March 9, 2009

Mile-Hi Monday Music Roundup (SXSW Party announcement!)

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Something different for the Monday Music Roundup this week: Seven songs from the seven Colorado bands that we are presenting at SXSW for our first Mile-Hi Fidelity day party!

A bunch of my favorite Colorado people are getting together to throw y’all a nice little fiesta with some of the finest tunes being made in our state. We will also ply you with free drinks, and the famed Gigbot Photobooth will be there (free high-quality hipster Glamour Shots of you and all your friends!). We plan to rock it. Please do come by and say hello on Friday, and take a listen here today.

King Arthur – The Epilogues
Starting with a very enthusiastic countdown, this Epilogues track hints at the sound of the brother-fronted Denver band: dark but danceable, brooding but melodic.

Twice My Weight – Meese
Just saw the new Meese album performed live last week (my Denver Post photo essay here), and it sounds catchy as hell, all glitchy hooks and fraternal harmonies. As Julio says, “call me crazy, but I could see a number of songs off of their forthcoming album on one of those Gossip Girl (in a good way) type shows at the part when the main couple in the show are about to break things off, but they decide to give it another go by having an intense makeout sesh.”

Red Orange Yellow – The Photo Atlas

The Denver dance-punk phenoms The Photo Atlas released their debut album on the hip and happenin’ Stolen Transmission label, founded by the fascinating Sarah “Ultragrrl” Lewitinn. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them live; I look forward to pogoing around a bit on a Friday afternoon.

When I Was In The Fire – Young Coyotes
I don’t even know what I need to say about Young Coyotes that hasn’t already been proclaimed from the rooftops. Despite a personnel change and a new coyote in the fold, they still have the shout-out-loud exuberance, shimmery songs, and heart-thumping percussion that made me want to run away with them the first time I saw them, back at the Underground Music Showcase last summer.

Anthem – Born In The Flood
I saw Born In The Flood open for Kings of Leon two years back, and I was mightily impressed. You can hear why they were such a good match to share the stage with KOL here on this song– an anthem worth blasting loud, indeed. They also won our Denver Post Underground Music Showcase that summer, and keep getting better. En fuego!

Who’d Stop The Rain – Dressy Bessy
Part of the Elephant Six Collective, Dressy Bessy is fronted by a ferocious guitar-wielding female who reminds me of quietly-foxy Daphne on Scooby Doo (it’s the boots?). A Dressy Bessy show is bold, hollering, snappy fun from start to finish.

Hey Hope – Overcasters
Formed from members of half-a-dozen other Denver bands, The Overcasters have an otherworldly grip on the stage when they play, all haunting echo, reverb, and an undercurrent of elegant melody. We’ll end the day with their set, which one Denver music fan wrote is all “volume and beauty … in equal parts, oil lamp projecting trippy colours behind them. Your clothes vibrated, the rest of the world melted away and you were immersed in pure sound, a make-you-smile-for-hours great sound.”

We hope to make you smile for hours. See you next Friday.

*****

Also… since we’re talking about my favorite Young Coyotes, tomorrow they have two new EPs for sale! On March 10th, you can get both five-song EPs for digital download on Brother Bear Records.

The Basement EP consists of five tracks previously recorded in the band’s basement. The Exhale EP contains all new material recorded at Coupe Studios in Boulder, CO. Both EPs will be available for sale at all major online retailers and Basement will also be available for free download (!) on the band’s website. Sounds like:

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[Mile-Hi Fidelity poster by "Denver icon of rock" Jonathan Till]

December 19, 2008

News from our little Young Coyotes

It’s been a few months since we checked in with Fuel/Friends’ favorite little wild canines, the Young Coyotes. Just back from two months of touring with The Gay Blades and Asobi Seksu, they posted cryptic images today (like the one above) that would lead a reasonable person to assume that they are, in fact, in the studio! I’ve been waiting since the hot days of summer for a proper full-length from these boys.

I’ll see you at their show tonight (Friday) at the Bluebird in Denver (with the Hot IQs and Chain Gang of 1974), and they also recently recorded a Daytrotter session which will be up in the new year. Hurrah!

Momentary Drowning – Young Coyotes

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September 17, 2008

Friday :: Monolith kicks off in hot style

I survived Monolith, but I might not survive this subsequent week. Sad but true. It’s been a brutal one. For now, let’s talk about all the fun we had in the halcyon days of yore (okay 3 days ago) and the excellent variety of music that rocked Colorado this past weekend.

The Second Annual Monolith Festival started with a bang, a clatter, some violins and paintings on easels — and lots of really good tunes. Friday night at the Bluebird was the official kickoff party for all the folks coming from far and wide, including my blogger friends at My Old Kentucky Blog, Gorilla vs Bear, You Ain’t No Picasso, Muzzle of Bees, and Between Love and Like. Thanks to the unique naming preferences of bloggers, that sentence looks like a randomly generated collection of nouns.

The air was electric with anticipation when the Young Coyotes took the stage, in a bit of a coming-out party (there were some folks from labels in attendance to see them, something they deserve every bit of). Several friends that I ran into kept asking me if I knew who this band was and how good they were. Their propulsive melodies and massive percussion started the festival off right. As I recently wrote for the Colorado Music Buzz, “Young Coyotes play earnestly and with joyful abandon, and that’s something that will always be worth hearing.”

Momentary Drowning – Young Coyotes

I unfortunately missed the set by Seattle duo The Dutchess and The Duke in the middle of the evening (mmm I wandered off) but the final act on the bill was riveting: the epic multisensory performance of Cloud Cult.

It was an experience unlike any other show I’ve been at. I have always been fascinated by the visual arts and the vibrancy of the brushstroke, the choice of colors — so I was left amazed by the creation of art springing fertile from the music as it was performed. The music was dramatic, ethereal, and powerful. Some of the songs were sung with one shoe off and one shoe on. We’re not sure why.

Chain Reaction – Cloud Cult

See the rest of my colorful pics from opening night here.

August 26, 2008

Last night: Joshua Novak at Shag for Discobama

Barely back on terra firma after Outside Lands, I tentatively made my way last night into Convention Craziness Central on my way home from the airport to check out our little Discobama fiesta and hear the set from Denver artist Joshua Novak.

I arrived after a lot of the madness had already gone down in the city during the day (friends meeting Joe Biden at the hot dog stand! Fall Out Boy doing interviews on the street corner! Police in full riot gear marching through the streets like 1941 Berlin!). But Shag Lounge was swinging –no, literally, we’ve got swinging Lucite chairs– and the music matched.

Joshua Novak turned in a propulsive performance, assisted by his backing band and Nathan Meese from the band, um, Meese (go figure) on guitar. Novak’s music was eminently danceable and his voice immense and dramatic last night, rattling the ornate baroque chandeliers, so I was suprised today to hear his MySpace songs are so lovely and ethereal. He did say he was playing new material at Shag, so maybe he got all feisty-like in his recent compositions (check out “The Love That I Want” on his MySpace).

Tidal Wave – Joshua Novak
Thieves – Joshua Novak
My Darling Criminal Lover – Joshua Novak

Joshua’s new album Dead Letters is forthcoming, and will be produced by Ian Hlatky (Hello Kavita, Born In The Flood, The Swayback etc). Novak plays Sunday Monolith next.

Young Coyotes also played our party, and the buzz continues to grow behind their fantastically ebullient live show. When I said they were totally down to soundtrack my summer, I didn’t know how prescient that was — after seeing them so many times, I almost feel like I should adopt them.

(that “NIght Portrait” effect on the top shot makes me feel a little dizzy. It feels like live music sounds, a little. Plus it was really really dark in there)

August 13, 2008

Tonight at the Hi-Dive

Langhorne Slim and hot Denver band Young Coyotes!

Wed, Aug 13th Radio 1190 presents
Langhorne Slim
w/ the Legendary River Drifters, Young Coyotes

at Hi-Dive
Doors at 8:00 PM / Show at 9:00 PM
21+ $10.00

The Electric Love Letter – Langhorne Slim
Momentary Drowning – Young Coyotes

August 4, 2008

Sensational sounds coming out of Denver right now

I return from the warm and open arms of the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase this weekend with an invigorated and genuine excitement about the music that is being made in this fine state. I heard some incredible stuff. Even if you live nowhere near Denver, take a listen to what my weekend was like because there are acts that I feel could be nationally noteworthy right now out of the Denver scene.

The festival was a screaming success on the sweltering hot streets. Even after going to about a jillion large-scale music festivals, I’ve never yet been to one that was so cohesive, well-constructed, and uniquely local. The model for this weekend should be recreated at cities around the world who don’t already have something like this in place. As they say, “because your life needs a soundtrack, and because your life is richer and more rewarding when that soundtrack reflects where you live.”

Just a few of the most vivid Fuel/Friends highlights of the weekend:

Young Coyotes at Indy Ink. The buzz on the street after this trio performed with no mics in a small independent print shop was deafening. Tipped by some as having the potential to be the next huge band out of Denver, the Young Coyotes were everything I’d hoped for and more, with their ferocious primal drum backbone (two guys playing), chimey melodies, and shout-out-loud vocals that made my blood pulse hot and happy. I was singing this song for the rest of the day:

When I Was In The Fire – Young Coyotes

Chain Gang of 1974 at the Rule Gallery of Contemporary and Modern Art. In a starkly cool setting, this duo transformed the room into a dance party where our biggest concern became trying not fall into the artwork. I’ve never danced in a gallery before, but this stuff was absolutely irresistible. The drummer from Young Coyotes reprised his awesomeness for this set too. Make sure to catch them at Monolith.

The Dirt – The Chain Gang of 1974

Hearts of Palm at the Hi-Dive. I was struck by how passionate and vocal a following this collective has, obviously due to how enthusiastically they give back to us all. The Hi-Dive was humid and electric, echoing along with everyone singing at the top of their lungs, “We have no water here and everybody knows it!!” That may have been the first time I’d seen a local band with that degree of communal singalong support. They played most, if not all, of their newest free EP and blew us all away.

No Water – Hearts of Palm

Everything Absent Or Distorted (plus friends) at the CarToys outdoor stage. Although it was a bit of bad news for my friends trying to coordinate this fest, the cops were called on the noise levels for the outdoor stage shortly before the Everything Absent Or Distorted collective came on with some additional members. But maybe it’s not really a party until someone calls the cops. EAOD played their widescreen, angular indie rock, those fluid melodies mixed with an on-edge sensibility. They then tantalized this cover-loving girl with a handful of great ones, including early Arcade Fire (a sound not too far removed from their own) and “Glad Girls” by Guided by Voices.

The Exit Parade – Everything Absent Or Distorted

Aaron Collins @ Rock The Cradle. A boutique that hawks Johnny Cash onesies, retro board games and Nine Inch Nails lullaby cover CDs, Rock The Cradle caters to the hip parent crowd. One of the first shows I saw on Friday afternoon was Machine Gun Blues’ Aaron Collins performing (clothed, so as not to scare the younguns) a melodic and charming solo set. His unselfconscious use of repeated words to underscore a kind of vocal percussion, along with his elegant and shimmering keyboard melodies made me hope that he continues in this vein even if Machine Gun Blues is almost defunct.

Rachael Pollard and friends at the Kabal Rug Kilm. Speaking of Nine Inch Nails covers, a highly unlikely one (“Down In It” done like a 1930s flapper?!) popped up at the most gorgeously cool venue of the weekend. This loft-like Persian rug gallery was temporarily converted into a singer-songwriter stage for solo artists and some fantastic collaborations, such as this one with Pollard, Gregory Alan Isakov and Julie Davis from Bela Karoli. While we lounged around on stacks of $35,000 rugs (don’t spill that beer), a steady stream of Colorado musicians plucked, strung, and hummed their lovely songs. It all took on a near-mystical air in that setting. The festival did an exceptional job of lining up original groupings of artists collaborating with those from other bands, which lent a great spirit of local pride and the making of something unique together.

Crazy For You – Rachael Pollard (charming little song)

Stop Making Sense flickering on a brick wall. Very late Saturday night, you could hear David Byrne’s voice ringing up and down the boulevard from the parking lot of an otherwise dark bank, forgotten at that hour of fiscal irresponsibility. The folks at the Denver Film Society arranged a guerilla screening of the Jonathan Demme classic, and it was simply beautiful. Until the sprinklers came on, and then everyone just moved back and it was still beautiful, just wet.

Burning Down The House (Stop Making Sense live version) – Talking Heads

Everyone who played in the South Broadway Christian Church. This was another gorgeous venue staffed by incredibly cheerful and kind church members. I almost expected a covered-dish potluck. The acoustics were crystalline, the surroundings divine. Using the church was a great idea, and I hear God totally didn’t even mind.

Sputnik Motown brunch and the Velvet Elvis pancake breakfast. A good festival loves you from the time you arrive until the time you leave, especially when you are at your most vulnerable. When the morning comes with its dreadfully bright light, you need a greasy breakfast — and you don’t want to have to work for it. Both days we ate like royalty, first at Sputnik with the DJ spinning a vast and amazingly impressive collection of Motown 7″ records, and then Sunday at 3 Kings with a live Elvis cover band, bottomless mimosas, and fresh-made pancakes from a little griddle behind the bar. O, that I could have my breakfasts soundtracked every morning by “Hunka Hunka Burnin Love” and “Hound Dog.” [pic via]

And as is always the case, there were dozens of bands I didn’t get a chance to see, and some I’ll be featuring in greater depth at a later date (many are playing the Meadowlark Fest Aug 21-23). Whew! I’m exhausted.

Let’s do it again next weekend.

VISUALS: All my pics with some commentary here and here, and ahh, look at all the *lovely* people!

July 26, 2008

Young Coyotes show update

I featured Denver’s Young Coyotes on the Monday Music Roundup a few weeks ago, and at the time they had no shows scheduled. Several of you wrote to me to say how much you loved the summery-sweet fantastic sounds of their “Momentary Drowning,” so I am happy to report that they now have THREE shows scheduled for us lucky locals. Catch them here:

YOUNG COYOTES SHOWS
August 1 @ The Marquis with Son Ambulance
August 2 as part of the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (Indy Ink, 3pm)
August 13 @ The Hi-Dive with Langhorne Slim

Momentary Drowning - Young Coyotes

July 14, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

This was a lovely summer weekend of champion gyro-eating at the Greek Festival (and watching the dancers click their heels about in traditional garb), summery new Japanese-abstract print bedding, and some indoor thrashing of the Rock Band drum pads. Pretty soon I’m clearly going to be an expert; for now it would help if I could follow along with which side of the screen I was supposed to be playing to.

Summer is also bursting with juicy tunes:

Momentary Drowning
Young Coyotes
Stomp, clap, point at the map. Nod, shake, we’ll head to the lake. We’ll dive off the floating dock into the green unknown. This Denver threesome might own the copyright on summer this year.” [linesthroughlines blog] Oh, Young Coyotes, you had me at hello. This Denver collective comes to us through the deaths of a few other bands, and consists of people who like “campfires, chanting, oceans, deserts, spontaneity, and lots and lots of drums.” I like all of those things although I haven’t chanted since…Coachella. There is a charming rawness and joy that permeates this music from the opening handclaps. Young Coyotes are currently unsigned and living just up the highway, finishing their debut album. They are totally down to soundtrack my summer.

Boarded Doors
The Morning Benders
This foursome from Berkeley just announced fall tour dates with Ra Ra Riot, which means an excellent evening wherever that tour lands them. Classically-constructed and sunny, The Morning Benders make spry pop music that tries for nothing more than to be authentic and honest. This particular sampling rises and falls, marches and prowls with that vibrating surf guitar and the best bits of the British invasion. Their debut album Talking Through Tin Cans is out now on +1 Records and they are relentlessly on tour, with We Are Scientists now and Ra Ra Riot come autumn, hitting Monolith and Treasure Island in between. Heck, they can almost see Treasure Island from where they filmed this video.

Black Ghost / Black Girl
Starling Electric
The Clouded Staircase album definitely looks like something I would find in my parents’ old walnut laminate record cabinet, nestled cozily amidst the Keith Green and The Mamas and the Papas. The halcyon light on the cover and swirling cursive letters give it away. But hey, drop the needle on this album from Ann Arbor’s Starling Electric and you’ll be surprised to hear a variety of decades and moods reflected in lush and heady music that’s absolutely sublime — “a call to arms for anyone still interested in melodies, harmonies, and the power of a good pop song.” Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (of The Posies/Big Star) fell in love with this band and were early and vocal proponents. I also enjoy the picture on their MySpace of drummer John being wrapped in Robert Pollard’s loving embrace (Pollard invited them on tour with him). Clouded Staircase is out August 19th on Bar/None Records, with a record release party that night at NYC’s Mercury Lounge.

We Are From Venice (La Serenissima mix)
The Bloody Beetroots
Italy possesses some of the best nightlife in Europe — nay, the world. So it makes me happy inside to see how duo The Bloody Beetroots are rocking those dirty dancefloors with their electronica, while moving to take over the rest of the world. Masked in a potential crosscultural salute to the Mexican luchadore (?) this duo is signed to the Dim Mak label and cranks out headspinningly filthy sounds. I’m not sure what’s going on with the masks, but at least they’re having fun. Be sure to check out the new Bloody Beetroots 8-song mini-mix over on the XLR8R podcast last week, and Los Angelenos can see them (well sort of, with the masks and all) this Saturday with N*E*R*D and labelmates MSTRKRFT & Steve Aoki.

She Does
Locksley

When Fuel/Friends first mentioned this freshfaced Brooklyn quartet with a ragged retro sound, Locksley were just preparing to self-release their own album. Don’t Make Me Wait is now seeing re-release with two bonus tracks and a wider distribution through Fontana Records on August 19th. “She Does” is a screamer of a song that possesses some of the eager roughness of very early Beatles material, back when they’d still unleash those screams with a teen-angst edge. Locksley has toured with The Dandy Warhols & The Hives, and are playing now with Rooney, so you get a delightful idea of what you’re in for. Locksley will be at Denver’s Walnut Room July 22.

And sweet goodness, did you see that Sub Pop is resurrecting their epic Singles Club for a limited time? Details here. And since I don’t have to rely on allowance and babysitting income anymore, I might actually JOIN this time around!

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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. If you represent an artist or a label and would prefer that I remove a link to an mp3, please email me at browneheather@gmail.com

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