If you go
What: Safe Boating Is No Accident
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: hi-dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver, 303-733-0230
More info: hi-dive.com
Safe Boating Is No Accident, with Leighton Peterson and Neil McCormick at the band's core, has been a persistent presence in the Denver music scene for about four years now. There's little chance that anyone following their trajectory has gotten bored. This a band that makes music that Westword critic Tom Murphy compared to David Foster Wallace's dense and critical tome "Infinite Jest." And even while it's sharp and sometimes jarring, these guys have a knack for catchy songwriting.
This weekend, they're celebrating the release of a new record, Bonus Features, at the hi-dive, so we caught up with Peterson via email.
Tell me about the new record. What can we expect to hear?
Bonus Features is a record that's been a long time coming. There's some material that's been stewing for a long time. We ended up working with a producer/engineer named Nick Sullivan and it was a really fantastic process, really easy and simple feeling. The whole time we had this feeling like, "I can't believe it's going this well."
We're super proud of the music on here too, it's kind of a tribute record to anxiety. Lots of tightly wound arrangements and catchy, quick stuff. It was really inspired by a lot of the '70s proto punk guys. And Elvis Costello.
How did those promo photos for the show come about? I see a lot of familiar local faces in there.
That was Neil's idea. It mostly came out of an idea to parody those awful, cheesy ad campaigns where it was a docilely smiling model and the text "I Am Boston Metro" or something like that. So we thought we would take the title track's idea and use "I've got bonus features" as some kind of absurd empowering self affirmation. We just find the whole idea of bonus features a kind of sad, poignant notion. Like, why are they bonus? If they're so great, why aren't they on top?
We ended up with all music people mostly because that's who we know that will show up when we call them. Worked out great though.
As someone who's life was at one point consumed by 'Infinite Jest,' I'm wondering what you think of the comparison Tom Murphy made.
I don't know if a musical equivalent of "Infinite Jest" is even possible, but it's definitely a goal we'd be proud to aspire to. We definitely approach art in a way inspired by DFW (author David Foster Wallace) and "Infinite Jest." Which is to say that there's also another angle, another subtext or self-reference. The art lies in the expression of the thing, not the thing itself.
Going back to some older stuff — I'm curious how much of a song like "My Baby's On A Government Watchlist" is tongue-in-cheek. It feels like it can be a sincere love song for skeptics.
There's definitely a little truth flittering around the line "I think we'll make it on our own." It's something perhaps everyone feels when they fall in love. But that's kind of the point of our songs. Who says you can't at once be saying what you believe but also presenting it as satire? Maybe heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek aren't mutually exclusive!
Should we expect any performance art at the release party?
Now why would we go and tell you the answer to that? Expectations will always be denied.
Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109. Follow her at twitter.com/AshaleyJill.