With the weather in the 60s, following a limited three-day weekend, it may feel like summer is just around the corner. Well, it’s not. But Wire Faces and Mike Clark & The Sugar Sounds are here for you to bet reminded of August. ‘Cause rock music is the music of hot weather.
On Halloween of 2011, Wire Faces performed Television’s seminal album “Marquee Moon” in its note-for-note entirety. If you ever question where Wire Faces’ music comes from, reference that as a clue. This three-piece has the technical proficiency of a prog band, but the attitude of a ’70s punk band. Arguably, this is a rare quality: The pursuit of musical excellence is often at the expense of the heart.
On “King Cataract,” the third release from the Denver via Fort Collins band, we find a collection of songs that exemplify the well-wrought balance of heart and ability of body in music. Here, we drop for theft the standout “Replicator,” a slow-burning song that satisfies. The entire disk will debut at Lost Lake with a Feb. 7 performance that launches a one-month run of Thursday night performances by Wire Faces at Lost Lake, but the band still has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover production costs for the album, which they produced themselves. Need more motivation to contribute? Try this tear jerker: Wire Faces had most of their equipment stolen this month at their practice studio. They have no insurance. They just trusted humanity. Hey, humanity! Come to their show and buy their album.
Mike Clark is one prolific performer. As a country-punk, he is The Jack Trades. As a high-lonesome picker, he performs with Crow Flies. When a gypsy folkster, he joins The Ghost of Michael Clark. But he’s perhaps best known as one-fifth of the Americana band Haunted Windchimes, the band puts Pueblo, CO on the Colorado music map for hipsters.
Now, add old-school rock ’n’ roller to the list of titles. On Jan. 25, Mike Clark & The Sugar Sounds will release its debut album, “Round & Round,” at The Loft in Colorado Springs. The Denver debut will be at Deer Pile on Feb. 1. Below, we offer “Summer Girls” for you to steal.
On the surface, there appear to be vast chasms of space between the sounds of all the various Clark projects. How can one justify such a difference? Well, really, the styles are more similar than different, only really varying in instrument choice and, ahem, style. With The Sugar Sounds, Clark continues this genome mapping by referencing good ol’ rock ’n’ roll. This album is Otis Redding and Creedence Clearwater Revival; this is classic rock before there was “classic rock.” And just as Clark has an ability to assume all American styles with his other projects, here he becomes the origins of rock ’n’ roll. There is no revival, no costume play, no irony. These are brand-new, honest songs that resonate as classics. Next, Clark, we challenge you with Gershwin.
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 Steal This Track for consideration.
Josh Johnson is a Denver freelance writer and Reverb contributor. He is also a co-host/co-producer of the Denver podcast Denver Diatribe.