The ten best shows in Denver this weekend
Back in 2008, at the peak of their Coachella-studded career, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser were living one dream (deliciously abstract pop art) and singing about another: one rooted in Paris, heroin, cocaine, "elegant cars" and "models for wives," to quote their festival-friendly earworm "Time To Pretend." And though those dreams went in a different zany direction on MGMT's ambitious, if alienating, sophomore album Congratulations in 2010, the guys are still nowhere near resorting to "jobs in offices" and "the morning commute." Later this month, MGMT will release its third and potentially most daring album to date: If early single "Alien Days" is any indication, the self-titled release promises to take yet another unexpected turn in Albuquerque, unspooling psychedelic melodies and oracular, spectacular verses as the guys seek to situate themselves somewhere between their influences and their appetites. But will the results be superb or strange -- or just somewhere in between?
Colorado is a favorite spot for many artists, but few are welcomed with such open arms on a regular basis as the Athens, Georgia-based psychedelic jam rockers Sound Tribe Sector 9. After a successful New Year's Eve three-night run, the quintet returned for shows in Telluride, and then made their SnowBall debut, and now the act returns for its annual two-night run at Red Rocks.
Deerhunter came from the same realm of house shows and DIY venues as other Atlanta bands like Black Lips and King Khan and the Shrines. The group's unique blend of punky garage rock and dream pop caught the attention of Chicago-based imprint Kranky, an imprint known for championing bands that combined rock instrumentation with electronic musical elements; it was a perfect fit for Deerhunter, whose guitar work often blurs the lines between guitar and keyboard sounds. Though the outfit has long since moved on to releasing records on larger indie labels like 4AD, Deerhunter is one of those bands that seems to operate like it's still holding on to its punk ideas.
This weekend, Colorado Crush is going down once again with a pre-party tonight at Guerrilla Garden kicking things off, then the main event tomorrow, followed by an afterparty tomorrow night at Casselman's and more events on Sunday. From the sounds of it, the fourth edition of this annual hip-hop block party is going to be a block buster. Seriously. If you're an admirer of graf, this is the place to be. Along with more high profile graf writers painting, there's some local legends represented here. Add to that some battles and an afterparty with performances by People Under the Stairs, Expansion Team Soundsystem (Rakaa Iriscience & DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples) and a special Stay Tuned set featuring cats from the L.I.F.E. Crew. Should be dope. Even Mayor Hancock is slated to stop by. Check out the full rundown of the lineup and then make plans to head down.
The Titwrench music festival was founded in 2009 by Sarah Slater, a longtime independent promoter, who received a Westword MasterMind Award in 2011 for her involvement in it. From the beginning, the festival has featured artists from Albuquerque's rich experimental-music scene, groups like Bigawatt and Milch de la Máquina, which are both returning this year alongside an array of notable local acts such as Dangerous Nonsense, Talk All Night and Rachael Pollard. But Titwrench (taking place this year on Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, at Glob) isn't just music; there is a strong visual-art presence as well, including the work of local luminaries like Katrin Davis and filmmaker Kim Shively, who was involved in the making of Wesley Willis's Joyrides. As usual, there will also be workshops and good food on hand, making Titwrench more than just another music festival.
This is an absolutely kick-ass, can't-miss all local metal bill featuring a pair of steadily emerging titans in the scene, Arise in Chaos and Gomorrah, along with a stellar supporting cast of promising acts like From Within the Trench, Sinful Flesh and Knife to a Gunfight.
Allegaeon is a successful amalgamation of tuneful technical death metal out of Fort Collins. The band, which signed with Metal Blade Records in 2009, has released two albums that display a metal sophistication far beyond its years.
The Acacia Strain generates pure unadulterated rage. The brutality boiling from the Massachusetts band is carried out with precision, immolating a naturally flowing rage through its growling vocalization of well-placed wordage in a boiling alphabet soup of lyrics and powerful drumming.
Inspired by the first wave of punk in the U.K., the Beat combined the social critique of punk with the broader emotional and sonic palette of reggae. Formed in 1978, the English Beat (so named when the band made its way across the Atlantic) released three classic albums before Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger moved on to form General Public, where they realized great commercial success. The two eventually parted ways to front their own versions of their original band. These days, there are two versions of the English Beat: one in this country, led by Dave Wakeling, and another in the U.K., featuring Ranking Roger, the band's classic toaster.
Flume's Harley Streten got his start making electronic music when he got a simple set of production software -- named Andrew G's Music Maker, after the host of Australian Idol -- from a cereal box when he was in middle school. Streten quickly outgrew the confines of the freeware and went on to explore whatever he could get his hands on in order to make the music he was hearing in his head. When he was twenty, he signed with the Future Classic imprint, and in November, 2012, days after his twenty-first birthday, his self-titled debut full-length came out to great critical acclaim. Streten has a gift for making dark, moody music accessible. He worked with a wide array of vocalists for the album, which maintains a bright downtempo feel that expertly bridges the divide between EDM and experimental electronic pop.
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