The Sadies' New Record Is Arguably Their Best Yet & Drummer Mike Belitzsky Tells Us Why

By: Claire Woodcock

Mike Belitzsky has been drumming with The Sadies for over 20 years and has never been so excited about the direction the band is moving in. The traditionally roots rock kings of Canada’s sound on Northern Passengers, released back in February, preserves the band’s history while soaking the tracks in reverb and a light wash of fuzz.

The Sadies. Photo Credit:  Heather Pollock Photography

The Sadies. Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

The eclectic country western rock quartet recorded album number ten in the basement of members Dallas and Travis Good’s parent’s house. The brothers come from a family of musicians- their father and uncles formed The Good Brotherswhich Travis and Dallas actually played in for a stitch before forming The Sadies back in 1994 with their lineup of bassist Sean Dean and drummer Belitsky.

The instrumentals on Northern Passengers are in tight sync. And Belitsky’s musical style is to keep it that way, balancing creativity with keeping the other parts audible. Part of that stems from the band not feeling pressed for time when recording the album.  

“If we wanted to speed [a song] up 10 beats per minute we could just redo [the track] and it wasn’t a big deal,” he said.

Some songs only took a half a day to track. “But for others, [we] would do it and then three days later somebody would be putting the guitar track on and say, ‘You know what, this is too slow, we’ve got to redo the whole thing.’” he added.  

Photo Credit:  Derek von Essen

Photo Credit: Derek von Essen

The album came out in February as The Sadies’ first record with Dine Alone Records. Highly respected in North America for a dynamic blend of rock’n’roll licks and country western harmonies, the veteran indie band collaborated with Neko Case and Andre Williams and opened and accompanied greats like Neil Young. And Kurt Vile, who played a killer set at Project Pabst in Denver last weekend guests on Northern Passengers with “It’s Easy (Like Walking),” which sounds like a traditional Kurt Vile song. (He sure likes to walk, doesn’t he?)  

Photo Credit: Rick White.

Photo Credit: Rick White.

Belitsky’s drums compliment every vocal, guitar, and bass track on the album. “Everybody sort of just assumes that you get the drum sounds and then bang! The drummer just bangs out a track and goes home,” he said, “...[But] I don’t like to be just the guy that plays super straight and just keeps the time. I want to be creative and I want to be someone who plays the song not just to the beat and within that realm in those parameters. I don’t want to be so busy that I’m stepping on someone’s part or taking away from the melody. I don’t want to lose the backbeat but I still want to be creative and play to the song as much as I can, where there’s still a strong feeling of a backbeat and a rhythm, but [the drums] still manage to embellish the song to highlight the other parts.”

Artwork by Jeremy Bruneel

Artwork by Jeremy Bruneel

Catch The Sadies when they’re passing through Denver this Friday, May 26th at The Bluebird Theater. Justin Towne Earles headlines and has a new single out this month. Tickets here.

-Claire

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

Chuck Prophet Returns To eTown With 'Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins'

By: Claire Woodcock

Thursday marks California roots rocker Chuck Prophet’s return to eTown Hall. This San Francisco-based artist has been steadily cranking out folk albums since the ’80s, while collaborating with musicians like Cake and Alejandro Escovedo.

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

In February, Prophet released his latest full length Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. He recalled writing a cluster of songs with a co-conspirator who was lacking direction.

“I ended up putting on a Bobby Fuller record,” he said, “And I heard the record crackle, the needle skip and jump.”

To which his collaborator shot back, “Bobby Fuller died for your sins!”

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

At first, he didn’t think much of it. But for Prophet, Robert Gaston “Bobby” Fuller was an icon. A greaser-rocker type from Texas, he and his band The Bobby Fuller Four moved from El Paso to Los Angeles in search of the American dream.

“He was an inventive guy and he was completely out of time,” mused Prophet. “By the time Bobby Fuller got to Los Angeles, he had entered a world that worshipped The Beach Boys and The Beatles."

In 1996, the group released I Fought The Law, and within weeks of that record climbing the charts, Fuller was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

“I guess I kind of relate to that… I feel like I’ve always been out of step with the times,” said Prophet. “I’ve been making home records for a while. I mean [Fuller] made records in El Paso in his parents’ living room. And they built a reverb chamber in their parents’ backyard. I’d been making home records for awhile and I got my first big record deal at the height of grunge music.”

Prophet released Brother Aldo, his first full length LP in 1990 and said that at the time, roots rock wasn’t what record labels were looking for. “Later bands took that sound places,” he reflects. But on Bobby Fuller, Prophet recorded in real time to tape.

“I just wanted to slow us down,” he said, “And let the limitations to make us turn in a record with a little more emphasis on the performances and a little less emphasis on making it right.”

Bobby Fuller’s influence let Prophet slow down the process, which makes the album’s complexity play for itself. In Fuller’s fashion, Prophet describes what he calls the “California Noir” thematics at work on his new record.

Listen to Prophet's new record:

“We’re living in kind of a distorted place out here in California,” he said. “The money came to town and the latest tech wave is a little different from the last tech wave… young techies have come and it's like living in a science fiction movie.”

Boulder audiences can relate to the singer-songwriter’s message with songs like “Coming Out in Code,” in lieu of a tech boom that’s brought Microsoft, Uber, Twitterand Google to a city that was once seen as a gathering place for hippies, much like San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

One song off Prophet’s new record, “Bad Year for Rock and Roll,” is often seen as a tribute to the rock stars the world lost in 2016. While Prophet acknowledged the song was written last year, he added, “it’s about losing our heroes and losing our faith.”

“We live in a time of cultural exhaustion and people are exhausted. They’re overstimulated. I don't care what you believe in or who you believe in. I think everybody's faith was put to the test and I think the election year itself is really in the DNA of the whole album, if I think about it. A lot of the stuff on the record is about death and celebrity and dissolution of the California dream…”

Catch Chuck’s return to eTown Hall May 4th for a live radio show taping with rapper and activist Brother Ali at 7PM. For more information and tickets, visit etown.org.

-Claire

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

Talking Festivals, Politics, & New Music with Dressy Bessy's Tammy Ealom

By: Claire Woodcock

Dressy Bessy was one of the first bands remnant of the Riot Grrrl movement in the early 90s based in Denver, CO. Lead vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Tammy Ealom instituted the indie band, associated with the prolific Elephant Six Collective Recording Company, with guitarist John Hill (who also plays with the E6 band The Apples in Stereo), bassist Rob Greene, and drummer Darren Albert in 1996. After the band released four albums, Craig Gilbert superseded Albert on drums in 2005, and DB released 'Electrified' that same year on a new label, Transdreamer Records.

Dressy Bessy.

Dressy Bessy.

In 2008, when Dressy Bessy released their second record with Transdreamer, the stock market crashed, and the band learned the consequences of trying to tour through an economic recession. Then the country didn’t hear much from Dressy Bessy. In 2015, bassist Greene left, and the end of the Obama era was in sight. As a result, Ealom, Hill, and Gilbert started recording again, this time in their home studio. The product of this recording was 'Kingsized,' which Dressy Bessy released a year ago. Since then, the band has toured the country on the frontlines of a new wave of protest music.

Recently, Ealom spoke with me about upcoming shows and plans for a new record. Read on:

So I heard you went to D.C. recently for the Women's March on Washington.

I did, I did.

What did you think?

It was completely overwhelming and beautiful, and I'm glad I did it. It was beautiful to see so many like minded people come together to protest. I'm still in shock with all of these politics just like everybody else. I had never been in a crowd that big before and it was emotional. But you actually did feel a camaraderie and to feel in camaraderie with that many people at once can be overwhelming. It was incredible, and I'm glad I did it, and it doesn't stop there obviously.

What was your takeaway from being in D.C. that day?

I learned that we not in this alone; there are a lot of people who are freaked out and not standing for the way our government and our world is going with this new Trump administration. I think I'm suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress syndrome just over this entire year. Our album came out almost a year ago and we toured the country a couple of times all the way around, the whole time just sort of reaching out to people and just trying to get across how important it is and was that we're paying attention. I was a true proponent of Obama and I felt really comfortable with him as our president. He is an intelligent, calm person [who was] in charge of our country and it made me comfortable. I didn't obsess about politics everyday. Now I do. I wake up in the middle of the night and I reach over and I grab my phone just to check to see and make sure we don't have to put on gas masks, you know what I mean? Like this is such a crazy time.

Tammy Ealom.

Tammy Ealom.

Dressy Bessy dropped 'Kingsized' about a year ago-

February 5th last year.

So coming up on exactly a year after taking a considerable amount of time off, what has it been like to jump back into the world of album releases and tours during an election year?

It’s been amazing. The record came around about the same time civil unrest was starting, so it was amazing because I was able to go and let it out. I live for this shit. I've been doing it for 20 years and we're continuing on. We're planning a new album hopefully next year. I'm halfway there with new songs, and they just keep coming, so I'm going to take advantage of it and get it out there.

Any ideas on what Dressy Bessy’s next album’s going to be like?

That's a tough question because I don't question where my songs come from, I just let them develop like, ‘Okay, cool cool’ and a lot of times I'm not exactly sure where they came from. I don't sit down like, ‘Oh, I'm going to write a song today.’ Sometimes I just get this feeling as I lay there like ‘Oh God;’ it's like a ball of [noise] and I just let it out through song.

Rock, you just rock.

Rock and roll, that's all it is. It's all rhythm and blues.

Dressy Bessy got its start in Denver over two decades ago. How do you see the topics and songs you guys write about and play evolving over time?

Well, the internet was a big game changer. When our last album came out, Myspace was the place to promote your music. So I think [the internet’s] opened up a world where people can get their music out there. One thing, around 2008 before Obama came in, it wasn't feasible for a lot of bands to tour because gas was so expensive and people didn't have the money to go to shows. So that was kind of part of the reason we stepped back for a second too, because that was the way we went out and made a little bit of money to pay our rent. Now there's like a thriving DIY scene that's happening that more people hear about because of the internet. You kind of just take it day by day or month by month, it's like, ‘Okay let's go out and see what's happening.’

That's such a great point you make about the internet being a promotional tool for musicians. A lot of times I feel that my generation, millennials, myself included, take the access that the internet provides for music exploration for granted.

I mean, it used to be you'd have to send flyers out to street teams and you'd contact them through snail mail and then get their address and send packets of flyers. Now it's just as quick as Facebook. People are paying attention and they see [music] that way.

That makes me wonder how the internet has affected both your pre-existing fan base, as well as your new beginning. Because the people who were listening to 'Pink Hearts Yellow Moons' and were turning out for Dressy Bessy shows are a little older now...

We kind of knew that we'd have to rebuild our fan base, which is what we're doing right now and what we have done this year. It's just what we do, but we are finding our fans range from ages 4 to 70, which is pretty incredible. There are literally all ages at our shows, which is amazing. And a lot of our old friends who aren't paying attention every day are finding out. It happens every time we leave a city; the next day we get a load of messages: ‘Oh my God you guys are still going!’ And this happens every day: ‘Oh my God you have a new album! See you next time!’ And then they see us the next time.

I feel like 'Kingsized' definitely lends itself to a new generation of listeners that are looking for or to hear some sort of sanity in music, you know?

I appreciate that. It's a crazy world [laughs] it's just a crazy world. But yeah the struggle is always there and if it weren’t there, I don't think I'd appreciate what I do as much. It makes it real.

So speaking of the internet, your website teases more shows this year. Any idea when and where they'll be?

In March we're doing the Treefort Music Fest, which is a festival in Boise, Idaho. So we're planning to do some Northwest shows around that. The festival invites are coming in and we're sort of just using those as anchor shows to tour sections of the country at a time. Going out and covering the country all at once can be exhausting and physically, mentally taxing. We used to do six to eight week tours and just go do the whole thing and then come back just like [exhausted] you know? We've discovered that [for us] to keep our sanity, it's best that we go out max two weeks at a time, and just do regions of the country, and then come back for two weeks and go out and tour another section of the country. In March, we'll start doing some stuff. And we'll have Colorado shows within there too. We love Fort Collins and Grand Junction.

Awesome, right on.

Yeah it's coming. We're just trying to get a handle on it.

That's great that you're planning Colorado shows.

Oh of course. Denver is great, you know? There's a reason I've lived here for 23 plus years. I've always loved Denver. Whenever I travel, I'm excited to get home you know?

16473301_1311941575534250_2067741229250307108_n.jpg

It seems like everything went really well for Dressy Bessy since 'Kingsized' came out. I know you were sort of going into it without any real expectations, you were just kind of seeing what would happen, right?

Right. Just going in and doing what we do. I mean, if you put a record out and you expect the world to embrace you, you're bound to be let down. We do it because we have to, we don't do it because we strive to be rockstars or to be rich. We have to do this, so whether lots of people like it or not, we're still going to do it. It's a life calling for us. It's satisfying to go out for 300 people or 30 people or three people; it doesn't matter. If [the crowd’s] all into it, for us it’s completely satisfying. It’s like I always say, I just keep doing it, I keep doing it, I keep doing it, and after I'm done I'll have a legacy. It'll all be there for other generations to pick up on and perhaps be influenced by and it's much bigger than me. My music will live long after I'm dead and that's awesome. I'll take that. If the planet's still here, oh my God.

That's very forward thinking of you. So you see Dressy Bessy as a necessary voice in the industry right now.

I always have. My lyrics are always up for interpretation but I'm of the girl power generation, you know what I mean? Just speak your voice and don't take any shit. And a lot of my songs come about when there’s some sort of conflict, whether it be in my personal life or the world around us... it's sort of my way to just get it out. It could be protesting a relationship I have with a friend, or whatever. Writing songs is my way of getting any negative energy that I have towards a situation or a person or the world in general, just getting it out through song, if that makes sense.

Dressy Bessy is one of several Colorado bands who will perform at the Treefort Music Fest March 22nd-26th. CPR’s Open Air reported that local bands Trout Steak Revival, The Still Tide, Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, Dragondeer and Brent Cowles have also made the list. For the full lineup, which includes Angel Olsen, Mac DeMarco, The Growlers and plenty of other big names, go here.

-Claire

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

Boulder In-The-Round Moves to eTown

By: Claire Woodcock

If you’re in Boulder and find yourself in the music scene circle, you’ve probably already come across Boulder In-The-Round. What began as workshopping sessions for founders Hunter Stone and Theresa Peterson soon morphed into into a monthly concert series hosted by Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

This year, Boulder In-The-Round has a new home. eTown Hall will host the concert series that features local artists the first Wednesday of every month. The program showcases four songwriters who take turns performing one song at a time, one after the other.

“We’re bringing a different group to eTown that doesn’t go there regularly,” says Stone, also a singer/songwriter in the community. “Our show has its own following of young music lovers and musicians that we’re going to be able to bring to this really cool venue.”

Hunter Stone.

Hunter Stone.

Boulder In-The-Round’s community presence will be amplified by eTown’s state of the art sound equipment engineered by sound technicians at eTown. Local singer/songwriters will set up in eTown’s cafe for an intimate listening room experience.

“If you enjoy this kind of thing, you’re entering a world where everybody there is interested in music too,” says Theresa Peterson, co-founder of Boulder In-The-Round, and a singer/songwriter herself.

Theresa Peterson.

Theresa Peterson.

eTown syndicates its programming nationally, which means the venue often brings in bigger artists. The folks behind Boulder In-The-Round are providing local artists with access and opportunity to state of the art equipment and a larger listening base.

“Having Boulder In-The-Round at eTown opens up the community to who’s coming through, who’s playing when; shows that should be on their radar,” says Stone. “It’s bridging the gap between local and national artists, giving us all a space to grow.”

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

Also moving to eTown are the live paintings that Boulder In-The-Round exhibited when they were at the Vapor. Visual artists begin with a blank canvas and the artists create to the beat of the songs. At the end of the night, artists are left with a tangible piece of art from the evening that is sometimes auctioned off to the crowd.

“Art shouldn’t be segregated. Adding that visual aspect to the auditory: seeing someone painting live and seeing what they’re creating in the moment it kind of regulates the growth of the show,” says Stone.  

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Boulder In-The-Round’s first night at eTown is tomorrow, January 4 at 7PM in the eTown cafe. On the bill are singer/songwriters Dechen Hawk, Megan Burtt, Monica Marie and Dusty Stray. Live paintings will be produced by local artists Mick Tresemer and Ellen Moershel

Check out a live video performance from a previous Boulder In-The-Round:

“It’s all original music,” says Peterson. “There’s a lot of collaboration that happens too on the spot. A lot of times we’ll have people that just met or have only met a couple times before just playing on each other’s songs all night.”

“The idea of that being recognized by an outside source and [eTown] giving us a chance to brow our show into a different space, that could potentially help us grow a lot,” says Stone. “It feels really good to have that kind of validation. Theresa and I started this with the mentality that if you build it, it will come.”

And Boulder In-The-Round is well on its way. More on this month’s lineup herekeep up with BITR on their Facebook.

-Claire

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

"Let's Build An Album Together!": Riley Ann's Latest Project Is All About Fem Rock

By: Claire Woodcock

Colorado's Riley Ann is ready to release her latest batch of songs. There’s just one problem:

“I want to move forward with not only recording this project, but also my whole music career. But when there are so many bands willing to play for so little, it’s hard to make a living as an artist. If you turn down a non-paying gig, there’s someone else behind you who’s willing to play for exposure. It undercuts everyone else and it really has a negative impact on the entire music community.”

Riley Ann’s path from fiddling folk in Illinois with The Matriarchs to her dynamic one-woman folk rock band paved her route to Colorado. Since her move in the fall of 2015, her presence and drive have initiated various collaborations, like her Old-time duo The Darling Ravens, and a new bluegrassy pop trio, DJ Meow Mix & the Grabbers.

“Although I have several musical projects going, this album is my passion project. Now that I’m back from tour, I’m getting an all-female rock band together. My new tunes need a full band, and that’s the perfect way to showcase them live.” she recently told me.

Riley Ann.

Riley Ann.

Her story of how, in a year, she became a vocal advocate for musicians to get paid a living wage for their art, is a story that many music transplants in Colorado’s bumping scene have had to grapple with.

“Artists deserve to get paid for their art. Playing simply for exposure devalues the music,” she said. “And when that mentality spreads, how do musicians make a living? It’s not going to be through album sales or digital sales. On Spotify I get one-tenth of a cent per listen. You can’t make a living on that.”

Riley Ann launched her Kickstarter campaign in November, teasing her first single “Bloodhounds,” which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jay Elliott (IntroVertigo Recording) and Dominick Maita Mastering, both of whom are based in Boulder, Colorado. The single is an authentic sample of Riley Ann’s new sound from the forthcoming album, which features a full rock band.

“Bloodhounds” is dark and gritty, with roots in Old-time and a heart in rock’n’roll. Riley Ann’s single was recently featured on Colorado Sound as part of Chris K’s Colorado Playlist. Her vocals are vibrant, carrying the same electric currents in the realm of female frontwomen like Angel Olsen, St. Vincent or Mount Moriah.

“I’m excited to get these songs out into the world and I don’t want to risk having to record them one at a time as I can afford them,” she reasons. “Because the longer I wait, the longer they’re going to sit, and the more dated they’re going to sound. They sound current, they sound contemporary, and they just fit right now within this renewed appreciation for the fem rock scene. It’s kind of like when Mumford & Sons came out. Everyone tried to sound like Mumford & Sons, but by the time everyone began to sound like Mumford, it was too late.”

Riley Ann’s presence in the Boulder music scene is remarkable. Not only has she founded the Coalition of Women Songwriters organization, where she’s connecting female musicians with jam and performance opportunities, empowering them to tour, write, and negotiate a living wage for their art. She also volunteers with Girls Rock Denver, a nonprofit camp that helps teen girls find their voice and form bands and collaborations. Riley Ann has proven herself throughout the past year to be a musician dedicated to building up the community around her.

“I don’t want to nickel and dime this album, I want to do it right,” she says. “And using crowdfunding is the way for me to expedite this whole process and get these songs out into the world as soon as possible.”

Riley Ann’s Kickstarter campaign ends in just a few days, so make sure to give it a view to see her rewards and show support. Donating to a local artist means you’re donating to the Colorado music scene! More about Riley Ann and her music can be found on her website.

-Claire

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

The Apples in stereo Release Limited Edition Vinyl Boxed Set of 'Science Faire' + Our Interview with Apples Bassist Eric Allen

By: Claire Woodcock

The Apples in Stereo, who co-founded the famed Elephant 6 Collective (E6), have a new Limited Edition 3x7” Vinyl Box Set of their compilation album Science Faire out today. It’s been 20 years since the collection of EPs, singles, and tracks from the indie pop group were originally released between 1993 and 1995, recorded reel-to-reel at the E6 Recording Co.

“I knew [The Apples in stereo] was good, but I didn’t know the whole world was going to flip out over it,” said longtime Apples bassist Eric Allen. 

The artwork for the  Science Faire  compilation album.

The artwork for the Science Faire compilation album.

After two decades, Science Faire has become representative of “the good ol’ days." As Allen told us, “[Listening to Science Faire] really sparks how excited I was because The Apples were my favorite local band and I liked them as people quite a lot before I even started playing with them. Science Faire just reminds me of the pure joy I got from seeing them and knowing them.”

The Apples in stereo. Left to right: Doss, Dufilho, Fuzz, Ferguson, Allen and Schneider (seated).

The Apples in stereo. Left to right: Doss, Dufilho, Fuzz, Ferguson, Allen and Schneider (seated).

It was the height of the grunge era; back then the Denver band were just “The Apples”, a name inspired by the 1967 Pink Floyd song “Apples and Oranges.” Allen knew The Apples’ original drummer Hilarie Sidney from working at Wax Trax Records on Capitol Hill.

“When The Apples’ first 7 inch came out, I went to the record release show and just thought it was amazing,” said Allen. “It was so different than anything that was going on; to have something that was so poppy and kind of fast…”

The Apples in stereo.

The Apples in stereo.

Allen, who started out on guitar with a few hardcore bands, joined The Apples in 1995 after original bassist Jim McIntyre left and Elephant 6er Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) was filling in on bass. As Allen says, “Everybody plays guitar and every band needs a bass player.” So Allen picked up the bass and signed on after most of the tracks from Science Faire were recorded. “When all of those singles- the stuff that’s on Science Faire- was coming out, those were all the songs that I learned and toured.” he said, “Obviously I didn’t play on the records but I pushed those records; I toured those records.”

At the same time The Apples were first starting out, founding members Robert Schneider (vocalist/lead guitarist/producer), McIntyre, and Sidney were collaborating with Schneider’s childhood friend Mangum, Will Cullen Hart, and the late Bill Doss (The Olivia Tremor Control). That’s how the Elephant 6 Collective came about, paving the way for bands to exist like The Olivia Tremor Control (then known as Synthetic Flying Machine), Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, Dressy Bessy, of Montreal, and of course The Apples in stereo.

The Apples in stereo 7" EPs (Tidal Wave and Hypnotic Suggestion), and the singles collection 7" Time For Bed with new original artwork. Together, these comprise the new Science Faire boxed set.


A few months after joining The Apples in stereo, Allen got a call from Schneider saying that the band was being asked to open for The Flaming Lips. That was the tour that took The Apples in stereo out of Denver to tour Science Faire, and eventually their later releases.

“Those songs really were kind of the bedrock of our shows for many, many years,” Allen said, adding, “And some of those songs have never left. I mean that’s not to say that we play them at every show or anything like that, but songs like “Tidal Wave” or “Turn Coat Indian” or “Not the Same,” we still play them.”

These tracks are all on the new limited edition Science Faire triple 7" vinyl box set via Chunklet Industries, and Allen’s teasing a more cohesive sound than the record release from ’96:

“Before, Science Faire [were] all these different 7 inch [selections] that came out on all different pressings at different times, and now it’s all been kind of streamlined through one pressing plant.” Allen explained. “It probably does sound a little bit more like there’s more continuity to it than if you just had all of your original 7 inches.”  

Taken from the original masters, the limited edition Science Faire boxed set takes on a wider, more cohesive scope. Allen says that when Henry Owens with Chunklet redid the record, he did it at 33 rpms rather than the initial 45 rpms, making the original recordings not only sound deeper, but more bass heavy, an element of the new limited release that Allen particularly digs.

The box for the limited edition  Science Faire  vinyl set via chunklet industries.

The box for the limited edition Science Faire vinyl set via chunklet industries.

The Apples in stereo have largely been on hiatus since the death of keyboardist Bill Doss in 2012. Lead singer/guitarist/producer Schneider has been a doctoral student at Emory University in Georgia for several years. And today, Allen and guitarist John Hill are the only members still kicking it in Denver.

So under that context, Allen said that listening to Science Faire makes him reminiscent, which isn’t something he goes out of his way to do often.

 “They’re still my favorite people in the world. The Apples [in stereo] is still my favorite band, but when you’re in it, you don’t have that sort of specialness you have when you’re removed.” he smiled.

It’s unclear whether The Apples in stereo will record new music in the future. But for longtime listeners, the new Science Faire triple record will be a remedy. Get the new special edition compilation of Science Faire here. Only 500 total have been pressed, and all of the clear/colored vinyl packages have already sold out in pre-sale, so the remaining limiteds are expected to go quickly, and may even be gone by the time you're done reading this... 

-Claire

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

Sad13 & Vagabon Have Joined Forces For One Sluggin' Feminist Rock Tour

By: Claire Woodcock

As Sadie Dupuis and I listened to Laetitia Tamko, who was opening for Dupuis’ new pop-synth band Sad13 (pronounced “Sad Thirteen”), the one-woman-band Vagabon from NYC lit up the room with heavy riffs and smoke-toned vocals. On “Cold Apartment Floors,” I started feeling like I was at an East Coast basement show again. Then this happened, which totally confirmed those sensations:

Then on “Shadows,” Tamko sang, “You said you moved to Colorado, where the sun and moon always blew,” and I remembered where I was again: The Larimer Lounge in Denver, standing with Dupuis from Speedy Ortiz, the singer with the dolled-up voice that pops over heavy guitars and melodic distortion who I’ve been listening to regularly for 3+ years standing with me, her fuzzy blue cat ears nodding in approval of her friend Vagabon onstage.

VAGABON.

VAGABON.

That’s a big theme on Dupuis’ new album Slugger: women supporting women, which Dupuis demonstrated IRL on Saturday. The tracks on Slugger, like “The Sting,” have Dupuis alternating between slaying rigid hooks, fluttering keyboards, and electronic beats that make Sad13 an unapologetically synth-pop band who gravitates away from the grunge sound Dupuis is known for in certain indie-rock circles. But the truth is, Sad13 was feminist girl rock that Denver wasn’t ready for and didn’t show up for in the same masses who turned out for Speedy Ortiz when they were in the city back in April. And Denver missed out.

Sad13.

Sad13.

I got talk with Dupuis for a hot second about the “de-escalation strategies” she had printed out for people to take from her merch table, before her set with Jade Payne from Aye Nako, a Brooklyn punk band known for songs about the experiences of being black, trans, and queer on lead guitar, and with Emily Reo, on bass, a solo artist in her own right. Dupuis and Sad13 are slaying stereotypes by being totally inclusive and genuine about it, while also promoting this empowering “third space” for people like us, who find themselves show-hopping throughout our weekends. 

“Claws protracted, but we’re not scratching/We boost each other up… I just want to hype my best girls,” Dupuis called out when closing their set with “Hype.” The women who came together to bring Denver Sad13 modeled the efforts of women, people of color, and non-binary artists to slug home runs for the third places they’re trying to cultivate into safe spaces. And that’s why we need Dupuis and her friends being the new champions of protest music, and of feminist punk rock right now. We need ladies that will be louder, bossier, and will fight like hell for people like me to be able to go to my “third place” solo to support my ladies without hassle. Right?

Try and catch the Sad13 tour if you can. Dupuis plays baseball game themed music in-between songs and they even have a Christmas tune! This is the next generation of feminist punk rock in action.

-Claire

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

Seu Jorge Played 'The Life Aquatic's Tribute to David Bowie' For Sold Out Gothic Theatre Last Friday

By: Claire Woodcock

Over the weekend, Seu Jorge reprised his role as Pelé dos Santos, the “safety expert” and Brazilian singer-songwriter who acted in and soundtracked the 2004 Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The classic red curtains of The Gothic Theatre in Denver opened on Jorge sporting the Team Zissou trademark uniform, ready to play acoustic hits from the late David Bowie. He launched into “Ziggy Stardust” while pastel pinks and aquatic shades of blue lit up the theatre. Jorge, a Brazilian pop samba revivalist, strummed his maple-shade guitar with intention as he sang the Portuguese translations of Bowie’s hits.

When Jorge first released his covers in coordination with Anderson’s cult film, Bowie praised Jorge’s renditions of his songs by saying, “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”

Some of the electricity and rhythm of Bowie’s lyrics are lost in translation, but that’s not to say that Bowie songs are not translatable. During his lifetime, David Bowie released French, German, and Indonesian versions of his own songs. Because the Portuguese translations do not always sync up, in many instances Jorge changed lyrics to fit the covers. For those of us who haven’t had much exposure to the language, the English words sometimes stuck out at Friday’s show, like in Jorge’s cover of “Changes” where the chorus rang out in the familiar, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” across the room.  

Yet for other tunes, the translation from English to Portuguese was seamless, like in “Rebel, Rebel,” which is arguably one of Jorge’s strongest covers. The crowd of the sold out show did their best to sing along not in English, but in Portuguese. The singing sailor’s setlist veered away from the film’s soundtrack sequence on “Astronauta de Mármore (Starman),” a song which presents a challenge for translation due to its preexisting rhythm. On Jorge’s covers of “Rock and Roll Suicide” and Suffragette City,” he embraced the unsettling and urgent discordant nature of the tunes as he reached for high notes with a grittiness that the late Bowie would have breezed through. On “Lady Stardust,” Jorge was able to settle back into his lower register, where his voice exhibited strength and poise.

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The crowd at Friday's show consisted of an eclectic mix of Bowie lovers and Life Aquatic fans gracious for Jorge’s tribute. People reciprocated Seu Jorge’s enthusiasm, wearing red beanies popularized by Team Zissou, as they tried to stumble through the endings of phrases that they recognized and made their best attempts at several Portuguese sing-a-longs.

Life On Mars. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Life On Mars. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Jorge took a moment during his set to talk about losing Bowie last January. Like so many others, Jorge drew much inspiration from the late artist. He told us that three days after Bowie passed away, Jorge lost his father as well. As a commemoration to them both, he then played “Life On Mars.” In the crux of this moment, it was clear who Jorge was singing for.

As his set closed for the night, the crowd erupted with shouts of “Volta!” which means “Come back!” in Portuguese. Jorge returned for an encore with a reprise of “Rebel, Rebel” while a farewell slideshow of psychedelic images, film clips, and animations played behind him. Finger-picking with elegance, Jorge’s cover of the classic Bowie hit became his own. It was worth listening to twice.

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Bowie’s spirit was surely getting freaky with us on Friday evening. So if you liked The Life Aquatic and miss David Bowie, I couldn’t recommend The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge (2005) more. It’s available on Spotify. And if you’re looking to catch the last leg of Seu Jorge’s tribute tour, grab details and tickets here.

-Claire

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

Puddles Played A Pity Party That Made Us Laugh Through Tough Times

By: Claire Woodcock

People who came out for Puddles Pity Party last weekend were in for a sweet treat: Laughter.

Puddles Pity Party was a puddle of cuddles and fearless fun at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver last Friday night. The 6’ 8” baritone “sad clown with the golden voice” started off his show by doing something that I used to do when I was 9 years old: stuff as many pieces of gum as humanly possible into one's mouth to make a super gumball. After doing so to quiet giggles from the crowd, he set the gumwad aside and entered into audience territory. Breaking the fourth wall to pull a woman onstage, he placed her hand over her heart and motioned for all patrons to follow suit. He then pulled out a small American flag, put his own hand over his heart, and sang the most powerful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner that I’ve heard in a long time. Here it’s worth noting that a number of showgoers were wearing safety pins over their hearts, a trend that started this week after President-elect Donald Trump won the electoral college in last week’s election. Only about half of the crowd held their hands over their hearts as Puddles sang on, but all cheered in support of the giant clown as he concluded the tune.

Mike Greer, the man behind Puddles, didn’t need a microphone Friday night. His voice would have carried even without that support. He’s that good. In fact, microphones were more visibly used as props throughout the evening than anything else. He followed up the national anthem with a cover of “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots, where he pivoted around the mic stand, making good use of the stage. Throughout the evening, Greer was very in-tune with the audience, demonstrating his strong improv skills by bringing patrons onstage for unpredictable covers and antics.

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles brought the room together with songs about being an outsider and the feelings that conjures up, like Eric Carmen’s All By Myself.” The backing instrumentals were pre-recorded and supported him, which he playfully highlighted when pretending to strum on a white slab of wood meant to look like a toy guitar. Puddles could have gone through the entire performance a capella if he had to. On Coldplay’s Fix You,” he broke into “tears stream down your face” with scenes of robots malfunctioning and falling down, which made the breaking point in a sad song funny. It was moments like these that Puddles really charmed.

On Puddles’ cover of ELO’s Telephone Line,” he alternated between singing into a telephone with vocal high-pass and distortion, and singing into a regular mic, continuing to use the telephone effect as he segued into a growly verse-chorus of “Hello” by Adele. The late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujahwas one of his most powerful covers, no doubt. When he pulled the microphone away from his mouth and was able to bring the room with him on his journey to the great crescendo, my earlier hypothesis on the no mic necessary was proven true.

Watch Puddles' viral cover of Lorde's "Royals":

His interaction with the audience in the cover he’s most known for, “Royals” by Lorde, was unlike anything I’ve ever seen an artist do in a performance space. With a sepia filtered projection of the musicians on his breakout YouTube video, he again broke down the fourth wall yet again. He took phones from audience members trying to capture the moment, and gave their phones to other audience members trying to capture the moment. What resulted was a tangle of people who had to retrieve their phones from each other; a web of connection.  

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles’ Queen and the late David Bowie’sUnder Pressure” cover was another sweet moment. He brought a man from the crowd onstage to give him mini cupcakes and coffee from a french press while the phrase “stressed spelled backwards is desserts” projected on the three screens behind him. And that’s when he started playing with the giant gumball again, to the crowd’s distaste, followed by a roaring cover of Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” It was this song which concluded a show that brought people together for genuine laughter during what has been a hard time for many people in this country.

Thanks Puddles.

-Claire

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

Puddles Pity Party Happening This Friday at Denver's Soiled Dove Underground

By: Claire Woodcock

Puddles is a 6’ 8” baritone vocalist who prefers singing to speaking, and wearing a white clown suit to the everyday clothes that say, his alter ego Mike Geier might wear. He’s throwing a pity party this Friday, November 11th at the Soiled Dove Underground and you’re invited!

Puddle Pity Part. Photo Credit:   EMily Butler Photography

Puddle Pity Part. Photo Credit: EMily Butler Photography

The story of Pagliacci comes to mind when thinking of Puddles. Pagliacci, the Italian opera composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo in May 1892 first gave portrayal of the clown as a symbol of a comedian disembodied by love. The story ends in tragedy with Pagliacci crying, “La commedia è finita!” or “The comedy is finished!” as the curtains close.  

PPP. Photo Credit:  EMily Butler Photography

PPP. Photo Credit: EMily Butler Photography

Clowning is a profession often taken at face value. They are expected either to make us laugh or give us a fright (though the latter isn’t always their intent). Over the years, the understanding of clowns has evolved significantly. Clowns can now feel all the feels, so not all clowns are seen as funny, not all clowns are seen as tragic, not all clowns are seen as fear-mongering. They can be melancholic.

That’s why when Puddles recorded a cover of Lorde’s “Royals” with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on Halloween in 2013, it went viral on YouTube instantly. Today the video has over 16 million views, and a following that has put Puddles Pity Party on the map.

Watch Puddles' viral video:

The “Sad Clown with the Golden Voice” has gone on to perform at all sorts of international fringe festivals including Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has been recognized by Neil Patrick Harris and Jack Black for special showcases, and now wanders the world with melancholic pop anthems and free hugs for all.

This Friday, November 11th, Puddles is bringing the pity party to Denver’s Soiled Dove Underground and BolderBeat will be there to feel all the feels, so you should too!

Get your tickets here.

-Claire

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

Courtney Barnett Plays Denver's Ogden Theatre This Tuesday & You Can't Miss It

By: Claire Woodcock

I don’t know about your calendar, but mine is all inked up with hearts Tuesday, November 8th for Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett’s show at the Ogden Theatre in Denver. I’m not a wizard or all-knowing by any means, but I’m predicting it’s going to be one of the greatest shows of the year.

Courtney Barnett.

Courtney Barnett.

Let me be the real with you, like really real. Can we do that? Can we go there together?

Okay, word.

So you know that moment when you’re lying in bed, insomniatic from all that pent-up mind fuzz from the past few months that’s got you at the point where you can’t tell your arms from your legs, your head from your feet, and you’re absolutely sure it’s not going to be okay because despite what friends and family say, you’re absolutely sure that you’re going to explode?

Spring break, March 2015, that was me. Fortunately around then, a friend who shared the same intense affinity for contemporary feminist punk rock anthems sent me “Pedestrian At Best,” the breakout track from the wildly successful Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit...  and I bottlerocketed out. Biking around town with my chunkiest headphones, galavanting from one end of the apartment to the other, I could always be found belting, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you/Tell me I’m exceptional and I’ll promise to exploit you.”

Watch Courtney Barnett's video for "Pedestrian At Best":

When I finally collapsed, I tuned to “Avant Gardener,” and as a wannabe writer who was, you guessed it, down on myself about that prospect, listening to that song from The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas served as a longtime model on how to tell a compelling story. And then, yeah, my humor became a lot more self-deprecating for a minute, which actually wound up helping me learn to take myself less seriously. It’s for these reasons that the impacts of first discovering CB’s music have crystallized in my heart.

Peep Avant Gardener for yourself:

So moral of the story friends is this: Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself for your missteps. CB has proved it's only going to make you that much more punk rock. Come see Courtney Barnett with me this Tuesday, November 8th in Denver. We can feel all the emotions together; whatever’s clever. Grab your ticket(s) now.

-Claire

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

Denver's The Ghoulies Aren't As Spine-Chilling As You Might Think

By: Claire Woodcock

I met up with four-fifths of the boozy, bluesy Denver punk outfit The Ghoulies on Colfax Avenue earlier this month. Besides conjuring ghosts at The Stanley Hotel, dressing up as five Dave Grohls aka “The Grohlies” for Halloween, and keeping van thieves in Texas at bay with a $14 machete from Walmart because “it was cheaper than a baseball bat,” The Ghoulies really aren’t as spine-chilling as you might think.

In fact, these guys are hilarious. Their comedic timing is on point, probably because they’ve all known each other since middle school. The group started playing together in 2009 as a Blink-182/Green Day/Misfits cover band under the name “Grandpa Tom and the Family Business.” The guys changed their name two years later on Halloween, and their sound transformed as well. The whole band insists that bringing in a blues guitarist and organist hot on the Denver 38th Street scene (who also happens to be member Dan Yergert’s twin brother) has played a huge part in The Ghoulies evolved blues/punk sound.

“If you slowed down all of our songs and took away all of the distortion, a lot of them are 12-part blues, just straight up,” said blues guitarist Jake Yergert. “I feel like there's less cow-punk rockabilly kind of stuff [in Denver]. We're more rocky and not so hardcore compared to a lot of the bands we play with.”

As a result, The Ghoulies contend with not always seeing themselves as being punk enough for the punk scene or garagey enough for the garage scene. Instead, they’re really concentrated on capturing this sort of raggedy-end of the blues, all while maintaining rad day jobs. Members Dan and Jake Yergert are both English teachers, singer/guitarist Adam Moore is a structural engineer, drummer Connor Randall moonlights as a paranormal investigator, and bassist Spencer Lovell works for a YouTube company. The Ghoulies seriously keep things interesting.

On stage, these guys look like Mormons, dressed in button-up white shirts with black ties, but they rip like there’s an alien invasion happening down the street. They’re gearing up to record their third record, which they’re predicting to have to record somewhere around nine times if the tracking process goes anything like their last two albums did. The Ghoulies have gone from a DIY basement studio to recording in the Yergert’s family church. One of their friends recorded their self-titled album in 2013, which drummer/ghost hunter Connor Randall called “really janky.”

“The [self-titled LP’s] solos are pretty basic,” said Randall. “It's very much like pentatonic blues stuff; then we kind of break out of that a little bit more. [Roswell A-Go-Go] has this weird pseudo gospel praise be to an Elvis Christ sort of thing, and so it was a lot more cohesive and a lot more of what we were actually going for.”

The Ghoulies went all out on album two, recording Roswell A-Go-Go in 2015 at Black in Bluhm Studios in Denver, and mixing at District Recording Studio in San Jose, California. On Roswell A-Go-Go, the ghouls say they defined their kitsch with paranormal ambience and sci-fi references to old radioplay broadcasts from the likes of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. The band even went so far as to shoot the cover of Roswell at the Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park, where ghost hunter Randall had been a Resident Investigator for nearly 5 years.

“Funny story about that,” began Dan, “We were all up there around Halloween last year and we have a song on that album called ‘Lucy’ and it's named after the ghost that haunts the basement of the concert hall, who we think has a crush on Connor. So we're sitting in Lucy's room, it's like 2AM, and Connor's got the equipment out. I'm getting really nervous, so I'm making jokes constantly and Connor goes, ‘If there's a presence here or something, can you make yourself known?’ The door slammed shut and since I was sitting right by the door, I grabbed the equipment I was holding and I ran out of there.”

If you’re a ghost hunter too, you can find The Ghoulies at Seventh Circle Music Collective a few dates this month, including this Sunday October 16th at 630PM for the venue’s 999th show. The Ghoulies will join local punk rockers The Quitters, Crushed!?, Redneck Nosferatu, Silver Screen Monsters and Had Enough. And just in time for Halloween, The Ghoulies will play Seventh Circle’s Haunted House night with The Atom Age and Boulder’s The Ephinjis.

Keep an eye out for The Ghoulies' next album, due out in 2017. And stay tuned for more Colorado punk chronicles.

-Claire

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

Indigenous Eco Hip-Hop Artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez Is Fighting for Climate Change & Releasing New Music

By: Claire Woodcock

In the spring I caught a short viral video, a NowThis compilation that summed up how 21 teen activists are suing the U.S. government for not doing enough to prevent climate change. The federal government filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, but it was overruled in federal court. If the lawsuit passes, these meddling kids could really put limitations on how the government engages in fossil fuel projects. And that’s how I first came to hear of Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the 16-year-old indigenous change agent at the of heart of the environmental movement.

“It takes a community to raise a child and I feel like that’s kind of the way that I was raised, you know? By my community. And that’s what has made my voice, that’s what has granted my voice access to reach a lot of people: because of the support I’ve had from community members and a lot of mentors, and a lot of people who have kind of helped guide me and given me support while at the same time letting me do my own thing [to] find out for myself what I want to do and who I want to be.” Martinez recently told me.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of Earth Guardians.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of Earth Guardians.

At age six, Martinez marked the beginning of his path into activism. He then discovered a passion for eco hip-hop three years later with the help of his siblings and the past generation of Earth Guardians, a Boulder-based nonprofit that use hip-hop as a tool to engage and share an action plan with the world. As youth director of the Earth Guardians, Martinez released Generation RYSE with his siblings in 2014. Its punchy production adds to the charm of its raps on climate change.

“I was 14 then; my voice was still figuring itself out. I mean the content was definitely more super-geared toward movement, like cause-related things. [My] new project gathers a lot of elements and things I’ve experienced over the last year that have helped shape me as a person as well as shaped my style of writing.”

Watch Xiuhtezcatl Martinez's "Indigenous Roots":

Martinez says the biggest difference between what he was doing then and what he’s doing now has a lot to do with age and maturity. The environmentalist is gearing up to release Break Free, which will mark his move into more serious eco hip-hop territory. The new EP is set to drop in November, and will explore the role that mental health plays in activism.

While Martinez's siblings will make appearances on at least half the tracks on Break Free, he’s been outsourcing much of the project himself. He’s brought a few of his producer friends into the mix, like up-and-coming singer/songwriter/rappers Tru and Raury. Martinez told me that other production inspiration came from artists like J Cole and Chance the Rapper, teasing during our phone interview about a possible collaboration with Chance. Martinez connected with the Chicago-based rapper at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit.

“I think bringing art is so important, because music more than anything brings people together. When I go marches or rallies or protests, a lot of time it's kind of a sterile environment. It needs, we need, the artists on board. We need the artists on the front lines.”

The recommendations from the landmark climate ruling last spring brought forth by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and 20 other youth plaintiffs through an organization called Our Generation are currently under review by Judge Ann Aiken of Oregon. Aiken, who is expected to announce her decision on the ruling publicly in mid-November, will determine whether or not the case will go to trial or an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

“If we win this lawsuit, it's going to force the federal government of the United States to massively reduce our carbon emissions every single year by regulating industry, by regulating our oil and fossil fuel consumption, and it's going to have a huge impact on the way that the world sees us as well.” Martinez said.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is on the front lines fighting for our future rights to clean air and water. Stay tuned for his Break Free EP in November, and keep up with this young and inspiring artist here.

-Claire

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

Project Worthmore Combines Art + Music For One Awesome Benefit Event

By: Claire Woodcock

Driving to Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, I couldn’t help but notice the pockets of newly constructed neighborhoods I passed through. As I pulled up to the fourth annual “Our Neighbors, Ourselves” benefit art show and music experience, it made me wonder how many of the thousands of refugees that have relocated from across the world to this city are able to afford to live in these cookie cutter homes.

The answer to that is Project Worthmore. Since 2009, Project Worthmore has been helping refugees find affordable housing and resettle in the suburbs of Denver. The nonprofit highlights a foodshare program, English language classes, a dental clinic and community navigators that welcome refugees to become self-sufficient with their families.

At the “Our Neighbors, Ourselves” event recently, the Stanley Marketplace gallery debuted a collection of original mixed media works, paintings, and photographs by over 35 artists, many of whom are Colorado-based. Inspired by this year’s theme, which was “Finding Refuge,” proceeds from the event and artwork sold went to support Project Worthmore.

The "Our Neighbors, Ourselves" event.

The "Our Neighbors, Ourselves" event.

In addition to the art, there were several musical performances. Singer/songwriter Joe Sampson played a sweet acoustic set, and Tom Hagerman of the Denver-based rock band DeVotchKa gave a knockout performance with the Grande Orquesta Navarre, a group made up of bassist Sue Cahill, bandoneon player Hector Del Curto of the Colorado Symphony, and pianist Sara Parkinson. These original compositions were a series of intimate, string-heavy tango serenades that appeared to captivate attendees.

“It’s funny, I read all these books on climate change and how that’s going to lead to these refugee crises in the near future, and it’s already happening,” said Tom Hagerman in an interview leading up to the event about his choice to perform for the “Our Neighbors, Ourselves” event.

Added event emcee Jamie Laurie of Flobots: “I think it’s almost this weird thing our brain does where if someone doesn’t speak our language that well, we can’t help but think of them as a less complex human being, but that’s only because language [is so] complex. If we were speaking their language, we would come off as not very complex either.”

The “Our Neighbors, Ourselves” event brought awareness to the local community on the status of many Denver-area refugees. It made me think about myself in their position as people who have most likely fled a world of violence for another chance. I encourage you to imagine yourself in that position too. And to check out Project Worthmore for yourself. It’s one way to eliminate stigmas and provide a little relief for the many refugees facing hardships in our local communities, and that is something big.

-Claire

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

The Ephinjis: How Being Banned From a Local Venue Only Fueled the Fire Behind Their Punk Rock Debut LP

By: Claire Woodcock

When I first moved to Boulder and started getting involved with the local music scene, I quickly began wondering, “Where are all the punk bands?” Enter The Ephinjis: a Boulder-based band that’s making noise in Denver. They remind me a lot of Green Day, or Dead Kennedys, but with hints of Latin music that come out with a close listen.

“All those punk bands were and are angsty white boys. That's not a bad thing, it really isn't, but we don't exactly fit those parameters. We're Latino; she’s female. That is already outside of the norm for punk,” member Ivan Armendariz told me.

Ivan and Christian Armendariz are twins; when they were 13, their parents gave Ivan a guitar and Christian a drum kit. They spent years learning to play and eventually started up the band, playing with 12 different bassists until Alexandra Flynn came into the picture. The three of them have been making music together ever since, and in the fall of 2014, they all decided to leave college to pursue their careers in music. Their decision was sort of a musical rebirth as a band, and as bandmates.

Ivan Armendariz.

Ivan Armendariz.

“It’s been two years of nonstop: you breathe it, you eat it, you think about it, you tell people about it, you’re proud of what you do, and you share it. We’re doing everything.” said Ivan.

Alexandra Flynn.

Alexandra Flynn.

The Ephinjis definitely don’t fall into the Americana/folk/acoustic-Beatles-covers acts that venues often showcase in Boulder. They admit that it’s tough to be a punk band in Boulder because it’s not marketable to the music scene there:

“We definitely don’t fit in with Boulder. We got kicked out of a venue here.” Ivan said.

He’s referring to The Forge, a DIY venue that’s been closed since September allegedly for fire code violations. During a show back in January, the band was playing a song called “Killing Never Goes Out of Style”, a sort of cowboy-influenced ballad that alludes to the chauvinistic practices of men being entitled to women. Lyrically, it’s about a boy who falls in love with a girl obsessively and when she rejects him, he kills her. While Ivan acknowledges the explicit nature of the song, he says the band’s intent was misinterpreted and construed to the point where The Ephinjis were no longer welcome at that venue.

"It was pretty disturbing to me when I first heard about [being banned] because the point of the song is to reflect our sexist society and to reflect brutal honesty [about] what is going on and how women are being treated. And being a female bass player in a band, I see a lot of shit,” said Alexandra Flynn, “The fact that Ivan writes music that’s so honest, and the fact that they totally twisted it into the opposite of what it’s meant for disturbs me, because that’s silencing the whole feminist movement in what was supposed to be a safe community where you can express ideas.”

Christian Armendariz.

Christian Armendariz.

The band talked about the stages of grief they went through after learning they were no longer welcome at The Forge: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance through the recording of the band’s first full-length LP The Unfortunate Life of Bob: A Guideline to Dying Amongst the Living. It’s a concept album that follows the demise of a fictional character named Bob, and explores what it’s like to live a life of complacency in a society that does not have your back.

Ivan says that Bob’s life goes through three phases, similar to the stages of grief: fear of not being good enough and aiming for a standard or substandard lifestyle, acceptance of that complacency and turning to drugs and alcohol to get through the motions, and then the resignation of saying, “I did the best I could with what I had”. Ivan though does not agree with choosing to resign in life:

“That’s bullshit. I don’t care who you are, you always could have done more. There’s always an option to jump a little farther and step a little more beyond that line than you’re supposed to and take that risk. It’s disturbing and uncomfortable, and kind of pisses people off, but I think once the thrill of living is gone, you realize maybe you didn’t do what you could have done. And not because it totally was in your control, but honestly, you didn’t do what you were capable of if you were meant for bigger [things]. You still could have done it. I think everyone always a lot more potential than they ever reach. Your brain blocks you, you're inhibited from breaching a comfort zone, and people don't want to see it like that but I do. So Bob reaches the end basically and realizes, “Yeah, I could have done better, but I think I did my best with what I had.” And then he does reach the breaking point of looking in the mirror, drugged out, and says, 'No, you f*cking failed.' I think that's similar to the process of grieving or getting over the death of a loved one. It almost plays out throughout the entire album of his life. So we're talking about death in one moment, and encompassing his entire 45 years of existence in 10 songs.”

Listen to The Ephinjis' debut album:

The Unfortunate Life of Bob drops today and is available here. The Ephinjis are celebrating the new record’s release with an “unofficial” show party tonight at Seventh Circle Music Collective, where they will play with LiquidLight, Meeting House, and Sorry Sweetheart. Tommorrow, September 24th, The Ephinjis will also play “The Swifts Back To School Show” with female punk band The Hits at the Dickens Opera House in Longmont. Make sure to check out one of these gigs to hear their new music live!

If you’re like me, constantly looking for that latest local punk band, this crew is worth the listen.

Update 09/27/16 @7PM: The allegations as to why The Ephinjis were banned from the now defunct venue, The Forge, have been left in comments you can read on our Facebook page. We did reach out for official comment via the venue's Facebook page, but do not have an official statement from The Forge at this time.

-Claire

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

The Growlers' Latest Colorado Visit Was a Beach Goth 'City Club' Dream

By: Claire Woodcock

There’s nothing like getting hit in the face by the drop of a lead singer’s sweat. BolderBeat was at the foot of the stage to Brooks Nielsen, frontman of The Growlers, last Saturday night at The Fox Theatre.

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s DJ boyhollow played ‘80s pop hits from Bowie and The Stones; basically he played anything a little too dark to be included on the soundtrack of a John Hughes flick. But the show didn’t really start, meaning the crowd didn’t really get down with the goth-pop, until the Orange County psych rock revivalists took the stage, and Nielsen started jiving to the percussion on “Big Toe”.

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Nielsen joked that he was excited to play new songs off The Growlers’ latest release, City Club, “because who wants to listen to Chinese Fountain anymore?” I laughed, but I’m also really into their directed professionalism onstage. City Club is The Growlers’ eighth album in six years. The City Club Tour is a classy time warp that essentially revived Creedence Clearwater Revival. But The Growlers evolving style is taking an obvious clue from The Strokes.

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Don’t worry Chinese Fountain fanatics. They played the title track of the release, “Dull Boy”, and “Black Memories” as well. Earlier tracks were included on the setlist too, like 2010’s “Empty Bones” and 2013’s “Tell It How It Is”, which was like hearing The Growlers restored years before Urban Outfitters releases the 10-year anniversary vinyls. So if you’re listening to the new Hot Tropics anniversary drop in 2020, just know that BolderBeat heard “Sea Lion Goth Blues” first, ok?

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Full disclosure: Post show, post going home to write this review, I found myself sipping on good whiskey and dancing to my now Chinese Fountain pastimes in my living room. I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s okay to do that, but “I’ll Be Around,” one of the singles from City Club, made for catchy encore repertoire that clearly has producer Julian Casablancas’ magic all over it.

Suit game on point. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Suit game on point. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

In Boulder, this California surf-pop-rock band was as polished as I’ve ever heard or seen them. White suits with floral decals complimented the “city club” get-up that was going down. The signature clean guitars and distorted vocals that have made The Growlers such a staple on the Colorado music scene were all around. And Nielsen was all business when he rocked the stage with his classic two-step, two-mic performance.

Whispers. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Whispers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Though he’s known for being notoriously shy, eager fans took every chance they had to get close to Nielsen. It’s a really surreal experience to be conjoined at the hips to the people on every side of you swaying. At that point, there’s really nothing left to do but submit, and let everyone crawl over you to take pictures, touch Nielsen’s surprisingly clean white Converse, and reach around you to tug at any part of the man they could attempt to grasp. Fans boosted fans trying to get onstage to hug Nielsen, talk to lead guitarist Matt Taylor about an after party, or stage dive into the dancing crowd. Which had me wondering, “When the band doesn’t initiate crossing the fourth wall into a mob of fans, shouldn’t fans not only be cognizant of that, but honor the stage space, no matter how much you love them? Or does being a fan entitle ticket buyers to create their own experience out of the evening, even if it could impact the musicality of a band’s set?” Leave your thoughts on this one in the comments folks.

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Fortunately, The Growlers are one of the most talented national bands I’ve seen this year, and even with all of the attention at Saturday's show, they managed not to miss a beat. This was The Growlers’ fourth show in Colorado this year; they played Belly Up Aspen, The Ogden Theatre, and Mishawaka Amphitheatre before returning to Boulder’s The Fox  to premiere City Club. We’re looking forward to the album, which drops next Friday, September 30th, as well as future shows from these top notch dudes. Maybe even with a little more sweat.

Keep up with The Growlers here.

-Claire

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

"Our Neighbors, Ourselves" Fundraiser This Saturday with DeVotchKa and Flobots Helps Refugees

By: Claire Woodcock

This Saturday, September 24th, the Our Neighbors, Ourselves art gallery and fundraiser will be held at the new Stanley Marketplace in Denver. The gallery event will be accompanied by local music acts including Porlolo, Tom Hagerman of the Denver-based rock band DeVotchKa with members of the Colorado Symphony, and special appearances from members of the Flobots.

Hagerman, who will be performing with the Grande Orquesta Navarre, called the collaboration a “miniature swan orchestra”. Composed of bassist Sue Cahill, bandoneon player Hector Del Curto of the Colorado Symphony, and pianist Sara Parkinson, Hagerman said these members are some of the most accomplished musicians he’s played with.

“I know [music] and I’m struggling to keep up with them. They are pretty hardcore classical players and I’m from this rock band world,” said Hagerman, “I did that stuff at the beginning- I went to college for violin, but it’s just when you have not been sort of busting your chops and practicing for like 20 years, you’re just not in shape. But it’s fun for me to play with such great players.”  

Tom Hagerman.

Tom Hagerman.

Hagerman and friends will be performing several original pieces written by Cahill, as well as some classically arranged showpieces with tango elements that have been “stripped down to work with four people”.

In addition to music, the Stanley Marketplace gallery will debut a collection of original mixed media works, paintings, and photographs by over 35 artists, many of whom are Colorado-based.  Inspired by this year’s theme, “Finding Refuge”, proceeds from the event and artwork sold will go to support Project Worthmore.

Jamie Laurie.

Jamie Laurie.

I caught up with Jamie Laurie of the Flobots for this event, who’s actually on the board for Project Worthmore. The Denver nonprofit works with refugees providing hands-on support to local refugees from countries like Burma, Congo, Sudan and Somalia, helping them settle in the Denver/Aurora areas.

"With war and with climate change, and with all the things happening in the world, there's going to be more refugees and we're going to have to get better at being a community of people that might not all speak the same language or might not all be the same religion, but who all are living together,” said Laurie, “If you go where Project Worthmore is, you'll see this beautiful and incredible community, where on the same block there are folks from Burma, folks from Nepal, from the Congo, people from Iraq, [and they are] all just living in the same community. Maybe they can speak a little English to each other, maybe they can't. But that neighborhood has formed something really incredible.”

“Beautiful things happen when you have people all in the same place that are from different parts of the world,” Laurie added.

For more information about Project Worthmore tickets for Saturday’s event, check out the organization’s website. Hope to see you there!

-Claire

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

BolderBeat Will Be Covering The Growlers' Sold Out Fox Theatre Show Tonight

By: Claire Woodcock

Are you hitting up the much anticipated Growlers’ show in Boulder this Saturday night? You better believe that we are!

BolderBeat has received confirmation that we’ll be bringing fellow music gurus exclusive coverage from The Growlers show at The Fox Theatre tonight. The anticipation has been building on our end for weeks- we have the email chains to prove it.

The Growlers.

The Growlers.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to go ahead and say that these “beach goth” rockers from California have been on my mind since summer 2014, when their fifth album Chinese Fountain came out. But the band’s November 2013 release Gilded Pleasures could possibly be the album that helps me justify selling my soul to the music journalism world.

Listen to Guilded Pleasures:

The Growlers continue to prove themselves prolific with City Club, the band’s eighth album in six years. City Club drops next Friday, September 30 on Cult Records, and we’re ready to let you know what’s up with these new Julian Casablancas-produced tracks. You can bet that “I’ll Be Around” and “City Club” are the beach goth group’s Strokesiest songs yet.

Denver DJ boyhollow will open the show tonight. Also known as Michael Trundle, boyhollow is the founder of Lipgloss, the country’s longest running indie/soul dance club. He'll be spreading goth vibes before The Growlers hit the stage.

Look for us wearing our beat buttons at the foot of the stage tonight, and stay tuned for my forthcoming, unfiltered thoughts and contributor Hannah’s action shots. Colorado is so hot for The Growlers, and we think we might know why. Can’t wait to let you know what’s up at this SOLD OUT show, Boulder!

-Claire

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

Mac DeMarco Brought The Boys Club to Boulder's Fox Theatre

By: Claire Woodcock

Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: It was really weird when Mac DeMarco was jerking off to his band in the crowd at the end of his show at The Fox on Thursday. The audience held him up with one of his hands while the other was in his pants, as he blatantly touched himself to guitarist Andrew Charles White, bassist Rory McCarthy and drummer Joe McMurray. Both musically and literally, “Together”, the song he and his friends close out every show with, became a unified, ten-minute-too-long musical jerkoff.

Mac DeMarco. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Mac DeMarco. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Hail to the bucket hat wearing, PBR chugging, current king of indie rock. Since McBriare Samuel Lanyon “Mac” DeMarco’s 2014 release Salad Days, the Canadian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has become a cultural master of the dirtbag aesthetic. DeMarco saturated the Colorado scene this week, opening for Tame Impala at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, playing The Ogden in Denver, and taping a podcast episode with eTown before his last stop in the Centennial state, a sold out show at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.

Justin Renaud of Sunboy during their Fox Theatre set. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Justin Renaud of Sunboy during their Fox Theatre set. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The moshing began well before Macko and his crew took the stage. Denver based psych-pop outfit Sunboy gave a knockout performance, with lush instrumental arrangements that gave this relatively fresh local band a crowd ready to lose their minds for Mac. Sunboy put out their first EP this August, Yesterday Is in Love With You, and are still riding that album release high. Frontman Justin Renaud, who alternates between acoustic/electric guitars and keys, usually in-between an enthusiastic “whoop” or two, had a charisma and stage presence that made for a daring and mature performance, before the immaturity to come.

Jon Lent. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Jon Lent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

After that, wild doesn’t even begin to cover it. I lost my shoe in “Salad Days”, the second track in DeMarco’s set. By that point, the crowd was in full mosh mode to songs like “The Way You Love Her” and “Just To Put Me Down”, from the 2016 mini-album Another One. Comfort zones didn’t exist after that. College girls launched an assortment of lace panties at Mac, and even broke the fourth wall to deliver him a “crown” of cigarettes. I found my sneaker a couple of songs later, after slamming into BolderBeat photographer Hannah Oreskovich, and the teenage girls at the very front of the crowd.

DeMarco and White's onstage makeout. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

DeMarco and White's onstage makeout. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The same teenage girls must have had a premonition about Macko and friends’ displays of mind-altering public affection. Gushing over their first kisses, or wishing their first kiss was a Macko kiss, all three of the BolderBeat writers at this show had to ask themselves, “Are we too old, too jaded to love Macko?” The answer is maybe, but we’re also critics.

Macko. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Macko. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Personally, I’ve always been a little skeptical of magic Mac. He’s been on my radar since his Salad Days EP release in 2014. I’ve taken to tracks like “Treat Her Better” and “Let My Baby Stay.” I’m empathetic to these tracks because they remind me of an archetype I met in college: the sympathetic stoner that’s feeling a little blue about his relationship prospects. But Demarco’s live show aesthetic is much more like a performance of “Let Her Go” on steroids.

Bucket Hat Glory. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Bucket Hat Glory. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

If you caught Macko and friends’ opening act for Tame Impala at Red Rocks Wednesday night, Thursday night’s show was four times the methodological madness, with singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryley Walker (who also taped a set Thursday with eTown), dousing himself in PBR between crowd dives after DeMarco brought him onstage, just for the hell of it. Demarco and White visibly tongued each other during their behind-the-back guitar solos, and most members of the band were shirtless by the end of their set. Mac DeMarco brought the boys club to The Fox on Thursday, giving all the Boulder bros in the crowd the excuse to go mad, and the rest of us a chance to watch the insanity in splendor and shock.

-Claire

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Best Weapon To Rock Against the TPP? Protest Music

By: Claire Woodcock

“There has never been a successful social movement in this country that has not had a great soundtrack,” Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, and Audioslave explains in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed piece on music and activism. “But what is the responsibility of the artist in troubled times to speak to the issues of the day?” he continues, “I believe the only responsibility we have as artists is to tell the truth as we see it.”

Tom Morello. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Tom Morello. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

And that’s exactly what Morello and friends did on Saturday at the Summit Music Hall. Joined by punk band Anti-Flag, Denver’s own hip-hop outfit Flobots, buzzworthy bi-lingual rockers Downtown Boys and Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit), Morello and friends mobilized a folk, funk, hip hop, rock ‘n roll, heavy metal throwdown to shut down the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Ryan Harvey. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Ryan Harvey. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Organized by Morello’s new social justice record label, Firebrand Records, and digital rights group Fight for the Future, the event brought out other activists and performers to shed light on multinational corporations with new rights and powers under the TPP that threaten good paying jobs, Internet freedom, the environment, access to medicine, and food safety.

Taini Asili. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Taini Asili. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The setlist for the evening was a mixture of originals and covers that were meant to sound the alarm on all the harm the TPP can do. Musicians shared protest tunes reminiscent of musical activists like Ani DiFranco and Woody Guthrie. And then there was Morello, shredding hard:      

Speakers from Food and Water Watch, the Sierra Club, Showing Up for Racial Justice, and other groups described the TPP as a corporate power-grab disguised as a trade agreement that could empower corporate elites while having adverse effects on jobs and wages, the environment, public health, and democracy both in the U.S. and abroad. For years, the TPP was negotiated behind closed doors between the United States and other Pacific Rim countries with the aid of hundreds of corporate lobbyists, while the public and the press were barred from even reviewing what was being proposed in our names.

Anti-Flag and the Flobots. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Anti-Flag and the Flobots. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

“When folks learn about the TPP, they become opposed on a trans partisan basis- Democrats, Republicans, Independents- and they get engaged. We’re here on the dracula strategy tour. We need to drag this sucker into the sunshine, and when people find out about it, they join our fight to stop it,” Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch said.

Brer Rabbit of the Flobots. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Brer Rabbit of the Flobots. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Denver was the launching pad for the Rock Against the TPP roadshow, a nationwide series of activism-fueled music events designed to raise awareness about the toxicity and dangers of this deal. For a full lineup of Rock Against the TPP tour dates, roll here.

“Working people everywhere have had enough,” Morello said, addressing an eager Denver crowd, “The TPP is nothing short of a corporate takeover of our democracy. That’s why people are rising up to stop it. Corporate lobbyists want to sneak the TPP through Congress quietly; that means it’s time for us to get loud.” And get loud they did.

Do It. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Do It. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

To get involved locally, check out Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Jobs with Justice and Communications Workers of America. Learn more about the TPP here.

-Claire

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