Psychic TV and a New Parallel Culture Part One

Psychic TV, photo by Drew Weirdermann, interview/story by Tom MurphyPsychic_TV_by_Drew_Weidemann_Web

Tonight, Psychic TV will perform in Denver at the Mercury Cafe with Rotties and DJ Tocsin uniting a Denver institution whose existence dates back to the late 70s and an original location off of 13th Avenue and Pearl Street and a band that had yet to get its footing in the USA until Denver concert promoter Tom Headbanger got PTV into its first tour bus and from there into a kind of cult following that resulted in a more cultural institution to spread esoteric and spiritually evolutinary/revolutionary knowledge into the world at large with network of likeminded communities and seekers under the umbrella of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Those worlds come together again with this show at the Mercury.

Ahead of the show we were able to speak with the band’s leader, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge to discuss the still powerful and abundant ability of creativity and imagination to transform at least the world around you and to impact the world beyond. We will publish the conversation in full in the next few days. In this first section we discuss Gen’s early projects and how they lead in part to the founding of noteworthy modern music label Dais Records, which not only made the early Worm and COUM Transmissions recordings widely available but is also a proponent of music by artists touched by the continuing legacy of the strain of music operating outside the mainstream pioneered by Gen and their collaborators in creating a parallel culture.

Queen City Sounds and Art: Psychic TV kind of got its start here with a bus provided by Tom Headbanger.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: We used to love that bus so much. We had so many amazing times on that bus. Then when we moved to New York with Lady Jaye we discovered you’re not allowed to have a bus in New York so we gave it away to some hippies in California as a gift. Apparently a year later they got very stoned and burned it.

T: You’ve long been a keen observer of society and culture. Right now we’re at an interesting/dangerous point internationally. But I think we can act on the local level with creativity and affect the larger world. As a teen you did the ‘zine Conscience and then later in your late teen years and early 20s, COUM Transmissions.

GBP-O: There was an exhibition in Howden, Yorkshire in January that was a retrospective of COUM Transmissions and Spydeee [Gasmantell] was there. I hadn’t seen him for decades so that was really nice. We’re corresponding again now. He’d done an issue of Conscience after we’d gone off to university and got expelled from the school for it. So the last issue was seized, banned and he was expelled for and that was the end of Conscience. We started one at the university we called Worm.

T: That was a band as well?

GBP-O: It was going to be. We did that one record and we disbanded and forgot about it. But that was one of those amazing stories when the Tate Britain decided to buy my archive we needed people to help us catalog everything. So we got these people who volunteered to come in. One of those people was Ryan Martin who came to me one day and said, “Gen, what are all these reel to reel tapes in this box?” “Oh, it’s just stuff we were doing when we were young. It’s rubbish. Don’t listen to it. Forget about it.” He said, “What does it sound like?” “You don’t want to listen to it, it’s not important.” “I think it is important and that people would like to hear it. Even if it doesn’t sound great it’ll show people your thinking about sound from an earlier age.” So we said, “If you think it’s so interesting, why don’t you go and do it?” Then he went off to start Dais Records with his friend Gibby [Miller] and now Dais is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary this month. It has released records by eighty different people all because he nagged me about this old, reel-to-reel tape. He released Early Worm and [The Sound of Porridge Bubbling, Sugarmorphoses and Home Aged & The 18th Month Hope from COUM Transmissions]. We like that something done that long ago can trigger someone else into changing what they do in life. Suddenly it’s become this energy attractor and makings things possible for lots of extra people. In a way that’s what we’ve always been trying to do—come up with ways of looking at things or perceiving things or just shifting the point of views so that new opportunities and ways of analyzing society can happen.

Kill Minus Nine Continues Its Industrial Revolution with #SIGKILL

Photo by Coss Photography, interview/story by Tom MurphyKM9_Faces_CossPhotography

Kill Minus Nine is a politically-charged industrial rock band in the classic mold established by bands like Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Stabbing Westward and Pop Will Eat Itself. The group, comprised of veterans of Denver’s industrial, electronic and metal scenes, is releasing its latest album, #SIGKILL, tonight at The Moon Room at the Summit Music Hall where it will perform alongside Diveje (also releasing its own new album We Still Remain), eHpH and The Midnight Marionettes. Kill Minus Nine separates itself from bands operating in a similar stylistic vein with strong, fluid basslines, creative and evocative synth work and vocals that aren’t just gritty but tuneful and capable of conjuring emotions beyond just anger and despair. Truly a cut above the tired place industrial rock got trapped in in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the interview below, conducted via email, the confluence of influences and a kindredship of spirit goes along way in explaining why there’s more to Kill Minus Nine than might be immediately obvious.

Queen City Sounds and Art: Kill Minus Nine formed in 2013 but it can be assumed you were in bands before that. What bands did you play in before?

Corey Drake: Emergence, Die Brücke
Rob Holman: Emergence, Die Brücke, Aeon Crush
Jason Ayers: Die Brücke
Erik Johnson: NEMESYS – guitarist/thereminist. That’s right: a metal band with a theremin.
Noel Johannes: Emergence, Project 12:01, The Siren Project

What was your first exposure to industrial music and/or EBM? How did you get involved in making that style of music rather than some other kind of music?
Corey: Various clubs around Denver. Have always been involved in music in some form and ran into other like-minded musicians.

Rob: Probably Skinny Puppy in the early 90s. I was mesmerized. I’d never heard anything like it before, and the depth of emotion that could be represented with that kind of instrumentation and effects was what drew me to the genre.

Jason: The Deadbeat Club, I wanted to be a part of something that wasn’t your typical heavy metal band.

Erik: Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Einstürzende Neubauten. I was big into punk rock in the ’90s, but could never find a band or afford decent gear. Then I heard these guys making the same hard, fast, aggressive, politically-charged music, but using synths, samples, MIDI and tape tricks, and random junk—things I could afford. And then Trent Reznor started making records all by himself, demonstrating that you don’t have to wait for a band to start creating music.

Noel:  Growing up in a small town (less than 1000 people) in northeastern Colorado as I did, and at a time that predates the Internet, the radio was my primary vehicle into the exploration of new music.  I enjoyed rock, metal and grunge because that was what was being broadcast over the airwaves.  Then one evening while sitting in my bedroom listening to the radio I heard a sounds unlike any sound I had ever heard. I heard KMFDM’s Megalomaniac and it blew my mind! At the time I was playing bass guitar in blues and grunge bands.  People were always flaking out and not showing up to practice. Around the same time my drummer told me how people were using computers to write/perform music. This led me to sell my bass gear and buy a Korg workstation. A short while later I bought my first Macintosh PowerMac and Cubase for my DAW.


Your band is obviously different from some of the cookie cutter EBM industrial and future pop stuff that came out of the 90s industrial scene. What still draws you to making the kind of industrial music you do? What do you think the enduring appeal of the music has for you?
Corey: The emotional feeling and connection is what keeps drawing me to making this music. Push and pull, power, dynamics.

Jason: I find the challenge of integrating live instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keys) with heavy synth backing tracks very fulfilling once it all comes together and creates the enduring appeal for me.

Erik: I think what sets us apart is our desire to play and record live instruments as much as possible. Coming off of more than five years playing shows in the metal scene, it was always kind of hard for me to get excited about seeing industrial or EBM acts that consisted of just one guy with a microphone, and one guy with a MacBook. I’m not saying in any way that there’s a right or wrong way to do it, or that that way is wrong, but for me, I want to make dance-y, club-worthy songs that also feel organic—like they were played by a live band.

Noel: Nostalgia draws me.  I have many great memories from the 90’s and the main theme that ties them all together is industrial [music].  I felt like an outsider living up north.  I remember the acceptance and feeling of “this is my tribe” that I experienced when I discovered Rock Island [in Denver].  I hope we can create music that will inspire as well as contribute to a community that fosters acceptance.

#SIGKILL is a suggestive album name. What is the significance of it for you and of the songs you’re including on the album?
Rob: SIGKILL is a signal that can be sent to a process in a computer, to cause it to halt immediately. It cannot be interrupted, it cannot be ignored, it cannot be stopped. If you apply this idea to other processes in the real world, I think you can see that it conjures some compelling imagery.

Erik: Most of us are in IT or tech-related jobs, so we’re kind of repurposing what we know as social or political allegory. It’s like Tron—we fight for the users.

Iconoclasm mixed with more forward thinking, perhaps even progressive, political leanings have been a part of industrial music since it’s early days. Why do you think that music culture and those musical ideas lend themselves well to that sort of orientation in thinking about the world?
Erik: Pop music, by nature, needs to be inoffensive and accessible in order to make all the dollars. But counterculture artists – punk, hip hop, industrial – and their fans, are already outcasts, so we’re not encumbered by social pressure to fit into a class identity or milquetoast ideology. We’re adults, and we do what we want.

Industrial music has had a bit of a resurgence in the last few years. Do you have a sense of what might be contributing to that?
Erik: Everyone misses guitars in EBM? [Says] the guitar player.

Jason: I think the millennials are now discovering the genre as they become more disenchanted with the world.

Erik: I guess see above? It doesn’t matter where you live or what your politics are; if you’re a human living somewhere on this planet, the odds are that your world is kind of a dumpster fire right now and counterculture music always tends to thrive when social unrest does.

Noel: I imagine the resurgence of industrial music stems from many influences.  One example that comes to mind is the genre’s love with dystopian themes.  The current political climate inspires those types of fantasies.

What music are you into most now that isn’t really connected to industrial music or hard rock or heavy metal or punk right now? What makes it compelling to you?
Rob: 30s and 40s big band and swing. I think those songs are in many ways the bedrock of all modern pop and rock music.

Erik: I’ve basically had Run the Jewels’ entire discography on repeat for the past year.

Noel:  My spirit animal is a sloth.  I move at a slower pace.  I believe that is why I gravitate to downtempo/trip-hop.  Massive Attack’s Mezzanine will always be in my list of top 10 albums.  Not sure is she qualifies as downtempo, but I love music by Bat for Lashes.  The same can be said for Lana Del Rey.

Best Shows in Denver 8.18 – 8.23

Downtown Boys, photo by Miguel Rosario, text by Tom Murphy

Now that the Smash Mouth show in Parker that was to happen Saturday is canceled you can make other plans either this evening or over the weekend. Here are some choice options as summer wraps up.

Who: Weapönizer album release for Lawless Age w/Throne of Belia, Rotstrotter and Chemically Crippled
When: Friday, 8.18, 7 p.m.
Where: 7th Circle Music Collective
Why: Weapönizer has long been one of the best, most underrated, metal bands in Denver. It’s latest album, Lawless Age, is a showcase for how black metal, death/grind and a well-crafted rock song with hooks are not irreconcilable concepts. You also get to see excellent grind acts Rotstrotter and Chemically Crippled. Also, the show costs $6.66. Someone, somewhere involved in the show, has a wonderfully irreverent sense of humor.

Who: Future Days
When: Friday, 8.18, 10 p.m.
Where: Mutiny Information Café
Why: Future Days is a three-piece, yet completely legit, Can cover band. It includes drummer Andrew Lindstrom who has played in noise jazz band Nightshark and sludge punk outfit Git Some. Guitarist Zach Bauer is also a veteran local musician whose versatile talent you could hear in outsider punk band Zombie Zombie and stoner noise rock outfit The Outer Neon. Bauer also has a brilliant weirdo pop album in the can that someone should help him put out. It’s like if Harry Nilsson and David Bowie worked on a secret project together. In addition to other material the band will perform “Sing Swan Song: and “More More Night” for this show.

Who: Native Daughters, Abrams and Black Lamb
When: Saturday, 8.19, 9 p.m.
Where: Streets of London
Why: Native Daughters are going on extended hiatus after this show. The instrumental heavy rock band writes songs as powerful and as compelling as watching an epic adventure movie. Sharing the stage tonight is the stoner rock band Black Lamb coming out of its own semi-retirement to show how harrowing emotion and mutant blues metal can be inspirational. Denver’s Abrams is a sludge rock band that puts momentum behind otherwise slow dynamics. Because of that, Abrams is able to tap into a familiar sound while giving what could be a well-worn genre a shot of real vitality.

Who: Get Loose w/DJs Roger That & John Tyler
When: Saturday, 8.19, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Where: The Thin Man
Why: Roger That and John Tyler are part of Denver’s electronic music world producing original music that is more like the underground techno that has been part of the more forward thinking end of electro in the world of the last ten years. Roger That once honed his craft in Berlin before returning to Denver within the last handful of years and that experience informed not just his music but the kind of soul-infused DJ sets like that which you can catch at this event.

Who: Cat Power w/The Still Tide
When: Saturday, 8.19, 7 p.m.
Where: The Gothic Theatre
Why: The Still Tide is one of many bands making indie rock relevant again. Mainly because its songwriting and use of sound goes beyond the ossified chamber pop and watered down R&B-isms that made that form of music so stale by 2008. Some may consider The Still Tide a dream pop or shoegaze band because its creative use of atmospheric elements but even without such refinements The Still Tide’s songs shine for not being entirely predictable yet accessible. Also, Chan Marshall, Cat Power, isn’t someone who is phoning it in whether in her songwriting or as a performer. She was known for hushed pop songs early in her career and then her 2012 album Sun became an embodiment of the experimental impulses on all her records up until that time. Five years later, who knows what Chan Marshall will bring to the stage? That one can have that question of a performer two decades into her career must surely be considered a good thing.

Who: Downtown Boys w/Surf Mom and Bleak Plaza
When: Sunday, 8.20, 8 p.m.
Where: Larimer Lounge
Why: Downtown Boys are arguably one of the most exciting “punk” bands today. Its new record, Cost of Living, recorded with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto (who also produced records from Blonde Redhead and The Gossip). But pedigree and hyperbolic statements about a band being good are not enough. One should know that Downtown Boys take buoyant noise rock and play it with an irrepressible, youthful verve while singing anthems that take direct aim at social/economic inequality and the pervasive sense of fear and despair that plagues the world today. Is it any wonder that a band that is redefining or at least reinvigorating with vibrant ideas and undeniable passion comes from Providence, Rhode Island? That place that gave us bands like Arab on Radar, White Mice, Six Finger Satellite and all that great stuff on Load Records? Doesn’t seem like a coincidence and Downtown Boys is worthy of any of the aforementioned even if there’s no direct connection between the members of Downtown Boys and Providence’s great local music tradition. That the band is doing the reverse of “Girls” bands with no women in them is also cool statement in itself.

Who: PiperFest w/Colfax Speed Queen, Ned Garthe Explosion and High Plains Honky
When: Sunday, 8.20, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: This is, “[a] benefit show and silent auction for 3 year old Piper Waneka who was recently diagnosed with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) an extremely rare, aggressive, and inoperable brain tumor. All proceeds go towards medical costs and quality of life expenses for Piper.” So yes, a good cause. But you get to see the great psychedelic garage band Colfax Speed Queen and Ned Garthe Explosion, a psychedelic rock band that answers the question in the positive about whether great bunches of humor and disparate musical ideas can make for a good band. But Ned Garthe Explosion is beyond merely good. Best stage banter in Denver? Maybe so.

Who: Washed Out w/Dega
When: Tuesday, 8.22, 7 p.m.
Where: Ogden Theatre
Why: Ernest Greene evolved right out of the chillwave straightjacket music journos who chimed in wanted to slap onto his music pretty quickly. Even though Greene’s song “Feel It All Around” is now synonymous with the opening music to Portlandia that the song can evoke memories of a more beautiful and tranquil time in your life almost every time is a testament to Greene’s gift for tapping into that part of your brain and memory. After exploring where he could go with guitars and a talent for writing non-wack nostalgic music, it seemed as though Greene became a little disillusioned with that musical path. All along he’d already had an interest in hip-hop production including his extensive use of samples on various records. He followed those instincts for his new album, 2017’s Mister Mellow. That it saw a release on respected experimental hip-hop label Stones’ Throw is perfect. Greene is still finding his footing after his reinvention but his ability to tap into an intospective yet hopeful frame of mind and evoke that in his listeners is completely intact. Likely he’ll play old songs but this tour will be one of the first times most people will get to see the new material that is more than a stones throw from his earlier dream pop/chillwave roots.

Who: Pleasure Prince w/Nasty Nachos and Retrofette
When: Wednesday, 8.23, 8/8:30 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: In 2009, Lily Scott appeared on the ninth season of American Idol. While she didn’t take first place, Scott made an impression on many who saw her song. But, creatively anyway, Scott went on to much more respectable endeavors including her rock band Varlet. While Varlet didn’t become a household name, it released some great music. Scott spent some time not being so public with her music making but her latest project, Pleasure Prince based out of Brooklyn, is making its debut in Denver. Lily Scott is a real vocal talent and Pleasure Prince’s downtempo atmospherics is proving to be a good vehicle for that.

Modern Leisure’s releases latest single “The Secret Art”

Casey Banker of Modern Leisure, photo by Paul Banker, article by Tom MurphyModernLeisure_PaulBanker1

Casey Banker has certainly left his mark on Denver’s indie rock world over the last nine years. While living in Greeley, he started The Don’ts and Be Carefuls with some friends in 2008, his brother Paul joining a year later. Although the name was a bit unwieldy the music was lively and Banker’s lyrics strikingly well composed. The Don’ts flourished at a time in Denver and America generally when indie rock wasn’t some tired thing watered down by imitation and oversaturation. And even as trends wended in the latter direction, Banker’s gift for sharp observations about his own life and the world around him remained strong and great songwriting never really goes out of style. The band split in September 2012.

Banker went on to play in member of Shady Elders in which he shared songwriting duties with Fox Rodemich. That group had a moodier, dream pop side to its sound that garnered a respectable fanbase. But there were the inevitable creative differences and resulting personal differences and Banker exited the band (which has since gone on indefinite hiatus circa July 2017). But in 2016, Banker re-emerged with a new group called Modern Leisure that more fully reflected his creative vision and sensibility.

Modern Leisure has been releasing singles since summer 2016 but its latest, “The Secret Art,” has been released (listen and download below the interview) with plans for the full length, Super Sad Rom-Com to drop on October 20, 2017. Banker recently shared some thoughts on his new band and the ways in which his songwriting has evolved since his time in The Don’ts and Be Carefuls. Modern Leisure performs at the Hi-Dive with Kyle Emerson and Down Time. Doors 8:30, show 9 p.m. 21+, $10. At the show you can pick up a copy of the 7″ of “The Secret Art” backed with “Girls in Black.”

QCSA: You’ve been in prominent Denver bands of the past including The Don’ts And Be Carefuls, The Outfit and Shady Elders (maybe others). What do you get to do or put forth with Modern Leisure that maybe you weren’t able to in the past?

Casey Banker: It started a few years ago after I found myself without a band again. I had just got out of the longest relationship I’d ever been in. So I moved into a cheap studio apartment in the Speer neighborhood in Denver. I lived there for about 18 months and over two summers. A little bit after moving in I started writing. The ideas came out fast. I found myself reflecting on relationships and experiences I’d had since moving to Denver in 2010. About a lot of the people that came in and out of my life and all the shows and crazy experiences I’d had. My time living in that apartment was also kind of wild since I was on my own again and it felt like the last hurrah of my 20s. Living in that neighborhood, which is near the Denver Country Club and a lot of rich people, informed the music too. Seeing such a large growing income gap felt like the end of a Denver era… Denver felt pretty different than it had 5 years ago and my life did too.

So I wrote most of the songs while I was there and when I moved out I put the band together and started figuring out how to record the album. That’s when I named it too. With Modern Leisure I’m finally able to be creatively in charge of a band, which is ideal. It’s not something I ever had before. All the bands I’d been in before had been democratic and those never worked out for me. I wanted to run things from the ground up this time, for better or worse, and felt like I had enough experience to make it work.

Why did the name Modern Leisure suggest itself to you?

Modern Leisure just popped into my head one day. I think the 2 words came from some early Blur albums. Someone mentioned to me that it sounded like an ode to The Modern Lovers and I’m just fine with that. I was also going through a yacht-rock phase at the time and felt that the name perfectly described the inviting yet schmaltzy nature of that music. The name also helped serve as a sort of mission statement that helped direct the music. It’s fun to use an abstract idea to help guide a creative process and Modern Leisure just seemed to encapsulate this weird idea of a seductive malaise that I wanted to get across. It’s also fun to say with an english accent. 

You got to experience being in a band during Denver’s DIY and indie rock heyday. What do you think the current era is better for and/or lacking in regarding being a band in Denver and trying to play shows and get your music out there? 

I don’t know if it ever felt like a heyday at the time. I started playing in bands about 9 years ago. The difference now, I guess, is that everything is much more confusing with social media. There’s a lot more internet pressure to build a relationship with your audience. I do miss how simple it was with Myspace. Making your band a brand will always seem a bit besides the point to me. But you can still have fun with it and make like coasters and frisbees which is fun. Mod Leis yo-yo’s are currently in production.

How do you think the local scene and the cultural infrastructure around it (venues, publications and radio) could do better to cultivate local music?

Open Air, The Colorado Sound, and Radio 1190 are all pillars of local music. I could’ve never dreamed that commercial-free independent music would be blasting 24 hours a day on FM but here we are. A lot of my friends listen to the those stations. Bands could be more discerning on what they are being paid by venues. A lot of artists just think it’s an honor to book a show somewhere but they need to have frank discussions on pay out and where the money is going. The venues aren’t going to do that for you so you have to come to that conversation informed. 

What is The Secret Art? Or what does it represent as a theme for the song?

The Secret Art is essentially a song about being in a terrible situation in your life and still finding a silver lining. It’s me feeling like I’m living in a real-life purgatory and finding comfort in the idea that even the people that I respect the most experience that feeling too. It’s probably the most positive song on the album. 

You’re releasing a single, why not wait to release an EP or an album? 

I booked the hi-dive a few months back thinking the album would be finished but it wasn’t. So releasing a 7” single was the next best thing. Plus I love singles. They’re so precious. 

As a veteran songwriter, do you find your focus in songwriting has changed over the years? What do you feel like you tend to write about now as opposed to the sorts of stuff you wrote about in The Don’ts and Be Carefuls? If it’s similar territory do you feel that your refinement of your treatment of subjects and putting together the songs has undergone an evolution that you can identify in how you go about things now? 

Oh for sure. I had a bit of a wake-up call on how meaningful and moving a song can be over the last few years. Inserting humor and truth inside a great composition can just elevate it another level. My old songs could be quite angsty and a little one-dimensional. Listening to artists like Destroyer, Father John Misty and Metronomy helped a lot. Subject-wise, I’m still on a similar train. I still like writing about characters. Duality and contradiction play a large roll in everything I write. Or that’s what I find the most inspiring to write about. People can be shitty but I don’t think there are too many are truly evil people out there so there’s a lot of good material to be found in just understanding where someone’s coming from.

Best Shows in Denver August 10-August 15

First Timers at Union Station, photo by Tom Murphy01FirstTimers_TomMurphy_Jul18_2017

Yeah, sure, A Tribe Called Quest is playing Red Rocks and it’s probably sold out so if you didn’t already know about it and want to go see one of the most important artists in the history of hip-hop, and probably music generally, there’s always other ways of getting tickets. But fear not, there are plenty of worthy options in the Mile High City this coming week starting tonight and here are ten.
Who: Teacup Gorilla w/The Proto Whats? and Time Traveler
When: Thursday, 8.10, 9 p.m.
Where: The Skylark Lounge
Why: On 2nd Thursdays at The Skylark, Claudzilla aka Claudia Woodman curate a show called Musical Mayhem that highlights some of the more interesting leftfield artists in Denver or touring acts that are beneath even the usual small club radar. This time experimental rock band Teacup Gorilla brings its outsider psychedelic glam to the event. Strong songwriting and equally vital and wild imagination is a rare combination and Teacup Gorilla is not short on either.

Who: Chimney Choir w/Alright Alright, Wildermiss and Anthony Ruptak
When: Thursday, 8.10, 9 p.m.
Where: Syntax Physic Opera
Why: It’s a Project Worthmore Benefit and in an era when refugees face a hostile world beyond the situation they faced at home it’s a cause to support onits own. But you get to see talented songwriter Anthony Ruptak as well as Chimney Choir. The experimental Americana band always brings a show that goes beyond the usual get up on stage and perform some songs well. A Chimney Choir performance is almost always high concept and involves an element of theater. Also, it’s not just a gimmick, it’s an extension of the excellent songwriting taking the experience of that music into new dimensions that usually encourage audience participation.

Who: Muscle Beach, Product Lust, Zeta (Venezuela), Alumine (FL)
When: Friday, 8.11, 9 p.m.
Where: Flux Capacitor, 25 W. Kiowa, Colorado Springs
Why: Colorado Springs DIY space Flux Capacitor was shut down in December 2016. But with a partnership through the Pikes Peak Library District, Flux is now again open in a building on the property of the Penrose branch east of I-25 and Kiowa. Park around back. The reason to go to this show is to see some punk that’s bursting the boundaries of the sound and the style. Muscle Beach is easily one of the best punk bands from Denver disregarding rules about how much metal can be in the punk and vice versa and how “arty” a punk band is allowed to be. Turns out plenty. Same with Product Lust which could be considered a hardcore band with its energy and confrontational performance style but it’s rhythms are so beyond the punk mold and the guitar sound goes through more changes and tones to be shackled by the usual hard and fast rules of the genre.

Who: First Timers with Charming Disaster
When: Friday, 8.11, 9 p.m.
Where: Syntax Physic Opera
Why: First Timers is a trio that combines Bossanova rhythms and dusky tones with punk rock attitude. No surprise considering the lineage: guitarist and vocalist Andrew Koch was in Tiger Beat in the 90s as well as weirdo punk group Veronica; drummer Denise Andert used to play in The Get It and Turbo Knife Fight; bassist Sid Pink has been a bit of a personality around Denver and played in various bands, most notably and most recently with American Fucktape. The sound sits in a nice place that bears comparison to the countrified end of Yo La Tengo, Duster’s hushed introspection and Wilco’s explorations of inner space with its unabashed blend of Americana and electronica.

Who: EyeHateGod and Primitive Man, Fathers and Boar Worship
When: Friday, 8.11, 5:30 p.m.
Where: The Marquis Theater
Why: Primitive Man is really taking Denver music out into the world with its inimitable, nightmarish doom metal. At the live show it’s easy to appreciate how Ethan McCarthy, Jonathan Campos and Joe Linden create atmospheres so dense and harrowing it might be the soundtrack to the world beyond the interdimensional gate in Phantasm. Primitive Man drops its fantastic new record Caustic on October 6 on Relapse Records. Also, EyeHateGod melds harrowing poetry with swampy sludge rock in a way that transports you into both emotional lows and highs at once. It’s the kind of heavy show for people who aren’t into metal but metalheads will find plenty to love as well.

Who: Priests w/Lithics and Princess Dewclaw
When: Saturday, 8.12, 8 p.m.
Where: Larimer Lounge
Why: DC-based Priests do that uncommon thing of writing songs that are charged with political and socially critical sentiments without coming across like they’re preaching. They’re just telling it like it is in the world today and there’s plenty to talk about without having to look too far for material that affects your everyday life as well that would resonate with other people. Is it punk? It is in spirit. In sound it’s more like the better late 90s/early 2000s emo bands like Rainer Maria and Milemarker in that there don’t seem to be moods, atmospheres and sounds off the palete of expression. And the live show is refreshingly raw and engaging, thus making Priests one of the most interesting and exciting rock bands going now. Denver-based art/noise punk outfit Princess Dewclaw open the show.

Who: Spiritual Cramp featuring: David J. DJ set, Echo Beds, Tragic Black, The BrickBats, Lucas Lanthier, The Pirate Twins (Scary Lady Sarah and William Faith), DJ Malefic (Memento Mori), Wake the Dead (DJs Mr. and Mrs. HoodBats and JunkYard), DJ Rickbats, Davey Bones (The Hanging Garden), Boyhollow, DJ Roland, DJ Slave1, DJ Matte Blacke and Batboy, DJ Mudwulf, DJ Vision
When: Sunday, 8.13, 4 p.m. start
Where: The Church (nightclub)
Why: It’s a kind of Goth festival heavy on DJs but hey, David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets, William Faith of Faith & The Muse and Christian Death. Among other luminaries including locals like Boyhollow of Lipgloss fame, DJ Roland, DJ Slave1 and DJ Mudwulf. That would be worth checking out on its own if the curated DJ set is your thing. But Echo Beds is playing a live set bridging the gap between the older Denver Goth scene and the current wave of industrial/darkwave/post-punk coming out of Denver and elsewhere that has no real connection to the older Goth world. Echo Beds is arguably the most prominent industrial band in Denver at the moment but think more like Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Department more so than some 90s EBM garbage and future pop.

Who: Product Lust, Entry and faim
When: Sunday, 8.13, 8 p.m.
Where: Mutiny Information Café
Why: If you didn’t feel like going to Colorado Springs on Friday (see above) you can catch Product Lust in Denver at Mutiny.

9. Who: Barbarian w/Peucharist, Nekrofilth and Morgue Whore
When: Monday, 8.14, 7 p.m.
Where: Lost Lake Lounge
Why: Metal can get a bit tedious when bands stick to a narrow formula and traditions of style. But that’s true for all kinds of music. Fortunately, bands like Italy’s Barbarian didn’t get the memo to just do thrash or death or black metal. Same for Vermont’s Peucharist. And in Denver and Colorado generally people tend to grow in their own directions musically so you get a bands like death/black metal ragers Nekrofilth and Morgue Whore. The latter also apparently realized that writing solid hooks and well-crafted songs needn’t mean you’re settling for being yet another classic rock wannabe. Its 2016 self-titled debut was striking as not just a metal album but as a great set of rock and roll songs.

Who: Melvins with Spotlights
When: Tuesday, 8.15, 7 p.m.
Where: The Gothic Theatre
Why: Thank goodness weirdoes like the guys in Melvins have kept at putting out heavy music that refuses to stay in a boring pigeonhole. Its recently released A Walk With Love and Death is its first double record that paired the kind of psychedelic noise rock you might expect from the band with an soundtrack to a forthcoming short film the band is making with Jesse Nieminen. Don’t go expecting the latter, go expecting to see a band you’ve either never seen but heard about or have seen several times and not being surprised by how Melvins manage to keep their show exciting and fresh.