If you've been fortunate enough to catch Denver Broncos UK, the spinoff quartet from rambunctious Denver legends Slim Cessna's Auto Club, you've probably already found yourself spellbound by their ethereal sound. If not, you'll be able to catch the band, joined by the Warlock Pinchers' Andrew Novick and Ted Thacker, Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Mercury Cafe in Denver. You'll also more than likely take home a copy of their debut album, Songs One Through Eight, for which they are celebrating the release.
The band, which has recently taken to calling itself DBUK, has been a long-gestating project. It began as a trio in 2009, mostly playing art museums and other non-traditional performance spaces. Initial recording for Songs One Through Eight actually began during this time.
"DBUK, as its initial entity [Munly Munly, Slim Cessna, and Lord Dwight Pentacost] played an art installation in Pittsburgh at the Mattress Factory Art Museum," explains band member Rebecca Vera. "They had a week's preparation, and during that time, they recorded several songs using a four-track. A few of these songs are currently being used on the release, as they are just perfect, as is. I remember it moved me to tears the first time I heard it, as it was just so stark and beautiful."
Vera, who joined shortly thereafter and contributes elegant cello, harmonium, backing vocals and more, certainly adds her share of stark beauty to DBUK's acoustic-driven, chiaroscuro sound. However, she remains decidedly humble, revealing that she started in music by playing drums in her high school marching band (Drumline films, she acknowledges, are guilty pleasures) and later tackling, as she describes it, "remedial cello" in her early twenties.
"I don't consider myself a natural musician. I often have to work very hard to find just the right accompaniment, and often hate the process, as I feel it reveals all of my weaknesses. It's a great testament to the strength of the music and its musicians in how effortless this creative process has been."
Despite any self-deprecation, Vera possesses an impressive pedigree, playing with luminaries of the Denver music scene, appearing on 16 Horsepower's 2000 LP Secret South, playing pedal steel for the Auto Club, and serving as a cornerstone of Munly's earlier group, The Lee Lewis Harlots.
"I met Leah and David Eugene Edwards and was asked to do a guest spot on a local show with 16 Horsepower," she remembers. "I was such a beginner. But I was so enthralled with their music, I had to humiliate myself and at least try to play with them. It was a tremendous learning experience; kudos to them for taking me on.
"These experiences, I feel, did help encourage me to continue. I also met [Auto Club alum] John Rumley during this time, and he was working on my cello. The day I came to pick it up, there was a sullen and intense man there who did not say a word the whole time I was there. He kind of gave me the creeps. When I got home, I got a call from Rumley saying the man who had been there was Munly, and he would like it if I would play with him."
While Slim Cessna's Auto Club and Munly's projects are heavy on vivid storytelling and frequently lumped into the alt-country/Americana genre, DBUK seems to dial back the overtly rural imagery in favor of something more contemporary, albeit still ghostly. Misinformation from the Red Cross, swimming in San Francisco Bay, and an orphanage that would make Edward Gorey cringe are just a few of the topics that twist through DBUK's compelling songs.
"Munly has a profound ability to write and create in the purest sense," says Vera. "He is, in my eyes, a true artist. He is affected by all he encounters, deliberate in his choice of words, and is guided by his own vision of a world and cosmos that I love to visit."
In case you miss the record release show in Denver before DBUK embarks on their first West Coast tour, Songs One Through Eight will be available through the band's own record label, SCAC Unincorporated. Vera was also pleased to announce that their "family" of bands, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, DBUK, and Munly & The Lupercalians, will be performing their annual New Year's shows Dec. 30 and 31 at Syntax Physic Opera. Theme details are forthcoming, so you can plan your costumes accordingly.
Meanwhile, Sunday, Oct. 25, brings the final installment of the Kiowa Sessions at the Gold Room, featuring Blue Frog, The Rev. Collin Estes (full disclosure: this is my project), and Monsters on Maple Street.
Finally, it is with a heavy heart that we at the Indy mourn the passing of Chris Forsythe, prolific local musician and sound engineer at the Black Sheep. Chris, in addition to fronting numerous bands over the years, including Malakai and Tree of Woe, was a dear friend to many and a central figure in the Colorado Springs music scene. You can donate to a fund to help assist the Forsythe family with expenses at bit.ly/1Ll99s8.
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