Review: Basement Revolver Are the New Faces of Scuzzy Dream Pop

By: Brody Coronelli

The Canadian trio teases their new LP Heavy Eyes with the lush single “Baby.”

Basement Revolver are no strangers to reverb. Their explosive and astral take on ‘90s rock, shoegaze, and dream-pop is soaked in it, calling back to bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins while also harnessing a modern punk sensibility that renders them immediate and fiery.

Basement Revolver. 

Basement Revolver. 

The band have been on a steady rise over the last two years. After two EPs, they’re finally gearing up to release their debut full length Heavy Eyes this August. The first offering from the album is “Baby,” a lush, pop-forward, and anthemic track that sounds like a hazy recollection of a summer day long since passed. The song is dreamy, but also loud and forceful, as frontwoman Chrissy Hurn’s vocals echo through walls of sopping, melodic guitars, and the drums pummel in the background like distant thunder.

The album, due out on August 24 through Sonic Unyon and Fear of Missing Out Records, will feature a balance of new and old material. New songs like “Baby” are in the mix, and older songs like “Tree Trunks,” which draws a parallel between mental and environmental health, and “Johnny” (part one, which appeared on their self titled debut EP and part two, which appeared on their Agatha EP released last year), all of which chronicle the difficult end of a relationship.

"'Tree Trunks' was written when I started experiencing panic attacks for the first time, and my increasing need to find a professional who could help me to find better ways to cope. It also tries to mirror how I imagine the environment feels sometimes- and how the environment is tied to many people's mental health,” Hurn said in an interview with The Fader.

The album was recorded at TAPE studio in Hamilton, Ontario, the same place where they recorded their first two EPs. The band found their sound and nurtured its evolution in the same environment, creating a sonic progression in their discography that feels natural and inviting.

“[Working in the same studio on this album] also gave me the confidence as a writer to not take myself so seriously, to let myself get cheesy or goofy with some songs,” Hurn said in a press release for Sonic Unyon.

You can stream “Baby” below. Be sure to keep up with Basement Revolver here.

-Brody

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

Timid, the Brave's Newest Single "Alice" Touches on Love, Mortality, & Fighting Through It All

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Ontario-born singer/songwriter Timid, the Brave just released his newest LP “Alice,” the first single from his upcoming album Firesale, which drops February 24th.

Since 2012, member Tim Selles has been creating acoustically-driven music that is moody, calming, and dreamy. Folks that enjoy musicians like Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, and José González will certainly find Timid, the Brave’s music pleasing to the ears.

Tim Selles of Timid, the Brave.

Tim Selles of Timid, the Brave.

“Alice” is Timid, the Brave’s first release since iTunes named his debut self-titled album one of the best of 2012, and Selles’ has definitely made a wonderful comeback with the release of “Alice.” The haunting vocals and steady tempo stick with you, and intertwine themselves into you long after you’ve listened to the song.

This single touches on Selles’ personal experience with mortality, and pushing through the barriers that accompany it. Here’s what Selles had to say about the story behind “Alice”:

“I wrote ‘Alice’ several years ago after my grandmother passed away. After her funeral, there was this really bizarre moment in my grandparent’s apartment when my grandfather called us all upstairs to their bedroom. He had laid out all of her old jewelry on their bed and we took turns selecting pieces of the jewelry. I chose a piece that really stood out to me: a necklace with a single leaf that had been dipped in gold. That image connected with me; the idea that something so fragile and temporary could be clothed in something so valuable and enduring, that our lives hold extraordinary meaning despite their impermanence. That’s the image the song was born out of. It’s a song about love and life and death, and finding a way to fight through the varying levels of devastation that we all experience.”

So if you’re looking for some mid-week feels, then give Timid, the Brave’s “Alice” a listen:

Connect with Timid, the Brave on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for upcoming announcements and releases.

-Jura

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

Denver's Last of the Easy Riders Releasing Vinyl LP On UK's Agitated Records

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Last of the Easy Riders are one local act making a lot of noise at home and over in the UK. Comprised of Mitch Mitchem (drums/percussion/vocals), Bradley “Blue Moon” Grear (guitar), Big Byrd Minarik (guitar/backing vocals), and Dan “Rain Child” Duggan, this crew formed about a year ago with a shared vision: to create cosmic rock’n’roll.

Last of the Easy Riders. 

Last of the Easy Riders. 

Though based in Colorado, the “high country folk rock and Southwestern psych” outfit are putting out a sweet, orange-swirl limited edition 12” on UK’s Agitated Records this month. The release is the band’s debut LP: a self-titled, six-song record that dropped digitally back in February of this year. The vinyl will be released November 18th, and you’ll be able to purchase it for yourself here. It’s the sort of album you’d find yourself listening to on the open road while you’re cruising to Joshua Tree headed "find yourself" in the desert: psych-heavy with killer strings, drippy vocals, and thumpin’ rock beats.

Check out Last of the Easy Riders’ self-titled LP:

Locally, Last of the Easy Riders have a couple of live performances on the horizon: they play with MAMA The Rubs Slynger at Mile High Spirits this Saturday, November 3rd and at the Hi-Dive on November 20th for the Third Annual Mile Hi Gram Jam.

Make sure to check out this crew before they head over to the UK, and don’t forget to snag their sweet vinyl on November 18th!

Keep up with Last of the Easy Riders here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Hillary Susz is a Denver Mod Rock Queen Hitting The Boulder Scene... Tonight!

By: Dawn Raymond

Mod Rock: Meet Colorado. 

Hillary Susz is a Denver based mod-rocker originating from Seattle. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Western Washington University and draws her musical influence from a variety of genres: freak folk, ambient pop, psychedelic, jazz, and soul.

Denver's Hillary Susz.

Denver's Hillary Susz.

Perusing Susz is a bit like sampling fine wine. Between her rich and varied vocals, and guitar that ranges from gently melodic to good ol' grunge, you sense some of the influences that round out her sound. Those influences range from Nina Simone to PJ Harvey, but I swear I detected a little essence of Interpol and Johnny Cash as well (go figure).

Susz’s lyrics are hauntingly poetic, as one might expect from an artist with a bachelor's degree in writing. There are too many worthwhile phrases to begin to list here, but if you get the chance to let her lyrics roll around in your mouth, you will find them quite satisfying.  

Hillary has a summer tour in the works to support her upcoming LP release of The Heart Will Jump (With Nowhere to Fall). You can find tour updates on her website, or on her Facebook page.  

Fortunately, you can also find her in person tonight at The No Name Bar at 10PM. It will be a gratifying evening of auditory entertainment for all.

Watch Susz’s official music video for her track “Swat Team”: 

-Dawn

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

*This feature was originally published 03/23/16, but due to a snowstorm, Susz's show (then at Innisfree) was cancelled. As such, we're re-publishing it for her new show, tonight (at The No Name Bar). 

Music Video Release: Pamela Machala "Daychanger"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Pamela Machala bakes her sounds. You'll see what we mean.

Pamela Machala.

Pamela Machala.

Local artist Pamela Machala released her video for “Daychanger” yesterday, the first track off of her latest LP, When I Get Home. The video follows Machala through New York City on what seems like a regular day-in-the-life of the average 9-5er: leaving a desk job, taking the subway, grocery shopping, and then cooking dinner. But what Pamela actually cooks up by the end might surprise you! So we chatted with Machala to learn more about working with the production team behind her video, her real-life love of cooking, and her plans for the fall. Read on:

Pete Laffin actually reviewed your LP When I Get Home for us back in June. We’ve had it on rotation since! How did you decide which song to produce a video for?

The lyrics of this song are very visual, so I thought it would work well for creating a video. It’s also one of my favorites on the new album, so I could stomach the thought of listening to it another 1000 times during the editing process!

What was it like filming in NYC and working with Daniel Pleck and David Stolarsky?

Dan and David are two of my oldest friends and have been making movie magic together for many years. We had a great time filming. At one point it kind of devolved into a cooking show, and then later we got kicked out of the subway... basically it was a non-stop thrill ride.

So many of us can relate to your daily routine in the video. Tell us what you’re hoping viewers take away from this after watching it.

This song was inspired by a wise friend who told me that she has certain songs she can listen to after a crappy day that will totally turn her day around. She calls them ‘daychangers.’ The album (and this song especially) is about the everyday grind of adult life and figuring out how to be happy within that, and about finding things that you love and creating time for those things. I like the ambiguity of what the ‘daychanger’ actually is, because I think it’s something different for everyone. I hope it inspires people to think about their own ‘daychangers.’

Do you enjoy cooking in real life? 

Haha, yes. I love cooking! it’s not so different from songwriting or any other creative process. And I usually have a better sense of what should go in a casserole dish!

Do you have plans for any other video releases from When I Get Home? What else are you up to this fall?

A music video for “Barista” is in the works - stay tuned! I’ll be playing a show at Shine on Saturday October 10 with Wilson Harwoodwhich will be a great time.  I'm also pursuing some licensing opportunities for songs from When I Get Home. Mainly, my plans for the fall are to write a lot of new material.

We can't wait to hear it! Watch the "Daychanger" video here:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Pamela Machala: LP Release "When I Get Home"

By: Pete Laffin

Boulder's Pamela Machala just put out a great pop EP.

Pamela Machala kicks and booms on the keys, and she croons with conviction. She has no anxious inner voice warning her to “reach the note” or “nail the transition.” Her songs become her, and when she reaches us, we aren’t quite sure how we feel, but we feel so much. That, to me, is a mark of a great player: one who induces disorientation, who provides the listener a multitude of emotions at once with opposing forces like tumult and serenity, elation and sorrow.

Machala.  

Machala.
 

This isn’t to focus too narrowly on the experience of Machala’s set, which is also precise and musically sophisticated. She told me recently she spends most of her days “thinking up those elusive qualities that make for a perfect bridge” and that she “loves sprinkling the harmonic and rhythmic complexities (especially meter changes) of jazz and R&B into simple pop forms.” You likely wouldn’t notice how tight and sophisticated her music is, the way you don’t notice a referee who goes a whole game without blowing a call. You’re too busy enjoying the experience. It’s as natural as any live performance you’ll see on the local circuit. It’s as if she presses a play button in her mind and shares with us what’s on the track.

For these reasons and more, I fully expected to be underwhelmed by her newly released LP “When I Get Home.” Players with such a natural boom tend to overthink things in the early-going of their studio careers. I expected something clinical and technically accurate with a risk or two taken, perhaps an alien-like quadrupling of vocals on a chorus in a silly attempt to recreate the intensity of her live performance.

But by the second track, “Do It Now,” my fear of such studio follies dissolved. This slick, funky groove is a reflection on jealousy and urgency in the face of seeing the accomplishments of others on social media. It showcases her innate understanding of how to grow a song from small to big using volume dynamics, which is a force she wields well on stage. It also demonstrates her inclination to hop back in time. “Do It Now” has the qualitative feel of “Use Me” by Bill Withers, while delivering lyrics that are decidedly modern. This combination is a gamble for sure, and it takes the listener a verse to acclimate, but it never rings false. Machala’s vocal performance on this track is clear and accurate, but has enough soulful scratch to maintain the integrity of her live set.

The third track “Yestersols” is another bright spot of the album. The production is big and ambitious: the undulating piano line, the electronically infused fiddle lead, the faraway, ghostly high end vocals on the chorus. At first it feels ripped from the Coldplay playbook, but the quality of the songwriting unfurls as undoubtedly superior, particularly at the bridge. You won’t see it coming, as it offers such change both rhythmically and melodically, and yet it fits squarely within the context of the whole.

Red.


Red.

“I Still Love You” is a classic songwriter’s love song. Machala sits solo at the piano and croons unapologetically with her thundering vocals. The leaps she takes from note-to-note are jolting. This is a song Norah Jones or Anne Murray would be proud to sing. It would fly in any generation, and the lyrics are universally relatable. There will be times this song will prick just the right part of your heart, and there will be other times you wish it would challenge you more.

“Barista” is a track that speaks most directly to Machala’s commercial potential. If I had to predict a “hit” on this record, this would be it. It showcases a heavy, modern beat (think Ben Folds’ “You Don’t Know Me”), a freaking sweet sound on the organ, a catchy hook, and cleverly cute lyrics: “I got a degree/I got another degree/And now I got 140 degrees.” My only wonder is, again, whether or not the subject matter matches the depth of the musicality. It is just so damn well executed that, in my opinion, it begs for a broader and more penetrating focus. That said, this song could very well lift-off from local obscurity to national notoriety overnight. It’s that catchy; it’s that well executed by Machala, who may be a transcendent talent; and it’s that well produced.     

"thinking up those elusive qualities that make for a perfect bridge" -PM  

"thinking up those elusive qualities that make for a perfect bridge" -PM
 

The grand takeaway from “When I Get Home” is this: Pamela Machala is a big, fresh talent to keep an eye on. Her musicality is as user-friendly as it is intricate, and Machala’s vocal performances are revelatory. And more than any of that, she seems to want success, and she seems willing to put in the work that success demands.

I would be shocked if Pamela Machala didn’t thrive here in the Boulder scene, and wouldn’t be shocked if she outgrew it in time.

Listen to Machala’s full LP “When I Get Home” here.

-Pete

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