Class of 2007
Oh you broke my heart, but you saved my life that day that you walked right out the door. So just stay away 'cause I just can't take the thought of you coming back for more.
The saline-drenched mewlings of a jilted ex-lover, or a lament to unrequited love torn from the pages of a teenage journal? Maybe either or both. Behold the chief refrain of "Come In or Stay Out" -- my pick for this year's "Over My Head (Cable Car)."
I know, I know. You're sensing that I'm about to start in on a certain homegrown, Grammy-nominated band that just went double platinum, and you're already sick to death of hearing me go on and on. You know what? I am, too.
As proud as I am of these Local Boys Done Good, at this point even I realize that I'm beginning to sound like that guy, the one who can't stop talking about the championship game from his senior year, bro. So I've called a moratorium on dropping any more F-bombs in this space unless and until the act a) finds a cure for cancer, b) helps end the war in Iraq and restores peace in the Middle East, or c) releases a new record -- whichever comes first. And in the event that the group collects a statuette or two next month, you can consider this a preemptive message of congratulations or commiseration, whichever is appropriate.
In the meantime, prepare to do the dance of joy, Balki, because I'm moving on. I've found a promising new group to trumpet from the mountaintops. Actually, there are a half-dozen others that I'm enthused about, but this one in particular has all the makings of becoming the next Mile High sensation to sweep the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you The Heyday.
So what makes me think this quintet is the heir apparent? For starters, the band's burgeoning backstory strikes a familiar chord. Founded less than a year ago, the Heyday seems to have materialized out of thin air. Really, though, the baby band was birthed by an outfit called Like Chasing Wind. Although none of the freshly minted minstrels are of legal drinking age and have only performed together in fewer than fifty shows (near as I can tell), their sound is refined and mature.
And then there are the songs.
Despite their noted juvenescence, the players already exhibit a stunning ability to craft instantly memorable hooks that become irreversibly embedded into your consciousness on first spin. (Listen for yourself at myspace.com/theheydaymusic.) Led by Randy Ramirez's vibrant tenor, which recalls the shaky warble of Hellogoodbye frontman Forest Kline, the Heyday's straightforward, guitar-driven approach darkens the doorway of '90s alt-rock grandpas the Gin Blossoms while courting the sunbleached melodies of Rooney and Phantom Planet. The result is super-polished, beyond-radio-friendly power pop.
Colorado, here we come!Again.
That pop has undeniable mass appeal. I have scientific proof (sorta): Aside from Meese (another entrant in the Frayday sweepstakes), this is the first local outfit that each member of my family has embraced, immediately and universally. Considering their divergent inclinations -- Sweetie kneels at the altar of Elvis and bristles at the thought of Bowling for Soup coming to town, my daughter thinks Brandi Carlisle and Sam Phillips are the bee's knees, and my son is all about the Ramones, Bad Religion and NOFX -- their collective endorsement tells me everything I need to know about the Heyday. It's gonna be huge!
Assuming the act can pull it off on stage, that is. I have yet to catch the band live, but I'll get my chance this Saturday, January 27, at the Marquis Theater, where the Heyday shares a bill with Tifah (profiled on page 58), another promising group worth watching.
Less than a month into the new year, the Class of 2007 is already shaping up to be one of the most impressive yet. And here's the thing: As geeked as I am about the Heyday's potential, it's not the most compelling member of the class, musically or artistically. That distinction belongs to Uphollow's Ian Cooke, who's preparing to release his debut solo effort in March. His songs are simply beguiling, as you'll hear if you stop by his MySpace page (myspace.com/iancooke) and listen to "Vasoon." I don't know what the hell a vasoon is, but in Cooke's capable hands, it becomes an enthralling ode driven by sonorous vocals and a haunting cello line. Cooke will provide a sneak peek this Friday, January 26, at Old Curtis Street, where he'll be joined by the Wheel, a Born In the Flood offshoot.
Two other can't-miss acts are Bluebook and Hello Kavita (formerly Kettle Black), which will round out a bill that also includes John Common and Action Packed Thrill Ride this Thursday, January 25, at the Larimer Lounge. Bluebook is the brainchild of Julie Davis, whose fluttering, cherubic vocals trace wraithlike figures in brittle backdrops fashioned from frosty synths and percolating percussion (samples at myspace.com/bluebookbluebook). Hello Kavita, meanwhile, is the ongoing concern of songwriter Corey Teruya, who's put together an indolent Americana sound (see Critic's Choice) that's at once comforting and familiar.
Achille Lauro, which shares Kavita multi-instrumentalist Luke Mossman, invokes a similar heartening feeling, like frigid hands warmed by a steaming cup of cider. Lauro's output resembles the spacious, jazzy math rock of acts like the Mercury Program or Pele, only with expressive vocals and subtle gusts of brass, courtesy of guitarist/trumpeter/frontman Brian Joseph. Escape the arctic blast on Thursday, February 8, when Lauro's at the hi-dive. I'm also intrigued by Rachael Pollard. With a delicate and distinctive voice that splits the difference between Chan Marshall and Joanna Newsom, Pollard offers up plainspoken musings intimately marked by spartan acoustic arrangements, accentuated by the squeak of fingers brushing strings. You can listen to samples at myspace.com/rachaelpollard, then catch Pollard at Chielle this Friday, January 26.
Finally, and at the other end of the spectrum, there's Kingdom of Magic, a caustic freakout of a power trio helmed by Git Some's Luke Fairchild (ex-White Dynamite, Sparkles). Straddling the zip codes of tar-thick doom and hardcore, Kingdom -- which joins Across Tundras at the hi-dive this Friday, January 26, and which still doesn't have a freaking MySpace page -- is the heavy band to be reckoned with right now. Oh, and Big Fucking Thunder. Three-piece, hillbilly zombie motif -- 'nuff said.
For frequent updates on other emerging acts, check out my Upbeats and Beatdowns entries at www.westword.com/blogs.
Upbeats and beatdowns: While on the web, stop by YouTube.com and catch the video for "Constance," a track from the forthcoming solo disc by J Medeiros (the Procussions) that deals eloquently with the propagation of kiddie porn. Rather than being heavy-handed and preachy -- as most MCs who tackle relevant social issues tend to be -- Medeiros delivers a poignant, illuminating narrative that takes a widescreen approach, focusing not just on the purveyors and the end-users, but also the hapless victims. If you're not moved, you may be in need of artificial resuscitation.
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