Family Affair: Denver's Paper Bird at the Oriental Theater

November 26 2008, 10:35 AM
Indie music has contrarian tendencies. While the mainstream luxuriates in one corner (straightforward lyrics, singing on-key, defined melody, and irony-free guitar solos), it's almost guaranteed that the underground will uplift in the opposite (cryptic verbiage, animal yelps, free-form noise, and irony worship). Thus, at its most extreme, the indie qualifier becomes code for contextual argument over genuine expression. But it's also possible for an indie band to be just plain likeable. Though Denver's Paper Bird is not signed to a label and projects a certain Bohemian chic, their sound is far from exclusive. It seems made to melt your heart through your ears. The seven-piece is guided by honey-dipped vocals from Sarah Anderson, Genevieve Patterson and Esmé Patterson, and backed by gently rustic instrumentation from Paul DeHaven (guitar), Caleb Summeril (banjo, harmonica), Macon Terry (bass) and Tyler Archuletta (trombone). The group was literally formed in a cabin way up in the Rockies, and they earned their chops busking on the streets of Breckenridge. They sound like a Colorado revelation: soulfully warm and jazzy female vocals hugged by outdoorsy, unplugged atmospherics. Their 2007 debut album, Anything Nameless and Joymaking, elicited gushing from the Front Range music press (here and here, for example), and popular Fort Collins microbrewers New Belgium Brewing took Paper Bird along on last summer's Tour de Fat. In addition to tonight's Thanksgiving-eve headlining date, with support from fellow locals Laura Goldhamer, Autumn Film, Rob Drabkin and Chuck Potashner, Paper Bird is booked for multiple New Years' gigs with home-state faves the Flobots and Rose Hill Drive. As for this evening: Take this fine opportunity to expose visiting family and friends to some fantastic up-and-coming homegrown music. Wed 8 p.m. Oriental Theater,4335 W. 44th Ave., $10. Ages 16+. 303-433-3786