Soundcheck is a bi-weekly(ish) concert guide featuring local Denver bands accompanied by a custom audio stream which will allow you to hear the bands before they play their show, similar to a live soundcheck (get it?!?!).
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to curate this column. Soundcheck was popular when it debuted and I felt like I was getting back to the roots of this website, which is to contribute to the already lively arts scene we have here in Denver. Unfortunately, not long after I had started publishing this semi-weekly calendar of local music, my schedule became out of control and I no longer had time. Now I’m happy to have once again found the time–or at least I’m going to attempt to devote time to showcasing Denver’s brilliant musicians.
I thought this would be appropriate timing to reanimate this popular column with a Remebrance-Of-the-Decade edition. Unfortunately many of these bands aren’t with us any more. In that way this is different from a regular Soundcheck column in that normally I want it to showcase bands that are actively playing around town and encourage readers to go see hard working musicians live. What I’ve done is compile a list of albums I remember most from Colorado bands. Before you scroll down to the list, however, I must make some admissions and lay out the rules.
I decided to allow only one album by each band in order to even the playing field. I didn’t think it would be fair if the list only consisted of, oh let’s say five bands (mostly containing similar members) because that could have easily happened. Although it may look that way, it was not a rule that the participants be fans or affiliated with Donnybrook Writing Academy, though that obviously helped my decision (what do you expect? we’re elitists).
Finally, I’ll admit that I have only lived in Denver since late 2003, and probably didn’t start paying attention to local music for another year or two after that. I know there are albums that I have missed and I apologize if one of those deserving records never made it on to my radar. This list also doesn’t necessarily portray my favorite bands playing around town now. There are at least a handful or so of bands I’ve seen playing live in Denver lately that I just can’t include here b/c I haven’t connected with an actual album yet. Obviously this won’t be as much concern in the next ten years. MP3′s only right?!?!?!
Now scroll down below where you’ll find my list (including the tracks I chose for the soundcheck) but first click that little audio player below.
*Most biographies taken from artists Facebook pages, some taken from Myspace (you really still use Myspace?)*
20. “Like A French Girl On Holiday” by Roger, Roll from Dodging and Burning (Rope Swing Cities|2008)
Members: Eric Peterson, Emily Hall, Allison Sheldon
“A solo operation-turned-team effort, Roger, Roll is a chaotic revolving door orchestra from Denver that somehow resembles the explosion of a star. And loves you a lot.”
19. “Expect the Worst” by Overcasters from Revolectrocution (Weather Center Sensory Media|2008)
Members: Kurt Ottaway, Erin Tidwell, John Nichols, Matt Regan
“Overcasters songs call from the psychedelia of the ‘60s and the echoing guitar sounds of post punk. Even the visual spectacles at their shows are equally calming, projected bubbles of light languidly floating over the stage. Ottaway’s biker growl is smoothed into a haunting, Win Butler-esque yell, a more accessible version of that vocal summoning of inner demons; and Tidwell’s rhythmic acrobatics are more a constant, continuous churning behind the music. They fall into characteristic black blues, grinding rock; but always settle back into cool, calm, contented waters.”
They’re playing Saturday, Dec. 19th 8pm. Weather Center Holiday Mixer/Gangcharger CD Release show at Weather Center (1401 Zuni St)
18. “Trade Places” by Ian Cooke from The Fall I Fell (Vasoon|2007)
Members: Ian Cooke, Sean Merrell, Ian O, Whit Sibley, Kelly O’Dea
“This lanky pushover makes art for your ears using his cello and voice as core instruments for songwriting. Components of his style are pulled from classical music, pop, folk, avant-garde, world music, and jazz.”
17. “The New One” by Hot IQs from An Argument Between the Brain and the Feet (Morning After|2004)
Members: Elaine Acosta, Eli Mishkin, Bryan Feuchtinger
This past year the Hot IQs chose to break-up. Their farewell show was June 19th at the Bluebird w/ Bad Weather California and Foma (from San Francisco)
16. “Prescription Kills” by The Daily Afflictions from Dive On In (self-released|2007)
Members: Tim Dean Ott, Khurrum Ansari, Alex Venetucci, and Western Homes
Unfortunately, these guys fizzled out shortly after recording their album.
15. “This is How We Do Things” by Slim Cessna’s Auto Club from Jesus Let Me Down (Smooch|2005)
Members: Slim Cessna, Munly Munly, John Rumley, Dwight Pentacost, Danny Pants Grandbois, Chadzilla, Bob Ferbrache
“Engaging, riveting, sad and humorous; demanding the audience to participate both live and while listening to their albums; Slim Cessna’s Auto Club has been branded with every musical description possible. This seems fitting, as SCAC describes their music as American; and after a decade of working and living as SCAC, they have created their own genre.”
They’re playing Friday, Dec. 4th 10pm. Slim and son George Cessna play the late show at Club Cafe w/ Rob Loveclutch and Ian Green. Special Guest: The Inseams (Unfortunately for us in Denver this show is in Pittsburgh, PA)
14. “Saw Your Head” by Porlolo from Storm and Season (pomade the sun|2007)
Members: Erin Roberts
“we’re a bunch of dang peacocks. guts on the outside, we love our guts.”
Last time we checked Erin moved away but we want her back!
13. “Earring In The Shag” by The Swayback from Long Gone Lads (LGL|2008)
Members: Martijn Bolster, William Murphy, Eric Halborg
They’re playing Sunday, Nov. 15th 9:30pm at Starz Denver Film Festival @ Walnut Room (3131 Walnut Street) with special guests Andy Monley and the High Horses with Churchill | Swayback set 10:30-11
11. “Yonnas” by The Pirate Signal from The Pirate Signal EP (Axumite|2006)
Members: DJ A-What and Yonnas
“You know how people are always like, “man, I’m so tired of music right now, I wish there was something new that excited me.” Well, quit you’re bitching, cause here it is.”
They’re playing Friday, Nov. 13th 8pm at Marquis Theatre (2009 Larimer St.) w/Air Dubai; Saturday, Nov. 14th 10pm at UACK Benefit at Gypsy House (13th and Marion)
10. “Heart and Spine” by d. biddle from rabbit and the moon (self-released|2008)
Members: Duncan Barlow, Johnathan Till, Jeff Davenport, Drew Burleson
“d.biddle began when Duncan Barlow (Endpoint, Guilt, and By the Grace of God) decided to record a few acoustic songs, but over time the project slowly developed into a rock band that gained the reputation as the best live band in Denver, Colorado. There were a few incarnations on the road to the current band, which enlists music veterans Johnathan Till (Hearts of Palm and Roper), Jeff Davenport (Meese, Porlolo, and Dust on the Breakers), and Drew Burleson (Lion Sized and the Symptoms).”
9. “Pendulum” by Blue Million Miles from Of Building Walls (self-released|2008)
Members: Jeff Shapiro, Ethan (?), Sam McNitt, Johnny Lundock
“What we can tell you is Brown Bear has lost his right ear. Donkey’s always judging, always watching. Driving, primal blasts and swirling chaos destroy us. Echo makes us vibrate. The cigarettes won’t smoke themselves. The louder, the better. There’s space enough for everyone in the spotlight, but no one cares enough to find the switch.”
They’re playing Friday, Nov. 20th 8pm at 3 Kings (60 S Broadway) w Lion Sized and Accordion Crimes
8. “Titaness” by Widowers from Widowers (self-released|2008)
Members: Mike Marchant, Mark Shusterman, Mark Weaver, Cory Brown, Brian Marcus, Crawford Philleo
“We’re currently working on a new record, which will render our previous effort irrelevant.”
They’re playing Saturday, Dec. 5th 9pm Moonspeed CD Release at Larimer Lounge (2721 Larimer St.)
7. “2027″ by Tarmints from Toil Like Devils (Denver Coffee Achievers|2006)
Members: Class A Bobby J, Andrew John, Sonya Decman, Kurt Ottaway
Since they broke up Kurt formed Overcasters, so go check them out!
6. “Credit Whore” by Cat-a-Tac from Past Lies And Former Lives (Needlepoint|2007)
Members: Warren Wonders, Connor Bailey, Andy Tennant and Jim McTurnan
Cat-a-Tac’s new front man’s project Jim McTurnan and The Kids That Killed The Man appeared on Tuesday, Nov. 10th 7pm on Fox/The Deuce and you can see them live Tuesday, Nov. 17th 8pm at Walnut Room (3131 Walnut Street) for Starz Denver Film Festival Music Lounge.
4. “Impressed” by Wentworth Kersey from O (Plastic Sound Supply|2008)
Members: Jeffrey Stevens, Joe Sampson
“Frontier man, Wentworth Kersey, is an ambient americana sci-fi folk artist from Denver. Mister Kersey began his musical career while playing “A Soundtrack for Suicide” at the “Youth Hipster Halfway House” during a lost era of western greatness. Currently he enjoys drinking coffee, eating waffles, playing Arkanoid on SNES, and recording rotary dial telephones. His two nephews, Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens (george&caplin) and Joe Kersey Sampson (a dog paloma), are presently recording his TRILOGY of EPS to be released in 2008 and 2009.”
3. “Eager” by The Wheel from Desire and Dissolving Men (Public Service|2007)
Members: Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III
“Combining the endearing swagger of Jacques Brel, the moody mysticism of Leonard Cohen and the pastoral plucking of Nick Drake…”
They’re playing Thursday, Nov. 12th 8pm at Fox Theater (1135 13th St, Boulder) w/ Mason Jennings; Friday, Nov. 13th 8pm at Bluebird Theater (3317 E Colfax Ave) w/ Mason Jennings
2. “Still Life With Machine Gun” by Everything Absent Or Distorted from The Soft Civil War (Needlepoint|2006)
Members: Jody Pilmer, John Kuker, Ryan Stubbs, Robert Rutherford, Bryce Merrill, Joe Grobelny, Andy Maher, Trevor Trumble
“The eight piece employs a collaborative songwriting process where there is no one singer or drummer, and incorporate horns, banjos, accordions, synthesizers, and fuzzy guitars…”
As the most recent (and most depressing) in the current trend of bands breaking-up, EAOD played their farewell show October 24th at the Bluebird.
1. “Shot a Rifle Spitting Blade” by Born In The Flood from Born in the Flood (self-released|2005)
Members: Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Matt Fox