Digital Is Not Dead: Jimkata Shows Durango They Are Poised For The Future of Music
Years ago an unknown band hit the rising tier of the East Coast festival circuit with a sound reflective of the musical times. Partially dabbling in the harmonious rock capitalized by the likes of Umphreys McGee, Jimkata also layered uptempo live electronic undertones reminiscent of Lotus over formatted indie rock songwriting. The effort was noteworthy in that it reeked of progressive potential, but the band was seemingly overlooked due to hitting the jam-rock scene at a time of saturation. In truth, they were also ahead of their time. After a brief step outside the fringe of the spotlight, the band members took a shift in the niche music landscape as an opportunity to improve themselves individually and as a unit.
Now regrouped and motivated by noteworthy new studio material, Jimkata has begun to chisel out a new and refined sonic direction for the future. This past Saturday a couple dozen lucky patrons to The Summit in Durango received two sets of what can be considered an unmatched puree of indie rock and electronica jams. Despite the show being free, and the turnout depressingly low for a college town supposedly keen for music, the band held nothing back. In the spirit of experimentation that defined their roots, the band was unafraid to depart from the safety of song parameters with a confident force. The upstate New York quartet also displayed no shame in showing off their newly honed improvisation tricks – in particular, a seamless transition between the poppy “American Cars” and the 8-bit funk of “Devil’s in the Details” was only outdone by continuing the segue into the title track off their new record, Die Digital. That was all before they cruised through a soaring second set that tackled 10 discography spanning tracks without stopping or flubbing a transition once.
Note to Western Colorado: do not miss Jimkata again.
A Re-Reformed Matisyahu Returns to Telluride With a Sold-out Show at the Sheridan
Controversy has always been the name of the game for the reformed Phishhead-turned-Hasidic Jewish Reggae rapper Matisyahu. The descriptors in the last sentence alone breed intrigue, and rightfully so, but for almost a decade the artist formerly known as MC Truth has floated along the cusp of college-circuit alternative emcee and well-executed pop gimmick. The once Top 40 songwriter seemed to be fading into the has-been pile of the mid-2000s awkward music scene. Then out of nowhere, Matis cast away his religious garb and orthodox hairdo, kicked a photographer in the face during a show in Brooklyn, and dropped his fourth studio effort, Spark Seeker.
Wait, he did what? The events that lead to the shocking humanization of the enigmatic musical icon also served as a catalyst for what can be considered his most refined body of work. The production on Spark Seeker digs into new wave electro with “Searchin’,” creatively mutates dubtronica on “Fire of Freedom,” and presents welcomingly less preachy lyrical content throughout. Also surprising is two collaborative tracks with former Bad Boy Records rapper Shyne, the infamous gunman who served nine years in prison for a shooting in a Manhattan nightclub. Now also religiously reformed after doing a bid, Shyne’s influence on the two cuts, “Messiah” and “King Crown of Judah,” place them among the most innovative hip-hop tracks Matis has ever released. Beyond all that, seeing how a classical string arrangement over beatboxing and spiritual chanting on “Summer Wind” will translate into the live setting is reason enough to hype up his sold-out return to the Sheridan Opera House on Thursday.
Regional Rundown: Durango Brings Marcia Ball and the Supersuckers; Grand Junction Hosts Junk Town Music Fest
Ivory keys specialist and swamp R&B vocal sensation Marcia Ball treks through the Western Slope once again with a scheduled appearance at Fort Lewis College in Durango on Saturday. A standout mixologist of zydeco, regional blues and soaring vocal ballads, Ball is a noteworthy Grammy nominee and festival veteran who knows how to flex her chops while seducing you with bayou soul.
Eccentric Sub-Pop Records rockers the Supersuckers have been sowing the seeds of purist rock since the late 80s, and willfully continue that legacy in the face of all peripheral opposition the modern era brings. Originally a twangy roadhouse rock outfit, the quarter lead by Eddie Spaghetti is now a seasoned live rock ‘n roll act that knows how to preach the mantras of rowdy bar patrons. Avoid the Abbey Theater tonight unless you want to join the party.
The Grammy-award-winning mega-DJ by the name of Diplo is sending his standout label representative Astronomar to Grand Junction to headline the Junk Town Music Fest at The Mesa Theater. Said to be the future of the label and the genre, the Seattle producer/DJ has made a name for himself by turning his club tracks into edgy, hip-hop influenced bangers. As a result, he has received attention from the right players in the scene, and has received validation by them spinning his records regularly. This Saturday he will also be joined by a deep bill that includes Pickster One, Daytona, Doctype, and Ravin on the decks for a full night of high energy electronic dance fusion.