As you sort through the various media outlets’ fall music previews, make sure to note to yourself that the gist of upcoming releases presented to you as “highlights” by such competing publications as Blender, Rolling Stone and even Spin rarely give you an informative and probably enjoyable list of things to check out. Case in point: Newsweek’s pitiful blurbs cover only the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bob Seger, Janet Jackson and Audioslave. Fall’s hottest music releases my ass.
Enough with the sentence-long blurb reviews from Grammy-selection panelists – let a fan of all musical styles, or more importantly, all levels of sales, take you through a rundown of what to be curious about and what to expect from the music industry this fall (beyond RIAA lawsuits against dead people), locally all the way to internationally.
With the barrage of venue closures in the past month, the Fort Collins music scene has collectively thrown in its gigantic sweat-soaked, stage towels. So as the protagonists in this battle pick up their hats, dust themselves off and head on south towards Denver and (sigh) Boulder for what were already relatively thriving musical movements (compared to Fort Fun), we can ignore the shameful abandoning of our hometown by enjoying a wealth of quality shows abroad. We can also watch some of our own enjoy the spotlight available only through the agglomeration economies of a larger metropolitan area.
The Fox Theatre continues to bring in some of the best acts from across the country, more often than not out-dueling some of the major Denver venues in the process. Genre-smearing Brooklyn industrial-indie rockers TV on the Radio are first on this prestigious list of quality acts, having recently come off its national tour supporting Nine Inch Nails and Bauhaus. If you have not heard TV on the Radio before, please attend this concert and prepare to witness something far more enjoyable and unexpected than you would be inclined to think at the mention of either “Industrial” or NIN and Bauhaus. The headlining tour comes on the heels of the U.S. release of its second full-length LP, the excellent “Return to Cookie Mountain.” Also be sure to make time for Jurassic 5 on the 10th, Band of Horses on the 26th, and Del the Funky Homosapien on Nov.1.
The Larimer Lounge hosts an impressive lineup of underground acts this fall, including Xiu Xiu, Serena Maneesh, Jamie Lidell and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. For some odd reason, this quasi-dive bar seems to rack up the largest amount of quality under-the-radar bands. It must have something to do with its business model and philosophy of letting everyone get a shot to play. Whether you’re into the scene or not, there are a scant few venues in Northern Colorado that can boast a live show literally every night.
And if you’re up for the drive, the South Park Music Festival has quickly become Colorado’s premier music festival. This year headlining the festival are Denver all-stars Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, who shan’t be missed, and the Hot IQs. The list of fantastic local performers goes on: Porlolo, Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, Love Me Destroyer, Pee Pee, Cat-A-Tac and Monofog. Major music industry head-honchos as well as no-name subcultural schmoes of all categories attend the festival: punks, hippies, “scenesters”, and just your regular-looking Joe.
I’ll just throw it out there clearly for everyone: Tom Waits is releasing a 54-song triple-disk rarities album entitled “Orphans.” Don’t expect any western tour, however, because Tom is only spending a few select nights crooning and grunting for audiences in the South and Midwest. Someone owes him money in Kentucky, apparently. It is always advised, still, that the public remain cautious for the occasional major motion picture cameo. He still remains, as far as the public eye can tell, the greatest man on the face of the earth.
Other notable releases include the Junior Boys’ new album “So This is Goodbye,” combining calming, jazzy vocals with the most basic electronic beats imaginable. This duo somehow has stumbled across the apex of cool exclusively using electronically manufactured beats. Cheers to them.
The list goes on: The Black Keys and Basement Jaxx are both set to release albums next week, and in subsequent weeks the likes of Kasabian, Mos Def, The Hidden Cameras, The Scissor Sisters, Trail of Dead, Califone, The Blood Brothers, Talib Kweli, Squarepusher, Joanna Newsom, Badly Drawn Boy and Snoop Dogg should all be ridiculed and shamed vigorously if they do not put out fantastic new music.
Word on the street is that Joanna Newsom’s upcoming album “Ys” is turning out to be a mammoth 5-song, 55-minute epic, and has Album of the Year written all over it. I’m looking forward to it, and I think you all should too. All in all, it should be a wonderful fall for music under the scope of Grammy nominators. A toast, in the meantime, to all those that will go undeservingly unnoticed.