Every month, we publish a new Spotify playlist of Colorado artists for your ears. Here’s our 'November's My Favorite Indoor Sport' playlist, because it’s bound to snow here soon and make you want to curl up inside with some good tunes, right?
BolderBeat's 'November's My Favorite Indoor Sport' Playlist:
1. Candy Claws, Ceres and Calypso in the Deep Time (2013), “Into the Deep Time (One Sun)”
Best song for dreaming cozily in bed about ancient sea creatures emerging from the depths of the deep blue.
How old is the ocean? That’s where things get a little bit fuzzy. And Candy Claws’ own fuzzy dream pop fuels this question with echoes like reverb in deep time, a multimillion year operation of geologic formation. For such distortion and heavy chugging guitar riffs, the atmospheric effects across this track are as divergent from your typical “ocean sounds” as they are hypnotizing. Still, this song feels like you’re looking right into the ocean, taking in the crash of waves in slow motion.
2. shark dreams, Deeep (2016), “Frozen Love”
Best song for lying down on the bed you just made, hands behind head.
Crisp hits on closed hi-hat and drum rim snare your ears into the rhythmic tap of this tune. Warm electric guitar moves by, while layered male and female vocals float and intermingle. This one picks up speed across its first minute, only to hold back and slow down. These subtle shifts pull at your emotional tide, encouraging you to just feel the sensations as its sounds ebb and flow. Relax.
3. The Lonelyhearts, Years in the Great Interior (2013), “Princess of Rubble”
Best song for doing a sock dance to in the comfort of your own home.
At least that’s the first thing their breezy, playful, jaunt-worthy, ear-pleasing, non-lyrical vocals and sounds make me want to immediately do. The sound of longboards chuck-chucking over wooden slatted boardwalks would sound great with this jam on in your headphones. But this month is an indoor sport so I’ll settle for a sock dance on the hardwoods instead.
4. Josh Dillard, The Bright Light of Shipwreck (2013), “Ever Since You’ve Been Gone”
Best song to try and swoon your holiday crush with.
Dillard’s vocals come from deeper than his diaphragm. He’s not a heavy baritone or anything. Just plenty vocally soulful. I admire how he paces out syllables. Sometimes he lets vowels linger and sometimes he wraps them up in a neat quick-time that adds a certain freshness to his tunes. Anyone who sang this to me would definitely get a first date, provided they sang it with the exact same expressiveness that convinced me here we have a man with heart, personality, and poetry.
5. Anthony Ruptak, Between the Hangman and the Halo (2015), “The Bus Song”
Best song to let your mind wander away with.
Since you can’t go skipping flat rocks on the silver pool so easily this time of year, Anthony Ruptak brings the next best-feeling thing to your living room. This sweetly woven story of gratitude will waft right in over you and walk into your daydreaming heart. The harmonica on this track lends customary nostalgia. It’s a nourishing tune that brings it home, and makes it warm inside to boot.
6. Land Lines, The Natural World (2015), “Etiquette”
Best song to listen to when you wish you could be out hiking the trails.
The hand shaker really is a staple of percussive force. My hand wants to spasm just imagining keeping pace on this one. Ross Harada persists, but never intrudes or exceeds a wise clip of pace on this percussion, and that includes his drum playing. The complex instrumental variation of this one mixed with a certain sparseness in each instrument individually empowers the sonic valleys and peaks of “Etiquette.” I’m not sure whether it’s Anna Mascorella or Martina Grbac plucking cello here, but it’s the nicest touch this song could possibly have. Oh the views.
7. The Ghost of Joseph Buck, Scenic (2015), “Not About You”
Best song to splatter paint on your bedroom walls to in large, sweeping, unapologetic motions.
The Ghost of Joseph Buck would rather break your heart slowly. Polly Beck’s lead vocals come out sultry, lyrics a smidge salty, piano wisely. You have to listen for Stephanie Schooley on bass, but she’s there as much as the spinal cord that supports your body’s basic structure without you hardly thinking about it once. Marc Walker’s drums hold off on any and all cymbals and hi-hat until 2:04, a crux moment to the song’s bursting, multi-instrumental power crescendo and caterwauling vocals. The fact that together, the group winds this one back down to its original slower pacing at 3:15 is no less an impressive transition. Killing me not so softly, but in a welcome way no less.
8. Sur Ellz (feat. Kid Astronaut), Sur Ellz (feat. Kid Astronaut) (single; 2016), “Seasons”
Best song to bump the snow off your window pane with.
Just because November’s an indoor sport doesn’t mean the soundtrack can’t be bumpable. Neo-soul and R&B have as much a job to do to here as mellow acoustic instrumentation or synthy shoegaze. Denver’s Khalil Arcady (Sur Ellz) and Jon Shockness (Kid Astronaut) conspire to bring you raw stories across fresh, smooth beats. Here are two men that don’t fear too much for their manhood to be lyrically vulnerable, to get sonically romantic, to sing about some real feelings. Electronically reproduced hand claps with what sounds like a snare-reminiscent drum machine hit mix with a simmering electronic warbling on slow-cook. Snow gone.
9. Mesita, With Love From Laniakea (2016), “Blank Slate”
Best song to curl up in your favorite blanket with.
A little Thom Yorke to the vocals, a little Nirvana’s “All Apologies” stylistically in the chorus, and the electro fuzz juxtaposed with what sounds like a xylophone played in a piano style, if you will, demonstrate my meaning. Solo act Mesita (James Cooley) doesn’t just do layers. He uses them to create his very worthy-of-a-listen ends: richly interlaced, juxtaposed interplays that create entirely new, richly textured soundscapes. He has a humble willingness in being limitless with what he’s willing to include. For Mesita, 1+1 never equals two. It always equals three, because he takes one thing plus another, and makes a whole new third one straight from it.
10. Moda Spira, Moda Spira (2016), “She Whispers”
Best song to shave your legs, lie in silk sheets, and lament with.
Gentle keys couple with tender and light acoustic guitar. As with the sound of whispering, there is a particular intimacy in Latifah Phillips (Moda Spira’s) singing. In "She Whispers", it’s not always the vocals, but sometimes the pauses taken between sung parts that lend the breathing room in which the sounds seep across your heart and emotions. Come to find out via Reel Gospel’s 2016 She Whispers album review, Moda Spira means “just breathe” in Latin. Her talent in piano is a mainstay in the stewing build of her protracted, draw-you-in musical magnetism.
11. Maxwell Mud, Maxwell Mud (2015), “I Just Wanna Be Good”
Best song to make a New Year’s resolution never to be good again.
Maxwell Mud, as would be appropriate for chillin’ inside, cooking soup, and contemplating, goes for the slow cook much like others on this playlist. However hard Brian Kitrell’s lyrics profess he just wanted to be good, it’s quite clear in his words, guitar riffs, Kenny Jones’ accomplice bass, and Kevin Johnson’s rock’n’roll blues drums that this is a foregone conclusion. At least in the present circumstances and context. His vocals are too steamy for anything but a pot on the brink of hot boil rupture-rapture.
12. Eye and the Arrow, Eye and the Arrow (single; 2015), “Tiger”
Best song to “look out at the cold night from your warm room at the bright moon on the white snow through the window frost and the forest shadows.”
Paul Dehaven has a marvelous storytelling song-voice, and he harkens on stories Portland’s The Decemberists might tell. His own finger flicks at the guitar, Jason Haas-Hecker’s slightly foreboding bass line, and Mark Anderson’s non-deviant foreword drumming collaborate with Dehaven’s story, vocals, and backup echoes to leave you listening to the very scene of walking through the forest when it’s too uncomfortably cold to actually do so.
13. Nearby Liars, Unlearning (2016), “Wither and Rust”
Best song to reflect upon your real feelings to in the bathtub.
Lyrically, this one doesn’t happen as an outright love song. It’s just that the rest sure sounds like a heart that’s known love, is reflecting upon it, and is expressing a definite fallout story of hard facts and cold truth love experiences. It’s lamentation, regrettable, and real. Riley Sbrana’s songwriting waxes and pounds with hard earned self-knowledge for better and for worse. The backup vocals on this one prove to be an emotive staple, and the light acoustic guitar sounds that nudge their way in at 3:20 are the most perfectly subtle, elegant touch.
Thanks for playing with us this November, Colorado. Make sure to follow us on Spotify and take a listen to this playlist and more Colorado music playlists at BolderBeat.
All tracks per the artists featured. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.