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

By: Julia Talen

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

ZEMBU.

ZEMBU.

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

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

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

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

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

-Julia

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

From Check-In to Check-Out, Hotel Boulderado Provides Luxury Amenities, Historic Charm & Amazing Entertainment

By: Hannah Oreskovich

From check-in to check-out, Hotel Boulderado has all the bases covered for an amazing stay: beautiful rooms built for comfort and charm, a formal and fresh dining experience at Spruce Farm & Fish, poppin’ energy at The Corner Bar, and a nightlife scene of curated cocktails, boot-stomping shows, and skeeball at License No. 1.

Hotel Boulderado.

Hotel Boulderado.

Opened on New Year’s Eve 1908, Hotel Boulderado stands as the first luxury hotel built in Boulder, Colorado. Now a City of Boulder landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the five-story brick building was originally designed by local architects William Redding & Son. Featuring a stunning stained glass lobby ceiling, rich woodwork on every floor, and both modern and classic furniture pieces throughout the property, there’s no doubt the Hotel Boulderado has maintained its luxurious aesthetic over the years.

The author in Hotel Boulderado’s lobby.

The author in Hotel Boulderado’s lobby.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to stay in the hotel’s Historic King Suite, which features Victorian-era decor, a spacious sitting area with amenities like fresh spring water, and plush Boca bathrobes perfect for winding down your day. The floral wallpaper, iron headboard, and soft colors of the room add to the suite’s beautiful decor details while the room’s vintage desk area allowed me to get some much needed work done before exploring the rest of my stay.

The floral victorian-era decor of the Historic King Suite’s sitting room.

The floral victorian-era decor of the Historic King Suite’s sitting room.

Beyond their stellar room accommodations, Hotel Boulderado houses three incredible businesses under their one roof: Spruce Farm & Fish, The Corner Bar, and speakeasy License No. 1. After checking in and touring the property, I stopped by Spruce to make a reservation for dinner. There wasn’t an empty seat in the farm-to-table restaurant. With a little time before my reservation, I headed to The Corner Bar’s patio for a pre-dinner drink. Located just off of Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street Mall, the bar’s patio area allowed for ample people-watching. Inside, several patrons watched the Denver Nuggets game on television; others were crowded at tables sampling the spot’s small plates, burgers, and beers. A mix of hotel guests and locals, The Corner Bar served as an excellent start to my evening.

Spruce Farm & Fish let me know my table was ready about 30 minutes in to my Corner Bar stop, so I finished my Cabernet and headed to dinner. Though the Corner Bar shares some of the more casual eats from Spruce, Spruce offers an extensive seasonal menu with items you can’t find anywhere else. I sampled the Blue Crab Cakes appetizer (delightful and paired with citrus), the Sweet Pea & Mint Linguini (phenomenally fresh with a soft poached egg and delectable English peas), and the Crème Brûlée (a tasty rich custard with fresh berries and a perfectly caramelized top). The wait staff was exceptionally friendly and willing to talk through recommendations while also providing an opulent dining experience.

After dinner, I wandered downstairs to the hotel’s nightlife joint: License No. 1. There is an entrance from the hotel lobby, so guests never have to leave the property. Alternatively, the spot also has an entrance on 13th Street, a run which features several other Boulder bars. Though License No. 1 is perfectly located for a night of bar hopping Boulder’s downtown, there is so much to do inside of its beautiful brick walls that I never left. Along with its more formal seating rooms, the speakeasy also features a game area replete with a pool table, darts, skee ball, and a photo booth. Partnered with great live music in the venue’s listening room, I was constantly entertained by everything there was to do at License No. 1.

Banshee Tree.

Banshee Tree.

Known as the place where Boulder’s first liquor license was issued, License No. 1 features live music every Thursday-Saturday. Saturdays typically showcase Boulder’s Banshee Tree, a talented four-piece who blur the lines between funk, blues, and gypsy jazz. Comprised of Thom LaFond (vocals, guitar, piano), Jason Bertone (upright bass, shouting), Nick Carter (violin, fiddle, hollering), and Michelle Pietrafitta (vocals, drums), Banshee Tree’s skillful instrumentals and strong rhythm section had an entire room of 50+ people boogieing from wall to wall during my visit. It proved impossible to make my way to the front for photos, so I danced near the back before eventually finding a seat to sip one of the bar’s specialty cocktails, the Boulder Mule. Served in a copper mug, the delightfully refreshing drink is a combination of vodka, St. George pear liqueur, house ginger cordial, and vanilla ginger syrup perfect for summer. License No. 1 has an entire book of custom cocktails, some spirit-heavy; others floral focused or sweet. Much like everywhere else I’d been at Hotel Boulderado, the staff were friendly and enjoyed talking about the menu’s different drink options.

As Banshee Tree continued on, the crowd only grew larger. Formed in upstate New York, Banshee Tree have been living and playing across the Front Range now for years. They’ve played a number of Colorado music festivals, so catching them in the intimate environment that is License No. 1 is a serious treat! The band call themselves a “diverse blend of dance and improvisational styles,” making them easy to groove to or just interesting to hear if you aren’t the dancing type. Banshee Tree’s tunes feature long instrumental stretches, giving patrons ample time to stomp around. Each member of the band is equally skilled at their instrument(s), so songs featured guitar, standup bass, and fiddle solos while Pietrafitta kept up the dancey drum backbone of the tracks. The band broke their night up into two long sets, so during their intermission I had time to explore the venue’s gaming area and snap some shots in the License No. 1 photo booth. Banshee Tree had patrons bouncing well past the midnight hour and since the crew is jetting on tour soon, so I highly recommend catching a show near you this spring!

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

As the night came to an end, I wandered back to my room for a sweet surprise. The Boulderado offers a turn-down service in the evenings, complete with a gift of chocolate truffles from local chocolatier Lift Chocolate. Needless to say, I capped my night with the Grand Marnier and Raspberry truffle selection before drifting off to a very comfortable rest.

No matter the vibe you’re looking for in your next Boulder stay, Hotel Boulderado has something for everyone with an unparalleled excellence in dining, nightlife, and accomodations. Whether you’re booking for business, a wedding, or for pleasure, their staff aim for every guest to have a personalized and elegantly hospitable stay from start to finish. Their lavish amenities are the perfect perk, and historically, there is nothing else like Hotel Boulderado in town.

Hotel Boulderado is offering two special experiences with your stay this spring: the Downtown Boulder Shopping package and the romantic Colorado Clear Skies Stargazing package. To book the Historic King Suite I stayed in, or to see the hotel’s other suites, visit this link. Learn more about Hotel Boulderado here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists or venues featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. This feature is partially syndicated and some pieces originally appeared as part of a series on blondontherun.com.

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

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

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

LiteLvl. Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

LiteLvl. Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

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

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

Keep up with LiteLvL here.

Why You Can't Miss Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival 2019

By: Cy Fontenot

Every year festival-goers and music lovers of all types make their way to the historic mountain town of Telluride to experience the annual tradition of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Surrounded on three sides by the rugged San Juan Mountains at 8750 feet in elevation, this festival seems to be the spawn of everything great about the Colorado Bluegrass scene.

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This year’s lineup includes Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck, and of course, the King of Telluride, Sam Bush, along with many more phenomenal acts! It’s the festival’s 46th annual year running, and outside of the main stages, keep an eye out for the weekend’s late night shows where you might just catch the next big bluegrass rising star.

Staying the whole weekend to catch every show possible? Camping in Telluride is nothing short of breathtaking. There are several campgrounds within walking or shuttle distance of the festival so get your tent pass here.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival! Tickets and all other info can be found here!

-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.

I Prevail Bringing 'Trauma' on Tour This Spring & Summer, Including a Red Rocks Amphitheatre Set

By: Nathan Sheppard

I Prevail recently released their newest album Trauma, which is the band's first album in three years. This highly anticipated record offers fans a look at what their genre has to offer in the future, while also giving us the classic I Prevail that we fans have come to love.

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The first track of the album is “Bow Down,” and was the first single released. This track gives us everything that we know the band is great at: the back and forth between Brian Burkheiser’s clean, smooth vocals and Eric Vanlerberghe’s harsher tones, a melodic chorus, and heavy breakdowns. This song is a clear indication that I Prevail still know how to make the jams they’re known for. They also produced one of their heaviest songs to date on this record with “Gasoline,” a tune that showcases Eric’s screaming abilities.

In “Paranoid,” we get a very different track which shows us a possible direction the band could evolve into. They experiment with different genres by incorporating bits of electronic, hip-hop, and alternative elements into this song. This is seen heavily throughout Trauma and is on par with the trend in rock music today to try and appeal to a wider variety of fans. While I Prevail are trying to expand their musicianship, they still stay true to their roots by not overwhelming you with the electronics; you can still tell there are heavy instrumentals in each track.

I Prevail gained a major following with some of their softer rock ballads like “Alone” and “My Heart I Surrender,” and with Trauma we get two of new awesome ballads. The first is “Every Time You Leave” featuring Delaney Jane and the second is the last track on the album “I Don’t Belong Here.” Both of these songs are definitely tunes that you will be turning the volume up to and singing along.

Overall Trauma takes us to an updated version of I Prevail. The album is very well produced and has a much cleaner sound to it than previous ones. While a good chunk of the rock scene is going towards a more mainstream pop style, I Prevail is able to add elements of that without losing who they are as a band. They experiment with newer sounds in a way that is easier to digest compared to changing their sound all together. Trauma is an album you want to listen to all the way through, whether you’re an old fan or new.

I Prevail will being taking their brand new album on tour this spring/summer with Issues and Justin Stone. Their tour starts at the end of April and hits Colorado when the band will make their way to Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 13th for KBPI’s annual birthday bash. Tickets and dates can be found 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.

Modern Suspects Release New Music Video for "Desufnoc"

By: Julia Talen

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

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

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

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

Modern Suspects.

Modern Suspects.

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

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

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

Keep up with Modern Suspects here.

-Julia

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

More Than 20 Years Later, The Acid Mothers Temple Continues to Carry On Their Free-Spirited Way of Life

By: Adam Cabrera

Though perhaps far past their prime, The Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. continues to carry on their free-spirited way of life pertinent to the beatnik soul collective that the group helped found over two decades ago.

The Japanese psychedelic/noise band, who have played a significant role in the psych revival of the past two decades, performed at the Larimer Lounge on Monday night. Though I had the feeling that the band may have lost some of its muster since their heyday in the ‘90s, their bohemian personality and genuine passion for live performance made for a unique show experience.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan opened for the headlining act, a five-piece psych/metal band whose diabolic guitar meddling, dark organ sounds, and powerful vocals effortlessly captured the attention of the crowd and got them moving. Faces painted and wearing decorative costumes which resembled traditional Japanese attire, their performance had a theatrical and often menacing tone as if the music was tapping into some ancient oriental mysticism. But the strange and experimental attitude of the band was only the tip of the iceberg compared to the following act.

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The Acid Mothers group is just a small part of the larger collective led by founding band member Kawabata Makoto. “A group of social dropouts of every description – musicians, dancers, artists, farmers, channellers, ex-yakuza, mermaid researchers and professional vagrants” as the band describes it. So, as the group began to gather themselves onstage to set up their equipment, it was clear each member jived with the nonconformist mantra of the collective.

Kawabata, with a head of long unkempt hair and casually touting a pair of paisley bell bottoms, oddly unpacked his gear out of a grocery basket showing perhaps how he never felt the need to buy cases for his equipment. Likewise, the band’s vocalist, Mitsuko Tabata adorned themselves with a purple cape and orange wig while Higashi Hiroshi played synthesizer; not touching a single key throughout his performance. It seemed he much preferred the alien-like whirring of the machines pitch generator.

Drummer Satoshima Nani humorously came dressed in runners shorts and a loose workout shirt. During the show he pounded relentlessly behind the kit; so much so that he broke his sticks halfway through the set and by the end of the night, he was drenched head to toe in sweat, which explained the runner’s getup.

Together the band was a curious group of misfits who in every action displayed just what the AMT collectives motto states, “Do Whatever You Want, Don’t Do Whatever You Don’t Want!” In their largely improvised set they similarly denied any of the usual trappings of traditional rock performances. And in winding psychedelic jams, they would regularly devolve into ear-splitting noise freakouts or relax comfortably into tranquil sonic meditations.

However, despite the youthful energy of the music at certain points during the evening, the oldest members of the group did show their age. Kawabata often would lean against the wall providing relief from standing for so long. And on one occasion, amid Higashi’s long white hair, you could see him wince as he rubbed his sore back. They may have been long past their prime, but their performance surely was one of the most energizing I’ve seen in recent months.

Before the show, I spotted Kawabata hard at work on his computer, most likely plugging away at the multiple AMT projects he is apart of, and as soon as the show ended the band ran to the front of the club to run their merch table. It’s plain to see that nearly 24 years after their start in 1995, they remain true to their carefree and untroubled beginnings with the AMT soul collective as the band continues to tour the U.S. independently. Over the next few months, be sure to catch them live as they make their way across the country as part of their 2019 North American tour.

Keep up with The Acid Mothers Temple here.

-Adam

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

FreeMusicForFreePeople Is Throwing an Immersive Event at Denver's Mercury Cafe This Weekend

This Saturday April 13th at Denver’s Mercury Cafe is the FreeMusicForFreePeople (FM4FP) Showcase “Live from the Multi-Verse,” an interactive multi-art experience to celebrate community. FM4FP is a community and media organization that has been serving the Denver area since 2013 who formerly held a residency at Gypsy House Cafe. This year’s event is thrilled to have a home at Mercury.

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With an emphasis on synesthesia, the FM4FP Showcase will focus on an immersive theatrical storyline to engage and entertain the audience with music, circus art, dance, visual art and poetry.   The event is in partnership with Youth on Record’s FEMpowered program and participants have been offered an event internship opportunity at the showcase so they can develop their performance and event planning skills.

Starting at 7PM, the night will feature performances by Lady Gang, Reed Fox, Definitely Maybe, Twin Flame Medicine, Random Temple, Smiley Gatmouth, Sunflower duBois, Circus Performers (Dani Rose and Katie Nadal), Abby Moon & Crescent Dance Project, Nimbus, Bun Bun and FEMpowered Interns. MO SPKX, “2017 Westword MasterMind” and “2018 Westword Best Solo Rapper” will emcee the evening.

Find more information on FM4FP and their mission click here; learn more about Saturday’s event at this link.  

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

LA's Balto Making Two Stops in Colorado This Week

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Balto is a brave Americana-rock band hailing from the City of Angels who will grace us with their presence right here in our own Denver, Colorado this week. They are playing in Loveland at 5030 Local this Friday, April 12th, and then coming to Denver on Saturday, April 13th to play at the Black Buzzard. Oskar Blues’ Denver bar is the perfect setting for this band, and for you to go enjoy local brews while lubricating your ears with the boozy, swaggering style of American music rooted at the intersection of Motown, Big Star, Plastic Ono Band-era Lennon, and Jackson Browne. When you’re listening to Balto’s music, it paints an open-road landscape of nostalgia. Basically, they make you feel like a character from one of Jack Kerouac's novels.  

Balto.

Balto.

And these guys are going places. They’re already on their way, actually. Balto’s newly released single “Black Snake, Mojave Blues was featured in Rolling Stone’s 10 New Americana and Country Songs. They have over 3 million listeners on Spotify, and have supported nationally touring bands including The Revivalists, Blind Pilot, David Nail, and Current Swell.

Balto is also on the “Top 20 Sessions”of 2018’s Jam in the Van. You can check out their video above, or watch their new live video from BalconyTV. Make sure to catch their Colorado shows this week and keep up with Balto here.

-Mirna

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

First Listen: Whiskey Autumn's 'Modern Doubt' Is a Synth Pop Hollywood Dream

Today, we’re proud to premiere Whiskey Autumn’s new record ‘Modern Doubt.’ The Denver four-piece are releasing the record this Friday, April 12th at Lost Lake Lounge with fellow Denver bands The Milk Blossoms, OptycNerd, and a DJ set from Motion Trap. Synesthesia, who hosted The Pink Party earlier this year, is presenting the show. Take a listen:

 ‘Modern Doubt’ is the follow-up to Whiskey Autumn’s 2017 EP Ice Cream In The Sun. The first single from the album “Birds That Flew,” premiered with 303 Magazine, followed by the premiere of “Let’s Go Sailing Instead” on CPR’s OpenAir. The studio recording of “Monochrome Actress” premiered with our friends at Ultra5280 recently, and the band’s live music video for that song just debuted with Westword last week. Whiskey Autumn will also be on CPR’s OpenAir this Friday for a live session in support of their release and Lost Lake show. Clearly, this is a Denver band with a trajectory worth watching.

Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit:   Vossling

Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Vossling

Overall, ‘Modern Doubt’ is a psychedelic pop rock album with an overarching theme rooted in modern anxieties such as technology, political doubts, and navigating an always connected world. The album features dancey synth lines, jangly beach guitars, a Hollywood film noir sample, natural sound interludes, and produced hip-hop drum breaks. The record was written by frontman Greg Laut, produced by band members Laut and Jason Paton, mixed by Chris Scott (OptycNerd, Young The Giant) and mastered by Jim Wilson (David Byrne, Neko Case, The Yawpers). Recently, Laut answered a few questions for us about the band’s new record, Friday’s show, and Whiskey Autumn’s 2019 plans:

Tell us more about ‘Modern Doubt’.

Modern Doubt was written and recorded throughout 2017 and 2018 and reflects my experience of the tumultuous landscape of our current times. My bandmate Jason Paton and I threw out any preconceived notions of what our sound is supposed to be and challenged ourselves to create a record that transports the listener to the world that each song exists in, whether it be a dreamy beach, an old Hollywood film, or a crowded airport. For us, that meant looking at the songs through a cinematic lens and setting the scene with natural sound samples and production choices that catered to the storyline.

That’s really cool. It seems like you’ve already had a lot of attention surrounding this record. What else can you tell us about the release show this Friday?

This will be a Whiskey Autumn show like you've never seen before! We have a new rhythm section and a batch of new songs that will be played live for the first time. Synesthesia is presenting the show and they're bringing along Andy Ai and Kat Phenna who will be providing dystopian, film noir visuals that tie into the themes of Modern Doubt. It's going to be a wild night!

What else can we expect from Whiskey Autumn in 2019?

You can expect a vinyl release of Modern Doubt later this year, summer tour dates to be announced soon, and more surprises coming your way in the next few months!

Catch Whiskey Autumn live this Friday, April 12th at Lost Lake Lounge for the release of ‘Modern Doubt’. Tickets are $10 right now if you Venmo @whiskeyautumn; $15 day of show. Find more information on Friday’s gig at this link and keep up with Whiskey Autumn here.

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

Catch Jazz is PHSH All Over Colorado This Week, Starting Tonight

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s not because Phish isn’t an expansive, easy-to-groove-and-get-down-with band that a group of highly talented musicians decided to form a fluid, tribute Phish collective and name it Jazz is PHSH.  

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Who are Jazz is PHSH? Well, let me tell yah. They’re a floating ensemble of world-renowned, highly talented jazzers who take Phish to the jazziest level, all instrumental and quite gentle on the ears and inner landscapes. Formed by The Chase Brothers in 2015, they gained momentum fast and have attracted many influential jazz and jam musicians including Dennis Chambers (Santana, Miles Davis, Parliament Funkadelic), Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, The Flecktones), three-time Grammy winning saxophonist Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Giant Country Horns, Cosmic Crewe), Grant Green Jr. (Groove Masters), Anthony Wellington (Victor Wooten Band), the teenage piano prodigy hailing from France DOMi Degalle, at one point the late, great, R.I.P. Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Trey Anastasio Band), & many more!

Jazz is PHSH are playing at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins tonight, April 2nd, Denver’s Cervantes Other Side this Thursday, April 4th, Fox Theatre in Boulder on Friday the 5th, and Colorado Springs’ The Black Sheep on Saturday 6th before they hit the rest of North America. (Pssst… all the hyperlinks lead straight to the event tickets so no excuses and you’re welcome!)  

In case you didn’t already know, Phish’s compositions are deep. Jazz deep. All of us who have seen Phish once or twice (or 187 times exactly) know their nature is improvisational and they love to play around with their instruments on stage. Jazz is PHSH takes that to a whole other level. It’s like buying a VW wagon Lego set, taking all the non-foundational pieces and turning it into another kind of VW van altogether… They create original compositions to support unique and playful melodies of Phish, mashing Phish songs with the legendary work of jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus and Wayne Shorter, which is truly a bountiful blend of sounds to inspire Phish fans, jazz lovers, and musicians alike.

So whether you didn’t get enough of Phish at Dick’s last summer or you can’t wait until their appearance again this year, or if your ears are yearning for another rendition of Phish’s musical genius in the jazz format, or if you’ve never heard of Phish but really get off on the jazz stuff, or if you just love seeing awe-inspiring talent live, then catch Jazz is PHSH at any one of the venues they’re playing across our beautiful state of Colorado this week. And be hasty! Catch ‘em while you can because they’re in Colorado for this week only before they take their jazz back on the road.

-Mirna

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

Premiere: Denver's Boot Gun Debuts with a Bang with Two Singles & a New Music Video

Denver’s Boot Gun have entered the Colorado music scene with a serious bang. Today, the three-piece are releasing their debut single and video for “Virginia,” a high-energy rock’n’roll track with a Southern twang, and a rebellious video featuring a slew of Denver haunts to match. And folks, one thing’s for sure, the trio comprised of Keith Lawrence (guitar/vocals), Davie Landry (bass/vocals), and Cody Hart (drums), have brought the party.

“Virginia” was recorded and mixed by Todd Divel (The Yawpers, In The Whale, The Velveteers) of Silo Sound and mastered by Hans Liburd of Burdhouse Mastering. The video was directed and filmed by Colin Anders of Slice Cinematics (Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, A Shadow of a Jaguar, Dragondeer). Boot Gun also featured several friends on the track’s instrumentals including Bullfrog Baugh on harmonica, who makes an appearance in the video about 40 seconds in, Sam Janik on guitar, and Bill McKay on organ and piano.

Says frontman Keith Lawrence about the track, "Virginia came to me in multiple dreams last summer. I showed the boys the main riff and they said ‘Sounds great. Where's the rest of the song?' I told 'em I had to go back to sleep to hear [and] see the rest of it. A few months and a couple of disco naps later, we had us a rock’n’roll ripper."

A ripper it is indeed. “Virginia” is a boot-stompin’ tune rife with slashing rips, harmonica twang, and a jangly toe-tappin’ keys solo that will force you on your feet. Some of that energy didn’t enter the track until the boys rounded things out in the studio though.

Says Keith, “As a band, we all believe that a song isn't finished being written until we record it. Todd at Silo pushed for certain creative ideas that we were able to let shine on these tracks. Having Bill McKay sit in on keys helped round out the sound and bring our musical intention into fruition."

Boot Gun. Photo Credit:  Mountain Trout Photography

Boot Gun. Photo Credit: Mountain Trout Photography

Along with “Virginia” and their debut music video, Boot Gun also released their B side “Feels Like A Storm” today. While “Virginia” takes you on a wild ride, quite literally in the video, “Feels Like A Storm” is the moodier, heavy-hitting track from the trio.

Says Davie, “‘Storm’ is a song that we wrote collectively. It started with Keith singing but never felt completely right. So we argued and laughed, and laughed and argued, and I was forced to sing it… In the end, it became the beast that you're listening to today."

You can listen to “Virginia” and “Feels Like A Storm” on all major streaming platforms and catch Boot Gun live at Cervantes with Dave Watts & Friends on Friday, April 12th.

Says Davie on Boot Gun’s debut, “It’s a young band's take on all the rock’n'roll we love and grew up on. We go from A to Z, then back to A just make sure you're still with us."

Join that trip and keep up with Boot Gun here.

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

Weir Drops New Single "Copper" with Local Electronic Label Alias

By: Natalie Pulvino

One way Colorado has distinguished itself in the music world is through the unwavering rise of live-electronic bands. With influencers like Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, GRiZ, SunSquabi and more, young and aspiring musicians are crafting something fresh every day. This week, we sat down with Nick Vann of Nobide and Chris Weir of Weir to talk about Weir’s new track “Copper”, which is being released through Vann’s label Alias today.

So Nick, tell us about your record label Alias. When was it formed, what inspired the project, and what is your vision for the label?

NV: It started in January 2018 with my buddy Gunter- it’s a pretty similar vision to other Colorado labels in that we want to put out organic electronic music. Electronic music with live elements in there with really good branding. The vision is to make it a taste-maker label I suppose. Our slogan is “Global Taste, Local Face,” so it’s focused on the local element as well.

Can you give a brief overview of the other artists on the label? Are they all local electronic acts?

NV: Yeah, local, organic electronic incorporating live elements that aren’t completely made on the computer. We have Hxrse, mxxnwathcers, f-ether, and Nobide, to name a few.  

What is your or your team’s current process for choosing what music you’ll distribute through Alias?

NV: Pretty much, if it hits us sonically and “in the feels,” and if we sort of know the person.

Chris Weir.

Chris Weir.

This leads us into the next portion of our interview, which is Weir’s new single “Copper.” Nick, what excited you about “Copper” enough to distribute it through Alias?

NV: It was really different from Weir, not the stuff he’d been making prior. Cinematic and organic, a bit more instrument-based than his prior music. The arrangement is killer.

Very cool. And Chris, tell us a bit more about “Copper.” The song is intense and thick with emotion. What drove this project and what were your inspirations?

CW: Originally I had a friend reach out to make a track for a ski video that he was working on, so I wanted to experiment with more of a hip-hop based, slower tempo, and ended up developing it into something a lot more than a ski video. And by writing it through a dark time, I used that energy in the core progressions and in the sound I was picking out. I wanted to create a vibe similar to the mountains, or tie it in with nature in some way.

What’s the most experimental or exciting part of the song for you?

CW: Probably the overall hip-hop vibe because pretty much all I’ve written in the past has been more dance-house beats, so it was cool to take the tempo a lot slower and fill the space more.

Why did you feel Alias was a good fit to distribute and help promote “Copper?”

CW: It really was more up to Nick, but I saw it fitting Alias more so than my previous projects for sure, in terms of the organic soundscape that I was messing with.

Do you think “Copper” represents a shift in your musical work, and if so, where do you see this shift going?

CW: One hundred percent- I definitely see myself going towards more of a live performance and incorporating more instruments on stage. To me, this track has a lot more elements that I think I could play out live and develop more into what I see Weir being.

Weir at work.

Weir at work.

These last two questions are for both of you. What is your read on the thriving live-electronic scene in the Boulder/Denver area?

NV: It’s so all over the place in the best possible way. Every type of music is getting produced and there’s a really strong community vibe around it, where people just want everybody to succeed. At the end of the day, everybody just wants more good music.

CW: I think it’s just really cool that there’s so much variety both in Boulder and Denver, and all of Colorado. There’s obviously a huge pop of jam bands, soul and funk, but it’s cool to see more electronic and live-electronic acts popping up.

NV: It seems like Colorado may be doing that in a more forward-thinking way than other areas.

What do you mean by that?

NV: It seems that there’s more technological innovation with the blending [of] instruments to create more of a band. Geographically, we’re right in the middle of the country, so musically we’re blending everything together here.

Lastly, can we expect any further artistic collaboration between you two?

NV: Absolutely.

CW: I would certainly hope so.

Be sure to give “Copper” a listen now and catch these guys live in action at Larimer Lounge next Saturday, April 6th.

Keep up with Weir here and check out alias.fm.

-Natalie

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

Ryan Bingham's 'American Love Song' Is Aptly Inspired by Life on the Road

By: Natalie Pulvino

“I’m just a person like everyone else who’s influenced by the world around him.”

Photo Credit: Donnie Hedden.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hedden.

Ryan Bingham, a renowned singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, got his “big break” by co-writing the theme song “The Weary Kind” for the 2009 acclaimed film ‘Crazy Heart.’ Now, he’s on tour across the U.S. performing his newest work, ‘American Love Song.’ We sat down with him this week to talk about the record, his songwriting process, and what his music means to him.

How does ‘American Love Song’ differ from your previous projects/records?

I’d say it’s a lot more on the blues side than my previous records. I definitely set out to make more of a blues record than anything.

What was your musical process for writing this album? Can you describe your emotional journey with it?

You know, I always tend to need a bit of solitude to write songs. I wrote some at home, some on the road, and some at a friend’s place in New Mexico out in the middle of nowhere. I need to find some place where I can get away from distractions. You know, I definitely draw off of all my experiences, kind of past and present- it’s all a part of it. If the songs aren’t making me feel something while I’m writing... I try to feel those emotions first, I think that’s pretty important.

Do you typically write lyrics first or instrumentals? Was that the case with this particular record?

Usually the music always comes first- yes definitely.

Can you describe your process for choosing lyrics to fit the instrumentals?

The music just really sets the tone for whatever emotion is going to come. There are definitely notes and chords that are lighter and darker than others, so the tempo and then the key of the song sets the tone for what’s to follow.

This album has a lot of political references and even touches on border politics. What, in your words, is this album truly about?

Well there’s a lot of layers to it, a lot of stuff that I’ve experienced growing up as a kid, moving around the country. A lot of it ties into social issues and what not. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a political album, but it’s consciously aware, which I try to do when I write. I’m just a person like everyone else who’s influenced by the world around him.

A lot of your music touches on your childhood and life experiences. What role would you say music has played in helping you get through hard times?

Writing songs has always been a kind of therapy for me. Sometimes things are difficult to express or talk about. Writing music and playing guitar has always been an outlet. Now, you find folks that you have common experiences with, and it’s gratifying to share that stuff with people and hear stories about how maybe a song helped someone get through something similar.

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Tying your new album ‘American Love Story’ in here, what did you portray through this album?

You know I think at the end of the day, the album is pretty layered, it’s very autobiographical, very personal, but it’s kind of my take on the world around me and how I’ve been influenced by current events. I’m not necessarily sure if that was the goal. I’m always going to write songs about things that I’ve experienced, and the past few years I’ve traveled around the country and met people, and now I’m telling stories about that and sharing experiences with people.

Do you have a song, written or not written by yourself, that you’d say you identify with the most?

I do, there’s a Bob Dylan song called a “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” that I heard when I was very young that I very much identified with. You don’t hear that kind of song on the radio.

What, in your mind, makes an album cohesive? How do you know when it’s complete?

I don’t know, sometimes it never does feel complete. I guess the narrative of the album, you kind of revolve around the center of that. You know the album is complete when you have 12-13 songs and you don’t want to take them off the record.

Who are you speaking to in ‘American Love Song’?

It’s really just anybody who wants to listen and enjoys the music. I try to take everybody into consideration when writing these songs, and everybody’s feelings and emotions are reflections of my own. If there’s some young kid in a small town looking for music that has a different message than they’re portraying in the pop commercial world, then maybe that’s a good thing.

You’ve won a number of awards, including a Grammy. After such an accomplishment, where do you hope to see your music career take you in the next few years?

Oh, you know, I just feel very lucky to have the opportunity to get out on the road and play for people. It’s never really been about winning awards or accomplishing a sense of, I don’t know…  my interpretation of success is being out here and being able to do it and people want to hear the songs. I feel like I’ve already ‘made it’ in so many ways, [that] I don’t know if it could get any better.

Catch Ryan Bingham at Denver’s Ogden Theatre this Tuesday, April 2nd. Grab tickets at this link.

Keep up with Ryan here.

-Natalie

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

Premiere: Levi Double U & Reed Fox Release 'Animalz & Stuff' Singles Featuring 7-Year-Old Foofy

Levi Double U & Reed Fox. Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

Levi Double U & Reed Fox. Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

Denver’s Reed Fox is busy. Along with being the frontman of Denver’s deCollage and the founder of Moon Magnet Studios, Fox has recently started creating and producing electronic dance tunes. Over the course of 2019, he has plans to release more than a dozen singles, two of which hit the interwebs today with Levi Double U (HR People, Adiel Mitchell):

Both tracks feature Fox’s 7-year-old niece Isa, who goes by Foofy. Fox recently went on vacation with Foofy where she reportedly wrote the second track “Poodlez” on the spot. Reed “grabbed his laptop immediately” and he and Levi began production. Later, when Foofy dropped by Moon Magnet to film the “Poodlez” music video, she laid down the vocals for “Fish Are Small” over a beat that Levi and Fox were working on together. From these two sessions, Fox’s latest bangers were born.

Next month, Fox will be releasing a lyric music video for “Poodlez,” which is currently in post-production with Kyle Gray from Rubedo. Mikey Rae of Meow Wolf crafted the illustrations that the video will feature. Keep an eye out for the “Poodlez” video, and in the meantime, check out Fox’s newest tunes above.

Keep up with Reed Fox here and check out Levi Double U’s other work at this link.

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

Premiere: Elektric Animals' "Vulnerable Thing" Digs Deep

By: Sam Piscitelli

There’s always been some sort of heaviness that accompanies the Rock genre; a pressure to make as much noise as possible. The tricky part is keeping the music grounded in the roots of its composition and lyrics. A lot of the time, the story of the song can become muddled in the making of it and what the band itself is trying to convey. Luckily, for Elektric Animals their song “Vulnerable Thing” not only deserves recognition, but shines a light on the future of what alternative rock can be, if only fought for with a little persistence and love for the craft. The Denver trio, comprised of Nick Sanders (vocals), Oscar Jara (guitar), and Jerrid Van Scoy (bass) recently formed and today, we’re proud to premiere their newest single:

“Vulnerable Thing” digs deep into the message that in life, you have a tendency to carry the past into the present. It can be both a force of positivity, or of negativity. Whether it’s the scars you’ve endured or the happiness you wish to see fulfilled, life can either make you or break the person you are destined to become. Elektric Animals decided to pour their souls about this aspect of life into this track. This band is fearless, yet honest, which reminds us that music is a treasure, not just a glimmer you can shove on a shelf somewhere.

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The music industry at times seems to settle for uninspired music; music that only garners in split seconds of attention. Elektric Animals seem to be the opposite, creating music that involves fleeting moments and engraving them more permanently inside our heads. Not many bands or artists can take fleeting moments and engrave them like this, but this is a band who does so knowing that the only attention they crave is from the real stories they lead.

Keep up with Elektric Animals here.

-Sam

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

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.

Attila & All That Remains Brought Heavy Hits & a Wall of Death to Recent Denver Show

By: Nathan Sheppard

All That Remains and Attila hit the stage at the Oriental Theatre this past week for a night that every metalhead could appreciate. Sleep Signals and Escape the Fate opened things up for the co-headliners.

Attila, who released their newest album Villian in February, took the show to the next level with their party animal antics. Those antics led to a love-hate relationship with most people, but for those who love them, Attila puts on one of the best live performances of any band in their sphere. From start to finish, frontman Chris Fronzak had the crowd moshing and and even threw in a “wall of death” just for kicks. The set was filled with mostly favorites like “Moshpit” and “Pizza” with some new songs from their latest album as well.

All That Remains was the second headliner of the night and continued the mosh party right where it left off. ATR released their ninth studio album Victim of the New Disease this past November which has been a welcome return to their roots as a heavy metalcore band. The first quarter of their set was heavy, with newer songs from New Disease, followed with a medley of older hits. Vocalist Phil Labonte was able to show off a wide vocal range from high screams to low growls, and even showcased his clean vocals in “What if I Was Nothing?”. They topped off the night with their smash hit single “Two Weeks”, leaving everyone exhausted from moshing and jumping throughout the set.

Attila and All That Remains are about halfway through their American co-headlining tour, so make sure you make it out to one of these insane shows! Remaining dates can be found 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.

State Champs Rocked Their Sold-Out Denver Summit Show

By: Nathan Sheppard

Pop-punkers State Champs played a sold out show this past Monday night at the Summit that rocked our socks off. The Living Proof Tour is the band’s first tour of 2019 after having a crazy schedule in 2018, where they released their third studio album Living Proof and had multiple tours. Supporting bands for the tour include Greyscale, The Dangerous Summer, and Our Last Night to round out a banger lineup.

Philadelphia rockers Greyscale led things off with their unique, stripped-down pop-punk style. Their high-energy performance even caused a few people to crowdsurf up to the front, which can be a tough task for an opener. The Dangerous Summer followed shortly after with more of a laidback set compared to their fellow bands. It gave everyone a bit of a breather to prepare for the next two sets.

Batting third was Our Last Night, who are best known for their metalcore covers of radio hits like “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. They recently released their fifth album, Let Light Overcome, earlier this month. The band combines softer melodic pop-rock elements and heavier metal elements that give fans the best of both worlds, making them an easy band to like. Adding all of that to a great stage performance made for an epic show that set the stage for State Champs.

State Champs.

State Champs.

In the cleanup spot was State Champs, who were without guitarist Tony Diaz due to illness. Luckily, they were still ready to knock it out of the park. The set kicked off with the leading track and single from Living ProofCriminal”, and you could see a wave erupt through the Summit as everyone tried to get as close to the stage as possible. The dance party continued throughout the 20-song setlist, which included fan favorites like “Remedy” and “Perfect Score”. While 20 songs weren’t enough for some people, State Champs finished with their breakout single “Secrets” to put a cherry on top of this night.     

To stay up to date with everything State Champs-related, and with the current tour click here. If you can’t make it out to this tour, you can see them later this summer at Sad Summer Festival, a Warped Tour-esque festival featuring Mayday Parade, The Maine, and The Wonder Years.

-Nathan

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

Review: Prep Rally's 'Head Rush' Is Full of Synthy Experiments & Light, Luscious Vocals

By: Julia Talen

Electronic indie pop duo Prep Rally will release their inspired sophomore EP Head Rush this April, full of vulnerable themes paired with instrumentalist Drew Norris’s catchy beats and vocalist Tatum Russo’s delicate voice.

The first track “Phoenix” kicks-off the EP slowly, with a soft, easy melody. It’s joined by Russo’s enthralling vocal harmonies, crooning lyrics indicative of the transformative and inquisitive questions sewn into this record like “will be born again” and “transcending from who I once was”. As the track progresses, Norris’ instrumentals build in complexity and the tempo ascends and shifts, lifting listeners into the tenacious and seemingly effortless layers of this record.

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“Roll With The Punches,” the second track, begins with an addicting piano beat evoking a throwback vibe. Similar to many of Prep Rally’s tunes, this song builds and expands. There is a nice bridge in this track with a round of voices singing lyrics like “roll with the punches” and “everyday is a rematch,” followed by what Norris calls a “sparkly arpeggio outro” which is mesmerizing. The band’s single, “Break In,” released at the beginning of the year, succeeds this tune and remains to be one of my favorite tracks on the record.

Another noteworthy tune off this EP has to be “Mean Girl,” a noble, feminist exploration into societal pressures on women and how impactful they can be. In considering this track, Russo states, “There is a mean girl in all of us,”  provoked by a society. Lyrics like “whoever gave a damn about what’s inside/and were put up to fight by the shape of our bodies,” parallel this sentiment as does Russo’s echoing vocals on this track which reflect the insidious and obsessive mean girl in our minds. The pop-like nature of the track allows listeners to digest some of the heavier concepts on this record, including dark, societal pressures. The next track, “Cloud Nine,” also explores anxiety and mental health, but through this pop duo’s delicious bops. Prep Rally’s EP overall destigmatizes such subjects.

Prep Rally.

Prep Rally.

The EP comes full circle with “Coffins in the Attic”, a song that explores facets of change and transformation, much like “Phoenix.” The tune is slower, like the first track. I like the risk the duo takes in the middle of the song in which everything breaks for a beat, followed by a breath and the ding of a triangle. Then listeners melt back into the folds of Prep Rally’s piano diddles, synthy experiments, and light, luscious vocals.

“Head Rush” explores heavy, important themes balanced by captivating patches of instrumentals quilted together to create a really nice, cohesive and interesting record. Prep Rally’s EP drops April 2nd. The dynamic duo will host a release party at downtown Denver’s Walnut Room on April 6th.

Keep up with Prep Rally 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.