[UMS Favorites 2012] Nathaniel Rateliff… and Jordan’s favorites

So sorry to miss yesterday, I was busy having dinner with my parents and reuniting with my dear old friend Chris at the Irish Rover.

BUT I’m back with my last favorite UMS set and a few of Jordan’s favorites as well. I tried to get him to write for yall but he refused. I’ll just try to capture what he said about the bands.

First up, Nathaniel Rateliff.

I feel like I’ve been seriously missing out. Before last Thursday, allthough I had heard his name thrown around town, (I mean, he’s been playing shows with Mumford and Sons, come on) and I knew he was friends with Patrick and many other local Colorado bands, I had never actually heard his music. I’m totally kicking myself now for not hearing Nathaniel sooner.

It’s like he took everything I love about music and squashed it into the same band. I love music that is just quiet and slow enough to blend into the background like it is the soundtrack to my life. I love voices that sound gritty and worn, like the singer just drank some whiskey.  Sometimes when Nathaniel gets into the lower register he sounds like Eric Clapton. amazing. I love strings, acoustic guitar, and upright bass, especially when they all blend together so perfectly. I love dynamics and projection for purpose. I pretty much love everything about Nathaniel and his album In Memory of Loss.

From a performance standpoint, I could tell how excited he was to be back home in his neighborhood, playing for old fans and friends. That is so important to me, when a performer can be so relaxed and comfortable on stage. I know this is a recurring theme to me, but if you go on stage and your comfortable and unpretentious I’m going to like your performance better. I want to feel just for a second that I’m in a room of friends. That is how the connection gets formed. Which is what music really should be about, right?

{Side note- this is totally why I don’t love Jenny Lewis anymore. When I saw her perform she looked so freaking bored and put out for having to perform for us. I’m sorry, but your amazing talent doesn’t cover up the fact that you’re a jerk.}

Suffice it to say, I’m a new fan of Nathaniel Rateliff, and you should be too. You can check out his music on his website. In the meantime, here is a great video of him from the studio:

And now for Jordan’s favorites….

Mancub.

{Should I have to say that Jordan knows Alex? Is that a blogging rule?}

Mancub is electropop. Simple as that. And they throw one hell of a party. If you want to dance your ass off and just simply have a great time with your friends, this is the band to go see. So do it.

Git Some.

The most accurate comparison for them would probably be Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. This is based on my really detailed research of listening to one song and knowing nothing about “thrash punk”. One person described it as “kind of like a street fight on a record”. I’m not gonna lie, most of you won’t like this band. BUT if you want to get totally rocked then this is the band for you. They’re gonna be loud and in your face and you’ll probably get punched. And you’ll definitely be sweaty. If that sounds appealing, check em out.

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So that’s that. I’ll try to come back more regularly so yall don’t get too lonely. 🙂

[UMS Favorites 2012] Ian Cooke and Paper Bird

For day three I bring you two of my long time Denver favorites.

IAN COOKE

I was basically floored when I first heard Ian Cooke. Jordan played me his song “Music” and I instantly knew that Ian Cooke was something special. For one, he plays the cello, which isn’t an instrument you hear very often. Especially not in pop music. Usually the cello (to me) sound stuffy and totally puts me off. But Ian makes it sound warm and inviting. Mixed together with his effortless voice, Ian really creates something special.

His performance at UMS was amazing as always. When he talks to the crowd, you’d think he was in a crowd of friends. (In the Denver music scene, he practically is, but still) I love how comfortable it is to watch Ian. Also, how can you go wrong with someone who covers Queen and jokes about channeling Freddie Mercury? You can’t.

Here’s a video of my favorite track from his album Fortitude…….

American Girl by Ian Cooke from Zach Putnam on Vimeo.

PAPER BIRD

Paper Bird is an americana band with a sound like nothing else out there right now. They always put on an amazing show and I think they could make the most boring song fun.

With that being said, I don’t really know how to approach this recommendation because although I still LOVE Paper Bird I am really not enthusiastic about their set from UMS and their “new” sound. It is only new in the sense that they added drums, and lost the horn, but to me it is a VERY noticeable difference. I had a hard time when they went to play my old favorites and defining parts of the songs were missing. The vocals were even a bit different on some of the songs. Overall, it sounded different, and I didn’t like it.

BUT I’m still gonna go ahead and recommend Paper Bird. They’re an awesome band and I’m gonna keep on listening to their albums for a long time because they are amazing. Especially the first one. Seriously, go out and buy Anything Nameless and Joymaking right freaking now because it is incredible. From the second St. Louis starts you will have a smile on your face and you won’t stop until the last joyful banjo second of Grey and Blue.

I can’t find any good videos, and AN&J isn’t online, but you can listen to their other albums here: http://paperbirdband.bandcamp.com/

Enjoy. 🙂 I’ll be bringing you more tunes tomorrow.

[UMS Favorites 2012] Patrick Dethlefs and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

Short recap: I went to Denver Post’s Underground Music Showcase and saw some awesome bands.

Here are two more reasons why Denver rules:

Patrick Dethlefs

Listen if you like: Iron and Wine, Ben Sollee, Amos Lee

I can’t even lie to you and pretend this is going to be unbiased recommendation. Jordan and Patrick used to live next door to each other in Kittredge and I personally met Patrick back in high school. We’ve been following Patrick’s career from the beginning and couldn’t be more excited for him.

That being said…. Patrick really is so amazing and I mean it 100% that I feel he is the next big artist to watch in Denver. Every time we see him he is better than the time before. He has such a rich quality to his voice and writes songs that are simple, meaningful, and not at all pretentious. Watching Patrick perform is also so very refreshing because there is nothing fake about it. He doesn’t sound or look like he is trying too hard, because he doesn’t have to.

I’ve said enough– just go listen and I swear you’ll agree. http://patrickdethlefs.bandcamp.com/

On a totally different note…..

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

Listen if you like: Florence and the Machine, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metric

I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in Denver to see this band live, and I’m quite frankly pissed it has taken me this long. SRRS was the perfect band to see on a hot summer evening because we got to dance and sing and jump around. Fun aside, they’re also crazy talented. The singer Hayley has such a haunting and captivating voice– and she managed to fill the entire area with sound– which is hard to do when you’re performing in a parking lot. I highly suggest checking them out.

Just listen for yourself-

Check out more on their bandcamp: http://snakerattlerattlesnake.bandcamp.com/

Make sure to come back tomorrow for more music delights. 🙂

***once again, the photos came from their Facebook pages***

[UMS Favorites 2012] The Parlor Pickers + Dear Rabbit

The 12th Annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase took place this weekend in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, which happens to be my backyard. All the best bands from Colorado (and a few bigger nationwide acts) played in venues up and down Broadway pretty much nonstop Thursday-Sunday. We were lucky enough to be given free passes for living in the neighborhood and it was an amaaaaazing weekend of music.

I figured now would be a great time to resurrect my blog. This week I’m gonna recap some of my favorites from UMS. They’re not gonna be reviews, per say, because I suck at those. I’m just gonna gush about some new and old favorites, and who knows, maybe y’all can find your new favorite Colorado band.

Up first, two great bands we saw at Gary Lee’s Motor Pub and Grub……

{Side note- Gary Lee’s is awesome. If you live in the neighborhood, go check it out. Great vibe and Gary Lee seems like a pretty sweet dude.}

The Parlor Pickers

Listen if you like: whiskey, dancin’, and havin’ a grand ol’ time. (And bands like Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford and Sons)

I’m just going to come out and say it: this was the best set I went to during UMS. My more pretentious friends may scoff at that statement, but it is the truth. The Parlor Pickers once again managed to make the whole room smile and dance like I’ve never seen another band do before. Hell, people were stopping on the street to listen as they walked by. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for artsy, serious music [see Dear Rabbit below], but most of the time I just want to sing and dance and shake my molasses. ☺ And we certainly danced. And sang. And smiled. Isn’t that just how life should be?

Here is their music video for their song called “Country Girls” for your viewing pleasure:

Go see them! You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Dear Rabbit

Listen if you like: artsy + unique music, in the vein of Daniel Johnston, Gogel Bordello, and Devotchka

It was the beginning of my first day at UMS, and Jordan and I were stumbling along looking for something to grab us. We stopped first into 3 Kings and were greeted with a less than stellar metal band. We moved on to Gary Lee’s and THANK GOD we did. We strolled in right as Dear Rabbit was working on his sound check and he caught our attention. He made us stay with the sound check. How often does that happen?

Dear Rabbit is like nothing I’ve seen lately. It’s just one guy switching between acoustic guitar, accordion, and trumpet. You get the feeling that he is a little off— not asylum crazy, but he definitely has the “absurb genious” thing going for him. Sometimes he would talk to himself, and he rambles, and you can see in his eyes that he’s got a million things going on in his mind. I LOVE that about him. He believed in it so much, I wanted to believe in it too. It helps that he is actually really talented. At one point he was playing different melodies on the accordion AND trumpet at the same time which really takes some talent.

Extra bonus: We talked to him for a while before the Varlet show and he is a really cool guy who was so very appreciative to receive our praises.

So there you have it, the first of many great Colorado bands. Check back tomorrow for more. 🙂

*Artist photos are taken from their Facebook pages.*

[Music Monday] Songs for a rainy day.

It has been rainy in Denver, so I’d thought I’d share some great songs having to do with rain or rainy days….

Dirty Rain: Ryan Adams
“You and I are out there dancin’ in the dirty rain…”

Let it Rain: Tilly and the Wall
“Don’t be frightened by the storm so bold and brave / Just let it rain”

Summer Rains: The Ditty Bops
“Summer rains / are falling from the sky”

No Rain: Blind Melon
“All I can say is that my life is pretty plain / I like watching the puddles gather rain”

Rain: The Beatles
“I can show you when it starts to rain / Everything’s the same”

It’s Been Raining: Kimya Dawson
“My mother says that / rain is angels / who are crying / up in heaven”

Enjoy. 🙂

[Music Monday] I love Saddle Creek.

Jordan recently ordered a re-released Bright Eyes album on vinyl which came with a pretty great sampler of all the new albums coming out on Saddle Creek lately. Saddle Creek is the amazing record label that brings us Cursive, Bright Eyes, Maria Taylor, The Good Life, Tim Kasher, etc… It is pretty much amazing. While all those are amazing artists, the sampler introduced us to two new artists that we LOVE.

Mynabirds

When we went and saw Conor Oberst last June he toured with this adorable blonde who sang the female parts of his songs. We came to find that she was Laura Berhenn, lead singer of the Mynabirds. Laura’s songs bring us beautiful melodies that feel comfortable and not at all nuanced, perfect for enjoying with a cup of coffee on a bright Sunday morning. The record is reminiscent of Jenny Lewis’ solo albums, which coming from me is an amazing compliment.

Big Harp

I fell in love with Big Harp the very second I heard Chris Sensesey’s voice. It is perfectly deep and crooney with not a bit of pretentiousness. It reminds me of a great Tennessee whiskey- it lays on thick and goes down smooth. I was even more hooked when I read more about the band… just look at this sweet description of the husband-wife duo:

Met.
Fell in love.
Made a baby boy.
Got married.
Made a baby girl.
Started a band.

Amazing.

I recommend that you check out both of their albums as soon as you can! You can purchase them in all of their forms (cd, mp3, album) on Saddle Creek’s website.

What new albums are you loving!?

[Music Monday] On Tupac at Coachella, and other artists I would resurrect via hologram

By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the amazing video of the hologram version of Tupac rapping with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg this past weekend at Coachella, or at least heard about it. If you haven’t, I’ve placed it here for your reference. Disclaimer: It probably goes without saying, but the raps in this video are definitely NOT safe for work or fragile ears.

Now that we’ve all seen the video, I think it is important to talk about how amazing this technology is. We have come to a point where we can literally create a live concert experience where the artist performing has been deceased for SIXTEEN years. And the performance itself was very dynamic as well. A member of that audience could easily have mistaken the hologram for a live person. That to me is innovation at its finest. A musician can now live on to reach a whole new generation of fans in a personal and dynamic way, which to me is amazing. I can’t help but imagine a few of the performers I wish I could resurrect via hologram… Here’s a list of a few I would want to see and a taste of what their performance would be like:

JOHN LENNON.

while we have him there, we might as well bring back George and reunite the band….

JIMI HENDRIX.

FREDDIE MERCURY.

JANIS JOPLIN.

JOHNNY CASH.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RESURRECTED VIA HOLOGRAM?