Review: American Grizzly's "In The Distance" Is A Journey Of Letting Go & Letting Be

By: Sam Piscitelli

In the course of our lives, we find ourselves repeating the cycle of dating: letting someone in just to realize later on that they aren’t right for us or that we aren’t right for them. If we’re lucky the cycle can be halted, if not we can become restless while pining for a long, overdue break. Rather than focus on the journey what love has set itself up to be, we focus on the peaks and valleys it provides. American Grizzly’s new single “In The Distance” beautifully depicts the acknowledgement of this bittersweet hardship through the lenses of letting go and letting be.

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While a myriad of breakup songs are delivered as either searing letters of revenge or false betterment, “In The Distance” withdraws from the normalcy that is placed before it. Rather, it relishes in the luxury of time, the perspective it’s given and the ability to move forward knowing that, this one particular love is buried and in the past. It’s a strong shot of truth and accountability, followed by understanding and acceptance. American Grizzly’s execution is not only flawless and refreshing, but showcases that the band is willing to go the unseen route to pursue what their truth is rather than capitalizing on current music trends for fame or fortune.

American Grizzly is a shining example of the difference between creating music and curating it. They write for their music to be sustainable through the years, not to just be a flash in the pan. “In The Distance” is a testament to that, through emotional intellect and a heart on the sleeve approach we are introduced to a song that is well-crafted and forged with the utmost care and respect. If “In The Distance” is only the single released so far, then the forthcoming album will be a record to remember.

Keep up with American Grizzly here.

-Sam

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Corsicana's "Reprieve" Recalls The Detriments Of Growing Up

By: Sam Piscitelli

Growing up as naive children we tend to imagine life as an exploration of majestic intent. We prefer to seek out our own wanderlust in order to see what the world has prepared for us. There’s an impression that the lives we lead will be difficult at times but we tend to see it as less realistic and more fantasy than anything else. In Corsicana’s new single “Reprieve” from their forthcoming record Perennial, that flawed logic falls short as we’re given an authentic perspective into the detriments of growing up.

Corsicana makes it clear within their first line that there’s essentially no give and take left in their adult lives except when they’re asleep. With taut precision and delicate placements Corsicana’s “Reprieve” introduces us to the loss of innocence, the unwarranted heaviness it leaves on your chest and the undying life of having life figured out only to end up questioning the answers you had before. The song is contradictory in the sense that it lulls you into a warm familiarity while also causing a recurring shock of wondering what’s ahead, but it’s the contradictories complexity that makes the song genuinely sincere. The ability to mourn while comprehending the ability to move forward is the basis of learning to live through life.

Corsicana.

Corsicana.

The attempts at painting a picture that is a universal struggle may seem like a challenge, but here, it’s done with ease. It just goes to show that an old idea can have a nuanced perspective when done right. It’s a welcomed approach to an idea that’s seemingly been all dried up. The idea of growing older is largely capitalized on, but is rarely executed right. While Twenty-One Pilots hint at growing up as unromantic and Taylor Swift muses she wants to turn back time, Corsicana’s take is about relying on life to balance itself out. “Reprieve” is a song that expertly unravels life’s little moments, whether that may be the beauty, the ugly, or the fine line that treads between them.

Keep up with Corsicana here.

-Sam

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Knuckle Pups’ “Last Whim” Live Session Proves There’s Still Magic In The Intimacy of a Small Room

By: Sam Piscitelli

There’s something about the simplicity of sitting in tight-knit spaces and playing the music you made with your friends. Maybe it’s the resurfacing of the first time you discovered that a particular chord progression mixed correctly and almost sounds poetic. Maybe it’s the feeling of the fire that was first lit after your initial “unofficial” soundcheck in your bandmate’s basement, living room, or garage. Or maybe it’s the ability to play with the sole purpose of letting your music speak for itself. Either way, the energy that can be felt from the Knuckle Pups “Last Whim” live session is spellbinding.

Instead of gunning for a large budget production or over-the-top visual effects, the Knuckle Pups grip listeners with their organic chemistry as a band. Set up in a small recording room, listeners can feel the magic come alive from the beginning of the session, as the voices of the bandmates and the tuning of their instruments carries outward. From there, we’re fortunate to see the Knuckle Pups for who they really are, a group of musically-inclined friends who riff off each other. There’s no glossy cover-up or unnatural introduction; rather there’s a sense of quaint humility. Through the next three minutes and fifty-one seconds, fans and non-fans alike bare witness to a band that gracefully flake on what the standard of an image should be and create their own.

Knuckle Pups.

Knuckle Pups.

You come to understand that while the music video contributes to the branding of Knuckle Pups, it only truly personifies the essence of what the band itself represent, which is allowing their music to speak for itself. Rather than let some false narrative introduce them to the world, the Knuckle Pups use their raw talent and hard work to indicate their presence. It’s a gutsy move, especially for a band that just released their first EP into the world. But, it pays off, as we’re introduced to a band who is both fearless and heartfelt.

-Sam

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Durango’s Liver Down the River Keeps the Jams Alive After an Evening with The String Cheese Incident

By: Moriel O’Connor

Ain't no party like a cheesy hotel after party.

Following The String Cheese Incident Saturday show New Year’s Eve weekend, Liver Down the River and Evanoff performed at the unofficial after party at the Aloft Hotel in Broomfield, Colorado. Liver Down the River, known as “Liver” to their fanbase, who themselves are known as “liverfolk,” made me want to spin until I fell down in a mountain meadow. Their style brings bluegrass to a new level sometimes called “funkideligrass.” Step into their set, and you will find heartfelt vocals, marvelous fiddle playing, psychedelic melodies, and funky bass lines growing from bluegrass roots.They capture the essence of Colorado funk and blues in a truly unique way.

Akin to String Cheese, Liver bring individuals together through joyful sounds. Bliss filled the room last weekend and in the midst of a night of euphoric motion, I learned a valuable lesson: If an “officer” in a red lace dress hands you a citation for “killer dance moves,” you should probably make it to the court date.

Liver Down the River.

Liver Down the River.

Fellow BolderBeat contributor Cy Fontenot plays the drums for Liver Down the River, and he keeps the tempo up to the fast paced wanderlust of the west. I asked Cy a few questions to pick his rhythmic and wise mind. Read more below:

What river does your liver go down?

The river of life, love, and psychedelic space grass.

Do you have plans to bring Liver Down the River’s Colorado sound around the world. If so, where will you go?

Definitely, I think west coast is our next move but I would personally love to make it to Japan, Amsterdam, Germany, Columbia, Brazil, all corners of the planet.

What are some of your favorite Colorado venues?

We love playing at the Lariat, the Vic, Cervantes, and Schmiggity’s, but most of all our hometown Animas City Theatre.

Cy Fontenot.

Cy Fontenot.

What do you love about playing the drums?

Personally, I love the drums because you don't have to think about notes, chords, modes… it's all rhythm, so it frees up space in my mind to connect to what the moment wants, enabling my intuition to take over.

Besides playing in Liver and contributing for BolderBeat, what brings you joy?

Honestly I love adventuring, love the mountains, love playing music and love the connection that music allows me to have with my bandmates as well as the audience.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Just go for it, play with everyone you can, wherever you can and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll learn.

Sound advice Cy.

With hearts of gold and bold measures of adventure, Liver Down the River is certain to kindle a damn good time. Based in Durango, Liver frequently travels through the Rockies to the Front Range with their jams. They recently signed with Ever Upward Entertainment and have high mountain ambitions for 2019. During the last summer spent touring, they recorded a live album to be released this spring. They also have plans for a brand new studio album. Catch them if you can at their next hoedown on January 25th at Ullrgrass in Golden, Colorado.

-Moriel

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The String Cheese Incident: A New Year’s Celebration 25 Years in the Making

By: Cy Fontenot

Night one of String Cheese Incident’s 25th Anniversary New Year Celebration at Broomfield, Colorado’s 1stBank Center was one for the books. World renown bluegrass rockstars Sam Bush and Darol Anger joined the stage for most of the first set, and it was bluegrass throwdown String Cheese-style. Bill Nershi was feelin’ it and everyone knew. They seemed to be experimenting with what people are calling the “Palindrome Set.” I’ll break it down:

In the first set they teased the palindrome idea with:

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Salt Creek”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

Following this, Darol Anger became our collective stepdad as he, Sam Bush, and Michael Kang all whipped out their fiddles and baptized the crowd with the benevolent wisdom of the bluegrass gods. The crew went on to play:

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

“Sand Dollar”

“Revival”

“Colorado Bluebird Sky”

But then the second set was where things got trippy; lights and screens began to come alive and the Cheese got extra psychedelic as they entered back into a palindrome of sorts part two with:

“Close Your Eyes”

“Black Clouds”

“Jellyfish”

“Round the Wheel”

“Texas”

“Land’s End”

“Texas”

“Round the Wheel”

“Jellyfish”

“Black Clouds”

“Close Your Eyes”

The String Cheese Incident.

The String Cheese Incident.

This palindrome idea may seem cheesy, no pun intended, but it allowed a wonderful platform for String Cheese to do what they do best: improvise. The key to improvisation lies in the moment: that moment when the crowd is connected to the band, and they aren’t thinking, they’re just doing. It’s like everyone in the room is experiencing the moment together, through the music, sharing the feeling of life, love, joy and inspiration. It’s amazing when an artist can detach from the ego of being an artist and let the music be what it wants to be. This, among many reasons, is why String Cheese Incident have impacted so many lives, and why they have the beyond-dedicated following they have managed to acquire over the last 25 years. If we’re lucky, we’ll get another 25 years of String Cheese.

Check out String Cheese’s upcoming tour dates and latest releases here.

-Cy

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Decadence: Bass, Balloons, & Everything We Loved About This Year's Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

After several consecutive years of bringing dance music entertainment to Denver, Decadence has become an established music festival during New Year’s holiday season, and it shows. BolderBeat attended the first night of the two-day, EDM-focused event, and we were impressed to see clear improvements from previous years.

First, the lineup…

The first night of Decadence was clearly geared more to the “hard” EDM loving fans. With names like Zed’s Dead and Bassnectar, there were some big dubstep fans ready to get down. The lineup for New Year’s Eve was a little more dancey and mainstream, with names like Marshmello headlining.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

On January 30th, with two main stages and a smaller silent disco, Decadence had no choice but to stack the lineup with talent, and they did just that. The first notable names of the night were Above & Beyond and Alison Wonderland. Although these two acts are significantly different styles of EDM, this was clearly the attendees’ most difficult decision regarding which show to see. Bouncing around both stages, it was obvious that each show was its own party. But Alison Wonderland garnered a larger crowd, which made sense. The only DJs whose names were sported on fans’ clothing were Allison Wonderland and Bassnectar.

Which brings us to the most anticipated performance of the night. Bassnectar, a Colorado favorite, did what he does best: mixing new and old hip-hop with his hard hitting classics. This night’s set included a fun, sped-up remix of “Teach Me How to Dougie,” which of course got the whole crowd moving.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Meanwhile, if you wanted a break from the big stages, there were always enough headphones to go around at the “Silent Disco.” Always a fun battle of colors, there were constantly three different DJs competing to change the headphones to their own “channel.” It was surprisingly easy to be social at the Silent Disco though; you could take off your headphones and chat it up with your dancing neighbors!

Vegas favorite Skrillex closed the night with an hour-long 2AM set. He played the oldie “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and also the entirety of his newer remixes of rap songs, both Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble“ and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.“ The fans were pleased; this set definitely had the most jumping and moving compared to the others.

Next, the logistics…

New Year’s is inevitably a hectic holiday, and when you pack thousands of partying people into one building, it is easy for things to get out of hand. But Decadence did a great job of controlling everything. Entering and exiting moved smoothly, although security was still diligent. And coat check, which can prove to be a huge time waster at events like this, ran efficiently, which was awesome to see. The only word of advice to those who don’t want to wait out the end of their night in the cold at Decadence is to leave 20 minutes before the last set ends to avoid waiting forever for an overpriced Uber/Lyft. Spoken from experience.

Lastly, the production…

The lights and lasers at the stages were impressive, but you didn’t need to see a show to experience cool visuals. Throughout the Denver Convention Center were different light fixtures and displays that had fans double-taking over and over again. Above the crowd were interesting inflated white balloons, and UFO-looking ships that lowered and raised to the music. It was a playground for adults and a really cool sight to see.

After a very successful weekend, it’s safe to say we’re even more excited now to see what Decadence has in store for ringing in 2020!

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Prep Rally "Break In" the New Year with Latest Single

By: Julia Talen

Just shy of one year after the release of their debut EP, Passing Notes, Denver electro-pop duo Prep Rally will reign in 2019 with the release of their new single, “Break In” when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve.

Prep Rally.

Prep Rally.

The pair, made up of Tatum Russo (vocalist and flautist) and Drew Norris (instrumentalist), have clearly pulsed the Colorado indie scene with their dance-pop tunes, ethereal, tiered vocalization, and intriguing instrumentals.

“Break In” highlights these enticing qualities in Prep Rally’s music, evocative of the pop trifecta, Haim with it’s upbeat, fun pace and dance feel. Norris’ explorative instrumentation is certainly something to take note of- it’s playful and different with each verse, and has a whimsical quality that keeps listeners engaged. In addition to the instrumentation, at times in the track, Russo’s vocals have a retro vibe similar to Denver’s beloved Alaina Moore. At other times during the song, when Russo’s vocals are layered, the tune reminds me of something celestial off of Grimes’ Vision album.

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Along with the delicious indie quality of “Break In,” the lyrics couldn’t be more fitting for a fresh start in the New Year. Listeners will take away invigorating optimism from lines like, “I used to break down… I’m breaking in now” as they spin and strut their way into 2019 with this track.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Hat Trick Debuts Video Launch Featuring Arkansas' Couch Jackets

By: Julia Talen

Hat Trick, based out of Silver Street Studio in Ashland, Nebraska, is a new, promising recording and film project featuring up-and-coming musical artists. The production and film crew shoot artists performing three consecutive songs in their studio, free of charge for musicians. The bands that perform then receive equally split earnings from the video, which is posted on Youtube. Hat Trick recently released their first session with Little Rock, Arkansas-based psychedelic indie rock band Couch Jackets.

Hat Trick engineered a really nice sound quality in this short session. We can clearly hear the builds in each track, the folksy, lineal drum (played by Hunter Law) in “Elephant Tusk (Helluva Musk)”, the mesmerizing, flowing-and-ebbing interlude that carries viewers into the final song, and the unique and essential twinkly layers of the band’s keyboard (played by Harry Glaeser). Additionally, the video and studio’s sound mixing highlight the unique blending of vocalist/guitarist Brennan Leed’s Mac DeMarco-esque vocals with vocalist/bassist Ben Eslisk’s wide-ranging voice.

The session’s film quality also deserves a mention. Viewers don’t just get a shot of the entire band recording. We see different angles of the band, close ups on solos, and Hat Trick’s film quality captures the band’s versatile, super funky vibe, one that’s been described as, “progressive psych rock with a groove that… sounds like an alligator's eating [the band].”

Couch Jackets.

Couch Jackets.

For newer musical artists looking for a sweet studio experience as well as the opportunity to progress in the music scene, and for music-junkies searching for new music, scope out Hat Trick’s creative project and endeavor and look out for more sessions in the near future.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The New Mastersounds' Recent 'Payback' Show Gave 100% of Proceeds to Homeless Youth

By: Will Baumgartner

Last Friday night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver was a joyful experience on multiple levels as The New Mastersounds, joined by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe guitarist DJ Williams and his band Shots Fired, brought their considerable talents and notoriety to the aid of Urban Peak to benefit Denver homeless youth. The New Mastersounds, led by guitarist Eddie Roberts, who is known for his love of and commitment to community, funneled 100% of the night’s proceeds back to Urban Peak. Everything sold for the night, including merchandise from Roberts’ new record label Color Red, went to the organization. So even if you didn’t participate in the silent auction or couldn’t afford to pick up an album or t-shirt, you knew that just by being there, you were helping make life better for others. Add that good feeling to the absolutely stellar performances and rock-solid grooves emanating from everyone on that stage, and it’s no wonder that all of us were smiling all night.

The event, aptly named The Payback, is not a new thing. This show marked the completion of its third year, with past shows in Denver, San Francisco, and New Orleans, which have featured special guests like the New Orleans Suspects and Neon Brown. Urban Peak have been doing their good work since 1988, and through The Payback shows, The New Mastersounds have helped them raise several thousand dollars and public awareness for homeless youth.

The crowd at  Payback .

The crowd at Payback.

As excited as I was to see the Mastersounds again, it was an extra special treat to be introduced to Shots Fired, as this was my first time catching them live. Mr. Williams is not only a masterful guitarist with a precise attack reminiscent of Roberts’ playing, but a coolly charismatic bandleader and compelling composer as well. Based in Denver, he featured several musicians in this set, including Analog Son keyboardist Eric Luba and trumpeter AnDre Mali. If you’ve seen Williams with Tiny Universe, you already know what a great guitarist he is; catch this band and see how much more he can do as a frontman.

When the New Mastersounds took the stage, we were all primed and had our inner groove machines well-oiled by Shots Fired’s dance-friendly set. Those of us who have been fans for years knew that New Mastersounds would not only dazzle us with their musicianship, but keep that dance vibe going while driving us all to new and blissful heights. Augmented by the dynamic duo of trumpeter Mike Olmos and saxophonist Jason Mingledorff, and featuring two mini-sets fronted by the outrageously soulful vocalist Lamar Williams Jr. (known for his work with the Greg Allman Band as well as his own prodigious talents as a songwriter and frontman in his own right), the band continued to show us that we can count on them to continue their traditions while continually growing and reaching higher and higher with each performance.

The New Mastersounds at  Payback .

The New Mastersounds at Payback.

If you happen to be in New York City in a couple of weeks, New Mastersounds will be doing a two-night run at the Gramercy Theater on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Then it’s straight back to Colorado for a run of shows at the Belly Up in Aspen January 3rd, Old Town Pub in Steamboat Springs the two nights following, and the Shakedown Bar in Vail on January 6th.

With all the great happy music we experienced last Friday though, we should not forget what the evening was about. Whether you were there or not, please visit Urban Peak at their website and get involved: donate, volunteer, whatever you can do. With the holidays abound, it’s the perfect season to give and you never know who you might help jump up off their feet to dance.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Spiral Cell Debut New Trippy Music Video for "Consonance"

By: Norman Hittle

“Consonance,” the second official music video from Spiral Cell debuts today. Don’t let the maze in the tree rings keep you guessing- watch it right here:

For those of you familiar with SC’s concepts, this video fits the canon of what you likely already know as far as plot lines go, but for those not fully aware, perhaps a quick trip through The Maze in the Tree Rings will give some perspective.

The video conveys a clean array of artistic shots tied together in a stylistic approach, directed by Noe DeLeon. Contrary to the layout in SC’s debut video for “Prologue” (where the video was centered more on a cinematic approach), “Consonance” highlights more of a taste of the live experience brought to the table featuring the man behind the mask: Scott Uhl. With his myriad of looping pedals and instrumental setups, it’s easy to see how his meticulous work makes for the engaging one man show that is Spiral Cell.

As for the project in general, Scott and his crew sum it up perfectly: “Spiral Cell is an immersive, theatrical, multi-level experience of music, storytelling, visuals, and art. Musically, Spiral Cell combines elements of movie/video game scores, layered vocals, dynamic guitar playing and multi-instrument looping. Add in a storyline with visuals, dialogue, and a synchronized light show and you can begin to grasp the live experience.”

Keep up with Spiral Cell on Facebook, and for the full experience, check out their next live performance January 27th, 2019. Event details here!

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Spend Your NYE with The Pink Party + AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY to Start 2019 with a Bang

Life is better in pink.

Life is better in pink.

Still making your New Year’s Eve plans? We hope your answer is Yeah Baby! Denver’s full-sensory experience bar is hosting the best way to enter the new year with The Pink Party. Starting at 8PM, The Pink Party will be an intimate bash thrown by Synesthesia Denver Psych Fest, Kyle Hartman (The UMS), and Reed Fox (DéCollage, Moon Magnet). The night is 21+ and will feature sounds by Motion Trap (DJ Set), LePew (ft. members of Retrofette), S.I.X.X.X.D, and Reed Fox himself! Visual transportations will be provided by Andy Ai, Yonbre, and Kat Phenna. The night will of course feature a special midnight toast, and a free drink from Yeah Baby with your ticket purchase. Plus, if you stay true and wear your best pink duds (glitter or mylar preferred), you’ll receive select $5 cocktails all night long. Tier 1 tickets have already sold-out for the night, but Tier 2 tickets are still on sale for $35 here.

Get reborn.

Get reborn.

Though The Pink Party stops at 2AM, you don’t have to. Following your trip through Yeah Baby’s psychedelic pink wonderland, Lyft yourself over to Spectra Art Space for the NYE 2019: AN AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY after party. This rocket ship blasts off at midnight and returns to orbit at sunrise, so you can dance into the new year up until 6AM. Along with lasers, art installations, and “sounds you've never imagined,” this adventure will feature complimentary libations and an open maté bar. The AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY, produced by Moon Magnet, Belly Up, Hey Hay, and Spectra Art Space, will feature sets by Reed Fox, f-ethe, and Chuck Shadow. The event is 21+ and RSVP is required 24 hours in advance to attend. There are three tiers of tickets available for takeoff at this link.

Jet into a whole new world (and year) with The Pink Party + An Afterhours Space Odyssey. 2019 never looked so good baby…

Lief Sjostrom Released a Christmas Record You Should Add to Any Holiday Playlist

By: Norman Hittle

Cellist Lief Sjostrom has just released The Longest Night, an EP of traditional songs centric to winter and the Christmas season, yet far more somber and dark. Take a listen below:

In this collection, arranged by Lief, he performs solely using multiple layers on the cello. At first read this may sound a bit dull, but if you listen to the care he put into these compositions, you’ll soon discover it’s layers of textured plucking, strumming, and slides beneath the more traditionally associated cello sounds.

Lief Sjostrom. Photo Credit: KT Langley

Lief Sjostrom. Photo Credit: KT Langley

The Longest Night is a six-track variation of four more commonly known holiday tunes as well as two far lesser known. But more importantly, Lief’s take on the classics is an interesting divergence in his own melancholic style with compositions that sound like they would fit right at home in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or perhaps in Vikings or on the Skyrim soundtrack. Says Lief, “It’s a darker, more meditative approach to Christmas music. It’s an ode to the darkest time of the year, and a respite from the commercialized joy of Christmas.”  

Aside from this release, Lief put out his full length album Counting Breaths earlier this year, which I absolutely loved and wrote about, so check out that article here.

Keep up with Lief Sjostrom on Facebook and be sure to add him to your extensive holiday playlists!

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Five Reasons to Ring in the New Year with Denver's Decadence

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The new year is quickly approaching, which means countless concert options for Colorodans on the 30th and 31st. One that continues to stand out is the two-night, multi-stage electronic music festival Decadence, and for good reason. Read below to see how Decadence never fails to bring EDM fans in Denver two nights that they won’t stop talking about until the next year...

The Venue and Location - The event takes place at The Colorado Convention Center. This venue is humongous, which means there is plenty of room to fit multiple large stages and for thousands of music lovers. The Convention Center is located in the heart of Downtown Denver on 14th Street, so once the show is over, you can still enjoy Denver’s bar scene and get the most of your night.

Two Days of Fun (if you choose) - Why limit your New Year celebration to one day? With Decadence, you have the option to go either the 30th, the 31st, or both nights! Each night has a unique, star-studded lineup that touches every facet of electronic dance music. You can choose which lineup looks best and go on that date, or if it all looks great, extend your NYE partying to two nights!

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The Full Experience - There’s a reason this event is called Decadence: it is over the top in all the best ways. Around the venue you will find performers on stilts, entertainers with never-before-seen outfits and lights, and incredible stage productions with each act. There is even a balloon drop at midnight, and you can guarantee there will be lasers and great light shows. Decadence does New Year’s Eve the right way!

Everything You Need in One Place - New Year’s Eve can be a madhouse in a large city. Getting around town to grab dinner, drinks, and go to a party is hectic and expensive. Decadence, on the other hand, is the only stop you need to make all night. Besides providing the main event entertainment, you will be able to purchase food and drinks at The Convention Center, so your party never has to stop.

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Top-Notch Lineup - Every year, the Decadence lineup gets even better. Colorado is a state filled with EDM lovers, so large events like this know they need to provide a unique and stellar list of performers. Some notable acts playing the night on Sunday, December 30th include, Bassnectar, Skrillex, Zed’s Dead, Above & Beyond, and Alison Wonderland. DJs playing New Year’s Eve include Illenium, Griz, Big Wild, and Marshmello. While these are just some of the big names, there are many more acts playing throughout the night to keep you dancing too.

Treat yourself and go all out this New Year’s at Decadence! For more information on the night, lineup, and tickets, click here!

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

After 10+ Years, The Feathermerchants Are Releasing a New Record

It’s been more than 10 years since Connecticut’s Feathermerchants released new music or played a live show. In fact, you’d be more likely to find founder and guitarist Pete Veru wandering CU Boulder’s campus with his nose in a book on Dutch finance than you would on a stage. The recent Ph.D. graduate left the band in 2007 for academic pursuits; the other Feathermerchants members moved on to new lives then too. But today that’s all about to change. After 11 years, Feathermerchants have released a new record, A Pull From The Flask.

The Feathermerchants. Photo Credit: Bill Dicecca

The Feathermerchants. Photo Credit: Bill Dicecca

Veru founded Feathermerchants in 1996 and has always been the band’s primary songwriter. After recording a demo with renown producer Jim Chapdelaine in Hartford, Connecticut, Chapdelaine actually joined the project. Veru then recruited bassist Drew Glackin and drummer Jon Peckman. The next year, the crew began recording their self-titled debut record and added Erin O’Hara and Allison Winston into the fold on lead vocals. Guest musicians like John Fay (The Tragically Hip) and Hassan Hakmoun also played on the debut.

Upon its release, the single “Water and Dreams” was picked up from Feathermerchants by director Frank Todaro for his film Above Freezing. The band then scored a distribution deal with Rykodisc and found themselves making waves on the CMJ college radio charts. Reviews of the record, however, were mixed and around 2000, lead singers Erin O’Hara and Allison Winston left the project and were replaced by Shannon Kennedy. It was also at this time that former Saturday Night Live bassist Paul Ossola joined the fold as Glackin left to join The Silos.

Pete Veru. Photo Credit: Bill Dicecca

Pete Veru. Photo Credit: Bill Dicecca

With a new lineup, the band found themselves back in the comfort of Chapdelaine’s studio, where they recorded their second release Unarmed Against the Dark. The album was an indie folk pop piece with “songs with deep hooks drenched in reverb.” Feathermerchants even recruited Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers; Rolling Stones) to play on a track, the song “Brooklyn Ferry” which is a tribute to Walt Whitman. Upon completion, Unarmed Against the Dark fell into the hands of a South African publicist by chance, and the band developed a large following overseas thanks to a slew of South African media features. Soon, Feathermerchants found themselves playing a number of high-profile shows at places like Joe’s Pub, on festival lineups like South by Southwest, and with other popular bands of the time like Keane, October Project, and Grey Eye Glances.

In 2006, the band released what has previously been their final record, Last Man On Earth. The band’s radio success continued on the CMJ charts, and they were even featured on National Public Radio. The band swapped Ossola for bassist Jay Wiggin and continued performing. In 2007, the group played what would be two of their last shows at Joe’s Pub and the University of Hartford’s Music for a Change series. Both of these live sets were recorded, and Chapdelaine locked away the tunes without much thought at his studio following the shows.

A Pull From The Flask.

A Pull From The Flask.

Shortly thereafter, the band parted ways amidst the dying record label industry and the emergence of live streaming services. Veru went on to academia, Kennedy also pursued an advanced degree, and Chapdelaine went on to earn 13 Emmys for his work in the music world. Peckman and Wiggin continued playing in local projects in the East Coast music scene.

Then in 2016, Veru returned to the states after a historical research stint in Amsterdam. He called Chapdelaine and the two reminisced on their last shows as the Feathermerchants. Chapdelaine invited Veru back up to his studio, where the duo spent time listening and mixing the once-forgotten recordings from their final performances. Together, they gathered 16 tracks for A Pull From The Flask.

“Jim and I sat through dozens of hours of mixing and producing. There were songs that we played during those shows that we hadn’t played since the late nineties; songs that Shannon Kennedy never [even] recorded in the studio.” Veru told us. “After putting it away for ten years, all of a sudden it sounds fresh to me again. We really were hitting our stride as a live band right when things ended. I think younger kids who were musically aware in the 90s might think so too.”

We definitely do. Chapdelaine and Veru self-admittedly enjoyed piecing together their new record, so whether you’ve been a Feathermerchants fan for years, or it’s your first introduction to this now classic 90s band, we hope you’ll share in our excitement of the release of A Pull From The Flask. You can find it on iTunes today.

Keep up with the Feathermerchants here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Fast Car Slow Car Has Us Dreaming About "Waffles"

By: Julia Talen

Philly-based bassist Breshon Martzall of The Districts’ offshoot project Straw Hats has ventured into his own side project called Fast Car Slow Car. He recently released a music video for his latest single called “Waffles” and it’s definitely worth a watch. The trippy video embodies a DIY vibe, gritty and not overly-produced, containing intriguing visuals, contemplative themes, humor, and rad wackiness.

The video opens with Martzall standing in front of a blank wall with an animation projected onto it, and corded phones hanging upside down; a very peculiar, inverted world evocative of the track’s lyrics “I feel so upside down on picture perfect days.” The opening shot is a play on perceptions, reality, and truth, priming viewers for the remaining scenes and shots of the film. As the video progresses, multi-colored shapes like circles, squares, and hearts distort, focus in on, or cover up parts of each frame, elevating the videos themes surrounding confusion and search for clarity.

The self-aware intermission in the video made me chuckle, filled with silly factoids about waffles, offering a reminder to not read too deeply into the trippiness of the video and perhaps the world’s general absurdity. Either way, the project evokes, intrigues, and invites a rewatch.

Keep up with Fast Car Slow Car here.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Silverstein's 'When Broken Is Easily Fixed' 15-Year Anniversary Show Hits Denver This Weekend

By: Nathan Sheppard

One the original 2000s post-hardcore bands, Silverstein, are celebrating the 15-year anniversary of their debut album, When Broken Is Easily Fixed this year. Silverstein will be celebrating their Denver stop of the tour at The Oriental Theatre this Saturday, December 8th with fellow post-hardcore vets Hawthorne Heights, along with As Cities Burn and Capstan.   

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When Broken Is Easily Fix (WBIEF) is an album that was integral to the rise of the post-hardcore/screamo movement into a more mainstream and popular genre of music. “Smashed To Pieces” was the hit single from the album which propelled Silverstein into the spotlight, and into the influential band that they are today. WBIEF is a combination of different aspects of emo, hardcore, and screamo of the early 2000s mixed into something that exceeded everyone's expectations at the time.

As a special gift for Silverstein fans, the guys will not only be playing WBIEF in full; they will also be playing another full set of their greatest hits. So make sure you get there early in order to celebrate a night of classic emo hits from back in the day, and to discover some new favorite songs along the way. Make sure you don’t miss out on this epic night by getting your tickets here.

-Nathan


All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Good Charlotte's Albuquerque Stop Was One of Their Last on the 'Generation Rx' Tour, But Also One of Their Best

By: Ryan Schultz

Good Charlotte's Albuquerque stop on their Generation Rx tour was a performance that fans won’t soon forget. It started with The Dose, who opened the night with a great showcase of their musical ability. With only two members- vocalist/guitarist Indio Downey and drummer Ralph Alexander- I was surprised and amazed at the fullness of their sound. With Indio covering the vocals and guitar and Ralph handling the drums and basslines using synth add-ons to his kit, The Dose had a sound that I would describe as a heavier Nirvana. They’re a group I would choose to see live over and over again.

Knuckle Puck.

Knuckle Puck.

Knuckle Puck was up next. Hailing from Chicago, this group was full of energy, and put on an amazing show. They even wore Lobos jerseys onstage to show support for our local sports team, which fans admired.

Unfortunately, Sleeping With Sirens had to cancel this stop due to personal reasons. So after Knuckle Puck, it was time for Good Charlotte to take the stage, and their set was amazing in a few ways. First, the visual and audio production was superb, and honestly one of the best-looking shows I’ve been to recently. Secondly, vocalist Joel Madden made it a point to interact with the crowd, giving small speeches between a few songs to talk about the band’s story and the meaning of some of their songs. The packed venue sang along to every song the group played, and the overall experience was something I would recommend to anyone who has been a fan of this band.

The Generation Rx tour wraps up in North America this month, but picks up again in Europe starting on February 1st. You can check out those upcoming dates here.

And if you’re curious about Good Charlotte’s recent Denver stop, check out our coverage of that show at this link.

-Ryan

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Extra Gold's Debut Record Has the Boot-Stompin' Bangers Denver's Country Scene Needs

With festivals like Country Jam and Bands in the Backyard, Colorado is no stranger to some good ol’ western music. And though it may not be as prevalent a genre as Colorado’s rock or hip-hop scenes, bands like Denver’s Extra Gold are setting the stage for a country Mile High takeover.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Formed in 2017, Extra Gold cut their chops by throwing a once-a-month showcase for country music at Denver’s Syntax Physic Opera. Crafted as “a take on country music cocktail that is equal parts golden-era country revival, folk, and rock & roll,” Extra Gold soon found themselves opening for larger Colorado favorites like The Yawpers and Dragondeer. Now, the band are set to release their debut record High & Lonesome this Friday, November 30th with a show at Denver’s Hi-Dive.

Founded by Evan Holm (guitar/vocals), Extra Gold is comprised of Gan Matthews (guitar), Carl Sorenson (drums), Randi Guthrie (bass), Ben Waligoski (pedal steel), Erin Armstrong (vocals), and Sami Steidl (fiddle). After the crew started gaining a reputation for their “tender three-part harmony ballads” and inciting “two-steppin’, beer slingin’ dance parties,” they picked up shows with honky-tonk heroes Whitey Morgan, Joshua Hedley, Jesse Dayton, Zephaniah Ohora, and more. They also played Denver’s Underground Music Showcase this past summer, and have plans for a slew of shows in 2019.

High & Lonesome, which is an 8-track LP mix of cosmic country ballads and boot-stompin’ bangers is a very solid debut for this Colorado band. The record was recorded with Mark Anderson in Denver. Tracks like “Emily” showcase the band’s incredible harmonies, “When The Matches Meet The Wood” has fiery strings that will force you to your feet, and title track “High And Lonesome” is the record’s crooner, a tune that is perfect for your favorite fireside playlist this season.  

Extra Gold’s debut record is available for listening on all music platforms. Give their new tunes a listen and find tickets to their Hi-Dive show here.

Keep up with Extra Gold at this link.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Alex Fermanis Releases Fifth Full-Length Album ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’

By: Adam Cabrera

Colorado Springs indie artist and multi-instrumentalist Alex Fermanis just released his newest solo album Land of the Midnight Sun, on November 3rd. This is the fifth full-length release of his career, and Alex presents us with a highly-listenable album that performs as a nostalgic throwback to classic 70s rock filtered through layers of otherworldly effects and dreamlike synthesizers.

Alex Fermanis.

Alex Fermanis.

Influenced by prog rock, krautrock, synth music, folk and bluegrass, Alex has built up an impressive catalog of releases that cover a range of genres from psychedelic to country. However, throughout this diverse set of styles, what has remained constant for him is a knack for songwriting and his unique ability to find new creative avenues that diverge from mainstream musical norms.

Some of the standout tracks on the record such as “Letter,” “USW,” and “Freight Train,” demonstrate his expertise as an instrumentalist and songwriter. Each displays a new feature of Alex’s sound while creating captivating melodies and catchy hooks reminiscent of 60s and 70s pop music, before eventually breaking off into atmospheric psych-rock instrumentals.

In the context of his lyricism, Fermanis’ record explores themes of unrequited love, isolation, loneliness and a wistful longing for travel; all of which speak towards Alex’s quiet-lifestyle and introspective personality.  “Letter,” for example, describes the story of a man attempting to reunite a long forgotten romance, while Streets of Stockholm” describes a sentimental feeling towards traveling abroad and adventuring into foreign lands. In short, it’s these feelings of nostalgia and blissful adventure that define the album.

The artwork for  Land of the Midnight Sun.

The artwork for Land of the Midnight Sun.

Demonstrating his persistent DIY attitude, Alex wrote and recorded the entirety of the project by himself at his home studio in Colorado Springs and is heard performing on every instrument. This versatile range of talents adds a palpable sense of cohesiveness throughout the sonically dense album. Nevertheless, at the very bottom of the many layers of sound sits a highly-skilled piano player orchestrating each track. And though Alex doesn’t consider himself a pianist, he often composes his songs on piano, as he enjoys the technical complexity of the instrument. Moreover, this intricacy tends to show through in the overall sound of his latest release. It is lushly textured with synthesizers and abound with harmonically-rich piano riffs; this new record stands out as a highlight among his relatively large discography.

This winter, Fermanis will be trying to pull together a new band with the hope of performing his recent release for live audiences across the Front Range. When considering the record’s quality and Alex’s capacity for songwriting, it’s clear that his career has the potential to expand far beyond Colorado Springs’ modest music scene.

Keep up with Alex here.

-Adam

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Good Charlotte's Current Tour Celebrates The New and The Old

By: Nathan Sheppard

Good Charlotte are currently wrapping up their Generation Rx U.S. Tour and made one of their final stops in Denver this past Wednesday at the Ogden Theater. The stacked lineup included up and comers The Dose, along with Knuckle Puck and Sleeping WIth Sirens.

Good Charlotte.

Good Charlotte.

Good Charlotte started the set out with the first two songs of their latest album Generation Rx, and then really got the party started with “The Anthem.” They then rattled off a few more songs from their break out album The Young and The Hopeless, and reflected in between songs on how the meaning of these tunes have changed for them over the 16 years since the album was released. Frontman Joel Madden reflected on “Riot Girl” specifically, and how being a father made him feel this track has evolved into a women's empowerment song, showcasing the key role women have in making not only the punk scene, but the world, a better place.  

The guys continued with this theme of reflection throughout the set, asking the crowd where they were and what they were doing when a specific song came out. And after each reflection, there was a story about hope and encouragement, since a lot of the songs originally came from an emotional and sometimes dark place. Even though there was a lot of introspection on the night, it was a great celebration of the 20+ years that Good Charlotte has been a band. They capped off the evening with the pop punk classic “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”.

The last few dates of Good Charlotte’s tour hit the West Coast, so make sure you get your tickets to celebrate one of the essential pop punk bands of the 2000s. Tickets and dates can be found here.  

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.