Something Like Sound

Tag: Fear Before

Local Bands You Should Know

by on Apr.17, 2009, under "Best of" Lists, Blogs

Edit: It looks like the Hot IQs are breaking up after their June 19 show at the Bluebird (we learned the news from Backbeat Online here) I know we already mentioned this as a must see show, but we’re moving it up to “do not miss this show or you will never forgive yourself” status.

Further Edit: We took Fear Before, 3Oh!3, and Flobots off the list because you probably already know them.

So last month we had extensive coverage of one of my favorite DIY bands from Denver, Young Coyotes. This got me thinking, “Who are the other groups people should know about?” Well, then today Dave Herrera over at Westword asked us to send in our nominations for the 2009 Westword Music Showcase, here’s who we chose. You might have heard of some of these groups, some you don’t know. Hopefully we’ll be able to work with these bands to bring you the best new music from the Denver scene all summer long.

1. Young Coyotes
2. Hot IQs
3. Ian Cooke
4. Pee Pee
5. Bad Weather California
6. Born In The Flood / The Wheel
7. The Photo Atlas
8. Hearts of Palm (have apparently broken up too)
9. Meese
10. Andrea Ball
11. Richard Ingersoll
12. Danielle Ate The Sandwich
13. The Heyday
14. Paper Bird
15. Trace Bundy
16. Bela Karoli
17. Laura Goldhamer
18. Roe
19. Brave Saint Saturn
20. Rob Drabkin

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Top 10 Albums of 2008

by on Jan.19, 2009, under "Best of" Lists


This is a collaborative article, it’s the work of Jake, Spencer and myself.

Top Ten Mainstream Albums

1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Although a debut album, the Fleet Foxes sound more mature and together on their self-titled release than most bands ever sound. Harmonically, the band sounds almost immaculate. They create an ethereal mood which is hard to lose after listening to the album. Although lyrically straightforward, the music is the important part of this album and it is executed astonishingly well. Listen to “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” “White Winter Hymnal,” and “He Doesn’t Know Why.” -JR

2. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

The New York indie scene broke out nationally this year, and leading the wave was Vampire Weekend. Their sweater-vested semi-classical approach to music is infused with African drum beats and subtle pop-culture references. Catchy melodies and lyrics match the equally well orchestrated instruments on VW’s first album. Listen to “Mansard Roof,” “A-Punk,” and “I Stand Corrected.” -TW

3. Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords

It’s not often that a comedy album makes the top ten albums list for a year, but Flight of the Conchord’s self-titled album is more than your average comedy album. The first release from the New Zealand duo is satirical and sarcastic in every sense; even the music mocks popular styles. The songs are simultaneously well-produced musically and hilarious lyrically. Listen to “Think About It,” “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros,” and “Business Time.” -JR

4. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak

Innovation occurs when risks are taken. Kanye’s newest record does not pick up where 2007′s Graduation left off, but instead cuts a new track. Markedly simpler in production, 808s relies heavily on three things: drum machines, lyrics, and auto-tune. This move produced one of the most honest sounding hip-hop records released last year. Listen to “Paranoid,” “Street Lights,” and “RoboCop.” -TW

5. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs

A mark of a great song is when the same melody from it can be repeatedly played without losing interest. Death Cab for Cutie tested this theory multiple occasions on this album and proved it true. Although being deceptively simple, many songs from this album have the potential to stay around for years. With a superb blend of light vocals and mixed instruments, this album will not soon be forgotten. Listen to “Cath…” and “No Sunlight.” -SN

6. TV On The Radio – Dear Science

In their newest album, TV On The Radio brilliantly uses drum loops and deep, eerie lyrics to present an interesting and fun record. Dear Science is at times chaotic, at times somber, and at times full of grandiose beauty. At all times, however, it is intelligent, entertaining, and deeply poignant. Listen to “Lover’s Day,” “Golden Age,” and “Halfway Home.” -JR

7. Anberlin – New Surrender

Shifting into a more mainstream sound has not stopped Anberlin from continuing their stream of catchy lyrics and melodies. Despite a deeper dependence on a synthesizer, Anberlin’s music continues to be driven by fast guitars and unforgettable lyrics. Listen to “Breaking” and “Haight St.” -SN

8. Coldplay – Viva La Vida (Or Death and All His Friends)

Hailed as the new U2, Coldplay shot to stardom unflinchingly with their previous albums. Holding up under the intense expectations of fans and critics alike, Viva la Vida portrays Coldplay’s classic sound in some songs, while musically progressing in others. Listen to “Lost!” and “Violet Hill.” -SN

9. Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns

Snow Patrol combines a fast-paced alternative rock sound with simple melodies and song structures for a relaxing album. With an unusual singing style that varies through the album, A Hundred Million Suns keeps originality close to its core. Listen to “If There’s a Rocket Tie Me To It” and “Disaster Button.” ­-SN

10. I Hate Kate – Embrace The Curse

This record mixes 80′s new wave with modern pop to produce an enjoyable listening experience. Perhaps one of the best parts of this album is that there is definite ebb and flow; not every song sounds the same. Listen to “Bed of Black Roses,” “It’s You,” and “I’m In Love With A Sociopath.” -TW

Albums You Should Know

1. Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line

With a strong string section composed of a violin and a cello, Ra Ra Riot’s quick yet relaxed sound is excellent for studying, but is also upbeat enough to dance to. With a perfect blend of all instruments, they skillfully move from songs reminiscent of the Beatles to an 80′s style synthesis-driven song to a Kate Bush cover written in waltz time. The phenomenal chemistry of the band is well represented by all aspects of the album. Listen to “Dying is Fine” and “St. Peter’s Day Festival.” -SN

2. Sigur Rós -Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Beautiful and unique soundscapes fill Icelandic band Sigur Rós’s newest release. Jónsi Birgisson’s falsetto voice at times soars above the background music in a piercing and intense way. Other times, he matches the tone and intensity of the sound he is singing with, creating some of the most ethereal and stunning sounds being produced by any band today. Listen to “Gobbledigook,” “Við spilum endalaust,” and “Suð í eyrum.” -JR

3. Colour Revolt – Plunder, Beg & Curse

Realization, raw vocals, and silvery-sounding guitars fill this record. Lyrically reminiscent of the epic poems, it maintains timeless ideas about the frailty of humanity and the fleeting nature of temptation. Musically, singer Jesse Coppenbarger’s intense delivery matches the well-produced instrumentation. Even with a few exceptionally strong tracks, this album should be taken as a whole. Listen to “Moses of the South,” “A Siren,” and “What Will Come of Us?” -TW

4. The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride

In their 16th album, The Mountain Goats continue to impress with deep and touching lyrics, complimented with equally touching melodies. Lead singer John Darnielle’s vocal skills, which allow him to move from a warbled, but pure, quiet to a confident, and sometimes angry, crescendo, drive the album. However, brilliant guitar and drum playing accent the music more readily in any previous Mountain Goats releases. Listen to “San Bernadino,” “Heretic Pride,” and “So Desperate.” ­-JR

5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!

After a four year hiatus, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds returned in 2008 with their 14th studio album. In it, the band seems to forget that twenty-year-old groups are supposed to put out predictable albums, instead producing what may be their most exciting release to date. Lead singer Cave sounds like any punk rock frontman should – full of swagger and an attitude which compliments the driving bass and drum beats. Listen to “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!,” “Albert Goes West,” and “We Call Upon the Author.” -JR

6. Nada Surf – Lucky

Nada Surf is one of those bands that has been around for over 10 years and has not released a bad record. Lucky showcases a more mature and developed sound with beautiful melodies and bright lyrics. Listen to “Whose Authority,” “Weightless,” and “Are You Lightning?” -TW

7. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

If My Morning Jacket wanted to make an album which was easily pigeon-holed, they wouldn’t have made Evil Urges. They spend time flirting with psychedelic hippie rock, play with folk roots, and throw in some late-80s electronica. However, each song is without genre, and distinctly My Morning Jacket. Listen to “I’m Amazed,” “Evil Urges,” and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pts. 1 & 2.” -JR

8. The New Frontiers – Mending

A bold mix of indie-pop and alt-country, the only full length release of the now-disbanded New Frontiers is a monument to their musical prowess. Mending covers a broad range of emotions and poses deep questions. Listen to “Black Lungs,” “This Is My Home,” and “Who Will Give Us Love?” -TW

9. We Shot The Moon – Fear And Love

Formed in the wake of Waking Ashland’s breakup in 2007, We Shot the Moon managed to produce a well-put together album within a year. The piano-based songs are well-balanced with their lyrical style. Uplifting and upbeat, their songs leave the listener feeling quite positive. Listen to “LTFP” and “Julie.” -SN

10. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

The ’59 Sound channels the classic sound of Bruce Springsteen while adding straightforward punk sensibility and style. This record inspires a certain sense of nostalgia with enjoyable and danceable tunes. Listen to “Old White Lincoln,” “The ’59 Sound,” and “Miles Davis & The Cool.” -TW

Local Releases of Note

3OH!3 – Want

In an innovative fusion of rap and techno, these two white guys from Boulder certainly have gained massive popularity across Colorado. Selling out their highly energetic shows quickly, 3OH!3 has developed a large fan base in this state. Their album goes from one dance-worthy song to another with impossible to forget melodies. Listen to “I Can’t Do It Alone” and “Starstrukk.” -SN

Fear Before – Fear Before

Hardcore music has never been more accessible than with Fear Before’s newest release. Opting to focus more on melody and lyrics instead of sheer heavy sounds, this record is enjoyable even outside of a mosh pit. Listen to “Treeman” and “Review Our Lives (Epic).” -TW

DeVotchKa – A Mad & Faithful Telling

DeVotchKa, the Denver band made famous by their appearance on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, continues to use unique instrumentation and imitate unique music styles very effectively in their newest album. They incorporate Eastern European, Spanish, Mexican, and American music in a unique and interesting way. Listen to “Basso Profundo” and “Along the Way.” -JR

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Concert Review: Fear Before at the Marquis

by on Nov.03, 2008, under Concert Reviews

concertfearbefore1-timweilertIn recent years, the music scene in Denver has grown and transformed. As the Mile High City continues to play host to world-famous musicians, the homegrown music scene continues to burst at the seams. Specifically, the hardcore scene in Denver has seen quite a bit of excitement in the last few years. In summer 2007, when longtime Denver hardcore group Vaux decided to call it quits, things were looking fairly grim. However, as I witnessed Friday night, the Denver hardcore scene is alive and kicking (and punching).

Fear Before, formerly known as Fear Before the March of Flames, was in town, playing at the Marquis Theater in LoDo. This show was significant in that it celebrated the release of the group’s new self-titled album.

The atmosphere at the Marquis that night was rather jovial and mischievous. Zombies, pirates and ghouls came out in addition to the hardcore scenesters. The emcee for the night was Maris the Great, a guy who dresses up like a zombie king and makes appearances at Denver area punk shows. The first couple of bands, In Separate Cities and Set Fire To Athens, got the crowd moving and kept things at a reasonable pace.

concertfearbefore4-timweilertUp next was the band High Five. This hardcore group played their set while dressed up like cops (similar to what you’d see on Reno 911 or Super Troopers). Although I did not find their music very enthralling, I was entertained by the large group of hardcore dancers that took over the main floor of the venue. “Tear this place apart!” yelled High Five’s lead singer as they started their set. Flying fists, scissor kicks, flailing arms and various kinds of flips came from the crowd as heavy beats filled the venue.

After High Five came a slight change of genre. The pop-punk band Animo played through their set, which was a nice changeup. Their lyrics were actually discernable and their melodies were catchy. At one point they even threw in a Misfits cover, and later did a sing-a-long.

Finally, it was time for the main act. Fear Before, for as long as I have been following them, has been on a constant journey with their sound. This show celebrated their new material, while paying homage to their older songs. With guitars blaring, lights flashing, and costumes in place, Fear Before played through an hour-long set. The best way to describe the set is to say that it began as a slow burner. The crowd, tired and battered from four previous bands, almost seemed ready to go home.

However, as Fear Before continued through the night, the energy and intensity in the venue rose, and then peaked toward the end of the set. They played through some of my personal favorite Fear Before songs, such as “Mouth,” “High As A Horse” and a new number, “Fear Before Doesn’t Listen To People Who Don’t Like Them.” In all, the concert was an exciting homecoming for one of Denver’s most innovative hardcore bands.

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The Denver Music Scene

by on Jun.03, 2008, under Blogs

This is a full page I wrote for The Oredigger’s summer issue in 2008. It was part of an issue sent to incoming freshman to get them informed about what living in Denver is really like.


General Information:

The Denver music scene would not exist if it were not for the tireless efforts of bands, promoters, and venues. Most music venues in the mile high city are also historical landmarks, renovated with modern equipment, but still paying homage to their roots.

Downtown Denver:

The Marquis

Among the bars and clubs of downtown sits an all ages venue that has played host to some of the hottest bands from across the country. The Marquis, a venue operated by promotions company Soda Jerk Presents, features a separate bar and pizzeria so that concertgoers of any age can have a good time. While the venue is rather small, especially when compared to other Denver music outlets, the intimate setting allows for fans experience bands in a way that is not possible at larger concert halls. Featured acts have included mewithoutYou, Sherwood, Saosin, and many other bands popular to the “MySpace generation.”

The Denver Center For The Performing Arts

Home to ten performance venues and over 10,000 seats, the Denver Center For the Performing Arts is one of the mile high city’s gems. Performances at the center occur every week and range from opera, to classical music, and even Broadway productions. Students at the Colorado School of Mines have been given opportunities to experience productions, such as Spamalot, and concerts by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at discounted prices. Whether you’re on a date, or just want to dress up for a show, the Denver Center For the Performing Arts is a classy venue for enjoying the finer parts of society and culture.

Capitol Hill:

The Fillmore Auditorium

This historic venue on the hill has a colorful history and has played host to some of the world’s most famous acts. Built near the turn of the 20th century, the Fillmore underwent many changes until the current owners decided to model it after the famous San Francisco music venue. As one of the largest venues in Denver, the Fillmore has hosted the likes of Feist, Rise Against, Brand New, Motion City Soundtrack, and other bands that have become popular on both mainstream radio and television. Concertgoers should expect to pay more for tickets to Fillmore shows, but oftentimes the extra cost is worth seeing some of the most popular and innovative groups performing today.

The Ogden

Another historic venue on Capitol Hill, the Ogden was built in 1913, used for performances and movie showings until it went under new ownership in 1993. At that point the venue became a hot spot for concerts. The Ogden boasts an innovative theater design with balconies and a tiered main general admission area. Concerts are moderately priced and have featured the likes of Green Day, Ben Harper, Allman Brothers Band, Blink 182, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

South Denver:

The Gothic

The golden age of cinema birthed the Gothic. During the 1920’s the theater served as a one of the main entertainment spots on southern Broadway. Similar to the Ogden and Fillmore, the Gothic switched uses and ownership several times before becoming what it is today. The mid-sized concert hall features balconies and a tiered main area (similar to the Ogden). Bands that have played the Gothic include indie legends Nada Surf and Built To Spill, in addition to Say Anything, Saves The Day, Lucero, Mute Math, Talib Kweli, and countless other up-and-coming acts.


Red Rocks Amphitheater

The ancient sandstone monoliths that form the natural amphitheater at Red Rocks have provided an awe-inspiring venue for musicians for over 100 years. The current configuration of Red Rocks came about when Franklin Roosevelt and his “New Deal” plan created the Civilian Conservation Corps, who developed the mountain area into a working performance center during the 1940’s. As one of the best outdoor venues in the world, Red Rocks has seen the likes of The Beatles, U2, The Fray, Muse, and many other historic acts. The 2008 concert season at Red Rocks includes the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and R.E.M. While tickets to Red Rocks shows usually start in the low $40 range, the park can be visited for free when there are no events happening.


General Information:

In recent years the Denver music scene has become more prominent on a national and world level. While some Denver-based bands, like The Fray, have found mainstream success, there are countless other bands that are bound to be the “next big thing.”

The Heyday

The fresh faced musicians that compose The Heyday play in a fashion that is similar to The Format or Limbeck. While they have not hit national charts or mainstream radio yet, The Heyday have toured extensively and worked hard to develop their upbeat sound. Dave Hererra, music editor for Denver’s entertainment magazine Westword called the band “the next generation Fray” after only a handful shows. With ambitious plans of touring all summer in support of their newly released self-titled album, The Heyday are on their way to spreading their fun-filled concert experience across the country.


“There’s A War Going On For Your Mind,” the first track on the Flobots breakthrough record Fight With Tools, showcases the group’s socially conscious approach to hip hop. With a fresh mix of guitars, horns, and lyrics, this group has recently caught the attention of major record label Universal Republic Records. Their song “Handlebars” has seen national mainstream radio play and they regularly sell out shows across the country. However, the Flobots have not let success change their cause. From, “Not only did they [Universal Republic Records] want to release Fight With Tools untouched, but they were excited to help us continue to integrate music, activism, and community-building.” The Flobots have definitely put Denver on the map for hip hop, a sentiment echoed by Chuck D. from group Public Enemy. “We played Boulder, CO,” said Chuck D., “the opening band were a great group named the Flobots who, along with some great musicianship and rhyme flow, set the stage well with political commentary.”


One part Lil Jon, another part Beastie Boys, 3OH!3 have brought their unique style of crunk-rap and hip-hop to Denver. The duo, composed of Matt Motte and Sean Foreman got their start in Boulder, but have branched out nationally and will be appearing on the 2008 Warped Tour. Their tunes are catchy and entertaining, while their beats are excellent for dancing or partying. Although their style of music might seem like a better fit in a city such as Atlanta, they have found a solid fan base in Denver. Perhaps part of their success has been their ability to turn heads and cause people to stop and listen. 3OH!3 have a self-titled album to their credit and a creative hand signal that represents the Denver area code.

The Photo Atlas

In recent years, experimental dance music has become increasingly popular part of the Denver music scene. Leading this movement is a group of four guys who call themselves The Photo Atlas. A blend of Bloc Party and At The Drive-In, The Photo Atlas have played national tours and festivals in support of their album No, Not Me, Never available from Stolen Transmission Records. Most recently, The Photo Atlas played at the Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey and SXSW in Austin, Texas. This summer they are going on tour again, but will return to Colorado for the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks in September.

Single File

While Single File got their start in Denver, they almost gave up music all together. While the three members of Single File were in high school they began playing music together as a jazz trio. However this didn’t last and soon enough they had moved to separate parts of the country to pursue their own interests. However, they reunited in 2003 and branched out in a new direction. Single File brought their unique brand of pop-punk to CSM in 2007, during the E-Days Concert. At that point they were beginning to break out. Soon after they signed a record deal with Reprise Records and released their EP No More Sad Face. With their EP and hit song “Zombies Ate My Neighbors,” Single File are going on the road this summer with the Warped Tour.

Fear Before The March of Flames

While the Denver music scene has seen quite a bit of change along with new sounds and acts, one thing has remained constant: quality hardcore music. Through the years Denver has shown itself to be a place that loves the heavy hitting sound of hardcore musicians, but has also been a major player in the post-hardcore and experimental scenes. Bands such as Fear Before The March of Flames have become a nationally successful the post-hardcore post-hardcore band. They have released three albums on Equal Vision Records and toured with the likes of Poison The Well, Saosin, The Blood Brothers, and Bear Vs. Shark. Their sound is a mix of heavy guitars and heavier vocals. Live, Fear Before The March of Flames can get an entire venue moving with moshing and head-banging in a fashion that is reminiscent of some of the first punk and hardcore bands.

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