The ten best concerts in Denver this weekend
4. INSTANT EMPIRE (EP RELEASE) @ HI-DIVE | FRI, 1/18/13
Instant Empire started life as a duo when Scotty Saunders and guitarist/vocalist Sean Connaughty began writing songs together after meeting through an ad on Craigslist. After penning a batch of songs on acoustic guitars over the course of five months, the two determined that they would need a full band to help them flesh out their songs. Connaughty tapped his friend Matt Grizzell, who was playing drums with Alan Alda at the time, to keep time for the new project, and from there, the outfit grew into the six-piece it is now, with guitarist Lou Kucera, bassist Aaron Stone and multi-instrumentalist Doug Chase rounding out the lineup. Since both Saunders and Connaughty grew up listening to more lyrics-oriented artists like Bright Eyes and Okkervil River, the two naturally spend a lot of time on the words. [continue reading full Instant Empire profile]
3. CALEXICO @ FOX THEATRE | FRI, 1/18 // OGDEN THEATRE | SAT, 1/19
Though Algiers is immediately recognizable as a Calexico album -- that signature impression of the expansive borderlands desert remains -- singer-guitarist Joey Burns, drummer John Convertino, and their supporting cast bring much more to bear on this latest effort. Having taken some time out for soundtrack work (Circo, The Guard), record-producing (Amos Lee's Mission Bell), and box-set-making (Road Atlas, which collected the band's eight tour-only albums), Calexico sought to record the bulk of an album in New Orleans instead of Tucson's WaveLab Studio.
2. PARTICLE @ QUIXOTE'S | FRI, 1/18 // FOX THEATRE | SAT, 1/19
No one's particularly fond of playing the desultory "sounds like" game when it comes to music, but whatever. In Particle's case, an A-meets-B-meets-C type of comparison is warranted. This middle-aged California-based quartet really does resemble a sonic collage comprising the Grateful Dead, Roy Davis Jr. and the Chemical Brothers as it whips crowds into a frenzy with blends of mellow grooves, psychedelic freakouts and long improvisations.