The World Reacts to Six Months to Live...

Westword Review of the the final Six Months to Live Peformance

By Tom Murphy in Last Night's Show

Mon., Nov. 16 2009 @ 1:00PM

SixMonthsToLive-Nov14-10.JPG

Six Months to Live, deadbubbles and Dario Rosa
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Meadowlark
Better Than:
The second big snowstorm of the season outside.

Opening act deadbubbles set the pace for the rest of the show with an energetic set of rock and roll full of more than its fair share of weirdness and eccentricity mixed in to keep things interesting. Frontman Arlo White leaped, pranced and gestured with tasteful bombast about the room during the band's set, and during "6669," he held a utility light with a red filter close to his face. Normally this might come off as kind of a cheesy gesture, but White and the rest of the band performed each song with absolute conviction in the material that even this momentary affectation added to the showmanship. Toward the end of the set, the guys played one of their strongest numbers, the early solo Eno/T. Rex-esque "Sparkle Jets," before concluding with another of its best songs, "Rock Solid!" aided by Six Months to Live's Greg Hill on sax and Zack Littlefield of Dario Rosa on tambourine.

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deadbubbles-Nov14-10.JPG

deadbubbles
(Tom Murphy)

Up next was Dario Rosa, probably one of the most underrated bands regularly playing in and around Denver. Weaving together strands of country, pop and rock, the act never fails to be compelling. The harmonies were flawless, and Bobby Genser's wild leads were standouts in the set. Musically, the band is heavily influenced by mid-'60s Stones, early Who and Pink Floyd prior to the exit of Syd Barrett -- which may make the act sound like a throwback but this quintet makes it work and seem like anything but. An especially memorable part of the show happened when the band played the excellent and every so slightly trippy "Jagged Jones" and masterfully blended in some of Donovan's psych-rock classic "Atlantis" to the end. Rosa closed with a rousing version of "She Hates the Scene."

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DarioRosa-Nov14-10.JPG

Dario Rosa
(Tom Murphy)

Before beginning their last show ever, Six Month to Live's Chris Brumbaugh teased a bit of "Cocaine" and Greg Hill answered with a bit of "Tequila" on his own guitar. Starting things off with a bang, the band played "Cool Kids," with Hill beating the heck out of a cowbell set on a stand with a drum stick until it splintered and pieces flew into the audience. From there, the group proved that a well crafted pop song with great hooks need not be pablum. The mixture of pop, funk, soul and outright rocking could have sounded like too much in one band, but it never once did with these guys.

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SixMonthsToLive-Nov14-11.JPG

Six Months to Live
(Tom Murphy)

The bittersweetness of "Ushi" was palpable, while "Sole Operator" sounded like it could have come out of Motown. After playing "Selective Hearing," Hill told us in his affectedly hilariously hoarse voice that he and his bandmates would take a quick break -- which they did and which lasted precisely two seconds, and back they were with the jazz-inflected "Carol Is." For what we were told was the first time, Six Months played "Welcome Home" right before a stupendously good version of David Bowie's "Starman." Near the end of its set, the act played a joyous, if gloriously warped, version of The Stones' "Dead Flowers," during which Arlo White and Dario Rosa joined in on the choruses. But the show wasn't over yet, and we were treated to an encore of "How to Conquer Grief" and "Do You Want to Rock and Roll?"

Fittingly, Six Months to Live played its last set ever like it had nothing left to lose.

Ant

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

Ant

Westword Q&A with Greg Hill of
Six Months to Live

Tom Murphy. November 12, 2009

[Note from Sparky the Dog: This is a long interview. Out of respect to our readers, we're only including some of the less-stupid things Greg said. We've also included bracketed, italicized notes to clarifiy vagaries and correct omissions. You may read the entire thing here.]

Having released three albums in four years, Six Months to Live has been one of the most prolific of poppy rock and roll bands out of Denver. Formed by former members Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts, Six Months' membership has included Mendel Rabinovitch of Cabaret Diosa and Zack Littlefield of Sonnenblume [and Matt Shupe of general awesomeness]. With the relatively humble goal of being a great rock and roll band, this quartet weathered the slings and arrows of playing the local circuit and became exactly that. These guys never assumed that they were not as good as their peers, rather they set out each show to be the best band on the bill and not be intimidated by anyone. This bravado was not without its share of good humor but any band worth its salt never tries to go for second best.

This amplified self-expectation resulted in This is What Happens, the band's worthy latest release and regrettably its swan song. We had a chance to speak at length with singer and guitarist Greg Hill for a candid discussion of the band's history, the artwork for its latest album, the pitfalls of phone interviews and the musical future of the members of the band. Hill's dry and absurdist humor informs much of the act's songwriting as well as its lively and bombastic performances. Catch Six Months to Live for the last time with Dario Rosa and deadbubbles at the Meadowlark this Saturday, November 14.

Westword: The name of your band sounds kind of like a built-in death sentence. When did the band start and how did you come up with such a name?

Greg Hill: [In 2005, when the band was starting up] I got home from work one day and said, "There's no way this band is going to last six months." There are people that would argue that it's a terrible name for a pop band. At our first gig, I swear to God there were goth kids there thinking they were going to see some Cookie Monster band.

WW: Clearly, there's a sense of the whimsical and playfulness to your performance and songwriting. How would you describe your sense of humor and the role it plays in your music?

GH: That is a good question, sir, because it speaks to the very state the band is in right now. As I mentioned earlier, we are a serious band. But as time has gone on, you just get more reactions out of people by being silly and with bratty behavior. But the rest of the band, especially with the current incarnation, they're not up there to be clowns; they're up there to play music -- which is in their job description and which is the band that they joined. We've never had arguments, we just talked about where we wanted to move as a band. Chris and I spoke about it at great length, and he said he wasn't interested in being a half-comedy, half rock and roll band. And I understand that.

WW: Your band always seemed to have a bit of a sartorial flair on stage. What prompted that kind of visual approach to your performances?

GH: . Even though we're rock and rollers, we want to bring a level of professionalism to the stage. And all these people with their piercings and their tattoos? We want to show there can be dignity in a job where you're paid in beer.

WW: Can you tell me about the cover art for that album as well as your previous efforts -- i.e. the placing of the words on This is What Happens? It doesn't seem completely random.

GH: [Completely failing to answer the question] It's a mandala. The dude who did most of the cover art is named Andy Brzeczek. He's this super cool artist guy.
front cover

We sat down one day and went through the song titles, and I gave him an image for each one and he tried to integrate them [into the painting on the innersleeve artwork]. Ideally, you're supposed to find every song in [the artwork].
painting
The CDs themselves, he and a friend spraypainted the CDs [each with a unique stenciled work of art], and some of them have flecks of paint on the bottom, so some are guaranteed not to play. And if someone doesn't like it, they'll let us know, and we'll give them another one.

WW: What were your favorite shows during the time the band was together?

GH: My favorite moment with Six Months to Live happens once at almost every show.  We're playing a song -- usually something where Chris sings lead -- and we're harmonizing on a lyric and Chris's voice is coming out his mouth like a -- I don't know -- like a flashlight, I guess, and I'm somehow not fucking it up.  Sandler's eyes are rolled up backward in his head, and he's plopping out one fat melodic note after another.  Donnie's right foot is keeping us all in line, and he's whacking the cymbals so hard your ears are trying to pinch themselves shut. There's a moment of clarity, or delusion, where I think to myself, "I love the fact that we're allowed to make music on this stage and that there are people willing to come to watch us and that this band is so goddamned awesome. I wish this could last forever."


Ant

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


Ant

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

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.

TIWH

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.


Ant

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.

SixMonthstoLive.jpg


Ant

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.


Ant

Flier of the Week: Six Months to Live at Meadowlark

By Cory Casciato. Friday, May 15, 2009

090613meadowlark.jpg

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.

Ant

A mere 13 months after the album is released...

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.


Ant


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 myspace.com/sixmonthstolive."
-- 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
August 2007 - Once again, we're included on a compilation of local acts.  Adventure Records' Cuvée 4, features the outstanding
toe-tapper, How To Conquer Grief

Other acts on the CD include Deadbubbles, Jonathan Byerley,
and Breezy Porticos

Six Months to Live:
An Affordable Alternative to Psychotherapy

"With influences that range from the British Invasion to New Wave and modern Indie Rock, Six Months to Live forge... 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. Their lyrics range from brilliant articulations of heartbreak to quirky hallucinogenic wordcraft. With dynamic arrangements that build tension over the whole affair, 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."
--An especially astute paragraph by Enfuse Magazine April 2007

January 2007 - We're proud to have our song, Pop Quiz, included on the third compliation CD from Public Service Records.

Other acts on the CD include Nightshark, Pee Pee,
and A Dog, Paloma.

--from Westword, November 3, 2006
unc·tu·ous adj. : Characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness.



"Need something new-fangled to listen to?  Don't we all? 
Don't worry.  Six Months to Live is here to help."
--From Who's Making Noise? Colorado Music Buzz, October 2006

Locals Only: Six Months to Live
Mobilizing Denver's power-pop underground
(with further clarification provided by the band)

By Greg Glasgow, Camera Music Writer
June 16, 2006

Four Denver bands revive a "lost genre" of rock tonight at Denver's Three Kings Tavern, 60 S. Broadway — power-pop, the post-Beatles rock genre perfected in the '70s by artists such as Todd Rundgren, Big Star and the Raspberries.

Emphasizing ultra-hooky melodies, catchy guitar riffs and vocal harmonies, the form apparently is catching on again among bands such as Denver's Six Months to Live, which shares the stage at tonight's show with the Nancy Drews, the StartUps and the Knew.

Six Months to Live singer and guitarist Greg Hill, aka Soapy Argyle, describes power pop as "basically Beatles-derivative music that has stupider lyrics." [note: SMTL lyrics are not stupid ] He first applied the term to his band after hearing some classic power pop on the radio.

"We were doing our thing and we were actually looking for a genre to pigeonhole ourselves in, because you've got to do that, and I was listening to some Badfinger, and I was like, 'That's us!,'" says Hill, 33. [note: Hill does not know why he said this; it never happened and he does not care for Badfinger] "Badfinger, they have really stupid lyrics generally [note: replace “generally” with “always ”], but the music is redeemed just by the yumminess that it gives. But then you have bands like Big Star, who actually could get kind of profound. So it runs the gamut. I like that."

The bands on tonight's bill won't be the first Denver bands to resurrect the genre — Dressy Bessy, the Apples in Stereo and other Elephant 6 bands did the same thing in the '90s [note: not exactly the same thing. DB and AIS were less power, more pop. SMTL lack the bubblegum component of said bands, especially the former, for whom they opened at the Fox in July and managed to annoy the hell out of (according to the testimony of a third party who was hammered at the time and who therefore might have been exaggerating) by discussing testicles for half an hour backstage before the show], and some of them are still going strong. Still, Hill sees the typically upbeat, fun style [note: SMTL sings the saddest song ever written, I'm So Very Blue] as a good antidote to Denver's often too-cool-for-school indie-rock scene.

"It seems like in Denver there's an audience for everything. But they're ripe for the power pop," he says. "When we started Six Months to Live, the original drummer and I, we'd just seen the Shins play at the Gothic, and we liked that band but we saw them play and we were just complaining to each other about how boring they are on stage.

"The music's brilliant, but they [note: we are not certain who "they" refers to] just stood there, and we started bitching about how the indie music in Denver just doesn't have a lot of emotion and people stand on stage and there's a lot of — I don't want to sound like a mean guy [note: Hill wanted to sound like a mean guy], but it just seemed like they were really trying to look disinterested.

"The way they approach music and songs is they just have this sort of deliberate ignorance, which is great, that's what rock 'n' roll is in some ways, but we just want to put a little more effort into learning our instruments, we want to sing and sing in harmony — I think Denver is maybe ready for something more musically interesting and theatrically fun." [note: after receiving a severe beating, Hill agreed that all subsequent interviews must be conducted with full band present ]



March 2006 - Selective Hearing selected for comp CD
Taking their place amongst the finest acts in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, Six Months to Live, are featured on Cuvée 3, the latest compilation of Colorado's incomparable music fromAdventure Records.

Other acts on the CD include Devotchka, Hot IQs,
Matson Jones and Dario Rosa.

--from Westword July 7, 2005

     
       
         
           

Six Months to Live are Denver's premier purveyors of power pop.
Honey-coated harmony vocals; warm, melodic bass; tuneful drums;
snarling and flawless guitars; and finely-crafted tunes add up to an
alternately stunning and thrilling rock and roll experience.

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