by Elijah Jarocki
Kathleen Hanna is over her battle with Lyme disease, over feeling apologetic, and over her reputation with Bikini Kill. Her new record with The Julie Ruin “Hit Reset” isn’t nostalgic, it pushes confidently into the future. Hanna’s badass as ever, outspoken and brash with her lyrics. Backing her up is a formidable crew of musicians which Hanna covertly assembled at the beginning of 2010. A series of friendly manipulations got Kathi Wilcox, Kenny Mellman, Carmine Covelli, and Sara Landeau in the same place on January 13th, 2010–the rest fell perfectly into place. The Julie Ruin’s 2013 album “Run Fast” was accepted with critical praise, but this year’s “Hit Reset” is a definite contender for end-of-the-year lists.
On “Hit Reset,” different genres combine with ease. From Krautrock to Surf Punk, the instruments feel immediately comfortable yet original. Track “Planet You” combines a Los Campesinos vocal melody with some B-52’s call and response–the result is sardonic, catchy, and groovy. The lyrical content on “Hit Reset” is all over the place. Some songs are about her parents, some songs are not-so subtle digs on the music industry, and “Mr. So and So” is about a self-proclaimed feminist who strikes closer to misogyny. The Julie Ruin are on a national tour right now and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. They aren’t swinging through Denver, but you can catch “Hit Reset” spinning on Radio 1190 KVCU.
BadBadNotGood continue their sonic experimentation on their new record “IV.”
Their last release was 2015’s “SOUR SOUL” in which they worked closely with Ghostface Killah, featured Danny Brown, and proved themselves as a powerful hip-hop ensemble. “IV” feels a bit closer to Sun Ra than The Roots, but BadBadNotGood’s sound is as distinct as ever. The Toronto-based four-piece met at the Humber College jazz program and bonded over their love of jazz and hip-hop. “IV” features Samuel T. Herring from Future Islands, Mick Jenkins, and was produced by Kaytranada. The record is incredibly warm-sounding, “In Your Eyes” reminds me of Marvin Gaye and the golden age of soul.
I think “IV” works best in the afternoon, warm keyboards and earthy basslines are the perfect way to ease into the summer night. Moments of “IV” even remind me of Sufjan Stevens, the woodwind ensemble on “And That, Too” feels mysterious. My favorite track is “Chompy’s Paradise,” it’s a 3:52 minute charmer that would be the perfect soundtrack to an airplane ride over the mountains. At this rate, I’m sure we can expect new material from BadBadNotGood very soon; “IV” is the latest installment in their impressive discography.
Finally, Denver band DéCollage have released their new record “Magnetize” through Moon Magnet. Reed Fuchs is the force behind both; his status as a musician and business-owner has made him incredibly well-known in the Denver scene. You can expect to see him at almost every local show, his passion for local music is apparent in all of his projects. DéCollage are known for their elaborate on-stage presentations and huge cast of integrated musicians. The new record is jam-packed full of different sounds and approaches. “Cerulean Chasms” hits like a b-side from The Knife while “Gotta Good Thing Going pt.1” is right up the alley of Animal Collective.
There are elements of Trip-hop, EDM, and indie pop sprinkled throughout the release. I was impressed with the rap-feel of “Magnetize”; it’s not quite west coast, not quite east coast, but uniquely Denver-sounding. All of the parts on “Magnetize” are rhythmic-based: vocal melodies, electronic production, and acoustic instruments all give the record a certain swagger. DéCollage are veterans of Denver’s Underground Music Showcase, Fuchs told me they’ve played six years in a row. Catch them on UMS’ main stage July 31st at 2:30pm, and listen to “Magnetize” on KVCU.