From instrumental hip-hop to indie-pop and singer-songwriter fare, Denver's music scene is something for everybody. Here are four must-know shows.
Thursday, February 20, Larimer Lounge.
Consider this a full-throated endorsement of Eliot Lipp, the Tacoma-born, Brooklyn-based instrumental hip-hop producer with a keen sense of blending acid jazz and complex hip-hop beats with whatever suits him on a given day — not unlike his heroes RZA and Madlib. Put another way: The word “bangers” gets tossed around regularly when describing his music, though it doesn’t quite encapsulate the nuanced side of his artistry, on full display on the new album I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y., the second release from Lipp's Minutes Unlimited collaborative project with electro-producer Michna. “Warning (Replicant)” goes particularly hard — especially if you’re more the Berlin-basement type than the Red Rocks dubstep type. The Larimer Lounge seems somewhere in between those two, no?
— Elle Carroll
Friday, February 21, Summit.
Here’s a fun backstory: Electric Guest’s Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton were roommates first, having moved together to an L.A. house. The previous tenant? None other than Danger Mouse. Musical chemistry and collaboration followed shortly after someone presumably returned the U-Haul, and the duo rode the early 2010s indie half-pop, half-rock moment with the release of Mondo in 2012. These days, Taccone spends interviews insisting that Electric Guest is no longer riding that wave, having gone pop (as all indie rockers must, sayeth the oracle) with last year’s KIN. Case in point: “Dollar” indulges in the kind of gauzy synth moments that bear comparison to none other than peak ’80s Cyndi Lauper. Time after time, baby.
— Elle Carroll
Saturday, February 22, Bluebird Theater.
It’s been a slow but steady rise for Ezra Furman, the 33-year-old indie songwriter who seems to live in a perpetual state of rock-and-roll catharsis. (Lou Reed, the Clash and the Modern Lovers are all obvious influences, and Furman seems intent on queering up their legacies with his own music, which often fixates on queer and Jewish identity and the rigged class system in this country.) Most recently, Furman penned the soundtrack for the Netflix coming-of-age dramedy Sex Education, instructed by show producers to be what Simon and Garfunkel were to The Graduate. And he is, sort of: On soundtrack opener “I’m Coming Clean," he sounds much closer to what Cat Stevens was to Harold and Maude. May we also recommend the Rolling Stones-y "At the Bottom of the Ocean" and the, um, lower-fi acoustic cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “I Can Change,” first included on last year’s all-covers EP titled Songs by Others. There's not a dud in the bunch, per usual with Furman.
— Elle Carroll
Sunday, February 23, Bluebird Theater.
Honestly, Chastity Belt's name never gets old. Nor does “Different Now,” the more or less perfect post-punk (but not without a touch of tenderness) lead single from 2017’s fantastic I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. The irony of all this, perhaps, is that since the release of 2013 debut LP No Regerts (that’s not a typo, but rather evidence of the band’s very online and particular sense of humor), the members of Chastity Belt have always felt ambivalent and conflicted about growing older themselves. And over four records, the band has created an evolving discography that both revels in and ruthlessly examines millennials' trademark extended adolescence. Speaking of which, the band — with Jay Som's Melina Duterte at the production helm — is notably mellower and more interested in being profound on its self-titled latest. But, hey, isn't that how getting older works?
— Elle Carroll
Listen to Eliot Lipp, Electric Guest, Ezra Furman, Chastity Belt and more favorites from Westword writers on our Westword Staff Picks playlist.
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