The Problem of Leisure: Special UMS 2010 Edition (Part 3)

07/15/2010 12:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase has made it through a decade! We're gearing up for a huge summer festival July 22-25th and there will be more bands than you can shake your SXSWangs at. Donnybrook will help get you up to speed.

Mishka Shubaly

Photo by John Moore

Mishka is one of Denver's greatest exports. He's a long-time Brooklynite now, but some of his greatest songs sing of Denver, drunk and heart broken on Colfax. A sodden troubadour cut from the roughest cloth. He'll demand attention and drugs from the crowd while sipping deeply from a brown paper bag containing god knows what. Catch Mishka Shubaly for a song, buy him a drink and ask him to sing songs about love. You won't be disappointed.

Natural Selection

It's mid July and hot. It has rained a little in the previous few days and the humidity is lingering around long after its welcome, like that hook-up from last night or your mother in law who's in town "for a few days." It's hotter than a crotch (thanks Kris Kristofferson!) in the 3 Kings Tavern and Natural Selection is about to close curtains on my 2009 UMS experience. (To be fair, it was Wire Faces that finished me off that night, but it was Natural Selection that threw the weakening haymaker.) Maybe it was the four days of drinking. Maybe it was the Bocumast Records mimosa brunch party that began my Sunday. Maybe it was the collective energy of music revelers. Whatever it was, I found myself... dancing, an occurrence rarer than a Nessie sighting or white people getting asked for citizenship papers in Arizona. And I continued to dance, along with the band, until the ending notes, when leading man Sam Glover exclaimed, "We've played all of the songs we know!"

Fresh off successful release shows for their new album, White Picket Fence, in Denver and St. Louis, MO, where some of the band members reside full time, Natural Selection are primed and ready for larger recognition. The disco-era funk rock they put on your ears infects you with an unyielding desire to move, and if you are lucky, you'll catch Sam on one of his gold pants performance days! Regardless of the days' fashion, the high-energy output of Natural Selection is not to be missed...they will leave you sweating and tired, even if you have deeply rooted tree trunks for legs.

By Baron Chrysler LeBaron


The Overcasters pepper hazy slabs of lush droning with physicality and beguiling melody. They call it "post space blues noise pop" (or simply "rock and roll"), and while veins of their top friends on MySpace can be heard from the stage -- Thurston Moore, 13th Floor Elevators, The Fluid, Spiritualized -- this admirable list of influences doesn't quite get you to the Overcaster's address.

If you've seen them before, and you're smart if you have, expect to hear the fruits of their recent run to L.A., where they just went and cut their new album with producer Rick Parker (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies). Drummer Erin Tidwell explains that they went into the studio and recorded the whole damn thing end-to-end in live takes as a complete band. If they were successful in bottling that dreamy interplay with the chugging currents, it will be a smashing recording. And with imminent tour dates beckoning them out of town, make sure and break yourself off a chunk live before they issue to parts distant.