Steal This Track: Kissing Party and Sun Red - Reverb

Steal This Track: Kissing Party and Sun Red

Denver's Kissing Party is: Shane Reid (left), Deirdre Sage, Joe Hansen, Lee Evans and Gregg Dolan. Photo by Eric David Lough.

Denver's Kissing Party is: Shane Reid (left), Deirdre Sage, Joe Hansen, Lee Evans and Gregg Dolan. Photo by Eric David Lough.

A funny thing happens when the weather starts to cool off in Colorado: great new music starts to emerge at a pace unmatched at any other time of year. We could hypothesize about the reasons — summer inspiration bearing fruit in the fall, cold weather turning the focus inward for songwriters — but we don’t really care. Whatever the reason, we’re thrilled to have so much great music caressing our ears, underneath these muffs. This weekend will see the release of albums from two Hot Congress bands you’ll definitely want to hear — Kissing Party and Sun Red. You can steal tracks from both bands today, then be that cool kid at the CD release party who already knows all the words.


During its years in the Denver music community, Kissing Party has certainly received its share of accolades, and since it’s been two years since the twee pop quintet’s last album, there’s plenty of anticipation for “Wasters Wall.” The band will release the record with a Friday night show at the Hi-Dive, supported by Shaky Molars (the latest project from Chuck Potashner of teamAWESOME!) and Amazing Twin.

As evidence by 2009′s “The Hate Album,” and confirmed by “Wasters Wall,” Kissing Party positively thrives in the studio. The dueling vocals of Gregg Dolan and Deirdre Sage sparkle with saccharine innocence, while Shane Reid, Joe Hansen and Lee Evans provide a head-bobbing, heart-wrenching, sock-hopping gymnasium in which Dolan and Sage can tumble and twist. Though the music might sound naive and artless at first, closer inspection reveals some dark themes and not inconsiderable chops. Steal “Ways to Mickey” to get your blood pressure up, then pop over to the band’s website to steal “Ashley Smashley.” Once you’ve done that, make sure to make your way down to the Hi-Dive on Friday night to see Kissing Party in person and pick up the whole album.

Denver's Sun Red is: Trevor Gagstetter (left), Chris Durant, Dan Sullivan and Gene Brown. Photo by Nicole McElhose.

Denver's Sun Red is: Trevor Gagstetter (left), Chris Durant, Dan Sullivan and Gene Brown. Photo by Nicole McElhose.

Just as the sun rises and sets every day for us earthlings, so bands emerge and collapse with the same predictable rhythm. When (die)Pilot hung up its angst-addled songbook, Denver music fans wondered what would become of songwriters Gene Brown and Dan Sullivan (no one worried about drummer Chris Durant, who has more bands than Saturn). We needn’t have worried. As quickly as the glow of (die)Pilot’s ambitious pop faded in the west, it rose again in the east as Sun Red.

Saturday night at the Hi-Dive, Sun Red will release its latest EP, “Breathes Ages,” with an all-star supporting cast, including Safe Boating Is No Accident and Fingers of the Sun. On the EP, Gene Brown’s quirky lyrics demand repeated listens while his distinctive vocal style — part Thom Yorke, part Jon Anderson — refuses to be ignored. Meanwhile, Dan Sullivan’s guitar, mixed front and center, behaves like that guy in the corner with the Sharpie-d fingernails — shy, but dying to grab your attention. Durant’s tasteful and assertive drumming serves the songs and roughens up some of Brown’s smoother edges, while bassist Trevor Gagstetter embraces the songs’ prog-rock hearts with syncopated enthusiasm. Steal “Tectonymous” to get a better idea of Sun Red’s circumference, then pop down to the Hi-Dive on Saturday to bask in the band’s live glow.

Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.

If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Eryc Eyl for consideration.

Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout for stories about Denver musicians doing extraordinary things. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1077072101 Al Laughlin

    highway 50 at Hermans Hideaway featuring Al Laughlin {the samples)  october 8th