January may be one of the slowest months for live music in Denver, but there are plenty of stellar shows happening at venues across town. From emo to dream pop to Zeppelin-inspired rock, there's something for you.
Thursday, January 16, Bluebird Theater, bluebirdtheater.net.
Initially the solo project of Dylan Baldi (who dropped out of college shortly after releasing a few songs under the moniker), Cleveland emo outfit Cloud Nothings has been on a steady upward trajectory for the last decade, from early, well-received releases Turning On and Attack on Memory to last year’s throttling, return-to-form Last Building Burning. In Denver, the four-piece will share a bill with Cursive, the Omaha-bred rock band led by Tim Kasher that helped define early-2000s Midwestern emo and lived long enough to enjoy the genre’s 2016 (and beyond, if My Chemical Romance’s recent reunion is any indication) revival. If you didn’t like emo the first time around, we won’t bother trying to convince you. But if you did, don’t forget to bring earplugs.
Thursday, January 16, Globe Hall, globehall.com.
It’s January, which means it’s live music’s unofficial mud season. Not that we’re necessarily complaining, given the quality of this city’s homegrown talent (who need not brave an icy I-70 to get to the gig). Among this week’s local headliners is Cereza, the dream-pop duo of multi-instrumentalist Joseph Figueroa and drummer Keelan McDorman. The band’s first three songs arrived last year on its self-titled debut EP, which included the fuzzed-out, retro funk cut “Got It Bad,” reminiscent of Part Time and Mac DeMarco. Playing in support are fellow locals (and McDorman’s other band) Indica Cinema, students of the Real Estate school of twangy guitar riffs, especially on the 2019 single “Wake Up in Sand.”
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A Shadow of Jaguar
Friday, January 17, Lost Lake, lost-lake.com.
If Greta Van Fleet were a bit more inventive with its Led Zeppelin appropriation, it might start to sound a little like A Shadow of Jaguar, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boulder hard-rock duo indebted to Sabbath, Thee Oh Sees and Jack White in equal measure. This week’s show just happens to be the release party for Different Brain, the band’s first album since its 2017 debut, Raw. Lead single (and, quite frankly, banger) “Love You, Hate You” arrived in December, complete with an opening drum riff à la Ginger Baker and a Raconteurs-y chorus. We’re betting the rest of the album follows suit.
Saturday, January 18, Larimer Lounge, larimerlounge.com.
Your Smith (aka the musical alter ego of Los Angeles songwriter Caroline Smith) was great right from the jump — and by “jump,” we mean “The Spot,” Smith’s 2018 debut single that’s all groovy summertime nostalgia and breezy ’90s indie rock. Her first two EPs, 2018’s Bad Habit and 2019’s Wild Wild Woman, arrived next, divided by a heart-wrenchingly wonderful cover of Martha Wainwright’s “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole.” Inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s feminist classic Women Who Run With the Wolves, Wild Wild Woman spans both ultra-bright synth-pop (EP opener “Man of Weakness”) and languid, retro dance numbers (“In Between Plans”). Like the majority of artists currently on NYC-based pop label Neon Gold Records’ roster (including Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens and Tove Lo), Smith is worth hearing.
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Listen to Cloud Nothings, Cereza, A Shadow of Jaguar, Your Smith and more favorites from Westword writers on our Westword Staff Picks playlist.