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Denver’s UMS Hits the 10 Year Marker, Getting Better with Age


It’s hard to believe the Underground Music Showcase has been rolling in Denver for the last ten years. Then again, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of July. My point: since UMS is spouting over 300 bands in 2010, it might be a good idea to get a game plan. Otherwise the whole weekend will be gone and all you’ve done is listen to one DJ while you drank yourself silly. If you don’t have time to sift through them all, I’m here to help.

Here are my picks for Thursday, July 22
(more to come…)

Candy Claws
From Ft. Collins, Candy Claws takes you on a trip through tangerine dreams and marmalade smiles. The effervescent vocals from the band’s latest release, In the Dream of the Sea Life (on Irish label Indiecater Records), complement the many layers of electronic-induced bubblings, crisp morning keyboards, and grandma attic trinket samples, which have all the makings for a perfect summer evening bike ride soundtrack.

It’s so good to see a Colorado band getting out of Colorado. And it looks like Candy Claws, after their Thursday UMS gig at Skylark Lounge, will be hitting the road, heading out for a west coast tour through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Provo. Even better, this eight-piece—Kay, singing, samples; Ryan singing, sounds; Marty, guitars, Riley, bass; Jonathan, keyboards; Meghan, keyboards; McKenzie, percussion; Wesley, drums—return to Denver in time for a kick-off tour party on August 6 at Hi-Dive, where they’ll be out through the month of September, partnering with Magic Kids on a number of dates and hitting up a few summer music festivals.

11:00pm on Thursday, July 22 on the Verizon Droid Stage @ Skylark Lounge / 21+

Hearts in Space
One of the main things Denver’s music community has going for it is its penchant for collaboration. Like weeds gone wild, when one band has its roots pulled two or more bands sprout up.

Hearts in Space is a propagation of Jordan (Pacific Pride, Hawks of Paradise), Johnny (Houses), Chris on bass and Ezra…doing something else (sorry dude, your band’s so new I don’t know what you play yet).

What could be considered the signature song for the new outfit is “Hearts in Space,” with dreamy, psychedelic guitar melodies and harmonic vocals that flow down a white canvas, creating a color not yet found within a kaleidoscope. But my favorite would have to be “You Say What You Say.” Having gone through all my CDs recently and dusting off some gems for a spin ‘round the player again, this track takes me “back to the days” of the Tiger Beat label, before radio was all crappy corporate rock, and when Swervedriver, Sebadoh and Galaxy 500 reigned.

11:00pm on Thursday, July 22 on the Stage @ the Irish Rover / 21+


Fierce Bad Rabbit
Also hailing from Ft. Collins (love what our city to the north is cultivating!), Fierce Bad Rabbit is barely a year old but presents a sound that’s tight as a drum, where garage band practice time runs like dog years. In that time the band’s released two albums and is set up for another later this year, along with a winter tour. Ambitious indeed.

And yes, the group is a patch quilt of members from other well-known Colorado acts, which explains their ability for creating hooks that run deep, including the pleading and driving rhythms on “Someone Please,” and the contemplative nature of “Mon Ami.

Fierce Bad Rabbit’s full-length All I Have Is You is available for a free download at

11:00pm on Thursday, July 22 at Club 404 (21+)

Quick Picks

Popwreck – In what seems to be an ode to Denver, “Don’t Shake the Baby” is brimming with the urgency of Sunny Day Real Estate and a vocal rawness the likes of Perry Ferrell that hooked me, line and sinker.
10:00pm on Thursday, July 22 on the ShareTheMic Stage @ Moe’s Original Bar B Que (All Ages)

Good Evening Titan – Do you remember the dance that the Peanuts gang did when Schroeder would tinkle the ivories? “The Orchard Thieves” is that happy and danceable. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
10:00pm on Thursday, July 22 on the Verizon Droid Stage @ Skylark Lounge (21+)

Jeremy Messersmith – This solo artist makes the prettiest, most sparkling pop, when “Violet” plays I feel like starting a parade like at the end of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie. Sigh… From Minneapolis, Denver’s UMS is the first stop on his tour that hits a number of east coast cities through August.
9:00pm on Thu, Jul 22 at Verizon Wireless Stage @ Hi-Dive (21+)


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