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Houndmouth with Buffalo Nichols tickets at Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins
Fri Feb 4, 2022 - 8:00 PM

105.5 The Colorado Sound

Houndmouth with Buffalo Nichols

Aggie Theatre, Ft. Collins, CO Ages: Guests Under 18 Require Accompanying Adult
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105.5 The Colorado Sound

105.5 The Colorado Sound

Houndmouth with Buffalo Nichols

Aggie Theatre
204 S College Ave
Ft. Collins, CO 80524
Fri Feb 4, 2022 - 8:00 PM
Ages: Guests Under 18 Require Accompanying Adult
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Door Price: $25.00 - $30.00
Onsale: Fri Dec 10, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Bio: Houndmouth

 

In late 2011, Matt MyersZak Appleby and Shane Cody started playing music together in a historic home in New Albany, Indiana dubbed "The Green House." Its rooms were adorned with relics from times past, so it was no surprise that songs such as “Penitentiary” bounced off the walls. Nostalgic sounds from their first album seemed to serve as a welcome escape for listeners from the relentless demands of the digital age. But if you asked any one of the guys, they were 'just having fun.'

 

Houndmouth signed with legendary indie label Rough Trade Records in 2012. From The Hills Below The City landed them on several world-famous platforms such as fellow lovable Hoosier, David Letterman's stage. When vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Matt Myers first spoke with big-name producer Dave Cobb prior to working together on their sophomore LP Little Neon Limelightthe two laughingly agreed to “not make another fucking boring Americana record.” A natural sounding album captured in a familiar fashion came together, except this time with a #1 adult alternative radio single in Sedona.” “I never once thought of us as an Americana band,” says drummer Shane Cody. “The four of us were just a rock band, but some of us had Southern accents,” he laughs.

 

The group find themselves on their third full length album, Golden Age, set for an August 3, 2018 release via Reprise Records, now with four new touring band members (Caleb Hickman, Drew Miller, Graeme Gardiner, and Aaron Craker - after Katie Toupin’s departure). Although there is no doubt that their perceived public identity is founded on roots and Americana, Houndmouth nevertheless created a concept album around a nostalgic future - and the sound will certainly reflect its message. The credits for Golden Age only begin to hint at the lengths they went to in order to find the sound of their nostalgic future — vintage Voxes, Vocoders and Moogs, modern programming, strings, tympani, baritone sax, live drums, Linn drums, unvarnished pianos and very distorted guitars. “What's happening with humans and technology right now was on my mind really heavily,” says Myers, “and we naturally went that way with the music too.  Using synthesizers and drum pads just kind of felt right. I feel like we went into it being like, ‘Yeah, let’s do a Bruce Springsteen/Daft Punk record’.”  Myers goes on to explain, “I think the human aspects are still paramount, even though it may sound a bit more bizarre. There's some part of Tom Petty, Randy Newman and the Band that I can’t get away from, and I wanted to keep that untouched, I guess. It’s not about trying to emulate what’s on the radio, it’s combining and messing with sounds to try to make something that seems very familiar but doesn't actually sound like anything you've ever heard before."

 

Houndmouth knew they wanted to work with producers who would be open to embracing a restless inventor’s spirit, but they had no idea just how inventive things would get until they hooked up with the team of Jonathan Rado, best known as a member of the celebrated indie band Foxygen, and Shawn Everett, who as a producer, engineer and mixer has been a primary collaborator on records from artists as diverse as Alabama Shakes, The Killers, The War on Drugs, Kesha, Kacey Musgraves and John Legend. In fact, the first single, “This Party,” bears a credit for “bucket and rubber band bass,” which turns out to be a literal rendering of just how they got the critical ingredient: by putting actual rubber bands around a bucket and pitching the plucking up or down in tone until they had the faux boomy bass-synth sound of everyone’s dreams. For another song, they cut up an analog tape loop and dragged it behind a truck in the desert outside of El Paso; when they ran it back through the machine, somehow the abuse had caused a spooky hi-hat sound to appear on the tape, which turned out to be just perfect for “World Leader.” As for the jaguars credited on “Black Jaguar”? They’re real — both the car and the animal. “There’s no denying that with the previous records, we weren't hip to all the stuff at our fingertips,” says bassist, vocalist, and songwriter Zak Appleby. “This time it was a completely different vibe — like, ‘Okay so we've got the skeleton for the song, now let's put the meat on it.’ I think experimental is exactly the right word. We still had boundaries to draw; they just didn’t have to do with how we got to the sounds. Shawn and Jonathan said, ‘Hey, any sound that you hear in your head — that you can hum, that you can imagine — we can create that here.’ That was day one, and that led the album in this awesome direction of anything being possible.”

 

On “Coast to Coast,” Myers sings, “Do you ever feel like a ghost when you’re staring into your phone?” Despite the holy-shit-far-outside-the-box recording style, the songs on this concept album touch more on the prison many humans find themselves in daily - one based around staring into the little electronic box we carry, or our “digital comfort zones” as the band describes them.

 

Knee-jerk reactions may define Golden Age as a metamorphosis, but it is in actuality a catharsis. Uploading one’s thoughts on life is easier than ever, but Houndmouth took a painstakingly unique route to creatively craft their purge of emotions. This album tackles the issues of identity and self in the digital epoch of romance.

  

Perhaps the perceived 'escape' or break in time provided by Houndmouth's initial sound was enough to fight off the modern plight for some time, but members and listeners are awarded now with true sight and perspective into the world as it currently stands. In the words of an author you probably quoted to some girl in college to sound interesting, "I think novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex," via Vonnegut.

Bio: Buffalo Nichols

Since his earliest infatuations with guitar, Buffalo Nichols has asked himself the same question: How can I bring the blues of the past into the future? After cutting his teeth between a Baptist church and bars in Milwaukee, it was a globetrotting trip through West Africa and Europe during a creative down period that began to reveal the answer.

“Part of my intent, making myself more comfortable with this release, is putting more Black stories into the genres of folk and blues,” guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist Carl “Buffalo” Nichols explains. “Listening to this record, I want more Black people to hear themselves in this music that is truly theirs.” That desire is embodied inhis self-titled debut albumFat Possum’s first solo blues signing in nearly 20 yearscomposed largely of demos and studio sessions recorded between Wisconsin and Texas.

Born in Houston and raised in Milwaukee’s predominantly Black North end, the guitar was Nichols’ saving grace as a young man. The instrument captured his fascination, and provided him with an outlet for self-expression and discovery in isolation. While other children chased stardom on the field, court, or classroom, Nichols took to his mother and siblings’ music collections, searching feverishly for riffs to pick out on his instrument. Sometimes, this dedication meant listening to a song 200 times in order to wrap his mind around a chord; as a teenager, it even routinely meant staying home from school to get extra practice.

It would’ve required a more than arduous journey across town to find a secular circle to jam with in a city still reeling from redlining and segregation, so despite a lack of a religious upbringing, Nichols went sacred. A friend invited the teenage guitarist to church for a gig and the opportunity proved to be Nichols’ much-needed breakthrough to music circles in the area. But over the following years, he began to feel overextended, and abandoned the demanding grind of a supporting role in nearlyten Milwaukee scene bands, none of which bore his vision as a lead performer. “I was happy with all the stuff that I was doing, and I was learning, but I wasn’t playing anything that was very creatively fulfilling,” Nichols says. “I needed the time and space. I was overwhelmed.

Stints in college and in the workforce led him overseas, where the appreciation of African-American folkways lit a renewed spark in Nichols. It was the bustling of jazz in places like the working class areas of Ukraine, or in Berlin cafes where expatriate Black Americans routinely treat fans to an enchanting evening of blues, that would lead to his a-ha moment. Nichols returned home to America, meditating on his own place in the music that holds the country’s truest values and rawest emotions between bar and measure. “Before this trip, it was hard for me to find that link between all these blues records I heard and people who are living right now. I figured out it’s not a huge commercial thing, but it still has value. So, I came home and started playing the blues more seriously, doing stuff with just me and my guitar,” Nichols says.

Nichols admits that anger and pain are realities that color the conversations and the autobiographical anecdotes behind his observational, narrative-based approach to songwriting. However, with his lyricism on Buffalo Nichols, he intends to provide a perspective that doesn’t lean heavily into stereotypes, generalizations or microaggressions regarding race, class and culture. The album sees Nichols wrestling with prescient topics, such as empathy and forgiveness on the poignant, ever-building melody of “How to Love;” regret and loss on moving, violin-inflected “These Things;” and the pitfalls of lives lived too close to the edge on the smooth, dynamic “Back on Top.” On the tender, aching album opener and lead single “Lost & Lonesome,” he gives listeners what he describes as a “glimpse into the mind of that traveler looking for a friend and a place to call home;” inspired by his years traveling alone, looking for a place for his passions to fit in, even if temporarily, the track is an ode to exploration and the creative ingenuity of isolation. At the forefront of each song is Nichols’ rich voice and evocative, virtuosic guitar-playing, augmented on half of the nine tracks by a simple, cadent drum line.

While acknowledging the joy, exuberance and triumph contained in the blues, Nichols looks intently at the genre’s origins, which harken back to complicated and dire circumstances for Black Americans. With this in mind, Nichols says there is a missing link, which he’s often used as a compass: Black stories aren’t being told responsibly in the genre anymore. To begin changing that, Buffalo Nichols gets the chance to tell his own story in the right way.

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