The Press Reacts to STD

The A.V. Club Reviews This is What Happens

By Matt Schild -November 17, 2009

The power-pop underground exists in a sort of blissful parallel dimension to the mainstream. Each year, hundreds of albums are released to a slight audience of aging record geeks and pop neophytes—and overlooked by the underground press and influential tastemaking critics alike. It’s a dead-end career of preaching to the converted—and the ultimate ambition for countless bands like Six Months To Live.

The group's farewell album, This Is What Happens, is a finale made for the genre, and the foursome couldn’t have found a more fitting way to say goodbye. Six Months stays true to its back-to-basics guitar aesthetic, mixing traces of middle years Kinks by way of Wilco with the sun-drenched sparkle of The Zombies in an Apples In Stereo kind of way. Held together with an elitism that dutifully avoids anything obvious between Big Star and Britpop, This Is What Happens is double black-diamond, experts-only power pop that’s almost proudly resigned to its niche market.

“Friend Of Mine” lets rhythm of Merseybeat riffs wrestle with a Californian sunshine, in the classic guitar-pop proportions that define most of the album. “Carol Is” and “Let The Guitar Burn” rope in the faintest traces of roots rock, with their acoustic guitars and deliberate rhythms, though neither is present enough to throw the band out of its carefully cultivated pop-purist zone.

You don’t form a classic power-pop band because you want to save rock 'n' roll, become a major-league rock star, or impress the hip, young blogger set. You do it because you love the form and want to try to chase down genre perfection.  It’s a shame Six Months To Live is calling it a day, as This Is What Happens finds songwriting success in an inherently unsuccessful enterprise. Grade: B

*Critic's Choice*
Six Months to Live - Final Show/CD Release
critics choice

*Album Review*
Six Months to Live - This Is What Happens

By Cory Casciato. Nov 3, 2009

It's a shame that Six Months to Live's time is up (their final show, a CD release for this album, is Saturday, November 14), since this disc shows them reaching a new level of polish. The group's sound has evolved to something like Beulah laced with a more cynical They Might Be Giants and a touch of Wilco, which is not a bad place to wind up.


That style lets the strong songwriting take the forefront, resulting in a solid batch of weird yet appealing pop tunes with a touch of humor. Standouts include the catchy spazz-pop strains of "Knock Three Times" and "Cool Kids," the faux-'70s smooth rock of "Sole Operator," and the purported closer, "Welcome Home," which really ramps up the Wilco references.

Six Months to Live has less than six weeks to live

By Cory Casciato in Upbeats and Beatdowns
Mon., Oct. 5 2009

Local oddball popsters Six Months to Live are calling it quits -- just as soon as the new album is finished and released. "If stoned friends are any judge of quality, it's going to be an incredible record," frontman Gregory Hill says. The band's CD release and final show will be November 14 at the Meadowlark.

And as for why the band is breaking up? Hill shows the same flair for explanation that he does for obtuse and off the wall lyrics. "In four words: creative differences, sort of. Not really, though," he says "It's mostly the fact that we have different ambitions but virtually all of those ambitions require more time than we collectively have and so therefore couldn't complete any of them even if we agreed on all of them." Regardless of reason, Denver is losing a fine pop outfit with a flair for the absurd. We'll miss these guys. Let's hope Hill and the other members have some individual projects up their sleeves for the future.


Westword Music Showcase reviewed: Bar Standard

By Cory Casciato in Last Night's Show, Music Showcase, Monday, Jun. 15 2009

Six Months to Live - 12:00 - MS

Actually, this got started at more like 12:20 or so. What, a festival running late? Inconceivable! I've got the most recent Six Months to Live album and have enjoyed its poppy goodness for sometime - matter of fact, I had "Spin a Top" stuck in my head for a couple days before the festival. And they played it for me. The rock elements of this band definitely came out more live than on the disc. Also, I loved the keytar and the contrasting fashion of the two leads - one wore a bathrobe and pajamas, the other a suit and tie. Classy.

Verdict: Not as tight as on the album, but considerably more rocking. I'd definitely enjoy a full set from this band sometime.

Flier of the Week: Six Months to Live at Meadowlark

By Cory Casciato. Friday, May 15, 2009


Seems like just yesterday I was writing about the influence of horror movies on my musical taste (okay, it was two days ago) when along comes a flier sporting an image of the kind of thing I'd expect to see chasing some hapless victim in the next Silent Hill movie. Or maybe an exceprt from a book of the most bizarre medical aberattions ever. Supporting this groovy image is some nice, stark typography conveying just the minimum set of info needed to get you out to the show -- which I really appreciate, since I find a lot of great fliers ruined by too much text. And if you look closely, you might notice that hand has six fingers -- one for each month to live for the titular band. Deep, man. Real deep. And, as always, if you click on that image you'll get a bigger version in a popup window.

Six Months to Live

A Better Place
Sparky the Dog Records
May 06, 2009

By Cory Casciato

better place

Perhaps having a short time to live makes you reach for everything you hoped to accomplish in a longer lifetime. That could explain why A Better Place is so crammed full of ideas, influences and styles over the course of its fourteen tracks. Gregory Hill and his cohorts channel the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Brit pop, Elvis Costello, Neutral Milk Hotel and more. The results aren't always great, but they hit more often than not. Unfortunately, the last third of the disc is fairly weak, dragging the average down a bit. If the whole disc lived up to the strength of its best tracks, such as the bizarre and macabre "Vampires Killed Our Parents" or the insanely catchy "Spin a Top," it would be a minor classic.

Freaky Friday: "Falconry" and the Ides of March Party

By Cory Casciato in Freaky Friday - Friday, Mar. 20 2009

ides of march

I do so love it when I come across something local that's freaky enough to make the cut on Freaky Friday. And let me tell you lovers of weird shit, I cut no corners on today's entry. To the contrary, this actually bounced a great entry from the '70s that I'm now saving for next week! Today's freak out comes courtesy of the Sparky the Dog project STD for the Holidays. This year, they chose the sorely overlooked Ides of March to celebrate with a compilation of themed songs. Apparently, St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day were briefly considered but finally rejected, "Because there are already too many goddamned songs about love and booze, " as project lead Soapy Argyle explains. The criteria for inclusion were simple: anyone who submitted was included. The results include some fun, let-your-hair-down moments from bands such as the Hollyfelds and deadbubbles, but the real gems come from, as Argyle explains, "Humans who you'd never expect to record anything ever," such as Professor Falcon, a PhDed archaelogist who contributes the mind-bending puppet-metal clip found after the jump. Watch it, then grab the whole comp, for free!, by going to the STD for the Holidays homepage.



onion review

April 10 2008 - "Because you like your rock 'n' roll mixed with biting social commentary, Six Months to Live is here for you. ...Listen to some of the new tracks — especially the catchy 'Vampires Killed Our Parents' — at"
-- Ricardo Baca Denver Post Best Bets

April 2008 - " "With the release of their new album, A Better Place, Six Months to Live is gearing up for the inevitable onslaught of media attention and groupie love that will follow. Judging by their beautiful, playful singing and songwriting they had better start getting used to the bright flashing lights of fame."
--This Week In Denver

Six Months to Live: An Affordable Alternative to Psychotherapy

"...Six Months to Live forge the history of rock styles into a modern psychosocial amalgam that includes harmonic surprises, time changes, and bridges that never return to the verse, but will instead launch into a crescendo coda...Six Months to Live often seem like they are balanced precariously over a pit of destruction. And yet, at the conclusion of a show, the audience inevitably has the wide-eyed look of those who have undergone an intensive--and remarkably affordable--session of group therapy."--Enfuse Magazine







best of

On Honey Bucket , Soapy Argyle solo disc: “… I'm absolutely floored. [Honey Bucket] is very cool, extremely clever, creative, melodic pop music,with terrific harmonies and hooks galore. Great vocals and playing complete the picture. You're all over the place musically, and thank God for that: this is some of the most inventive stuff I've heard in ages, with real variety that makes for a fantastic listening experience” – Alan Haber, host of the Pure Pop radio show, WEBR

Matt Shupe The Combined Effects of Caffeine and Alcohol (Sparky the Dog Records). Mixing uppers and downers is risky business. But in the hands of multi-instrumentalist Matt Shupe (who enlists pals from Mr. Tree & the Wingnuts and the Denver Gentlemen), humor and heartache make for compatible bedfellows. Easygoing vocals complement clever tunes about lonely pear-shaped girls, Django Reinhardt and a devious dog named Henry Kissinger. -- John La Briola Westword

Soapy Argyle Sycamore (Sparky the Dog Records). Soapy Argyle (Greg Hill) describes himself as an "inventor of the binary logic box and writer of quirk" -- which almost explains his approach to music. Argyle digs flowers and Tiny Tim, rides his bike in the snow, raps, and has no problem donning the goat horns of a confused lounge singer. But underneath that chameleonic exterior beats the heart of a charmingly experimental goofball. -- John La Briola Westword

Soapy Argyle MacAlaster (Sparky the Dog Records)
Soapy Argyle realized that the magic of digital technology is the very thing that would allow him to piece together a simple mock opera that condemns the digital age… A good-natured mix of rural tones, jazzbo narration, psychedelia and sea chanteys, MacAlaster (pronounced "mackle-astor") even comes with a swell cartoon booklet by Starving Magpie progenitor Lucas Richards. Arrrrr! – John La Briola Westword

Best Compilation Dedicated to a Demonic Dachshund
Halloweiner Dog Forget vampires, mummies and werewolves. Last Halloween's most frightening spectacle was an evil dachshund flying on oversized bat wings, shooting death rays from a pair of black, lifeless eyes, transforming the Front Range into a smoking crater. Amusing cover art aside, Sparky the Dog's spooktastic holiday compilation was a fun, apple-bobbing affair cobbled together by Soapy Argyle, Matt Shupe, Brett Duesing, Andy Gross, Jeff Cohen and others from the homespun collective. Boasting fourteen tracks that range from "Booty Pirate" to "Decomposing Beethoven," Halloweiner Dog has a bark worse than its bite -- but don't ever look it in the eye if you want to live to see another footlong.
Best of Denver, Westword

"After landing on Skull Island, George W. Bush challenges a group of curious stegosauruses and T. rexes to a fistfight before hightailing it back to Air Force One. The twelve-page comic comes with a 'handy metaphoric guide' ('Air Force One equals Penis') and alludes to everything from nuclear proliferation to cultural imperialism. The reader is, of course, meant to root for the dinosaurs." Westword Off Limits, 2004

Captain Missiletoe: the First Collection : Best Indie Comic Collection: "[There is absolutely nothing worth quoting from this article]" - Westword

"Cops in Hi-Tops" from Now Bring That Here, by Skinner (Sparky the Dog Records)
If they're not bumped down to vice squad for violating dress code, the lawmen depicted in this amusing back-porch ditty from pro-femme songstress Hilary Skinner could probably moonlight as semi-approachable bouncers. There's something about a man in uniform. Westword

Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts: On a Wing and a Prayer- Westword , 2001 Music Showcase- Westword ,2000 Best of Nutritious Release - Westword

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