Metal Supergroup Old Man Gloom Channels Fallen Friend For New Record, Denver Show

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Metal supergroup Old Man Gloom (from left) is Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders), Aaron Turner (SUMAC, ISIS, Mammifer) Santos Montano and Steve Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man). The band is playing its first-ever Denver show Aug. 18 at the Marquis Theater with Oryx and Echo Beds.

Article by Oakland L. Childers

The term “supergroup” gets thrown around a lot, but few bands are as deserving of the title as Old Man Gloom. With members whose day jobs have included Cave In, Converge, ISIS, Sumac, Doomriders, Mutoid Man and myriad other projects, the band has become one of the most enduring enigmas in the world of heavy music, simultaneously stunning fans and critics with jarring and creatively extraordinary releases while confusing nearly everyone with bizarre social media posts and even taunting the music press. After all, this is the band that slipped review copies of its album Ape of God to music journalists only to reveal months later on release day that what they’d distributed wasn’t the actual record.

“There’s been so many things that if any other band had done the things that I do they would be slaughtered for it, and they would lose fans and people would be outraged,” says Santos Montano, Old Man Gloom’s drummer and the band’s primary online presence. “But because we do it so consistently people don’t even think about it for more than a day. When we did the Ape of God thing,” any other band that did that, publications would be like ‘fuck these guys.’ The labels would be like ‘fuck these guys.’ There’s so many people that would be like ‘Great, you want to play jokes? Go fuck yourself and fuck your stupid band.’ With us, we’re so consistent in our bad behavior that it didn’t affect us in any way.”

Old Man Gloom began in 1999 in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a project between a group of friends who all happened to be professional musicians. Aaron Turner (guitar, vocals) was the frontman of the band ISIS at the time and now fronts the art-metal group SUMAC. Nate Newton (guitar, vocals) plays bass in the frenetic metalcore band Converge. Caleb Scofield (bass) was a member of Cave In and the Old Man Gloom side project Zozobra.

After releasing a handful of sporadic recordings in the early 2000s, the band went completely dark for nearly a decade, only to reemerge seemingly out of nowhere to release a new record, NO in 2012. The record was barely advertised but still got a lot of attention from fans and the press and was followed in 2014 by the now-infamous Ape of God.

By any measure, Old Man Gloom has done a terrible job promoting itself. The band doesn’t tour and largely eschews the typical PR relationship for Montano’s bare-bones self-promotion techniques. That’s by design according to Montano. Because Old Man Gloom is a side project for all its member (Montano is a set dresser for television and films), there’s little pressure to tour, release albums or even behave professionally.

“We don’t need people to listen to us or come see us play live or do anything,” he says. “We don’t need any of it. We just do it on an as-needed-by-us basis. It just so happens that it works for everyone else. If it all stopped tomorrow, we’d all be like ‘Well that was pretty good. Too bad it’s not all still happening.’ There’s just no consequences for us and it’s pretty great.”

That same attitude follows the band into all aspects of its existence, he says, including the studio. Montano says sometimes he’s as surprised as everyone else when he hears the band’s completed records.

“Have you heard our albums?” says Montano. “It’s like 70 percent gobbledygook. There’s literally moments in the studio where we look at each other, and Aaron’s in there doing something really fucking weird, and we’ll look at each other like ‘Is this real? Is he serious right now or is he fucking with us?’ Sometimes it sounds really terrible and we’re not sure it’s going to work, then Aaron takes it away for six months and comes back and it just so happens it’s really good stuff. We never know what it’s going to be or if it’s any good while we’re doing it. And we don’t really care. Whatever it ends up being is just fine by us.”

That’s not to say the band has had an easy go of things. In March of 2018 the band and the heavy music community at large was dealt a terrible blow when, on a highway near his home in New Hampshire, Scofield hit a concrete barrier with his truck and died from his injuries. It’s hard to put into words how devastating the loss was to Scofield’s family and friends. Aside from his musical family, he left behind a wife and two young children. He was 39.

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Caleb Scofield, who played bass in Old Man Gloom and Cave In, died in a car accident in New Hampshire in March of 2018. His bands have forged on, with Nate Newton taking over bass duties in Cave In and Steve Brodsky doing the same in Old Man Gloom. Photo by Josh Withers.

Montano, like the others, still struggles to talk about Scofield’s death.

“It’s just so hard to imagine that it’s real” he says. “I guess it’s a little over a year now and it still feels pretty surreal. It still feels like it’s not really possible that what’s happened has really happened. But then obviously it has.”

Montano says his feeling go up and down, from extreme grief to fondly remembering funny things Scofield said or did. It’s a rollercoaster that more often than not ends with an empty feeling that’s hard to escape. Keeping the band going, he says, helps.

“On a day to day, I could not think about it for however long and then something happens and something will hit me and all the synapses will start connecting and I’ll sort of remember the reality and get really fucking bummed out,” he says. “But then we’ll get together and we’re all in the same place and we’re all going through it together. It’s really healing to get together and talk and laugh and tell Caleb stories. It’s what we all need. Saying all that, none of that speaks at all to what his family is going through. What we’re feeling is just a drop in the bucket, which leads us to keep doing things to support his wife and kids however we can. It’s what we’re all kind of focused on right now.”

That focus has not only helped friends and bandmates honor Scofield’s legacy, it has made a very real impact for his family. A GoFundMe campaign in Scofield’s memory raised more than $100,000 and ongoing efforts including auctions of memorabilia and music-related items continue to bring in money for the family. Montano says the outpouring of help has been mind blowing.

“It’s been pretty crazy, the amount of support” says Montano, adding he was particularly shocked by what fans and even relative strangers were willing to offer just to help out.

“I had all this old Hydra Head (Turner’s record label) stuff and we marked it up really high and all of that money went to Caleb’s family,” he says. “I met a woman who bought this ISIS sawblade, like a CD attached to a sawblade. I think we made like ten copies, and she bought it for 300 bucks. And you know, she didn’t want to spend $300 for a CDR attached to a sawblade, but she was like ‘hey, it’s a cool thing to have, it’s yours and all that money goes to Caleb’s family.” And it’s like, you don’t know me, and you still want to funnel that 300 bucks to [the family]. We did these raffles and you know people didn’t give a shit about the stuff we were raffling. They thought it would be cool, but the bags were just overflowing. They bought all the raffle tickets and the raffle people started having to make [tickets] on napkins just to keep it going. And again, it wasn’t because they wanted a fucking signed drum head. It’s because they wanted to give that money and give support. It was unbelievable. People really came through.”

Losing Scofield, he says, made the idea of continuing Old Man Gloom both sad and exciting: no one ever wanted to do the band without their friend, but continuing was something they all knew he would want. In the end, Montano says, they decided as a group to push on.

“It’s really made this all feel important again in a way that it hasn’t,” Montano says, “and I think we all have sort of a renewed enthusiasm for Old Man Gloom. It’s like we’re here and we have the ability to spend this time together and we’re so grateful for the time that we got to spend with Caleb through Old Man Gloom.”

Newton says it’s been hard to write and record the new Old Man Gloom record, in large part because they are using ideas Scofield sketched out before he passed. Finishing Scofield’s songs has been fun, weird, sad and challenging, sometimes all at once.

“It’s crazy,” says Newton, obviously emotional about the situation. “It’s hard to put that one into words. It’s difficult on an emotional level, but it’s also hard because his stuff isn’t easy play. He definitely had his own voice.”

In the end the band decided to do things the only way they know how.

“We’re kind of approaching it the way we do every record,” he says. “Everybody brings a bunch of ideas to the table and we just see what works. Because they aren’t fully formed songs, we’re taking some of those ideas and figuring out how to make them work. Then trying to stay true to what he would have done.”

This, he says, is where things get emotionally tricky, but also brings them the closest they can get to paying homage to their friend.

“Every record, Caleb would write a bunch of songs and we’d take one and do it a totally different way,” says Newton with a chuckle. “We’d take a day when he wasn’t there and completely redo his song so when he showed up to record, it would be a totally different song. How do you do that in this situation? It’s new territory, trying to do things in a way that honors Caleb’s memory, but without Caleb.”

One of the overarching themes in Old Man Glooms music has always been how much the members enjoy playing music together. To keep that spirit alive, they enlisted Cave In frontman Steve Brodsky. He’s one of their oldest friends, Newton says, and the only person who could even begin to step into Scofield’s shoes. Newton, however reticently, assumed Scofield’s spot in Cave In for the same reason.

“It is still fun,” he says. “And with Steve involved, he’s part of the family. I don’t know if anybody else could have done it, just like nobody else could have stepped into Caleb’s shoes in Cave In. We needed someone else who knew Caleb like we did. Being able to relate on that level is important because once we relate on that level we can start making jokes about it.”

It would have been easy, Montano says, to focus solely on other things – family, work, other bands – and let Old Man Gloom fade away. But no matter what has happened, the members have always managed to get together, however irregularly, and make music.

“We’re all over 40 and we all have kids and Old Man Gloom was really the only time we saw each other,” says Montano. “Now, in retrospect, thank God we pestered [Caleb] into doing this with us. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t have seen him in the last five years. This was a great excuse to be together.”

And now, he says, the band is an even greater excuse for the remaining members to keep that passion alive and do what they love, as a family.

“We’ve never had the shitty times that other bands have had,” says Montano. “We’ve just never gone through that, like getting sick of each other, all that stuff. We’ve never had it because we’ve never been a full-time band. It’s special and we’re pretty grateful.”

Old Man Gloom plays the Marquis Theater Sunday, Aug. 18. Doors are at 7 p.m. $20 advance, $22 day of the show. All ages.

Best Shows in Denver 07/12/18 – 07/18/18

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Neurosis performs at The Ogden Theatre on Wednesday, July 18 with Converge and Birds in Row Photo by Scott Evans.

Thursday | July 12, 2018

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Bell Witch, photo by David Choe

Who: Yob, Bell Witch and Primitive Man
When: Thursday, 07.12, 7 p.m.
Where: The Bluebird Theater
Why: Yob’s sludgy doom has always been accompanied with a healthy sense of play. Yes, the crushing heaviness of the band’s music is undeniable but so is the group’s obvious self-awareness. It’s latest record, 2018’s Our Raw Heart subverts doom conventions with almost buoyant melodies and dynamics and a layering of conventionally pretty sounds and gritty, deeply textured atmospherics. It’s only fitting that the trio is touring with fellow Pacific Northwesterners in the duo Bell Witch from Seattle. The latter has crafted majestic and minimalist soundscapes since its 2010 founding. With the tragic death of former drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra in 2016, bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond recruited Jesse Shreibman to continue with the project. The first album with Desmond and Shreibman, 2017’s Mirror Reaper, is both a continuation of the colossal sonics of the band’s first two albums but also a step further into a powerful and moving expression of grief and despair as well as an evocation of cosmic time and our place in it. Conceived of as a single track at over eighty minutes, Mirror Reaper may move slowly and employ repetitive dynamics but it never seems to overstay its welcome. Opening the show is Denver’s own juggernaut of death metal and doom, Primitive Man.

What: Musical Mayhem: Spyderland, Enji and Snaggletoothe
When: Thursday, 07.12, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Lion’s Lair
Why: Musical Mayhem had a home for quite some time at The Skylark Lounge. But now the night curated by Claudia Woodman is happening at Lion’s Lair. Spyderland is a weirdo music duo including Marie Litton of Pretty Mouth and Drew McClellan of Archipelaghost. Enji is TripLip bassist Kevin Schultz doing solo material that sounds like Hella doing music for an 8-bit video game. Snaggletoothe is a noisy, improvisational rock guitar and drum duo.

What: Glasss Presents The Speakeasy Series Season 2: Fringe Class and Dorian
When: Thursday, 07.12, 6 p.m.
Where: Hooked On Colfax
Why: How Portland, Oregon’s synth pop dance band Fringe Class is going to play at Hooked On Colfax is anyone’s guess. But paired with the more ambient Denver project Dorian maybe the group will do a more stripped down set than it will do in other rooms during its trip through Denver.

What: Lou Barlow
When: Thursday, 07.12, 7 p.m.
Where: Bruz Beers
Why: Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh playing a solo set at Bruz Beers? Given Barlow’s love of brilliantly unusual guitar styles like those of Joni Mitchell, it could be a chance to see something unlike anything you’ll see from Barlow in Denver again.

What: The Dandy Warhols w/Uni
When: Thursday, 07.12 and Friday, 07.13, 8 p.m.
Where: Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box
Why: The Dandy Warhols are still kicking along and remain one of the great live bands that came out of the alternative rock milieu that’s still around and not milking some nostalgia circuit. Normally the band plays much larger venues making this string of shows at Ophelia’s a rare chance to catch the band in an intimate environment.

Friday | July 13, 2018

 

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A$AP Ferg, photo by Jason Goodrich

What: A$AP Ferg w/IDK and Buddy
When: Friday, 07.13, 7 p.m.
Where: The Ogden Theatre
Why: For a guy that did visual art and fashion before doing music, realms in which he excelled, A$AP Ferg has done well for himself. While not a pioneer of trap, which had its roots in music that came out before he was born, Ferg nevertheless became one of the genre’s most skilled practitioners in the 2010s. Having the nerve to name his 2013 album Trap Lord, Ferg could at least back-up the bravado and embody the claim. What has kept the rapper interesting is the fact that there’s an unmistakable unusual quality to his beats and wordplay. Perhaps grittier than the work of his A$AP Mob cohort A$AP Rocky, Ferg nevertheless shares a sensibility that aims beyond genre and beyond hip-hop. Even when he engages in lyrics rife with hip-hop tropes, Ferg uses them as elements rendering them meta and more like musical elements than anything to be taken at face value. 2017’s Still Striving showcases the artist’s ever-evolving incorporation of musical elements that give his songs a layered dimensionality.

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Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, photo by John Gessner

What: Sarah Shook and the Disarmers w/Timmy The Teeth
When: Friday, 07.13, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: Sarah Shook’s country songs of survival and struggle reflect her upbringing in a fundamentalist Christian family that made the town elders in the movie Footloose seem open-minded by comparison. The video for “New Ways to Fail” (doesn’t the title tell a lot already) shows some everyday urban rebels skateboarding as Shook lays out immediately relatable, self-deprecating lyrics. But every song on the band’s 2018 album Years is, as Henry Rollins once said of early Black Flag records, a direct line to what the fuck it’s all about in America for anyone that can’t expect much out of a society and a culture built on getting us to neglect ourselves and each other on a rat race to nowhere. But there’s an inherent hope in Shook’s music because she’s out there touring and expressing so eloquently and understanding of the everyday lives of anyone that might come to catch one of the band’s shows.

What: Compost Heap Day 1
When: Friday, 07.13, 4 p.m.
Where: Seventh Circle Music Collective
Why: The first day of a festival that is to some extent a celebration of the more folk end of punk and bands within that general realm of music. Schedule for today: Real Lyin’ Rohr 4, Just Hanging Out (TX) 4:40, Violet Valentine 5:20, Fire Ant Season (TX) 6, Marissa 6:35, Paul Ski & The James Joyce Letters 7:15, Bird Teeth (WA) 7:55, Long Sought Rest (WA) 8:35, JSR 9:15, Whistlepig (AZ), Crow Cavalier 10:35

What: Quintron & Miss Pussycat w/Phallic Meditation
When: Friday, 07.13, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Lost Lake
Why: Quintron & Miss Pussycat from New Orleans somehow combine a high energy weirdo cabaret/psychedelic rockabilly show with a mind-altering puppet theater performance. Always entertaining and it will transport you outside your everyday life if you let it.

Saturday | July 14, 2018

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Rowboat circa 2013, photo by Tom Murphy

Who: Great American House Fire
When: Saturday, 07.14, 10:30 a.m.
Where: Ross Cherry Creek Library
Why: Someday more bands will figure out that the emotional rawness of emo, the diverse songwriting methodology of 2000s indie rock bands, Americana’s textures and warmth and soulful vocals are completely complementary elements for a band. But for now you can catch a group that excelled at that going back to the days of Denver’s Spokeshaver, from which Great American House Fire draws some of its membership. Now presented on a Saturday morning at the Cherry Creek branch of Denver Public Library,

Who: Rowboat, Wild Call and Grass
When: Saturday, 07.14, 9 p.m.
Where: The Skylark Lounge
Why: Sam McNitt’s roots in folk music and literature probably account for some of the sophistication and poetic sensibility to his music. When he was writing music with his old space rock band Blue Million Miles he met the challenge of amplifying his expressive and emotionally taut vocals. Rowboat is more an expression of McNitt’s more sonically gentle work but the emotional colorings are still vibrant and complex. Wild Call is one of Denver’s best psychedelic rock bands because it’s gone beyond the whole psychedelic bandwagon of the past decade with grittier sounds and lyrics that tap into psychological spaces that can’t be reduced to a celebration of mind altering chemicals and partying. Grass is a noisy shoegaze band from Boulder whose 2016 album Dragwire is pleasantly reminiscent of Night Beats and the more dirty dream pop acts on the Siltbreeze label.

What: Compost Heap 3 Day 2
When: Saturday, 07.14, 3 p.m.
Where: Seventh Circle Music Collective
Why: Schedule for day 2 of Compost Heap 3, a kind of folk punk festival (Sliver isn’t folk punk unless someone wishing they were Bad Brains is folk punk–the argument could be made) featuring artists from Colorado and far beyond: open mic 3, Murder Person For Hire (IL) 4, Sliver 4:40, Old Fox Road (IL) 5:20, Rascal Mikes (OR) 6, Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists 6:35, Hello Darkness 7:55, Human Behavior 8:35, Shooting Tsars (TX) 9:15, Fun Abuse (CA) 9:55, Suspicious Activity 10:35.

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Modern Leisure, photo courtesy Modern Leisure

Who: Modern Leisure album release w/Down Time and shark dreams 
When: Saturday, 07.14, 8 p.m.
Where: Syntax Physic Opera
Why: Indie pop band Modern Leisure is celebrating the release of its new album, Super Sad Rom-Com. As usual, Casey Banker’s songs are well crafted pop gems with lyrics that are self-deprecating but never maudlin. This time around Banker seems to have a chuckle at the excesses and absurdities of life in America now and navigating interpersonal hurdles while finding it all a bit wearisome. Banker’s employment of melancholic tones has always been good but with Super Sad Rom-Com he’s taken it to places he hasn’t before with his keen ear for emotional and tonal nuance. Also on the bill is Down Time who have quietly been one of the most interesting pop bands out of Denver since its inception two or three years ago combining the intimacy of folk, rock and an experimental streak born of needing to do things in your own way with available equipment and personnel like a drummer/bassist at one point. Not unlike a Young Marble Giants but one that could only have happened in the Twenty-First century.

Who: SPELLS (album release) w/Cheap Perfume, Future Perfect, People Corrupting People
When: Saturday, 07.14, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: SPELLS is putting out its odds and sods album Loose Change, Vol. 1 at this show. The band’s joke, and song, is “80% is Good Enough” and isn’t it really? Forget that oh so American overpromising, boastful nonsense that seems to be an angstrom of our president’s ego and narcissism. Trying too hard without adequate compensation makes chumps of everyone. At any rate, the Denver-based punk band is releasing the compilation through guitarist Chuck Coffey’s scrappy little label Snappy Little Numbers as well as Chicago imprint Anxious and Angry. On red vinyl. So get them while you can. The other bands on the bill are pretty alright too including Colorado Springs’ unabashedly fun feminist punk band Cheap Perfume. At this point having to say a band is feminist seems redundant and regressive because it’s a perspective that should be the part of the thinking and ethos of anyone in America in this century and if not, do some catching up. Maybe start slow and check out some bell hooks, Betty Friedan, Adrienne Rich, Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Inga Muscio. It could happen.

Sunday | July 15, 2018

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Jackie Cohen, photo by Anise Lew

Who: Jackie Cohen w/Jobless and Hillary Susz
When: Sunday, 07.15, 7 p.m.
Where: Lost Lake
Why: Jackie Cohen just put out her first proper music EP, 2018’s Tacoma Night Terror Part 1. If you’ve spent any time in Tacoma this might be a truthfully humorous exaggeration of a memory from time spent there. For a Colorado specific reference, big stretches of Tacoma are a lot like Commerce City and Thornton but even more worn out with blocks of dubious legitimacy. Cohen’s songs may have some connection to that vibe on some level. The recordings sound older like finding a well-listened to pop cassette from the 70s including the hiss. But none of these songs could really have come out back then. It’s the post-jaded self-discovery vibe that Cohen nails that makes the best Fleetwood Mac songs worth listening to after enduring repeated broadcast of those songs on the radio or friends who never had to experience that music the first time getting obsessed with entire too much music that came out of artists who were entirely too familiar with cocaine and quaaludes. Cohen’s performance isn’t jaded and that’s what makes the difference. She sounds like she’s been through it, man, but finds that dulled emotions don’t work for her and that life must go on even if you’re not over the pain of a bad experience in relationships and other disappointments in life. That you get to see Denver’s great folky, experimental indie rock trio Jobless is more than a bonus, it would be reason enough to go.

What: Compost Heap 3 Day 3
When: Sunrday, 07.15, 3 p.m.
Where: Seventh Circle Music Collective
Why: This is the third and final day of Compost Heap. Less on the folk punk side this day with the likes of hip-hop artist Adam Selene, noise punks Plasma Canvas and hard rock band The Velveteers but the ethos is one shared between the artists. Today’s schedule (all times being p.m.): open mic 3, Patrick the Pirate 4, Adam Selene 4:40, Queen Ren Faire Dance Party (TX) 5:20, Davey Dynamite (IL) 6, Bert Olsen 7:15, Wayfairy 7:55, Ludlow 8:35, Dandelion Massacre (CA) 9:15, Plasma Canvas 9:55, The Velveteers 10:35

What: Final Show at The Climax Lounge
When: Sunrday, 07.15, 4 p.m.
Where: The Climax Lounge
Why: A Taste of Denver to most 80s punks, The Raven to punks in the 90s and in the 2000s mostly The Climax Lounge (its original name), this building at 2217 Welton Street was one of the most important venues for a real underground music world in Denver. It will be knocked down to build yet another shitty, cheaply built condo that downtown doesn’t need or maybe yet another brewery or some other Nü Denver crap that has become the inevitable for all the cool, historic buildings that made Denver a worthwhile and interesting place to live and make art and music for decades. It’s not the nail in the coffin by any means and it hasn’t been a terrible active music venue in years but for many it’s like seeing your favorite high school hangout get the axe. The bands playing on such short notice include the following: Sputnik Slovenia, Scooter James, The Narrow Down, Bourbon Brawlers, Dangerous Friends and National Blues Arsenal.

Monday | July 16, 2018

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Marisa Anderson, photo by Jason Quigley

Who: Marisa Anderson w/Howling Hex and Cuckoo
When: Monday, 07.16, 7 p.m.
Where: Lost Lake
Why: Marisa Anderson’s masterful, expressive, guitarwork, on mostly instrumental songs, evokes moods, landscapes and memories in a way more vivid and emotionally immediate than many artists. One might consider her music in the realm of folk but in the more experimental vein of a John Fahey or Michael Hurley. Her 2018 album Cloud Corner finds Anderson sketching in different ways with her guitar, more impressionistic than solid, if intricate, lines. She shares the bill with Colorado-based Howling Hex whose music is a hypnotic, for lack of a better word, avant-garde Mariachi/norteño band led by Neil Michael Hagerty whose legacy of experimental guitar music includes his stints with influential bands like Pussy Galore and Royal Trux as well as noise super group Dan’l Boone. Cuckoo pretty much blurs the line between noise rock, punk and mathy-folk.

Who: Unknown Mortal Orchestra w/Shamir
When: Monday, 07.16, 7 p.m.
Where: The Gothic Theatre
Why: Ruban Nielson probably could have enjoyed a respectable career in music in his home country playing in his Flying Nun-signed band The Mint Chicks. But New Zealand is a small place and Nielson relocated to Portland, Oregon as he and his brother Kody have dual citizenship with their mom having been a hula dancer from Hawaii. Their new band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, formed in 2010, had that quality of just off of standard guitar rock that seems to be the hallmark of all New Zealand Bands but it also introduced a kind of psychedelic flavor that wasn’t basically following what would become a popular musical trend in America and elsewhere. UMO had crafted its own flavor of transporting music that suggested a parallel dimension where pop music could reconcile atonality, unusual shifts in rhythm the likes of which one might expect out of one of the weirder prog bands like Can or Faust. UMO has done well enough and produced a solid body of work up to and including the 2018 album Sex & Food. Lead single “Hunnybee” with its yacht rock leanings probably confused some fans because it sounds a bit like an old Foxygen track but the whole album has plenty of UMO’s wonderful weirdness.

Wednesday | July 18, 2018

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Chief White Lightning, photo by Jack Grisham

Who: Neurosis w/Converge and Birds in Row
When: Wednesday, 07.18, 7 p.m.
Where: The Ogden Theatre
Why: Neurosis evolved out of the San Francisco Bay area’s post-punk/hardcore scene and its earliest albums have more in common with the likes of English anarcho punk bands like Amebix and Crass than perhaps some of their hometown’s well-known punk luminaries. Yet by 1992 the group had garnered the interest of former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra who mixed that year’s Neurosis record, the decidedly more metal Souls at Zero. Neurosis has since then established itself firmly as a powerful live act whose records have pushed the boundaries of metal, hardcore and psychedelic music more than almost another other single band. Most of the truly interesting and innovative modern extreme metal bands can trace a strand of influence to Neurosis. Tourmates Converge were pioneering their own form of metal and hardcore crossover in Salem, Massachusetts. By 2001, the group had developed a particularly savage and precise form of posthardcore whose sound and aesthetic permeates a good deal of the extreme metal of today as well as any hardcore band that wants to taken seriously. Its live shows are legendarily intense and be prepared for the cascade of would-be stage divers and crowd surfers.

Who: Greg Hill presents the Zebra Skin Shirt release
When: Wednesday, 07.18, 7 p.m.
Where: Tattered Cover – Colfax location
Why: Former Six Months to Live and current Manotaur frontman Greg Hill will present the release of his latest novel, Zebra Skin Shirt, the third and final installment in the Stratford County trilogy all set in Colorado (including 2012’s East of Denver and 2015’s The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles). Hill’s gift for incorporating the supernatural and even science fiction concepts into deeply personal novels about people struggling with their personal shortcomings in life and in their relationships or attempts thereof are always incredibly engaging and entertaining brimming with Hill’s vivid descriptions, sense of humor and attention to detail whether that’s in recreating past Denver and Joes, Colorado locations or intricacies of plot. Zebra Skin Shirt may be Hill’s most unusual novel to date and his best. If you have to miss the release it’s easy to find the book online including at Amazon.

Who: Chief White Lightning w/Keef Duster
When: Wednesday, 07.18, 9 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: Josh Logan may be cultivating that look somewhere between Elvis, Zach Galifianakis and Joaquin Phoenix from I’m Still Here, but seeing as he is a member of Austin stoner rock band Blind Pets, his music pleasantly flies in the face of the expectations one might have just looking at his stage persona. The band’s fuzzy, poppy punk and country mix shouldn’t work and the kitsch should render it difficult to take seriously but the group’s new self-titled album is impossible to dismiss as anything but a great rock and roll album with more diversity of sound and songwriting style than a lot of bands who have delved into modern rock and roll.