Corda Vera's Brand of Indie Is Rocking the Boulder House Party Scene

By: Taylor Falkner

Boulder, Colorado may be a land for new music, but it is certainly not a new land to the music scene. Once considered the next mecca of young musicians and “…the Berkeley of the Mountain Time Zone”, Boulder is a place for musical exploration and inspiration. It is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with the majestic Flatirons at the backdrop of everyday life. It helped create legendary bands like Zephyr, The String Cheese Incident, 3OH!3 and Big Gigantic just to name a few. The unique aspect of this list is that it encapsulates a variety of genres, and therefore further exemplifies how up and coming artistry in Boulder is not bound to the limits of a single genre.

This limitless sound opportunity is also expressed in the genre of indie rock. Indie originated from the concept of independent labels, but has evolved to describe “a sonic aesthetic influenced by various forms of post-punk and lo-fi music”. Moreover, indie is not overly concerned with meeting the criteria of what makes a good “commercial sound”. It is raw, and the use of at home recording equipment adds another unfiltered and imperfect dimension to the music which enriches the listeners experience. In this generation dominated by technological advancement, the D.I.Y. mentality of indie is blossoming due to the convenience and easy accessibility of online platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify. The spirit of this fresh freedom is very much alive in the city of Boulder, and it is where you can also find the beginnings of the very local band Corda Vera. As an underground, basement dwelling, house party band of Boulder, Corda Vera, swiftly takes on the essence of Boulder and the attitude of indie music in the twenty-first century.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera is a band of four twenty-year olds, one female and three males, some of which are on the journey to obtaining a college degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Simone Fohrman (vocals), Josh Bennett (drums), Sam Sawyer (bass), and Thomas Perry (guitar) all have been brought together through the allure of Boulder. Each member has their own style and differing musical background and inspirations, which compliment each other very well in their original music. They have an undeniably otherworldly aura to them, which makes them relatable to the confusion and individual growth that many college students experience while away from home where everything is safe and comforting. Their songs manifest a perfect blend of Sonic Youth grunge rock vibes with an indie, and somewhat psychedelic, sound. Setting themselves apart from today’s millennial teenage angst, Corda Vera plays into their emotions rather than becoming a victim of them.

As the band guides listeners on a trip away from wherever they may be, the lyrics sung by band leader Simone touch base on the interpersonal connections in all kinds of relationships. Their song “Over The Edge” encapsulates this well. The dark, yet enchanting bass riff that Sam bewitches listeners’ ears with transports one to the shuffling streets, lit only by the moon, in the faraway land of Istanbul. The song sends one to face the unknown. Through every thud of the bass drum the city breathes and comes to life and then, “Bang!” A shot echoes from Josh’s snare drum and the chills run down your spine. “We’re lost in translation/building my agitation/you can’t keep what ain’t yours,” Simone croons. Immediately the tension the band has been building is released by a powerful statement that gives the listener a piece of mind. Simone’s lyrics of feeling uncertain about her own emotions towards her counterpart reflect the universal angst that anyone can relate too when they feel shorted in a relationship. Instead of shying away from this angst, Simone and the rest of Corda Vera embrace it by turning it into a powerful energy, one that makes the listener feel as if they are walking a fine line and indeed about to fall “Over the Edge.”

A major factor to the unique tone and mood that Corda Vera puts out is due to the vast array of musical influences. All sorts of unconventional things can be heard in their music from various genres, scales, and even the effects used on every instrument. Their use of the harmonic minor scale in “Over the Edge” is what gives it its eerie vibe by dancing with the devil’s note. At the same time, however, you can here an influence from The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” which helps keep the song in a mystical world of its own.

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In the song “Nao” Corda Vera makes you feel as if you are floating through the clouds daydreaming. With a heavy chorus and reverb, Thomas, the guitarist and Boulder native, encapsulates what it is to feel weightless and floating. The ticking of the hi-hat alters time, and the audience is left in a place where there is no up and down or left and right. In respects to most other songs called “Heartbreaker,” Corda Vera’s version is one of the band’s fastest tempo songs. Moreover, it stands far apart from sounding that of Led Zeppelin, Pat Benatar or even Taio Cruz’s “Heartbreaker,” and sounds more like a contemporary electronica song. The drums are reminiscent of that of Seal’s in his hit “Crazy” or Moby’s “Porcelain”, while the guitar bares resemblance to that of Lenny Kravitz. Mesh all of this up with chorus-driven spacey vocals, and you have something totally new.

The motley crew that is Corda Vera has led them to create a sound that they can call their own. They all have different musical influences but their love for music, courage to face unsettling truths, and their desire to just have a good time has brought them to create something unique to everything else going on in Boulder currently. By blending such a vast array of sounds and with themes based in personal experience, Corda Vera are as authentic as it gets. There is no facade that they are attempting to convey. They are a group of friends who met through their love of music at open mic nights at Innisfree Cafe on the Hill and decided to join forces. In turn, they have given the students of Boulder, and hopefully more to come, a chance of a genuine experience.

Keep up with Corda Vera here.

-Taylor

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

Denver's Lollygags to Release "Digital 7-Inch" This Weekend

By: Julia Talen

Colorado’s own Lollygags, founded in 2011 by Denver native Jonathan Snyder, and accompanied by bassist Ryk Bonus, kicks off their series of new releases in 2019 with what they refer to as a “Digital 7-inch.” Like the classic two-sided 7-inch vinyl, this “digital” version includes two new tracks: an A-side and a B-side if you will, titled “Don’t Ask Why” and “Maum Meditation,” both humorous reflections of strange, modern life occurrences.

Lollygags.

Lollygags.

The A-side track, “Don’t Ask Why” tells the story of a dismal dating app date, something most of us can relate to in 2019. I’d never heard the Lollygags before, and this track immediately reminded me of Modern Lovers, its humorous lyrics evocative of the witty track “Pablo Picasso.” Lyrics like “I show up/just a little late/ I blame traffic/ that’s a lot of crap” and “you finally notice my copper suit/ you say it’s weird” reflect the awkwardness, cynicism, and absurdities of online dating to a tee, with a punk rock tune that sucks listeners into its identifiable story.

The B-side track, “Maum Meditation” starts out a bit slower. Again, that 70s influence shines through at the start of the track which reminded me of the Velvet Underground. The lyrics are a bit more vague in this tracks as Lollygags reflect upon an instance in which Snyder went to a meditation center looking for enlightenment, only to realize he’s walked into some sort of cult meeting of the group “Maum Meditation.” There is a transition in the song where psychedelic elements, like synthy overlays infuse the track, reminiscent of The Beatles in the late 60s. This track’s experimental elements compliment the the real life farce Snydman experienced.

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The “Digital 7-inch,” highlights this band’s ability to fuse storytelling, humor, rock, and experimentation. These tracks will be up on Spotify and all over the web by the end of this month, and Lollygags will celebrate the release on the afternoon of March 3rd at the Oriental Theater. This project is just their first release of 2019, and I’m curious to see what other sardonic jams the Lollygags drop this year.

-Julia

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

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 05/20 & 05/21

By: Hannah Oreskovich

TGIF! Let’s get to the tunes:

Today (Friday 05/20):

Battle of the Beer Round One with MOONTANG, The Alcapones, and Pro-Leisure at The Fox Theatre in Boulder 830PM-Close

Tonight kicks off Fox Theatre’s monthly Battle of the Beers, and all your favorite brews will be there: Avery, Boulder Beer, FATE, Odell, Oskar Blues, and Upslope. They’re competing for most brews poured, so come thirsty kids! Some of the night’s proceeds will go to charity, but entrance is free + it’s an all-ages show. And of course, there will be music! Boulder’s MOONTANG future-soul collective will be headlining the night, sharing the stage with folkadelic/reggae outfit The Alcapones and funky/jam rock group Pro-Leisure. Get down! (PS: Eye our exclusive Alcapones interview.)

Listen to Moontang’s “Higher Places”:

Lula Granji with Asalott at Tony P’s Music in Denver 10PM-Close

There’s been a lot of Boulder talent at Tony P's lately, and that’s the case tonight, as Boulder’s Lula Granji and Asalott take the stage. Jazzy-psych/funk five-piece Lula Granji will close out the evening, after a trance/dance set from Asalott. This is a show to groove to folks. $5 cover; lots of drink specials. Head on out! (PS: Catch our exclusive Asalott interview here.)

Listen to Lula Granji’s “Orama”:

Midnight Strange at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Everybody needs a little Strange once in awhile, and tonight’s the night Boulder! These indie twangin’, boot swingin’, booze slingin’ boys will be busting out their best bolos for you at The No Name Bar this evening. The five-piece has been working on some sweet new tunes for the summer! Come on over and dance along!

Check out Midnight Strange's "Miniature Lake":

Tomorrow (Saturday 05/21):

The 3rd Annual Upslope Get Down Festival at Upslope Brewing in Boulder 1PM-10PM

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It’s American craft beer week, and Upslope wants to celebrate it with you! They’re throwing a massive bash at their Flatiron Court location that will include brews, several food trucks, 3 stages, and thirteen local bands. The best part? Thanks to Flatiron Subaru, it’s free! Get out in the sun and see Eminence Ensemble, Freekbass, Lady and the Gentleman, Gipsy Moon, Zee Jackson 4, MOONTANG, Punch Drunk Munkey Funk, Booster, Steepland String Band, Realtalk, Reckon, K-Law, and Zen Mustache. Festival deets here. Can’t wait to see you there!

Peep Eminence Ensemble’s album Mouse Hunt:

Project Pabst Music Festival in Denver’s Larimer/RiNo Neighborhood 1PM-10PM

Though there have been a few changes in the lineup (most notably when Courtney Barnett was swapped with Best Coast), tonight’s Project Pabst festival is still going to be rad. Hometown heroes Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats are headlining the gig, with a slew of talented local and national acts tagging along. The Violent Femmes, K. Flay, and others will be helping you party with your PBR tall boy. We will be snapping pics and covering the fest. Stay tuned for our full review; it drops Monday! Full lineup and tickets here.

We know you’ve seen this Nightsweats video already, but watch it again, will yah?:

John Craigie with Dustin Reid at Swallow Hill Music in Denver 8PM-Close

The last time John Craigie was in Colorado, we caught his back-to-back Boulder to Denver shows, and we loved him. Craigie’s troubadour lifestyle gives his music, and his sense of humor, a crafty wit that weaves between his talented songwriting and musical prowess. Craigie has performed all over the world, and it’s easy to see why once you’ve had the chance to catch him live. Also aboard this Swallow Hill gig is Denver’s talented folk and blues singer/songwriter Dustin Reid, who will be opening up the evening on guitar, banjo, and dulcimer. Get tickets while you can! (PS: Here’s that one time we chatted with Craigie.)

Listen to John Craigie’s “Coldest Colorado” (of course we chose this one):

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Boulder County Farmers Market is every Saturday from 10AM-2PM, and this year, we’re working closely with BCFM to promote the music at the market! Tomorrow, David Coile will be holding things down at the big red tent near the vendors! Stop by to hear this local singer/songwriter and grab some tasty eats!

Check out David Coile’s original “Change Myself”:

GREEN LIGHT RADIO

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This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Colorado Springs’ Hydrogen Skyline. Want the scoop on this female-fronted indie electro rock act? Read our feature on the band here! Make sure to tune in to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light Sunday night between 9-10PM to catch their tune “Victory”!

Happy Weekend!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured.