Guitarist and singer Gabriel Albelo came up with the band name Silver Face and its first batch of songs while he was living in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
“I was working in a gift shop in Old San Juan, and I wanted to get out of there and do something with my life,” says Albelo. The music wasn't coming together like he wanted it to, so he and his girlfriend decided to move to a big city — but not one oversaturated with music. The choice was between Denver and Austin, and in October 2014, they found themselves in Colorado.
Silver Face's other guitarist and singer, Michael Thompson, grew up on Denver's east side and attended the Denver School of the Arts before going off to college in Vermont, where he formed the psychedelic-rock band Hypnopomp with a friend. That friend moved to Portland and Thompson moved back to Denver in late spring 2014.
While going to shows here, Thompson befriended Reed Fuchs, Anna Smith, Cody Coffey and Megan Crooks of the grassroots music studio and venue Moon Magnet. That December, he met Albelo at the DIY space. The two talked about each other's musical vision and their shared interest in psychedelic rock. Albelo left the space, and Thompson chased him down on his skateboard and invited him to play music. For months they played as a duo, then eventually brought on a drummer and a bass player.
Random Temple, the drummer in Silver Face, grew up in the yuppie college town of Prescott, Arizona. His parents were Deadheads who took him on the road to follow the band around.
“My parents brought me to see the Dead like thirty times between 1990 and 1994,” says Temple.
The Dead's inventive polyrhythms made an impression on him that inspired his later love of artists like J. Dilla and Aphex Twin, whose unorthodox use of rhythm influences Temple's own beatmaking.
In 2008, Temple went to an anarchist bookstore in Prescott, the Catalyst, to see a show. It was Denver Americana act Paper Bird. Temple arrived in the afternoon and caught Genevieve, Sarah and Esmé Patterson practicing their vocals.
"I was sixteen and blown away," he says.
Macon Terry, a former member of Paper Bird, stayed in touch with Temple, sending him postcards from the road. Three years later, when Temple was nineteen, he contacted Terry about moving to Denver and connecting with the music scene. Once here, Temple became fast friends with Coffey, and the Moon Magnet scene.
Silver Face bass player Camron Eidsness came from Grand Junction. Eidsness played in garage-rock bands with some success, moved to Denver to finish school and started playing with the group Sex Slave.
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“It had an old-school Kills kind of feel,” says Eidsness. One night, Sex Slave played at the Lion's Lair, where he met Temple and struck up an immediate friendship. These days, both produce electronic music, which has influenced Silver Face's music.
In 2015, Temple and Terry met Albelo and Thompson through mutual friends and started playing together. The diversity of influences and backgrounds gives Silver Face a unique sound that, while very much in the psychedelic-rock vein, has a unique complexity to it. Thompson and Albelo, who both work at Wax Trax record store, incorporate electronic-music concepts along with an interest in esoteric knowledge into their songwriting.
“Rock and roll comes from African music, which is related to ritual and thus magic,” says Albelo. “So when it got transferred into blues and soul and, obviously, rock and roll, it contained the looseness and the magic, the passionate, raw, honest thing that blues and gospel and African music have. The point of rock and roll, for me, has always been a sort of exorcism of energy. I think the best art probably has that.”
Silver Face will be releasing its new EP, with Blanket Empire and Palo Santo, on Thursday, January 19, at 9 p.m. at the hi-dive, 303-733-0230, $10.