Happy Monday, amigo! Another great batch of shows this week to help you get through the work week. We've got all this week's shows listed in our concert calendar if you're so inclined. Otherwise, keep reading to get a full rundown on the five best concerts this week, the ones we think are worth staying up late for, from Kendrick Lamar tonight to New Order on Wednesday and more.
5. CROCODILES @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | THURS, 10/11/12 Up until the middle part of the last decade, Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez spent time in underground punk and noisy post-punk bands in San Diego, the most noteworthy of which was the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower. That act dissolved in 2006. Two years later, the duo created Crocodiles, which had the same kind of energetic intensity as their previous endeavors. This time, though, they injected it into dreamier soundscapes for a kind of distorted, almost confrontational, psychedelic music, akin to early Tanker-era Bailterspace. The fuzzy expansiveness and emotional fire heard on the group's second album, Sleep Forever, proved to translate even better to the live setting. Expect transporting sounds, along with driving, spiky dynamics and a charismatic frontman who makes you believe that garage rock didn't drown in reverb-drenched surf tunes.
4. HELIO SEQUENCE @ MOE'S ORIGINAL BBQ | THURS, 10/11/12 Middle-school friends Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel started playing out as Helio Sequence in 1999. Layering synthesizers to hover around the latter's expressive percussion and the former's minimalist yet huge guitar sound, early records sounded like Helio Sequence was an all-electronic band. The outfit's effusive psychedelia was reminiscent of a space-rock Cornelius in a heady mode. In 2004, Summers damaged his vocal cords on tour; as anyone who saw the band during that period can attest, he didn't exactly hold back. And while he learned to channel his force as a performer more productively, he and Weikel, who had recently drummed for Modest Mouse, refined their sound even further. The result has been greater clarity in their songwriting, especially on their latest album, Negotiations. Despite these changes, Helio's electrifying live show remains the same.
3. AIMEE MANN @ OGDEN THEATRE | TUES, 10/9/12 Three decades into her career, Aimee Mann remains as consistently fresh and challenging a singer-songwriter as in her days fronting the mid-'80s new-wave band 'Til Tuesday. Since then, Mann has had a strong solo career, delivering one of the greatest film soundtracks in recent memory for P.T. Anderson's Magnolia. With her recent release, Charmer, Mann continues to introduce herself to a new generation of music fans hungry for her dark and stirring brand of songwriting, and to endure against the tradition of ego-drunk songwriters pushing on past their time.
2. KENDRICK LAMAR @ OGDEN THEATRE | MON, 10/8/12 With five critically acclaimed mixtapes and an independent release already under his belt, it's easy to forget that Kendrick Lamar's first major-label LP hasn't even dropped yet. The much-blogged-about good kid, m.A.A.d city isn't due until later this month, but Lamar is already generating more media attention than a Mitt Romney gaffe. At a recent good kid preview party, Rolling Stone called the record -- what they'd heard, at least -- "precious," citing Lamar's "double-time barrages of syllables" and the album's "fierce drumbreak loops that screw your face up." Raised on N.W.A's 'hood-life narratives and influenced by his own upbringing on the very streets that his mentor, Dr. Dre, depicts in his music, Lamar gives a portrayal of present-day South Central L.A. that's not just vivid, but essential.
1. NEW ORDER @ 1STBANK CENTER | WEDS, 10/10/12 Following Ian Curtis's suicide in 1980, the remaining members of Joy Division processed their grief in part by carrying on. While New Order's stark and brilliant 1981 debut, Movement, sounded like what might have been Joy Division's next step, the band went on to be innovators in electronic dance music throughout the '80s. The single "Blue Monday" has been an enduring influence on techno, house and hip-hop production. The band's introspective lyrics were often juxtaposed against upbeat music, which created a complex emotional dynamic that embodied the conflicted spirit of the 1980s. Iconic bass player Peter Hook will not be playing on this tour, but founding keyboard player Gillian Gilbert will be. Sonically, the recent wave of moody synth-pop owes a great deal to New Order.
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.