Review: Why J-Calvin's 'Heart Glow' Should Be Your Next Sunday Morning Album

By: Natalie Pulvino

Durango-based band J-Calvin recently released their debut album Heart Glow, and it’s the perfect record to pair with a warm cup of tea on a sunny Sunday morning.

The neo-soul funk five-piece group is making waves in the rising jazz-soul scene here in Colorado. Having been together for just over a year, the group has played over 70 shows in the Southwest region, hitting major stops such as the Telluride Jazzfest and Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. Now, they’ve taken their work to the next level with the release of their debut album, Heart Glow.

The record kicks off with “Dare I Say,” a light groove that gets your head-bobbing right away. The rhythm to this song is both vibrant and buttery, featuring lead vocalist Sarah Pumpian. Her vocal effect is similar to neo-jazz musician Victory; her words and soft sound make you feel like you’re sitting in the sun with a soft breeze tickling your skin.

The band brings out a truly unique soul-funk sound on “Take Me Away,” the third track on the record. It begins with Pumpian on vocals, but halfway through blends into keyboardist Garrison Jones’ soft raps. Then, Will Metz jumps in and lightly shreds his electric guitar. This song is experimental, and takes you on an infused rollercoaster of soft jazz and soul-funk.

J-Calvin.

J-Calvin.

Then, J-Calvin melts us into “Sun,” which feels exactly how it sounds: warm, bright, and deliciously harmonious. Again, we hear the dichotomy of both Pumpian’s soft, enveloping voice with Jones’ rich low beats.

“This Will Grow” closes the album with some of the band’s best qualities: soft, jaw-dropping vocals, light jazz tones from the piano, drums, and electric guitar, and a palpable love for their work.

You can catch this group live in Fort Collins at the Magic Rat tomorrow, Friday March 15th!

Keep up with J-Calvin 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.


Review: The Symbols' 'Catching Fire' Is a Solid Funk Blues Mash-up

By: Julia Talen

Fort Collins-based bluesy-soul band The Symbols are out with their sophomore record, Catching Fire, an album infused with front woman Mer Sal’s sultry, Amy Winehouse-esque voice, and her husband Jasco’s funky, rhythmic guitar solos.

In an interview with Westword on Catching Fire, Jasco shared that the album differs from Smile, their first record saying, “I wanted to get a fairly live feel. I didn’t want to do tons of overdubs and soundscaping, things that would make it hard to duplicate live. In some ways, it’s a little bit sparse in terms of vocal harmonies, extra guitar parts and keyboard parts that a band can [get away with] in the studio. But we decided not to do too much of that.”

The Symbols.

The Symbols.

While listening to Catching Fire, I felt like I was close to a stage in the Rocky Mountains swaying in the summer to some of their latest tunes. With the first track “Good For Me,” listeners get a sweet taste of Mer Sal’s incredible vocals paired with bluesy, textured harmonies before hearing more of the breadth and range of her voice in “Let’s Be Love,” the album’s second track.

The title track certainly was one of my favorites, beginning with a sparse drum beat before Sal’s fierce vocals cry lyrics, “Boy you better run/because I’m catching fire.” Jasco shows off his guitar skills (he used to played for Grammy-nominated band Blinddog Smokin’) in this one too, with mesmerizing solos and far-reaching scale.

Other tracks of note are “Shake It,” a total jam dance number sure to energize summer music festival this year with lyrics, “Shake that butt/funk it up/get your groove on.” “Soon” is another favorite of mine. Sal scats through this tune and the mid-century vibe reminds me of jazzy buskers in the French Quarter. The album ends with “Our Song,” an emotional, heart-wrenching ballad that truly reveals the rich power this duo evokes in their music.

Catching Fire is out now and The Symbols are set to tour throughout Colorado and the Midwest this spring with forthcoming shows in Denver, Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins, and more. They also give back many of their proceeds to charities like Realities for Children and Adoption Dreams Come True. Scope out this magical, funk-meets-rock-meet-blues mash-up’s latest raw and rich project.

Keep up with The Symboles 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.

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

By: Brody Coronelli

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

Race To Neptune.

Race To Neptune.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The album artwork for  Abandon Fashion .

The album artwork for Abandon Fashion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Brody

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

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

May Play Music Festival May 11th

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

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

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

303 Music Festival May 17th

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

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

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

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

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

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

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

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

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

Country Jam June 14th-17th

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

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

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

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

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

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

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

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

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

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

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

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

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

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

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

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

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

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

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

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

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

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

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

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

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

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

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

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

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

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

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

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

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

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

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

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

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

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

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

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

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

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

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

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

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

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

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

Festivals of The Past

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

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

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

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

By: Mirna Tufekcic

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

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

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

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

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

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

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

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

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

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

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

Estes Park

14612436_10154010558277423_8409265057604872078_o_1_.jpg

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

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

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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

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

Greeley

21731399_1707445302601793_8471734089881918703_o.jpg

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

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

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

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

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

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

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

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

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

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

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

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

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

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

Kyle James Hauser's Music Featured In New Judd Apatow Film 'The Big Sick'

By: Hannah Oreskovich

If you’ve had the chance to check out Judd Apatow’s newest film The Big Sick, you may have noticed a familiar sound in some of the film’s scenes: Colorado’s Kyle James Hauser’s music is featured in the major motion picture.

Kyle James Hauser. Photo Credit: Lindsay Giles McWilliams

Kyle James Hauser. Photo Credit: Lindsay Giles McWilliams

Hauser has been involved in the Colorado music realm in some capacity since he was a teen in Golden, CO and his brother was playing Denver’s punk rock scene in Pinhead Circus. He’s toured with Gregory Alan Isakov, played as a member of Rapidgrass, and released a number of solo neo-folk recordings through Louisville, Kentucky’s sonaBLAST! Records. His first record Oh Oh debuted in 2012, and saw its songs featured in two MTV shows and several movies. Hauser’s last record, You A Thousand Times, was released in 2014 and actually held the #1 spot on Colorado Public Radio during that year. In total, Hauser’s music has been featured in over 12 films, and The Big Sick is the second movie his music can be heard in that has had a nationwide release.

Hauser expressed his excitement about his most recent feature saying, “It’s an incredible honor to have my songs included in such a moving story. For [the film] to be receiving the accolades it has is a dream come true, and is quickly becoming one of the highlights of my career. I can only hope to be a part of something this powerful again in the future and to help continue representing music made in our wonderful state!"

Currently, Hauser is the Colorado Music Strategy Coordinator at The Music District in Fort Collins. He also works with Sean King (Trout Steak Revival) on licensing deals for Colorado artists, manages the Detour Program at The Music District, and teaches songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Needless to say, Hauser is one awesomely accomplished Colorado artist & we’re stoked he garnered such a big opportunity with his tunes!

Photo Credit: Scott McCormick

Photo Credit: Scott McCormick

Ironically Hauser told us that he has no idea what the context of the scenes are in which his featured tracks will play in the film.

“I often don’t see the movies my music is in until the dust has settled,” he chuckled, adding, “But I am a big Judd Apatow fan.”

Listen to Kyle James Hauser:

The Big Sick premiered in LA on June 23rd and has a wide release on July 14th. Some Colorado theaters have showings slated as early as this week, so get yourself tickets!

In the meantime, make sure to check out Hauser’s music and keep up with all he’s involved in with Fort Collins’ The Music District. There are some big things happening there, and Hauser is passionate about sharing them and getting local artists involved.

Keep up with Kyle James Hauser on his website.

-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.

Pop & Punk Took Over Hodi's Half Note This Past Weekend

By: Matti Earley 

Though The Solid Ocean aren’t originally from Denver, they now reside here and got inspiration for their namesake from the Rocky Mountains. At Hodi's Half Note on June 9th, they more than lived up to their declaration of being a “power pop” group.  

Freaking Out” was The Solid Ocean’s breakout hit of the evening, and also their most recent release. It opens with summery, undeniably happy instrumentals that contrast with its more uncertain sounding lyrics. This comes as a reflection of their creative process, which coincides with “trying to make their way through life as young adults in a crazy world.”

Silent Rival took the stage next, and cranked up the volume several notches with their set. “Die A Little” opened the rest of their recently released debut record, The Kindness of Strangers.  The track carries a powerful mantra, indicative of a consistent theme throughout the rest of the record. The music from one song to another, however, was enjoyably less predictable. “Freedom” carries hints of country with prominent harmonies sans twangy guitars. Conversely, “The Only God Is In The Wild” is structured around a much more poppy, bubbling riff. Bassist Yutaka Sao and frontwoman Sara Coda commanded attention effortlessly. Even on a small stage, they performed with enough energy to entertain a much larger crowd. 

Night Riots.

Night Riots.

Before going onstage, Night Riots filled Hodi’s with a magnetic energy. An overhead buzz preceded their arrival, mirroring the anticipation that built up during the previous openers. They emerged from a curtain of fog with a confidence that could fill much larger venues, fresh off of a tour opening for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness with Atlas Genius.

The close atmosphere amplified and endeared their performance idiosyncrasies. After their opening song “All For You,” the audience was polled to see how many people had seen them at The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs the day before. Dozens of audiences members shouted their happy reply. Outside their own discography, Night Riots covered “Billie Jean” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”  

Night Riots.

Night Riots.

The latter provided a perfect transition into their darker underlying sound. While Night Riots rooted in punk, pop is also a consistent descriptor. Various adjectives such as “gloomy” and “gothic” have also been attached to their sound, and Love Gloom is actually the title of their newest album. Those two words encapsulate what was the essence of their show; a juxtaposition. Lyrics outlining grief and adversity were punctuated with lighter notes of glowing pumpkin props and light up drumsticks.

After the show, all members stayed to talk to fans, sign merchandise, and take pictures, with a long trip back to California ahead of them. After a brief break, they will be with All Time Low for two Houston dates on June 30th and July 1st. Their next string of shows will be all the way across the Atlantic starting September 10th, in support of The Maine, along with The Technicolors. Keep up with band here

-Matti

All photos per the author. 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.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters Are Back In Colorado

By: Matti Earley

Shawn James started his career as many artists do- solo. In 2013, however, he united with four other musicians to form what is today Shawn James & the Shapeshifters, who we last caught live just a year ago at Denver’s Moon Room. Now, the crew is in the midst of a nationwide tour, and will be branching out with international shows beginning at the end of June. They make their last of three Colorado stops at Hodi’s Half Note this Thursday, June 1st and we’ll be there snapping the action!

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters sound is a mix of blues, folk, soul, and rock, backed by vocals from James that intensify an already powerful instrumental listening experience. The band are touring on their 2016 release, On The Shoulders of Giants which is a record "full of swampy beats, banjos, slide guitars, bluesy melodies, and James’ captivating vocals." The album speaks universally about the grittiness and tribulations of the human experience. Along with some of their other records, it’s the kind of music that wouldn't be out of place on a thriller soundtrack. In fact, a previous song from James’ called “Through the Valley” was featured in “The Last of Us Part II” which is described as “action-adventure survival horror.” It also explains why the last time we caught these guys live, they rocked a metal set

Tickets for the Hodi’s show are available here; locals One Flew West will open the night. Get yours now and we'll see you there!

-Matti

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

Review: TMULE Releases New Alt-Folk Solo EP, 'Wordless Lullabies'

By: Norman Hittle

Singer and guitar player for the alt-country/rock band The Longest Day of the Year, TMULE is set to release his first solo EP since 2006 this month. The Ft. Collins, CO alt-folk/singer-songwriter will be releasing a folk-rock EP of four new songs called Wordless Lullabies, alongside his first book of poetry, Book of Dawn / I, the Iceberg.

TMULE.

TMULE.

Yet, alternative folk doesn’t sum up the full experience of this EP. With nods to Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, TMULE's songs are soulful and heart-wrenching with their fingers reaching into blues and Americana. 

Raised in suburban Detroit with an alcoholic father, teenage TMULE would plug in his guitar and embrace the catharsis of singing his lungs out to “Release” by Pearl Jam. That feeling drew him to songwriting early in life. Worldless Lullabies and Book of Dawn / I, The Iceberg examine struggles through his father’s substance abuse, the weight of co-dependence, emotional abandonment, and the fortitude of love. The complications of growing up affected by alcoholism is a theme of many TMULE songs, but this package is the culmination of years of biographical writing; stories of hungry ghosts, fear, love and reconciliation to bring solace to those struggling in their own darkness, whatever it may be.

The EP’s dark aesthetic is the shining of a spotlight through his past while the poetry book explores the wide range of emotions surrounding dependence issues and it's complicated effect on personal relationships.

Check out TMULE's EP release show this Friday, May 26th at 730 PM at Downtown Artery in Fort Collins. Tickets here. TMule will also have a CD/Poetry Book release Tuesday, June 6th at 6PM at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe in Boulder.

'Wordless Lullabies' EP credits: Produced by Justin Roth of Fort Collins. Guest musicians Mark Lavengood (Lindsay Lou & the Flatbelly’s), Ben Zito and Dan Rickabus (The Crane Wives), and Paul Maley (Equally Challenged). Mastered by Ian Gorman of Kalamazoo’s La Luna Recording & Sound.

-Norman Hittle

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 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.

That Time I Followed The Hollow On Their CrowBus Extravaganza, Vol. 2

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The Hollow dabbles in the debonair, and gladly greets the gothic, candle-lit sounds of old with their tunes. I had the opportunity to join them on their tour through Northern Colorado for a weekend of music, whiskey, and, of course, brunch up the wazoo.

The Hollow.

The Hollow.

In a city that promotes community and collaboration, Denver rockers The Hollow take it to another level. Last weekend, the band performed at both FoCoMX (April 28th) and Greeley May Play Music Festival (April 29th), and invited their fans to join them on the two-night journey they dubbed the “NoCo CrowBus Experience.”

This was the second time the band offered this all-access pass to its “Crowmunity.” The idea was essentially this: come join us, see what we’re about, and let’s have some fun along the way. The concept of a band reaching out to their fans like this intrigued me, so I joined them on their weekend extravaganza and was amazed at what I found.

The Crowbus in all its glory.

The Crowbus in all its glory.

We headed for Fort Collins on Friday afternoon, forging through the snowstorm in time to set up for their 7:30PM set at The Aggie Theatre. I chatted with frontman Spencer Townshend Hughes about the transformation of the band over the years. Since 2013, they underwent a few member additions, including bassist Ethan Kotel, drummer Jason Hoke, and the lovely harpist Angela Rose Whaley. In its current makeup, the band’s sound may contain similar ingredients to bands such as Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, but has an additional Edgar Allan Poe flavor mixed into it - a tasty combination.

The Hollow commanded The Aggie’s stage, and kept the energy up for accompanying acts such as American Blackout, One Flew West, and The Violet Tides. They played favorites such as their “Pure Imagination” cover,  “An Open Letter to Kim K,” “Catch As You Can,” and of course their stellar cover of 21 Pilots’ “Heathens.” The way in which the band maintained a powerful, yet playful hold over the audience was entertaining and infectious.

Watching The Hollow’s Saturday night performance at The Jager in Greeley, CO felt like an entirely new experience. Unlike The Aggie in its vastness, The Jager was entirely the opposite: an “intimate” basement setting that got “Greeley weird, Greeley quickly.” And yet, no matter the stage or setting, The Hollow managed to command both crowds with their charisma, high energy, and dynamic melodies.

Throughout the weekend, I found myself thinking about what I would write about for this article. I did not document the band’s every word, and instead let the moments of free-moving fingers outweigh the moments of camera-filled hands. I decided to take it all in and allow myself the incredible experience of getting to know a new group of people. I discovered admirable and endearing qualities about each of them, and felt at home in their presence.

Of course, we talked about their music, message, and musical aspirations. We discussed the concept of The Hollow: that death is the only certainty in life, and accepting that inevitability makes life more fruitful and beautiful.

Spencer Townshend Hughes.

Spencer Townshend Hughes.

But above all, I found that The Hollow are a group of passionate and hard-working musicians who are as hilarious as they are dedicated. They’ve got the chops, and will stop at nothing to make sure that in due time, everyone in Denver will know exactly who they are. So next time the group offers up this opportunity, I highly recommend packing your bags and hopping in that van - you really will not regret it.

Keep in touch with The Hollow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And be sure to “Follow the Hollow” here to receive exclusive updates on new music, vlogs, backstage show access, and more.

-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.

Review: Chess at Breakfast's 'The Gutshalls'

By: Austin Michon

Somewhere between ambient, crawling ballads, and full force grunge rock, Fort Collins’ own Chess at Breakfast have carved themselves a niche in the alternative rock genre with their debut EP, The Gutshalls.

Listen to Chess at Breakfast’s The Gutshalls:

Mixing slow psychedelic sounds with cranked distortion, simple grooves, catchy riffs, and full-out sonic onslaught, Caleb McFadden, Justin Daggett, and Mike Davis intermingle each instrument into one cohesive unit. While some songs are reminiscent of a grungy, shoegaze style, others are a more modern indie rock experience, with each of the five songs seemingly highlighting a strength or focal point of the group.

In Hindsight,” a track I could see floating through a Buffy the Vampire Slayer intro, instantly transports you to the sounds of the 1990s, while “Andesite” takes you through a trippy, Pink Floydian sonic landscape, punctuated with moments of raw emotion and rock. “415” provides an almost jazz-esque groove which gives way to the trio’s characteristic heavier rock sound.

Chess at Breakfast.

Chess at Breakfast.

Somewhere between Modest Mouse, The Dear Hunter, and The Smashing Pumpkins, Chess at Breakfast have created unique, fun altrock that I hope to hear much more of. Be sure to catch them at Fort Collins’ Downtown Artery this Friday, April 7th with Race to Neptune and Turvy Organ. And keep up with Chess at Breakfast here.

-Austin

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

Boogie Down at Euforquestra’s Fort Funk at The Aggie Theatre This Friday

By: Benjamin Jewell

As you are undoubtedly bummed-out about this weekend's weather and wondering how to wipe that frown from your face, I will now give you the prescription for your woes: Fort Funk. I am sure you’ve listened and danced to Euforquestra (EUF) at one time or another. If you haven’t, press pause on your Jock Jams CD and prepare to groove all night. If you are a fan, this is the last time you’ll be able to see this band live for awhile in Colorado, and with special guest Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds sitting in, maybe ever.

Proof that Eddie Roberts can jam:

Let me give you a few more reasons why you need to head to this show. The night opens with Moves At Midnight. This quintet is the special reward for coming around 9ish. You’ll get a funky-pop-soul instrumental feel and if you want awesome vocals, those are right here. If you close your eyes, you’ll swear Adam Levine’s much cooler guitar-wailing brother is fronting this band. Enough said.

Denver based TNERTLE will step up next to deliver some electro funk hip-hop. They’ll likely dip into their album MataMata, and hopefully play “Dance All Night.” You’ll get vocal harmonies, rap, horns, and a rhythm section that is reminiscent of Flobots. Come ear hungry, for this show will be a musical buffet.

Euforquestra will light you up this Friday with FIRE:

Then, as if Christmas and your birthday had a baby and it’s name was Euforquestra ft. Eddie Roberts, it gets better. I last heard EUF in Iowa City more than ten years ago and they’ve never disappointed. Their newest album, FIRE, and hopefully one of Eddie Roberts’ tunes from The Nashville Session will be on the set list. The combination of these two powerhouses is going to be really special. If you fancy yourself a budding guitarist or musician you should come for the inspiration alone.

EUF.

EUF.

I recommend getting your tickets in advance right here. I’ll see you there and we can forget about the bad weather together.

-Benjamin

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2017: Your Official Guide To All The Goodness

By: Hannah Oreskovich

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


FoCoMX- April 28th-29th

Fort Collins' premiere music festival has announced its lineup, which features hundreds of Colorado artists. Some of our favorites include Antonio Lopez, The Alcapones, BANDITS, Bethel Steele, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Edison, Foxfeather, Gasoline Lollipops, and The Velveteers. Full lineup here


Spread The Word Music Festival- May 5th-8th

Taking place at several Denver and Boulder venues, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Euforquestra, A-Mac and the Hight, & Analog Sun. Full lineup on our announcement link.


Denver’s Project Pabst- May 20th

“Project Pabst was a wild success,” contributor Zach Dahmen wrote in retrospect of the 2016 festival that took over Denver’s Larimer Street last year. This year, the PBR-fueled lineup includes Ice Cube, Phantogram, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile, STRFKR, No Name, & more. We’re pumped for this. Details here


Greeley Blues Jam- June 9th-10th

The Greeley Blues Jam seeks to keep the blues alive, and this year, they’re doing just that with a lineup including Walter Trout, Samantha Fish, Honey Island Swamp Band, and Colorado favorite The Burroughs. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.


Taste of Fort Collins- June 9th-11th

The 21st annual Taste of Fort Collins includes headliners St. Lucia, Gin Blossoms, Plain White T's, & Waterloo Revival this year. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Get out and get down! More info on their website.


Country Jam- June 15th-18th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 26th annual four-day fest this year. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Thomas Rhett top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music, and clearly this year is no different. More info at this link.


Sonic Bloom Festival- June 15th-18th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, The Polish Ambassador, The Floozies, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.


Telluride Bluegrass Festival- June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 44th year this summer. Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley with The Travelin' McCourys, and Brandi Carlile top the fest’s 2017 list. We can tell you from experience that last year was magical and we even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.


Van’s Warped Tour- June 25th

Believe it or not, we attended this event back in 2015 after not having been since high school. Yes. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), this is a fest that still has a cult following and still makes its way around the US. Attila, Bowling for Soup, CKY, & Futuristic top this year's bill- grab the full listing here.


Westword Music Showcase- June 25th

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts at their annual summer celebration this year. With Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses, COIN, Arizona, and a long list of local acts, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. Don’t miss out on Westword’s fantastic Friday night. Local artists should be announced soon; voting is open. More info on their website.


Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) Festival-

July 5th-9th

CROMA's 2017 festival at Parrish Ranch features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. Artists at this year's fest will include Eddie Bond and the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, The Ozark Highballers, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, and The Musky Dimes and Lansford and McAlister. Get full details and tickets here


The Ride Festival- July 8th-9th

Beck will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Ben Harper, Kaleo, The John Butler Trio, and Colorado favorite Rose Hill Drive will all keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.


The Underground Music Showcase- July 27th-30th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esme Patterson are headlining this year, but we're more stoked on this massive list of local artists (a crazy amount of which we've covered in the last year). Get tickets here. More deets on our announcement link.


Rockygrass Festival- July 28th-30th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, The Del McCoury Band, and The Infamous Stringdusters are already confirmed for this year’s pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More artists at this link.


ARISE Music Festival- August 4th-6th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its fifth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Atmosphere, Tipper, and Ani Difranco. Get more details at our announcement link.


Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest- August 11th-13th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. CAKE has been announced as one of the headliners with more TBA- keep up with the full lineup here.


Velorama Colorado- August 11th-13th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Colorado’s newest festival Velorama will take place in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood this summer. Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The New Pornographers, Saint Motel, and La Santa Cecilia are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party! Tickets for this new fest here.


Rocky Mountain Folks Festival- August 18th-20th

Last year, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival proved to be much more than a music festival. Bringing together local artists for songwriting workshops and more, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that still managed to showcase great national acts too. Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, and Rhiannon Giddens have already been announced for this year’s fest; full schedule and list of acts here.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass- September 1st-3rd

We don’t know how Maroon 5 is jazz, but they are headlining the JAS Labor Day Weekend festival this year. Colorado favorite Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Lake Street Dive, and Keith Urban will also have performances at the Snowmass event. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature John Batiste & Stay Human, Michael McDonald, and Earth Wind & Fire. Details on both events here.


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival 

aerial_0077_0.jpg

Telluride Blues & Brews Fest has Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, TajMo at the top of their bill this year. You can get your grand brew tasting on for three days with these artists and more, plus there is a lot of availability in ticket options, so you can schedule your own fest experience. Get more info here


Festivals of The Past

We'll miss you Vertex.

We'll miss you Vertex.

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Bass Center moved to New Jersey this year, Divide Music Festival has been postponed until 2018, Groove Festival’s web presence has been replaced by this Japanese site making us question everything, Mad Decent Block Party went to India (yes really), Riot Fest Denver will not return due to Sean McKeough's death, and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) was sadly cancelled, but we’re praying it comes back to life with full zombie mayhem next year. Fingers crossed fellow festheads.


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

-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.

Alternative Punk Rock Group American Blackout Debut 'Yeah So What' EP

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The gifts just keep on coming this holiday season with today’s release of the newest 'Yeah So What' EP by alternative punk rock group American Blackout. Hailing from Fort Collins, CO, members Craig Miller (vocals/guitar), Damian Schoenecke (guitar), Ross Dougherty (bass) and Gus Mircos (drums) have been anticipating this release for almost a year. Needless to say, the band is excited for today’s debut, so we sat down with frontman Craig Miller to get the scoop on American Black’s new music and more. Here’s our chat:

The 'Yeah So What' EP is your third and final release of 2016. How long have you guys been working on this for?

For a while now. We released our first single “Pants on Fire” last January, and just released “Shots Fired” in September, so [the whole EP] has been about one year in the works. We recorded all five tracks at The Spot Studios, recording two at a time, then recording one last song to finish it up. Lately we’ve been getting it all packaged, mastered, and ready for release.

American Blackout. Photo Credit: Studio Ardesco.

American Blackout. Photo Credit: Studio Ardesco.

There’s been quite a bit of hype leading up to this release, with little sneak previews, bundles, and free giveaways. How have people reacted so far?

Everyone seems pretty excited about it. We’ve received really good reviews on the singles. We just previewed our title track, “Yeah So What” yesterday, which is our favorite song to play live. It’s upbeat and high energy, which is perfect because we get down at our live shows.

What can fans expect from this new EP? What kinds of sounds and influences are embedded in it? Any themes?

What I like most about it is that it’s a little bit of a deviation from our last EP, Summer’s Gone. It’s a much more matured sound and a lot less “poppy.” The last EP focused a lot more on relationships, whereas Yeah So What is more raw and edgy, especially “Shots Fired.” Our lyrics have matured and our sound is a bit more gritty. As always, we’ve got a clean, crisply produced sound from working at The Spot Studios, but [this new release] just ended up being more energetic rock’n’roll versus pop. We like the direction it’s going in.

Listen to American Blackout's new Yeah So What EP:

Are there any special guest features on this release?

No guest features. One major difference is that this EP was recorded with our old drummer Jason LaBella. We have a new drummer now, Gus Mircos, who will be playing at the EP release show with us. We’re grateful to have worked with Jason, and are excited to have Gus with us now.

What was the creative process behind this release? Any particular reason why you’re aiming for an end of year release VS a new year release?

An end of the year release was just how it ended up happening with the availability and materials. Our last full-length release was in January 2015, so we are due for another one. Also, December is a great time to go out, given the holidays. Regarding our creative process, we’ve been writing a lot, and have been picky about what songs we wanted to record and what songs we wanted to included. We’ve been much more selective, starting with a basic idea, gathering new ideas, and continuing that effort until those ideas materialize into a song.

AB. Photo Credit: Talia Lezama.

AB. Photo Credit: Talia Lezama.

Will there be a tour to accompany this release? Any holiday pit stops you plan to make?

Our EP Release Party is this Saturday, December 17th at Downtown Artery. Then we’ve got a series of shows in late January, including a show at The Moxi Theater. We plan to hit the road in March 2017, working our way through the Southwest, California, and Nevada.

Finally, as an alternative punk band in Colorado, where do you most find your niche?

We’ve been able to make a lot of friends in different genres of music. We love playing with Wiredogs, who will also be playing at our EP Release Party this Friday along with I Am The Owl. We like playing with those guys quite a bit. We met so many different bands through the SpokesBUZZ program and we have played with many other genres, like the Gasoline Lollipops, who are more bluegrass/folk. We like to mix it up and tailor our sets to the other bands’ styles. That’s what’s great about the Colorado music scene: everyone likes to work together, meet new people, and experience new styles of music.

Keep in touch with American Blackout via their Facebook, Instagram, and website. And be sure to grab your tickets to their EP Release Party this Saturday, December 17th!

-Jura

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

BolderBeat's 'November's My Favorite Indoor Sport' Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

Every month, we publish a new Spotify playlist of Colorado artists for your ears. Here’s our 'November's My Favorite Indoor Sport' playlist, because it’s bound to snow here soon and make you want to curl up inside with some good tunes, right?

BolderBeat's 'November's My Favorite Indoor Sport' Playlist: 

 

1. Candy Claws, Ceres and Calypso in the Deep Time (2013), “Into the Deep Time (One Sun)”

Best song for dreaming cozily in bed about ancient sea creatures emerging from the depths of the deep blue.

How old is the ocean? That’s where things get a little bit fuzzy. And Candy Claws’ own fuzzy dream pop fuels this question with echoes like reverb in deep time, a multimillion year operation of geologic formation. For such distortion and heavy chugging guitar riffs, the atmospheric effects across this track are as divergent from your typical “ocean sounds” as they are hypnotizing. Still, this song feels like you’re looking right into the ocean, taking in the crash of waves in slow motion.

PS: Candy Claws recently expanded into a new project, Sound of Ceres, who you can check out here.

2. shark dreams, Deeep (2016), “Frozen Love”

Best song for lying down on the bed you just made, hands behind head.

Crisp hits on closed hi-hat and drum rim snare your ears into the rhythmic tap of this tune. Warm electric guitar moves by, while layered male and female vocals float and intermingle. This one picks up speed across its first minute, only to hold back and slow down. These subtle shifts pull at your emotional tide, encouraging you to just feel the sensations as its sounds ebb and flow. Relax.

3. The Lonelyhearts, Years in the Great Interior (2013), “Princess of Rubble”

Best song for doing a sock dance to in the comfort of your own home.

At least that’s the first thing their breezy, playful, jaunt-worthy, ear-pleasing, non-lyrical vocals and sounds make me want to immediately do. The sound of longboards chuck-chucking over wooden slatted boardwalks would sound great with this jam on in your headphones. But this month is an indoor sport so I’ll settle for a sock dance on the hardwoods instead.

4. Josh Dillard, The Bright Light of Shipwreck (2013), “Ever Since You’ve Been Gone”

Best song to try and swoon your holiday crush with.

Dillard’s vocals come from deeper than his diaphragm. He’s not a heavy baritone or anything. Just plenty vocally soulful. I admire how he paces out syllables. Sometimes he lets vowels linger and sometimes he wraps them up in a neat quick-time that adds a certain freshness to his tunes. Anyone who sang this to me would definitely get a first date, provided they sang it with the exact same expressiveness that convinced me here we have a man with heart, personality, and poetry.

5. Anthony Ruptak, Between the Hangman and the Halo (2015), “The Bus Song”

Best song to let your mind wander away with.

Since you can’t go skipping flat rocks on the silver pool so easily this time of year, Anthony Ruptak brings the next best-feeling thing to your living room. This sweetly woven story of gratitude will waft right in over you and walk into your daydreaming heart. The harmonica on this track lends customary nostalgia. It’s a nourishing tune that brings it home, and makes it warm inside to boot.

6. Land Lines, The Natural World (2015), “Etiquette”

Best song to listen to when you wish you could be out hiking the trails.

The hand shaker really is a staple of percussive force. My hand wants to spasm just imagining keeping pace on this one. Ross Harada persists, but never intrudes or exceeds a wise clip of pace on this percussion, and that includes his drum playing. The complex instrumental variation of this one mixed with a certain sparseness in each instrument individually empowers the sonic valleys and peaks of “Etiquette.” I’m not sure whether it’s Anna Mascorella or Martina Grbac plucking cello here, but it’s the nicest touch this song could possibly have. Oh the views.

7. The Ghost of Joseph Buck, Scenic (2015), “Not About You”

Best song to splatter paint on your bedroom walls to in large, sweeping, unapologetic motions.

The Ghost of Joseph Buck would rather break your heart slowly. Polly Beck’s lead vocals come out sultry, lyrics a smidge salty, piano wisely. You have to listen for Stephanie Schooley on bass, but she’s there as much as the spinal cord that supports your body’s basic structure without you hardly thinking about it once. Marc Walker’s drums hold off on any and all cymbals and hi-hat until 2:04, a crux moment to the song’s bursting, multi-instrumental power crescendo and caterwauling vocals. The fact that together, the group winds this one back down to its original slower pacing at 3:15 is no less an impressive transition. Killing me not so softly, but in a welcome way no less.

8. Sur Ellz (feat. Kid Astronaut), Sur Ellz (feat. Kid Astronaut) (single; 2016), “Seasons”

Best song to bump the snow off your window pane with.  

Just because November’s an indoor sport doesn’t mean the soundtrack can’t be bumpable. Neo-soul and R&B have as much a job to do to here as mellow acoustic instrumentation or synthy shoegaze. Denver’s Khalil Arcady (Sur Ellz) and Jon Shockness (Kid Astronaut) conspire to bring you raw stories across fresh, smooth beats. Here are two men that don’t fear too much for their manhood to be lyrically vulnerable, to get sonically romantic, to sing about some real feelings. Electronically reproduced hand claps with what sounds like a snare-reminiscent drum machine hit mix with a simmering electronic warbling on slow-cook. Snow gone.

9. Mesita, With Love From Laniakea (2016), “Blank Slate”

Best song to curl up in your favorite blanket with.

A little Thom Yorke to the vocals, a little Nirvana’s “All Apologies” stylistically in the chorus, and the electro fuzz juxtaposed with what sounds like a xylophone played in a piano style, if you will, demonstrate my meaning. Solo act Mesita (James Cooley) doesn’t just do layers. He uses them to create his very worthy-of-a-listen ends: richly interlaced, juxtaposed interplays that create entirely new, richly textured soundscapes. He has a humble willingness in being limitless with what he’s willing to include. For Mesita, 1+1 never equals two. It always equals three, because he takes one thing plus another, and makes a whole new third one straight from it.

10. Moda Spira, Moda Spira (2016), “She Whispers”

Best song to shave your legs, lie in silk sheets, and lament with.

Gentle keys couple with tender and light acoustic guitar. As with the sound of whispering, there is a particular intimacy in Latifah Phillips (Moda Spira’s) singing. In "She Whispers", it’s not always the vocals, but sometimes the pauses taken between sung parts that lend the breathing room in which the sounds seep across your heart and emotions. Come to find out via Reel Gospel’s 2016 She Whispers album review, Moda Spira means “just breathe” in Latin. Her talent in piano is a mainstay in the stewing build of her protracted, draw-you-in musical magnetism.

11. Maxwell Mud, Maxwell Mud (2015), “I Just Wanna Be Good”

Best song to make a New Year’s resolution never to be good again.

Maxwell Mud, as would be appropriate for chillin’ inside, cooking soup, and contemplating, goes for the slow cook much like others on this playlist. However hard Brian Kitrell’s lyrics profess he just wanted to be good, it’s quite clear in his words, guitar riffs, Kenny Jones’ accomplice bass, and Kevin Johnson’s rock’n’roll blues drums that this is a foregone conclusion. At least in the present circumstances and context. His vocals are too steamy for anything but a pot on the brink of hot boil rupture-rapture.

12. Eye and the Arrow, Eye and the Arrow (single; 2015), “Tiger”

Best song to “look out at the cold night from your warm room at the bright moon on the white snow through the window frost and the forest shadows.”

Paul Dehaven has a marvelous storytelling song-voice, and he harkens on stories Portland’s The Decemberists might tell. His own finger flicks at the guitar, Jason Haas-Hecker’s slightly foreboding bass line, and Mark Anderson’s non-deviant foreword drumming collaborate with Dehaven’s story, vocals, and backup echoes to leave you listening to the very scene of walking through the forest when it’s too uncomfortably cold to actually do so.

13. Nearby Liars, Unlearning (2016), “Wither and Rust”

Best song to reflect upon your real feelings to in the bathtub.

Lyrically, this one doesn’t happen as an outright love song. It’s just that the rest sure sounds like a heart that’s known love, is reflecting upon it, and is expressing a definite fallout story of hard facts and cold truth love experiences. It’s lamentation, regrettable, and real. Riley Sbrana’s songwriting waxes and pounds with hard earned self-knowledge for better and for worse. The backup vocals on this one prove to be an emotive staple, and the light acoustic guitar sounds that nudge their way in at 3:20 are the most perfectly subtle, elegant touch.

Thanks for playing with us this November, Colorado. Make sure to follow us on Spotify and take a listen to this playlist and more Colorado music playlists at BolderBeat.

-Joliene

All tracks per the artists featured. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

BolderBeat's 'Get Your Creep On' Colorado Halloween Spotify Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

As an Introduction to Film Studies T.A. at CU Boulder for three years, I became no expert, but learned right quick and true: a film soundtrack, and to a much larger extent, a score, can make or break the terrifying in a horror film. So I moved to emulate that, best I could. Here you have what could or should be on a horror film soundtrack if it were Colorado-music exclusive. Make sure to follow us on Spotify and take a listen to these tunes at BolderBeat:

BolderBeat's 'Get Your Creep On' Playlist

1. Echo Beds, New Icons of a Vile Faith (2016), “Obvious Signs Of Forced Entry”

Genre: Suggestively invasive, disquieting fertile terror.

Staccato snare drums set this one off, and from there, I can’t place all the sounds of this track, but according to Echo Beds, I’m maybe not supposed to. As they themselves describe, “Echo Beds crafts a caterwaul of contact-mic'd oil drums, broken cymbals, battered basses, unrecognizable tape loops, and dilapidated voices.” It’s sound like art, completely, so listen and let this one creep into your distorted veins and “excorcise” its sound notes. It’s precisely that all the sounds can’t readily be placed, nor their arrangement readily recognized or described, which acts to unhinge the bolts on your comfort zone.

2. church fire, Pussy Blood (2016), “Midnight Sidewalks”

Genre: Alien abduction gone right (for the aliens).

“Midnight Sidewalks” starts you off nice and easy. As easy as slightly screeching metal on the ears. What happens next sounds like a battle between an alien ship's tractor beam shining down on you, and your attempt to fight it beaming you upward. But the tractor beam locks on at 00:26, a struggle ensues, and around 00:40 the UFO starts to win; 00:50 comes, and you’ve lost the battle. Once you’re on the ship, the vocals hit, and you chill into the groove safely, but as the melodies tick higher at the chorus, so do your nerves instinctually.

3. itchy-O, Burn the Navigator (2014), “Burn”

Genre: Fight or flight.

00:00-00:05 should be put in a stock horror film sound library, if it didn’t come from one. And since there’s nothing more calming than police sirens and medical equipment beeps, the 32-piece Denver-based percussion-centered electronic performance band itchy-O naturally included both. The percussive pacing races the song ahead, with a mix of blended elements. And the continual return to a combination of hand drums and hard driving guitar downstrokes, punctuated with unapologetic crashes on splash cymbals, will have you running or biking at more than your normal pace. But that’s a good thing, because you don’t want to burn in the fire that, it’s only fair to assume, the muffled static background voices are talking about. Of course this band has a Halloween Show booked at The Gothic Theatre! Get tickets here.

4. The Blue Rider, Year of the Horse (2016), “Nightmare”

Genre: Dracula Monster Mashing on a surfboard.

You could easily put this song right into a late 60s or early 70s horror film without too much question. This one doesn’t terrify me, but it’s oldie pop surf rock vibe mixed with the prospect of a nightmare from which you can’t wake up from have me, to my horror, dancing to a terrifying prospect. I blame the lyrics and the organ for the extremely catchy quality that found me in such a nefarious position.

5. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, The Commandments According to SCAC (2016), “Commandment 3”

Genre: Suspiciously benign late 50s era-esque death pop.

“Commandment 3” is a lighter track musically that doesn’t disquiet like Echo Beds, Animal / Object, or Janet Feder quite do; it’s a fun ditty with lyrically dire consequences. There’s a “Love Potion No. 9” quality to this track, from the mix of it’s catchy melody, to the very serious subject matter and consequences of drinking a love potion & kissing a cop, to that of the acutely real difference between you catching the Queen Snake or the Queen Snake having caught you.

6. Animal / Object featuring HAALAND, Yule – Ogy (2016), “Little Drummer Boy”

Genre: Unpredictably sourced nonlinear chaotic noise.

There was a period of time at Guantanamo Bay when David Gray’s “Babylon” was put on loud and constant repeat as a form of torture. This seems like a particularly cruel form of torture. The original “Little Drummer Boy” on repeat would be my personal hell. But when it comes down to it, even your favorite song on repeat 24/7 becomes torture as equal and painful. What this song by Animal / Object does to really creep at you is not as heavily percussion-dependent as many others. It’s all strings. Not the whole song, but the part that gets you where it matters on Halloween.

7. Stella Luce, Zugenruhe (2009), “Monsters”

Genre: Murderous lullaby crooning creepstyle.

If Bjork and Joanna Newsom have an illegitimate child out there that we do not know about, Stella Luce is her. She might live in a beautiful, albeit potentially haunted music box. When she sings in the shower, I imagine it in all minor chords, which tend to stimulate greater feelings of tension or apprehension. From the sliding up the xylophone scale the starts it off, to the plucking strings that come in, the sounds reminiscent of record player static with drums in no hurry, and a Bjork-Newsom voice, the lyrics of this one seal the deal of songs about monsters we’ve told our children forever. Brothers Grimm, anyone? I can’t believe we called those “fairy tales” and read them to children…

8. Jane Rigler and Janet Feder, Rarefactions (2015), “Quiver”

Genre: Ambient jungle terror.

Pan flutes make a quiver effect, and an intermittent reminiscence of Spanish-style guitar suggest a regional, cultural musical theme and influence on “Quiver”. It skits and scatters and slithers around your ankles, and mostly, you definitely wouldn’t want to be walking alone in the jungle listening to this tonight, unless you like being that much more freaked out… especially if you’ve ingested Ayahuasca first…

9. Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Totem (2014), “Bad Magic”

Genre: House of mirrors B movie camp-glam.

In “Bad Magic”, subtle percussive underlayers usher you into that haunted house in a film scene where you go inside, get lost in a hall of mirrors, and sense Mike Myers may be in possible pursuit (from Halloween, not Austin Powers). It doesn’t sounds like the infamous score or soundtrack from Halloween, but it does sound like something people in a film would look cool dying to. If that’s too weird, too bad. It’s Halloween.

10. Colfax Speed Queen, Satisfaction Intended (2013), “Skeleton Man”

Genre: Rock'n’roll into the grave.

This tune plunges straight into vocals. “Bag of bones!” guitar riffs punctuated with exclamatives from the organ make this song comparatively friendly and funky. And let’s be honest, a skeleton was always the least scary of the scary-costume genre. But then you realize here “he’s gonna kill himself,” and Skeleton Man isn’t really dead yet, which is why he terrifies us. Because if he doesn’t change his story, he might show up right here, right now.

11. Native Daughters, War Elephant (2012), “War Elephant”

Genre: Horror western languid death march rock.

It’s the fact that I think the narrator is dead by the time we get this musical missive that unsettles me most. His narrations are presented as happening in a nightmare: “And then I woke up,” his husky voice tells. The musical narrative that ensues then takes us where the dream wouldn’t have if he’d stayed asleep. The horn serenades like a march to meet fate with the man, creature, spirit; whatever it/he/she may be. Which never ends well. Enjoy the discomfiting solitude of lamenting guitar strokes and bass chords knowing you’re on a journey in the dark toward an even greater darkness.

12. Qbala, Battle Cries (2015), “So Alone”

Genre: Reality based lyrical fear hop.

This one represents fundamental questions and anxieties that will stick with you long after Halloween. The fears of the day-to-day: “At an all time low… When you fail you must continue to begin, within the walls of desperation and hesitation...  is it all in my head? Or is it in the mirror?”  The honesty, lyricism, and frequently minimalist style of this track are almost chilling, and the fear of who you maybe haven’t become feels real. Same with what’s held you back. It shows the earnestness it takes to do you. The time is now.

13. Rubedo, Love is the Answer (2015), “Psychic Tune”

Genre: Teddy Ruxpin death rattle.

You’re a child. You have a doll or stuffed animal that talks when you pull a cord or push a button or squeeze its plush palm. And then the batteries start to die, the voice slows, and it terrifies the dickens out of you. The deliberate vocal torpor in this song brings those vibes, and makes even understanding the lyrics, in a seeming contradiction, at times more challenging. Equally slow, loose acoustic guitar strokes sit behind nearly-spoken backup vocals with drum hits you could almost call lazy, but not in the derogatory sense, make this song the one you might like to go to bed or wake to the morning after your many Halloween rousings.

Happy Halloween. Follow BolderBeat on Spotify for more Colorado music playlists. 

-Joliene

All tracks per the artists featured. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Action Through Music: Colorado Concerts Call To End Gun Violence

By: Riley Ann

As of today, 263 mass shootings have occurred in the first 250 days of 2016 in the United States alone. In those shootings, 1,390 people have been injured or killed. To take action against gun and domestic violence, people across the country are putting on concerts on September 25th, the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, to support local organizations that work to dismantle violence in their own communities.

One such concert is happening in Fort Collins on Sunday, September 25th at the Letterpress & Publick House from from 130-5PM. The Letterpress & Public House is a nonprofit event space, print shop and a bar/cafe in Fort Collins’ River District. This particular benefit concert is being organized by the Boulder/Fort Collins duo The Darling Ravens. Inspired by the nationwide movement and fueled by their own desires for social justice, the duo has chosen Crossroads Safehouse as the beneficiary of the event. The Safehouse has been serving the Fort Collins area for 34 years, and provides a space for over 500 survivors of domestic violence annually.

“This issue of violence is so high profile after all the recent shootings,” says Clara Delfina of The Darling Ravens, “and for good reason, but I definitely think we have a ways to go, and that using music and art is by far the best way to forge our way into a less violent future.”

Letterpress & Publick House.

Letterpress & Publick House.

The event, which will have a live webstream via Concert Window, will feature an open mic for musicians, poets, performance artists, and survivors to share their stories. There will also be a silent auction featuring local artists’, musicians’, and service providers’ works. The contributors of the silent auction have the option to donate either 50% or 100% of their item’s winning bid to Crossroads. To enter your art into the silent auction, contributors can bring their item (or write-up, in the case of a service provided) to the Letterpress & Publick House between 1230-1PM day of show.

The Darling Ravens.

The Darling Ravens.

Additional information on this event can be found on The Darling Ravens’ Facebook event page. You can also contact the duo directly, at TheDarlingRavens@gmail.com

Other local event concerts for this cause are happening in Aurora, Denver, Lakewood, Littleton, and Longmont. The details for these shows are listed on the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence’s website. Check it out and show your support by coming to one of these shows!

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

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

BolderBeat Chats with Kendall Smith, Director of Denver's Underground Music Showcase

Denver's UMS is coming up fast!

Denver's UMS is coming up fast!

Kendall Smith has been the director of Denver’s Underground Music Showcase for six years now. And in that time, the event has grown from a few local bands playing a few local venues to a 16-venue, 168-band, 280-volunteer production. So how did someone with a background in corporate finance enter the Denver music scene and manage to create one of the best regional music events around?

When I ask, Smith just smiles, “I got lucky.”

After graduating from the University of Northern Texas, Smith joined the corporate ranks, where he worked in finance and accounting. After 20+ years in that game, he left in 2009 to “ride my bicycle for a year and think about what to do next”.

Kendall Smith.

Kendall Smith.

Enter The UMS.

Smith had volunteered for The UMS under former director Ricardo Baca, who you may know as The Denver Post’s prolific former music critic, and current editor of The Cannabist.

“I’d volunteered for couple o years [at UMS]. When Ricardo left, he recommended me as his successor. As part of my interview with the CEO of the Denver Post, I was asked to put a plan together for the next year. I relied on what I knew. I presented the plan as a comparative financial statement. This allowed me to walk a room full of people with little familiarity with the operations of the festival through the changes needed to bring it into the Denver Post Community Foundation.”

Slow Caves, one of the local acts on this year's ums lineup.

But taking over and successfully building the biggest independent music festival in the region wasn’t something that always allowed Smith to rely on his background in finance.

“There were plenty of learning curves,” Smith told me, “But I brought a strong team together, and when you do that, it is a little easier to get up those curves.”

Smith and his team have arguably climbed those learning curves to the top of the music festival mountain. With thousands of artists vying for a spot on the lineup every summer, over 280 volunteers begging to join the team, and 25 sponsors backing the showcase, The UMS has certainly built itself into a Colorado music scene staple.

Some of 2016's UMS lineup.

Some of 2016's UMS lineup.

So what is Smith’s vision for the future of the event?

“I want us to continue to help grow the local music scene here in Colorado, and I want this to become a destination event as well. That’s one reason we have started the city-specific day parties.” he added.

Essentially, The UMS has branched out to surrounding music markets and partnered with them for a few shows at the festival. These cities (which this year include Fort Collins, CO, Sante Fe, NM, and Boise, ID) bring in some of their talented local acts, and they share the stage with Colorado bands, giving all artists involved the chance to connect and chat about the industry in their state. Some bands have gone on to tour with the artists they met through this partnership, trading hometown shows and putting bills together across multiple music markets. Simultaneously, it’s allowed other regions to really showcase their scene, creating the kind of community that one might have found in the earlier SXSW days.

“Playing The UMS means that you’re promised a set that starts on time, a room that sounds good, promotion from our team, and a crowd. And with all of that comes great community- artists are talking and playing together, and other people in the industry are connecting and having a good time.”

UMS Sunsets.

UMS Sunsets.

And so, after clearly seeing Smith's passion for this live event, I had to ask, was Smith ever a performer himself? Maybe before his corporate days?

“No!” he laughs. “I couldn’t be up there myself, but I love watching artists when they’re really in the moment. I grew up going to shows in Texas’ Golden Triangle (between Denton, Dallas, and Forth Worth), so my love for live music grew there. It didn’t matter if we had to drive 40 miles for a good show, that’s just what you did and it was always worth the time.”

Tacocat, one of the national acts on This Year's UMS Lineup.

Tacocat, one of the national acts on This Year's UMS Lineup.

So whether you’re walking down the block to get to The UMS, or you’re driving in from somewhere else in Colorado or beyond; whether you’re coming for the local or the national acts on the lineup; whether you’re working in the corporate world or the music industry; whether you’re an artist who loves to play, or a spectator who just enjoys good, live music, there’s a place for you at The UMS. And this year’s event is only a few weeks away (July 28-31)! Get your tickets here, read up on volunteer info here, and keep up with special announcements from Kendall and his team on The UMS Facebook page.

PS: Wondering about the full lineup for The UMS this year? Here it is! It’s a killer one, folks. Stay tuned for our updates as we're covering the fest! See you there!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per The UMS and The Denver Post. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.