Review: Escapism's 'Side A' Is Electro Ambient & Meditatively Engaging Music

By: Allan Tellis

Colorado’s Escapism play with textures of sound in diverse and surreal ways. On the project’s latest record, Side A, Escapism work with distorted sounds and lighter melodic harmonies with an added element of vocalization to make their tunes interesting and exciting. Escapism is a project fronted by Colorado’s Evan Montoya and signed to Abandon Love in Seattle, Washington.

Although the album is cohesive and most registers under a singular sound, there is enough diversity between the tracks to engage listeners for the long, twenty-song record. The majority of the album is down-tempo, meditatively engaging music that is soothing and dreamlike. Moments like the ending of the record “Sleven,” however, disrupt the dream sequence, with upbeat bass lines inspiring dancing, and creating balance within the album. There are also tunes that feature heavy use of acoustic work, like “I Remember Every Swim” and “Danielle Tells,” which give the listener a break from the more electronic sounds pervasive throughout the rest of the record.

Evan Montoya.

Evan Montoya.

If you are into ambient music and have an ear for experimental arrangement and non-traditional song formatting, Escapism may be exactly what you’re looking for. Escapism are currently on tour, and are even heading overseas to South Korea for some performances. Said Montoya about Escapism’s travel plans, “[We’re] working on playing a few more shows in Denver this year and opening up for a few more acts before we head to Germany, and then South Korea for a few dive bar type shows! Should be fun.”

Escapism also have a music video set to release at the end of August, so make sure to check back for that by keeping up with them here.

-Allan

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

Review: Pat Ice Injects Hip-Hop Tunes With "Krispy Vibes"

By: Allan Tellis

Hip-hop, like any other art form, requires innovation. Unfortunately, hip-hop specifically can have the propensity to be stagnated and stuck on the dominant sound of the culture at the moment. Due to the speed at which changes in hip-hop move, it is even more obvious when artists are riding the wave or coattails of the current trends in the genre. As one half of the duo Pat Ice, Boulder artist and New Orleans native J-Ice is focused on shaking that stagnation and pushing the culture forward. His partner in crime, Play Pat, is a production-focused artist who infuses his trip-hop, blurry vibes into the duo’s interesting style. Their sound  is innovative, yet draws back on many of the technical skills cemented by the founders of the genre.

J-Ice.

J-Ice.

Although the group’s music has the ability to get a party lit, it doesn’t compromise the lyrical skill set that so many emcees hold in high regard. It also doesn’t particularly ride the sound pattern of current club music with heavy trap snare lines or West Coast funk-laden influences. Pat Ice has managed to create their own sound, which is a feat in itself in today’s hip-hop arena. Their smooth sonics, or as J-Ice phrases it, “krispy vibes,” can be found most notably in their tracks “Don’t Get Offended” and “Online.” These melodically upbeat, yet slow tempo tunes make the perfect backdrop for a relaxing drive through the city or a kickback in the living room with your closest amigos.

Pat Ice also has a strong lyrical pedigree, flexing his wordplay on tracks like “Ripple Effect,” so don’t let the group’s laidback vibes give any of you whack rappers any ideas. Overall this Boulder hip-hop duo is definitely worth checking out.

-Allan

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

Catch SF1 & His Summer Track "Honest" At Coors Field This Saturday (07/08)

By: Allan Tellis

Denver’s own SF1 recently released a new, super energetic single entitled “Honest (feat. Daj)." The track boasts upbeat guitar riffs, bouncy drum lines, and SF1’s unique delivery style, making the song the perfect complement for summer beach parties and good vibes.  

SF1. Photo Credit:  Jae Allyce Photography

SF1. Photo Credit: Jae Allyce Photography

SF1 has previously performed at diversity conferences and the Day Without Hate, which are small examples of the energy his genre of hip-hop brings to the table. He is a groundbreaking performer, taking his music places urban musicians have never been invited before. He was the first hip-hop artist to perform at The Denver Athletic Club, and this Saturday, July 8th he will be the first hip-hop act to grace the Coor’s Field stage as well.  

Listen to SF1's "Honest (feat. Daj)":

Check out “Honest” above and get the details on SF1’s Coor’s Field show this weekend here.

-Allan

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

Mitchel Evan & Co Bring Uplifting Americana to Denver's Larimer Lounge

By: Allan Tellis 

The Larimer Lounge is a venue that never has a shortage of talent, even on a Wednesday night. Last week brought out four distinctly talented bands that covered a vast array of styles, and although each band had a unique approach, overall they complemented each other, which made for one appetizing show.  

Morning Bear. Photo Credit: Joe Friend

Morning Bear. Photo Credit: Joe Friend

The first act, Morning Bear, performed with a very minimalist stage presence with singer/songwriter John Runnels on acoustic guitar and a guest sit-in playing a small keyboard with a drum pad. The duo had a powerful performance despite their low-key setup due Runnels’ strong vocals and a focus on deep-feeling, heavy indie folk music that kept the crowd captivated for their entire set.

Band of Lovers. Photo Credit:  Keating DiRisio

Band of Lovers. Photo Credit: Keating DiRisio

The following act, Band of Lovers, brought one more person onstage and a completely different energy, as they specialize in up-tempo, Americana chamber pop. Band of Lovers is a rarity in that they tour constantly throughout the country and have been doing so for four years now. They have found Denver to be a consistent refuge in their nomadic existence, even dedicating a downtempo, rhythmically infectious song aptly titled “Back to Colorado” to our great state. One particularly enjoyable aspect of the band was the percussion- the drummer was absolutely spectacular and awesome to watch. This trio recently released an album named American Tour, which is definitely worth listening to.  

Up next was Foxfeather, a full Americana ensemble whose blues-heavy jam style created a sultry and emotional listening experience. Although the band ventures from heavy blues to hard rock style solos, they stayed true to their Boulder roots with a heavy dose of Americana infused into every song. They are currently working on a new project, which has me intrigued on what’s next.

Mitchel Evan. 

Mitchel Evan. 

The final act of the night was the extremely talented Mitchel Evan and The Makeshift Band. Their performance was pleasantly easy to listen to and brought a diverse range of sounds, ranging from jam-heavy folk tunes to Bob Dylan-style acoustic guitar ballads. Evan even joked at one point, “This is the part where I make you all sad.” His deep watery vocals cascaded over The Makeshift Band, as the group executed songs diverging from grunge-influenced rock tracks to country-laced dance numbers that kept the crowd thoroughly engaged. All of their music at its core was uplifting, providing a ray of sunshine in a musical landscape that is becoming almost increasingly bleak in some ways. Mitchel Evan is currently working on a new record as well, and is touring the Southwest. Make sure to catch Evan on his next Colorado stop and give his newest music a listen below.

-Allan

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

Review: Great American Taxi's Latest Record Is Colorado Rugged

By: Allan Tellis

Recently re-formed band, Great American Taxi dropped an album earlier this year: Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show. The record is both refreshingly eclectic and simultaneously reminiscent of classic American sounds. The album covers a full range of styles from Americana, to country-rock and classic rock, all the way to R&B. Although there is a diversity of genres within, the album stays true to the tradition of Colorado bands that have preceded GAT. The record contains plenty of dance-inducing country roadhouse bounces with songs like “We Can Run” and “Out On the Town,” yet it still has down-tempo classic rock-style songs like “Sunshiny Day,” which make this an album with a song for every type of fan.

The album art.

The album art.

Well-produced and a polished project due to the hard work of Chad Staehly (keyboard/vocals), Jim Lewin (guitar/vocals), Brian Adams (bass/vocals) and Arthur Lee Land (guitar/banjo/vocals), and featuring guest drummer Duane Trucks (Hard Working Americans, Widespread Panic), this record plays as a rugged, feel-good ode to the Colorado lifestyle. With the production of Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone at Silo Sound Studios in Denver, CO, Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show is definitely worth a spin.

Great American Taxi are currently on a national tour in support of the new record, with an upcoming can’t-miss-it show at Red Rocks this Thursday, May 25th, where they will be covering some good ol’ Grateful Dead tracks before Film On The Rocks' Long Strange Trip. For more information on tour details and purchasing tickets to their upcoming shows, head to their website.

-Allan

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

Bo DePeña Drops New Country Tune "The Weed and the Wine"

By: Allan Tellis

Hailing from Laredo, TX, singer/songwriter Bo DePeña recently relocated to Denver, CO, though this is a musician who has arguably lived in many a music city. After having spent time in Austin, NYC, and San Antonio, the mountains called and DePeña found himself in Colorado. After the release of his record There’s No Way Out of Here last November, DePeña has been gigging hard throughout the region to showcase his Americana and folk country sounds. Most recently, he released his single and music video for his track “The Weed and The Wine.”

Watch DePeña’s music video for “The Weed and The Wine”:

With a very classic country twang, Bo DePeña describes an all too familiar feeling of love and intoxication in this tune. “The Weed and the Wine” is a laid back soundtrack for anyone who may have experienced strong emotions for a potential partner, but can’t quite make out the cause after a night out. The song describes that feeling of every moment and touch seeming perfect, though it may just be those Mile High vices blurring the lines between love and reality.

Bo DePeña.

Bo DePeña.

The song itself is warm and hazy, and conjures up tones of affection and confusion, which fit the lyrical content spectacularly. The video is equally charming, simple, and familiar, with Bo and a lady friend imbibing in a living room interspersed with shots of DePeña singing. This song is definitely worth checking out, and might hit even more of a sweet spot if you indulge in such “grown up” activities.

Make sure to give this playful tune a listen and keep up with Bo and his massive tour schedule here.

-Allan

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