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Once a year, Denver celebrates its rich musical landscape with four days of live performances from local and national acts clustered along South Broadway. The Underground Music Showcase is now in its 12th year and we’ll spend the next few days covering some of the acts who are a part of this year’s lineup, beginning with today’s MP3 premiere.
If you were to stroll down Denver’s hip South Broadway drag, pop into one of the clothing boutiques or small concert venues, and ask around as to who is the best band in the city, it wouldn’t take long before you received Snake Rattle Rattle Snake as an answer. After forming in late 2008, the group of veteran local musicians soon began building buzz based on their strong live performances. However, 2011 was the year the female-fronted act fully emerged into the Denver consciousness thanks to the release of their debut LP, Sineater. On the strength of that album, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake was just named “Best Indie Band” by Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly.
While the original version of “Paperskin” that appears on Sineater is a muscular, guitar-driven track, this remix by ManyColoredBeast (aka Wilson Helmericks, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s keyboardist and guitarist) is appropriately slithering. His reinterpretation is a hollowed-out take made more sedate by the addition of echoed synthesizer melodies and piano chords which hang suspended for full measures. Vocalist (and Wilson’s sister) Hayley Helmericks also receives her share of the spotlight in this take, which is only fitting since her delivery is such a defining part of the band’s sound.
This take is also a full minute longer than the album track, making its cavernous redirection seem all the deeper and enveloping. As a result, this edition of “Paperskin” reads as much more of a mood piece than anything in the band’s regular catalog, but it’s an experiment that works thanks to its throbbing synths and slightly menacing drum machine track. The darkwave-lite sounds call to mind shades of Kate Bush, Austra, and Class Actress (who will also be performing at this year’s UMS), and is a fascinating peek into a member reinventing his band’s sound.
Catch Snake Rattle Rattle Snake performing at 8:00 pm this Saturday, July 21st on the Main Stage at Goodwill as part of this year’s Underground Music Showcase.
Click here to listen to Sineater on Spotify.