Daily Archives: March 30, 2017

Metal moonlighting: Weekend warriors Khemmis definitely aren’t in it for the money

“At one point, I would say we didn’t even entertain the possibility of doing the band as a thing for all of us for some period of time. “They know what they want and they have a clear vision. Hutcherson and Beiers said the sold-out “Hunted” album release show at the Hi-Dive in October remains among their top musical experiences so far, right up there with Saint Vitus. 9 album of 2015. That came after Decibel ranked Khemmis’ debut, “Absolution,” the No. Introspective, polished and filler-free, it’s more refined and expansive than its predecessor, thanks to thorough self-editing. Careful planning and smart decision-making have been essential to keeping the band from becoming a financial drag on its members, especially when it comes to touring, which the group and its agents know it can only do in short spurts. Whatever spoils of tour come back with them are to be conscientiously invested. Monday night is a homecoming show of sorts, but once Khemmis really comes home after the tour ends on April 8, its members will settle back into their normal routines: drawing airports, brewing beer, teaching classes or crunching stats in CU’s criminology department and getting together on Thursday nights to jam and rehearse for the next show. Among the people least caught off guard by Khemmis’ rise from local band playing for free admission and beer to critical darlings was Dave Otero. Cost: $12-$14 A bus would be nice, but this tour’s rides are a Honda Civic and a ’78 Chevy van lugging a trailer. Enlists fellow sociologist with shared loved of slow, sludgy music. A change. For right now at least, Khemmis is much more a self-sustaining hobby that pays for an occasional stop at a cool brewery on the road than a ticket to Motley Crue-burning-down-hotel-rooms levels of success and excess. “We’re not going to be so flush that we’re all buying Bentleys or whatever,” Hutcherson cracked. It’s kind of out of our control,” Beiers said. A little more than three years later, band lands a spot in Rolling Stone magazine’s best metal albums of 2016. If somehow it got to a certain level, of course, I think we’d see it through.”
Certain aspects of Khemmis’ wild ride still strike the grounded crew as surreal. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)
But the band is keenly aware that its tight, emotionally gripping album work is at the center of its appeal. Professional and personal commitments have kept Khemmis from throwing itself headlong into the realm of opportunity it’s recently opened. Just as it was getting started, the band had to pass on a 6-week tour with Viking metal stalwarts Amon Amarth. “And I’ll go, ‘Well, our agent is working on it.’  Then it’s like, oh! Beiers, 41, will spend most of the next 18 months drawing up blueprints for the redesign of the Guam airport. The night before that, the band members remember the crowd at a headlining show in Chicago screaming bloody murder before they even picked up their instruments. Head brewer at local brewery pulls up a drum stool. Doors open at 7 p.m. The self-employed engineer has an eight-year-old daughter, and doesn’t get paid vacation. The band practices in a claustrophobic rehearsal space behind the Walnut Room that it shares with local post-hardcore trio Muscle Beach. Still, the band hasn’t forgotten its roots. Maybe “classic” is pushing it, but Denver doom quartet Khemmis has made it work. Where: The Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St. Though they, like so many, are transplants, Khemmis proudly flies the red, blue and gold flag of the diverse-if-nascent Denver metal underground that birthed it. It played a sold-out headlining show at Brooklyn rock haven Saint Vitus Bar in January, weeks after thrash legends Megadeth rocked the same stage. Sociology grad student meets freelance engineering project manager through online ad. “People are like, ‘Are you guys going to tour Europe?’ ” Coleman said. At 28, singer/guitarist Phil Pendergast is the youngest. I can’t speak for these guys, but I know I’ve entertained it now. “Sometimes it feels like we’re right on the of cusp of something. Members of the local metal band Khemmis — Phil Pendergast, Ben Hutherson, Zach Coleman and Dan Beiers — in their rehearsal space at Denver’s Walnut Room on March 16. Though Khemmis is an upstart on the national scene, it’s in exact contrast to the devil-may-care band of young’ns that image conjures up. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)
It’s a classic rock ‘n’ roll story. We’re fortunate to be in a position where we don’t have to take every offer, and I think, to some extent, that helps us.”
That doesn’t mean that if the right opportunity came along — say a tour with Metallica or Slayer — the band wouldn’t jump at it. The five-track epic, released in October on super-indie label 20 Buck Spin, not only earned the self-described “doomed rock ‘n’ roll” outfit that (digital) ink in Rolling Stone, but was also named 2016’s album of the year by extreme scene authority Decibel magazine. These are career men, either married or in committed relationships, their early 20s well in the rearview. The wheels are already turning on the next record, seemingly before the amp tubes cool down from the last session for “Hunted.”
In many ways, that album was a reflection of the personality of the band itself. It’s rare to see a band that forward-thinking. (“Some people, their car payment is about what that royalty check was,” bassist Dan Beiers said.) They are drawing interest from larger indie labels, but Warner Bros. The band will roll into the Marquis Theater Monday night riding a wave of momentum almost as big as the sound on its head-banging, heart-wrenching sophomore release, “Hunted.”
Despite its critical success, Khemmis’ metal means remain modest. That just came out of my mouth.”
Local metal band Khemmis is going on tour with Oathbreaker, a biggish Scandanavian metal band. He produced both their albums at his Flatline Audio studio in Westminster. When: Monday. 3, the band continues to stockpile an ever-more impressive catalog of career highlights. “Khemmis is one band that has ability to envision a path and actually realize it in their writing in a way that most bands don’t,” Otero said. “In the moment, it was like, ‘Oh, man, this might be the only cool thing that we ever get offered.’ And thankfully, it hasn’t been,” Hutcherson said. We love the idea of being rock ‘n’ rollers but we’re not 20 years old and wanting to jump in the van at a moment’s notice and come home to overdue bills or all our (stuff) out on the lawn or whatever. And they have a lot of eyes on them now.”

While members plot and ponder Album No. “It’s something we’ve always made clear as a band. A big change. It smoothly weaves together slab-thick riffs capable of inducing “Wayne’s World”-ian bouts of spontaneous head banging, Iron Maiden-tinged harmonies, Thin Lizzy shuffles and sparse, sorrowful clean parts while tackling honest, human themes like fear and doubt. Records isn’t kicking down their door. “But maybe we knock down some individual-level debt.”

If you go:
What: Oathbreaker with Khemmis, Jaye Jayle and Of Feather and Bone. But if it happens, it happens. (The band’s current 15-date tour was scheduled with spring break in mind, but Hutcherson said he was planning to grade some papers in the van.) Drummer Zach Coleman is the head brewer at South Broadway’s Trve Brewing Company. Pendergast and fellow ax man/growler Ben Hutcherson are sociology grad students at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The band has received just one royalty check in its career. Otero said the band brings a level of self awareness and thoughtfulness to its songwriting — just like it does touring — beyond that of your average noisemakers.

Best shows: Dead Man Winter and Dude York

It’s as much for the artist as it the audience, a release valve for overwhelming heartache that doubles as a nice show for the Thursday night rock club crowd. Catch the band at the Hi-Dive on April 5. Tickets: $15-$17 via axs.com. Dead Man Winter

An authentic break-up album is a funny thing. Cutting a figure of Pixies’ Kim Deal, frontwoman Claire England is in charge of the Seattle band’s head and heart, staking the band’s gruff pop through its chest and threading verse after chorus of catchy melodies through the ears. Written about the dissolution of his decade-long marriage, Simonett deemed the material too personal to perform as his well-known alt-bluegrass project Trampled by Turtles. Dude York plays the Hi-Dive next week. Still, Simonett is most convincing on odd songs like “Weight of the World,” where he’s acoustic, lonesome and convalescing. Tickets are $10-$12 and available via ticketfly.com. Dude York

Underneath the typical trappings of ratty 2010s millennial rock, disparate pulses courses through the three-piece of Dude York. Catch the band on April 4 at the Bluebird Theater. If you do, mind where you put your jacket. As Dead Man Winter, his former band’s speedy banjo runs are swapped out for lithe electric guitar, which despite the subject material, isn’t always mired in slow minor chords. Songs like “Tonight,” the triumphant single from its breakthrough sophomore release, “Sincerely,” source their pep in equal part from guitarist Peter Richards, whose melody-driven riffs are in practice trace its roots closer to heavy metal rather than expectant indie rock. (Sam Gehrke, provided by Hardly Art)
Dead Man Winter and Dude York are our picks for the best shows around Denver this week. Dave Simonett’s “Furnace” follows suit. See you there, and if you don’t make it out, follow our music musings on Twitter and our selfies on Instagram.

N.W.A., Judy Garland, Vin Scully, David Bowie and Talking Heads enshrined forever by Library of Congress

“I don’t think I’ve ever really been recognized the way some artists have been over the years, but I haven’t tried,” McLean says. The selection process works like this: A genre-hopping list of recordings is considered by the National Recording Preservation Board, which is partly composed of artists, archivists, and executives from the record industry (although anyone can make a nomination online). This sense of permanence appeals to singer-songwriter Don McLean, whose 1971 hit “American Pie” made the list this year. The youngest selection on this year’s list is soprano Renée Fleming’s 1997 release “Signatures.” The oldest is an early collection of cylinder recordings made by Col. “It’s a folk song that’s known by everybody by heart that is gonna last forever, because no matter what happens, people will always remember it,” McLean said on the phone from his home in Palm Desert, Calif. The final choices are made by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, after a period of judicious list-whittling and mostly polite debate. (There’s a sister list for movies, the National Film Registry.) Entries are chosen “either because they were hit recordings that somehow captured a moment for us or a particular feeling that endures, or things which are much less well known, but which are still vital to our history and our identity and our entire sense of self,” says Matthew Barton, the library’s curator of recorded sound. “If there’s a nuclear bomb attack, a couple people will be sitting in a cave somewhere, trying to remember all the lyrics to the song. “It’s not like people are saying, ‘What? Everybody else will be wiped out.” (That’s not hyperbole. You never know.”
Most registry selections are works by American artists, though Radiohead, Pink Floyd and U2 have previously made the cut, and David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” appears on this year’s list. “It can get heated,” admits Barton, who is a member of the board. Dr. 8, 1957)
– “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs,” Marty Robbins (1959)
– “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery,” Wes Montgomery (1960)
– “People,” Barbra Streisand (1964)
– “In the Midnight Hour” (single), Wilson Pickett (1965)
– “Amazing Grace” (single), Judy Collins (1970)
– “American Pie” (single), Don McLean (1971)
– “All Things Considered,” first broadcast (May 3, 1971)
– “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars,” David Bowie (1972)
– “The Wiz,” original cast album (1975)
– “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975),” Eagles (1976)
– “Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha,” Gunter Schuller, arr. Dre and Ice Cube of N.W.A attend the 31st Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 8, 2016 in New York City. “Probably that’s a good one,” said the band’s former frontman David Byrne in a phone interview. Twenty-five recordings are selected each year for the registry, which now includes 475 audio recordings. George Gouraud, a Civil War hero and friend of Thomas Edison’s, in 1888. (1976)
– “Wanted: Live in Concert,” Richard Pryor (1978)
– “We Are Family” (single), Sister Sledge (1979)
– “Remain in Light,” Talking Heads (1980)
– “Straight Outta Compton,” N.W.A. There were other, later ones that sold a little more. (Mike Coppola, Getty Images)
Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton,” and the 1971 debut broadcast of NPR’s “All Things Considered” are among the recordings set to be included on the National Recording Registry, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday. “I’m really delighted that the government has taken notice of me in this way, and not by tapping my phone or something.”
The complete list of this year’s selections:
– The 1888 London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)
– “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (singles), Manhattan Harmony Four (1923); Melba Moore and Friends (1990)
– “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (single), Harry Richman (1929)
– “Over the Rainbow” (single), Judy Garland (1939)
– “I’ll Fly Away” (single), The Chuck Wagon Gang (1948)
– “Hound Dog” (single), Big Mama Thornton (1952)
– “Saxophone Colossus,” Sonny Rollins (1956)
– The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, announced by Vin Scully (Sept. (1988)
– “Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil),” Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
– “Signatures,” Renée Fleming (1997) Among other selections on the omnivorous list are Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light,” the original version of “Hound Dog” cut by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” and a recording of a 1957 baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds announced by Vin Scully. Like many selections, it was chosen more for its unique examination of the American experience than its commercial success, which was modest. Entries chosen for the registry are preserved in both a metaphoric sense (their cultural virtue is enshrined forever) and a physical one: The works will be stored in a giant vault, which is one reason only recordings with physical versions are eligible. “That wasn’t one of our most popular ones. 1 hit and one of the most totemic songs in rock-and-roll history, but, unlike many of the registry’s other selections, it has earned little in the way of official honors, at least until now. There are few hip-hop selections – “Straight Outta Compton” is only the sixth – and those chosen have usually been golden-era-and-slightly-later rap offerings such as Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet.”
Recordings must be at least 10 years old, though most are older, says Barton, the better to consider them in the fullness of time. “There’s no rule against it, but when you look at all the recordings out there you have to ask yourself, are we ready to start repeating ourselves?”
Talking Heads’ groundbreaking, Afro-funk-influenced 1980 album “Remain in Light” is the first recording from the band to make the list. I hate that band!’ It’s never like that.” Conflict sometimes arises when board members want to nominate an artist whose work already appears in the registry, he says. The recordings are stored in a decommissioned bunker dug into the side of a mountain in Virginia’s Culpeper County that was built to withstand a nuclear blast.)
“American Pie” was a No.