[Festival Preview/Playlist] The Underground Music Showcase 2018 – Denver, CO – 7/27-7/29

The 18th anniversary of one of Denver’s most storied music events, The Underground Music Showcase, is rapidly encroaching, bringing with it perhaps its heaviest-hitting lineup ever. What began as a one-night performance featuring just four bands, The UMS has steadily exploded into to a three-day music and arts festival featuring hundreds of performances. As the time draws nearer to what will no doubt be another incredible weekend of performances, this year taking place from July 27th – July 29th, it’s time to get our readers familiar with this year’s crop of highly established headliners and burgeoning local & national artists, spanning a plethora of genres and sounds.

Dotting the top end of this year’s addition of The Underground Music Showcase are more than a few TMN regulars. Among this year’s biggest highlights are the smooth indie-disco stylings of L.A. electronic duo Classixx, the infectious ciphers of B.J. the Chicago Kid, Deezie Brown & legendary hip-hop troupe Digable Planets, a healthy smattering of established indie acts including Greta Kline’s Frankie Cosmos project, ParallelephantsDeerhunter & Mothers, scuzzy rock sets from Alvvays, White Denim & Superchunk; not to mention the most eclectic handling of local talent we get to hear year after year including sets from olorado’s own CRL CRRLL, Aaron Bordas, Slow Caves, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers and loads more.

Right now, special one-day GA tickets can be found for $40 over on their homepage with weekend passes for just $75. We’ll see you there in full force on July 27th, but until then, get in the UMS swing of things by streaming our playlist below.

’Alvvays – Party Police’
’Classixx – All You’re Waiting For’
’BJ the Chicago Kid – Smokin’ and Ridin’ (Feat. Freddie Gibbs & Problem)’
’Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened’
’Digable Planets – Rebirth of Slick (Cool like Dat)’
’Frankie Cosmos – “Sinister”‘
’Overcoats – Hold Me Close’
’Mothers – Blame Kit’
’Cloud Cult – Where It Starts’
’Gang Gang Dance – Glass Jar’
’Superchunk – Hello Hawk’
’Parallelephants – Reason Don’t Define’
’White Denim – Get Back To Love’
’Night Beats – Outta Mind’
’Jeff the Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie’
’Deezie Brown – Sheepskin / Shayne’
’CRL CRRLL – M O N E Y’
’Aaron Bordas – As We Are (OriginalMix)’
’Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers – Cars’
’Slow Caves – Poser’
Related items:

[Electronic/R&B] VenessaMichaels – FLIGHT EP

It’s been years since we’ve waited for an EP from VenessaMichaels, but now it’s here. Not only do we get an EP, but it’s a concept project called FLIGHT featuring some of her favorite collaborators including Effy, Outlaw The Artist and $K.

Complete with four tracks, FLIGHT exceeds our expectations not only in quality, but due to the fact that she flexes hard with her songwriting abilities by moving through a various collection of sounds. Venessa manages to keep her signature eclectic style, but never before have we been able to see it play out in a cohesive long-form project. Through and through, FLIGHT will get you lifted. Have fun trying to pick a favorite and make sure to add this EP to your digital library.

’Ridin’ The Waves (Feat. Effy & Outlaw The Artist)’
’Chemistry (Feat. Outlaw The Artist)’
’Interlude (Hold Me)’
’Dance Forever (Feat. $K)’
Related items:

[Hip-Hop] Kids See Ghosts – Reborn

A well-worn trope of storytelling is that of the hero’s journey. It often follows a protagonist as they embark on an adventure, face a crisis or two, and return home in victory as a changed or transformed individual. For music fans of a certain generation, Scott Mescudi is the most apt artist fitting this description; displaying an admirable level of musical and personal vulnerability with his fans.

The past decade has shown a boundless range, beginning with 2008’s iconic Plain Pat produced A Kid Named Cudi mixtape. Along the way Kid Cudi has given us 6 solo albums, 1 collaborative project and a sound that has defied all genres – not to mention becoming the only artist with a signature, unmistakable harmonization that brings all listeners to attention:

For long time fans, the obvious standout track from Kids See Ghosts is “Reborn”–an homage to universally approved works from Man on the Moon 1, featuring much more influence from Cudi than Kanye. Heavy on the spacey, adventurous chords that drew us in as fans many years ago, the track seems a not-so-distant relative to the Ratatat-infused “Pursuit of Happiness.” It comes as little surprise that the production credits list Evan Mast (1/2 of Ratatat) and Plain Pat as the masterminds behind the nostalgic cut. Particularly in light of Cudi’s recent struggle with anxiety and depression, “Reborn” serves as a triumphant example of the light at the end of the tunnel for any one struggling with mental health issues. While the rest of Kids See Ghosts lacks some of the moonman-esque elements that make this song shine, the entire 7-track project pushes Cudi’s sound forward making it worth multiple plays.

Related items:

[Hip-Hop] Shiftee – Everything Is Litty feat. Dai Burger, Fly Kaison

Shiftee
Everything Is Litty ft. Dai Burger, Fly Kaison

New York City’s own Shiftee got litty with his latest single. Not only did he and fellow New Yorkers Dai Burger and Fly Kaison get litty, but everything did. Their collaboration “Everything Is Litty” has dropped via Alma Mater Records.

During this time of year, everyone’s bringing out their Summer hits and this happens to be Shiftee and company’s. From the start the feel good, laidback sound pumps away. The uplifting tone is perfect for any parties this season, whether it’s at a house, in a backyard or pool. “Everything Is Litty” is an unrelenting positive force that you should add to your digital library today.

Related items:

[Hip-Hop] Armani White – casablanco freestyle (ft. Sango)

Armani White
casablanco freestyle (ft. Sango)

The Philly to LA rapper Armani White has some big things coming. He’s got a major debut project on the way, but in the mean time he’s shared its lead single, as well as the “casablanco freestyle” that we’ve got for you today. Featuring the producer Sango, this heater is not something you’ll want to pass by without engaging.

Armani really brought the flames on this one and so did Sango with a beat that is hood majestic. Although Armani states that this isn’t like what is coming on his upcoming project, we’re still excited all the same. “casablanoc freestyle” breathes a confident creative edge that is sharp and cool. If you’re not adding this to your Spotify playlist, then you’re depriving your future self and your friends.

Related items:

[Hip-Hop] Mike G – Chase Clouds EP

Los Angeles creative Mike G has been hard at work on his debut album, Stealth Fighter. To get everybody reacquainted with the Odd Future talent he put together the Chase Clouds EP, complete with ten tracks, half of which were produced by Mike G himself.

Chase Clouds is a solid project from front to back with a good mix of sounds to keep you entertained throughout. Despite there being differing sounds on the EP, Mike G keeps with a motif that fits the project name with an overarching theme of cloudy, atmospheric tones. This more vibe-driven style is easy to let loose with, yet it isn’t so low-key that you get bored with it. Chase Clouds is just what we need to warm up to before the debut album comes.

Related items:

Saba’s Ascension Continues @ Slim’s, San Francisco 5/3 [Event Review]

Chicago natives Saba and Joseph Chilliams came through San Francisco this past Thursday night as a stop in Saba’s Care for Me tour. The two co-founders of Pivot Gang, an independent music collective, delivered electric performances in front of an all-ages audience from all over the Bay Area. The show marked Saba’s first return to San Francisco since his Bucket List tour in early 2017. Concertgoers that had attended the 2017 show remarked upon the noticeable improvement in his stage presence and live chops.

Saba reppin for San Francisco

Early opening support for the show came from Chicago compatriot Jean Deaux (check out that wordplay), who later returned to perform the track “Photosynthesis”, a track on which she features. Joseph Chilliams, who happens to be Saba’s brother, took over soon after. Chilliams presented tracks from his debut album Henry Church, named solely for the English translation of Enrique Iglesias’ name. The rest of Chiliams’ set was similarly “tongue-in-cheek”, with plenty of references to eating “groceries”. Chilliams’ set could best be described as a celebration of self and sex. His upbeat attitude and stage presence reflected those of an artist with much to celebrate– expect to be hearing much more from this guy in the near future.

Joseph Chilliams, Pivot Gang cofounder

Donning a topically conscious Kaepernick jersey in San Francisco, Saba blessed us with a relevant display of passion and emotion, drawn from his youth in westside Chicago. The 23 year-old showed why he’s the unofficial frontman of Pivot Gang by captivating the audience with a solid hour’s worth of bars. He let on some signs of an artist that’s still really coming into his own, occasionally seeming surprised at the audience’s familiarity with his discography. Attendees responded with reckless enthusiasm for older tracks like “World in my Hands” and “Westside Bound”, while “LIFE” off of his most recent album Care for Me was undoubtedly the floor-shaking highlight of the night. After two solid album releases in Bucket List and Care for Me and resounding live performances such as Thursday night’s, you can’t help but be excited for things to come from Saba.

Don’t miss out on the chance to see Saba live. You can find the rest of his tour dates here.

Related items: