They have been described as "a group whose artistic is completely uncompromising and matched only by its ability to make people dance." by Westword magazine and "one of Denver’s best and constantly underrated atmospheric rock bands, and one that deserves a national audience." by the Denver Post.
Their new LP, Flight or Flight, is available via Hot Congress Records (hotcongressrecords.com)
Matt Close-vocals, guitar, keyboard
Jon Evans-bass, vocals
Ben Mossman-drums, samples, vocals
Luke Mossman-guitar, keyboards, vocals
Achille Lauro "Flight or Flight" LP CD/Vinyl Released 2012
Achille Lauro "Indiscretions"- 12" Vinyl Released 04/10/10
Achille Lauro "self-titled" Full Length CD Released 06/27/08
Achille Lauro "Your Going to Live(and other nice things to hear)" EP Released 03/12/07
Achille Lauro at the hi-dive, 2/10/12
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Before Achille Lauro launched into a rousing rendition of "Supernatural Beings" Friday night, frontm...Before Achille Lauro launched into a rousing rendition of "Supernatural Beings" Friday night, frontman Matthew Close spoke to the creative process behind the band's new album, Flight or Flight. The album combines new material with singles released in the past year, but Close framed the new release in a different way for the near-capacity crowd at the hi-dive: "I prefer to think of it as taking a year to make a new record," he announced.
Friday's performance was an energetic combination of old and new material from the quartet, a CD release show that encompassed the entire range of sounds from Flight, as well as 2010's Indiscretions.
With the aid of guest trumpeters Squidds Madden and Josh Trinidad, as well as the complementary sets of opening acts Mercuria and the Gem Stars and Land Lines, Achille Lauro offered a show that was fitting its new record. From newer tunes like "Lightning" to rare renditions of older songs like "Sandra" and "The Hatter of Jamestown," the band delivered a comprehensive selection in a little more than an hour.
Achille Lauro kicked off their set with a fresh take on an old tune. Their revamped version of "Summertime," a ballad from Indiscretions, featured a slower pace and a funkier feel. Close took more time with the vocals, while bassist Jonathan Evans and guitarist Luke Mossman laid down a heartfelt backup in strings. Drummer Ben Mossman used brushes for the first part of the tune, switching to sticks only for the emotive finale.
The tune set a definite feel for the rest of the set, as the band worked their way through old and new tunes with an almost palpable sense of purpose. After months spent off the stage due to broken equipment, Achille Lauro seemed to revel in the chance to play for a live crowd again and celebrate an album that took a year to make.
Indeed, tracks from Flight like "Lightning," "Hard Pressed," "Hand of Sand" and "Low Cha-Cha" felt dynamic and energetic. A performance of "Sandra" from Indiscretions proved a rare treat -- the slower ballad rarely makes the band's live catalogue, and Close's vocals were especially stirring.
Trumpeters Madden and Trinidad added a more expansive sound to songs like
"Supernatural Beings" and "Low Cha Cha." Their soaring lines on "No Brakes" recreated the feel of the recording, and gave the second-to-last tune of the night an epic feel.
To wrap up the set, the band reached ever further back in its catalogue with "The Hatter of Jamestown," a tune that has yet to appear on any full release. It's a surprising omission, considering the fact the song's infectious and bright contours, its danceable and engaging rhythms. The tune is a gem, and it made for an unexpected and ideal closer for a memorable set.
Steal This Track: Achille Lauro
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This year is already proving to be a stellar one for Colorado music. Every week, we’re blessed with ...This year is already proving to be a stellar one for Colorado music. Every week, we’re blessed with new releases from local artists that make us downright patriotic about our fair state. Tomorrow night, venerable art-jazz-indie-rock outfit Achille Lauro will take the leash off its latest beast, “Flight or Flight.” You can steal a track from the album right now, before any of your friends have heard it.
The quartet of guitarist Luke Mossman, drummer (and Luke’s brother) Ben Mossman, bassist Jon Evans and distinctive vocalist and keyboardist Matt Close have turned Achille Lauro into a Denver institution. With jazzy flair, a quirky sense of humor and an inside-out take on indie pop music, the foursome has turned out a number of interesting releases over the years. On “Flight or Flight,” these Denver gentlemen collaborated once again with Denver multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer Jim Ruberto to turn their eccentric artistic visions into nine tracks of densely layered, unpredictable mood music that manages to simultaneously soothe and surprise. The band made Kristopher Coe’s “best of” list for 2011, and this release is bound to top a number of local lists for 2012.
You can get your copy of “Flight or Flight” tomorrow night at the Hi-Dive. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Mercuria & the Gems and Land Lines will open the show, which starts at 10 p.m. To get your juices flowing, steal “Lightning” right now.
The Mile High Makeout: Achille Lauro balances analog and digital with latest release
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“Drive around in a Toyota Corolla burning incense for a year and all your CDs will be ruined,” warns...“Drive around in a Toyota Corolla burning incense for a year and all your CDs will be ruined,” warns Matt Close.
Close — frontman and multi-instrumentalist for Denver indie pop outfit Achille Lauro — is reflecting on his experience delivering pizzas, while also ennumerating the reasons why the band will not make its upcoming EP, “Indiscretions,” available on CD. Instead, the EP — the inaugural release for Denver’s Hot Congress Records — will be sold as a 12? vinyl record and as a digital download. Close’s bandmate, Luke Mossman, continues: “It’s an obsolete technology. People don’t buy them anymore. They’re just kind of a nuisance. Plus, I’ve always wanted to have my music on a record anyway, so why not?”
While there’s nothing new about bands returning to vinyl for its sound quality and fetish factor, Achille Lauro is maintaining a delicate balance between the old and the new, analog and digital, with its latest release.
For “Indiscretions,” Achille Lauro decided to work with engineers Jim Ruberto (who also plays bass with Jen Korte and the Loss) and Denver drummer and soundman Xandy Whitesel. With Ruberto’s encouragement, the quartet recorded the majority of the seven-track EP live.
“We really wanted to capture all the bleed-in and warts that go on when you play live,” explains drummer Ben Mossman, Luke’s brother. “We wanted it less polished and more raw and energetic.”
“My favorite records are that kind of sloppy, and that kind of real,” adds Close.
The resulting EP, however, is far from sloppy. Like its 2008 self-titled full-length, “Indiscretions” is lush, intricate and complex. Ben and bassist Jon Evans hold down the rhythm with the subtlety of jazz men and the power of punks, while Luke and Close create layers of guitars, piano and electronics, over which Close’s dulcet tenor floats, like Jeff Buckley fronting the Talking Heads. Diverse styles blend and clash as the band seems constitutionally incapable of settling for a single genre. Songs like “Friends War,” “No Brakes” and “Summertime” shine a spotlight on the quartet’s most accessible pop sensibilities, while “Unicorns and Consent” reveals a quirky sense of humor. “If there comes a time when we release an album with a cohesive sound, I don’t even know what that would sound like,” says Close. In fact, one of the record’s most odd and noteworthy tracks is a particular point of pride for the singer. At less that two minutes in duration, “Wisdom of Gravity” might at first seem like an unfinished sketch. The atmospheric instrumental bed builds for a full minute before the entire band comes in with whispered, rhythmic vocals that almost have the quality of a sacred chant.
“I’m so happy with that,” exclaims Close. “This is the only time I’ve ever had anything turn out exactly as I’d imagined it. It’s like a voice inside your head that’s so constant you can’t ignore it.”
The band feels that this immediacy and presence is further enhanced by hearing the EP on vinyl. “It seems like there’s more distance and separation in the instruments,” Evans observes. But since the group is also offering the record as a digital download, Achille Lauro — with encouragement from Lucas Johannes and the Hot Congress collective — is paying more attention to digital promotion than ever, as evidenced by a hilarious short film, directed by John Botts, that promotes the EP release party. “It’s easier for people to sit around at work and see it on their MySpace or Facebook pages,” explains Evans of the decision to promote the CD release party through YouTube. “It reaches way more people than a flyer.”
This savvy and innovative approach to releasing and promoting music puts Achille Lauro and Hot Congress ahead of the pack, and creates a blueprint that other local artists and labels can follow. Analog and digital, old and new, vinyl and MP3 need not be opposed, but can instead be used together to create high quality music that reaches more people. Achille Lauro hopes this approach will help them find their audience, both here in Denver and out on tour.
“I’d like to have some kind of presence in any town before we go there,” explains Close. “Playing to eight people is fun in its own way, but it’s more fun to play to more.”
Indiscretions by Achille Lauro LP Review
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It’s easy to say that Achille Lauro’s Indiscretions is all over the place, and that’s because it is:...It’s easy to say that Achille Lauro’s Indiscretions is all over the place, and that’s because it is: The Denver group happily tackles everything from jazz to melancholic indie to glimmering intervals of electronic rock. Opening track “Friends War” channels The Lonesome Crowded West-era Modest Mouse with soaring, watery guitars and a sprawling Old West tenor. The feeling continues on the soulful “No Brakes,” a track rife with jazzy, dramatic horns and a chorus of echoing backup vocals. Achille Lauro has a knack for wordplay—akin to early Soul Coughing—as heard on “Wisdom Of Gravity,” a song that turns meaningful lyrics into its own instrument. The band members breathily sing-speak in unison, calling up cryptic images of “indigent grandfathers with crying hands” in a seductive cadence.
For the most part, it all works. Frontman Matt Close’s booming, emotive voice and the band’s consistently interesting instrumentation keep the layering of styles cohesive. But the album isn’t without some derailing: “Unicorns And Consent” forces fuzzy, electronic beats and manic sing-shouts on mish-mashed imagery, and though the song is somewhat catchy and intriguing, it feels out of place.
The record is strongest in its second half, with contemplative tunes like “Summertime” and the similarly introspective “Unrivaled In Class,” which builds up expressive vocals over a rich haze of electronic rumblings. At just seven songs, Indiscretions covers a lot of subject matter very quickly, and though not all of the chances that it takes work out perfectly, the release remains playfully experimental and imaginative.---Robin Edwards
Indiscretions by Achille Lauro LP Review
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“If there is ever a lounge on the moon Achille Lauro will play their particular brand of music in th...“If there is ever a lounge on the moon Achille Lauro will play their particular brand of music in that venue.” That statement was made by yours truly after first listening to Indiscretions, the newest release from Achille Lauro and the first record to be released on Hot Congress Records. Upon further listening I am convinced that the shimmery sounds captured on this record would provide an excellent soundtrack to any lunar adventure.
On the surface Indiscretions has a similar feel to Achille Lauro’s 2008 self-titled album, except this time there are a few twists thrown in. The laid-back jazz-infused bits are still there, surrounded by a flurry of horns, samples and synth. What really causes Indiscretions to stand out from their previous material is the fact that everything just sounds better. The instrumental parts are tighter and well mixed while singer Matt Close’s vocals provide a dramatically expressive element.
Each song is unique, although there are a few stand-outs. “Unicorns and Consent” is probably my personal favorite with it’s suggestive samples and hard-hitting beats political commentary. “No Brakes” is another favorite with its deep backing vocals that remind me of old blues or gospel.
To get your hands on Indiscretions (which is only being released on vinyl and as a download), head down to the Hi-Dive this Saturday. In the mean-time, watch this promotional video for the record and learn how to “Burn While You Burn.”
Live Review: Achille Lauro 03.5.10 | Meadowlark
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"but then again Achille Lauro is just stupid good. The Meadowlark was a bumpin'-uglies-with-stranger..."but then again Achille Lauro is just stupid good. The Meadowlark was a bumpin'-uglies-with-strangers sort of packed and these guys have just the jams for this or any other occasion.
Not that you would know it just by watching them. Cool to the point of flippant, the guys don't sound like they mean it when they call a song the T-Bird of songs. But they probably do. They are confident in the music they're playing, and for very good reason. They've reached a balance now, added some space to their music and achieved the best kind of groove.
Achille Lauro's new album comes out in about a month. Two of the songs are available right now on its myspace page. I could tell you how good they are all day long. Or you could just go and listen. Start with "No Breaks.""--By Kiernan Maletsky, Monday, Mar. 8 2010
Hot Congress at the Oriental
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"Achille Lauro is a ridiculously good band. Listening to it is like having the volume turned down on..."Achille Lauro is a ridiculously good band. Listening to it is like having the volume turned down on everything else you've heard recently. The act's range of influence is so huge -- from '90s guitar rock to reggae to hip-hop to electronica to shameless chart-topper pop -- and it incorporates these disparate elements in a way that is both natural and unique. Achille Lauro is the rare sort of group whose artistic vision is completely uncompromising and matched only by its ability to make people dance."-Kiernan Maletsky
Reason # 420 Why I Need To Quit My Job: Achille Lauro
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The more I listen to the spectacular Indiscretions, the sophomore album from Denver indie-pop band A...The more I listen to the spectacular Indiscretions, the sophomore album from Denver indie-pop band Achille Lauro, the more I hate the fact that I work on Saturday nights. See, these boys who like to dress in nautical and/or tennis outfits (now I wonder where they got that idea) had album release party at the Hi-Dive a couple Saturdays ago. Obviously, I couldn’t attend because I had to work.
Instead I’ve been listening to their album in my car for the past few weeks and each time it comes on it angers me more and more. Not because what I hear is bad but because what I hear is SOOOO good I can’t believe I missed this show. The record itself sounds like such a party, I can’t fathom what the actual live party was like. Sure it’s indie-pop but it’s so much more than that. It’s indie-pop if Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five had been hipsters instead of rappers. It’s party music with a message.
Over The Weekend
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The outfit's meditative and eloquent guitar lines, deepened by frontman Matt Close's sinuous synth l...The outfit's meditative and eloquent guitar lines, deepened by frontman Matt Close's sinuous synth lines and emotive vocals, made for a grounded and consistent set. Guitarist Luke Mossman offered plaintive and expertly plucked lines, a constant boon that helped carry the group's set.-- A.H Goldstein
Live review: Hot Congress feat. Action Packed Thrill Ride, Fissure Mystic, Vitamins, Achille Lauro @ the Oriental Theater
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"Truly, Achille Lauro are one of Denver’s best and constantly underrated atmospheric rock bands, and..."Truly, Achille Lauro are one of Denver’s best and constantly underrated atmospheric rock bands, and one that deserves a national audience."-John Wenzel,
We generally play a 30-90 minute set.
list of standard material-
Unicorns and Consent
Unrivaled in Class
Wisdom of Gravity
Low Cha Cha
Upward Away From the Ground
Hand of Sand
Thing About Sauza
We have been known to perform a cover or two occasionally. The time and consideration put into reinventing another artist music has been accepted well and can be used to promote the entire show itself.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.