Best Shows in Denver 1/23/20 – 1/28/20

Poppy 2019 pc Jesse Draxler
Poppy performs at the Gothic Theatre on January 28, photo by Jesse Draxler

Thursday | January 23

Portrayal of Guilt, photo by Tom Murphy

What: Portrayal of Guilt w/Street Sects, EUTH and Cau5er
When: Thursday, 1.23, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: Portrayal of Guilt is a post-hardcore band from Austin that weaves together elements of grindcore and noise soundscaping to create an angular kind of screamo bristling with menace. Its rhythms are more widely dynamic than one might expect from the mix of sounds and influences with chords allowed to hang to establish a mood that crawls to catharsis. Street Sects, also from Austin, is an industrial noise outfit whose confrontational performances may feel hidden in the banks of fog in its performance zone but the band manages to turn that haze into a realm where the tension it builds to unpredictable moments of eruption. Cau5er is a Denver project that comes partly out of hardcore but is firmly in the worlds of noise and power electronics with an impassioned delivery that belies notions of noise artists all being knob twiddlers. Schedule for the evening below provided as this show is being conducted in cooperation with the show at Mutiny across the street from the Hi-Dive.

Euth 8:30
Cau5er 9:15
Street Sects 10pm
Portrayal of Guilt 11pm

What: Red Death (DC), Enforced (RVA), Chair of Torture and Wide Man
When: Thursday, 1.23, 8 p.m.
Where: Mutiny Information Café
Why: Washington DC’s Red Death is a modern crossover band whose synthesis of thrash and hardcore is reminiscent of a more aggro version of what Megadeth was doing earlier in its career. If that sounds appealing, Enforced from Richmond, Virginia and Chair of Torture from Denver are mining similar territory with the latter with more than a leg in grindcore. See schedule for the evening below as it is being done in conjunction with the show mentioned above at the Hi-Dive.

7:30-7:50 Chair of Torture
8:05-8:25 Wide Man
8:40-9:10 Red Death
9:25-9:55 Enforced

What: Yacht w/Mux Mool
When: Thursday, 1.23, 8 p.m.
Where: Larimer Lounge

Friday | January 24

$addy circa 2018, photo by Tom Murphy

What: 666/69/420: Dance Night featuring $addy, Trisicloplox, Kid Mask, Platonic Belt, Blank Human
When: Friday, 1.24, 8 p.m.
Where: Rhinoceropolis
Why: This is a showcase for some of the most interesting artists in the Denver noise world who incorporate aspects of dance music and glitch into the mix.

What: Casey James Prestwood w/High Plains Honky, Coop & The Chicken Pluckers
When: Friday, 1.24, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: A legitimately good country show with bands that write meaningful music instead of wallowing in country music tropes.

What: Ron Pope w/Caroline Spence
When: Friday, 1.24, 8 p.m.
Where: Bluebird Theater

What: Hate Minor, The Gurkhas and Plastic Rakes
When: Friday, 1.24, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Glitter City

What: R A R E B Y R D $ w/Calico Club and Ginger Perry
When: Friday, 1.24, 8 p.m.
Where: Lion’s Lair

What: Fatal Mistake IV Benefit: The Consequence, Tuck Knee, Videodrome, F.O.A.M., Direct Threat
When: Friday, 1.24, 8 p.m.
Where: Seventh Circle Music Collective

What: Deer Creek, Barstool Messiah and Never Kenezzard
When: Friday, 1.24, 9 p.m.
Where: Englewood Tavern

What: Necromantic (goth/darkwave DJ night)
When: Friday, 1.24, 9 p.m.
Where: Skylark Lounge

Saturday | January 25

Old Sport circa 2018, photo by Tom Murphy

What: Use the Sun (Reunion), Old Sport and American Grandma
When: Saturday, 1.25, 7 p.m.
Where: Seventh Circle Music Collective
Why: Denver’s Use the Sun is reuniting for one night to bring forth its joyous mixture of melodic punk and surf rock. Also included is a lately relatively rare show from Old Sport who have been part of that resurgence of bands that were influenced by the better, mathier end of emo and post-hardcore. American Grandma is a slowcore band whose elegant and introspective guitar compositions blur the line between folk, ambient and dream pop.

What: Neil Haverstick
When: Saturday, 1.25, 7 p.m.
Where: Swallow Hill
Why: Neil Haverstick is Denver’s biggest proponent of microtonal guitar so much so that he wrote a book about it. His songs, though, come from an emotional place and his roots in blues and folk inform even though his style brings in a great deal of avant-garde thinking into the mix and makes it accessible.

What: Rhinoceropolis Benefit: Cian, Jason Sidney Sanford, Prison Glue, Born Dumb, Lanx Borealis, Birth, Swamps
When: Saturday, 1.25, 8 p.m.
Where: Rhinoceropolis

What: Hail Satan, Brew Ha!Ha! And Asalt
When: Saturday, 1.25, 9 p.m.
Where: 3 Kings Tavern

Sunday | January 26

Lazarus Horse circa 2017, photo by Tom Murphy

What: Shibui Denver #9: The Vanilla Milkshakes, Lazarus Horse and Pythian Whispers
When: Sunday, 1.26, 7 p.m.
Where: Mutiny Information Cafe
Why: This latest edition of Shibui Denver will feature outsider pop punk band The Vanilla Milkshakes, the earnest, existential, angular indie rock of Lazarus Horse and Pythian Whispers’ psychedelic ambient soundscapes with visuals by Mark Mosher, electro-ambient artist and founder of Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup.

Tuesday | January 28

What: GosT w/Church Fire and Elay Arson
When: Tuesday, 1.28, 7 p.m.
Where: Larimer Lounge
Why: GosT blurs the line between metal and synthwave and definitely for fans of Perturbator. Church Fire blurs that line a little too but more in the tribal, pagan vein without hitting you over the head with the aesthetic and its industrial/dance pop hybrid is one of the most compelling things going on in Denver or anywhere.

What: Poppy w/VOWWS
When: Tuesday, 1.28, 7 p.m.
Where: Gothic Theatre
Why: Poppy’s genre-mashup is not for everyone. But the theatrical presentation of her mix and remix of extreme metal, kawaii pop and surreal psychedelic pop turns on a dime like something John Zorn might have thought of had Naked City come up in the 90s and 2000s and not in the realm of avant-garde jazz and grindcore. Currently touring in support of her new album I Disagree. VOWWS has managed to shed a lot of the previous associations in the last year with retro rockist tendencies. Its sound is more like a hard edged darkwave to post-punk what a band like True Widow is to metal and shoegaze.

What: Thrice w/mewithoutYou, Drug Church and Holy Fawn
When: Tuesday, 1.28, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Summit Music Hall

Nicole Theo’s “Would You Save Me” Aches With the Yearning For an Unrequited Love

Nicole Theo, photo courtesy the artist

Nicole Theo’s voice on “Would You Save Me” seems to come from a distance and through the filter of a fog enshrouded room within which you can make out shapes illuminated by fingers of light from a mysterious source, a breeze dopplering her voice, pitching it as a kind of somehow naturally occurring autotune effect. The latter alters Theo’s voice expertly as an enhancement of the sound rather than the trendy affectation you hear in entirely too many pop and trap songs. Sax and strings come into the song to give this song that aches with the yearning of an unrequited love a grounding and resolution that suggests soon emerging into action rather than wrapping oneself up continuously in unfulfilled fantasy. Listen to “Would You Save Me” on Spotify, watch the music video for the song on YouTube and follow Theo at the links provided. Look for Theo’s debut EP due out in 2020.
Twitter: @theo_nike

Foreign Television’s “Minus 27” Celebrates the Life You Have Rather Than Being Trapped Into the Life You Were Born To

Foreign Television, image courtesy the artists

Foreign Television sets the stage for us at the beginning of its single “Minus 27” with the gentle falling snow of sparkling guitar tone. It sounds like the aspect of the Christmas season we’d rather focus on rather than the possibilities of going back to the place that spawned you and the reminders of what drove you to seek greener pastures to begin with. The swirling riff is like a free-flowing haze of memories that burn off the anxiety of anticipating the time on holiday back “home” and the lifeline back out of the place you’re going to out of a sense of familial or otherwise social obligation. Perhaps to enjoy some of that time but knowing you’ll run into the people and the situations that may remind you of how much better you have it now. It’s not a melancholy song. Its melody is nostalgic but with a sense of being present in a way that makes it impossible to get full stuck in the past as many people seem to be at some point later in life, romanticizing a time that never really was when they felt more alive, more valid and more accomplished in a realm of life when your options really were more limited even if you felt otherwise. In the end “Minus 27” is a celebration and embrace of the life you have knowing you don’t have to feel trapped by a former life and milieu that didn’t suit you. Listen to “Minus 27” on Soundcloud and follow dream-pop/shoegaze band Foreign Television at the links below.

Daddy Who’s “Clock Clock Clacka” is a Homage to the Dreamlike Production Style of 90s Underground Hip-hop

Daddy Who, image courtesy the artist

The breaks on Daddy Who’s “Clock Clock Clacka” are so intentional and precise yet organic that it sounds like the work of an expert turntablist setting the tempo either before something big hits or between epic tracks. The synth swells, the sleigh bells placed so tastefully, the vocals speaking the title of the song and echoing off, the myriad other sonic details are reminiscent of another era of hip-hop before trap became one of the dominant styles of beatmaking. That era when producers like The Alchemist, DJ Premier, collectives like Hieroglyphics and artists on the Stones Throw label assembled sounds from disparate sources to set a mood channeled into a rhythm whether lyrics flowed with the soundscape or not. Listen to “Clock Clock Clacka” on Bandcamp.

“In Love” by dopeman is a Wistful, Musical Key to Unlock Memories of Affection and Tenderness

Dopeman and DaddyWho, Cheesecakes Vol. 1 split, cover image courtesy the artists

“In Love” by dopeman begins with a piano line and the crackle of of a record like the memory of a good time in your life being triggered by running across an artifact of a relationship as mnemonic key to unlock a flood of positive feelings. The shuffling beat gently buoys the mood and the vocal samples, like voices from an old movie leaking in from another room, anchor and contextualize the memory in the part of your mind that stores sensory perception on an almost subconscious level. Though the tone is moody and hushed it is not melancholic, rather, wistful and nostalgic. Musically it’s in the realm of IDM or a more experimental hip-hop beat but ultimately doesn’t fit neatly into a genre category as its appeal transcends that of a specific style. Listen to “In Love” on Bandcamp and follow dopeman at the links provided.

Kapeesh Invites All The Too Cool For School Wallflowers to Join in the Fun at the Show on “Lampshade”

Kapeesh, photo courtesy the artist

When “Lampshade” by Kapeesh starts off it sounds like something heard through a wall on AM radio. But when it attains full fidelity the onslaught of ideas and cultural references hits like something out of late 90s Big Beat collided with irreverent alternative hip-hop and the Butthole Surfers. It really is a fascinating genre-bending song that draws on a broad spectrum of sounds and ideas in a way that establishes a unique aesthetic. The song is aimed at the people that stand near the stage at the show that are above dancing and the confusion at the proclivity of some people to not be swept away by the music or at least participate. Many of them are just trying to take in the experience but those that stand there unimpressed at all, who show no appreciation can throw performers off their game and frustrate people who want to be there and show their own enthusiasm without hitting that emotional brick wall. But the song is more than that and it’s a kind of goading of these people to join in on the fun. Listen to “Lampshade” on YouTube and follow Kapeesh on the Instagram account (linked below).

Agency 666 Takes You Into a Starkly, Beautifully Haunted Journey Into the Subconscious on “Deep Sleep”

Agency666, image courtesy the artist

Listening to Agency666’s “Deep Sleep” you are drawn into the realm of soundscapes that feel like you’ve entered into the weird end of a supernatural horror ARG in which you must navigate out of your own subconscious mind. “Every time I close my eyes” is the refrain that floats about, processed to echo parts of the vocal like repeated images that throw you off the trail of the path out of this spiraling maze of sound. The sound of what seems to be chirping insects in the distance surrounds you, a warping, melodic arpeggio intertwines with the voice in a staccato pattern that serves almost as a luminous walkway in a dark realm until the end when the whole beautifully nightmarish, minimalistic world fades from your hearing. It’s reminiscent of HTRK or a demented, stark side of Everything But The Girl in being so alien, minimal and enveloping but more in the realm of minimal techno yet unlike much of anything that fits neatly in any genre. The song comes from the project’s Fear of the Unknown EP and you can listen to the single on Spotify and follow Agency666 on the Soundcloud account.