Denver's Underground Music Showcase Proves It's Once Again Unlike Anything Else in Denver

By: Adrienne Thomas 

Denver’s Underground Music Showcase truly is the highlight of the year for many local music lovers, and this year was no exception. As far as multi-venue festivals go, UMS is a well executed one, and was a smooth experience for concertgoers. The “official” UMS venues spanned about 7 blocks down South Broadway, and included 3 separate outdoor stage areas. Most venues had their own vibe, like the punk and modular synth daytime-dark shows at the Hi-Dive, late-night crooner showcases at Skylark Lounge, house and techno dance parties at the 303 Magazine “Green Rom” below 3 Kings Tavern, and the intimate singer/songwriter serenades at South Broadway Christian Church. Simply put, there was always a place to go for everyone, with plenty of food trucks and friends to run into along the way. The heat, once accepted, couldn't hinder the excitement of seeing dozens of local gems and national touring favorites. 

Some of our UMS 2019 local highlights included Anthony Ruptak, Maya Bennett, and Kiltro, who drew devoted fans out in large crowds. Claire Heywood sang to us in church, Pout House jammed out at the Hi-Dive, and Ramakhandra and Emma Mayes & The Hip gave all their energy to a packed 3 Kings Tavern crowd. Favorite touring acts included Earthgang, who included the new J. Cole collab “Dreamville” in their set and even brought crowd members on stage for a very real dance-off. The latin rhythms and energy of Y La Bamba and Chicano Batman also made for a great time, and LA-based soul duo Annabelle Maginnis smiled in a furry two-piece through a killer R&B, upbeat soul set. Still, while the national touring acts may help sell tickets, we all know it’s the local artists who make the UMS something special. There’s no Colorado festival quite like the UMS, so here’s ‘til next year!

See more photos from UMS 2019 here.

-Adrienne

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

Our Top Picks to See at Denver's Underground Music Showcase 2019

By: Adrienne Thomas 

During the last weekend in July, the Underground Music Showcase brings out Denver’s local music scene, along with a handful of national headliners. Affectionately known around town as UMS, the festival came to life in the early 2000s when The Denver Post decided to ask local music experts to name the region’s “Top 10 Underground Bands” in an effort to rouse more interest and support for the local scene, as well as to cultivate a city that successful bands want to stay in. The festival’s evolution continued last year, when Two Parts took ownership of the festival under the direction of Tobias Krause, exciting supporters at the potential for new spins by the local event and marketing agency.

Headlining names this year definitely worth checking out include Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Still Woozy, Y La Bamba, and Earthgang. Also worth checking out are two hip-hop wild cards from Chicago: Rich Jones and RapperChicks. Let’s dig into these acts, shall we?

Y La Bamba.

Y La Bamba.

Chicano Batman is a Latin psychedelic soul and funk four-piece, so bring dancing shoes to this wildly percussive show. Stoner rockers Black Mountain will show up for the lovers, heady beach followers, and spirited grunge rock fans inside all of us. Still Woozy joins soul/pop melodies and raps together with smooth electronic bounces for a uniquely lovable style. Y La Bamba is an incredibly diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams. Earthgang, the fresh and unrivaled hip hop heroes from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D., will definitely be a UMS highlight to close out Sunday night.

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The lineup of local bands is beautifully long, and sometimes overwhelming, but mostly a glorious scroll through the talented musicians who walk our Broadways and Colfaxes every day. The heart of UMS is really just a big party where all the best local shows you’re invited to all year happen again- this time all at once- throughout the course of one weekend. Don’t sleep this time. Organize an interactive schedule of your own for the weekend here. But if that’s too much, here’s a list of favorites: 

FRIDAY 07/26

6:00 Corsicana @ Skylark Lounge - Ambient shoegaze that will make for a smooth start to the festival

6:20 Sophie Meiers @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Dreamy electro-pop from Durango

7:00 Extra Gold @Hi-Dive - Kickass country y’all

7:20 Still Woozy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Playful and melodic chill-hop with a devoted following

7:20 RapperChicks @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Self-described as “3 badass women who rap, sing, play & melt faces all by ourselves” from Chicago

8:00 Claire Heywood @ South Broadway Christian Church - Raspy bird songwriter known for poetic lyrics and soulful vocals and melodies

8:30pm Black Mountain @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Stoner rockers, go for a worthy rock show

9:00 f-ether @ Blue Ice - Electronic compositions, house music, dance party and big mountain energy

10:00 Motion Trap @ Denver Drumz & Music - Dreamy synth dance grooves 

11:00 The Velveteers @ 3 Kings Tavern - Heavy grunge-rock trio, double drummers, powerful female lead

11:00 The Hollow @ The Hornet - Alt rock with horse blinding attitude 

11:00 LITELVL @ Denver Drumz & Music - Triptastic soundscapes 

12:00 Oko Tygra @ The Irish Rover Pub - Dark and dreamy 80’s pop

1:00 @ Skylark Lounge - Shred rock with indie, Latin & ska feels

SATURDAY 07/27

12:40 Kiltro @ The Irish Rover Pub - Experimental folk mixes with Chilean guitar, makes dance party

2:00 Oxeye Daisy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - A nod to the 90’s, youthful synth/guitar rock band

2:40 Slowcaves @ The Irish Rover Pub - Indie rock with beach vibes 

3:00 Whole Milk @ Skylark Lounge - Surf jazz

4:00 Erin Stereo @ Blue Ice - House/Club DJ extraordinaire

5:00 Chicano Batman @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Latin psychedelic soul/funk 4-piece

6:00 Sur Ellz @ Blue Ice - Future space funk R&B

7:00 OptycNerd @ Blue Ice - Electro indie pop 

7:30 Rich Jones @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Prolific Chicago hip hop artist and evolving pop/soul creator, legendary presence

8:00 Decollage @ Denver Drumz & Music - Kaleidoscope avante-garde pop

9:00 Whiskey Autumn @ The Irish Rover Pub - “Prom jams from the future” meets indie psych synth surf rock

10:00 Anthony Ruptak @ Denver Drumz & Music - One of Denver’s singer/songwriters that we just can’t get enough of

10:00 Definitely, Maybe @ Moe’s Original BBQ - Lush percussive and vocal layering makes this psych rock duo very important to experience live

11:00 Random Temple @ Denver Distilling Co. - Electronic and acoustic instrumentalist known for diverse harmonies and eclectic, high-energy sets

12:00 The Cosmic Ball @ 3 Kings Tavern - A mix of Denver bands partnered with psychedelic production company Synesthesia which is likely to promise awesome visuals and glitter vibes

1:00 Retrofette @ 3 Kings Tavern - Part of the Cosmic Ball lineup, this synth group is not one to miss

SUNDAY 07/28

12:00 Laura Goldhammer @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Classic Americana merges with quirky styling to create socially-conscious folk music often accompanied by her stop-motion videos

1:00 Katie of The Spirettes @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Ethereal guitar-driven rock

2:20 YaSi @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Much like her Iranian-American upbringing, her music is a melting pot, with a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and pop 

3:20 Kyle Emerson @ Goodwill - Buzzy indie rock

4:00 Bellhoss @ Denver Drumz & Music - Female-led folk meets DIY punk

4:30 Flaural @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Spacey psych-rock band best known for drifting and dancing

5:00 Levi Double U @ The Irish Rover Pub - NuDisco beats 

6:00 Moon Hammer @ 3 King Tavern - A ragtag supergroup of unpredictable and wavy tunes

6:20 Y La Bamba @ Knockout State at Punch Bowl Social - Diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams

7:00 Big Dopes @ The Hornet - A modern 90s alt-feel with steady grooves 

7:55 Earthgang @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Hip hop duo from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D

8:00 Bun Bun @ Baere Brewing Company - Future Shock Bee Wave G-House

9:00 Cheap Perfume @ Denver Drumz & Music - Long-standing feminist punk-rock band from Colorado Springs

9:00 Emma Mayes & The Hip @ 3 Kings Tavern - “Highly Important People” making highly important music, a soul/funk/jazz band joining complex horn arrangements with lush harmonies

10:00 Los Mocochetes @ 3 Kings Tavern - Latin gypsy-funk band

11:00 Ramakhandra @ 3 Kings Tavern - Hip hop/soul fusion, with a pedal harp!

12:00 The Guestlist @ 3 Kings Tavern - Modern blues & soul

1:00 Ned Garthe Explosion @ Hi-Dive - Kinda bad, kinda rad but definitely a party to end the weekend

Whether you create a guide this year for your own UMS, follow ours, or just wander, discover, and repeat, give my Underground Music Showcase playlist a listen on Spotify. And if you haven’t yet, get your UMS tickets here!

-Adrienne 

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

The Growlers Bring Beach Goth to The Mile High

By: Taylor Naiman

On Friday night, Orange County’s The Growlers brought their Beach Goth 2019 tour to Denver’s Ogden Theatre for the first of two nights in the Mile High City. After their last sold-out show in Denver, it was time for a double-feature. 

The Growlers at The Ogden Theatre.

The Growlers at The Ogden Theatre.

The show had a minimalist stage, with the only vibrant color coming from the lights and a large “The Growlers” banner on the back of the stage. There was nothing that was outright ornate about the stage; this isn’t a band who needs to dwell in “extra.” Looking around the room, people were dancing or drinking with friends. This was a relaxed set, and it continued to maintain the chill throughout its entirety. The band’s stylistic approach channels a mixture of the surf and embodies sounds of a beach with a splash of disco, but all the while, this is a band steeped in their California roots and the laid-back energy that goes along with it. 

The crowd.

The crowd.

Watching frontman Brooks Nielsen onstage with his thick, messy black hair, outfitted in Vans and a striped shirt, he easily oozed cool. Even when the band made a mistake on “Vacant Lot,” he went with the flow and molded the verse to what he wanted it to be in that moment. He’s someone who clearly feels at home in his role. With such a versatile vocal range and a voice dissimilar to anyone else in the industry, it is quite an experience to see this band live with Nielsen at the helm. 

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The Growlers sound is unique, and with over 10 years in this industry, they are continuing to gain new influences in their music. It’s funky, groovy, and gives us a slight nostalgic tinge of the 70s right here in 2019. Of course the setlist was comprised of work from their newer releases, but it was a major highlight hearing the gems from their 2016 album, City Club, such as “When You Were Made,” “Dope On A Rope,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Night Ride,” and the title track “City Club.” 

From crowd-surfing to seeing someone storming the stage for the last setlist, The Growlers shows are a blast to be a part of. If you haven’t yet, get on your California groove and listen here.

-Taylor

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

Travers Brothership Return to Colorado After European Tour; Set to Play a Host of Local Shows

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Haling all the way from North Carolina, Travers Brothership will be gracing us with their unconventional, improv-driven live performance, playing gigs across Colorado this week. I had the privilege to chat with Kyle Travers, the guitar and one-third of the vocals of the band. Read on: 

Travers Brothership just finished their first European tour, and Kyle was pleased with the band’s shows abroad: “We were received really well, way better than I expected,” he says, “I think the Europeans are craving that homegrown American sound and because we have that jazz and rock’n’roll vibe, I think they really liked us. And some even knew who we were!” 

Travers Brothership.

Travers Brothership.

Kyle continues about the band’s current state saying, “It’s a somewhat unfathomable feeling to be where we are as a band at this point. Since we became more successful and were signed by Madison House, touring has become a serious part of our lives. I think all four of us love traveling, so being on the road is not a big deal. It’s a blast for me- I love adventure and meeting new people. But what’s really great about it is that we don’t have to do any side jobs anymore when we come home. It feels great not having to put up dry-wall or pick up a hammer or go work in a restaurant on our days off the road. Now, Eric and I will go play golf instead!”

Eric and Kyle Travers are twins. They were born into a musical family; their father Hurricane Bob Travers was a traveling, touring rock’n’roll musician.

“When we were about four years old, our dad gave us toy musical instruments. By the time we were seven, the toys were replaced with real instruments, and that’s really how it all began. Fast forward a few years; by the time we were 12 years old, we were playing biker bars and private events. I consider us really lucky to have had supportive parents who would drive us to these gigs when we were too young to go anywhere.” Kyle laughs. 

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Travers Brothership became a cohesive band when a group of friends, who happened to be neighbors, started jamming together in the Travers house basement. Kyle explains, “Eric and I didn’t want to be the focus of the group and we wanted to expand beyond just the two of us.  That’s why we’re called Travers Brothership and not something like ‘The Travers Brothers Band.’ We really see the band as a community and we all play a major role in the creative process.”   

From Jimmy Hendrix to Donnie Hathaway, Travers Brothership’s influences mesh succinctly, moving from rock’n’roll into soul both smoothly and precisely. The band’s latest album has moved from a harder rock’n’roll vibe into the soul realm more than ever before. 

“I think we owe it to my brother Eric and our bassist Josh Clark, more than anything else, for changing directions a bit. Eric was really getting into Wilson Picket and other 70s soulful artists, while Josh was into Donnie Hathaway and Marvin Gaye. Naturally, from listening to these artists, a lot of our sound started to morph. Aggressive, coming for you mentality will always be at the core of who we are as a band, but it’s important for a band to grow and evolve. Naturally, what you listen to will show in what music you write. And at the end of the day, we always like to challenge ourselves as musicians.” Kyle muses. 

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Eric and Kyle Travers, and the band’s bassist Josh Clark contribute to the vocals of the band and it’s their three-part harmonies, which have caught the eyes and ears of spectators over the years. Their unique three-part harmonies are their signature talent and what they’re most known for. Says Kyle, “Some people who have heard us play, even fans in Europe, compared us to Queen because of our three-part harmonies. It’s pretty crazy!” 

And when it comes to showing off their talent onstage, Kyle says, “We’re a high-energy band onstage. Our motto is to ‘break a sweat and play to the best of our ability, give everything we got from the heart.’ We’re kind of a jam band, so during our live shows, we improvise a lot. Improvisation is one of the most creative ways to be… if you listen to Sun Ra or Thelonious Monk, they’re breaking every rule in the book and they are held in high regard!” 

The band has already toured the nation with established bands like Charles Bradley, Taj Mahal, Moe, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Blues Traveler, Robert Randolph, Leftover Salmon, Trombone Shorty, The Marcus King Band, Dr. John, and many more. Their most recent album Let the World Decide dropped last December, and now they are embarking on a massive national tour in support of it. Among the Colorado gigs they have lined up, some of them are Denver’s Cervantes Other Side on July 12th, The Lazy Dog in Boulder (which is a free show!) on July 13th, and Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins on July 17th. 

Keep up with Travers Brothership 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.

Westword Music Showcase's 25th Anniversary Brought Together Artists, Friends & Powerful Frontwomen

By: Taylor Naiman

On Saturday, the Westword Music Showcase overtook the streets of Denver’s Golden Triangle. Though it was a 97-degree day with the sun overhead at all times, everyone had a beer in hand and seemed to be unbothered by the heat. People were happy and excited just to hear some brand new music from local and national artists alike. From the bars to the clubs, there were plenty of venues along Broadway and Lincoln Street to escape the heat while enjoying some good tunes. Rather than occupying a bunch of stages outside, Westword Music Showcase nurtures local businesses, with a majority of the sets taking place at various bars and clubs including Bar Standard, Stoney’s, 100% De Agave, Mirus Gallery, #VYBE, Club Vinyl and The Church. This amalgamation of local businesses and bands allowed people to discover new venues, new music, and new people along the way.

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this one-day music festival is a staple of the Denver community. It has been a successful launch-pad for many local artists over the years, including the likes of DeVotchKa and 3OH!3. This year, we caught some big-name acts such as Jai Wolf, Bishop Briggs, Yasi and CHVRCHES, among others on the main stages. Bishop Briggs was a fan-favorite, with her powerhouse voice and contagious smile. The last time she was in Denver was for her set at the now defunct Grandoozy. At Westword, Briggs was loving every minute of her Mile High set, running from one end of the stage to the next, unphased by the altitude or the heat. The audience was treated to some of her new music, while also hearing  the entirety of her Church of Scars album. 

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Denver Westword’s Music Showcase presents an essential platform for artists to share their craft and tell their story. Music delivers a message and over the day, we heard a lot of stories Denver’s local rock’n’roll band Los Mocochetes used their music to address today’s political issues, such as immigration. At the end of their set, they told us, “Dance is a form of prayer.” We definitely love our music out here in Colorado, and it was a blast to see the differing forms of expression coming from the artists and concert-goers.

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Westword Music Showcase is all about supporting the local scene, and thrives on the concept of concert-goers discovering the unknown or what may be an undiscovered talent. The Showcase this year was jam-packed with a culmination of genres curated for diverse tastes. Throughout the day, it was nice walking the grounds, running into friends having a drink together. This fest is a “squad up and see that new band you have not heard of” type of event. It thrives on the idea to not listen to one type of genre, but rather to branch out and hear a new voice. The beauty of this Showcase is that you will, without a doubt, discover a new musician or band to follow on Spotify

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Whether rocking out to Cheap Perfume or The Velveteers, it was a breath of fresh air seeing Colorado frontwomen take charge and own the stage. The festival also featured a number of strong national female acts, including Lauren Eve Mayberry, the lead singer of CHVRCHES, and aforementioned Bishop Briggs.

If you didn’t get the chance to go to Westword Music Showcase this year, listen to their festival playlist here! We’re already looking forward to Westword’s 2020 announcement. 

See more photos from this festival here.

-Taylor 

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

Dizzy Wright Ended His Recent Tour in Denver with a Nipsey Hussle Tribute & More

By: Moriel O'Connor

If you were like me, you spent your high school days hotboxing in your friend’s Pontiac while banging rap music on back roads. It seemed more badass back then, when you had to steer clear of the cops and put in eyedrops before going back to physics class. Now, cannabis is easy to get ahold of, and you don’t have to worry about the CD scratching and skipping over your favorite lines. Still, there is nothing like lighting up and getting down.

Dizzy Wright.

Dizzy Wright.

For real, name a more iconic duo than weed and hip hop. I’ll wait. Dizzy Wright gets this, and he’s even got his own strain. He rolls his own blunts and keeps it real. Cruising to Colorado from his hometown of Las Vegas, he finished off his recent tour at Cervantes’ last weekend.

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During his set, Dizzy praised to be “a mile high,” saying Denver was his favorite city to visit. He also paid respect to Nipsey Hussle. Dizzy’s music stands out from most modern day rap with authenticity and truth. He is an independent artist whose lyrics and spirit show passion and integrity, encouraging others to take back their power. Dizzy’s been rapping since he was a child and recently released his album, Nobody Cares, Work Harder, collabing with Mozzy, Tech N9ne, Berner, Curren$y, Jarren Benton and Demrick.

So if you weren’t at Cervantes’ this last weekend, or even if you were, roll up, view my shots from the show, and listen to Dizzy’s latest album here. Much love. 

-Moriel

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

Nick Murphy fka as Chet Faker Hits Ogden Theatre This Friday With New Music

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Here’s a little gossip for you: not long ago, legendary music producer Rick Rubin hit up Nick Murphy, the artist formerly known as Chet Faker, to suggest they collaborate and create some music together. Murphy wasn’t convinced. But after some sweet talking and email exchanges (and the irresistible gravity of Rubin’s reputation), Murphy found himself working with Rubin at Shangri La, Malibu’s famous music studio. Rubin was also the first to throw out the idea that Chet Faker change his artist name back to his birth name, a risk Murphy took for the betterment of himself as an artist, even at the risk of losing everything he built as Chet Faker. A brave and genuine move, it beckons respect and sparks an interest in hearing his new stuff and upcoming projects.

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Fast forward to April 2019, when Run Fast Sleep Naked was released as Nick Murphy’s latest project, co-produced by Dave Harrington. Murphy’s album is actually pretty good. It’s definitely NOT Chet Faker. Though his voice is still recognizable, everything else about the songs and the album as a whole is refreshingly new. Since its release, it has received a number of positive reviews. The AV Club even wrote, "Run Fast Sleep Naked is Murphy’s unbridled catharsis, vacillating between starry-eyed epiphany and startling heartache. It’s a bumpy ride, but still one worth taking."

Curious about seeing Murphy’s transformation in person? Lucky for you, he’s headed to Denver this week! Nick Murphy hits the Ogden Theatre this Friday, June 21st with tickets here. See you at the show!

-Mirna

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

Lettuce's New Record 'Elevate' Will Help You Do Just That + See the Band Live This Saturday, June 15th at Red Rocks

By: Mirna Tufekcic

What happens when a group of award-winning musicians conspire and take three years to incubate a new album? Pure awesomeness, that’s what! I had the privilege to preview Lettuce’s upcoming album Elevate, which drops this Friday June 14th, and boy oh boy, am I excited to share the news! Elevate is a sweet nectar of melodies and sounds emitting only the good vibes you can groove to, hoop to, clean to, and live to! Finally, a spankin’ new, sparklin’ fresh album of 11 songs that make you want to hear more than the record can hold. It’s not often that a band can pull that off these days, so when it does happen the feelings felt are undeniable. Yep, that’s how good it is. Elevate is f*cking awesome.

Lettuce. Photo Credit: Casey Flanigan

Lettuce. Photo Credit: Casey Flanigan

Oh I’m sorry, was it too presumptuous of me to assume you already knew who Lettuce are and jump right into raving about their upcoming album? Forgive me. I’ll start you off on your discovery right here: If you love funky music, then get yourself acquainted with these dudes. They’re super. Lettuce has released something like seven or eight (if you count a live recording session) albums since 2002, and each record has its own wonders and musings, but Elevate really pops, snaps, and crackles with funk and hip-hop, a distinguished horn section, and all-around playfulness in primo artistry.

Based out of Denver, Colorado, Lettuce is a six-member collective of Grammy-nominated drummer and percussionist Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, bassist Erick "Jesus" Coomes, Grammy Award-winning keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Eric “Benny” Bloom.  The band exudes an eclectic, free-wheeling style while embracing a progressive and futuristic vibe, thanks to their love of improvisational music. What I said earlier about it being hard to come across a band today that produces a superb album from start to finish still holds, and Lettuce is a testament to the fact that when you follow in the footsteps of musical giants like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, and modern-day ensembles like Snarky Puppy, you are bound for greatness. If you want to get to know the members of Lettuce a little more, then are you in luck! A six-part series called The Krewe – A Lettuce Documentary Series is up on the band’s YouTube page and even features an in-depth interview with bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, plus behind-the-scenes vignettes filmed during the recording process of Elevate.

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Now, back to the album review of Elevate. Sophista-funkated with oozing swagger, Elevate opens with “Trapezoid” and sets the mood reminiscent of a universe only possible because of Lettuce. “Royal Highness,” the second track on the record, continues deeper into lounge-funk. “Krewe,” the single off the album, keeps the groove in more of a swaying, beachy vibe and you notice yourself grooving a little faster. “Love is Too Strong” is a bluesy funk tune with all the feelings, provided by those undeniably rock-blues guitar riffs. Right smack in the middle of the album is “Gang Ten,” a 13-minute tune you don’t even realize goes on for that long because, yep, you’re still grooving in a sort of perpetually-compelling state of motion. But if you know Lettuce, you know they are not shy about lengthy tracks. There are plenty of those throughout the album.

Elevate also features a couple of tasteful cover tracks, namely “Ready To Live” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” I most love “Purple Cabbage;” in my opinion it’s thee signature Lettuce track on the album. The record ends with “Trapezoid Dub,” and yes it’s got the same name as the first track, but it’s different because it’s, well, like the title implies, tastefully dubby. You see, it’s not just the distinct Lettuce funk that puts you in a trance when you listen to Elevate; there are expanded trip-hop sounds and space-age audio-samples creating a unique atmosphere as the instruments come in together and explode out into the listener’s mind. Boom!

If you’re not compelled by my enthusiastic review of the album, I’m not offended. I would just encourage you to have a listen yourself. Trust me, your ears and soul will thank you. I know mine did. Lettuce is also on a massive tour in lieu of their new album release, so you can see them across the nation. If you want to stay local, they’re playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre this Saturday, June 15th. Check out their website for more deets and dates.

-Mirna

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

COIN Making Debut Red Rocks Amphitheater Set Wednesday, June 12th

By: Elena Marti

 While they may be supporting Young the Giant and Fitz and The Tantrums on their 2019 North American Tour, COIN are no strangers to the spotlight, having made appearances at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in recent years. They’re familiar with the Colorado altitude as well, having just headlined the Gothic Theatre in Englewood in March 2018.

COIN.

COIN.

While it may appear easy to write COIN off as another cookie cutter pop group at first, the trio are incredibly good at writing songs that allow you to relate and feel understood. COIN’s third studio album is said to be released later this year, but the three-piece have already released four singles from the album including: “Growing Pains,” “Simple Romance,” “Cemetery” and “I Want it All.”

“Growing Pains” deals with the uncomfortable part of falling in love we all wish we could ignore, or at least fast-track through: when you have to put up this front, trying to be the coolest version of yourself, and overall, just desperately trying not to screw everything up. “Cemetery” confronts the dangers of spending your life focusing on money above all else with lines like, “never had time for a family/but he is the richest man in the cemetery.” The dark undertone of the lyrics is counterbalanced by the exuberant beat on this tune. For COIN fans, singles like these have listeners excited for the band’s new record.

Fortunately for you, COIN are headed back our way! On Friday, June 12th, head out early to catch COIN’s debut Red Rocks set, which will surely draw you in and keep you hooked. It’ll only take one listen for you to be singing this band in your head for the rest of the night! Get tickets while they last here and keep up with COIN at this link

-Elena

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

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.

Dynohunter Ending Their Spring Tour at Cervantes' with New Music

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Live tech-house music is not a frequent occurrence, even if you find yourself attending a lot of music festivals. However, if you are one of the festival goers who really enjoys electronic music, then live tech is what you ought to seek out if you haven’t already! What I’m getting at here festheads is Dynohunter, a live tech-house act you might have seen perform at music festivals across the country including Electric Forest, Summercamp, Joshua Tree, Sonic Bloom, Arise and others. They've opened for some of the biggest names in livetronica including Papadosio, Eoto, Opiuo, Sunsquabi, Ott, and The New Deal, and supported world renowned DJs Shpongle, Bonobo, Infected Mushroom, Klingande, and The M Machine. The trio has been on a six-week nationwide tour as of late, and they’re closing it out on May 22nd by headlining Denver’s homegrown music event Re:Search Wednesdays at Cervantes’ Other Side.To add to the shenanigans, the event will also feature Casual Commander (Sunsquabi), Aaron Bordas (Late Set), Mikey Thunder and Jordan Polovina. Needless to say, if you’re a tech-house fan, this will be one for the books!

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

It’s an added bonus if you like to dance fellow festi lover, because a live Dynohunter show is a sure way to be moved. With a sound embraced by fans of house and techno, and a live performance fueled by the organic energy of live instrumentation, their music is undeniable on the dance floor. Trust me, I’ve seen a few myself. The group’s sound is dark and tribal, peppered with worldly rhythms and deep hypnotic grooves tastefully mixed in with hard-hitting dance tracks, uplifting melodies, and soulful improvisations. This trio is truly a breath of fresh air to the world of electronic dance music. The band’s creative ways of blending deep electronic influences with live saxophone (Clark Smith), bass (Fred Reisen), and drums (Nic Thornsberry) forges a new path in the vast expanse of electronic music.

Dynohunter has released 12 EPs and three full-length records in the past four years with no sign of slowing down. Their newest releases “Third Rock from the Sun,” “Lyra” with Eli Spiral, and “Ectoplasm” have been running hot during their current tour. They’re also keeping it fresh with a single, “Night Tripper”, due for release on May 31st which you may just get to hear early if you stop by their Cervantes’ set. Come and get your electro fix on Wednesday, May 22nd and experience Dynohunter for yourself! It’s bound to be a non-stop tech-house dance party. See you on the dance floor!

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist 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.

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.

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.

Review: Lief Sjostrom's 'Impossible Parade' Focuses on Post-Rock Vibes in a Neo-Classical Fashion

By: Norman Hittle

The cello-wielding force of reckoning Lief Sjostrom has released a new EP Impossible Parade.

As with the growing body of work that is Lief Sjostrom, this EP sufficiently augments the sonic progress of his career. Almost like the next release of a trilogy or series, it makes you want to go back and hear the last pieces to fulfill the story and relive the experience again. However, Impossible Parade focuses more on the post-rock vibe in Sjostrom’s neo-classical fashion, with tracks that are laced with a bit more momentum and tension.

Impossible Parade is both canon and progressive to the tale Lief is weaving for us. It fits nicely in the sense of feeling like the composition of a somber and grieving movie or game. I have and continue to imagine the darker moments of Lord of the Rings, Vikings, Skyrim, and the Witcher series in comparison. In simpler terms, his songs have a stygian Celtic folk feel that resonates with an almost enchanted medieval era.

Lief Sjostrom.

Lief Sjostrom.

If you haven’t ventured into the ambient, yet visceral soundscapes of Lief’s previous releases, I’d encourage you to take a moment to do so. I’ve detailed his other works for BolderBeat, Counting Breaths and The Longest Night. I promise, if you enjoy Impossible Parade, you’ll enjoy all of Sjostrom’s records.

Lief will be performing Saturday, April 13th at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Make it a point to enjoy this evening by grabbing details at this link!

Keep up with Lief Sjostrom 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.

Boulder-Based Nobide Are Making Waves One Big Stage at a Time

By: Natalie Pulvino

Boulder-based live electronic band Nobide is fresh off a show at the Boulder Theater, soon to headline the Larimer Lounge, and has a lot in store for this summer’s festival season. We sat down with Nick Vann, founder of Nobide, to ask him about the band’s authentic sound, local influences, and upcoming endeavors.   

What differentiates Nobide from other live-electronic acts?

Probably our versatility- we want to make all types of music, not get caught in one sound or genre. We’ve been working on combining the production elements with the live instruments, figuring out how to allow the produced pieces to function like a band member. Our live setup is pretty crazy- I can now manipulate and change the sound of the guys as they’re playing [and] do DJ production effects live which is pretty crazy.

You’ve described Nobide to BolderBeat previously as “organic-electronica,” emphasizing the live aspect to your music. What is your process for infusing the produced pieces with the organic element to create the perfect blend?

Our process is evolving as we figure out our sound. We’re still fresh as a unit, so we’re not sticking to any one process for writing or playing- it’s all very open right now. As far as putting songs together it’s really important to me that the songs don’t come out sounding like just another band. There’s so much possibility with production and sound… I’m always looking to hear something new, both musically and in regards to how a piece actually sounds.

Are there any local live-electronic acts that you draw inspiration from?

Mxxnwatchers is making some really forward thinking stuff, as is Evanoff. Break Science are the OGs. I think we all feed off each other, but we’re all sorta doing our own thing and pushing it as far it can go. To me that’s the ideal- there doesn’t seem to be much of a point in making stuff that sounds too much like someone else.

How do you cultivate that influence while maintaining a strong sense of authenticity in your music?

I think seeing how other people approach their music is the best kind of inspiration. We try not to take what other people are actually doing musically or sonically into account and just focus on doing what sounds best to us. In that sense we have no choice but to be authentic.

Nobide recently opened for The Floozies at the Boulder Theater- what was that like for the band?

It was a huge moment for all of us. I grew up in Boulder, so it was especially exciting for me. It was so killin’ to play for the hometown crew and have them show up like that. Nobide is Boulder-bred, and I think it was cool for the Boulderites to see the evolution of the project. A lot of people got introduced to the music that night too which was exciting. We’ve got mad love for Boulder.

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Are there any shows you guys have played that have been super memorable?

The Boulder Theater show was one for sure, as well as The Fiillmore when we opened for Sunsquabi in January. It’s always exciting to play big rooms with big sound systems. We played with Michal Menert in January and that was a full-circle moment. I’ve been listening to his music for years.

Nobide is on the bill for Summer Camp Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and a few others that will be announced soon. What is the band looking forward to most about being on the lineup for these festivals?

I think mostly meeting new people- artists and fans alike. It’ll be cool to see how our music stands up and translates in new environments. It’s a big opportunity, but it’s also just gonna be fun as heck.

Do you foresee any challenges that may arise from playing festivals as opposed to singular shows?

It’s definitely going to be a compromise on some fronts [since] we have a pretty complex setup for performing, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. It’ll be a good challenge to be pros, to know it’s not all about us but more about the vibe of the whole event.

There’s been talk that the band may be hitting the road soon. If you guys go on tour, where would you want to play and who would you love to play with?

Eventually all over the world! But for now we’re trying to get down South and out to the West Coast and Midwest, start slowly expanding our radius through the U.S. We’d love to play with all sorts of people that like to get down. Lettuce, Pretty Lights, Zhu, Rufus Du Sol, Bonobo, Odesza… We want to bring this music all over!

Keep up with Nobide here and don’t miss their headlining show at the Larimer Lounge this Saturday, April 6th. Tickets & information 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: 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: 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.