Review: Gasoline Lollipops' New Record 'Soul Mine' Leaves Nothing Left Unsaid

By: Julia Talen

Colorado's beloved alt-country band Gasoline Lollipops release their new album Soul Mine  this month, with a vinyl release party happening December 16th at The Fox Theatre in Boulder. The band will be making their homecoming after a long stint in Europe touring throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. Fans and listeners will not be disappointed, as this album gives us the rugged-punk, country rock’n’roll sound fans know and love while exploring themes of emotional heartbreak, pain, motivation, and growth. The opening track and title of the album hint at the content within, as the band welds together folk and untamed alternative-country-rock to produce a record full of depth, stories, and music that compels listeners to take a stand while also contemplating.

Gasoline Lollipops at Red Rocks. Photo:   Hannah Oreskovich

Gasoline Lollipops at Red Rocks. Photo: Hannah Oreskovich

Clay Rose's voice immediately reminded me of the likes of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen; deep, gritty and dark, yet sustained with unwavering intensity and truth. The title track begins with a soulful, bluesy opening accompanying Rose's rich vocals and the band's groovy guitar solos. Lyrics like "started out digging for diamonds and gold/now I'm digging through the long, dark night of the soul/to see dawn" and "love springs from deep wells/faith is born in the forge of hell/forge on" allude to the theme of the album: one of transformation. "Soul Mine," evolves as a track as well. At one point the refrain builds and then pulls back, stripped down to bare instruments and vocals, only to rebuild into an epic finish that swells. This engrossing track sets the tone for the album as listeners dive deep into stories of loss and evolution.

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The first half of the album is filled with songs that showcase Gasoline Lollipop's eclectic style and ability to explore country rock beyond the confines of a genre. Rose's profound voice sounds subterranean and electrified at times, while other times rustic and lightened, yet still powerful. Drum beats, guitar solos, and harmonic keys shine through in many of the tracks as listeners settle into the tales that the album chronicles. "Woman and a Gun," the third track, begins slowly and vocally; it sounds like a story told near a fire out west about an outlaw named Jessie. The tune's refrain breaks the early, rustic, folktale feel as the track builds. The second half of the song surges with lyrics, "all my faith is a bullet/all my God is a gun/all this world was just smoke and mirrors/I'm gonna break them one by one." After repeating the last verse, "gonna break them one by one," the song launches into a fast, dynamic progression full of intricate guitar solos and percussion that intensifies, elevating the ending of the track by taking it to an edge.

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As the album continues, listeners move through songs of heartbreak. "Casanova" wavers in and out of a harsh rock’n'roll sound and a slow, somber refrain: "If a man goes livin'/for the heart for too long/he's bound to be eaten alive." The track "Montreal" details an ending and nostalgia for the past, as GasPops evoke emotion and leave nothing left unsaid.

"Burns" comes soon after and opens with strings that cry out from the start. There is an evocative darkness hovering over the track, that reminded me of The National. However, Rose's voice builds and breaks boundaries as he repeats "and it burns" towards the end of the track. This one gave me chills, because once again, it felt like GasPops were taking me into the fire with them. Their music goes beyond instruments and vocals; their passionate lyrics, layered with brilliant instrumentals, grab you and take you into an experience they construct with their music, one in which you feel the pain from a past memory that their music expresses in the present moment.

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After exploring more heavy transformation and darkness with tracks titled, "Ghost of a Man," and "Leaving Alone," the album ends with the tune, "Put me to the Task," a hopeful send off, complete with elements of upbeat country rock. The steel guitar and violin liven the tune along with Rose's vocals and the warm harmonies that round out the refrain. The bass carries through and lights a spark under the folds of sound that grow throughout the song. The song finishes off with lyrics, "Well I know/time has come to make good what we don't/but I'm eager to please." We are left with some light at the end of this dark, yet resounding album.

Soul Mine takes listeners to a vulnerable threshold, all the while showcasing the band's dynamic sounds, sounds that truly liberate them from one specific genre. This mighty and gripping album is one that listeners can relate to, contemplate, and even dance to, making it an album that anyone can connect with. Don't miss Gasoline Lollipops album release party on December 16th at The Fox Theatre, followed by their NYE show December 31 at Hodi's Half Note in Fort Collins!           

-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: Augustus Release New Single "Demons" From Upcoming EP

By: Andrew Wright

In the dizzying internet world where all the different kinds of music thrown at you can be overwhelming, to the pop-dominated airwaves of half-dead radio, it is a touch of awesome nostalgia to hear simple, cool, straightforward rock and roll. The Boulder-based band Augustus are a call back to this music, the kind that simply exudes cool without trying.

“Demons” is the first single from the band’s forthcoming EP, which is due out in the spring of 2018. “Demons” is simple in its form as a rock song, but this is a good thing. The most important lesson I ever learned in music theory class was to write music and then have the theory make sense of it; in other words it’s ok to be simple when the music is actually good. Augustus have accomplished this powerful principle with “Demons,” making this band yet another solid one in the ever-growing pool of awesome talent in Colorado. With bluesy guitars under frontman Colin Kelly’s thick and reverb-y vocals, to the rock-heavy drum patterns on this track, “Demons” is a perfect wave of rock’n’roll.

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“Demons” is the first of two singles to be released from the band’s Denver Art Institute sessions, where drummer Jay Elliot is an adjunct professor. Members Jim Herlihy (guitar) and Chad Mathis (bass) tracked their instruments live at DAI along with Elliot (drums) and students from an advanced audio course helped engineer the sessions, making this song bleed even more Colorado music community vibes. The vocals and lead guitar were tracked at Casa Nostra Studios in Boulder by Kelly (vocals/guitar), with mastering by Dominick Maita.

Augustus have plans to release a music video for "Demons" soon. You can keep up with this four-piece rock'n'roll outfit and their next EP here.

-Andrew

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

Dynohunter Evoke The Depth And Expansiveness The EDM Scene Is Craving

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Boulder, Colorado, a city closely associated with bluegrass and jam bands, is also home to thriving EDM musicians. Born out of the Lotus and STS9 jam scene, Boulder’s own Dynohunter is a hybrid of electronic dance music production and live band improvisation. Pulling electronic influences from house, techno, and electronica, while continuing to be influenced by their instrumental funk, jazz, and jam roots; blending electronic influences with live saxophone, drums and bass, Dynohunter evoke the depth and expansiveness the EDM scene is craving.

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

The trio has been around since 2010 and they’ve come a long way in their time as a band. Clark Smith has been keeping Dynohunter fresh with sax, keys, and percussion while mixing and producing the music, Fred Reisen adds the essential drooling low bass grooves, and drops a synth note when appropriate, Nic Thornsberry seamlessly kicks the drums and SPD-SX.  Blend these with tasteful original electronic soundscapes peppered with other organic instruments (like a conch shell, for example) and you got yourself an EDM journey deep into the universe (or jungle, or ocean, or insert your own temperature and atmosphere preference here). You are bound to at least bob your head, if you’re not fully compelled to dance.   

Watch Dynohunter’s recent live session at Knew Conscious:

Clark’s sparking creativity stems from his take on the music genre, “I just feel like EDM, Techno, and House music have so much untapped potential and unexplored pockets that intrigue and excite me. With other music genres, it feels like most avenues have already been explored.”

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

Early on in their career, the band played alongside the likes of Sunsquabi, Infected Mushroom, Shpongle, The New Deal, Papadosio and more. They’ve toured the country and have performed at music festivals coast to coast including Summercamp, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and Arise. But along with their successes, the band has also dealt with tough loss. In April 2016, the band’s drummer and dear friend Justin Ehmer passed away after a long battle with cancer. Justin was a key member of the band who poured his heart and soul into the project. Since then, Dynohunter has pushed on, healing with time, but keeping Justin’s spirit alive in their music. A picture of his smiling face still stands behind the drums in Dynohunter’s home studio, a place the band has recently been working hard in.

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Dynohunter’s 2015 full length album The Nomad was well received; since then they have released four EPs, with Rattle the Cage being their most recent. Their fifth and upcoming EP titled Tilmun is scheduled for release on December 13th, with the single dropping December 6th, just a couple of days before they headline The Bluebird Theater in Denver.

Dynohunter at   Knew Conscious  .

Dynohunter at Knew Conscious.

Being a musical experience of their own, Dynohunter is well worth seeing live.  If you can catch them this Friday, December 8th at The Bluebird Theater, you’ll be in for a treat with fresh music right out of the studio and onto the stage.

According to Reisen, “[Dynohunter] sure has a way of bringing that experiential aspect of music to life and if you’re coming into it open-minded, you’ll be taken on a journey of higher vibration; an hour and a half experience that leaves you feeling a little bit better and expanded.”  Spoken like a true Boulderite, Fred!

-Mirna

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

Daybreaker Is Officially The Best Way To Wake Up

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last Thursday, I woke up at 5AM to don my best fur vest with some of Boulder’s happiest people. Yoga mat in hand, I headed to the Boulder Theater for what was the earliest door time I’d ever attended: a spry 6AM. Though it was still dark outside when I arrived, the inside of one of Boulder’s best concert venues was glowing. Ticket-checkers greeted everyone who entered with a hug and a twinkling, “Welcome to Daybreaker!” It was hard to keep even the most “I’m-not-a-morning-person” from smiling.

Inside the theater, DJ Falcon Punch was spinning disco funk tunes. Around me, people were spreading out yoga mats where concert-goers normally post up with a beer to catch a band. There was a lot of faux fur happening, and alongside it, yogis in onesies ranging from your classic Christmas pajama look to your Ninja Turtle of choice. Though it was early, there was no sign of sleep. People were ready to party.

Yoga Pod’s Dan Carbonell and Rob Loud led the morning sun salutations just as the horizon was lighting up outside. They made the practice playful while DJ Falconpunch continued to throw down some fun, meditative grooves for those long-held plank poses. Loud even recommended twerking during saddle pose, and more than one Daybreaker attendee took him up on it.

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After yoga, the bar opened at 7AM with a selection of green juice and tea. There were temporary tattoo stations and face-painting. More penguins, tigers, and unicorns twirled into the venue as the event's emcee, Drew Wyman from Shinesty, beckoned attendees to dance. Which they did. For the next TWO HOURS before most of them hit their day jobs. Somehow, the positive and creative space that Daybreaker fosters with this event will leave you more energized than any morning Starbucks ever could. The event almost feels like a mini Bonnaroo high-five session, jam-packed with love and positive vibes. People left the theater shining with gratitude and smiles, and though I rarely leave a music venue any other way, this was different. I actually questioned if I might be a morning person thanks to Daybreaker.

Daybreaker is coming back to Colorado, in Boulder Thursday, January 11th (details TBA) and in Denver at Club Vinyl on Wednesday, January 17th. Get tickets here and get to it! You don’t want to (hit) snooze on this one.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Danny Shafer Bringing Back Open Stage Nights At New Boulder Venue

By: Elizabeth Lee

Singer-songwriter Danny Shafer will be bringing his Open Stage nights back to Boulder starting tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7th. After a 16-year run hosting the open mic night at Boulder’s now defunct Conor O’Neill’s, Shafer is ready to reconnect with the amazing community he’s helped create over the years at a new venue. Here at BolderBeat, we’ve heard stories from numerous local musicians who started playing out at Danny’s previous open mic night, so his new stage is sure to bring even more local talent together.

Danny Shafer.

Danny Shafer.

With over 200 shows a year on his own, Shafer has been bringing his original country and bluegrass tunes to audiences at venues such as The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, The Boulder Theater, The Fox Theatre, and Swallow Hill as well as many others across the country. His acclaimed songwriting skills and fingerstyle guitar are a treat to witness in person.

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For a fun night of tradition, community, and awesome music, be sure to catch Shafer’s Open Stage every Tuesday at Boulder's new Oskar Blues Taproom (formerly World of Beer). You can sign up for 15 minute sets starting at 7PM and the music begins at 730PM.

RSVP on Facebook and keep up with Danny here.

-Elizabeth

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

GoGo Penguin Bring Their Jazz Electronica To Boulder Theater

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s always such a rush to find new music and get excited about the prospect of hearing it live. Are you into jazz? If so, you’re in luck! The UK’s GoGo Penguin trio are playing the Boulder Theatre this Wednesday, September 6th.

GoGo Penguin.

GoGo Penguin.

To music lovers and musicians alike: these guys are about to blow your musical brains out. Trippy, jazzy, trip-hop, and classical melodies meshed with modern beats and deep bass jives, concocted into a potion that gently pushes the envelope and makes your ears perk up- that’s GoGo Penguin. Just listening to them on Spotify made the hair on the back of my neck stand tall.  

Check out GoGo Penguin:

If GGP are anywhere as playful live as they are on record, Wednesday’s show is bound to be a sonically bountiful evening for your ears to feast on. Get tickets while you can, folks! Who knows when this talented crew will cross the pond again.

-Mirna

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

Mlima Goes Interstellar: Fiske Planetarium Concert To Become New Album

By: Will Baumgartner

Denver’s Mlima have covered a lot of ground in the five years since their formation, but their journey, in a lot of ways, is only beginning. The group, who have coined the term “mountain groove music” in an attempt to encapsulate their sprawling sounds, first played together in 2012. Since then, they’ve played Red Rocks and were discovered and nurtured by the late legendary concert promoter Barry Fey; they’ve been with Fey’s management company, Feyline Presents, ever since. The band has also seen multiple personnel changes since their inception, with the one constant being percussionist Jack Breitenbach, the group’s founder. But as saxophonist/vocalist Zach Simms told me in a recent interview, it’s really been in the past year and a half that Mlima has found itself coalescing into the type of band that can look into the sky and say, “We could go there. And fill it with music.”

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

 In a very tangible way, that’s exactly what they did in their recent concert at CU Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium. Following a set of powerful, funky space-jazz by opening trio Dandu (definitely another Denver band to watch, by the way), Mlima populated the stage in their current incarnation featuring the locally ubiquitous vocalist Jessica Jones (who has sung with dozens of bands from the Glitta Kings to Galactic), masterful guitarist Jeph Kennedy, keyboardist Nate Todd (of Whiskey Tango and Jaden Carlson Band), bassist Ryan Thrush, drummer Lance Croucher, and the aforementioned Zach Simms on sax and vocals (also of Zobomaze and Like A Kenny G6). Together, these musicians proceeded to take the audience on a sonic journey that perfectly complemented the planetarium’s projected backdrop of intergalactic scenery.  

Watch Mlima’s live set at Fiske Planetarium: 

 

Aside from rallying all the talent onstage into an impressive and affecting musical whole, the concert marked another rather stunning achievement: virtually the entire set had been recently written by the band specifically for the planetarium concert, and the show was a debut performance of that material. This ambitious undertaking harkens back to another recent Mlima project, the transformation of their 2016 New Year’s show at The Bluebird Theater in Denver into the band’s soon-to-be-released next album, which drops August 17th, 2017. Much like this show, the Fiske Planetarium set will now be taken into the studio and made into the group’s next album, which they plan to release just a couple of months after the upcoming Bluebird record. These are not going to be live albums, but rather present an interesting twist on the live album formula: write a set for a specific show, go perform that show, and then take the material into the studio. If another band has taken that approach in the past, I haven’t heard about it! 

The tradition among local bands playing Fiske Planetarium has been to gear their sets toward the starry, trippy background of projections against Fiske’s domed ceiling, and for both Mlima and openers Dandu, this concert was no exception. But make no mistake that both bands, while playing sets that definitely leaned toward a reflection of the psychedelic/spacey feel of the visuals, did not skimp on the funk and hard grooves. Fiske has a largely seated arrangement, but that didn’t stop people from getting out of those seats and dancing in the aisles during portions of the show. Since most of the music in Mlima’s set was new, I of course didn’t recognize most of the songs, but for being brand-new material, there was no sense of the band “rehearsing” the songs onstage. In fact, many of these songs came across as anthems one might remember from dreams, or from life in another galaxy. With titles like “Planet Borscht” and “Hallucination Rain,” there was a sense of not only the type of tripping-through-the-universe groove which might remind one of Pink Floyd at their “Astronomy Domine”/”Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun” starry best, but also of the kind of mad fun one might find at a concert by Gogol Bordello, especially in the crazed performance of the Klezmer-party Mlima original “Kosher Dumpling,” which came near the end of the show and had Simms wandering among the audience honking on his baritone sax while audience members danced gleefully around him. 

The one song I definitely did recognize was their cover of the psyche-pop classic “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which was Kenny Rogers’ first hit in 1968. Mlima did the song proud, ably abetted by Jessica Jones’ always soulful and hugely powerful voice. For as much as that girl gigs, I must admit rather shame-facedly that this was my first time catching a performance by her, and I was far from disappointed. Her vocals are indeed a local treasure, but then again, everyone in Mlima brought so much to the stage: Simms is an insanely watchable frontman and an excellent saxophonist, and all the other musicians displayed dazzling virtuosity while making it all look easy and ridiculously fun. They definitely made a fan of me, and I can’t wait to hear their two upcoming albums when they’re released nearly back-to-back later this year.  

I don’t know what Mlima were like when they started, but Barry Fey must have seen their potential when he arranged to have them open for The Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks during their first year as a band. It seems from that highly auspicious beginning, the band has truly grown into a full realization of that potential, and will go amazingly onward and upward from here: even the sky may not be the limit for this band.

Mlima play The Fox Theatre July 7th opening for Jaden Carlson and Broccoli Samurai. Tickets here. Keep up with Mlima on their Facebook.

-Will

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

Niwot's Curse Play Illegal Pete's On Pearl This Thursday (06/01)

By: Hannah Oreskovich

This Thursday, June 1st at Illegal Pete’s on Pearl, Niwot’s Curse have their first official show. The Boulder five-piece band consists of Four Horse Johnson (vocals/guitar), Dave Long aka Mr. Long (vocals/guitar), Ben Gaubert (bass), Derek Cibere (drums), and Amber O'Hearn (vocals). Though it’s their first official gig in Boulder, Niwot’s Curse are well-known in these parts. Frontman Four Horse Johnson played many an open-mic at the now defunct Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub, and his songs have even been covered by bands including Augustus. Four Horse is a bit of a character, and that’s ever-present in his witty lyricism and rock’n’roll onstage demeanor. And as Four Horse says, Mr. Long is his perfect musical counterpart, so in honor of the band’s first billed show, we sat down with Four Horse Johnson and Mr. Long to learn more about Niwot’s Curse and their plans to rock out this summer. Read on:

What are the origins of Niwot’s Curse?

Mr. Long: The origins go back to the curse itself. Myself, Derek, and Four Horse are lifelong Boulder residents who wouldn't be here if not for Niwot's Curse. Everyone met organically by playing at Conor O'Neill's open stage, where we all came together and formed the band.

How long have you been playing together then?

Mr. Long: Nine months.

Niwot's Curse recording at   Cosmic Collective

Niwot's Curse recording at Cosmic Collective

What can patrons expect from NC’s first official gig?

Four Horse Johnson: A powerhouse band of talented musicians blowing the roof off the place, with energy to spare and super catchy tunes.

Illegal Pete’s is one of our favorite Colorado supporters of local artists. Tell us why you’re stoked to play there for your first gig.

We love the vibe- their support of music comes from the top. We’d like to thank Derek Warwick for booking us. We all go there all the time- it's a great place with good food and inexpensive drinks too.

We know you’ve been recording in the studio. Talk to us about what you’ve been laying down and who you’ve been working with.  

Mr. Long: We recorded eight songs live at Cosmic Collective and they were recorded by Eric Plein. They were mixed by Ray Smith, who is well known for his work on the Muscle Shoals soundtrack and with Strangebyrds. They are mastered and sound great in stereo and all. We decided to release five of the tracks and they are available for streaming or download on our Reverbnation. We just also submitted one song to iTunes and Spotify. We are very proud of the tracks and plan to record more songs at Ray's studio in Rollinsville soon.

Is “Tame Me” based on a personal experience?

Four Horse Johnson: Yes it is. But it's a universal theme to a lot of relationships that I think men and women go through- the, ‘I love you, now change yourself’ bullsh*t.

What inspired your track “Wine Tasting From Hell”?

Four Horse Johnson: The song is based on a true event in my life. I wrote it on the train to Paris. I was new in a relationship and we fell in love hard and fast. That night nipped a budding romance at the bud. It was one of the most traumatic events of my life. The lyrics that tell the story are some of my best verses I ever wrote. The tragedy of it all is summed up in the final verse, ‘Love was at our fingertips. Now I know it don't exist. I won't forget our last kiss. The taste of vomit on your lips…’

Four Horse Johnson doubles at The Most Interesting Man In The World. 

Four Horse Johnson doubles at The Most Interesting Man In The World. 

So what else can we expect from Niwot’s Curse this summer?

Mr. Long: We are moving our rehearsal location to Niwot, appropriately. We are playing in Lyons this weekend at Burning Barn, followed by a set at Johnny's Cigar Bar on June 17th. Since we released our new music, we're getting a lot of interest. We are interested in booking shows later in July and August and ask any bands or venues that want us to contact us as we ramp into the scene.

Nice. Four Horse- I’m going to ask the question all the ladies want to know. Will you be wearing your all-white suit to the gig this week at Pete’s?

Four Horse Johnson: Yeah if I can get the beer stains out of it…

So there you have it. Make sure to stop by Illegal Pete’s this Thursday night for Niwot’s Curse- details 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.

Victors & Spoils' Mustaches and Man Glands for Movember Event Tonight

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Doesn’t everyone love a good mustache? We do. And that’s why we thought you’d better know that Victors & Spoils in Boulder is hosting an event called Mustaches and Man Glands for Movember tonight. Man glands? Yes. We said it.

Victors & Spoils, which sits on the corner of 19th and Pearl, is an advertising agency that “opens its creative and strategy process to people around the globe.” But tonight, the joint is going full-barbershop mode for a good cause. Artists from VooDoo Lounge will be posted up at V&S to trim your man beard for a suggested donation of $20. They’ll help you transform your pre-winter scruff into the mustache of your dreams (maybe try one of these?). The entire event benefits the Movember Foundation, with 100% of proceeds going to Movember for prostate cancer research. The first shave starts at 4PM and the last snip is slated for 7PM.

Join the Facebook event for more info.

Or put your man gland balls to the wall and sign up for a trim 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.