Kyle Emerson's New "I Can Change" Video Combines the Desert’s Psychedelic Mystique with Slick Indie-Folk Flare

By: Julia Talen

Currently featured as one of Indie 102.3 FM’s Local 303 Artists, indie rocker Kyle Emerson has been building anticipation of his sophomore album, Only Coming Down, out this fall. He dropped his first single from the forthcoming album, “May You Find Peace,” earlier this year. His second single was just released with a stop-motion collaged music video for the song “I Can Change.” Emerson says that the tune was, “written very quickly and demoed acoustically shortly after. Not overthinking the lyrics and letting them be more on the raw, personal side of the spectrum felt like the only place to exist lyrically… and it influenced the direction of the album from there.

The track feels very personal, and the music video alludes to that rawness while also being playful with a hodgepodge of colorful imagery that adds to the story behind this captivating piece. The video opens with a woman lying down facing a window of a moving van, as viewers look over her shoulder and see the van passing from the city to the suburbs to the sea and eventually to space, as the window frame melts away. Dawn breaks, and a grizzly head rises over a mountain like the sun as Emerson begins to sing, presumably connecting Emerson to this grizzly face. 

The lyrics offer a plea, seemingly to the girl in the van, that the protagonist of the song can change his partying ways, but as the music video evolves, we see less of that girl and more of a grizzly bear-headed man playing music. As the collaged video evolves and ebbs with cut-out butterflies swooping over backdrops and colorful layers that shift like a kaleidoscope, listeners realize this song has transformed into a plea no longer to the girl, but to the protagonist’s own self that he can change. 

Kyle Emerson.

Kyle Emerson.

The refrain swells at the same time the viewer sees the words “I Can Change” in white, bold font scroll over the vibrant background like film credits, while voices harmonize and instruments explode. Emerson cries the lyrics, “I can change/ I can change/ I can change.” He continues singing, “I’ll just hit the highway/and start all over again,” when the van from the beginning appears and drives through the forest, the mountains, San Francisco and Joshua Tree. As demons symbolized by images of fire, bats, caves and booze continue to follow the grizzly-headed character, there is a heightening of tension between adventure, nature, escapism, and haunting thoughts- all the themes of this memorable song.

Given Emerson’s success with his first album, Dorothy Alice, it’s no surprise that this local artist continues to create music rich with elements of the desert’s psychedelic mystique welded with his own slick indie-folk flare. Check out Emerson play this tune and others as he performs on the Main Stage at the Uundergound Music Showcase this Sunday, July 28th at 3:20PM.

-Julia

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

Professor Plumb’s "Pleiades" Is Brought to Life in an Epic, Animated Space Odyssey

By: Adam Cabrera

In Professor Plumb’s new music video, their psych-rock song “Pleiades” is brought to life in an epic, animated space odyssey. 

Composed by bandleader Benom Plumb and animated by Jeremy Brown, the blazing rock’n’roll instrumental is illustrated into an adventure out of the solar system and across the galaxy to the distant star cluster known as the Pleiades. 

The track, which was first released in 2018 on their Majic 12 EP, is an example of the band’s compositional side. Plumb argues, “I've always thought of myself as more of a composer, than an artist. So at this very early stage in my solo music journey, it's an important part of my overall sound and style.” 

As for the video itself, Plumb was inspired by an old astrological myth while stargazing one night at his home. “My backyard faces south,” Plumb explains, “and on the clearest winter night, the Pleiades can be seen near Orion. There's a ton of legend and mystery surrounding the Pleiades… that's when I came up with the idea for the video.” Planetary alignment, end-of-the-world prophecies, and other science fiction can be found all over Professor Plumb’s other work in songs like “Red Sky” or “Dark Star,” and this new music video is no exception. 

Professor Plumb Band Poster Four Corners Logo Bigger Centered.jpg

Plumb took his ideas to Brown, initially picturing a fleet of alien spaceships headed home to their star in the Pleiades. However, according to Plumb, they decided to remove the ships in favor of something more visually abstract while still trying to allude to the idea of an advanced alien civilization. In place of spaceships, Brown came up with the concept of an outer space “megastructure.”

“Visually, it’s a hodgepodge of concept art from all over the internet and from some of my favorite sci-fi films, TV shows, and games,” Brown says about the music video’s final image of a Dyson sphere (a colossal space structure built to harness the energy of a star). 

Fueled by Professor Plumb’s high-energy space-rock performance, Brown describes the final cut as “a hyper-real, first-person journey to a distant part of the galaxy” and a “mysterious galactic tour guide.” 

Check out the full interview below if you’re interested in learning more about Professor Plumb, Pleiades, and the creative production behind the video. You can also check out the new video on Professor Plumb's website where you can find more of their music along with more information about the band. They’ll be performing live at Denver’s Underground Music Showcase happening July 26th to July 28th and are also planning to release a lyric video for their new song “Take That!” sometime soon.

Professor Plumb.

Professor Plumb.

In your previous work there is a big emphasis on political or societal themes like in last years Midnight Creep lyric video or this years single Red Sky. But, with Pleiades being an instrumental it seems that you’ve decided to put an emphasis on more of the space rock / psychedelic side of the band. Is this the case or does the song represent more to you as the writer? 

BP: Yes, that's definitely the case with “Pleiades.” I've always thought of myself as more of a composer, than an artist. Pleiades was an opportunity for me to display my compositional side and cosmic wonder. 

What was the reason behind naming the song “Pleiades?” And, What made you decide to produce a music video for this song in particular?

BP: Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to travel to a constellation that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. My backyard faces south and on the clearest winter night, the Pleiades can be seen near Orion. There's a ton of legend and mystery surrounding the Pleiades, so that sounded like a good one to visit to me. That's when I came up with the idea for the video. I listened to the song over and over with my eyes closed to try and visualize what an epic space travel video would look like. I relayed these ideas to Jeremy and he made it look even better than I imagined in my head. 

How does Pleiades compare to the rest of your catalog in terms of overall sound and style?

BP: Out of all the songs I've written, I think “Pleiades” is one of my favorites. I was always a fan of rock bands doing cool instrumentals and I had always wanted to do one myself. So at this very early stage in my solo music journey, it's an important part of my overall sound and style. I played most of the instruments on the track, so the overall sound of the recording is me. It hits all the points of my catalog so far: dark, mysterious and hopefully, keeping the listener's head bobbing. 

At the end of the video I noticed what looks like a Dyson sphere is pulled into the shot and I’m wondering what that might have to do with the song thematically? Or, just being a fan of science fiction myself, I’m curious if you have any big influences from the sci-fi genre that make their way into your music?

BP: The Dyson sphere is 100% Jeremy so I'll let him address that in more detail. I'm definitely a sci-fi nerd. The original idea of the video was to have some spaceships flying through space to go home to their star in the Pleiades. In production we removed the ships, but kept the idea of visiting a star of an advanced civilization. After talking through this idea, Jeremy came up with the "megastructure" around the starm similar to what scientists recently theorized could be surrounding a massive star observed in our galaxy. 

JB: It’s definitely inspired by a Dyson sphere, but I think a true one would completely encompass the entire star, the idea being that one could harness 100% of the star’s energy. Benom had wanted it to be clear that this star is home to an advanced civilization, and I can’t think of anything more advanced than an enormous space station surrounding a gargantuan star. Visually, it’s a hodgepodge of concept art from all over the internet, and from some of my favorite sci-fi films, TV shows, and games. The god rays and subtle flickering are definitely a nod to present day exo-planet detection techniques!

When I watch the video I can’t help but be reminded of trips to my local planetarium when I was younger and that natural fascination with outer space that most people have. How much does astronomy and maybe even astrology influence your music? And if so, has that been an interest of yours for a long time?

BP: Astronomy has been an interest of mine since I was a kid. I read and study astronomy as a personal hobby, so that has a huge influence for sure. As for astrology, I don't follow it for spiritual living, but I do have an interest in it. We see the marks of astrology all throughout history and that events have coincided when the planets and stars align into certain positions. That's basically what “Red Sky” was about, when Earth sees this dreadful winged planet in its skies, it means destruction is at hand. It's subtle, but this mysterious winged planet from Red Sky makes an appearance in the “Pleiades” video, just as we exit our solar system and before we go into light speed. 

Jeremy, have you worked on any other music videos in the past? If so, how much or how little did your previous experience influence the final product?

JB: This is the first music video I’ve worked on professionally. Earlier in my career, I did a few personal music-related projects here and there, but nothing to this scale. Music videos are a lot different than narrative film, which is primarily my background, in that the music should still take center stage and drive the visuals. Throughout the process, Benom and I wanted to make sure that the visual complexity and intensity ramped up or down based on the energy and beat of the music. I’d like to think that the video helps you hear the song more powerfully so that it makes more of an impact. Furthermore, with an instrumental song like “Pleiades,” I think it’s especially powerful to give the listener an idea of what inspired the music in the first place.

How involved were you with developing the idea for the video? Or, how much of the video was your own creative input compared to Benom?

JB: The creative process was very much a collaborative effort between Benom and myself. The original idea and the initial brief were provided to me early on, and I developed some concept art and storyboards. After that, it was a consistent back and forth between the two of us. For example, we both knew the hyperspace effect was going to be a big part of the video, so that’s one of the first things I began working on, and it went through many iterations before it became what you see in the video. Benom is probably the best client an artist can ask for; his feedback is not only clear and visionary, but also practical and actionable. We both brought our ideas to the table and we saw eye to eye on just about everything. When we did have some differing opinions, we reached compromises that satisfied us both.

Do you have a particular style of animation that you like to brand yourself with or do you not like to box yourself in? Is there a personal animation style that characterizes the video?

JB: This is a difficult question for me to answer, but a great one! Professionally, my background is in post-production for live-action film. Working as a digital compositor (think green screens and CG characters) for 8 years before coming to Colorado, I rarely got to exercise my own creativity beyond the very limited freedom given to me by my supervisors and directors. In other words, my style was the style of whomever was signing my paychecks! I suppose I’d have to say that my “style” is invisible visual effects that aren’t supposed to be noticed… now that I’m in a position to be creative in my own right is that no, I don’t have a style that I like to brand myself with… yet! 

What was the initial idea behind this music video? Did that idea change or develop in the production process? And, did it come out how you had hoped?

BP: The initial idea was to have some spaceships flying through space and time to go home to their star in the Pleiades. The idea did change. For example, in production we removed the ships, but kept the idea of visiting a star of an advanced civilization. It came out amazing and I appreciate Jeremy's patience with me during the process. 

JB: After 40+ iterations, it changed quite a bit in some ways, but stayed true to the original idea in all the ways that count. One thing that we eventually cut was the ship itself. At first, I think we both felt it was really important, but after some feedback that Benom got, we realized that the ship was a distraction that kept viewers from being able to enjoy the rest of the frame. Another example that kind of went the other way, was that originally, the solar system fly-through was much shorter. After a few versions, it became very clear that there’s only so many ways you can make hyperspace, galaxies and stars look different before it starts to get a little boring. So, we decided to give more weight to the solar system at the beginning. In the end, I think it was a great choice for the overall pacing of the video.

One thing I liked in particular about the video is the simplicity and far-outness of it. Was that a creative choice either of you made or maybe a stylistic choice?

BP: I believe it was a mutual creative and stylistic choice. We both imagined a sort of light speed tunnel, like from Star Wars, but more transparent so we could imagine all the galaxies flying by, but all the while, the Pleiades is still forefront in our center vision as a reminder of the destination. 

I also notice how the video throws out a lot of common music video tropes and opts for a more abstract approach. How do you think the video compares to the usual rock video format?

BP: I felt the music really just lent itself to something artistically abstract. I suppose the usual rock format is mostly all about the band, the look, the ego, etc. That's not wrong in any respect, I like to see the band too. However, this is about taking people on a trip for two and a half minutes and the audience has no idea, nor do they care, what the band looks like or who they are. I like that about this video. It's just all about the music and artistic creative expression. 

Are there any upcoming plans for the band that people should know about? What’s this summer look like for Professor Plumb?

PB: I'm releasing a new song and lyric video soon titled, “Take That!,” which hits on the heightened state of paranoia and divisions growing in the U.S. and around the world. I'll also be performing at The Underground Music Showcase, date, time and venue TBD. This set will be cool and different because it will be a rock duet. I'll be performing on bass/vocals with John Demitro (The Velveteers; Pink Fuzz) on electric guitar. 

Keep up with Professor Plumb 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.

Premiere: Watch Pink Fuzz's Murderous New Video for "Turn"

Denver rock’n’roll favorites Pink Fuzz have been hard at work since the release of their 2018 record ‘Speed Demon’. The trio, comprised of sibling duo John Demitro (The Velveteers) and Lulu Demitro with drummer Forrest Raup, just dropped their music video for their single “Turn.” We’re excited to premiere the video here at BolderBeat, which is a follow-up to their last video “Enough” and features some familiar characters including Fast Finger Frank (David Landry of Boot Gun). Prior to the video’s release, we caught up with Pink Fuzz to learn more about their latest cinematic endeavor and their upcoming Midwest tour. Check it out:

Where was “Turn” recorded and who is featured on the track? Did you have a producer involved?

“Turn” was recorded, produced, and mixed by Pink Fuzz and Todd Divel at Silo Sound Studios in Denver. Jim Wilson mastered it.

What inspired the video concept and who all stars in this follow-up video?

 The video for our single “Enough,” which we released in 2017, was part one of the storyline of this tale. “Turn” is the follow-up to that video. In “Enough,” we see a psychopathic serial killer trucker named Fast Finger Frank chasing after a drugged runaway driving a 1975 Firebird down a desolate desert road. Fast Finger Frank collects fingers as trophies, and is on a drug-fueled mission to get every single female digit that he comes across. Inspired by style of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Grindhouse, in the video for “Turn,” we dive into the life and killings of Fast Finger Frank. The band has always been  fascinated by serial killers and what will drive a human being to stoop so low. This is the recurring theme behind our album Speed Demon and our music videos for the record. “Turn” stars Pink Fuzz, David Landry of Boot Gun, The Velveteers, and Noah Shomberg.  

Pink Fuzz.

Pink Fuzz.

Did anything interesting happen during the filming of the video?

Well there are quite a few gory scenes that we shot outside in public places. We had a lot of people walking by or driving by as we were “killing” our victims. That’s always hilarious when you have people genuinely concerned in the background of a shot. Another funny thing was going to the store and buying severed fingers, a turkey baster, fake blood, and then checking out. The cashier’s face was priceless!

Pink Fuzz. Photo Credit:   Vossling

Pink Fuzz. Photo Credit: Vossling

Why did you decide to film a video for this track from ‘Speed Demon’?

This track has a good, fast-driving beat behind it, as well as lyrics that match up to the video content like, “This is the end of the line my friend. Can’t go back now. Seeing life pass on day to day just counting on you. Fading, you’re fading away.” We wrote “Turn” in the perspective of the serial killer. It seemed like the best follow up to “Enough.”

Spooky! What else is Pink Fuzz planning for 2019?

We’ve been working really hard on new a 5-song EP. We wish were able to release it before our upcoming Midwest tour, but audiences will get to hear some of the new tracks live! In our opinion, it is some of our strongest songwriting and best sounds we’ve captured in the studio! We will be releasing it before summer is over. We’ve also got more videos and tour dates to announce sometime soon. For now catch us on the road starting this week at:

6|13 recordBar | KANSAS CITY, KS

6|14 Replay Lounge | LAWERENCE, KS

6|15 AUNTIE MAES | MANHATTAN, KS

6|18 TOTAL DRAG Records | SIOUX FALLS, SD

6|19 The Zoo Bar | LINCOLN, NE

6|20 TBA | COLUMBIA, MO

6|21 TBA | ST. LOUIS, MO

6|22 Liar's Club (ANNIVERSARY PARTY) | CHICAGO, IL

Can’t wait Pink Fuzz! Make sure to check out the band’s video above and keep up with them this summer here.

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

Bellhoss's Latest Video Features a Dancing Flamingo Party at Fort Greene & Everything Pink

By: Julia Talen

Produced by Lady Cactus Media, bellhoss’s latest music video “geraniums #2 primes listeners and viewers for the release of this local folk-indie-space punk band’s first EP geraniums. Frontwoman, Becky Hostetler moved out to Denver five and a half years ago to pursue a master’s degree in political science and has been infiltrating Colorado’s music scene ever since, most recently with a performance at MCA’s B-sides and with an upcoming show at Underground Music Showcase this July. Her poetic, self-proclaimed “sadcore” tunes bend genres and traverse existential themes.

The flamingo-themed video project for “geraniums #2”, shot inside Fort Greene, pilots relatable topics and motifs through many shades of pink. The video opens up with a catchy intro as two strangers, dressed as flamingos, walk into a flamingo-themed party. The camera lens meanders through the synthetic hot-pink crowd to hone in on Hostetler, sitting awkwardly on a couch next to a guy playing a song for her, or seemingly for anyone who will listen, on the ukulele. She begins to sing and removes her kitschy, plastic flamingo glasses. Her eyelids are the only ones at the party smothered in blush-colored eye shadow.

Hostetler's warm voice, akin to Swedish folk-duo First Aid Kit, mingles with the melody as she moves through the party towards the bathroom singing, “I imagine earthquakes early/ I dreams of geraniums/ I will kill my own thoughts thank you/ I don’t need your help.” In the pale pink bathroom, Hostetler puts on lipstick and then takes it off, as the band rolls through the refrain accompanied by mellow, gazy instrumentals, harmonizing the lyrics, “I’ll do what I want to/ I’ll do what I have to figure it out.”

Bellhoss.

Bellhoss.

Eventually Hostetler leaves the bathroom and bumps into a line of people, who appear angrily impatient with her, before she heads to another couch and sits down next to two television screens showing lengthy singular shots of palm trees and ocean waves. The video has this simulacrum feel to it with the vapid pink assembly of folks and the plastic costumes and birds. It’s as if our protagonist is moving through a world covered in seran wrap. Hostetler sings, “Reading all the bible backwards/ waves crash into the sea/ peeling off my own skin sickly/ crashing into the sea,” and listeners get this sense of alienation, not fitting in, feeling backwards like a wave moving the wrong way, as our protagonist navigates this giant sea of pink.

At one point Hostetler joins the party-goers for a group dance, the only time throughout the video that she actively blends into the crowd. The synchronized dance feels empty, and Hostetler eventually leaves it before ultimately leaving the party.

This brilliantly crafted video gives a taste of bellhoss’s musical poeticism and artistry in digging through the cringey, dark, and all too true themes of feeling different and feeling like you don’t see yourself in something. This project offers a peek into what’s in store as the group continues to make music in the Mile High City. Check out the video and don’t miss the band’s release party and show at Lost Lake Lounge, June 9th with Corsicana and Two Tone Wolf Pack.

-Julia

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

ZEMBU's Latest Track "Human" Reveals How Transformative Art Can Be

By: Julia Talen

Colorado based musician and producer ZEMBU recently released an inspiring and deeply poetic music video for her latest single, “Human”. ZEMBU shared that the song, “Human,” is about the day she learned that her mother had died by suicide. The verse of this indie-pop tune contains lyrics that examine various realms of human nature, and the video itself enhances the single in a variety of ways.

ZEMBU.

ZEMBU.

It opens up with celestial “ooo’s” and flashes of ZEMBU’s body, backgrounded by overexposed landscape shots. The video immediately sets a sort of seeking and inquisitive tone for this art project, as ZEMBU’s “Human” takes us on a journey.

Series of elegant shots of ZEMBU dancing against the sun near the water and the forest roll as she begins to sing. ZEMBU’s vocals have a rich hollowness to them, like there is space for listeners to move deeply into the facets and dimensions of her voice. Her lyrics in this song, such as, “She won’t say goodnight no more/simplicity comes in a haunting form,” invites a similar dive into the subject of suicide and its connection to our humanity.

The use of light in the video also reflects the shadows, undertones, blurriness, and fluidity of the song’s themes. In some shots ZEMBU is over exposed, the light blurring out pieces of her body and creating new shadows, while in other shots we cannot make out the features of her face in the dimmed lighting, as she blends further into the natural background.

Additionally, ZEMBU’s use of dance and the way she organically moves her body in the shadowy and overexposed images and shots of herself in nature also evoke the embodiment of humanness that the song navigates. Her words continue to match the visual vision of this project with lines like “I was so ready to take the blame,” “What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,” and “We are human after all.”

This project uses music, poetry, dance, and film to express and explore, to capture a piece of what it means to be human, and how open and raw that can be for all of us in different ways. ZEMBU’s latest release reveals how transformative, trascendental, and truly powerful all avenues of art can be.

-Julia

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

Premiere: LiteLvl's New Music Video Is an Ambisonic Audio & 360-Degree Visual Experience

LiteLvL released their debut single “Boost Your Immunity While You Sleep/Inspire Photosynthesis In Plants” last week. The duo, comprised of Katey Sleeveless (Eros & the Eschaton) and Jay Marz (King Eddie), are self-described as “installation soundscore.” Today, we’re proud to premiere their debut music video for the track:

“Boost Your Immunity While You Sleep/Inspire Photosynthesis In Plants” was mixed with ambisonic audio, which means just like the video itself, the sound is also three-dimensional. Filmed at Moon Magnet Studios, the video features LiteLvl members Katey Sleeveless and Jay Marz, Andy Ai & Kevin Netz on visuals/projections, and dancers Kailani Dobso & Holly Seidcheck. Videographer Ben Tyson of DenVR is behind the entrancing, psychedelic video experience.

LiteLvl. Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

LiteLvl. Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

“As you move, you'll hear different things. When you look at one guitar amp, you'll hear more of it. When you turn around, it'll feel like that amp is now behind you, and you hear the second amp in front of you louder.” frontman Jay Marz said of the trippy, mylar-fueled experience.

The band play FoCoMX - Fort Collins Music eXperiment this Saturday, April 27th at 4PM at Art Lab Fort Collins.

Keep up with LiteLvL here.

Modern Suspects Release New Music Video for "Desufnoc"

By: Julia Talen

On April 1st, Denver band Modern Suspects released a music video for their latest single “Desufnoc.” Filmed entirely on an iPhone X, guitarist Bart William’s visualized the inspiration behind the film, while frontman Garret Myers wrote the song, galvanized out of a devastating tragedy in which a close friend of his died in a plane crash.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, “Desufnoc,” is confused spelled backwards, and the single and video grip viewers as the group explores the absurdities and the inexplicable aspects of life through visual and audio media.

The video opens with an old Volvo pulling out of a garage on a dry, sunny day. There is music in the background and the viewer thinks that the song is beginning, but the camera hones in the the Volvo’s driver- a woman in a leopard coat with blue hair- listening to what’s on the radio. Anticipation builds as she pulls into a parking garage and we wonder where she is going, but before we can find out, she walks past a series of framed pictures hung on a wall and the camera zooms in to one of the frames, taking the viewer into another realm of the film as the song begins.

As the music flows, the camera continues to hone in on other picture frames, glasses, or mirrors and we melt into new scenes. This movement between different corners of life through pictures and frames elevates lyrics such as, “I’m confused/I’m confused/I feel so confused/Don’t know which way to go.” Viewers become disoriented much like the aftermath of a tragic and sudden loss. The symbolism of moving through frames also makes the audience consider memory and time, and how these play out in the stories that make up our lives and the lives of others.

Modern Suspects.

Modern Suspects.

As the film progresses, the viewer progresses through scenes that are perhaps touchstones of Myers’ personal experience: there is a scene in a body of water, a cemetary, a church. The film ends with a man running toward a house, jumping through a window into a scene evocative of the beginning of the video. The leopard-coated lady listening to Modern Suspects through headphones then walks past another series of frames hung on a wall as the story closes.

Overall, the video sets out to “confuse” viewers, reflecting on events, scenes, stories, and tragedies that take place each day of our own lives and can easily feel disconnected and absurd.

It’s no doubt that Modern Suspects’ visual and musical talent shine in this dreamy pop tune, beautifully accompanied by a thought-provoking video project which brings viewer closer to the lyrics of the track.

Keep up with Modern Suspects 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.

The Simple Parade's "Broken Beauties" Music Video Is Elegant In Its Simplicity

By: Sam Piscitelli

Since their birth, music videos have primarily been used as visual tools to either tell a story or to garner some sort of response, whether it be for views or for artistic consumption. It’s a way to let the artist’s fans get a glimpse into their head and see a particular song from the perspective they drew their creativity from. Most importantly, a music video can either make or break the song you want it to represent. In their recent video release, Denver’s The Simple Parade don’t allow the nonsense of pressure to dictate their art; rather they let their art dictate the video.

The Simple Parade’s “Broken Beauties” music video aims for potent storytelling rather than reliance on visual escapades. The acoustic approach to the song met with the winding-down city as the day seeps into the night really gives the listener a chance to embrace the ambiance of it all. It makes “Broken Beauties” flourish actually. In the kind of atmosphere that is being portrayed, the lyrics are more accessible and seemingly slip easier into the ear of whoever is listening. This gives the songwriting a front and center spotlight usually unheard of in music videos, which is brilliant when you think about it.

The “Broken Beauties” video depicts frontman Justin Hooper with just a guitar in hand singing while walking through downtown Denver. While it’s not a high-budget video nor one that tries to be, it’s definitely charming in its simplicity, much like the track. Some say elegance can be born from simplicity, and simplicity can lead to excellence. In this case, that’s exactly what is seen (and heard) with The Simple Parade.

Keep up with The Simple Parade 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.


The Strange American's "Till You're Told" Music Video Is Symbolic Of The Musician's Journey

By: Sam Piscitelli

As a musician, whether you’re a solo artist or in a band, there is this acknowledgement that comes with garnering a certain amount of fans or receiving positive praise. It’s as though you are no longer a lone act playing your songs in your bedroom; instead you seem to be a well-known somebody. From there, all seems like it will move upwards rather than careening into a haze of obscurity. But, what people don’t know is the long-haul you’ve placed yourself in; the countless times you  practice your craft, the stomach-turning preparation of every interview or review of you and your art, and the unnerving fear that as quickly as your dreams were made, they can just as easily disappear. In their music video for “Till You’re Told” the Strange Americans symbolically covers the landscape of the music business while also relying on the talent that brought them their success.

The video begins with each band member on their own, forging their individual paths. They all carry one item with them, the items being symbolic of who the band is when they come together. The symbolism in the music video is very subjective, but to me each item plays off one another. For example; the lantern is for the fire the band has inside of themselves, the sticks are the framework of the band, the amp is the way in which they express themselves through music, the shovel is about burying the past, and the suitcase is for the accomplished dreams they wish to carry with them one day. With their now unified front, the Strange Americans then begin to traverse the land together. To me, this shows that while they are further than they’ve ever been before, they’re still on the journey. It’s a music video that reflects upon anyone’s time in the music industry. You can walk for miles with the passions you have, the items you bring along for the ride and create as much as you want, but nothing is certain.

While the symbolism can- and mostly likely will be debated- we can’t ignore how this video catches the heart of the struggling musician. It’s a message that no matter how much you go through from the very beginning till the end of your make or break career, that nothing will be set in stone, especially your reputation “Till You’re Told” otherwise. In a business that is continuously changing, the only thing you can be sure of is the work you put out into the world. Once it’s out there, it represents you and that’s what matters. For a video that has a lot of hidden meanings, it’s untold truth is undeniable.

Keep up with the Strange Americans 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.

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.

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.

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.

Alex Blocker Releases New Video from 'Heartbreak Radio' for "French 75" Single

Alex Blocker.

Alex Blocker.

Durango-based artist Alex Blocker is beginning to make quite the name for himself and has become an integral part of the hip-hop community in Colorado. His music can be thought of as an urban travel guide. Influenced by his Chicago roots, Blocker breaks boundaries with a genre-fusing style of contemporary production, songwriting, and violin which combines elements of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz. Influenced by artists like Pharrell, Erykah Badu, and The Internet, Blocker is constantly creating, curating, and releasing new music, as well as collaborating with artists around the country.

Blocker’s most recent album Heartbreak Radio sends the message that life has to be seized at every moment. A collaborative album with LA/Denver emcee RizeThaRebel, it dives into the beauty and pain that can simultaneously come from relationships. Blocker is all about increasing creative output and continuing to strike a balance between digital and acoustic in live performance.

His newest video release, “French 75,” is in reference to the night that this gin-based cocktail became a favorite of Blocker’s: a magical night turned hazy with a long lost friend in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Currently, Blocker finds himself in Colorado, dealing with similar situations from 1000+ miles away.

Be sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming music video for “Makes Me Wonder II,” the first track on Heartbreak Radio and two other singles Blocker plans to drop before the end of the year.

Keep up with Alex Blocker here.

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

Premiere: Dream Feed's Music Video for "Hey Now" Is a Raw, Animated Look at Their New Music

Dream Feed.

Dream Feed.

Denver’s Dream Feed, formerly known as Miguel Dakota and the Differents, have had a busy year. You may remember frontman Miguel Dakota from season nine of America’s Got Talent, where he was a “Top 6” finalist and was offered a national tour with a backing band, but declined to remain in creative control of his work. Dakota continued on with his former project Miguel Dakota and the Differents, and this year, launched Dream Feed. The current band is comprised of Dakota on lead vocals and guitar, Ryan Wagner on lead guitar and vocals, Brian Nolan on drums, and Will Gaines on bass and vocals.

Recently, Dream Feed won the grand prize in the KTCL 93.3 and Pabst Sound Select “Demo Derby” contest with their track “Push and Pull.” Then, after this year’s Underground Music Showcase, Jimmy Siler of Tri Lakes Radio declared Dream Feed, “the best surprise of the festival.” The band also won the grand prize in last summer’s Road to Velorama contest (as Miguel Dakota and the Differents), beating out over 200 local bands and being awarded a performance spot in the Velorama Festival. Last month, on September 14th, the band dropped their debut track “Hey Now” from their self-titled record and subsequently sold-out their show that night at Syntax Physic Opera. Needless to say, their buzz has been building.

Today, we’re excited to premiere the band’s video for “Hey Now,” which was animated by Gary Tussey. Tussey is known for his work depicting musicians like Bob Marley and Miley Cyrus.

Said the band about working with Tussey, “We're a fan of all of Gary's work and saw some sketches he did of other musicians. We thought that the rough style fit well with the gritty, raw vibe of the track ‘Hey Now.’"

Though “Hey Now” is rather lyrically ambiguous, the band wants you to “focus on the raw, gritty, go-getter energy of it,” and there’s plenty of that to go around.

“Hey Now” was recorded at RiverRock Studios in Minneapolis by Eric Blomquist with the rest of the band’s upcoming debut record. The track was mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in NYC.

Said Dream Feed, “[‘Hey Now’] was a lot of fun to record. At one point, we stood at one end of the studio screaming at the top of their lungs with the mic at the other end of the room.”

As for the rest of their 2018, the band is heading back in the studio at Third and James in Denver to continue recording new tunes. They’re planning shows and tours, and you can keep up with Dream Feed here.

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

Premiere: Future Joy's New Music Video for "Thirsty" Is Saxually Satisfying

Denver’s Future Joy are known for their sultry sax sounds. They’re self-proclaimed as a “saxually active glitch hop” outfit and 303 Magazine recently called their new self-titled record the “sweet spot between the heavy hitters and sexy saxophone serenades.” Today, the band dropped their music video for the track “Thirsty” and we’re stoked to premiere it for you here:

Future Joy, comprised of Zach Simms on saxophone (MLIMA) and Frederic Park on percussion, is a seriously tasty combination of all things electronic with sax, funk, and hip-hop thrown in. The result is saxually satisfying, and “Thirsty” feels like a banger from its opening riff.

Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Denver’s Annabelle, whose whisper vocals are featured on the track, stars in the video alongside dancers Gina and Sheridan. Annabelle choreographed the video, which was filmed and edited by Connor Tieulie. She also sings on much of Future Joy’s latest record.

The video’s location may look familiar to some Denverites- it was shot at Tetra Lounge and The Bolt Factory; later Jeffrey Charles Stanley added in the animations and graphics. These give the video a real psych party vibe.

Said Simms of filming the video, “We didn’t have too much planning- we just went with the flow of the locations and let the editors do their thing.”

Simms and Park.

Simms and Park.

The track “Thirsty” was recorded in Simms’ living room before the duo made their way to Side 3 Studios for finishing touches, which included Annabelle’s vocals and her opening a can of seltzer water because everyone knows LaCroix is the best way to booze these days.

Simms and Park have already started working on their next record, and are planning for an early 2019 release. Prior to, they’ve got a Colorado tour in the works, so keep up with their live dates here and turn up with “Thirsty.”

Compass & Cavern Release New Music Video For "Before it Begins" ...In Reverse

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based pop/rock duo Compass & Cavern have been working hard on bringing you quality media since 2015, and their newly released video for “Before it Begins” doesn’t disappoint!

At first you may be thinking this video isn’t anything groundbreaking. I mean, sure the song is cool, but they’re just kind of singing and playing instruments. But then maybe it’ll dawn on you as it did for me, the ENTIRE video is put together in reverse and then reversed again to play forward! And then I really started looking closely: Is frontman Will Timbers playing that solo accurately backwards? Is synthesist Chris Frucci also playing the correct keys in reverse? It seems like it!

Though yes, this technique isn’t their original concept, you have to give them some big props for putting together such a well rehearsed production that most bands wouldn’t spend a quarter of the time on. And it’s especially cool when considering the real-time actions they have in the background of different scenes, like Chris spray painting walls while Will is singing and playing. Moments like these give you the unmistakable knowledge that the band didn’t edit the crap out of their footage to make these things work.

Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

“Before it Begins” is the title track from Compass & Cavern’s 2017 full length release. As with a decent amount of their music, C&C show a definite influence from other hip-hop-meets-pop-rock acts with nods to bands like 311, Twenty One Pilots, and Fall Out Boy.

The band has a good amount of performances booked for the rest of the month and into June, so check out their dates here and try to make it out to one of their upcoming shows!

-Norman

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

joemurray. Drops New "Greater Than I Am" Music Video

By: Julia Talen

At the end of April, Denver-based indie musician Joe Murray (stylized as joemurray.) released his latest single, “Greater Than I Am” with a music video composed of visual representations reflective of the song’s intent and lyrics. “Greater Than I Am” speaks to the very human experience of wanting to be something “great than” you are in the current moment while grappling with the long journey it takes to get there.

The video opens with a bird’s eye view of cars moving through a circle drive, as well as opening credits that introduce the strong accompanying font that will run throughout the video with the lyrics. As Murray begins singing the lyrics, “I can’t breathe when I’m underwater/But I can see all the way to Mars,” each syllable of a word pops onto a black background in bold white font. The syllables don’t come on the screen in the same places, or even in left-to-right linear order, and your eyes can’t seem settle on one focal point when you’re watching. This visual element to the video emphasizes the theme of taking a spiralized pathway toward your goals, rather than something straight forward. Additionally, because the words to the song are segmented on the screen, the step-by-step process of building and reaching one’s goal is further showcased.

As the tune moves toward the refrain, the backdrop changes to a tape of fireworks lighting up the night’s sky within a frame of water moving over rocks and swimming fish. Murray’s careful to put the fireworks video inside the frame because the end goal (or to the “moon” as Murray references lyrically) is enveloped in experiences of feeling stuck (“underwater”) and moving through those emotions.

As the track progresses, and our eyes search the screen for the next syllable of a lyric, images- like a pathway up a mountain, a band playing for an audience, the carp swimming, a train passing, a bird- become layers of one another, mixing and meshing, like the instances that bring us to our achievements.

31490748_1653001538109232_4748654260663615488_o.jpg

It’s no doubt that Murray’s music video has been intentionally crafted to accentuate the meaning of his new single. Viewers don’t miss a beat trying to understand where Murray is coming from. If fact they’ll relate to the human experience of moving through life, wanting something more, but having to be patient and work a little bit each day to get to where they want to be.

-Julia

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

 

King Eddie's New Music Video Was Inspired By A Family Member's Life Saving Liver Transplant

Last November, psych rock and multimedia group King Eddie released their second full-length record Holographic Universe. The album is “reminiscent of some of the more lo-fi Britpop concepts of the late 70s mixed with perhaps a touch of Tame Impala’s signature modern version of psychedelic rock.”

Recently, the band unveiled their latest music video at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Denver for their track “ENTER THE MAN,” the sixth tune on the record. Teeming with the trippy visuals the band is known for, the video was shot at Denver’s Globeville Riverfront Art Space “on a very cold day in January.” It was directed and edited by Steve Besette & Kendal Hurst and costumed by Jacqueline Cordova, who stars in the video alongside Nick Ellingson. King Eddie’s members also make painted appearances.

The song, which was remixed for the video by Mike Schulze (director of the University of Denver's Recording Arts program), also has a powerful story behind it which heavily influenced the direction of the video creatively.

Velvet Adams of King Eddie. 

Velvet Adams of King Eddie. 

Shares frontman Jay Mars, “‘ENTER THE MAN’ started as a song I wrote in Atlanta shortly after my father's life saving organ transplant. The summer of 2016, he was diagnosed with an aggressive liver disease, and by Thanksgiving, I was headed to Georgia to either witness a miracle or say goodbye. The disease exposed a lot of fault lines within my own family, and power struggles that made my ability to care for him and my own search for answers even more difficult. His boss called me a week before Thanksgiving… I didn't realize how sick he was, and I needed to get there as soon as possible. I felt like the situation was being covered up, and I didn't know why or what for. I was stunned to see what the disease had done to his body in a few months. I didn't even recognize him… ”

Jay Mars.

Jay Mars.

As he waited for his father in the intensive surgical recovery center for over a week after the transplant operation, Mars began writing “ENTER THE MAN.”

Says Mars, “I wrote what become the chorus, and the lyrics, ‘Faith enter the man, through a hole inside his head.’ I see this song as a psychedelic drama about staring down your own mortality. The lyrics ‘in a white room stripped to your own, you'll find out yourself’ were inspired by something he said about heading into the surgery, at the 11:59:59 of his life, knowing there was no going back, and he would either die or have a second chance at life. The surgery room was white, circular, surrounded by doctors, and he was lying naked in the center of the room, surrounded by unfamiliar experts in liver pathology. It's hard to imagine what that must have felt like. My best guess is the hallway scene in the video, racing toward something… and on the other side: he miraculously wakes up. ‘ENTER THE MAN’ is a song that explores mortality, the relationship between mind and body, life and death, condemnation and rebirth. We live often completely wrapped up in stories we've projected onto ourselves, about ourselves, about others, the way life is and ought to be. I wanted to explore that space because I thought that's where dissatisfaction might instinctively arise. ‘ENTER THE MAN,’ and the rest of our album Holographic Universe are furthermore inspired by the writings of Michael Talbot in his book The Holographic Universe, asking: If reality is maya, or illusion, can we create our own hologram?”

Whether or not we can, King Eddie sure try. Watch their psychedelic experience above and keep up with King Eddie here.

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

John Lensing Releases New Music Video For "Joanie"

By: Trevor Ryan

John Lensing, the Minneapolis bred turned Colorado singer/songwriter released his new video for the heart-wrenching, soulful “Joanie” this month and it’s everything you wanted it to be.

You may know John for his street performing on the streets of…. well everywhere, or maybe you’ve caught a show or two. No matter how you may have stumbled upon Lensing’s tunes, you one thing you’re sure to get when listening is a moment of sincerity and brilliance. Flowing with influences such as Passenger, and all while gripping you with an awe-inspiring take of his own is exactly where you’ll find his newest folk gem “Joanie.” Lensing has this incredible ability to take the world and tell you what it means with raw emotion and simplicity.

The song itself portrays the story of a young woman who has “her picture taken every week,” who is surrounded by everyone that “made” her, and yet who remain the perfect strangers. A powerful take on the struggle between self loathing and worth, you can expect lyrics like, “they took something beautiful, and made it just ‘bout selling things” describing the events of Joanie’s life as “the holiest of sins.”  

John Lensing.

John Lensing.

The video, a project that Lensing describes as “always meant to be simple” became exactly this, and so much more. You find Joanie, despondent and worn, carrying out day-to-day life without notice and lost to the world. Elegantly shot by the ever talented Zoë Keeler, the focus is always on “Joanie,” with the same vacant but beautiful expression, with the world in full motion around her. There are different places with different people filling the background with their own lives and memories, and then there’s Joanie, with eyes as far away as possible.

Check out the full John Lensing experience here, where you can find show dates, new stuff, and a even a newsletter. Toss him a like on Facebook here while you’re at it and don’t forget to catch the video for “Joanie” above.

-Trevor

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