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On Air Next

On Air Next 8.28.15

Dan Burney

On Air Next 8.27
Colorado Daily
James Calvet
Radio 1190 KVCU

The students are back and campus is abuzz! Not only are there plenty of cool ways  to get involved with the station, but there are plenty of awesome shows in the area! On Thursday August 27th, local favorites Male Blonding and Safe Boating is No Accident are taking over the Larimer Lounge with Blanket Empire and Grass! On Saturday, Chelsea Wolfe will be bringing the best kind of doom and gloom to the Bluebird Theater! Don't miss out on these rad shows! And as you're going to and from the venues, tune into Radio 1190 to hear these new and cool albums spinning in rotation right now!

After a reasonable amount of hype surrounding her first two records, Los Angeles queen of darkness Chelsea Wolfe has released her doomiest set of tracks to date, Abyss. Much like her previous releases, Wolfe manages to organically blend dark styles of folk, indie rock and metal without slipping too far into any one genre. Instead she creates a nightmarish universe all her own that is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. On the opening booms of bass on "Carrion Flowers", hints of electronic experimentations are present but not without tribal drums and deep bellowing guitar distortion engulfing the listener. Though the heavy moments may be overwhelming, the haunting vocals and melodic clean guitars that juxtapose the darkness make this album digestible for listeners that aren't into heavy music. 

The dreamy quality of this album can be attributed to Chelsea Wolfe's songwriting, in which she's stated that Abyss is an interpretation of the intersection between the conscious and unconscious mind. Along with the large and expansive production that Wolfe has gotten for this record makes Abyss the strongest addition to her discography. Rather than becoming more transparent and palatable in her career, Wolfe has managed to stay as unsettling and mysterious as she was in her debut. With an execution that doesn't veer in metal or indie or folk, Wolfe remains an anomaly avoiding any and all clichés that come with either genre. Undoubtedly, Abyss is the perfect direction that Chelsea Wolfe could have gone at this point in her career and gives hope for even more solid records in the future. 

Before Jay Reatard pioneered the drunken, snarling garage punk that spearheaded the gigantic wave of young bands that rule college radio today, Tennessee’s Reatards changed the sound of punk forever. On their 1999 sophomore record, Grown Up, Fucked Up Jay Reatard was a mere 18 years old but could perform and party like he was Iggy in the 70's. Each track is snarling, wild and fun with tight musicianship showing that this trio is a rag-tag group of kids meant to be rock stars.

Though the record is full of hooks and melody, the group performs with high energy and reckless abandon. Much like the greatest garage punk records recorded, Grown Up, Fucked Up pulls from not only classic punk such as The Ramones, but also classics such as New York Dolls. More specifically, because of the almost live-sounding quality of this record, the Reatards channel a vibe that is eerily similar to MC5 with fiery guitar solos and expletives lining almost every jam. Taking into consideration the young age of this group, it's quite impressive the knowledge and appreciation of old rock and roll that the Reatards harness. Now after the influential and tragic life of Jay Reatard, Grown Up, Fucked Up needs to be heard not only because of it's cultural significance, but also because it's a kick ass rock record.  

After a successful and buzz-worthy performance on Jimmy Kimmel, long-time Denver native Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have finally gotten the national attention that they deserve, and with great timing as well. A week later the front man and his talent group of Night Sweats have released their long-awaited self-titled debut album. Blending more soul into Rateliff's signature style of Americana, his sound has evolved into a homey and rich version of indie rock that allows Rateliff's charisma and musicianship shine through.

The tracks on this debut range anywhere from boot-stompin' rompers like "S.O.B." or even folky crooners "I'd Be Waiting" but throughout he remains to sound incredibly confident and comfortable in his new sound. Each track is carefully crafted and well thought out, but yet stays in a zone and fails to push many boundaries. The songwriting is strong, but yet stays in a conventional structure to ultimately sound like a pop tune. Though you don't necessarily need to ditch standard song structures, it would be nice if Nathaniel and the Night Sweats would let loose a bit and really flesh out some of these jams. Undeniably, Nathaniel Rateliff's debut is a set of pleasant and strong folk-soul songs that may not be challenging but can please just about any music enthusiast.

On Air Next 8.20.15

Dan Burney

James Calvet
On Air Next 8.20
Radio 1190 KVCU 

Welp, it's official, school starts next week. Though classes are good and all, we here at Radio 1190 are excited for new and old students to start volunteering this semester! At Radio 1190 when volunteering you not only review albums, make sweet pins, and hang posters,  but you also get free music and get to hang out with enthusiastic music-loving individuals! It's that easy! You can get involved by e-mailing our volunteer coordinator Elijah at elijah@radio1190.org or you can just stop by and say hi! We are located in the basement of the east side of UMC, our office number is 41-J and we are around the corner from the bookstore. Get involved today! In the mean time stream us or tune in on your radio transistors to hear these rad albums spinning in rotation right now: 

After a successful two-album run, goofball-turned Indie darling Mac Demarco has just released a mini-album to hold over fans until his next full-length. Much like his previous releases, Demarco combines a halfway tongue-in-cheek soft rock style with sweet indie-pop much like a reverb-soaked and apathetic Harry Nilsson. Almost every track on this 8-song album is based around the topic of love or longing that, much like his sound, seems like it could simultaneously be parody and honest. Now, it seems that Mac has become incredibly comfortable in his sound and style and fails to stray from his usual songwriting. Because of this, the songs sound so familiar that they are almost monotonous and uninspired. The hooks and pop sensibility are all on the record, but seem so business-as-usual that it's almost instantly forgettable.  

There's a lot to love about Mac Demarco, his sound is pleasant and easy-going and his personality is infectious, but this new record is so humdrum that it may make die-hard fans do a double take. Over the course of the eight tracks really no hooks get instantly stuck in your head or remotely have the same affect that 2 or Salad Days had. The most memorable part of this record is the last few seconds of the closing track "My House By The Water" where Demarco names off his personal address in Queens, New York inviting the listener to join him for a cup of coffee. Though this is a tad bit risky as a rising star, after news stories of fans actually taking up his offer shows that it was more of a publicity stunt than an adding a dimension to Demarco's personality. After repeated listens it almost seems that Demarco may have pulled this stunt because of the weakness of the record so his fans will stay loyal which seems a tad low for an artist who feels the need to add a joke to a record because his newest album doesn't stand up to the rest of his art. It's apparent now that to keep Mac Demarco at the top of the indie game he may need to venture out of his comfort zone a little farther to really make an impact.

At their core, harsh noise outfit Health is a pop band. Though that statement might seem contradictory, the newest album from this Los Angeles-based group, Death Magic, shows the band at their noisiest and most poppy to date. Though the group has been mixing synthpop and harsh noise for quite some time, never have they gone to such extremes in both aspects of their sound. On tracks such as "Stonefist", the group harnesses the dark synth pop of Depeche Mode and the harsh noise of Merzbow. The experience is what I would imagine going to a synthpop show on PCP would sound like. The group uses the huge, bassy sections of noise and clean, catchy vocals to contrast off one another. Instead of blending the two, Health tends to shift
between the two at a very rapid rate making the record almost a jerky rollercoaster between light and dark sounds. Though this change of pace may be a little strange to long-time listeners at first, with repeated listens, the constant shifting between the two makes for an incredibly thrilling listen. The only aspect of this record that may make this unenjoyable, compared to previous Health records, is that the vocals are so clear, clean and distinguishable that it may make the album less mysterious or brooding. That small detail aside, the group has honed in on both aspects of their deep sound and have amplified them so for the whole world to hear. With an emphasis both on harsh noise and pop hooks, Health's Death Magic could be their strongest release to date. After a few successful records, California's synth-pop wizards Gardens & Villa are at it again with their newest record Music for Dogs. Much like contemporaries Starfucker or Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr, their style of indie rock is electronic-infused and is incredibly dancy but isn't repetitive enough to fit in at a generic nightclub. More so than other synth-pop groups, Gardens & Villa stride in the way that they sound more influenced by glam-rock and psych-rock creating a well rounded sound. 

Though not every song is groovy enough to shake your booty to, the variety found on this record makes it equally suitable in the live and home-listening setting. The group's sound, unlike previous albums such as Dune, has gone a touch darker, purposefully focusing on being more serious rather than dance floor hits. As a result, the group sounds more confident and focused than ever making this record more consistent all the way throughout. Undoubtedly, Music for Dogs may be their silliest album title to date, but the musicianship and focus on seriousness makes this record Garden and Villa's strongest to date.

On Air Next 8.13.15

Dan Burney

On Air Next 8/13
Radio 1190 KVCU
James Calvet

AND WE ARE BACK. After a one-week break from the column we are glad to give you a quick update on what's been happening at Radio 1190. Our youtube channel has recently been updated with video performances from Brothertiger and Blanket Empire and our website now features reviews of the new Beach House record and updated charts and playlists! You can find it all on the new and improved radio1190.org. And don't forget to click on our live stream so you can hear these awesome records spinning in rotation right now. 

Akin to their 2010 breakout release The Monitor New Jersey-based punk group Titus Andronicus have released their longest, most ambitious album to date, The Most Lamentable Tragedy. This over an hour and a half, 29 song album is a semi-autobiographical rock opera told in five parts wherein lead singer Patrick Stickles plays the part of our hero who has lost his mind and is trying to get himself back together. Though bands such as Fucked Up and Husker Du have attempted before the concept of a punk rock opera but none have been as expansive or wild as The Most Lamentable Tragedy. Across the album, string and horn sections as well as a silent intermission track give the immense feeling that this is truly a DIY rock opera. 

On the new record, Stickles and company stay true to their style where their melodic but ferocious style of punk is infused with heartland rock resulting in the punch of the So So Glows but the audacity of Bruce Springsteen. The group sounds tighter than ever allowing Stickles' vocals to shine through letting the story take center stage on the album. That being said, the storyline is anything but accessible. The lyrics not only project a sense of anxiety and confusion but also reference the band's past work forcing the listener to read it as prose. Though this may not be the best way to convey a story, the pay off once the story is digested is incredibly rewarding. At the end, it's clear that Titus Andronicus is sounding their best and is at their wordiest much like their older best albums have been, a combination that has us to believe that the group has just released their magnum opus. Out now on Merge Records, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is Radio 1190's CD of the Month for August. 

Boston-based Vundabar have been involved in DIY scenes and tours for years now and after a few small-scale releases they have released their most realized album to date, Gawk. In a very balanced mix of jangle pop, garage rock and sludge pop, the trio sound simultaneously loose and well composed while pumping out catchy hooks at a mile a minute. The group musically stays incredibly tight where steady drum grooves and spindly guitar lines take the forefront where the bass keeps the whole band on track. Though these tracks can get loud, anthemic and raucous, the quieter moments show that the crew are masterful songwriters that know the secret to crafting a song to party tracks that will be stuck in your head forever. Gawk as a whole doesn't necessarily have a coherent concept or storyline, the album succeeds in as a badass collection of rock songs. This band is small and young and without a doubt, the group may indeed be making great indie rock albums in the near future. 

Seattle-based band Grave Babies have been making dark music for quite some time now, but on their newest record Holographic Violence the darkness has never seemed so...dark. Their sound, deeply influenced by post-punk, is more melodic than one would expect, but deep, woozy bass lines and menacing guitar lines make this record closer to an electronic interpretation of goth rock. The vocals are electronically harmonized where it seems like the lead singer is singing over himself wherein it sounds like he is closer to an otherworldly creature than a musician. Though the album is spooky and unnerving, the more melodic moments like "Pain is Pleasant" sound very cheesy and almost forced. Sadly, the group would sound even better if they pushed themselves to be a little more experimental and even get noisy in sections. Though the change in tone for the group isn't offensively bad, the decision to play it safe may not be the best way to further your sound when it is already so dark in the first place.

On Air Next 7.30.15

Dan Burney

Radio 1190 KVCU

James Calvet

After many months of waiting, the new Tame Impala record, Currents finally here. After a few singles that confused, delighted and infuriated fans it is obvious that the group is not going to release another Lonerism. Instead of the cerebral, guitar-based group they have presented themselves to be, this newest record is focused more on dance-grooves rather than a trip into psychedelic space. The first track "Let It Happen", compared to other Tame Impala openers is relatively subdued and mellow. Rather than dragging the listener down a trippy rabbit hole, some kind synthesizers and mellow drumbeats are presented and toyed with for about seven minutes. With a lack of real climax or any experimentation at all, the group is obviously more focused on the dance floor than the depths of your mind. 

With all this psuedo-psychedelic studio trickery the album as a whole sounds like a 21st century interpretation of Supertramp. In an interview with frontman/spokesperson Kevin Parker he stated that he did not want the track "The Less I Know The Better" to appear on the record because it sounds like "dorky, white disco funk" and sadly that's exactly how the whole record sounds. Each track has an incredibly repetitive four-on-the-floor drum beats and cheesy 80's prom ballad synthesizers that are in no way offensive but just incredibly underwhelming compared to their past records. Even in the track "Past Lives" has a really silly pitch-shifted spoken word performance throughout the whole song recalling a past love that is unnecessary and incredibly embarrassing to listen to. Overall, even though Currents isn't an unpleasant experience, it is just an album that was not made to further their sound but to reaffirm themselves as the background noise to your next music festival experience. 

Out of nowhere on a Wednesday evening Wilco surprise-released their new album Star Wars. Though this is not a new concept for bands in the slightest, this album is indeed an interesting addition to their huge, diverse discography. Though the first track "EKG" is a bombardment of tones and noises, the track seamlessly transitions into the good old Wilco sound on the second song "More...". In true Wilco fashion, the group meshes mid-90's alt-country with canonical early 00's indie rock. Though the track is nothing new for the group in terms of sonic experimentation, the mixing and panning of vocals and instruments is simultaneously soothing and perplexing. Near the end of the track walls of noise cover up Tweedy and company as they still play as if they don't even know the drones are present. 

The rest of the tracks on Star Wars follow this formula very closely with some variation from here to there but bring up enough variety to keep the die-hard fans satisfied. After multiple listens it's apparent that Jeff Tweedy and his band aren't going to make a deep emotional impact on the listener as they have done before on Sky Blue Sky or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but it seems that the group is actually just looking to have some fun. The mood is loose and light hearted, but Wilco being such a well-seasoned band don't sound sloppy or amateurish in the slightest. This collection of eleven track seem more focused on musicianship rather than substance, which does not inherently make it a bad album, just not a great way for first time listeners to get into the band. With this taken into consideration, the fact that this album is completely free of charge makes all the more sense. Though Wilco's Star Wars wont be making many year-end lists, it's an immensely enjoyable and satisfying release from one of America's best bands.

Off the heels of their debut EP, northwest trio Strange Wilds has released their debut album Subjective Concepts. Though the group plays noise rock close to their label mates and Metz or Pissed Jeans, their sound is much more youthful and hardcore-driven. On tracks such as "Autothysis" and "Lost" a more drab and gloomy mood is presented that is strangely reminiscent of Nirvana during the Bleach-era but sound just as fresh as acts such as Speedy Ortiz. Though the group can get a little slow at times, they prove that they can be incredibly dynamic in tracks like "Disdain" where they sound closer to 1980's Los Angeles hardcore than Northwest grunge. At the end of the album, Strange Wilds have proved that they are a conglomeration of the Northwest sound and have made it their own .

On Air Next for July 23rd 2015

James Calvet

Yonatan Gat - "Director"

Yonatan Gat - "Director"

We at Radio 1190 love this weather! It has come just in time for the Underground Music Showcase that starts today in Denver! So many awesome local and national acts are performing including DIIV and STRFKR and some 1190 affiliates will be down there to partake in the festivities! Though we encourage you to see the headliners but we also urge you to check out our friends Bollywood Life, Male Blonding, Shady Elders, Inner Oceans, Hair Cult and so many more awesome local acts. We guarantee you'll have a great time! But in between bands and during your commute from Boulder to Denver we hope you tune into Radio 1190 to hear some sweet tunes from these new albums spinning in our rotation right now.

 

For many bands, it seems that song structure and tiresome rehearsal can be a double-edged sword. Though sounding tight as a group is key, you also want to sound natural, organic and human. But for New York-based guitar experimentalist Yonatan Gat, improvisation is where the best results come from. On their newest collection of live-recorded jams Director, a bassist and a drummer accompany Gat where the trio gives the record a more jazz-oriented feeling despite the rock instrumentation. The record opens with what sounds like a punk drummer sitting in with a jazz outfit. The rhythm is steady and constant even though the snare and cymbal hits are frantic and jittery. Each track lending itself to center around a different instrument, whether it is guitar, drums or even bass, each track sounds like each musician either step forward or back to let each other lead equally rather than every track being led by Yonatan Gat. What's most surprising about this album is that though the songs are jam-esque, the song lengths are short enough to not sound overblown or obnoxious. Each track, most notably "Casino Cafe", has a sunny and almost tropical feel to them where the guitars are watery and reverb soaked and the drums are strangely reminiscent of Afro-Cuban jazz. The grooves on every track are incredibly entertaining but thankfully the trio is not afraid to get a little bit strange. The vocal performance on "North to South" is in an indistinguishable language and dialect where call and response phrases slowly overlap and fall over one another, which is highly reminiscent of the spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders. Not to mention, the nylon guitar on a few tracks including "Boxwood" is a very nice and soothing break of all the jazz punk madness. But at the end of the day, these tracks are just a collection of improvised sketches that would probably be better experienced in a live setting rather than on a recording. None the less this is a perfect example of a group of talented musicians that have played with each other many times and have put down some of their best jams on to a record.

 

California-based producer Lee Bannon rose to indie fame by releasing a slew of beat tapes that subsequently gained him attention from Joey Bada$$ and the Roots which landed him alongside them both on an appearance on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. After this big leap in popularity, Lee Bannon began releasing solo records that were less hip-hop focused, but more 'so electronic experiments. Following a small EP, his full-length Pattern of Excel is a soothing, yet unnerving journey into electronic sounds. Though Lee Bannon has a background in IDM, Glitch and Jungle Pattern of Excel is a dense and fluid ambient-based record. Tracks such as "Kanu" are so liquid and formless that they sound almost underwater but have enough going on that they sound almost like Aphex Twin's Ambient Works Vol. 2 or even Radiohead's "Treefingers". Undoubtedly, Pattern of Excel is a sad, emotional and personal record that deals heavily with the emotion that music conveys without vocals, yet the message of this album is so unclear that it is almost disenchanting. The sounds are beautiful and well though out, but there is not enough going on to make it captivating. But maybe this album is some sort of cathartic release for Lee Bannon in which he needed to get out his emotions to further be further creative in his endeavors. Now, after Lee Bannon's second release, there is hope that he is an artist that is not afraid to create and release what is really on his mind even if the results may not please everyone all of the time.

 

Brooklyn outfit EZTV is a young group but is not a stranger to the dream-pop scene fronted by Captured Tracks records. Though this is mainly the side-project of front man Ezra Tenenbaum, the group also features Michael from the group Widowspeak. Much like most of the other bands on Captured Tracks, EZTV specializes in a jangly style of indie pop but with an apathetic and carefree demeanor. Unlike label-mates DIIV or Mac Demarco, EZTV borrow more from 80's and 90's jangle pop from the UK. Not only does their sound like a less dramatic version of The Smiths, but also are highly reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian or even the Go-Betweens. Each track on their debut Calling Out is mellow and jangly but would fit easily in a scene from an 80's movie about love and kissing. Undoubtedly the record is smooth and wistful but the lack of mood and hooks that their contemporaries’ posses is where they fall short. It's easy to say that bands DIIV and Mac Demarco are chock full of personality and style but when a group such as EZTV tries to mimic their ways, it comes off as contrite and unoriginal. But even though this may be a flop for the Captured Tracks catalogue, EZTV is a young band full of promise that have plenty of years to hit a stride.