Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cloud Cult contest

Who wants to see Cloud Cult / Say Hi / Ice Palace FREE at the Bluebird 5/19?

We're giving away a prize package with:

*The new album from Ice Palace: Wonder Subtly Crushing Us

*The DVD No One Said It Would Be Easy from Cloud Cult

*Spots on the guest list for you and a friend to see the show 5/19 FREE!

One person wins all three. Here's what you have to do enter: Before May 16, send us an e-mail at with your name and address (so we know where to send the loot), and we'll choose a name at random from all the entries to win the prize package. Easy. If you don't win, tix to the show are only $13.50 (plus convenience charges, if you buy online).

Listen to Ice Palace, and have a look at their lovely faces! They're from Minnesota. Ice Palace has a new lineup supporting lead singer Adam Sorensen than it did on the first album. The new album is out on Earthology Records, the eco-friendly label Cloud Cult's Craig Minowa founded.

GREYCOATS at the Meadowlark

Greycoats play at the Meadowlark this Friday, 5/1 (with everyone's friends, Popwreck, et al.) To listen to Greycoats' lyrics is to hear of struggle, manipulation, disillusionment with a thought-rock backdrop of philosophers, authors and world politics. Take the song "That Great and Terrible Day," inspired by Burma. Two years ago was the so-called Saffron revolution, when thousands of monks and others protested against the military government. Reports said security forces cracking down on the protesters ended up beating and arresting dozens of monks. Jon Reine went to Burma years earlier but says he still feels influenced by that trip. Jon Reine e-mailed with us from the road:

What was your first instrument and how old were you when you learned to play?

Jon: I started taking piano lessons when I was six years old

What took you to Burma? What are some of the lasting memories from being there and how has it influenced you?

Jon: I was helping to coordinate a few youth camps in Hong Kong and Rangoon
in 2000. Burma took my breath away. I returned later that year to visit two
Karan refugee camps on the Thai/Burmese border, teaching and playing music.
The people in these camps had been forced to relocate again and again high
into the hills to keep the soldiers from crossing the border and attacking
them at night. People were much more free here to talk a little bit about
their political situation and their experiences. Inside Burma are too many
informants; refugees have nothing left to lose. How does one respond to the
scars of a soldier's machete? I was only there for a few weeks, but nine
years later I'm still haunted by these hills.

So what's up with the propaganda on your Web page?

Propaganda polarizes and demonizes. People become puppets. We want to pull
the strings.

Any idea what theme your next album will take on?

I spent a bit of time this winter with the Dust Bowl, Gatsby, Jack London,
and some mythology....we'll see where that leads. Survival in the Golden
Age. I like the idea of our Berlin Wall falling beneath the weight of the


Wanna hear a treat? Tune in to our favorite FM station, 101.5 in Denver, at 9 a.m. MDT Friday, 5/1.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New music from Paper Route :: Ben Folds :: Metric

Finally, finally! Paper Route's album Absence is out today, and you can listen to the whole thing on MySpace (scroll down for the player). The Nashville band's mix of laptops and real instruments makes for full-sounding arrangements that are warmer than using machines alone. Absence opens with "Enemy Among Us," showcasing the trademark vocals done an octave apart, synth and samplers. There's also "Carousel," which has been lurking in the background of MTV's "The City" as a soundtrack to heartache, dreams, angst or restlessness. "Are We All Forgotten" fits that bill too, with lyrics like "Don't you break my heart / Don't you break my heart again." Paper Route will be in Denver very, very soon, 5/5, at the Marquis Theatre. $10 day of show.


Barbershop quartets and Sweet Adelines abound, but in college, it's all about a cappella groups and the pop songs they inevitably cover. After noticing that more than a few liked covering his songs, Ben Folds decided to put together a greatest hits album of sorts with university a cappella groups covering them. Groups submitted 250 YouTube videos, and Folds whittled that down to 14 for Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella. Then he, his wife and an engineer traveled around the country for two months to record the tracks.

The University of Colorado's CU Buffoons made it on to the album with their version of "Landed." The group's music director Misha Levental says a Buffoon alum told the group know about Folds' a cappella competition, and it wasn't too hard to decide to enter the competition since the group already had a YouTube video of it from a fall 2008 concert. Levental, a Denver School of the Arts grad now studying finance at CU, arranged the song for the group. "When I first joined the Buffoons, I realized that there was really no contemporary music (2000s +) in the repertoire. I decided to take it upon myself to arrange "Landed," a Ben Folds piece that I thought would lend itself great to a cappella for its melodies, harmonies and popularity," he said in an e-mail.

The Buffoons were getting ready to post a new video of the song when they got an e-mail that said it was from Ben Folds himself about his new album. The group ended up submitting a video for the contest and was among 18 groups chosen to record a song for Folds, who offered Levental some input on the arrangement. "He said to tone down the first verse so that it could really open up into the chorus. Before, the verse had some melodic parts that synced up with the solo. Folds wanted to change it to simple chords. Otherwise, he told me to leave the arrangement the way it was," Levental said.
The Buffoons recorded 10 takes at Landed at Coupe Studios in Boulder. Of the 18 groups that recorded, only 14 made it on the final album, including the Buffoons.

Folds did his own a cappella tracks _ of "Boxing" and "Effington" _ for the album. 5th Elements from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is on here too singing "Fair," and their arrangement completely captures the spirit of the original. There's also a high school group from Newton, Mass. The recording captures how the group would sound live, not under heavy production, so you might hear a couple off notes. Some tracks were recorded in studios, but the University of Chicago's Voices In Your Head recorded in a living room. Some groups recorded in recital halls on their campuses.

Here's a YouTube video of the CU Buffoons performing "Landed."


Check out Metric's new album too. Here's the single, "Help I'm Alive."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Doors Open Denver, where you can get a free look at some of Denver's architectural gems, is this weekend.

Hot Congress is in session! What's Hot Congress? Ten Denver bands who got together and formed a collective to support each other and get the word out. Eight of them are playing this weekend at the Larimer Lounge and The Meadowlark right around the corner tonight, 4/18, for $8, so you can run around and see all of them in one night. You've seen some of these bands together before ... Vitamins, Pseudo Dates, Achille Lauro, Action Packed Thrill Ride, et al

Paste and Oskar Blues Brewery are teaming up in a deal where Dale's Pale Ale gets all sorts of mentions on a Web site offering free downloads of music from artists featured in Paste.

InDenverTimes, the online news effort from former staffers at the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News is trucking along. The original plan was to sign up 50,000 subscribers, and if they met the goal by April 23, they'd launch in May, with paid staffers and fuller, interactive content and features available only to subscribers. Well, judging by the specials they've been offering to get people to get their friends to become subscribers, there may not be that many people _ yet _ willing to pay close to $60 a year for content from a staff that's a sliver of what the Rocky Mountain News had when you can get all kinds of Denver news free from The Denver Post and the TV channel sites. Plus, InDenverTimes has been offering a lot of content, including chats, for free from a volunteer "staff" working without pay. So don't be surprised if InDenverTimes decides to wait a while before charging people for content, at least until they can build up more of an audience.

Another good one from The Wall Street Journal. This one's about Comic Sans

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Craaaaaaaaaa-zy Peelander-Z show last night! These should be the rules for P-Z shows:
1. Bring friends
2. Drink a beer or three before they take the stage (why not) cuz you'll want to keep your hands free during the show
3. Moshers in front, jumpers and fist pumpers in back
4. Be ready to LIM-BO!
5. And jump rope! With the band!
6. And play the band's instruments!
7. And dance around Peelander-Green when the drumkit goes from the stage to the flo' (that means floor!)
Oh, if you missed them at the Hi-Dive too bad. But they're playing more dates

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Eulogies :: Bad Veins :: and new music!

The four bearded LA guys of Eulogies rocked! At the Larimer Lounge last night. A tight set with sweet harmonies from all the guys, lots of tambourine and some old-time photos playing from the slide projector onto the drum kit. Guitarist Garrett Deloian, in full shaggy mountain man mode, went to school in Colorado, and his parents and brothers and ol' Colorado buddies turned out for the show after dark on a weeknight. The beginning of the set went by so fast. The band was playing through song after song with no breaks but finally talked a bit with the audience toward the end. Their new album "Here Anonymous" (includes the song "Two Can Play" with guest vocals from Nikki of Silversun Pickups) came out this past Tuesday. The Eulogies were in Denver not so long ago, and now, after being on the road for a while, they sound really crisp live. Next up for them is a tour with the Dears (with Great Northern too!) but looks like that one will skip Denver.

Also at the LL last night, Bad Veins out of Cincinnati. Seeing them live is a trip, since it's just Sebastien (drums) and Benjamin (vocals, guitar) onstage. In fact, you get the sense Benjamin would perform solo if he could. But the pounding Sebastien does on the drums brings so much to the live show. They've rigged up a contraption to play all the various instruments in the background that the two of them wouldn't be able to do on their own live (string plucking on "The Lie," brass, piano, etc). Their first album is about to come out soon

Doves' new album came out Tuesday. They'll be in Denver 5/26. You can listen to the album now on MySpace.

Sara Watkins, 1/3 of Nickel Creek, has a solo album out too. More on that later. Just know that the production is spare to let put her vocals and violin playing front and center. Kind of like you're at the campfire, listening in as Watkins and friends play some originals and covers for you.

Also, while Peelander-Z is playing at the Hi-Dive on Friday, 4/10, Popwreck will be at the Larimer Lounge. Choose wisely

Black Kids are in town 4/15 at the Oriental Theater. With Mates of State.


Smash! Bam! Pow!

Japanese action comic punk band Peelander-Z lands at the Hi-Dive on Friday night. Their mission: to get smiles from the audience.

Denver doesn't know what it's in for. ... Keep reading

Fire Drills (with members of Red Cloud West, The Omens, D. Biddle et al) is one of the openers.