Tag: Everything Absent Or Distorted
Oh the subjectivity! Trying to decide on my favorite shows from the last few years is truly a difficult proposition. For this post I’m just going to talk about shows that were not a part of bigger festivals. These shows serve as a sampling of events that had such an impact that I can still remember them today.
Hot IQs – Farewell show at The Bluebird – June 19, 2009: The first Denver band I ever got in to was Hot IQs. I would listen to them on KCSU in Fort Collins when I was in high school. I saw them a few times before their farewell show, and every time was something special. Their at-capacity grand finale at the Bluebird was no exception: burlesque dancers, a Cookie Monster costume, and some of the catchiest pop-rock this city has ever known.
Hot Congress Prevue – Patrick Kelly’s Apartment – October 16, 2009: Pulling up to the ill-kept apartment building on Pearl St. had me second-guessing my choice to go downtown until I got inside and experienced the wild house party thrown by Hot Congress. That night introduced me to a bunch of great acts: Old Radio (now Amazing Twin), Night of Joy, the Jim Jims, and Fissure Mystic.
Everything Absent or Distorted – Farewell show at the Bluebird – October 24, 2009: I cannot remember a more raucous, energetic, and ultimately melancholy show than EAoD’s last big gig. Playing through every song they had ever written (and then some), the 11+ members of EAoD kept going until nearly 3 am.
Brand New – The Fillmore – January 30, 2010: Another throw back to my high school years, Brand New has always had a special place in my music library. As I grew up my tastes changed and Brand New changed along with them. No longer an emo-troupe, they brought their newer style of manic Lonesome Crowded West-inspired music to the Fillmore in a set that celebrated the new while appreciating the old.
Tjutjuna & Fissure Mystic – 7″ Split release at Meadowlark – February 5, 2010: Apart from Dick Dale (king of the surf guitar), the loudest show I have ever been to was Tjutjuna at the Meadowlark. With Woodsman and Fissure Mystic opening, it was certainly a night of intense psych the likes of which I have seldom seen replicated.
Julian Lynch – The Low Key – May 20, 2010: On an unassuming street in north Fort Collins sat a rather normal looking house. This was no ordinary house, it was the residence of Matt Sage who had dubbed it “The Lowkey.” During his time there Matt hosted shows for the underground and experimental alike. I happened to be in Ft. Collins one summer when Julian Lynch came through for a set of experimental tunes. I still remember sitting in that basement taking in the sound and color.
Denver Does Denver 2010 – August 28, 2010: It was fitting that my return from Chicago was marked by a showcase of Denver music and art. Hearing Safe Boating is No Accident take on Pee Pee, Pink Hawks doing Bad Weather California, and the Flobots performing Hot IQs made this an unforgettable event.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount – November 2, 2010: Last fall was undoubtedly the hardest academic semester I ever undertook. This had me feeling down on most things, concerts included. Fortunately I was lifted out of my funk by the prolific Sufjan Stevens. This performance helped me realize how magnificent The Age of Adz really is.
Hello Kavita – Farewell show at the Hi-Dive – December 28, 2010: Of all the times I saw Hello Kavita, this one was my favorite. Not only did Roger, Roll open (it was their farewell show too), but Hello Kavita played one of the fullest sets I can recall. From old and new originals, to Steely Dan covers, and a mash-up of “Colorado” with Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” it was Hello Kavita at their best.
Bad Weather California – Rhinoceropolis – February 18, 2011: I will close with this show, because it stands as a harbinger of things to come. While I only went to the Rhinoceropolis a few times during the life of SLS, I was always impressed by the nature of the place: it is a venue that encourages innovation. Bad Weather California has played the warehouse space more times than most, and as the group prepares for the release of their new full-length I can’t help but wonder where they’ll go and what kind of audience they’ll reach.
Waking up this morning I had some lyrics stuck in my head. “We are born gasping for air, and we die gasping for air.” That was pulled from the late Everything Absent or Distorted’s song “A Form to Accommodate the Mess” and it kept me company on the the crumbling, pothole filled roadway as I drove in to work.
A Form to Accommodate the Mess (via Fuel/Friends)
After 8 hours of silence at work I was ready to hear something good again. Enter: Night Beds. Arriving again at home I found yet another new mp3 from I Am The Dot in my inbox. Turns out that as friend-of-the-blog Zach Tipton was patching his way back to Denver (to do what? we all wonder…) when he recorded a collaboration with Night Beds, a band that calls both Nashville and Colorado Springs home.
Good Person (feat. I Am The Dot) (right click “save as” to download)
But it doesn’t end there. Night Beds also recently released an EP titled Every Fire; Every Joy. It is the kind of music that dances gracefully across the room. Soothing, not boring; reverb-laden tunes that are hopeful and thought-provoking in addition to simply being beautiful. Every Fire; Every Joy was the perfect soundtrack for a rainy evening.
In-studio radio performances are often reserved for those few who possess the following: a radio/internet stream and enough sense of memory to actually tune in. I can name more than a few occasions where I have earnestly intended to hear my favorite bands play live sets over the radio waves, but simply lost track of time and space. Fortunately (and this is where the actual reviewing starts) there’s the new in-studio compilation from DU internet radio station KVDU.
The first thing that struck me about KVDU Live Vol. 1 was the ridiculously stacked track listing. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re listening to some of the best bands that Denver has seen in recent years. My personal favorite tracks are “Don’t Be Peaches” from Everything Absent or Distorted, “Asleep at the Wheel” by Old Radio, and the previously unreleased “Tunnel of Love” from Hearts of Palm. The live songs recorded by Widowers, The Knew, Paper Bird, and Pee-Pee also get my stamp of approval.
As far as sound quality is concerned, this collection is crisp, well-mixed, and much better sounding than you would expect for songs recorded in an internet radio station studio. This is due, in part, to the fact that the entire compilation was given the professional treatment and got professionally mastered in Chicago. However, as with any compilation or mixtape, track-flow is incredibly important. For KVDU Live Vol. 1 heavier rock songs are tempered with softer folk and pop songs in a way that keeps things moving while emphasizing each track’s place.
KVDU Live Vol. 1 will be released on May 7 at the Hi-Dive and free physical copies will be available that night. There will be live sets from Mike Marchant and his Outer-Space Party Unit along with Blue Million Miles and Old Radio. Marchant will also be releasing a new solo record, Indulgent Space-Folk Vol. 2 that night.
Listen to Hearts of Palm – “Tunnel of Love”
Tracklist after the jump
When EAoD called it quits I decided to convince Kenton Larson to come along and photograph the show along with me. A few months later and he’s finally uploaded what his camera captured for all to enjoy. Also, if you still haven’t done so, download The Lucky One EP.
See the full set here.
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)
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.
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…”
Things around the blog have been going a bit slower for the past week, as I’ve been busy getting prepped for the new school year. This week we won’t be running a bit on upcoming shows (just look at last week’s, it’s still good). That said, enjoy the few things I found particularly interesting that weren’t long enough for full posts.
Photo by Tim Weilert
Everything Absent Or Distorted announced their final show ever. It’s going down on October 24, 2009 at the Bluebird (the venue where bands go to die, RIP Vaux & Hot IQs). The show will also be the release for their upcoming EP, The Lucky One. For more info, and to buy tickets, click here.
The Silent Years have a new remix up for their song “Vampires Bite The Hands That Feed Them” done by Deastro. It’s a frenzy of bleeps, bloops, and beats (quite enjoyable). A full stream of the song is available here, and the track may be purchased on iTunes.
3Oh!3 shot a new video, and it’s definitely… interesting? The Boulder-based boys got back to their Colorado ranching roots with footage of Sean Foreman mowing grass and riding a horse, watch below.
If Saturday got me down, Sunday got me back up again. Although the clouds hung low in the sky and menaced us throughout the afternoon, the tired, hungover patrons (and bands) of the Underground Music Showcase refused to let it dictate how the day was going to go.
Upon arrival Jake and I headed down to TS Board Shop for The Pseudo Dates, a great upbeat group. Their set can best be described as a lively combination of punk, surf, and a touch of 80′s pop. It certainly put a smile on my face (both with their music and singer/bassist Suzi Allegra’s punk-rock sense of fashion).
From there I decided we had to see Hawks of Paradise. I had seen this group open for Akron/Family on St. Pattie’s day, and remembered it as a pretty good set. Well, their set at the UMS was definitely memorable (musically, their brand of rock music played well with the upbeat attitude I was forming). What came as a bit of a surprise was the end of their set, when they announced, rather nonchalantly, that the preceding songs were their last… ever.
Edit: I read on Reverb this morning that they might not actually be breaking up, way to go guys.
Jake missed the Houses set at the Hi-Dive on Friday night, so we stuck around the C*****s outdoor stage (that’s right, I’m independent, none of this sponsor-toting crap until I see some dollars rolling my way from you Cartoys). What I said about their Friday set can pretty much be applied to their Sunday set (especially since they were very similar, both were quite enjoyable and had fairly well sized crowd attendances).
We stayed a little longer at the outdoor stage to see friends-to-the-blog, 1090 Club. Their set was solid, but I felt a little bad because the crowd really thinned out (next time, Denver, next time support this band). Although I soon found myself walking over to catch Achille Lauro. I must say, they have a unique way of doing things: half the time they’ve got their synths and patches going, the other times they’re playing like a traditional 4-piece. Taken as a whole, I was definitely not bored, and had to stay on my toes to keep up with what was happening next.
After a quick stop by Persian Gourmet for some delicious falafel (my new favorite food; take note everyone who wants to buy me dinner), it was back to the main stage for what was shaping up to be an incredible set from Everything Absent or Distorted. Although this was another band that I had seen earlier in the festival, that certainly did not take any of the thunder out of their set.
Armed with a healthy variety of instruments (3 guitars, 1 bass, 1 accordion, 1 banjo, 1 drum-kit, 1 trombone, 2 keyboards, and various other random noisemakers), EAOD played one of the most ruckus sets I have ever seen; perhaps the word that best describes it: swashbuckling. A whiskey-fueled frenzy of energetic sound, EAOD did not go quietly into the night. As they finished their set, they decided to play another song, a cover of The National’s “Abel,” a fitting temporary closing (until they officially call it good in November).
“My mind’s not right”
At this point I was truly tired. The combination of my fatigue and the incredible set from EAOD had me convinced that it would be best to end on a high note. Stay tuned for a proper “Reflections on the UMS” post, complete with suggestions for next year’s festival.
There are not many Thursday nights I can remember that were as wild as last night. The big kick-off for the Denver Post’s 9th annual Underground Music Showcase was certainly a solid start for what is shaping up to be a good weekend (weekends start on Thursday, right?).
When I first rolled in to the Baker neighborhood, I strolled in to the Hi-Dive to catch Dan Kaufman Superstar Eruption, an almost indescribable mixture of imagery and improvisation. I stuck around to catch Cowboy Curse, a rock band with a straightforward style, and generous use of falsetto. I decided it was time for a change of scenery, so I wandered over to Michaelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar to catch John Common. The venue space played well with his acoustic set, although I am looking forward to seeing a little full-band-action from him this weekend.
As I entered the Hi-Dive, I caught the last few songs from Light Travels Faster, and I must say, they had the best outfits I’ve seen yet this festival. As far as their music is concerned, it was very intense, lots of yelling, rocking out, etc.
As Light Travels Faster wrapped up, the crowd began growing bunny ears; it must have been time for Rabbit Is A Sphere. The last time I saw these guys was opening for The Appleseed Cast, but last night’s set was different. Amidst the pretense that RIAS is going on hiatus, their set served as a bit of a temporary “good-bye,” it made every note hit a little deeper. Up next was Brooklyn, NY-based Kaiser Cartel. The folk duo was good, although perhaps a little too mellow for my demeanor (I really needed something rowdy to wake me up a bit at that point).
Everything Absent or Distorted is another Denver group that we won’t be seeing much of soon (however, unlike Rabbit Is A Sphere, these guys are calling it quits for good). That made their rambunctious set all the more memorable.
For the last set of the night I opted to stay where I was for Langhorn Slim (who had opened for Josh Ritter earlier in the evening). His folk-rockabilly sound, complete with upright bass, was a good way to end the night.