Category Archives: TVD Denver

TVD Recommends: MuteMath at
The Black Sheep, 9/15

When MuteMath last visited the state of Colorado, it was to a sold out Gothic Theater last January.  The electric maestros packed such a surplus of their renowned showmanship into the sizable Denver venue that the show immediately stole the spot of best anything I’ve ever seen live.  

Tomorrow they will be playing Colorado Springs’ staple venue The Black Sheep.  To give you an idea of what this means, Denver’s Gothic seats 1000, and the Black Sheep is packed at 450. I expect structural damage.

If you’ve never been to one, a MuteMath show is no ordinary thing.  While in town for the aforementioned Gothic performance the band met up with us for an episode of TVD-TV wherein they opened up about some of the antics the four piece works into their live shows.

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TVD Live: Jack White
at Red Rocks, 8/8

Launching his solo career earlier this year with a live performance on SNL and an album, self-produced at his own Third Man Records in Nashville, called Blunderbuss, it’s the first lone wolf venture from an at-times duet rocker, at-times supergrouper, and always-prolific Detroit blues phenom, Jack White.

White sightings popping up around Denver were accompanied with rumors of a secret show to precede his sold-out performance at Red Rocks. The night before his sold-out show, keyboardist Ikey Owens of The Buzzards—one of two backup bands touring with White—was expected to make an appearance at Unit E, a local loft conversion in the Santa Fe Art District.  This seemed like as good a lead as any, and Owens did indeed show up to play a great jazz set and eat an entire box of Cap’n Crunch on stage; however White was nowhere to be seen.

A list of location speculations went around, but it wasn’t until the next morning that the texts started coming in, “Jack White. B show. B there. B square,” placing him at an auto-body shop on W. Colfax.  Racing across Denver rush hour traffic, we arrived just in time to hear the last of “Ball and a Biscuit” ringing out while he and his Buzzards walked straight through an impromptu crowd and onto their bus, which disappeared into the horizon toward Colorado’s most famous music venue where I would be before the sun set on that Wednesday.

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Dave Wilkinson of
Wax Trax Records:
The TVD Interview

For over 30 years, Wax Trax Records has provided Denver with a caring and passionate home for music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts alike.

Wax Trax began as a record shop in Denver, Colorado opened by Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher. They sold the store in 1978 and, in November of that year, opened a new one under the same name in Chicago, Illinois in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This store would become the center of the New Wave, punk rock, and industrial music scenes in Chicago. Though the original owners moved their idea for Wax Trax! Records to Chicago, Dave Stidman and Duane Davis bought the Wax Trax record store in Denver and have kept it alive since for 34 years. Wax Trax, then and now, is one of the greatest music stores in all of Colorado.

I spoke with long time Wax Trax employee Dave Wilkinson to ask about his store and the state of the record scene here in Denver. Dave is an important part of the Wax family, and is one of the many factors that make Wax Trax worth visiting.

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I Dream of M83

If, as Baudelaire said, “Genius is childhood recalled at will,” then the latest era of M83 is nothing short of genius.  Showered in accolades from across the music industry as of late, they have been making some really big music industry ripples in a voice-of-a-generation kind of way that made arriving at The Ogden Theater to see their sold out show feel something like completing a pilgrimage.

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a piece of work written on the ribbons of endless West Coast interstate so pervasive in the frames of Hollywood. The deserts and coastline of California are what French-born front-man Anthony Gonzalez now calls home, and he cites the film industry as inspiration for an album that is “almost written like a soundtrack of an imaginary movie.”

Grandeur and bombast abound, and from the way he talks about it to the way he performs it, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming feels like the kind of musician’s magnum opus whereupon an auteur spends those secret saved-up parts of their soul.

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Explosions In The Sky, Surviving Post-Rock in Perpetuity

When turn-of-the-century post-rock was finding it’s voice amidst a constellation of comparable outfits, Explosions In The Sky earned their reputation rounding out that more relatable goldilocks zone between the manic joviality of Sigur Ros and almost soured minors of Mogwai. Earnestness is a word for what Explosions does with their “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and that earnestness is a part of why their work has enjoyed a longevity beyond its genre.

It’s not novel anymore; in fact, even in its nascence, post-pock, by the implication of its name, was derivative of an American musical orthodoxy being reacquainted to an even older compositional progenitor, the symphony, but it’s analogous to a certain shade of human emotions that cannot be accessed, musically, any other way.

Explosions’ Munaf Rayani has said, “We don’t consider ourselves post-rock at all,” but for me and many others, Explosions is the definitive artifact of a genre that moved mountains during its tenure. Whatever they do, they do it better than anyone else, and from the moment Rayani’s guitar washed over The Boulder Theater with the feedback of the first chord of the first song of the first show of their West Coast run earlier this month, it was clear that this is what the electric guitar is meant to be used for.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Grieves’ Together Apart

Lately, it has been hard to remember that it is in fact winter in Colorado. Jackets are light, and the snow has been lighter, and this January has turned your favorite slope into the world’s longest water slide. While the elusive snow may inhibit some crucial downtime on the slopes, it definitely will make for a more pleasant outdoor experience at Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks.

This is the first winter concert in Red Rocks’ history, featuring Grieves & Budo, Atmosphere, and Common, this Friday, January 27th, at Red Rocks Ampitheater, so at least for this week, I am rooting for the warm weather.

Wrap up warm, and Grieves’ chill beats will help defrost your dancing shoes. Colorado native Benjamin Laub (aka Grieves) is a lyrical talent to watch; his music is derived from real pain and experience that bring the words and the emotion to life. He paired up with Budo in 2008, and they have been supplying a steady dose of hypnotic flow with multi-instrumental rhythms and intensified lyrical narratives. The duo is joining the likes of T-Pain and Gym Class Heros for the 2012 SnowStorm Music Tour starting in February, but you have the chance to see them first at Red Rocks.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Nurses at Hi-Dive, 1/15

What better way to fight off that fuck-work-want-play cold you may or may not exaggerate to your boss this coming Friday or Monday than a glass of cold beer and the warm drones of some good music? Yeah, we couldn’t think of one either and we are happy to enable a self-declared 3-day weekend by giving away a pair of tickets to see Nurses this Sunday, 1/15, at the Hi-Dive.

Calling out sick to see Nurses—it does seem meant to be. Let the acid flashback inducing concoction of psychedelic pop melt away your senses and stresses this Sunday night and hopefully you can forget about Monday all together. It helps that Nurses’ new album Dracula is an indulgent snack of pure auditory seduction. It is a perfect accomplice for an opportunistic extension to your holiday vacation. They never are long enough, and neither is this album.

Dracula triggers an obsessive twitch with its on-trend, vamp-happy title and its relatively more important stock of addictive hooks and infectious lyrics. It is unconventional, haunting, and sexy—much like the infamous figure it shares its name with. It may be impossible to listen to this Nurses masterpiece and stay in a post-holiday funk. Just try it and see.

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HOWL NYE with Reverend Deadeye and Possessed by Paul James

For New Years 2011 I’m looking past all the dubstep poster parties, the furry boots, the sets by DJ D-BAG; I couldn’t care if Flux Pavillion is an artist or a venue, this year I’m taking refuge on the other side of Denver for a party worthy of the last New Years Eve mankind may ever to celebrate before doomsday.

Rounding it’s third year, HOWL is a united showcase of music, performance, and environmental design thrown by Betty Bluebird, who brought the Clyfford Still grand opening into being back in November. Each year’s HOWL borrows the aesthetic of a new era in history, with this year’s clock turned back to 1858.

A pastiche of pioneer-punk and that sexy delta sound, HOWL featured a photo booth and confession booth – both of which became the kissing booths – not to mention what we all came to call the love tepee, lit from within so as to cast incriminating sillouettes of it’s goings-on to outside. The showcase also held tarot readings with Andye Murphy, a gaslamp bar by Peach Street Distillers, and all the vaudville cosplay one off-street denver warehouse could contain.

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TVD TV: Tycho at Summit Music Hall and Signed Vinyl Giveaway

IDM musician, blogger, and industry famous graphic design artist Scott Hansen was in Colorado for the first time performing as ambient electronic title Tycho.  Backstage at Summit Music Hall, he met with The Vinyl District for this episode of TVD TV.

Hansen is deified nerd, an audio/visual authority/visionary with a palette for vintage analog.  As ISO50, he also maintains one of the most popular design blogs on the web. Saturday at a packed Summit Music Hall, Tycho stepped onto a Denver stage for the first time.

Low-lit Summit Hall could be the setting for the kind of  late ’80s cyberpunk b-film with teenage rollerblade gangs or celebrity hackers. (Actually, I think that’s a real film.) The crowd that filled the multiple levels of the hall that evening was an unusual solution of one part clean-cut graphic designers and one part psy trance festival hippies. The graphic designers looked better, but in the arena of scent the hippies had them overpowered.

Jakub Alexander, Tycho manager and A&R for Ghostly International, led us backstage and past some other band’s personal masseuse to find Hansen.  After geeking out over each other’s cameras, Hansen and I sat down, and he gave me the details on his creative process, his instrumental idiosyncrasies and his journey as an independent artist.

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1,2,3’s single “Scared
But Not That Scared” released today

Although 1,2,3’s name evokes an elementary simplicity any kindergartner could grasp, their music is tenaciously complex with a mutinous disregard for traditional genre conventions.

1,2,3’s debut LP New Heaven was a highly acclaimed gateway into the duo’s unique vision and sound. Today, the Pittsburgh powerhouse expands upon the success of New Heaven with the release of their single “Scared But Not That Scared.”

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