[Event Preview/Playlist] The Underground Music Showcase – Denver, CO

The 17th anniversary of one of Denver’s most storied music events, The Underground Music Showcase, is just around the corner. What began as a one-night performance featuring just four bands, The UMS has steadily exploded into to a four-day music and art festival featuring hundreds of performances. As the time draws nearer to what will no doubt be another incredible weekend pf performances, it’s time to get our readers familiar with this year’s crop of (mostly) burgeoning artists spanning a plethora of genres and sounds. While this recent slate of participating artists is the second wave, we can assuredly expect one more run of performers to be added to this year’s bill, so stay tuned!

This year’s bill features one of the more eclectic, varied lineups we’ve been privy to for a number of years, including a seemingly heavier focus on displaying the myriad talent spread across The Centennial State (that’s Colorado ya yokels). On the top end of things, The UMS features an incredible slate of headlining performances from the likes of Nika Roza Danilova’s influential avant-pop project Zola Jesus,  New Orleans based Benjamin Booker‘s raw brand of blues/boogie/soul/rock, Red Fang‘s primal-yet-refined  stoner-metal, John Jagos’ lofi pop alter-ego and TMN darling Brothertiger, and the smoothly subdued vocal stylings of Esmé Patterson. In addition to the already excellent pallet of headliners, The UMS also will be presenting countless sets from some of our absolute favorite Colorado artists including Flaural, Povi, RUMTUM, Slow Caves & Dragondeer. To get your ears tuned for next month’s festivities, check out our preview playlist below and get your learn on if you haven’t already. Tickets are still on presale, so hop to it and pick up a 4-day pass on the cheap here!

’Benjamin Booker – Violent Shiver’
’Brothertiger – Beyond The Infinite’
’Zola Jesus – Exhumed’
’Esmé Patterson – Green Green’
’Red Fang – Blood Like Cream’
’Slow Caves – Glares’
’Povi – 4am’
’Flaural – Culture Ghost’
’RUMTUM – Coastal Hustle’
’Dragondeer – When I See You’
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[Event Review] Project Pabst: Denver 2017

In just its second year in existence as a four city national event (Denver, Portland, Philadelphia, Atlanta), the barley-pop funded Project Pabst has quickly cemented itself as one of the hottest tickets in each town it lays it Laser Horse inspired hooves. Always an eclectic lineup, in its brief run Project Pabst has consistently boasted a mix of both established and upcoming acts spanning myriad genres from Tame Impala, STRFKR, Violent Femmes, FIDLAR, Duran Duran & Iggy Pop to A$AP Ferg, Danny Brown, K. Flay & Big K.R.I.T. to name but a few; and this year’s Denver date served only to stoke the already vibrant fire within our Ninja hearts. It was yet another excellently curated day in Denver’s hipster bastion of the RiNo neighborhood, and we’ve got plenty to dish about the second Denver Project Pabst date.

As always, the day kicked off sprightly at 2:00 p.m. behind a choice segue into the beautiful day with a frenetic performance from Chicago indie rock outfit Twin Peaks. In a rather short span beginning in 2013, Twin Peaks have rapidly evolved from a hectic, sloppy group of teenage rockers into a firmly polished five piece with the ability to command a stage with the best of them. Twin Peaks cycled primarily through fare from LP’s Wild Onion and Down in Heaven including staples like “I Found a Way”, “Making Breakfast” and “Holding Roses”, but more than made sure to satisfy their diehards as well with a few cuts from debut long player Sunken. With the day’s first performance under our belts, it was time for some $3.00 PBR and a jaunt to the other end of Larimer Street for a little slice of scuzzy L.A. rock duo Deap Vally.

Read Our Entire Project Pabst Review After the Jump!

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[Synth-Wave] Pr0files – Money

Pr0files
Money

The Los Angeles based synthesis of Lauren Pardini and Danny Sternbaum, known more widely under their stage moniker Pr0files, have returned with their first, darkly-tinged piece of synth-pop to pace 2017, “Money”. While it’s unfortunately been a bit of a lengthy gap since we last checked in with the genre-busting pair, “Money” has us once again ready to devour their every aural sentiment.

Coming off of their debut LP Jurassic Technologie last year, Pr0files are clearly keeping their warranted buzz afloat. Anchored by a slickly dark & synthetic, shoegaze-y backbone bolstered by Pardini’s sonorous yet fitting reverberations; Pr0files create a simultaneously gloomy and uplifting 3:00 minutes of music. On “Money”, Pardini speaks to the duo’s arduous journey as a truly independent project, creating a sort of weighty anthem for those who have experienced those sky-high peaks and deep valleys associated with committing to your art (“I took a xanax in a milkshake just to get me through that day”); while Sternbaum’s seemingly effortless, full production sblimely rounds out “Money”‘s vocal-centric aesthetic. Needless to say, we’ve got our ears perked up towards Pr0files as they unveil more layers to their 2017 iteration and will be right there with them every step of the way. Stream “Money” above.
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Jake Houlsby – Oklahoma [TMN PREMIERE]

Jake Houlsby
Oklahoma

It’s the middle of the week, which means its time to stop, take a moment to reflect, and drink in everything that’s coming your way in the next few days. To begin the process, we highly recommend delving into this lovely tune from Newcastle-based Jake Houlsby. It’s the perfect blend of shoegaze, pysch-rock, and folk to get you in the right frame of mind for some self-reflection.

This is just the second track coming off his upcoming Vondelpark EP, due out May 5th via Tipping Point Records, and it should have you clamoring for a full experience with the entire collection. Pronounced percussion work definitely provides a hearty backbone, allowing glowing keys and guitars to settle in nicely behind. Each of these elements comes together beautifully, providing the perfect soundscape for Jake’s unique vocal tone and delivery.

You might be asking yourself how a young fellow from the UK landed on a song title for what most Yanks would consider a “fly-over” state. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“There’s something about the American South that has always enchanted me. I’d just read Woody Guthrie’s autobiography a few years ago when I remember seeing Oklahoma and getting this weird feeling of discount and nostalgia. I wrote this song shortly after.

We’ll go ahead and assume that you’re feeling this release, which means you’ll want to catch it live. You can do so by hitting up one of the following shows below.

Apr 29 – Live At Leeds

May 5 – The Mining Institute, Newcastle

May 6 – The Eagle Inn, Manchester (supporting Joan Shelley)

May 20 – The Great Escape Festival, Brighton

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[Ambient] dream beach – the kiss of the century (ft. cub)

dream beach
the kiss of the century ft cub

Andy Oliver, AKA dream beach, has long been among my favorite forces in the ambient electronic scene. The watery, bell driven soundscapes he consistently crafts never fail to send me packing to extended vacations into my imagination. Thankfully, Oliver’s most recent endeavor, “the kiss of the century,” only expands on the otherworldly atmosphere that he has cultivated throughout his previous work.

The tune features fanciful singing from Detroit’s mystical vocalist CUB, and builds on it marvelously with swelling synths and hypnotic syncopation. In regard to his experience putting together this auditory imagery, Oliver told us:

“TKOTC I made mostly in total delirium. I can see myself fighting rest, barely even there, teary eyed. My favorite ideas come to me very late at night right before I’m about to fall asleep. To me the instrumental acts as audible hallucinations during what felt like temporary insanity.”

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Alex Clare – Tell Me What You Need (Tropics Remix) [TMN PREMIERE]

Tropics has spent years writing intelligent ideas and trying and tinkering with sound to express them, from early acid-jazz experiments to more recent original like the astonishingly avant-garde “Home and Conscience”. After all his development and genre-blending work, Ward strikes a strong, original balance of elements on this remix of Alex Clare’s “Tell Me What You Need.”

Here Tropics aka Chris Ward creates a soundscape that is emotionally ambiguous but full of delightful sonic flourishes. We loved Ward’s introduction of his own voice into his composition last year, and we love his ability to fold Clare’s bold croon into the smooth fabric of this new advanced production. The complex beat almost manages to divert attention from the starry vocals – no small task. The organic instrumentation which Tropics introduced on last year’s “Rapture” makes this remix so pleasurable, particular the skipping drum beat, crisp cymbal strokes and the minimal, echoing guitar pluck which play off each other for a polyrhythmic effect. The acoustic material blends soft and smooth with the synthesizers that Tropics and admirers of his music have always been so fond of.

For an artist who has never stayed in the same sonic space for too long, Tropics has moved again to beautiful new surroundings with this fresh remix.

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[Event Review] Porches & Japanese Breakfast @ The Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO – 9/26

’Porches – Be Apart’

In the relatively short expanse of two years or so, Aaron Maine’s Porches project has undergone quite a rapid transition in nearly every facet of singing, songwriting and production development (such a rapid acceleration of prowess in fact, that Maine also recently released the first wave of Pool demos, as a completely separate LP entitled Water, just a few months back). Just one listen from both 2014’s Slow Dance in the Cosmos to this year’s excellently crafted Pool, and it’s clear that the New York based Maine & co. have caught lightning in a bottle with their current iteration. In the process of constant evolution, Porches have become a magnetic live presence as well, gaining the notice of discerning listeners, critics, and labels alike, and this past Monday we were able to witness them in live glory at one of our favorite intimate indie venues in Denver, the Larimer Lounge.

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