It has been said that Denver is the biggest small town one will ever encounter. True Mile High natives may be hard to come by, but chances are, there is definitely less than six degrees between you and your garbage man. Something that naturally comes to a town of this caliber is a high circulation of gossip, especially among those with a vested interest in the music scene. Duncan Barlow, the main soul behind d. biddle, knows this well.
“Denver has a national reputation for being a talkative city, so if you’re a quiet band, it serves (sometimes) to be problematic,” Barlow says of d.biddle’s subtle but powerful place in the current sonic landscape.
Although originally from Kentucky, Barlow had already made quite a name for himself in the hardcore scene in previous years before venturing to this side of things to pursue a graduate degree in Boulder. Formerly a member of Endpoint, Guilt, By the Grace of God, and The Lull Account, Barlow decided to choose a whole new direction musically, taking him to often uncharted territory for someone with such a distinctly aggressive former life. The mellow and graceful project that formed in 2002 and is currently known as d.biddle is about as far from punk or hardcore as any musician could get.
“d is from Duncan, and Biddle is actually my middle name. You see, my proper name was so heavily associated with the hardcore scene that I was originally in, I was worried about two things: 1. that I couldn’t get a fair review, and 2.that younger kids that liked my old bands would come to the show and hate it,” Barlow says of the reasoning behind the slightly strange moniker.
This explanation couldn’t be a better showcase of Barlow’s genuine and sweet manner, also not something associated with his former scene. Barlow is a quiet individual by nature, always seemingly concerned with other’s aural well-being. After all, when an artist chooses to go out on a limb and cross into a new genre, how many of them are actually concerned with how their audience might feel? Chances are, there are few quite like the mild-mannered Barlow. It’s this attitude that is also perfectly encapsulated in d. biddle’s upcoming self-titled release for Sao Bento Music.
Along with Jeff Davenport (bass and percussion), Ben Desoto (drums and flute), Jamie Smith on (guitar, vocals, and clarinet) and Erin Roberts (trumpet and vocal), d. biddle’s latest LP proves to be both tempered and jarring at the same time. While Barlow’s despairingly dazzling vocals and reckless use of his acoustic guitar serve as the main focus for most of the tracks, the slow influx of trumpet, clarinet, flute and drumbeats provides the perfect sonic backdrop.
“At that point (during recording) it felt more like a solo artist with friends backing him; however, once we recorded we came together as a band. I think Pall (Jenkins, producer) helped with that. He kind of held a sonic mirror up to us and said ‘This is what you sound like’,” Barlow says of the culmination of the soon-to-be-released recording.
This Saturday, April 2 d. biddle with be celebrating the release of their 2005 self-titled LP at the Hi-Dive, located at 7 So. Broadway (10pm, 21+). Local favorites Tin Tin and Bad Weather California will be opening the showcase, so this show is not to miss.