February 10, 2013

and i told you to be patient

I just wanted to throw in my good-luck wishes to The Lumineers tonight on the Grammy Awards, and smile as I remembered this night we all shared back in November 2010, at the house show I put together with them and The Head and The Heart. This was a completely ridiculous, end-of-the-night group effort. Go team:

The warmth and resonant connection of the Denver music community flowed so apparently out of the article this week by Jon Pareles in the New York Times; it is just as he says, and I am so grateful to live here.

February 15, 2012

classy girls don’t kiss in bars like this

Denver’s own Lumineers released a free EP this morning called Tracks From The Attic, nicely showcasing their floor-stomping, instrument-clanging, yell-out-loud goodness that first made me fall in love with them at this Denver house show in 2010.

Download the full EP now for the price of your email address (worth it): it includes this redone version of “Classy Girls,” originally from their old handmade self-released EP that we got back in the day.

Classy Girls (Lost EP version) – The Lumineers

If we recall, Paste Magazine also called them one of the best new bands of last year, and I am excited to hear their forthcoming debut record, out in April on Dualtone Records. You can also still snag my Chapel Session recording with them – so much visceral ebullience.

Fri-Mar-2 – Vail, CO @ Snowball Fest
Tue-Mar-13-18 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
Wed-Mar-21 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
Thu-Mar-22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Café
Sat-Mar-24 – San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
Sun-Mar-25 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
Thu-Mar-29 – Eugene, OR @ Axe & Fiddle
Fri-Mar-30 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Sat-Mar-31 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
Sun-Apr-01 – Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
Wed-Apr-04 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Thu-Apr-05 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
Fri-Apr-06 – Bellvue, CO @ Misawaka Indoors
Mon-Apr-09 – Ames, IA @ The Maintenance Shop
Wed-Apr-11 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Thu-Apr-12 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency
Fri-Apr-13 – Chicago/Evanston, IL @ SPACE
Tue-Apr-17 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Lounge
Wed-Apr-18 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse
Thu-Apr-19 – Fairfield, CT @ StageOne
Fri-Apr-20 – Berklee, MA @ Café 939
Sat-Apr-21 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Sun-Apr-22 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java
Tue-Apr-24 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas
Thu-Apr-26 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
Fri-Apr-27 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement
Sat-Apr-28 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill
Sun-Apr-29 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
Fri-May-11 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
Sun-May-20 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Fest
Sat-Jun-2 – Ozark, AR @ Wakarusa

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December 16, 2011

Fuel/Friends Chapel Session #10 :: The Lumineers

About a year ago, I had the pleasure one quiet snowy December Sunday night to go to a house of a new friend to watch a new local band called The Lumineers play a raucous, joyful house show set. A few weeks earlier, they’d played at my house show with The Head and The Heart, and after a final multi-band Bon Iver cover singalong, we all walked away singing a hearty “hey! ho!” to ourselves, shaking our heads at how damn good live this band was.

Fast forward almost exactly one year, when Paste Magazine just named The Lumineers one of the 20 Best New Bands of 2011, an assessment I can absolutely get behind. Wesley Schultz has a terrifically expressive voice with range and beauty that swoops all over the songs. Jeremiah Fraites on the drums a) always wears suspenders every time I see him, which is impressive, and b) adds a raw percussive backbone of urgency to every song, while cellist/mandolin/piano player Neyla Pekarek reminds me of a super-talented elfin rockstar, radiating joy.

This set was recorded that same humid July evening that The Lumineers played the Fuel/Friends House Show with These United States. Many of these songs have been part of the trio’s live repertoire for several years, but none of them were on their self-titled EP. So these are four songs that could be considered “new,” and might make an appearance on The Lumineers’ debut full-length album, expected in March 2012 (get on their mailing list to order it early)

They call their music “front porch folk,” and they can come play on my front porch (and/or back porch; we have options) anytime. Watch for The Lumineers on tour in the springtime –they play Boulder on December 30– and go see them if they come from Colorado to wherever you are.

And man, try to listen to these without tapping SOME part of your body. Toe, finger on the desk, the head nod — I’ll even predict some stomps/dances.

JULY 31, 2011

Big Parade
The Dead Sea (umm…3:06. that’s all)
Morning Song
Ho Hey (“I don’t know where I belong, I don’t know where I went wrong / oh but I can write a song…”)


[photo of Neyla + piano by Sarah Law, others mine]

July 30, 2011

Fuel/Friends Summer BBQ house concert!

Tomorrow, friends, These United States are playing my grand hurrah mid-summer BBQ fiesta with The Lumineers. Both bands are, quite simply — amazing, and really you should come. Details about Sunday are here. Bring something to cook up and let’s celebrate the radiant heat and summer thunderstorms before they’re gone.

December 5, 2010

i don’t know where i belong

Ho Hey (live house show version) – Lumineers

Last weekend a quiet snow was blanketing Denver (turning the streets icy slick) but I slowly made my way across town to a Sunday night house show with local shining stars The Lumineers. These four musicians opened for The Head and The Heart when they were in Colorado last month (both the sold-out show in Denver as well as the Fuel/Friends house show) and thoroughly wowed me.

I got their raw, acoustic EP and have been listening to it every day on my walk to work — think of Adam Haworth Stephens’ music (Two Gallants), and the first Avett Brothers records. The hint of a warble in Wes’ voice on songs like “Submarines” (below) also reminds me some of Ryan Gosling with his ace Dead Man’s Bones tunes.

The video up there captures one of my favorite new songs from the house show, and I am thrilled Isaac Ravishankara recorded it, as he apparently was standing right behind my perch on the wooden floor. After this song and all the clapping and stomping, we headed into the dark dining room and sang along to “Darlene” in the pitch blackness. Man, I am really getting spoiled with (and addicted to) all these house shows.

LumineersSubmarines – The Lumineers
[from the Lumineers EP]

The Lumineers headed out earlier this week for shows criss-crossing the West. If you live in one of these gorgeous cities, please head out to see them and tell ‘em I sent you. They put on an absolutely terrific, genuinely joyous stompalong show, and plus they teach you valuable lessons through their music about how (for example) classy girls don’t kiss in bars.

They make me smile, and their music deserves to be heard widely. Go!

MON 12/6 – Hotel Cafe – Los Angeles, CA
TUES 12/7 – Amnesia – San Francisco, CA
THUR 12/9 – The Baltic – Richmond, CA
SAT 12/11 – Shook Twins House Show, Portland, OR
SUN 12/12 – Farmhouse, Portland, OR
MON 12/13 – Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
TUES 12/14 – Filling Station, Bozeman, MT
(with Langhorne Slim)
WED 12/15 – Top Hat, Missoula, MT
FRI 12/17 – Jackson’s Hole Bar & Grill, Jackson, WY
SAT 12/18 – ‘Matt Donovan=Legend of Jackson’ Party, Jackson, WY

The Lumineers also have a residency at the formidable Living Room in NYC for all Tuesday nights during the month of March.

November 14, 2010

don’t follow your head, follow your heart

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The Head and The Heart may well be my favorite new band in quite some time. With the amount of music I consume, I find that the times are getting fewer and farther between where I find myself with that fervid touch of missionary fever, the borderline frothing at the mouth in telling friends and acquaintances and random people on buses about a new band that has snagged me good. These guys (and gal) have done that, and this past week they came and rocked the faces off Colorado, happily, twice. I think parts of me are still sore from dancing.

To recap, my friend Michelle recommended I listen to them back in the springtime. She lives (and rocks) in Seattle, and was converted by their ardent live shows. I cued up “Sounds Like Hallelujah,” and it was indeed a hallelujah on tinny computer speakers (kind of like paradise by the dashboard lights, but with less Meat Loaf). I got my hands on their full-length debut early in the summer, and have not stopped listening since.

What I tell people about their music is this: it means something, and it is beautiful. The melodies get under your skin; whatever these kids have hit on, it is magic, and it only seems to be getting better with the new songs they’re writing. The three vocalists (Jon, Josiah, and Charity) hit all those sweet spots they are supposed to, rising up above the gajillion other harmony trios out there. Jon’s slightly raspy warmth, the clear and powerful depth that Josiah adds, and Charity’s lovely warble that reminds me of some glamourous voice from the 1940s radiating out of a phonograph — when all three come together, I’m tellin’ ya that something celestial happens.

And no night more magical than Tuesday night, after the band accepted my spur-of-the-moment invite at their sold-out Friday night Moe’s show up in Denver, to come back through town and play a Fuel/Friends house show in an echoey old empty home at the top of a steep driveway, surrounded by a huge stone wall like a castle of awesomeness. The waxy pastel wallpaper smelled musty, but the floors reverberated marvelously when we would all stomp and dance in time, and the arches of the ceiling sharply cast back all the vocals into a mighty chorus.

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During warmup for the house show, I sat with several members of the band in the old dining room as they loosely worked through some new songs, and I must say that the seeping richness and nuance in their artistic development is exciting. It would be frighteningly easy for them to rest on the catchy, toe-tapping melodies and clever timing changes of the nine songs on the album — that sound that makes Starbucks baristas (where their music has been playing these last few months) confidently tell customers, “Oh, yeah, this is the Beatles,” when asked. But nah. We got some real good heft coming from this band – the best is yet to be, I think.

Their debut album was self-released with no label backing and as the result of them pooling, from what I understand, pretty much all they could scrape together. The nine songs were recorded at Studio Litho in Seattle (Stone Gossard’s digs) and range from piano-laced frenzied dancing tunes to the thoughtful, soft-steeped divine.

The album is absolutely not one of pretense, which appeals to me deeply and personally. There is a hungry earnestness here painted all over their music, and maybe that’s why it hits this right into this chest. Who among us can’t sing along with their lyrics (if we’re honest): “we’re just praying that we’re doing this right”? Despite the wrestling, this album resonates with a sort of revolutionary optimism. You can hear it in Kenny’s piano crescendos, in the heads-back harmonies, and in Charity’s piercing violin. Chris’s malleable basslines percolate a richness, while the drums from Tyler echo that racing, thumping heartbeat to carry the songs through.

Call it a symptom of mostly being new transplants to Seattle, maybe call it lots of long hours staring down endless asphalt roads from windows of a white 12-passenger touring van, but I hear strong ruminations on the concept of home. In the standout gem “Down in The Valley,” Jon weaves together clippings that would be at home in old country songs to make a sepia postcard of “California, Oklahoma, and all the places I ain’t ever been to.” It is instantly familiar and relatable. Meanwhile Josiah imagines an old man trying to entice his longtime, long-overlooked partner to return to him in “Honey Come Home,” as he realizes there is nothing physical around him in the home they shared that will not break down. It is a wrestling with the temporal and physical, tempered with what will last.

The album ends with a refrain of “all these things are rushing by, these things are rushing by.” Seeing the reaction they are getting from every place they play, that line seems prophetic. Good things are rushing by them and at them, and I am so thankful they’ve taken the time on this album to memorialize a few and set them to melody.

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FUEL/FRIENDS HOUSE SHOW (with The Lumineers)
Tuesday, Nov 9th 2010. 8pm til real late.

Honey Come Home
Cats and Dogs
(completely a capella; LOVE. Watch it here.)
Gone (new song) (watch it)
Coeur D’Alene
Lost In My Mind
Pick Me Up (new song)
Winter Song
Look Outside (new song)
Rivers and Roads
Heaven and Hell (new song)
(man alive a fantastic one; watch it)
Attic Ladder
Down In The Valley


(note: All the new songs I am guessing completely on the titles.)

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Afterwards, following an impromptu singalong session in the darkened kitchen with the swinging door closed and the lights all turned off, we reconvened in the main room for a collaborative version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” by special request from me who loves covers. It was messy and rough and imbued with a healthy dose of liquid courage for some of us, but I think everyone there hustled out into the cold night afterwards glowing just a little more brightly.

Both shows were opened up special by fledgling Denver band The Lumineers. Even as brand new-newbies in our local music scene, there is a sweet strength to their songs, even playing without any microphones or PA–just yelling into the room with the power of their harmonies.

Their complete opening living room set (which you can listen to in full over at The Flat Response) included:

1. Charlie Boy
2. Classy Girls
3. Ain’t Nobody’s Problem
4. Submarines
5. Flapper Girl
6. Stubborn Love
7. Morning Song
8. Ho Hey
9. Flowers In Your Hair

They were absolutely fantastic & raw (hey! ho!), like this at tiny Moe’s BBQ on Friday night, when so many of us enjoyed getting to know them for the first time:

So, yeah. This week is going to seem a bit pale by comparison. Let’s do it again sometime.

[all photos from both shows at the Fuel/Friends Facebook Page. The show was marvelously recorded and shared by The Flat Response.]

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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