Spend Your NYE with The Pink Party + AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY to Start 2019 with a Bang

Life is better in pink.

Life is better in pink.

Still making your New Year’s Eve plans? We hope your answer is Yeah Baby! Denver’s full-sensory experience bar is hosting the best way to enter the new year with The Pink Party. Starting at 8PM, The Pink Party will be an intimate bash thrown by Synesthesia Denver Psych Fest, Kyle Hartman (The UMS), and Reed Fox (DéCollage, Moon Magnet). The night is 21+ and will feature sounds by Motion Trap (DJ Set), LePew (ft. members of Retrofette), S.I.X.X.X.D, and Reed Fox himself! Visual transportations will be provided by Andy Ai, Yonbre, and Kat Phenna. The night will of course feature a special midnight toast, and a free drink from Yeah Baby with your ticket purchase. Plus, if you stay true and wear your best pink duds (glitter or mylar preferred), you’ll receive select $5 cocktails all night long. Tier 1 tickets have already sold-out for the night, but Tier 2 tickets are still on sale for $35 here.

Get reborn.

Get reborn.

Though The Pink Party stops at 2AM, you don’t have to. Following your trip through Yeah Baby’s psychedelic pink wonderland, Lyft yourself over to Spectra Art Space for the NYE 2019: AN AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY after party. This rocket ship blasts off at midnight and returns to orbit at sunrise, so you can dance into the new year up until 6AM. Along with lasers, art installations, and “sounds you've never imagined,” this adventure will feature complimentary libations and an open maté bar. The AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY, produced by Moon Magnet, Belly Up, Hey Hay, and Spectra Art Space, will feature sets by Reed Fox, f-ethe, and Chuck Shadow. The event is 21+ and RSVP is required 24 hours in advance to attend. There are three tiers of tickets available for takeoff at this link.

Jet into a whole new world (and year) with The Pink Party + An Afterhours Space Odyssey. 2019 never looked so good baby…

2018 Belongs to JJUUJJUU

By: Brody Coronelli

A Q&A with frontman Phil Pirrone on the band’s debut album, their upcoming shows, and how it feels to be on the cusp of their big break.

Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU.

Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU.

The Los Angeles psych-rock band JJUUJJUU has a sound that’s entirely their own. Harnessing the collision of psych and desert rock with the ambience of low-fi and a fiery undercurrent of metal that never overpowers the music, they’re one of rock’s most interesting and hard to pin down groups. They’re also on the cusp of a breakthrough.

The band- fronted by Phil Pirrone, the founder of the Desert Daze festival- released their debut album 'Zionic Mud.' The album is an atmospheric exploration of a number of different influences, each coming together to capture an atmospheric, psychedelic daze. A good deal of collaboration followed the release. The band released alternate versions of each single re-imagined by friends and supporters, which include Warpaint’s bassist Jennylee’s synth-driven and danceable take on the title track “Zionic Mud” and Liarsloud, scuzzed-out version of “Camo.” They also released a music video for their own version of “Camo” directed by Flaming Lips animator Michan Burzan.

This summer, the band is set to play a number of shows opening for the heavy metal band Mastadon and experimental rock band Primus; two hugely high profile acts with the potential to send JJUUJJUU into the stratosphere. In between those shows, the band is headlining Lost Lake in Denver on June 19th with support from DeCollage and King Eddie. I had the opportunity to chat with Pirrone recently about the band’s new album and their upcoming tour dates.

You guys just released your new album 'Zionic Mud' last month. How has the rolling out and reception of that record been, and in what ways is it different from your past material?

This record was five years in the making. So it's good to have it out. We had only released an EP before this, in 2013, so in a lot of ways, this is the beginning.

Your songs are definitely more blissed out and bright than your counterparts; they aren't always aggressive, and instead, favor some ambience. How do you go about creating this sound live and in the studio?

Not sure how we get there- I guess it's just our collective influences and experiences informing how we approach a song or jam or what have you. Short answer: happy accidents.

What sound were you trying to capture on 'Zionic Mud', and is it going to send the band in a new direction, or expand on a sound you've already established?

I just wanted it to sound like something I loved, no matter what that ended up being. I don't know what direction we're going in or what we've established. Just putting down what comes out and going from there.

What inspired you to have friends and collaborators release their own alternate takes of the singles? What do these new versions have to offer that the originals don't? The JENNYLEE version of "Zionic Mud" particularly stands out to me; it brings out a danceable element in the song's framework that I didn't catch in the album version.

It was my friend Jason's idea who works at the label. And a great idea at that. These versions are some weird form of collaboration between myself and the remixer, without being in the same room or even talking about it. So, it's very exciting to hear what each of them come back with. Jennylee went the extra mile and reimagined the track through her lens and it's lovely.

What made you choose METZ and Liars to rework the songs? Are there any other collaborations in the works?

Part of the aim of this experiment was to find very different filters to mix these songs through and see what we end[ed] up with. Both seemed like total long shots, but they both said yes (surprisingly). Very happy with how both came out.

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Your music strikes a really interesting balance between psychedelia, stoner-rock, desert-rock, and a cool, low-fi aesthetic. How did you come across this collection of sounds, and how do you go about synthesizing them into your live set?

We really don't talk or think about what we're going to do, we just go for it. Whether I'm on my own or with the group, we just jump into it and follow what comes out, or we don't if it's shit. Performing the songs live with a group is an evolution. It's difficult to replicate what happened on record because so much of it was improvised or literally a happy accident. So the live incarnation sort of evolves and the songs grow and change. I think that's totally a normal behavior for a group like JJUUJJUU.

How does it feel to be opening for Mastodon and Primus, two colossal names in the scene? How'd this opportunity come about, and do you have anything special planned for these shows?

Feel honored and excited and nervous, frankly. Touring with bands this good keeps us on our toes and forces us to bring our best. We've toured with Claypool Lennon Delirium before, so it's great to be invited back out. Les Claypool has some of the best fans in the world. They are there to enjoy loud music and have a good time. So, for that, among other things, we're very grateful. We're going to be playing nice and early, so we'll be having a BBQ nightly from stage. We might perform a few weddings (if needed). First 50,000 people in the gates get a free hot dog and t-shirt (if there's also a wedding).

What's next for the band after you guys finish your expansive touring schedule this year? Do you see the band continuing in the same sonic direction, or is there a new sound on the horizon?

We're playing Desert Daze in Southern California in October. We're working on LP2 right now (early stages). It's going to be different. But the same. But different.

-Brody

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

Psych Rock & Multimedia Project King Eddie To Release New Record 'Holographic Universe'

By: Norman Hittle

King Eddie, a denver-based psychedelic rock and VR multimedia project, is preparing to release their second full-length album, Holographic Universe, this Friday, November 17th.

King Eddie.

King Eddie.

Holographic Universe was recorded at Moon Magnet Studios in Denver and marks the band’s first full length release since 2015’s King Eddie (self-titled) release.

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The band’s charge, led by Jay Mars (guitar and vocals), is further filled out by guitarist Benjamin Buttice, bassist Velvet Adams, and drummer Linton Wright. King Eddie’s sound is reminiscent of some of the more lo-fi Britpop concepts of the late 70’s mixed with perhaps a touch of Tame Impala’s signature modern version of psychedelic rock.

Regarding what Holographic Universe represents, singer and guitarist Jay Mars told BolderBeat: “[The record] is a concept album about reconciling human vulnerability and the depth of your own experience with what quantum science and ancient religions tells us is true- ‘reality’ is an illusion. It's loosely based around virtual reality and the futurism of Philip K Dick and Westworld.”

Jay Mars.

Jay Mars.

The Holographic Universe release party will feature Kyle Emerson, Panther Martin, and DeCollage (DJ set), along with live virtual reality visuals from the DenVR collective. Check out this fully immersive experience at their album release show this Saturday, November 18th at the Hi-Dive in Denver, CO. Event details and tickets 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.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Brought Together Artists & Fans For Four Days Of Awesome

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s annual four day music festival The Underground Music Showcase rocked South Broadway last weekend. We crawled the strip, ate nothing but pizza, and almost refused to sleep in the name of good music. Here are some of our favorite things about this year’s festival:

The Bands

Of course we went to as many shows as possible and of course most of them really rocked our socks off. But here we’re going to be shameless and first tell you about the killer acts who played our packed official day party.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

BolderBeat & KGNU combined forces this year to bring you Brunch with a Beat at The UMS, which was five hours of sugar and synth by some of Colorado’s most promising electro acts.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Mirror Fears kicked things off with her industrial goth pop, Church Fire kept things movin’ with their Crystal Castles-esque electronic primal therapy, and DéCollage wrapped the front of The Irish Rover in Mylar and swept the stage with their avant-garde pop. Retrofette’s synth stylings followed, and created a massive dance party full of hip-shaking & flash tattoos. Whiskey Autumn’s indie synth pop closed the show; their unreleased track "Birds That Flew" had many whistling along to its chorus. And in between sets, DJ Erin Stereo crushed sweet beats. We gave away tickets to upcoming Future Islands and Thundercat shows, and we passed out donut lollipops, which many showgoers expressed they hoped were laced with weed (they were not kidz).

As for the rest of our UMS:

Anthony Ruptak.

Anthony Ruptak.

Our first official set at UMS 2017 was at Hi-Dive on Thursday with Anthony Ruptak, who started us off with amazing tunes from his new record Don’t Let It Kill You, and even streamed a Facebook live anti-Trump vid from the stage. Punk rock.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ghost Tapes were a funky, neo-soul standout at Skylark; frontwoman Ishka Phoenix had the crowd melting as she delivered tasty R&B sounds from her ice cream microphone.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Corsicana gave us tasty indie tunes while we nommed hard on an Illegal Pete’s burrito, which was the only non-pizza item we allowed ourselves for sustenance. The four-piece are playing a couple of big Colorado shows with Hippo Campus this month, so make sure to roll to those.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

OptycNerd describe themselves as “eclectro indie pop hop sexy time,” and well, we wish we’d written that ourselves. Their sexy time at Hi-Dive was enjoyed.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus brought her dark, operatic vocals to the main stage; Red Fang spouted the classic rock stoner jams they’re known for to a headbanging crowd.

What is cooler than wearing glow-in-the-dark face paint? Glow-in-the-dark guitar strings- DUH. Motion Trap had ‘em at their Rover set on Saturday, and they played their electro sonic disco tunes to a packed house that boogied with them from start to finish.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

All Chiefs kept us out of the rain at Hi-Dive with their indie rock vibes, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones kicked up some folky soul at Gary Lee’s Motorcycle Club, and GALLERIES played a heartfelt tribute show celebrating the life of late Denver music prodigy Kyle McQueen.

The Outfit.

The Outfit.

Rock’n’roll’s The Outfit played their final set ever at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday to a mosh-ready, beer-heavy crowd who were clearly sad to see them go.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

The Savage Blush had a killer psych rock-dripping set at the main stage, Slowcaves brought us chill wave surf rock sounds, and Dragondeer managed to blues rock us almost straight through a downpour, though they had to cut their set a bit short when the rain just about flash-flooded the festival parking lot in true Colorado fashion.

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

Brent Cowles revived a soaking crowd with “Cold Times” when the sun came back out, Esmé Patterson slayed her evening dream rock set with unreleased music and a touching tribute with Kitty Crimes to the late Tyler Despres, and Benjamin Booker crowd surfed his way right into Colorado’s heart, closing out the main stage of the festival Sunday evening.

The Booze

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Breckenridge Brewing was a main sponsor for The UMS this year and we sipped many an Avalanche by the main stage throughout the fest. Dewar’s had what felt like a tiny house made for drinking with free smells and scotch eggs. It was delicious and why you would have wasted your tongue on any other mixed drink in the hot sun and the pouring rain is beyond us.

The Bunny

Yeah. This one.

Yeah. This one.

Mixed Up Gifts’ pop up shop on South Broadway had some sweet merch for sale from Sacred Bones Records and a creepy night light if you’re in the market to wake up afraid of the dark only to find Jason lurking in your bathroom. But best of all was their bunny, who tried to coerce festival-goers into the shop while eerily reading children’s books through the window.

The Budz

No, not that kind you typical Denverite. Overall, we had a rad time at The UMS this year, and we highly encourage you to check out all the bands we mentioned, all the acts we live-interviewed with Zach Dahmen, and any of the performers on the local lineup in general. Because if there’s one thing we came away with after four days of music-hopping insanity, it was with community- from the performers themselves, to the UMS staff and volunteers, to the eager ticket holders bouncing from show to show hoping to find their next favorite band- Denver came out to support its own. Whether we were playing beach volleyball in the artist tent during a downpour or running from the main stage with our best budz to get back to Broadway for a set (those smarter ones took the Meow Wolf bus), this weekend really showcased you- the local music supporter. And for that, we and apparently Governor Hickenlooper, thank you.

Check out our full photo gallery from The UMS here.

-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.
 

BolderBeat & KGNU Hosting Official Day Party at 2017 Underground Music Showcase

This year, BolderBeat is proud to be partnering with KGNU Radio to host an official 2017 Underground Music Showcase Day Party during the Denver festival on Sunday, July 30th from 12PM-5PM at The Irish Rover Pub. 

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Join BolderBeat & KGNU for sugar and synth! We've got a photo booth, giveaways, & lots of surprises in store for this Sunday event. Here is our official day party lineup: 

12PM Mirror Fears

1PM Church Fire

2PM deCollage

3PM Retrofette

4PM Whiskey Autumn

*beats between sets by DJ Erin Stereo

So make sure to get your festival tickets here & stop by our party! Join our Facebook event for more info to follow in the coming weeks! Sweet sounds provided; sprinkles optional. 

Rock Out To Our 2017 Underground Music Showcase Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

With Denver’s Underground Music Showcase just a couple of weeks away, our very own tastemaker Sierra Voss has created a sweet summer playlist full of tunes from tons of artists on this year’s lineup.

Denver darling (and headliner) Esmé Patterson opens our playlist, followed by fellow headliners Benjamin Booker, Zola Jesus, and Red Fang. There are a ton of Colorado favorites to bop your heads to after that-  déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer,  CITRA, The Velveteers,  Slow Caves, Television Generation, and Whiskey Autumn- are just some of the artists you’ll find on our UMS playlist!

So get ready to pop a cold one at Irish Rover, headbang at Hi-Dive, and dance with us up and down South Broadway at the 2017 UMS! Get your festival passes here!

Listen to our 'Underground Music Showcase 2017' Playlist:

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out more of our playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our contact page and do it!

-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. 

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Announces Second Round of Artists

The Underground Music Showcase 2017 just announced their second round of artists for this year's festival! Additions include: Headliner Zola Jesus and artists like Bad Licks, Chocolate Diamond, Dear Rabbit, Decatur, Edison, HERESTOFIGHTIN, The Hollow, innerspace, The Kinky Fingers, Ned Garthe Explosion, Retrofette (we should mention here we're premiering something awesome from this band this Friday), Sleepy SunSIR, Sugar Skulls & Marigolds, Sur Ellz, Treehouse Sanctum, Turvy Organ, & more! Make sure to get your tickets for the July 27th-30th festival in the heart of Denver here. And see our previous story for initial lineup announcements at our original announcement link.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.

A Magical Midnight Carnival: Esmé Patterson, Kitty Crimes, and DéCollage Get Wild At The Hi-Dive

By: Riley Ann 

Wizards danced, Mylar dolphin balloons bobbed above the microphones, giant cellophane-wrapped cardboard crystals sparkled from the stage, the costumes were loud, and the energy was palpable. The crowd packed the house to welcome Esmé Patterson back home to Denver on Sunday night for a show at the Hi-Dive along with local favorites Kitty Crimes, joined by the Blondetourage, and DéCollage.

DéCollage.

DéCollage.

Not only was the show high energy, the artists exuded themes of love, acceptance, and pride throughout the night. Kitty Crimes introduced one of her songs by saying, “This song is about being gay as f*ck!” Esmé Patterson introduced another, saying, “This song is about having the courage to be exactly who you are...” Each time the crowd roared with delight.

The evening also illustrated the sense of community within the Colorado music scene. Natalie Tate, another local favorite songwriter and performer from the Denver scene, joined both Esmé Patterson and Kitty Crimes for harmonies. The pairing of Patterson and Kitty Crimes on the same bill celebrated their former band Harpoontang. In addition to past projects, the show recognized the loss from the community. One of Patterson’s new songs honored the life of Tyler Despres, the guitarist for the Gin Doctors, whom the community unexpectedly lost late last year.

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Patterson alternated tunes from her recent 2016 release of We Were Wild with a fair number of brand new ones. Her performance featured more experimental sounds on guitar through her pedalboard, feedback against her amp, and manipulating her guitar in unexpected ways, like dragging the strings against her mic stand. Based on her performance, it seems likely that a new album is underway. Based on the new tunes and the crowd’s reaction to them, the possibility of a new album is bound to be a solid addition to any record collection. 

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

If you missed Esmé Patterson this time, you can catch her again in July when she headlines the Underground Music Showcase, which is happening in Denver from July 27th-30th. The festival features over 350 performances on 15 stages along South Broadway, and over 100+ artists have already been announced. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

You can find out more about Esmé Patterson on her website, along with the websites of DéCollage, Kitty Crimes, and Blondetourage.

 -Riley

 Find out more about Riley on her blog

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Initial Lineup Has Arrived

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Underground Music Showcase 2017 lineup has arrived. With headliners Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esmé Patterson, this year's fest will take place July 27th-30th. Colorado’s Bandits, Britt Margit, This Broken Beat, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers, Brent Cowles, The Burroughs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Coastal Wives, Colfax Speed Queen, Corsicana, déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer, Wolf van Elfmand, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones, Gasoline Lollipops, Get Along, Jilly.FM, Joseph Lamar, King Cardinal, Last of the Easy Riders, Loretta Kill, Mawule, Modern Leisure, One Flew West, The Other Black, Povi, RL Cole, The Savage Blush, Silver and Smoke, SIXXXD, Slow Caves, SYCDVK, Television Generation, The Velveteers, Whiskey Autumn, Whole Milk, Wildermiss, and Yasi are just some of the acts on the bill we've featured in the last year, so needless to say, we're stoked on this lineup. And there are more artists still TBA!

Stay tuned for more UMS info and get ready to join us on Denver's South Broadway for one of our favorite events of the summer! Tickets here.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.

'Colorado Sings Colorado'- Our December Spotify Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

Paper Bird knows what I mean. We both get it. Coloradoans LOVE Colorado. With plenty of good reason. This month's playlist is a love note to you Colorado, and all the music scene does to stoke fires in the hearts and minds of its people. To honor that love Colorado artists also have for their art and the people who listen, here’s our playlist of no-shame-sing-your-heart-out-loud for Colorado. We’re listening and thank you!  

BolderBeat's 'Colorado Sings Colorado' Playlist:

1. DéCollage, Magnetize (2016), “Denver Hustle”

DéCollage is one of those rare, exceptional beasts whose capacity for innovation is matched by their ability to effectively, cohesively render it on repeat. Their knack is a multidimensional, sensorial experience. I wouldn’t call DéCollage stylistic minimalists, but just as the art form of décollage, (where you remove parts to create your art rather than to add like a collage) this group has a sharp sensibility for which parts to leave in, and all the more importantly, which to leave out. They achieve stylistic versatility across and within songs without giving way to clutter.

There’s also something definitively fashionable about DéCollage’s music. This is in no way to trivialize it or call it fleeting. Quite the opposite. It’s so damn fashionable because it picks up on the numerous textures, trends, and facets available in contemporary and past pop to render a whole new thing from all these roots. “Denver Hustle” sounds runway ready. “Hold that pose,” they lyrically interject, “Hustle, hustle, hustle. Shine, shine. Summer, summer. Glow, glow, glow, glow.” Get it girl, get it.

2. Bop Skizzum, Coloradical (2012), “Coloradical”

What we have here is unadulterated funk’n’roll. This band is eight members thick and it sounds like it. “Coloradical” is fit to start a spontaneous street parade from the second the percussion hits. Crunchy guitar and saxophone raise the bar of this tune, and keep the voracious good times spiraling upwards.

I’ve always prided myself on an immense capacity for fun, and Bop Skizzum renders that passion musically. Though disbanded as of Valentine’s Day, 2014, Bop Skizzum made the final cut of sixteen potential songs found of Colorado musicians playing Colorado-themed music because: A) Colorado lives for the funk; dies for the funk and B) This tune is fun as hell. May the horn section and keys bring the funk to the fore always.

3. Mesita, With Love, from Laniakea (2016), “Chronolorado”

The piano hit me like a rearview mirror. Reflective. You can see forward past it, backwards through it, but both through the ultimate view of now. Emotively drift off to the gentle unfolding of instrumental minimalism on this track. And no worries: the thematically, existentially-heavy material will lighten your load like a backpack lifted from the shoulders at a journey’s end. All in due time, Chronolorado.

4. Head for the Hills, Robbers Roost (2007), “Telluride Song”

Appropriately, we have one of Colorado’s most popular bluegrass bands of the day singing about Telluride. Joe Lessard’s lovely fiddle, (which I’ve heard described as a violin you can spill beer on) gently brings you in. Solo vocals give way to echoing ones as the fiddle breaks things down hard and shows exactly how beer might get spilled on it, being played with such exuberant force and all. Sam Parks’ mandolin definitely shows how to roshambo right proper all the same too. This is a song the whole family will tap their feet to at the farmer’s market or a bluegrass fest. Classic Colorado for everyone.

5. Fed Rez, Folk Rock (2016), “Danver”

Let’s play a word association game. I’ll say a word, and you say out loud the first word that comes to your mind. Your word is: Denver.

What’d you come up with? I’ll hedge my bets it wasn’t diversity.

Fed Rez brings a Chicano/Mexican contingent into their work heavily on this number, both linguistically and culturally. And the song’s as full of food as a belly on Thanksgiving. “Danver” doesn’t eliminate your appreciation of the song as a listener if you don’t happen to know what a pot of hot posole is or chicken mole either. But if you do, I bet your stomach’s growling.

Fed Rez refer to themselves as allegorical hip-hop. Whatever the precise allegory is on “Danver,” food and location are definitive themes, as you ride around Westwood and Athmar Park to Green Valley Ranch and Park Hill, effectively cruising Denver with the Fed Rez Mile High City natives.

6. Grant Farm, Grant Farm (2012), “Funky Boulder”

This one sure sounds like the Boulder I know and love. As with a number of songs that made this playlist cut, this one’s good for dancing away or driving down a road, hand out the window doing that thing where you swerve and wave it against the force of the wind. But keep an ear- the pace of this song keeps at a clip that the brief escalating drum builds with a charging guitar that could easily get you caught speeding. Ride on you mountain roads.

7. The Good Time Travelers, The Good Time Travelers (2016), “Colorado”

My favorite moment on this tune is a very specific, but subtly calling one. “Getting high in the country, above the tree line, my head’s in the clouds. Getting low, in the ______.” Play another word game with me. What goes there? I’d go with valley. The Good Time Travelers go with canyon. And that’s so Colorado of them! This one’s a lighter, more reflective piece. The acoustic singer/songwriter duo keeps it simple and true. It’s an honest homage to home sweet home.

8. Hang Rounders, Bring Your Sister (2015), “I-70 Westbound”

Hang Rounders hang their hats on a simple foundation of guitar, pedal steel, bass, banjo, tenor guitar, drums, backup vocals, fiddle, and the proclamation that they are best heard live and danced to. Sonically? Good old fashioned country western. Thematically? Good old fashioned country western. Pick a highway, any highway. Pick a past or current flame… aim for one you’d most want to hear say or say to, “Daddy, would you please come home?” Add 3AM and snowing literally, or as metaphor, and you arrive at the same place as the listener: memories and/or daydreams of flying down that chosen road toward a chance of love. Nostalgia.

9. Paper Bird, When the River Took Flight (2010), “Colorado”

“Colorado! It’s your mother’s favorite state!”

Paper Bird represent something a lot of folks think of when they think Colorado music: bluegrass, Americana, and rootsy. They inject a sense of humor into this one, hitting the nail on the head that you’ll all whoop and yell “Colorado!” with joy when you make it here, but in all honesty? “No offense, but we won’t miss you when you’re gone.”

Caleb Summeril’s banjo strums undergird harmonica solos with Paul DeHaven’s guitar make you want to take a turn on the dance floor as each instrument takes it’s turn at the forefront. This is good mountain town porch music to the hilt. They ask you to sing along, and that’s a gas. I sang proudly in the shower to this tune more than any other jam, so that’s absolutely something. Coloradans are nuts for Colorado and Paper Bird sings it proudly.

10. Dechen Hawk, Soul Sessions (2012), “My Hometown”

Dechen Hawk’s hometown is Boulder. So this one’s a love song that is, well, just that: a love song. It just happens to take place in his hometown. References to the city don’t come up, but this well known Front Range artist is a staple of a vital, vibrant component of the local music scene. Our solo artist goes soft and soulful with variations in vocal delivery that keep this track interesting while showcasing a certain diligence of Hawk’s songwriting and musical composition abilities. The ultimately cheery melody alongside the sometimes lamenting lyrical content lend an authenticity and a fresh uplift, despite sometimes hard feelings. And that’s love.

11. Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, Even Better Times (2014), “Denver Rock City”

“Denver Rock City” comes at you straight with punk’n’party roll. They sing of changes Denver’s undergone or undergoing in the same lyrical breath as they sing of a stubborn personal refusal to change one’s ways or intentions. They tell you flat out, “And I know it’s a shame South Broadway is gone, but we’re all still kickin’ man- the party’s never gonna stop.” Bud Bronson & The Good Timers full-bodied guitar with rock rolling drums brings the perfect backdrop to keep said party going musically without you ever having to reduce yourself to vodka redbull to do it. They even got me to give it up for John Elway without thinking twice, and I’ve never seen The Denver Broncos play. Live or on television.

12. Lotus, Nomad (2005), “Colorado”

Get in the recliner, chez lounge, or down on the ground and lay on your back because it’s time to float off into full relaxation mode. Mike Greenfield’s light whisking of brushes on the drums and tender splashes on the cymbals combined with Luke Miller and Mike Rempel’s warm and restful guitar chords take you there inherently. It’s an instrumental love homage to Colorado. Considering both the song title, and this track’s downtempo lounge music vibe, you can easily imagine yourself wandering on a warm Colorado summer on a sunset mountain trail with zero of effort (either in imagining, or in physical labor). Chill.

13. Small Hands, This is Our Colorado (Single, 2011), “This is Our Colorado”

Small Hands’ (aka Richie Wallace’s) first two influences listed on Facebook are Hunter S. Thompson and Wu-Tang Clang. Chances are good that could be someone from many places, but any Coloradoan familiar with its literary and musical ties know the two are staples on the scene. If you’re even remotely familiar with the Boulder area, Small Hands will give you known coordinates that stimulate crisp mental visuals in no time. If you’re not familiar with it whatsoever, carefully crafted and accessible lyricism create a mental picture that won’t have you missing out on the joyride: “Lookin’ at the mountain silhouette… sky ahead, electric blue… Towering rocks tempting you to climb… Yellow aspen like fire in a sea of pine…” The song cruises and lets the visuals seep through its hip-hop poetics and uncomplicated, rich electronic and drum backbeats. Smooth.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to take a listen to this playlist and more Colorado music playlists at BolderBeat.

-Joliene

All songs per the artists featured.

Balanced Breakfast Bash Warmed Up Denver On Its First Snowy Night Last Week

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Each month the creative minds at Balanced Breakfast gather to discuss various key topics in Denver’s music scene. With the help of the organizers, hosts, and the equally passionate members, Balanced Breakfast serves as a group of local music industry professionals paving the way for an even more fruitful music scene for artists and music-lovers alike.

Last Thursday, November 17th, Balanced Breakfast hosted the Balanced Breakfast Bash, a music showcase where the walls of Syntax Physic Opera came alive with the musical stylings of Twin Flame Medicine, Amy Kress, and The Lollygags.

Twin Flame Medicine. 

Twin Flame Medicine. 

Syntax is easily one of my favorite intimate music venues in the city. Its cozy, warm-lit atmosphere and intricate wall decorations have your eyes wandering constantly, and the lounge-style arrangement near the stage keeps vibes cool and classy. Not to mention that they happen to serve the best Old Fashioneds, or “Corn Punks,” I’ve ever had.

Twin Flame Medicine took the stage first at the Balanced Breakfast Bash, serenading everyone with their soothing, groovy vibrations. Fronted by lead singer and ukulele player Monalicious, this band is one to most definitely check out if you have the chance. Their bluesy feel and funky melodies will beckon you into a calm and positive mindset. Check out their song “Style” for a little taste of what they’re about.

The Lollygags.

The Lollygags.

Rocky Mountain locals The Lollygags brought up the energy and kept true to their form next, gracing the stage with their grunge rock’n’roll vibes. Frontman Jonathan Snyder’s facial expressions and guitar solos were enough to grab anyone’s attention, but the entire band's presence was confident, cool, and ready to rock. Listen to their EP People I Know and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Amy Kress.

Amy Kress.

Finally, electronic pop artist Amy Kress closed the evening with her booming vocals and soulful style. Switching between pure vocals, piano, and with Joel Rekiel on drums, Kress delivered a powerful, dance-worthy performance that had me humming her songs days later. She played a number of fan favorites, including hits from her recent album Fly.

Reed Fuchs.

Reed Fuchs.

Reed Fuchs, a Balanced Breakfast host who also happens to front Denver’s surrealist group DéCollage, provided the mellow but sultry interludes between artists with his DJ sets.

Balanced Breakfast Bash was the perfect way to warm up during the season’s first chilly snow. Keep in touch with the folks at Balanced Breakfast on their Facebook, and stay tuned for more upcoming announcements, meetups, and info on shindigs like this awesome bash from BolderBeat.

-Jura

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.

The Final Day of The UMS 2016 Showcased Powerful Females & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The final day of UMS 2016 started off slow, which was unsurprising given the late night slew of shows on Saturday. Small crowds of zombies, still with a rock’n’roll twinkle in their eyes and glow stick goo on their shoes, wandered into the main stage area around 2PM in a noticeably lower attendance than the day before, but no matter. There was shade. And shade at The UMS is a hard commodity to come by.

DeCollage.

DeCollage.

As I wandered around South Broadway in those early Sunday hours, I found myself reflecting on what was overall an amazing weekend in local music. Having the chance to bounce around from venue to venue for four straight days checking out bands was this girl’s dream come true. It was a heck of a weekend Denver! So let’s chat about yesterday’s shows:

My favorite thing about Sunday at The UMS was the number of female-fronted performances I saw. Say what you will; the music industry is still very male dominated, whether you’re looking at artists or those behind the scenes. But ladies repped The UMS stages yesterday, from the smaller venues to the main shabang.

Millicent.

Millicent.

Let’s start with Millicent. Fronted by Emily Knurr, Millicent is a vibe pop project making Colorado waves. Knurr delighted a growing crowd at 3 Kings Tavern, many of whom admitted to being pulled in by the sound of her voice echoing outside of the venue. Her deep and magnetically smooth vocals pulled people close to the stage as she sang songs from her last EP Deux, a Drake cover, and some of her newer music (which has been all over OpenAir, so tune in!) She was stellar.

Shady Elders.

Shady Elders.

Shady Elders took the stage next, an indie rock/dream pop four-piece out of Denver fronted by Fox Rodemich. Rodemich also plays lead guitar and soon after starting the set, she turned the dance floor into a vibey haven of indie. 3 Kings was really the spot to be for indie over the weekend, and Shady Elders fit right in. They had an impressive crowd for an early Sunday show, and kept people groovin’.

Adia Victoria.

Adia Victoria.

Adia Victoria played the main stage mid-afternoon Sunday. The Nashville-based songwriter and vocalist's most recent album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, was produced by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney). Her lyrical poeticism wrapped us up in Victoria’s world, which she describes as, “falling in love, dealing with loss, confusion, anger, love, and loving myself”. Victoria had an Erykah Badu sound wrapped in a tasty indie sandwich. It was delicious.

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

Ready to rock, I rolled to the Hi-Dive, where The Velveteers were already performing. Frontwoman Demi Demitro was ablaze onstage in a glittering golden jacket belting out powerful heavy rock tunes. Her golden curls covered her face, giving her a mysterious glow that you couldn’t look away from. She jumped around stage while slamming on lead guitar and headbanging with the crowd, and her drippy choruses were catchy and captivating. Demitro is one lady you have to see live, Denver.

Cold River City. 

Cold River City. 

Cold River City, who dropped their latest full length album Thank You. Sorry. Love You. earlier this year, took the Hi-Dive stage in the early evening. The Boulder/Denver five-piece, who describe themselves as, “the love child of funky soul and dirty blues” brought a party. With grooving bass lines, strummy licks, and frontwoman Emma Fields’ killer voice, the crowd boogied throughout their set. Fields jumped between guitar, shakers, lead vocals, and even some toy instruments. CRC rocked, and they kept the evening moving along with a fun energy.

San Fermin.

San Fermin.

San Fermin took the main stage next, a Brooklyn-based eight-piece who are as fun to watch as they are to listen to. The group has had a lot of steam behind them recently, thanks to their release Jackrabbit, and after hearing them live, it’s easy to see why. With a robust horn section (John Brandon, Stephen Chen), Rebekah Durham’s violin playing, and lead vocals running between Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate, this group brought incredible instrumentation to the outdoor stage that echoed throughout the bellows of Broadway.

Polica.

Polica.

Polica then closed out the main stage as Sunday’s headliner. The brainchild of Channy Leaneagh, Polica played across their catalogue for their set, but are currently touring on their release, United Crushers. And that’s fitting since the Minneapolis-based project crushed their set! With dual drummers and Leaneagh’s commanding vocals, Polica was the perfect outdoor close to a great weekend of music.

BANDITS.

BANDITS.

Once the main stage shuttered shut and the crowds funneled to smaller venues, I took to the Hi-Dive again, where Denver’s BANDITS were straight shredding. Sibling duo John and Lulu Demitro are the creators of this three-piece, with the multi-talented Andrew Oakley on drums. John (guitar/vocals) was an alluring showman, with a rock’n’roll edge that kept us locked on the band’s set wondering what he would do next. Whether he's scratching his guitar on the monitor or running into the crowd, energy at any BANDITS set is guaranteed to be high. And Lulu, on bass and vocals, was equally powerful in her stage presence, holding down tight bass lines, and getting the crowd to sing along with her on tunes like, “Kill Tonight”, which she’s described as a track inspired by “a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, a psychotic way of looking at yourself and letting the crazy side take over”. The crazy did take over, as BANDITS slayed into the final night of the festival.

Beyond all of these female-fronted acts, I caught some rockin’ dudes on Sunday as well that are obviously worth mentioning. Denver’s DeCollage helped people get weird with their opening set of the day, with crazy visual props, a live painter onstage, and even a dancing oyster. Ian Cook brought a beautiful grace to the stage with his amazing cello playing and a set of songs inspired by fossils and dinosaurs. Modern Leisure, who we recently wrote about here, had a super chill and groovy set at 3 Kings that kept the afternoon moving along nicely. And last but not least: Denver’s The Yawpers managed to not only rile up a half-dead crowd into a riotous dance party of foot-stompin’, head shakin’ fun, but they somehow even got the sun to come out for their set. They brought life to the stage in more ways than one; you just gotta love these guys. Seriously- take a listen.

We had a blast at The UMS this weekend, and hope you did too Colorado! Make sure to head over to our Facebook for all of our exclusive photos from The UMS!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

15 Must-See Bands at The Underground Music Showcase 2016

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Denver’s premier indie festival, Underground Music Showcase, is back for its 15th year and ready to kick it into high gear. The four-day festival (July 28-31) will take place in the eclectic Baker Neighborhood, with over 400 performances showcasing an array of talent. With so many incredible performers to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Even so, we thought we’d help out by sharing our picks of must-see artists (in no particular order) at this year’s festival.

RL Cole and the Angels

With a voice like warm molasses and a sinfully inviting way with the guitar, RL Cole’s music will take you to another dimension that resembles the underground New Orleans Voodoo rock scene.

Gasoline Lollipops

"Dirt floor folk with the energy and rebelliousness of punk" is one of the phrases used to describe Gasoline Lollipops. You’re sure to get a high-energy set with these guys, who are no strangers to entertaining large crowds.

Plum

Psychedelic rock fans will not want to miss Plum’s performance. Their groovadelic sound and overall stage persona will make you move between headbanging to swaying with trance-like delusions.

Lee Fields & The Expressions

With a worldwide music career that spans over 40 years, Lee Fields set will be history unfolding in front of you. From lo-fi rock to Southern blues, all soul fanatics must get themselves to this show.

Porlolo

It’s “creep rock” mixed with folk flavor and dream-like vocals sure to bring out all the feels. If you’re in the mood to float into some music, check out Porlolo and let yourself vibe a bit.

Open to the Hound

Enter into singularity with Open to the Hound, who are not afraid of exploring the weird. They’re wilderness rock, grunge folk, and a ton of fun to watch.

Methyl Ethel

Australian-made and internationally-known alternative pop group Methyl Ethel aim to dissociate their fans from the present and bring them into their musical multiverse.

Sunboy

Another psychedelic treat for any attendees who want to escape themselves for a bit, Sunboy’s multi-layered musical concoctions will leave you talking about their set for weeks.

Thee Oh Sees

Garage rock, psych-pop rock, or however you interpret their style, Thee Oh Sees are a headliner you do not want to miss.

SPELLS

Often known for saying “screw it” to the stage, SPELLS will have you moshing, flailing, screaming, and sweating all over each other.

Dirty Few

Dirty Few is the perfect group to celebrate your Saturday night second wave with. Their party ‘til you drop mentality is sure to blow the roof off of the devilishly fun Hi-Dive.

KITTY CRIMES

If you’re a fan of badass chicks who can rap, sing, and play guitar, check out KITTY CRIMES, who will keep your booty shaking even after her set is over.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

Playing at their second home, the Hi-Dive, Bud Bronson & The Good Timers are a group of hilariously charismatic rockers who just want their fans to have a good time. Their feel-good summertime party rock is impossible not to like, so grab a beer and get in on the fun.

DéCollage

One of the most unique sets I’ve ever witnessed came from DéCollage. With costumes, lights, fog machines, and shiny mylar galore, you won’t be able to stop your body from moving.

The Yawpers

Rock music resembling the moments right before a fever breaks, The Yawpers will leave you wide-eyed and craving another dose of their mania.

The UMS this year is bound to be one for the books, and with so many talented performers on the bill, it is encouraged to see every band you possibly can. If you can barely walk by day four, you’ve done it right. So grab those tickets, coordinate your schedule, and prepare yourself for a wild weekend. We'll see you out there!

-Jura

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

Westword Music Showcase 2016 Served Up Denver's Best Of The Best

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Festival season is in full force, and this past weekend was one for the books for Denver music lovers. Last Saturday, the city was taken over by Coors Light South Platte Riverfest, Denver Taco Festival, and of course, the 22nd Annual Westword Music Showcase.

The crowd at Westword. Photo Credit:  Ashleigh

The crowd at Westword. Photo Credit: Ashleigh

The Westword Music Showcase offered the chance to frolic freely around Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, bouncing between the festival grounds and a number of bars in the area. This ten-hour-long jam-fest brought some big names to the table, but what was truly special about it was the opportunity to immerse oneself in over 100 local music acts that transcended a wide spectrum of genres.

888. Photo Credit:  Aimee Giese

888. Photo Credit: Aimee Giese

My day began at the Mike’s Hard Lemonade stage, which shared the space with the Coors Light stage. While there, I watched local alternative pop/rock band 888 deliver an electrifying performance. I then moved on to City Hall’s Cue Room, which was home to local musical collective and youth empowerment group YOR (Youth on Record) & The 10th Avenue Exchange. Their main room hosted the talented and unapologetically bizarre KITTY CRIMES.

Listen to our Westword Music Showcase 2016 playlist:

Stoney’s Bar catered to Porlolo and Eros and the Eschaton, both of which emanated the delicate power of what I like to think of as “dream rock.” Cosmic roots rock band Bison Bone took the stage afterward, and had the crowd jumping around and praising the afternoon light.

SPELLS. Photo Credit: Charlotte

SPELLS. Photo Credit: Charlotte

One of my favorite acts of the festival was DeCollage, who transformed the stage at Bar Standard into an underwater psych-tropolis. They reminded us that dancing clams, iridescent cellophane, and fog machines can make anyone’s day that much better. Their cosmic and disarranged pop style forced bodies to explore new movements and decipher hidden rhythms. They were followed by Brent Cowles, former member of You Me & Apollo, whose startlingly beautiful voice is only matched by his complex guitar work.

As the day crept on, the waning daylight was matched by continually amplified tunes, thanks to crazed punk garage band SPELLS, who damn near tore the roof off of The Church, and another personal favorite, Dirty Few. Both had the crowds moshing and sweating all over each other, and Dirty Few even enticed an attendee to jump off of Broadway's rooftop into the arms of the crowd. You can always count on Dirty Few to make your heart skip a few beats and deliver one hell of a good time.

Cold War Kids. Photo Credit: Katelyn

Cold War Kids. Photo Credit: Katelyn

The crowd pleasing Matt and Kim and Cold War Kids both had huge turnouts, and had the crowds singing their tunes. Finally, the festival’s headliner, EDM powerhouse Dillon Francis, gathered an entirely different crowd than the rest of the festival, and kicked it up a notch for anyone who may have mistakenly thought they were too tired to keep dancing.

Matt and Kim. Photo Credit:  Jillian Granger

Matt and Kim. Photo Credit: Jillian Granger

Westword Music Showcase left me drained, but totally fulfilled. It reminded me why I moved to this beautiful and eclectic city. If you didn’t have the chance to check out this festival, never fear! You’ll have another chance to get in on the Colorado festival action with Underground Music Showcase, which takes place on South Broadway Avenue from July 28-31. This festival showcases amazing local acts, alongside big-name headliners. So go grab those tickets now- you don’t want to miss out CO!

-Jura

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