Jam of the Week: Michael Kiwanuka

Artist: Michael Kiwanuka

Album: Love & Hate

Genre: Singer-Songwriter (Modern)

Date: 2016

Sound: A sprawling and soulful sophomore release

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Swans Show Review


Venue: Gothic Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/10/16

Inebriation Level: Behaved Myself

Describe Swans music in one word: Ugly. Throughout their 34 year career, Michael Gira and crew have been hard to classify, ranging from Post-Rock to Experimental to Noise Rock. However one thing remains consistent: Take all the dissonance our ears hate and musicians are taught to avoid, and that ugliness is Swans.

I discovered Swans with their 2012 album The Seer, which ended up being hands down my favorite of the year. Their followup in 2014 To Be Kind was much more abrasive and punishing, yet I still had to agree with many in the music nerd community and call it one of the best of the year. Now with the recent release of The Glowing Man, I daresay those dudes have done it again.

Getting somebody to join me in a quest to hear some loud and ugly music was going to be a challenge, and I was prepared to fly solo and hope no one noticed that weirdo by himself like my last Post-Rock show catching Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Then I remembered I had a friend named Swan. No one would want to miss a show with their namesake, not even Swan, so away we went to the Gothic Theater in the one and only Englehood, Colorado.

We arrived to a maybe half-full venue, with a crowd that was disappointingly devoid of too many hipsters. Using my uncanny ability to scout out the best spot in the house, we posted up behind the ADA section with a clear view of the stage. Since I shared that sweet tip with you, make sure to use it anywhere but Denver. You’re welcome.

The band walked out on the stage and looked like a bunch of cranky old men ready to play Lynyrd Skynyrd covers at the local Elks Lodge. To say they were unassuming was an understatement with the onslaught of noise we were about to receive.

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Jam of the Week: Swans

Artist: Swans

Album: The Glowing Man

Genre: Post-Rock

Date: 2016

Sound: More dark and noisy goodness from Michael Gira and co

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Jam of the Week: Santana

Artist: Santana

Album: IV

Genre: San Francisco Psychedelia

Date: 2016

Sound: The original lineup reunited (say whaaaaat)

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Black Mountain Show Review


Venue: Larimer Lounge

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 05/07/16

Inebriation Level: Buzzed (I may have woken up hungover that day)

The year was sometime in college. I was staying at my parent’s in boring I mean beautiful Castle Rock, Colorado for the summer. I went to the cultural hub of the city, which was the library (good for you Castle Rock). Back then, I would borrow CDs and burn them, the precursor to illegally downloading music. Aren’t I such a respectable music nerd? I was trying to complete my Black Sabbath collection, mainly because they’re really awesome, and in the ‘B’ section I picked up a CD with a mountain on it that said “Black Mountain” on the cover. It turned out to be their just released self-titled debut album. I figured I’d give it a try and threw it on the speakers later that day. The rest is history. Why do I remember that, yet still have to think for about four seconds anytime someone asks me my age? No idea.

They released a deluxe 10 year anniversary reissue of their debut back in 2015, and I got my hands on it a couple of months ago. I wondered, what ever happened to Black Mountain? I’d always wanted to see them live and had been patiently waiting for a new release after a six year hiatus. I kind of thought they had broken up. Then, just like that, a two day stint in Denver and the new album IV. Ask and you shall receive. I would like to ask for a million dollars. Worth a try, right?

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Jam of the Week: Andrew Bird

Artist: Andrew Bird

Album: Are You Serious

Genre: Singer/Songwriter (Modern)

Date: 2016

Sound: Singer/Songwriter gone funky!

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Jam of the Week: The Cave Singers


Artist: The Cave Singers

Album: Banshee

Genre: Folk Rock (Modern)

Date: 2016

Sound: Is it Folk? Is it Indie Rock? I don’t know!

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Jam of the Week: All Them Witches

Artist: All Them Witches

Album: Dying Surfer Meets Its Maker

Genre: Psychedelic Rock (Modern)

Date: 2015

Sound: Psychedelic and bluesy awesomeness

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Jam of the Week: Ty Segall


Artist: Ty Segall

Album: Emotional Mugger

Genre: Garage Rock (Modern)

Date: 2016

Sound: Ty Segall gets experimental

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor Show Review


Venue: Ogden Theatre

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 02/08/16

Inebriation Level: Sober (cut me some slack, it was a Monday)

I’ve never seen or heard anything quite like it. My ears aren’t still ringing right now, they genuinely hurt. My mind is completely worn out, like I just took a three hour physics exam. Few bands challenge the listener like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Post-Rock kings from that friendly country to the North. If you value music as an art form and choose genuine music over entertainment like Pop and Rap, this is a concert you must see.

This was the first show I ventured to alone, and before you accuse me of not having any friends and being socially awkward, let me explain myself. If you’re trying to convince someone to go to a concert with you and they don’t know what Post-Rock is, you have to say “Experimental instrumental rock.” That probably scares them a little. Then they ask what the band is called and you say, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor.” Of course then they say, “What the Hell is wrong with you?” Finally, they ask when the show is, a reasonable question. You respond Monday, and well, by that point, you’re flying solo. Or maybe you just don’t have any friends. Crap.

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