Live Review: The New Year, Houses, Fell at Larimer Lounge

Photo: Allison Smith
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The New Year, Houses, Fell Monday, September 29, 2008 Larimer Lounge Better than: Most bands playing today.

Playing together since before who knows when, the Brothers Kadane (Matt & Bubba) have made music that is both intelligent and intensely moving. Whether it was in mid-‘90s slow-core band Bedhead or with their current project the New Year, the brothers have established an intense telepathy that informs their songs. Moving away from their earlier roots, the New Year tows the line between pretty and rocking, with a lyrical sensibility that would make Neil Young blush. All these traits were on display Monday night, and the small but appreciative crowd ate it up.

Local openers Fell got the night going. The act’s MySpace site says that the groups sounds like sadness. Whether or not this is tongue and cheek is hard to determine. Sadness in the fact that the band has a hard time mustering up an original idea? Who knows? Regardless, this outfit has a ways to go before it trips over something interesting. Music created by the children of Robert Smith? No thanks, I’ll sit at the bar.

Thankfully, fellow Denverites, Houses, were willing to get everyone off their feet. Whereas Fell seemed like a bunch of pouty shut-ins, Houses delivered good time upbeat rock music that had traces of both current indie rock and whatever was in your parents record collection. The band, six strong, kept up the liveliness through its entire set, with vocalist Andy Hamilton delivering soulful, deep fried vocals that stayed above the multitude of instrumentation. Definitely need to check this band out again. Thank you, Houses, for pulling the Larimer out of the funk (bad kind) brought on by Fell.

By the time the New Year took the stage, it seemed like the master coming to deliver his lesson, as both of the openers seemingly borrow heavily from the tension/release of Bedhead and New Year. From the first strum of “Folios,” the group was ready to deliver on all the promises of it’s recorded material. While Matt handles most of the vocals, it’s Bubba whose guitar work really comes across live. Still, the brothers clearly have a fraternal bond that made the music that much stronger. Running through most of its new record, the act’s songs were tightly wound nuggets exploring the stresses of everyday life, whether it be lack of sleep, regrets of not having ever camped or having participated in an orgy.

Overall, asiding from being undermined by a mix that buried the vocals, the New Year’s set was both concise and fulfilling, pretty much like everything the band has ever done.

-- Jeremy Brashaw

Critic’s Notebook

Personal Bias: Most New Year fans love the bands second record The End Is Near. However, if you are looking for a place to start with these guys, I’m a big fan of Newness Ends. Random Detail: Houses plays again at the Meadowlark on Friday, November 28. Check these guys out. By the Way: If you get a chance, get on YouTube and check out the Kadane Bros. duo performances from this summer. You will be pleased.

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