The Nomadik Sends You the Latest & Greatest in Outdoor Adventure Gear Just in Time for Summer

As camping season begins and Coloradoans throughout the state start ascending into the Rocky Mountains for the spring and summer seasons, there is one must-have companion: The Nomadik.

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Featuring the best in outdoor adventure gear, The Nomadik is a monthly subscription service sent straight to your door with all of the latest and greatest in camping and adventurewear. Through April 12th, Nomadik’s Earth Day box is available for order here and features:

MPOWERD Luci Light EMRG - An inflatable, waterproof and floatable pocket-sized solar powered lantern that doubles as a flashlight and emergency light only needs a bit of sunlight to stay charged!

Simply Straws Stainless Steel Re-usable Straw - Plastic-free, guilt-free reusable straw helps reduce your waste!

Eco Vessel The Metro- 24oz Insulated & Reusable Tumbler -  This eco-friendly reusable mug is BPA free, phthalates free and free of harmful liners!

While April’s theme was Earth Day, The Nomadik switches up their themes monthly so that every new box includes a “challenge” for the month along with it, keeping even the most well-mountaineered folks on their toes. The Nomadik is constantly curating fresh and innovation gear from all the top outdoor brands and retailers for a fraction of industry prices. Monthly subscription boxes start at $32.95 and include a value of up to $70 + up to 7 full-size premium gear pieces with brands like Mountainsmith, Mizu, RX Bar, SealLine, Gear Aid, Kammock, Skratch Labs, Grand Trunk, MPOWERD, Power Practical, MoraKniv, GSI, Mountain House and more.

So fellow climbers, campers, kayakers, 14er adventurers and all you other great Colorado outdoors lovers, join The Nomadik today! They’ll deliver the gear for your next trip here for a fraction of what you’d spend anywhere else. Live Nomadik.

Spectra Art Space Is Our Favorite Thing Happening in Denver Art Right Now

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last Saturday, BolderBeat entered the neon-lit doors of Denver’s Spectra Art Space to an at-capacity crowd. The gallery and event space’s latest art opening party “Colorado Vibes 3” was in full swing with walls dripping in local photography and paint work, fashion models strutting down a catwalk outfitted with black-lights, and musicians playing in the venue’s outdoor patio space. The exhibit, which is available to view over the next month, features all-local artists and a slew of mediums: pencil work, hand-drawn illustrations, mixed media, sculpture work, clothing, fashionable eyewear, photography, jewelry, and more. Whether your eye is drawn to Lexie Lund’s girl-power glitter guns and metallic tampon display, the psychedelic colored pencil work of Nick Fast, Nova Lee’s ominously friendly “ET Phone Ohm”, C.o.l.t.A.l.i.t.Y’s polaroid posters, glitchybb’s kitties, or iamnotunique’s illustrated boxy creature collection, there’s something for every art fiend at Spectra. To check out all of the artists in the “Colorado Vibes 3” showcase click here.


All photos in this feature by Ana White Photography.


Owned and operated by Sadie Young and Kayla Smith, together this lady duo have transformed their storefront on Denver’s South Broadway into a full-on art escape. Young has been hosting music and art events in Denver for nearly 10 years, and has a BFA from MSU Denver with a focus in painting. Smith is an actress and theater aficionado when she is not working at Spectra.

Says Young, “It's important for us to showcase local art because every single artist/musician/actor etcetera is a small business and small businesses are what hold communities together.”

Most everything in Spectra is for sale, with proceeds from sales and events benefiting both the space and the artist. The one-room gallery features a ton of winding niches to explore; behind it there is a covered patio and a retro CD-decorated gazebo equipped with heaters perfect for early spring nights. For “Colorado Vibes 3”, the outdoor area had bite-sized food and drink options with various singer/songwriters playing to the socializing crowd. Indoors, a DJ booth which looks as though it were blasted onto Broadway straight out of a spaceship, had artists spinning tunes while attendees gallery-perused until the synthy percussiveness of DR3AM CA$T took the stage and started a dance party.

The evening’s fashion show was a definite highlight and featured Denver designers including Ellen Bronson, Smasher Robot, KatDog Couture, iLit Designs, and Impek Apparel. From Bronson’s flashy fabrics with a rock’n’roll feel, to the black-light button-ups and bow ties from Smasher Robot, there was enough stylish garb for any Denver fashionista to drool over. Hair & makeup for the show took six hours to complete and was fabulously done by Amanda Brooke of Wonderland Hair Parlor.

Says Young, “My favorite part of the ‘Colorado Vibes’ showcase is how many new artists it adds to our growing family of makers. One of the things I am most proud of Spectra for is being a lot of artists’, musicians’, and designers’ very first taste of being a professional creative. We have been several artist’s first show and first sale, we have been musician’s first show, and designer’s first fashion show. I think we are especially unique because we actually believe in our artists and our creative community, and we would do just about anything to support them and encourage them to pursue their passions. The ‘Colorado Vibes’ format we created is a way for us to highlight the amazing underrepresented talent in Denver and present art and the creative scene in a way that's accessible to everyone, patrons and artists included. I started Spectra because I love being a resource for artists and I wanted to present the art world in a unique way including fashion, fine art, lowbrow art, music, comedy, installation, and performance in one space.”

Spectra’s mission is to “support artists and provide a space that cultivates creativity through highly curated contemporary art exhibitions, events, and detailed immersive experiences” and the opening party for “Colorado Vibes 3” was all of these things wrapped into one glittery, psychedelic ball of smiles and awesome dance moves.

Needless to say, if you haven’t yet explored Spectra Art Space in Denver, it’s time you made the trip. Not only will they send you down a rabbit hole of haute creativity; every time you go, you benefit the local Denver arts scene in more ways than one.

Says Young, “I would like for people to know that we offer several creative classes each month, as well as a plethora of fun events. We are also looking to raise money so that we can renew our lease and hire an additional employee so we can grow and continue to support the hundreds of artists in our family. We have just started a Patreon with a ton of amazing reward options [too]!”

An   iLit Designs    eyewear look by    Ana White Photography  .

Spectra has two upcoming events on their calendar: a performance night by Ahee with • AVRY • on April 25th and their “Bombastic Plastic Toy Show” on May 4th with Meow Wolf, Ratio Beerworks, and others.

Turn up your imagination today and visit Spectra! Learn more about this amazing art space here.

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

Premiere: Spiral Cell Debut New Trippy Music Video for "Consonance"

By: Norman Hittle

“Consonance,” the second official music video from Spiral Cell debuts today. Don’t let the maze in the tree rings keep you guessing- watch it right here:

For those of you familiar with SC’s concepts, this video fits the canon of what you likely already know as far as plot lines go, but for those not fully aware, perhaps a quick trip through The Maze in the Tree Rings will give some perspective.

The video conveys a clean array of artistic shots tied together in a stylistic approach, directed by Noe DeLeon. Contrary to the layout in SC’s debut video for “Prologue” (where the video was centered more on a cinematic approach), “Consonance” highlights more of a taste of the live experience brought to the table featuring the man behind the mask: Scott Uhl. With his myriad of looping pedals and instrumental setups, it’s easy to see how his meticulous work makes for the engaging one man show that is Spiral Cell.

As for the project in general, Scott and his crew sum it up perfectly: “Spiral Cell is an immersive, theatrical, multi-level experience of music, storytelling, visuals, and art. Musically, Spiral Cell combines elements of movie/video game scores, layered vocals, dynamic guitar playing and multi-instrument looping. Add in a storyline with visuals, dialogue, and a synchronized light show and you can begin to grasp the live experience.”

Keep up with Spiral Cell on Facebook, and for the full experience, check out their next live performance January 27th, 2019. Event details here!

-Norman

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

Denver's Holiday Bazaar Features Food, Fashion, Fire Pits, & Booze

By: Julia Talen

Denver’s Holiday Bazaar is back, and ‘tis the season! This festive event takes place at the end of November into December. For those anxious to scope out a variety of local vendors while sipping on festive libations, Stapleton’s Shops at Northfield host a Denver Bazaar Pop-Up event on Thursday, November 29th from 4PM-10PM. Admission is free and the Stapleton Holiday Bazaar will feature over 40 fashion trucks and rad vendors, plus attendees will have a wide range of libations to choose from including beer, wine, cider, and spirits.

The Bazaar.

The Bazaar.

RiNo’s  Holiday Bazaar spans across the second weekend in December- December 7th 5PM-10PM (free admission until 7PM) and December 8th and 9th from 10AM-5PM (free admission until 12PM). For those who stroll in late, admission is $5 at the door which gets you into the giant, trendy Bazaar located at 2845 Walnut Street showcasing 100+ vendors, makers, artists, and more.

Not only can guests shop around, but they can also hang by the fire pits, nosh on snacks from some of Denver’s finests food trucks, listen to music, and check out the RiNo BOOZ Hall centrally located in the Bazaar featuring booze from Rising Sun Distillery and Jack Rabbit Hill Farm (among others.) And don’t worry about snow or icy conditions, because the inside of the Bazaar is heated, so you can soak up all of the cozy, holiday vibes. To learn more about this awesome event visit the website here.

-Julia

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

Augustus Got A Way of Changing

Augustus.

Augustus.

Augustus began in 2011 when frontman Colin Kelly wrote, recorded, and posted to Youtube his song, “North.” This was years before he met the other two founding members of the band, Jim Herlihy and Jesse Wright, and before they began as a trio named “Tusk.”

This was their first mistake (with many more were to follow), as another band already had the name somewhere out in Musicland. As they would countless times in the following years, they adjusted and moved forward, now as “Augustus,” forgoing that which didn’t work while maintaining that which did: their original “Tusk” logo— two entwined animal bones jutting upward against a black backdrop. Without fail since, Augustus has done with failure what we all wish we would at our best: They’ve used it to become something new, fresh, and better. Today, the group features founding members Colin Kelly on vocals, Jim Herlihy on guitar and vocals, along with Marshall Carlson on bass, and Ryan Healy on drums.

I note the release of “North” as the true beginning of the group because they still play the song. I believe it’s on its fifth iteration now. And that is the real story of Augustus. This is a band in a constant state of reinvention. This has never been more evident than in their recent release, “Idle,” which is wholly different in style from previous releases and qualitatively advanced by a good bit. It is through this lens of growth that I approached a recent interview with Colin Kelly around a fire in my backyard, accompanied by BolderBeat contributor and scene veteran Zach Dahmen. Augustus will perform at the Fox Theatre this Saturday, November 10th and tickets are available here.

PL: So you’re new to Colorado, determined to write and be in a band, and you find two guys, Jesse Wright and Jim Herlihy. You start “Tusk,” which was kind of “mountain-y” and not really rock and roll. Not your forte, but it seemed to fit into the Colorado scene. Why didn’t you stick with that?

CK: Jesse always thought of us as a prog folk band.

PL: Did you really want to be in a prog folk band?

CK: I just wanted to be in a band so I was going to do anything I could with the instruments we had then.

PL: You had lots of early success and hype in those days. And yet, it didn’t work out in the long run. Why?

CK: We had some bad gigs now and again. Jim was doing too much. [He was] going full sprint all night on banjo, guitar, drums… And Jesse was always a wild card. Sometimes totally brilliant, sometimes couldn’t remember how to play the songs. I was still an ametuer in a lot of ways. We’d have these five-minute breaks between songs sometimes at shows, just trying to pull it together.

ZD: I remember those early shows of yours at Johnny’s. In the scene at that time, Whiskey Autumn was No Name Bar, Augustus was Johnny’s, and sometimes on the same night you’d be catching the first half of one show then jumping to the other. It was a captive audience. People were excited at what was happening. But it was always going to be just experimental.

PL: Who was the other band really wrapped up in that?

ZD: The Almond Butters?

PL: Yup, but another one, too… You know who I’m talking about.

ZD: The Ridgelings!

CK: There was a lot of bluegrassy shit going on then. Everybody was all like, “Mumford and Sons!”

PL: Ah yes, the Mumfordy era.

CK: If Mumford could do it, we were like, we could do whatever the fuck we want. (Colin turns to the recorder). Hey, future Pete, do you read me? This is Colin, don’t quote me on that…

PL: I’m totally going to.

CK: Don’t!

PL: But anyway, on those early recordings of yours, there were a lot of great songs, but one phenomenal song in particular that a lot of people still talk about and request called, “Return.”

CK: We still play that a lot. We’ve re-written it like five times. We finally found a version we like with the quartet that we’re keeping. The first records were pretty desperate things for me musically. I liked the songs, but I didn’t really know what I was doing in a studio yet. None of us did. The only reason we could get through it was because Jim was always so prepared. He practices his ass off. And Jesse had some moments of blinding brilliance. But it was a struggle for all of us. Being under a microscope for the first time. On the second record, I was also really sick, and we had to rush through. We had to be decisive and learn to live with flaws. Some have more character than others. Sometimes you have to be OK with not being very good.

PL: Which flaws can you live with… That sounds like some earned wisdom right there. So let me flip it around. Which flaws can’t you live with? Musically? Personally?

Colin gets up to chop some wood, as these sorts of questions make him antsy.

ZD: I can say, on the spot…

CK: That’s a really fucked up question, Pete. Do I have to answer that?

PL: Yup.

ZD: For me, diving deeper into the eye of who I am, as opposed to trying to look more outward… I need to find the thing to make me sufficient and happy, and I have to look inward for that.

CK: That’s very theological.

PL: He’s got a background in it (Zach majored in theology at college)

.Colin chops at another log.

PL: So let’s go back to that time specifically, what couldn’t you live with then?

CK: I couldn’t live with my guitar sounding shitty, my vocals being out of key… I wasn’t always prepared with all the arrangements. I didn’t know what stories I was telling with my vocals. I can’t say I’m any more confident now, but I’ve logged a lot more hours. We all have. And that definitely helps.

PL: Give me a specific story that speaks to all that.

CK: We were playing this show in 2015 and we were being scouted by this guy who had some connections, and who we couldn’t afford, but arrogantly thought we were confident about getting his help, and we realized that night that we couldn’t play a whole three hours live. We didn’t sound like we knew what we were doing at that show. Especially when we started bringing in more electric. We weren’t really acoustic listeners. We were individually more into rock and roll sounds.

Laffin, Kelly, and Dahmen (left to right).

Laffin, Kelly, and Dahmen (left to right).

PL: Tell me about The Mercury EP that came next. I know you were proud of those songs, but I remember you weren’t too happy about how that turned out.

CK: We had a thing, we thought it was working. We thought we were going to continue to get closer to the concept, the feeling of what we wanted to make, but we didn’t get there.

PL: So after that, there seemed to be a great retooling of things that led to your latest release, which couldn’t be more different than where you began, and if I may say, couldn’t have had a better outcome, at least on a critical level. It seems that in the lead up, you wanted to stabilize your group, add permanent players after Jesse left (which was around the Mercury release). You mentioned earlier that you wanted to make the best out of the instruments you had access to, but this one feels very intentional from top-to-bottom.

CK: We had to do everything different when Jesse left. We had to change the sound. It was worse than I assumed it would be at the time. I was really bummed when Jesse left. There was a vacuum, and Jim and I had to start over. Retooling to us meant trying a bunch of different shit till we got somewhere. We couldn’t really do the acoustic shit anymore.

ZD: Sonically, you seemed to completely transform from one space to another. How did that happen?

CK: Jesse used to play a lot of lead on the cello. And now suddenly I was in the position to write lead for electric guitar. I still don’t know if I’ve got that down, but again, I’ve got more hours logged. We used to have a banjo and an acoustic guitar, and now we’ve got two electric guitars. The foot-kit suddenly made no more sense for Jim, and he wanted to do more singing and more lead guitar. So then we had to bring in drums, a new bass…

PL: You sound frustrated just remembering all that.

CK: You go from a three piece folk band to a four piece rock band, and there is going to be some really ugly shit that goes down.

PL: The new album has a song on it called “Things Got a Way of Changing.”

ZD: When it came out, Pete and I listened to it a few times and knew it was going to be the song people gravitated toward. That song to me was just a fucking, “Woah!” Better than anything else you’ve done. It felt like something different to us.

PL: I know it has nothing to do with the changes in the band over the last couple of years. But so many of our motivations are subconscious, and to me it just seems so clearly like a cathartic piece. That from beneath the surface, this theme emerged on its own. What was your experience like making it?

CK: We always wanted to swing back around to playing electric music. We were tired of the half-baked folk thing. I started demoing stuff by myself more, got more organized, and I could hear better when something just wasn’t going to be a song anyone would want to listen to. We started more from the bottom of the song to build up, not just “start with guitar and vocals and then add bass and drums.” I started the old stuff more from a lyrical standpoint. But with this song in particular, we wanted to build it from the ground up. And it took months to write. I sat on it for three months. And the guys did just an amazing job with it.

PL: Aside from the mechanics of it all, there must have been a cathartic moment for you guys with this song, especially after the lull of “Mercury.” You came out ahead when maybe you thought you were falling behind.

CK: Well there was a lot of change in mine and Jim’s life around that time (both got married within that same year) and I stopped working my same old job. A lot of things personally changed. Things stabilized. Life finally felt a little less on the brink of disaster on a daily basis. Which was fun when you’re in your twenties. But from all that was a lot of failure, which created a lot of intensity. We had to find out how not to fuck up anymore. Obviously something was missing, and we had to figure out what that was… We had to find it. It’s tough to say.

PL: I think you said it.

See for yourself how Augustus has changed and grown as they co-headline the Fox Theatre this Saturday November 10th at 9PM with Foxfeather, Hugh Manatee, and Famous Men.

Keep up with Augustus here.

-Pete

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

Parkway Drive's Current 'Reverence Tour' Is a Must-See, Once in a Lifetime Production

By: Nathan Sheppard

Parkway Drive’s headlining Reverence Tour made its Denver stop at the Ogden last Sunday and featured some of the hardcore scene’s biggest names.  

Polaris.

Polaris.

Australian band Polaris, who are on their first ever tour in the U.S., started things off for the eager, sold-out crowd. While many didn’t know their songs, they made up for it by moshing and jumping around.

The Devil Wears Prada. 

The Devil Wears Prada. 

The Devil Wears Prada were next up and rocked hard. Lead singer Mike Hranica set the tone by running across the stage to get the crowd going. The band’s songs were a great combination of hard hitting breakdowns and calm, smooth melodies.

August Burns Red.

August Burns Red.

August Burns Red were the last of the openers for the night, and continued to build off the heavy-hitting songs of their predecessors. The Grammy-nominated band showed why they are one of the best: Jake Luhrs brought his brutal screams, and the intricate tapping solos from JB Brubaker were the main attractions for their set.

Parkway Drive. 

Parkway Drive. 

For those whose necks weren’t already sore from headbanging, Parkway Drive made sure everyone went home sweaty and sore. The Australian band made their U.S. debut in Denver 12 years ago, so they always make sure to bring their best for the Mile High crowd. Parkway features some of the heaviest breakdowns in their genre, and accompanied by Winston McCall’s screaming, it makes for one insane show. Their 15-song set finished off with “Bottom Feeder,” sending everyone home on a high note.

This all-star lineup was easily one of the biggest and best shows of 2018. The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red could easily sell out their own headlining shows, so to have them with Parkway Drive on the same tour made for a once in a lifetime experience. For your chance to be a part of this tour check out the remaining dates here.

-Nathan

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

From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

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Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

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

Race To Neptune Are Either the Black Sheep of Fort Collins or It's Next Big Thing

By: Brody Coronelli

With a new lineup, the band’s heavy, technical, and invigorating new EP Abandon Fashion showcases their evolution as a band, and what sets them aside from their counterparts.

Race To Neptune.

Race To Neptune.

With a spellbing conceptual precision that blends scuzzy ‘90s grunge-rock, darkwave, and the teeth-kicking emotional thunder of punk in a manner that makes heads bang, dice tumble, and PA systems growl, Race to Neptune are one of Fort Collins’ loudest, eclectic, and ferocious rock bands.

The band made their debut in 2016 with Oh Contraire, an album that had a few moments of brazen, fiery chargings into up-tempo punk-rock, but for the most part stayed on the melodic side, using dark, midtempo, and gritty instrumentation to surround frontman Brian Maier’s personal and biting lyrics in a shadowy glow. On the Thurston Moore-reminiscent “Wanderlilly,” the guitars are loud and fiery, but immensely tasteful and bright as the band uses a catchy refrain and echoing harmonies to guide the song into a warm resonance. The song is forceful and delicate all at once; a balance the band had no issue finding on that album.

On their new EP Abandon Fashion, the band has kept the technical sensibilities of their debut intact, making use of raw, punkish energy to play their eclectic and progressive brand of rock’n’roll. Many of the songs have a raw and thundering approach that takes more after punk-rock than it does from brazen, technical, and melodic broods through the dimly lit streets of Oh Contraire. These songs aim to ignite, but not in a typical four-chord punk rock fashion. The band uses this driving energy and delivers it with an array of sonic intricacies in a way that’s more indicative of artists like Jack White, Black Sabbath, and Queens of The Stone Age rather than Subhumans or The Germs.

“I think [Abandon Fashion] is a two word statement that almost signifies that we are going to write, record, and do what we want and how we want, no matter what is cool, trendy, or ‘in fashion’,” says frontman Brian Maier.

The whole EP was cut live at Stout Studios in Fort Collins, capturing a raw and forthright energy that often can’t be found when meticulously multi-tracking or chasing the perfect take. This raw approach, balanced with the driving and aggressive nature of the songs makes Abandon Fashion a fierce, unrelenting pleasure.

“I honestly have always wanted to [record the way we did on this record] because it captures the aggressiveness and raw energy of how we actually sound that can’t be faked. I think if we recorded the first album the same way those songs would have come across just as heavy. Track by track recording is so dialed in and precise in every way from the smallest turn of an amp or pedal knob to how hard we strum or hit a drum or cymbal. This was total freedom and we recorded this just how we practice and this is how we sound live, because it is!” says frontman Brian Maier.

The opening track “Mortal Melody” features a nearly two-minute chugging intro with guitars that gradually grow more jagged, and pummelling drums that grow fiercer with each strike. The song is a garage-driven excursion that has all the thrill of driving down an empty desert highway going fifty over the speed limit. “I’ll be your creature/Can you teach me to teach/Sing to me slowly/In a motor melody,” Maier sings with a quiet growl on top of a scuzzy and aggressive bassline.

The Sonic Youth and Modest Mouse inspired “Departure” follows, a scuzzy rocker with a chanting, harmonic, and arena rock-reminiscent chorus. “Sunsets” is an older song of Maier’s that resurfaced while the band was tracking the album. With a beachy, sunburnt instrumental that feels like a long drive by the coast and lyrics about running off to California, it’s a bright and infectious song by a band that often defaults to the shadows.

The closing track “Abandon Fashion” is a return to form for the band. The entirely instrumental song opens with a fit of siren-esque picking, only to devolve into a showdown of fiery, circling guitars that get more aggressive with every note. What starts out capturing a warm sunset quickly starts to resemble a sky littered with flames, dancing down to the ground.

The album artwork for  Abandon Fashion .

The album artwork for Abandon Fashion.

In more ways than one, Abandon Fashion marks a new beginning for the band. Not only is it a step into new musical territory, but the band underwent two significant lineup changes before making it. With Matt Petersen now on drums and Matt McNear on bass, the band’s sound is shifting in a different direction. Their influences are made loud and clear, and their presences melding with Maier’s technical and anthemic songwriting have led to Race of Neptune’s most invigorating record so far.

“I think it has been a pretty seamless transition,” says Petersen. “We got comfortable together really quickly. Matt just came on as bassist late February and we were in the studio the first week of April. I think that's definitely a testament to our cohesiveness. [Matt and I] both have a strong jazz background with our instruments which allows us to keep time really well while getting out of the rhythmic box bass and drums can sometimes be confined to in rock music. We are also all involved in the writing process… it’s a very cumulative sound you’re hearing.”

Race to Neptune underwent a quick evolution on Abandon Fashion, and for the better. It’s an invigorating, technical, and fun record that sets the band at the forefront of Fort Collins’ music scene. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t outliers, though. In a scene dominated by folk, EDM, and bluegrass, Race to Neptune are a shining beacon of musical progression and experimentation run through a filter of loud, raw, and eclectic rock.

“There has been a little increase in rock bands and venues in the [Fort Collins] area which is nice, but we are still the black sheep of the music scene up here. It is still very much dominated by jam bands, DJs and bluegrass, but we are trying very hard to support other local rock bands as well,” Maier says.

When the musical cohesiveness, energy, and vision of a band like Race To Neptune are all working together, maybe being the black sheep isn’t a bad thing; maybe it’s a sign that they’re at a the forefront of new sound and identity for Northern Colorado. It’s too early to say, but considering how far they’ve come as a band on only two records, anything is possible.

Abandon Fashion is out now. You can keep up with Race to Neptune here.

-Brody

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

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

Beyond Bridges Release Debut Reggae Rock Record 'On My Mind'

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Colorado’s Beyond Bridges have released their debut EP On My Mind. The reggae rock four-piece, who are based in Pueblo, have made quite a name for themselves in the Colorado reggae scene over the past year. They’ve shared stages with bands like Trevor Hall, The Wailers, HIRIE, and Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, and at their live shows, have developed a loyal following who are referred to as their “coconuts.” Comprised of Tony Garcia (guitar/vocals/bass), Kai Furuto (guitar/vocals/bass), Adrian Hernandez (guitar/vocals/bass), and Kyle Spinuzzi (drums), Beyond Bridges are an act who hold true to spreading positive vibes with their music, and this is evident on their debut EP.

On My Mind starts off with the record’s title track, which captures you with soft reggae sounds before enveloping your ears into harder rock elements. This is the song the band released as their debut single a few weeks back, and it has an uplifting, beachy quality to it with strummy strings and marked, offbeat percussion. It totally belongs on your 2018 summer playlist. “Bad Medicine” follows suit, and has the almost opposite construction- it starts with heavy rock riffs and a thick bass line before opening into more mellow sounds. It also has metal-esque guitars sprinkled throughout that will make you wanna headbang.

Beyond Bridges. 

Beyond Bridges. 

“The Great Beyond” holds down the middle slot on the five-track EP, and is a short, all-instrumental soundscape song. It’s a tune that feels like it might be played first in a live set, used to plant the night’s vibes before pulling in the audience with a real burner. “NSQS” is next, and its chorus is made to sing along with: “when you go/the world moves so slow/and when you go/I feel so alone.” It’s catchy and tells the most straightforward story lyrically on the record.

Furuto, Garcia, Spinuzzi, & Hernandez.

Furuto, Garcia, Spinuzzi, & Hernandez.

On My Mind closes with “Black Widow,” a super groovin’ track which incorporates classic reggae guitar sounds while maintaining a gritty rock edge. You’ll find yourself boppin’ your head along along for the first 1:18, which is purely instrumental. From there, this one jets into a heavy rock song, fit with stretchy string solos and echoing vocals. Beyond Bridges recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced the entire record live with Matt Herrera of Last Leaf Audio & Design.

Said member Adrian Hernandez about the band’s debut release, “We are excited about this release because we are finally getting some music out for our followers to share and enjoy with the ones they love. On My Mind is a raw interpretation of Beyond Bridges since each song is made entirely of live takes. That means whether or not you are listening to us in your car or at a show, we will truly sound like us. We love that transparency because as we move from one album to the next, our followers will hear genuine growth. We hope they can really feel the time and love we promised to put into all of this.”

I feel the love- do you coconuts? Give Beyond Bridges’ On My Mind a listen above and catch the band live at Brues Ale House this Wednesday, March 21st for their release show.

Keep up with Beyond Bridges here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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

Umphrey’s McGee Lit Up Aspen's Belly Up For Three-Night Colorado Run

By: Cy Fontenot

After a two week break, the six-piece power band Umphrey’s McGee took a crowd of a few hundred people in Aspen CO, on an epic musical journey. They had the Belly Up, a notoriously intimate venue, dripping from the ceiling in good times at their Wednesday night show.  

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They started out the night by jamming their way into fan-favorite, “Resolution.” They then made their way into Umphrey’s classic, “In the Kitchen,” and left the crowd steaming with excitement as they closed out their first set with “Bridgeless.”

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Giving the room some time to breathe with intermission, Umphrey’s came out for their second set with guns blazin’ for “Phil’s Farm.” Just as things started to get really frothy, they hit us with “Booth Love, and then an OG Umphrey’s jam, “Nothing Too Fancy,” which left the crowd picking their faces up off the floor from the sweet jams.

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Taking it one step further, they played their brand new, ultra-heavy song, “Remind Me,” which did remind me that this is a band with a fire burning deep inside, a fire that will continue to produce the gnarliest of jams for decades to come.

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If you haven’t had the pleasure of catching Umphrey’s McGee live, check out their tour dates and new album, Its Not Us, here. They’ve got a three-night run of Red Rocks show coming up this July too, which you should grab your tickets for now.

-Cy

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

Famous Men Release Debut Single & Video "Gambler's Cry"

By: Mirna Tufekcic

A brand-spankin’ new trio, Famous Men, who were forged while busking the Pearl Street Mall during the summer of 2017 in Boulder, Colorado, are coming out with their very first album Gambler’s Cry this spring. Recently they released a video for the title track from their upcoming record and we have it here for your viewing pleasure. Check it out below and get stoked for more cool things to come from these guys, like their weekly Facebook live shows every Thursday where they serenade you with originals and covers (of your choice!). You can follow them here.

The band focuses on traditional folk songwriting, while pairing it with rock’n’roll and blues, reminiscent of The Black Keys if they melded with The Wood Brothers and Ryan Adams. Hunter Stone, vocals and guitar of the band, brings a unique twist to this style with a raspy tone that is undeniably cool. His slide guitar skills kill too. Joe Plante on the bass and keys and Joshua Thomas on the drums add to the blues-rock-country feel of this band as a whole. In fact the vibes from these guys at their live performances simply capture the audience’s attention effortlessly. I know because I’ve already seen them on several occasions.

Famous Men.

Famous Men.

Famous men mean business and they deliver. So check them out here first with the video produced by the band themselves. Then make sure to go see them live. How will you know where and when? Head over to their Facebook page.

-Mirna

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

Michael Howard Cuts Through the Noise With Debut Record 'Impatiens'

By: Brody Coronelli

The folk Americana singer/songwriter reflects on his debut album Impatiens and how the Front Range brought new life to his songwriting.  

Michael Howard is a seasoned musician who often plays a hundred shows in a year, has actively performed and collaborated with multiple bands along the Colorado Front Range, and has been writing music in a prolific and soul-searching manner since his early teens. The catch is that you’d never guess any of this from a first impression.

When we met, Howard donned a flannel shirt, loose-fitting blue jeans, and work boots, looking fit more for a day’s work than a night onstage. He works as a contractor when he’s not making music, but the combination of dress and his uniquely relaxed, informal way of talking about his music make him feel like a true everyman; an everyman, that is, with an affinity for a rousing melody.

Born in Colorado but raised in Virginia, Howard came back out to the Rockies three years ago for a fresh start. Back in his home state, he tapped into a newfound sense of inspiration to take music more seriously than he ever had before. He began playing hundreds of shows a year, collaborating with multiple local acts, playing with The Wooden Spoons, The Healthy Herd, and working prolifically on his own solo material.

In November, Howard released his solo debut Impatiens, a sprawling anthology of stripped-down and forthright Americana-driven songs:

“The album is named after a flower that shoots its seeds out of its pods when lightly touched. They just explode and fling their seeds everywhere,” he said, cracking up.

“I came out to Colorado after a very cloistered, isolated period in Vermont,” he added, explaining the more serious side of meaning behind the name. “It was a very insular, isolated time, so by the time I got out here, there was so much pent up, and it exploded. I went from playing one or two shows a year to a hundred. I suddenly had all this inspiration flying around,” he said.

Recorded with John Macy at Macy Studios in Denver, Impatiens is built mostly from material Howard began working on when he came back to the Front Range. These are songs that came from a period of creative abandon, where music introspectively began taking shape before he put it on paper.

While making the album, which is limited to him, an acoustic guitar, and the occasional, sweeping vocal harmony, Howard replicated the environment of playing live in an intimate setting by bringing friends and family into the studio to observe the recording process. The entire album took only two days to record, many of the songs coming together in only one take.

Impatiens was really about establishing a baseline. These are what the songs sound like without other people involved. There are so many people I’ve played with around Denver, and I have individual songs that’ve been played with three different groups, and they each sound different every time. That’s what was fun about this record: it has that living room experience,” he said.

Michael Howard at Macy Studios.

Michael Howard at Macy Studios.

As a songwriter, Howard’s range of expression is thematically rousing. His narrative, colorful, and folk-informed lyrics meet his percussive, bluesy guitar playing in a manner that’ll latch onto your own stories with every croon.

“Fable” is a song Howard began writing when he lived on a hippie commune in his early 20s. The song stings of early ‘20s wanderlust and dreamlike splendor as it describes a dream he had at the time of his unborn child. Howard came across the song recently, discovering that after some fine tuning, it’d be a good fit with the sentimental mythos of Impatiens.

On the other end of the coin, “I Need Another Lover,” a swooning love song with an undercurrent of dread, was written much more recently. However, the final product took on an unexpected form.

"When I wrote 'I Need Another,' I was cracking up; it’s just a setup for a joke each time the refrain hits. It’s set up like, ‘Here’s another terrible situation.’ But when I actually had it recorded and listen[ed] to it afterwards, I realized that it’s a super depressing song,” he said.

The album’s most soaring moment is the title track “Impatiens,” a heartening love song that shows off Howard’s poetic tongue. Boasting flowery, transcendental quips like, “Time’s a patient teacher/Makes me wait to pay the cost/While I draw the map that gets me lost,” with simple, forthright declarations such as, “Cause it’s too late, I love you/Good luck,” the song is a colorful display of a songwriter that’s able to reside on multiple levels at once.

“The awkward thing about the song ‘Impatiens’ was that three or four people thought it was about them. When I’m writing a song, I don’t change names or circumstances. If you’re unlucky enough to know me personally, it’s only a matter of time,” he said, laughing.

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This sense of humor and lack of self-seriousness is part of what makes Howard- and his music- so charming. Whether he’s joking about his album title, or how a song deceived him by the time he’d finished writing it, he doesn’t let himself get lost in the emotional severity of being a songwriter. It isn’t to say that he doesn’t take his craft seriously- he’s already completed an album’s worth of new material since Impatiens released- but he keeps a relaxed grin on his face through it all, constantly acknowledging how appreciative he is to be able to do what he loves.

“The feeling I get after playing a solo set is one of total peace. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That feeling? It’s [like being] on top of the world,” he said.

When asked about how he feels playing by himself as opposed to with a band, Howard speaks about the pursuit of being a singer/songwriter with equally high regard for its challenges as well as its virtues.

“I love doing solo stuff because it’s the hardest. Playing in front of hundreds of people with a group doesn’t have that feeling; it’s just fun. When you’re playing alone, presenting material where you’re not lying or changing names- it’s just nakedness,” he said.

In many ways, its as if Howard is often only playing to an audience of one person: himself. He isn’t preoccupied with self-promotion, technology, and other variables that can cloud the consciousness of an artist in the modern age.

“To go from doing all of that booking, promotion, and social media to not going on Facebook ever- I’m a much happier person now. I’ve had periods of time where I’ve been tied up in it all, but overall, I just want to show up, have a good time playing, and meet other people in person. The great thing about social media being such a big thing right now is that it rarifies the actual in-person, face-to-face experience,” he said.

Michael Howard is bringing things back to the music and the music alone, and that’ll prove to go further than any amount of likes or shares.  

Keep up with Michael here.

-Brody

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

MOXIE Luxe Aims To Blur The Line Of Performer And Observer With Immersive Denver Parties

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Immersive parties are all the rage in other major entertainment markets, but the experience has only recently hit Denver thanks to the brand and event company MOXIE Luxe.

What does an immersive party by MOXIE Luxe look like?

We’re glad you asked:

After buying your tickets, which range from $75-$155 depending on the level of VIP service and bottle poppin’ you plan to do, you receive a mysterious email. Though it’s not announced where the party will take place yet, you will get a notification the day before the show from a MOXIE Luxe concierge telling you where to go. The location could be a warehouse, a nightclub, or even a water tower. Regardless, you’re instructed to dress to the nines.

You don't have to go to this level, but the performers will.

You don't have to go to this level, but the performers will.

It’s the day of the party now and you’ve Ubered your way to the red carpet where you check in. It’s there you’re greeted by models in elaborate costumes and a photo booth staged to look like a magazine cover with props and attractive people to pose with. You’re given a light that resembles a paper lantern on a stick and you’ll need it- the house lights have been dimmed and there are no table lights in the venue, keeping the element of secrecy alive.

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As you make your way to the main floor of the party, your lantern shines upon muscular male acrobats hanging in hoops from the ceiling, women in lingerie cascading around the dance floor on stilts, and various masked people feeding patrons cotton candy by hand.

Before you know it, a masked woman slithers up to you and hands you a card.

“Find the painter!” it beckons. And so you must.

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As you move about the venue, it’s now your job to ask various performers that you come across if they happen to be this painting character you’re questing for. Some will point to another masked individual and some will shake their heads. Eventually, you do find the painter, a man in a Phantom of the Opera mask who requests you actually paint with him on a sketch of a castle.

You can’t paint. But you throw some brush strokes down for fun (that Bob Ross Netflix binge was sooo worth it) and soon you’re approached by another character. This one wants to dance.

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As you’re twirled to the dance floor by the shirtless, masked man, you try to ask questions but he doesn’t speak. Is he part of the show? Are you supposed to quest somewhere else now? You no longer have your lantern in hand, but the dance floor is illuminated by the blue glow of the DJ booth. You move to the beat. 

Just go with it.

After a few songs, you're passed off to a slinking woman in an animal mask who carefully places some rhinestone appliques on your face and blows you a kiss.

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Backing up into the VIP area, you’re surrounded by models dressed in interactive clothing, like a dress made of cups that patrons can drink from. Beyond her, there is someone painting faces while body contortionists move into strange shapes and observers sip champagne. High above, aerialists dangle and coo. 

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This is really just the start of your night, as MOXIE Luxe events hold a number of surprises for guests every hour. Their entire focus is to blur the boundary between performer and observer, and of course, to show you a great time.

Says creator and founder Kara Dupree, “MOXIE Luxe was created to offer experiences where people can let go of the familiar and the ho-hum. Whether they want to be fully involved or just sit back and take it all in, this is an entirely new way to experience an event.”  

If this sounds like your kind of Saturday night jam, you’re in luck! MOXIE Luxe’s next immersive party is this weekend, January 20th, and the theme is The Dark Fairytale: An Akureyri Icelandic Experience. There are still a few tickets left, which you can snatch here.

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Still want a clearer picture as to what you might experience at one of MOXIE’s immersive events? Check out their recently released promo video for a taste below:

Keep up with MOXIE Luxe on Facebook.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Premiere: Kyle Emerson Invites You Into His Living Room In New Video For "Wise Blood"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

2017 was arguably a breakout year for Denver’s Kyle Emerson. The former Plum member released an EP, Worth It, in May of last year, which he followed up just a few months later with Dorothy Alice, his debut full-length album via Guilty Pleasure Records. OpenAir CPR called Worth It one of the best records of the year, and both Denver Post’s The Know and Marquee Magazine listed Dorothy Alice as one of the top Colorado albums of 2017.

Kyle Emerson.

Kyle Emerson.

Though Emerson’s solo sound careens with components of his former life as a psych-rocker in Plum, there are more traces of jazz and folk in his latest work. He’s combined drippy guitars with synth sounds, a slide guitar with Beatles-esque pop harmonies, and soft, Elliott Smith-like vocals with upbeat and catchy melodies. These elements paired with the slacker-rock revival vibes of someone like Kurt Vile and the production work of Sunboy’s Justin Renaud have formed much of what you’ll hear on Dorothy Alice, and more specifically on Emerson’s single “Wise Blood.”

Today, Emerson has released a video for “Wise Blood,” which you can check out in our exclusive premiere below. It showcases Emerson and his bandmates (who are somewhat of their own Colorado supergroup, with members from Paper Bird, Shady Elders, Bluebook, and Sunboy) in a living room performance interspersed with scenes of the band cruising around Denver and generally hanging out. The video has a vintage film look in certain parts and meanders with the song’s melody from scene to scene.

Kyle Emerson has arguably made more noise in the Denver music scene in mere months than most, and is a Colorado artist you should be following if you weren’t already. Make sure to give Dorothy Alice a listen here and “Wise Blood” a view above.

What will 2018 hold for Emerson and his supergroup? We’re stoked to find out.

Keep up with Kyle Emerson here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Daybreaker Is Officially The Best Way To Wake Up

By: Hannah Oreskovich

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

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

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

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

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

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Review: Eric Dorr's 'Dream Routine' EP Showcases His Ability To Slip Into Many Corners Of Indie

By: Julia Talen

Boulder resident and eclectic musician Eric Dorr has recently released his debut EP, Dream Routine. Dorr moved to Boulder five years ago with his close friend and collaborator Sawyer Bernath after studying music at Temple University in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bernath produced Dorr's polished EP and much of it was recorded in apartments throughout the city of Boulder.

Eric Dorr.

Eric Dorr.

Dorr began playing music in high school band, the trumpet specifically, and that early inspiration definitely weaves into his EP with horns cropping up in many of the tracks. The tracks are quite surreal as the EP's title insinuates; the lyrics often connote dreams and consciousness as the tunes incorporate all sorts of sound, from keys, to overlays of whispers, echoing vocals, hazy instrumentals, horns, and even chimes. Many of the tracks reminded me of Dr. Dog; each song layers and builds while listeners can feel the emotion behind Dorr's vocals. Additionally, the EP's title works, because while every song reflects Dorr's musical interests and abilities experimenting with different sounds and various contrasts, the tracks have a similar formula or structure, like a routine. “Dream Routine” showcases Dorr's seamless ability to slip into and explore assorted sub-genres of indie rock.

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The EP begins with "Kerosene." Sturdy guitars and ample percussion thicken the introduction, which is followed by a beat of silence. Then Dorr's vocals come in, reminiscent of Ben Gibbard's, accompanied by harmonies and instrumentals which steadily progress as the tune unfolds. The end of the song propels us into the album with a culminating build that crescendos as Dorr sings "headed off into an endless dream."

As you move through the EP, you get a taste of Dorr's musical curiosities and wanderlust. The second track, "Around Again," shifts gears, radiating poppy vibes, as it opens with sugary "ooo's" and "ahhh's" that thread throughout the tune. The song builds, similarly to "Kerosene" and the forthcoming tracks, ending distinctively with a couple of verses from the tune sung in a more rustic, faded way, as if we are listening through a wall. It almost feels as though we are crossing time, getting a look into what the first pass of the tune sounded like before it went "around and around" through edits as Dorr added to it.  

Listen to Dream Routine:

"Leaves," the fourth track on the record, also emphasizes Dorr's ability to explore a more pop-indie-rock genre. This catchy, quick tune highlights the whimsical, reverberating keyboard as swift drum beats keep the track moving forward. Dorr's vocals, accompanied by the keys, reminded me of Keane. The lyrics compliment the contemplative themes laced throughout the EP with poetic verses like, "So familiar/Just like a dream… Countin' all the leaves/in the land of a thousand trees/reachin' up your sleeve/for all that use to be." "Leaves" uses lyrics and musical experimentation to navigate themes of dreams and memory as sounds swell and drift away over and over.

Later we hear "The Loss," possibly the tune that ties all of Dorr's musical directions together. The track starts out swaying slowly and moves forward into a catchy refrain echoing the introspective theme of the tune. The backup vocals and Dorr croon, "It won't let go, let go, let go/It won't let go of me/I can't let go/It won't let go of me." Captivating, experimental, and slightly electronic keys interpose between the refrain and verses, and launch forth after the second verse. Everything begins to evolve and grow as the lyrics "a quarter short of a diamond hand" repeat. This song reminded me of something that could be on Dr. Dog's album Fate. "The Loss," surveys a plethora of sounds and instruments within the span of five minutes, from echoing vocals, interesting drums and cymbals, and groovy keys. Though this tune starts out slow, momentum surges as Dorr layers on different resonances that you might not expect to blend, but they do, making the track super stimulating and perhaps my favorite of all.

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Dorr has laid it all out on his short EP. He showcases his ability to slip into the many corners of indie music, and he is not afraid to take on diverse sounds, instruments, and styles. Dorr said in a recent interview regarding his EP that he, "wants to have a few different styles to catch someone’s ear. [My] goal for the next project will definitely be to see how this next couple of months go, how the EP is received… and push in a more specific direction." Though "Dream Routine" navigates all sorts of musical sounds and directions, the consistent builds and structure of each track, along with the introspective thematic content tie the tunes together. See for yourself as Dorr continues to tour and perform tracks from this EP. His next show is Saturday, December 16th at Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters in Arvada.

Keep up with Eric Dorr here.

-Julia

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

Colorado Bluegrass Outfit Thunder And Rain To Debut New Record At The Buffalo Rose (11/11)

By: Trevor Ryan

Bluegrass and folk hitmakers Thunder and Rain just dropped their new record Start Believing, and they’re rocking The Buffalo Rose tomorrow night with jazzy folk slingers Masontown. Formed after a summer of the busking life in Seattle in 2011, mandolinist Peter Weber, and vocalist Erin Peet-Lukes would soon become Colorado’s Thunder and Rain, releasing their debut album Hollar Out, and establishing themselves successfully among the Colorado bluegrass scene.

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Start Believing marks a first for Thunder and Rain, as it’s their debut full-length record as a collective band. The title track, “Start Believing,” is a powerfully emotional track with smooth open-sounding instrumentals of piercing fiddle riffs and awe-inspiring finger picking. These sounds are accompanied by the lyrical wit and incredibly melodic vocals of Peet-Lukes, who proclaims catchy one liners like, “Soul is the coal that keeps us burnin’.”

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Make sure to catch this bluegrass outfit tomorrow, November 11th at The Buffalo Rose with Masontown. Tickets can be found right here.

-Trevor

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

Colorado Halloween 2017: Your Guide To All The Best Halloween Shows Happening This Month

By: Mirna Tufekcic

‘Tis the season of witches and warlocks, zombies and monsters, and some kick-ass parties honoring All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already started gearing up for the most fun weekend of the year- the one that celebrates the weird with music, costumes, and more music. Colorado music lovers, we’re here to tear you apart with choices of all the celebrations taking place around the state for this year’s Halloween weekend.

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

Thursday 10/26: The Boulder Theater presents the unmistakeable: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Colorado’s Elusive Ingredient- Denver’s Rocky Horror Shadowcast will perform along with the film. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a virgin to this interactive movie and theatre performance, it’s sure to make a great start to a funky weekend. The key word for this event is interactive.  Expect to touch or be touched.  

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Halloween weekend at The Boulder Theater will host a two-night “Rave from the Grave” party with Papadosio and friends. Papadosio plans to pay tribute to some of the 90s and early 2000s electronic artists that influenced their path as a band. To pop the cherry of this event, Boulder’s own Dynohunter will take guests on a journey through deep, grounding house tunes, just to lift you up through organic electro peaks and valleys you can rave about all over the dance floor. Saturday night, the party will start with Bass Physics, a one man show put together by Denver’s esteemed Arja Adair guaranteed to provide positive tunes while mixing up acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Two-day passes are already sold out for this weekend, but click here to buy a one day ticket before they’re all gone. This event is likely to sell out soon.

Sunday 10/29: The Fox Theatre is hosting Sinful Sunday Halloween Party with Midnight North and All Chiefs. This ought to be an upbeat, dancey, bodies-grinding-all-night kind of show as Midnight North brings their soul, country, rock’n’roll, and All Chiefs their indie beeps, boops, and digital sprinkles to make any body groove. The show is free to industry folks; if you’re not one of those get your hands on some tickets here.

Tuesday 10/31: Snakehips make their return to Fox Theatre for Halloween, where we expect to see lots of fun costumes groovin' to their bass drops. Tickets here.

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

Saturday 10/07: The Mile High City has big things on the agenda throughout October in almost every music venue. The spirit of the season starts with thousands of living dead wannabes at Denver’s Zombie Crawl, and the city will no doubt be bustling with dark spirits from then through the end of October.

Thursday 10/19: Marilyn Manson will bring his tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, as long as he’s healed up from his recent stage injury. While not a Halloween weekend event, it’s close enough, especially since he’s known for having the most disturbing Instagram account around. Enjoy. UPDATE: This show is rescheduled for 01/20/18 - details here

Friday 10/20: The Gasoline Lollipops are bringing you one scary hoedown at Denver's Lost Lake tonight. Hosted by 105.5 The Colorado Sound, Grayson County Burn Band and Whipperpool will join Colorado's favorite alt-country outfit on good 'ol Colfax for an eerie time. 

Friday 10/27: Lost Lake Lounge is throwing their Terrified Halloween party with Modern Suspects, a “popternative trio,” Optycnerd, an electo-indie-pop beats duo that bring the heat to the dance floor, and Vynyl, an electronic hip-hop pop duo. This one’s set for a full house of Denver-based musicians and beat-makers bound to terrify you into dancing the night away.

Friday 10/27: Syntax Physic Opera will host an early event starting at 7PM called Hell Toupee, A Lounge Night in Hell, which is a comedy and variety show. Then starting at 9PM, you can check out Lillian’s album release party.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: The Oriental Theater will have a weekend packed full of halloween celebrations. Friday night is the Third Annual Monster Ball with Alice in Chains and KISS tribute bands. Need I say more? Saturday night is reserved for a costume contest event called MORTIFIED, an international storytelling event where adults share their most embarrassing and hilarious childhood artifacts in front of total strangers. Dare I say terrifying?

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

Saturday 10/28: Bar Standard/Milk Bar will host a Colorado HELLoween Ball with TR/ST. It's the biggest event of the year from promoters Ritual Noize. TR/ST is considered a popular goth/industrial/dark electronic artist and HELLoween is a party for just such fans, so it should be a hell of a time if you’re into that scene. According to Ritual Noize, “HELLoween has always been about mixing club culture, the Halloween tradition and live musical performances with a horror theme attached.” This year the decor will be Psycho-themed; hurray for Hitchcock fans!

Saturday 10/28: Halloween Hootenanny at The Bluebird Theater will feature Denver DJ Wesley Wayne and a costume competition that can score you year passes to some of Denver’s most beloved venues. Click on the Hootenanny link above for details and if you plan to attend, you’d better come in your best costume yet.

Saturday 10/28: Gothic Theatre is throwing Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery party with Deer Tick and special guest Chris Crofton, who will open up the event with, hopefully, a very funny set before things get groovy and ghosts begin to apparate. Deer Tick hails from Providence, Rhode Island with a rebellious take on alternative, folk, rock’n’roll, and country vibes.

Saturday 10/28: Larimer Lounge is hosting their Halloween Edition of Dance Yourself Clean with DJs inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Blood Orange, and more. Shake off the sugar with this one.

Estes Park

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Saturday 10/21: The Shining Ball at the Concert Hall of the famous Stanley Hotel will have yet another yearly Halloween staple with Denver’s beloved Gasoline Lollipops. We imagine the band will truly bring the spirit of Halloween to life, with growls from frontman Clay Rose and howls from the audience over the band’s poignant lyrics and dark, stompy tunes.

Saturday 10/28: The legendary Masquerade Ball at the Stanley Hotel will conclude the Halloween events at the haunted property with live music by Jonny Mogambo backed by a full band.

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday 10/13: Mishawaka Amphitheatre will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening all its own with a troupe of actors, games, and trivia. There will also be a costume contest and drink specials. Practice your time warp now.

Friday 10/27: Hodi’s Half Note is getting metal with Skinned, A Flood Foretold, Inficier, and Voracious Souls. Headbang until witching hour.

Greeley

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Friday 10/27: Sweaty soul outfit The Burroughs are headlining Moxi Theatre’s 4th Annual Halloween Extravanganza, and chill wave beach band Slow Caves are opening. No word on if the bands are dressing up yet, but fingers crossed.

Sunday 10/29: The Moxi is also throwing a purely metal Halloween show this weekend with Bash, Skinned, Last Word, Infinited Conscious, and Cyber Zodiac. Go get weird.

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

Saturday 10/28: If it’s in your interest to get away from all the debauchery and chaos of city life during Halloween, then the quaint town of James has something for you. They are hosting The Alcapones at the good ‘ol Merc. A ska/reggae band with a mountain flare, The Alcapones will definitely bring the house down and set this mountain roof on fire.    

And finally, for those of you wanting to see and hear live music without all of the Halloween hype, here’s what’s good:

Friday 10/27: Tonight at the Hi-Dive in Denver is Jocko Homo, an event to pay tribute to 90s and 2000s alternative rock bands like Incubus, Weezer, and Modest Mouse, with cover bands honoring all three respectively. Sidenote: Actual Incubus and Weezer play Red Rocks this month.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Denver’s The Ogden Theatre will host two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters this weekend. Party down.

Saturday 10/28: Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be abuzz with Russ, an American hip-hop singer/songwriter, recording artist, and producer.

Tuesday 10/31: Dream pop four-piece Alvvays  are ringing in actual Halloween night at Denver's Bluebird Theater with Jay Som.

Tuesday 10/31: Denver's own Itchy-O play Summit Music Hall on Halloween, which is fitting for this avant-garde and experimental marching band. The show is sponsored by Meow Wolf, so expect to get weird. 

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

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

Have something to add to this list? Let us know here.

Review: Spiral Cell's New Record Will Have You Questioning A.I. VS Human

By: Norman Hittle

If you can imagine the sounds of progressive/experimental rock set in a sort of sci-fi dystopian storyline and added the ambient sonic elements of a video game, you might just be able to begin to grasp what Spiral Cell is all about. Though I'd also recommend you listen to it, you know, because words can only describe music so much.

Check out Spiral Cell's The Maze In The Tree Rings:

Scott Uhl is the harbinger of the multi-faceted, multi-media, and multi-conceptual Spiral Cell project. And he's beginning to accomplish what a great many people in the music industry are predicting for the future: a fully integrated and multi-level experience combining music, art, storytelling, and gaming. What's more is his drive to put on a great live show with all of this- including synchronized lighting, backing tracks, and full stage decor.

Spiral Cell. Photo Credit: Underexposed

Spiral Cell. Photo Credit: Underexposed

Delving in to Spiral Cell's latest record, The Maze In The Tree Rings, I'm reminded of the juggernauts in the progressive/experimental movement and the nods made to legendary acts like Pink Floyd as well as more contemporary acts like The Dear Hunter and the Devin Townsend Project when I listen to Spiral Cell.

Scott told BolderBeat: “My goal as I was putting this together was to make something that viewers would at least pay attention to. Whether they like it or not, that’s not the point- as long as they pay attention. I’m a live performer, and I always love performing live. The studio recordings of it are necessary, but my main focus is putting on an intriguing live show. Since the first show, I said my goal was to get people to either say, 'That was f*cking amazing!’ or ‘What the f*ck was that?!’ If I get one of those, I’m happy!”

Photo Credit: Underexposed

Photo Credit: Underexposed

Though Scott claims there’s an established storyline to the project, he’s not quite ready to tell all of it. But he encourages us to listen and see what it means to you as the listener.

“Prologue” begins accapella, among haunting piano and guitar mixed with static radio transmissions. “(Re)start” encourages the sci-fi video game theme with an interlude between an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the presumed protagonist user, bleeding into “Divergence / Discovery” with its melancholy guitar notes echoing into a progressive and industrial climax. “Immersion” gallops in on incessant strumming before easing into a washed out dream state, while “Wake / Walk” is a chill and upbeat instrumental track that could easily find it’s way into the ending credits of a movie. “Ellipsis” is another sort of interlude that seems to convey the sense that the protagonist may not survive whatever it is the A.I. is testing them on. “Taste” continues the A.I. dialogue while bleeding into an enigmatic bossa nova rock sound, while “Cellophane Blindfold” comes together with a film noir lounge sound through the dialogue of what sounds like a detective on a voice memo recorder.

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“Asymptote” is a haunting piano laden countdown to what seems like some sort of driver simulation that flows into “Spiral”, which is another user versus A.I. type of interlude. “Consonance” is a pensive, piano driven arpeggiation that progresses into full industrial electrorock with the A.I. giving some sort of psionic-test with riddles. “Free Flow” formulates under a chill indie electropop flag, along with string instrumentals and female vocals, while “Ocean” creates a longing and beckoning vibe in a calming alt blues meets electopop vibe. “Untitled” carries its namesake in a mysterious assortment of samples over a bed of echoing pianos, and finally “The Prism” concludes the complex tale of this record with dreamy acoustic guitar and autotuned male vocals.

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Check out Spiral Cell September 29th at Sunshine Studios Live in Colorado Springs supporting One Eyed Doll and keep up with Spiral Cell on Facebook.

-Norman

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