword Music Showcase 2010 ballot

by on Apr.27, 2010, under "Best of" Lists, Blogs

Last year, when SLS was still in its first stages, we got a big boost from local music journalist Dave Herrera at Westword when he asked me to nominate 20 bands for the 2009 showcase. A year has passed and once again I was asked to nominate 20 local bands that had made an impression on me. In the spirit of transparency, I’m going to list the bands I nominated. I decided to choose acts I had not previously  nominated.

Be sure to check out these groups (even if a few didn’t make the final list) and vote for your favorites by clicking here.

In no particular order… Tim’s picks for the 2010 Westword Music Showcase:

Woodsman
Houses
Achille Lauro
Candy Claws
Tjutjuna
Old Radio
Hello Kavita
Gregory Alan Isakov
The Knew
Fissure Mystic
M. Pyres
Arliss Nancy
Fellow Citizens
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light
Jim McTurnan & The Kids That Killed The Man
Paean
Pretty Lights
Eleanor
Weed Diamond
Flashbulb Fires

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Achille Lauro – Indiscretions

by on Apr.05, 2010, under Album Reviews

“If there is ever a lounge on the moon Achille Lauro will play their particular brand of music in that venue.” That statement was made by yours truly after first listening to Indiscretions, the newest release from Achille Lauro and the first record to be released on Hot Congress Records. Upon further listening I am convinced that the shimmery sounds captured on this record would provide an excellent soundtrack to any lunar adventure.

On the surface Indiscretions has a similar feel to Achille Lauro’s 2008 self-titled album, except this time there are a few twists thrown in. The laid-back jazz-infused bits are still there, surrounded by a flurry of horns, samples and synth. What really causes Indiscretions to stand out from their previous material is the fact that everything just sounds better. The instrumental parts are tighter and well mixed while singer Matt Close’s vocals provide a dramatically expressive element.

Each song is unique, although there are a few stand-outs. “Unicorns and Consent” is probably my personal favorite with it’s suggestive samples and hard-hitting beats political commentary. “No Brakes” is another favorite with its deep backing vocals that remind me of old blues or gospel.

To get your hands on Indiscretions (which is only being released on vinyl and as a download), head down to the Hi-Dive this Saturday. In the mean-time, watch this promotional video for the record and learn how to “Burn While You Burn.”

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A new EP from Achille Lauro

by on Mar.10, 2010, under Blogs

Achille Lauro at the 2009 DPUMS | photo by Tim Weilert

A bit of good news just dropped in to my mailbox. It looks like Achille Lauro will be releasing a new EP on April 10 at Hi-Dive (Houses and fellow Hot Congress’ers Vitamins will also be playing that evening). SLS will be getting a copy of Indiscretions, so expect a full review at some point in the future. Check out the official press release below and get your record players ready.

The official press release:

Denver’s Achille Lauro will be releasing their new 12”, Indiscretions, on April 10th, 2010 at The Hi-Dive, 7 South Broadway. This will be the group’s first release since 2008, and only their third appearance this year (the band’s shows having been called “a rare and remarkable event”- Westword.)

Recorded at Notably Fine Audio and at Blue Tower Studios, Indiscretions is the band’s third release, and will be printed only on vinyl (the songs will also be available for digital download.) The album features instrumental contributions from Jeff Eliassen of Delby L and Tyler Archuleta of Paper Bird.

Also appearing will be Denver bands Houses and Vitamins, and the recommended costume theme is “Country Club.”

Achille Lauro is Ben Mossman, Luke Mossman, Jonathan Evans and Matthew Close.

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