Music News

The Apes

It's generally assumed that rock music without guitars doesn't exactly rock. The Apes (above) know otherwise. The Washington, D.C., band eschews Rickenbackers and Stratocasters, filling out its sound with Paul Weil's singing, Jeff Schmid's drums, Amanda Kleinman's heavily amplified keyboards and Erick Jackson's bass, which is regularly cranked to jet-engine volume. This configuration may seem limiting, yet Apes platters such as 2001's Fugue in the Fog and 2003's Oddeyesee are quirky, multi-faceted offerings, and Baba's Mountain, an album on the Birdman label that's hitting finer record stores now, further broadens the template. "The Green Bus" is a carnival midway on wheels; "Baba's Mount" thuds and slams with stegosaurian power; and "The Night Time Reaper" and "Organ Syrup" draw from an aural palette of the deepest purple. Such idiosyncrasies -- which will be on display during a July 3 barbecue session with Orwellian Math Project, Dead Birds and Angerthrone, as well as later that evening in the company of Mr. Pacman and Bark Bark -- won't appeal to everyone. On the other hand, those who've grown weary of wanky string-bending may well consider the Apes to be the next step in evolution.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts