Something Like Sound

Tag: Mike Marchant

2011 Westword Music Showcase nominees

by on Apr.14, 2011, under "Best of" Lists

Every year for the last 3 years I have been invited to act as a nominating committee member for the Westword Music Showcase. Every year I publish my picks for the sake of total transparency and because I think these bands deserve some recognition (even if they didn’t make the final ballot cut). The rules for nomination were simple: name 20 local bands which have had an impact on me in the past year (with the stipulation that none can have business ties to me, because that would be a conflict of interest). I have taken things a step further and decided to not re-nominate any act which I nominated in a past year. So here they are, in no particular order:

Thrifty Astronaut
Hot White
Night of Joy
Dan Craig
Vitamins
Mike Marchant
Monroe Monroe
American Tomahawk
Oak Creek Band
Fingers of the Sun
Pictureplane
Lil Slugger
Galaxies
Hindershot
Panal SA De CV
Weather Maps
School Knights
Gauntlet Hair
Otem Rellik
Accordion Crimes

I would have also nominated the following, but can’t since they’re all affiliated with my record label (don’t let that stop you from checking them out).

FLASHLIGHTS
Force Publique
The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact
Safe Boating Is No Accident
SAUNA

You can vote for your favorites online over at Westword’s ballot page. See my picks from 2009 and 2010.

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Mike Marchant gives away 3 EPs

by on Jan.12, 2011, under Downloads

Mike Marchant, the man behind Widowers and The Outer Space Party Unit (in addition to playing guitar for Houses), is currently giving away his first three EPs as a “thank you” to fans. For the next few days Marchant’s solo work will be available for free through his bandcamp page (Marchant suggests putting a zero in the name-your-price box, also don’t worry about any threats of an obnoxious email list, he’s not a fan of such devices). News of this giveaway comes on the heels of Marchant’s announcement that he’s starting a new band:

I’m about to begin work on a full-length with a new band.  I put an absurd amount of time into writing the songs, and am very excited to share them with you.  Details (band name, members, etc) will come soon.  Happy new year, and thanks again for listening.

While the overall tone of Marchant’s work is relatively cohesive, each EP explores different aspects of pop, folk, lo-fi, space, and electronic styles. In addition to the three EPs, a $1 release for the single “You Were A Runner” is also available through Marchant’s bandcamp. To give you a taste of this release, we’ve embedded it below.

Download: Outer Space and the Sea | Indulgent Space Folk Vol. 2 | ISF Vol. 3: Binary Beach

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Halloween weekend brings a slew of great shows

by on Oct.26, 2010, under Blogs

Halloween weekend is always a great time to go to a show. Costumes and rock music go together like too-much-candy and diabetes. If you don’t have plans yet, here are a few of our tops picks.

Hot Congress Halloween Show (10/29 at Skylark): Just a glance at the lineup for this show was more than enough to convince me to go. From Lil’ Slugger to Hindershot (and everyone in-between), it’s sure to be a wild one.

Elf Power, Mike Marchant, Paean (10/30 at Larimer Lounge): Colorado has been a hot spot for Elephant 6 bands lately. In the past weeks Of Montreal and Apples In Stereo both came through, while Elf Power will be here on Saturday (with openers Paean, Mike Marchant, and Faceman.

Devotchka and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (10/29 and 10/30 at Boulder Theater): It would be difficult to imagine a local-only lineup better than this one. If you’re up for the trek to Boulder (and paying a pretty penny), there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than with Devotchka.

Other concerts of note: Ween (10/31 at FirstBank Center), Woodsman (10/29 at Hi-Dive with No Joy | 10/30 at Meadowlark with Gauntlet Hair and others), Electric Six (10/29 at Larimer Lounge). Update: Electric Six has been canceled due to a family emergency.

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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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KVDU Live: a night of shoegazing

by on May.08, 2010, under Concert Reviews, Photos

The Hi-Dive was awash with sound, the kind of sound that demands a listener. It was another one of those nights when the stage just didn’t seem big enough to hold what it contained. It was a night of shoegaze; the unique style marked by it’s near-psychedelic use of sound. It was also a night of celebration: KVDU was releasing a compilation and Mike Marchant was releasing a new record. In an attempt to keep things brief (so that I can get back to studying for finals) here are some of the better moments I captured with a camera.

Old Radio

Blue Million Miles

Mike Marchant’s Outer-Space Party Unit

To see a full gallery click here.

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The Best Things Aren’t Expensive

by on Mar.23, 2010, under Downloads

It’s that time again! Free and legal downloads from Colorado bands!

Marchant at Indy Ink during the 2009 DPUMS | photo by Tim Weilert

Kicking off this installment of “The Best Things Are Free” is a new spacey track from Widowers frontman Mike Marchant. Titled “Crass Stratus,” this song  is one of a number of new tunes Marchant has been working on (he recently released Indulgent Space-Folk Vol. 2, a collection of solo songs).

Download “Crass Stratus”

Pretty Lights has taken the state by storm, recently playing a slew of sold-out shows in the major Colorado markets. One possible reason for this level of success: free downloads. As with past releases, the newest EP Making Up A Changing Mind is available via www.prettylightsmusic.com (a donation is suggested). This is a must-download for any fan of electronic music and/or hip-hop.

Fellow Citizens, a group out of Boulder that I had the chance to see about a month ago, has their discography up for download on their website (once again, a donation is suggested). Their newest EP, Rocket Pack, is probably my favorite in the bunch with “Holden Caulfield Makes a Phone Call to Jane” as my pick for the top Fellow Citizens track.

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Festival Review: The UMS, Day 3

by on Jul.26, 2009, under Concert Reviews

Saturday was different. Not to say it was better or worse than another day, it was just gray (or grey, depending on how geeky you are). It almost felt like a different festival all together, the cloudy/rainy skies certainly had me feeling a bit more mellow than normal.

Upon arrival, Jake and I checked out the full-band John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light, but left soon after, because I had just seen John on Thursday (and the songs, while being full-band, were the same ones he had done solo-acoustic). We wandered over to South Broadway Christian Church to catch Elin Palmer & Kal Cahoone, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not another Palmer set (having seen her the night before), but an entirely different experience.

We continued wandering and soon found ourselves at the TS Board shop watching Bastards of Young finish their set, then ran in to Virgil from Suburban Home. He introduced us to In The Red, and their drummer Matt Glasgow (who Virgil claims is the “Tallest Drummer in the World”). After listening to some of their hardcore-punk-rock, it was time for something completely different.

Having seen The Wheel the previous night, I was eager to catch Joseph Pope III. Yet again we found ourselves mellowing out to his folksy guitar-based songs. Next up was Dressy Bessy, a band with lots of energy and danceability (although, as Lance from The Flat Response pointed out, the crowd wasn’t in to it, so things fell a little flat on that end).

As things at the outdoor stage finished up, it was time for one of my faves: Danielle Ate The Sandwich. The Hornet got pretty crowded as people crammed in to the limited space to hear Danielle play her unique ukulele songs. It was a thoroughly enjoyable set, complete with a few covers (I think I heard some Hall & Oates, and maybe some TLC). Danielle was her normal charming self and kept the crowd’s attention, even between songs.

It was out into the rain again to get down to Indy Ink for Mike Marchant (of Widowers). I knew that we were in a good place by the other people who were there watching (I’m pretty sure I saw some of Bela Karoli, and most of Houses, more on that in a bit). Mike’s songs, although mostly “slow/sad,” played well with the weather, and his more upbeat tunes were well appreciated. At the end of the set he invited his band mates from Houses to play “We’ll See The Sun,” and I can’t think of a better way to end a set.

By this point, I was beat. Staying out until 2am for two nights in a row makes even the young (and presumably strong) pretty tired on the third day. So we called it a night and headed home.

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