From the pop of King Princess to garage rock from Colfax Speed Queen, royal music is taking over Denver venues this week. So get your tickets, hit the venues and get ready to move to the music.
Colfax Speed Queen
Thursday, January 30, Lost Lake Lounge.
If history is any indication, Colfax Speed Queen is fully committed to releasing exactly one album every three years — which, in our humble opinion, is far too long between records, especially given how deliciously heavy its psych-tinged garage rock hits. Case in point: Last year’s Dirty Mirror arrived right on time after 2016’s Talk to Your Doctor (which, by default, arrived three years after debut LP Satisfaction Intended via defunct-but-great-in-its-time local label Hot Congress). Regardless, the Speed Queen is wasting no time in the new year, having opened for the King Khan and BBQ Show a few weeks ago and now set to head out on a West Coast tour (which this gig will properly kick into gear).
Saturday, February 1, hi-dive.
Of the two songs that Los Angeles psych-rock songwriter J. Taraway has released thus far, I’m especially partial to the dreamy “Wrong to Believe,” a meandering update on late-’60s psych with shades of Donovan and Big Star. Luckily, this show at the hi-dive happens to be a double-header (advertised on the poster as a “co-headline banger”) with local surf-psych outfit the Kinky Fingers. It’s all going to be quite kaleidoscopic — and that's a compliment.
Sunday, February 2, Ogden Theatre.
Among other things, 2019 marked the year King Princess became completely inescapable, thanks primarily to the success of her debut, Cheap Queen. But that was hardly the first thing we heard from Brooklyn-based pop songwriter Mikaela Straus, who spent 2018 dropping sparse pop singles (highlights include the throbbing “Pussy Is God” and the Perfume Genius-y “1950,” which reportedly made fans out of Halsey and Harry Styles). Next came a Mark Ronson-produced cover of “Happy Together” and an appearance on his 2019 LP Late Night Feelings (in good company on a track list also featuring Angel Olsen, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus). Taking this all into consideration and based on Straus’s trajectory thus far, this show could be the last opportunity to see her in a Colorado venue that’s not a) a former roller rink or b) surrounded by monoliths.
Tuesday, February 4, Larimer Lounge.
Slow Hollows songwriter Austin Anderson likes to change his mind — or at least releases music like he does. The Southern California songwriter got his start making punky garage rock via the still-great I’m Just as Bad as You Are while still in high school, but that was only the first phase of his musical life. He outgrew that sound quickly, pivoting to new wave-y indie with 2015’s Atelophobia and its 2016 followup, Romantic. In the process, he made fans out of Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator, both of whom asked him to contribute guitar to Blonde and Flower Boy, respectively. Actors arrived last year, chock-full of funk-inflected bass lines and melancholic burners somewhere between Phosphorescent and his contemporaries in Hot Flash Heat Wave. Don't miss “Blood.”
Listen to Colfax Speed Queen, J. Taraway, King Princess, Slow Hollows and more favorites from Westword writers on our Westword Staff Picks playlist.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.