Premiere: Future Joy's New Music Video for "Thirsty" Is Saxually Satisfying

Denver’s Future Joy are known for their sultry sax sounds. They’re self-proclaimed as a “saxually active glitch hop” outfit and 303 Magazine recently called their new self-titled record the “sweet spot between the heavy hitters and sexy saxophone serenades.” Today, the band dropped their music video for the track “Thirsty” and we’re stoked to premiere it for you here:

Future Joy, comprised of Zach Simms on saxophone (MLIMA) and Frederic Park on percussion, is a seriously tasty combination of all things electronic with sax, funk, and hip-hop thrown in. The result is saxually satisfying, and “Thirsty” feels like a banger from its opening riff.

Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Denver’s Annabelle, whose whisper vocals are featured on the track, stars in the video alongside dancers Gina and Sheridan. Annabelle choreographed the video, which was filmed and edited by Connor Tieulie. She also sings on much of Future Joy’s latest record.

The video’s location may look familiar to some Denverites- it was shot at Tetra Lounge and The Bolt Factory; later Jeffrey Charles Stanley added in the animations and graphics. These give the video a real psych party vibe.

Said Simms of filming the video, “We didn’t have too much planning- we just went with the flow of the locations and let the editors do their thing.”

Simms and Park.

Simms and Park.

The track “Thirsty” was recorded in Simms’ living room before the duo made their way to Side 3 Studios for finishing touches, which included Annabelle’s vocals and her opening a can of seltzer water because everyone knows LaCroix is the best way to booze these days.

Simms and Park have already started working on their next record, and are planning for an early 2019 release. Prior to, they’ve got a Colorado tour in the works, so keep up with their live dates here and turn up with “Thirsty.”

Whether You Love Rock or Hip-Hop, Pitchfork Fest's Day Two Had Something For You

DAY TWO

Pitchfork attendees braved light rain heading into the second day of the fest this weekend. We started our day with Circuit Des Yeux’s deep vocals. She stood solidly and relatively calm on stage as she completely owned the microphone and the crowd. Moses Sumney followed with another round of incredible vocals, having us hoping that maybe a collaboration can be born between these two backstage. Dawned in black robes just as the sun peaked out before his set, Sumney sang with a space-age like microphone stand, urging the crowd to vibe to his cinematic songs.

Later, Raphael Saadiq brought in a large crowd, playing a jazzy mash-up of his original content and notable songs from other artists, such as Solange and Erykah Badu. Saadiqu had a live painter on stage next to him, who illustrated black swirls over a large white canvas.

Blood Orange. 

Blood Orange. 

Dev Hynes, AKA Blood Orange, gave an awesome set per usual. One of his first songs of the set was “St. Augustine,” a hit track off his latest album Freetown Sound. As if this song didn’t already give you all the chills, hearing him belt out these lyrics along with a huge crowd was downright incredible.

This Is Not Heat provided a complete turnaround for the day. The British experimental rock band had two drummers on stage, in addition to multiple guitarists, a bassist and a pianist. Their sound was loud between the tree lined Blue Stage, and their love for rock spread into uncontained smiles on the drummers’ faces the entire time.

The War on Drugs  also gave a phenomenal performance in the rock vein. Their classic indie sound carried out extremely well over the field, and you could really feel the energy from the crowd watching them. Finishing off the night for Saturday was headliner Fleet Foxes, who closed Day Two strong.

The Top 10 Must-See Artists at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Beyond the headliners, there are a number of awesome acts scheduled for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Here are our must-sees:

Pitchfork.

Pitchfork.

Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins is from a suburb just north of Chicago, but has been lumped in with the rest of the Chicago artists on the scene. Collins’ music is a unique blend of self-produced beats over his own lyrics, which float somewhere between rapping and droned-out singing. He performed a wild set at Lollapalooza last year, and is sure to bring that same energy to the Pitchfork stage.

Ravyn Lenae

Pitchfork is notable for bringing a collective of artists together at this festival, but something they’re especially good at is tailoring the talent to represent not only the diversity of the industry, but also the Chicago acts who are hustling to the top. Ravyn Lenae is one of these special acts, along with Saba, Noname, Chicago transplant Smino, and northern suburban Kweku Collins. Ravyn Lenae recently released an EP with one of The Internet’s members, Steve Lacy, and went on tour as an opener for Sza, both have which have skyrocketed Lenae’s career this year. Lenae has migrated from a local Chicago favorite to a worldwide obsession. Still, she hones in on her city’s spirit and is sure to have a truly magical set.

Smino

Smino is a St. Louis native, but moved to Chicago to pursue his career as a rapper. He slept on studio floors while working non-stop and was eventually welcomed into Chicago’s tight knit music scene. Along with Ravyn Lenae, Smino was on tour with Sza, helping boost his tunes up the charts as well. His punchy lyrics and riffs of deliverance set him apart, so his set is sure to smash.

Syd

Syd is the breakout star hailing from two of Los Angeles’ most notable artist groups, The Internet and Odd Future. She worked with The Internet’s album Ego Death, which was nominated for a Grammy and has helped shape the sounds of many of LA’s influential artists. Since her debut album, Fin, Syd has been receiving nothing but accolades for her sultry blend of current hip-hop production with a voice that harks back to 90s R&B pop. Syd is a hallmark artist of our generation and an openly gay female who started off in two all-male rap groups and hustled her way into the world’s most competitive music scene.

Listen to our must-see artists on our Pitchfork playlist:

Saba

Saba is one of Chicago’s most special artists, and is the performer you should count yourself lucky to catch this year. At only 23 years young, Saba not only writes some of the most powerful lyrics you’ll listen to, he has also started a foundation and scholarship in the name of his recent friend John Walt. He’s an artist that not only puts on for his city, but he puts on for people. He dropped his second album prior to touring this year called CARE FOR ME, which is a migration from his previous sound but retains his incredible ability for raw storytelling (listen to “LIFE” for a reference on this ability).

Blood Orange

Dev Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, brought his ethereal sound to Pitchfork a few years ago and we’re more than excited to see his name on the lineup again. His 2016 album, Freetown Sound, combined a blend of sounds in and outside of music to create a textured landscape unlike any other. He claims he sat in Washington Square Park in New York City to write most of this record. It was there where he caught and recorded a lot of the extra sounds you hear throughout this album, such as a saxophone being played in the distance. The integration of these environmental sounds creates a mysterious, diary-like experience for the listener. You won’t want to miss catching these vibes in the late afternoon sun on Saturday.

Big Thief

Brooklyn indie rock band Big Thief are bringing their synth-tinged guitars and rock-influenced siren-like vocals to Pitchfork’s fest. Their songs are a nice mix of slow, dreamy tunes and more aggressive rock beats. This sonic mix has landed them on a tour with Conor Oberst (frontman of Bright Eyes, one of indie rock’s most legendary acts), as well as an NPR tiny desk concert.

Julie Byrne

Being compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell takes a special person, and Julie Byrne is evidently one of the rare ones. Leaving home at 18, she stumbled into music to quench her own happiness and has since established a name for herself. Living a wandering lifestyle prior to her recognition has molded her music into a soft and observant sound, which will sound beautiful outdoors at Pitchfork.

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams will be bringing some much needed jazz to Pitchfork, a genre too often underrepresented especially at festivals. An early member of the group The Roots, Abrams has built up his career in Chicago’s strong jazz scene. His set will be a unique vibe on Friday, and will set the weekend off perfectly for any music enthusiast.

The War on Drugs

Indie rock veterans The War on Drugs recently won a 2017 Grammy for “Best Rock Album.” They tell fantastic stories in their lyrics while also making some thought-provoking statements, simultaneously rocking into immense guitar tangents that take listeners to another dimension, and Adam Granduciel’s voice has a hauntingly beautiful tone guaranteed to give a listener chills.

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

Denver's Sole To Release 'Let Them Eat Sand' At Marquis Theatre This Friday (02/02)

Denver hip-hop artist Sole is releasing his new album Let Them Eat Sand this Friday, February 2nd. The record, which explores the current US political climate, along with social commentary on pop culture elements like “generations lost to memes and smartphones” was self-produced by Sole and funded through his Patreon. As Sole has said, the record is about “An ‘apocalypse’ that isn't coming, but already here.” Sole has already released the single from the record, the title track “Let Them Eat Sand”:

Sole’s album release show, which is sponsored by KGNU, will be at Marquis Theatre the same night as the record’s digital release. Denver’s Mux Mool, Entrancer, and The Maybe So's will open the evening; tickets here.

Sole.

Sole.

Make sure to catch this Colorado hip-hop artist, listen to Let Them Eat Sand, and catch Sole for yourself at the Marquis this Friday!

Find more on this event here.

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

Kayla Rae On Working With Other Female Artists & Women's Empowerment In Music

By: Annie Kane

It’s around 10AM in Denver’s holiday clad Union Station, and the place is already humming with travelers passing through and freelancers working diligently amongst the couches. As I sit down with local Denver singer Kayla Rae, we reminisce over what it must’ve been like to have traveled during the heyday of trains. She takes another sip of her green tea before we dive into our thought-provoking conversation on her artistry, the importance of self-love, and the empowering feeling of working with other confident women.

So let’s start with a bit about your background. You’re from Colorado Springs- how was that environment? How do you feel like that shaped you?

It’s kind of a small town, so I had a lot of good friends around me. I went to okay schools, but I liked Colorado Springs because it wasn’t too fast, you know? It was a little more laid back. It was the perfect place I feel like for my mom because there was five of us kids and just her, so a slower city was better ‘cause she didn’t have to keep such an eye on us. She was so busy all the time anyways, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trouble we could get into! But, you know Denver was always the place to come when you were a kid on the weekends or when you’re a teenager and you want to come party and stuff, it’s always like, ‘Let’s go up to Denver, there’s way more happening up there!’ I was a really good kid, I never really got into anything crazy. My sisters were kind of wild but I’ve always been ‘the good child.’ My mom always trusted me a lot, and I think that was because of the friends I had and there really wasn’t shit to do in Colorado Springs! It’s kind of boring. So, Denver’s a lot different.

Kayla Rae.

Kayla Rae.

So were your mom or your friends into music?

My mom used to sing when she was younger- a lot actually- she has a huge passion for singing. But she started smoking when she was really young so she obviously doesn’t have the best voice anymore. She always played really good music when I was growing up, like Sugar Hill, The Carpenters. So she was always really musical, but no one else in my family writes music or makes music, and no one on my dad’s side does either. My dad listened to a lot of jazz and so I was always around good music, but I think I’m the only creator in the family.

So you feel like you fell into creating music naturally?

Yeah, well I think when I was a kid I was writing first as a form of expression, like poetry, and stories, and journal entries, like I always just wrote stuff. So then eventually I turned them into songs because I loved to sing. You know, I feel like I was terrible at it as a kid but I loved to do it, so then when I got older it was kind of just what became of me. It was just who I was.

And then you went somewhere to learn how to produce?

Yeah! So when I graduated high school I actually applied for Berklee College of Music in Boston. I didn’t make it in the fall semester, but I got accepted in the spring, so I started in 2010. When you get there, they give you a Macbook and it comes with all different music programs like Logic, Reason, and Garageband. You take basic classes on music production and music theory, but I was just so excited to have my own software to do it ‘cause I was always in other people’s studios, so I was like, ‘I wanna learn how to make beats and record all my own songs!’ So I would do that- I would just make them. They gave us a little midi keyboard as well and you would just hook it up to your laptop and you could just create and record through your laptop speakers, so I would just make all these horrible sounding songs. But yeah, I was just learning how to produce, how to write and record myself, which I think is mostly why I do all my own recording now, because having that control is a lot better. Then you don’t have to wait on other people’s time.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. It’s definitely easy to link with other people now with social media, but do you feel like your music is more “you” because you have all that control and ability to actually do it yourself?

I think so. It is nice getting to work with other people sometimes because you have other ideas coming into the pot, but it’s also very liberating when you’re by yourself because you don’t have opinions of other people, like, ‘Oh, well maybe you shouldn’t do this,’ you know? So yeah, you don’t have to wait on anybody else. A lot of people are so busy nowadays with their own things that it takes awhile to get stuff back. And me, when I have ideas, I want them out right away. I’m the worst person at planning and making things go accordingly because when something is just buzzing in my head when it’s good I’m just like, ‘Okay, I need to get this out now.’ So it’s really convenient that I have a studio at home and I can do that on my own because I couldn’t imagine having all these song ideas and having to wait to book studio time to do them.

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Would you say you’re protective over who you let into your creative bubble?

Yeah, and it’s not even on purpose, it’s just, I need the right energy around me at this time because I don’t want anything to interrupt this creative process. You know? And I’m never too good to take anyone’s advice who would say, ‘Maybe this would sound good this way.’ So I’ll ask that of people that I trust- I’ll play music for them and ask what they think about it. But I think you have to be selective when you’re in any craft.

And your music is pretty personal.

Yeah, sometimes it gets… yeah. (laughs) It’s like therapy sometimes!

That’s good! So would you say you make music for yourself mostly?

Yeah! You know what’s crazy is that I was talking to another artist about this yesterday, I was actually working with YaSi yesterday. I invited her over and we finally got to work together, which is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile. But we were talking about that- about making music for ourselves, and that’s always how it starts. With any person who does any kind of creative expression, you do it because you need to. And I think once people start catching on to you and they start listening and you see people's reactions, you want to do it for them. You want to do it for their praise, but you have to remember that it’s not for anybody but you. And sometimes some songs don’t need to be heard. YaSi and I were talking about that yesterday too, just like that’s such a good point that you don’t always have to share things with people, and that’s how you keep it for yourself. Some people use music to heal, and that’s really what it is for me because, I mean I write everyday but I really do my best writing when I’m sad. I don’t know why that is! (laughs) And so some of that stuff people will never hear.

So when you perform live, what kind of environment do you try to cultivate?

It’s so crazy that you say that, ‘cause as artists we have the power to create an atmosphere. I just want people to feel comfortable- I want them to feel really in tune with themselves and with what I’m saying, and I feel like it’s like that when I perform. I feel like I’m respected up there which means so much, and I feel like I have people’s attention so I can pretty much say anything that I want. I feel really comfortable up there, and that’s how I want other people to feel- comfortable to kind of just get lost in the music for a second, almost like I’m in my bedroom. I close my eyes a lot when I sing, and I think it’s ‘cause I’m taken back there.

Is there anything you want your audience to take out of your music?

Inspiration to do what you want, you know. It’s so hard to get caught up in this world and what you think other people want from you, what they expect of you. I just want my music to represent me fully, and let people know that this is just who I am and it’s okay to be who you are too, it’s okay to do what you love. You know, you can make money off what you love, you can live happily doing it and it doesn’t have to be a struggle for you, you can do it and be free. And that’s what I want from people to get when they see me perform and listen to my music, like, ‘Wow, she’s just doing this for her.’

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That’s awesome. So what makes you feel the most empowered?

When I’m working with other women. I feel like naturally, we all just feel like we’re so different, we all feel like no one understands us and we’re just all alone in this world, or maybe that’s just me! (laughs) So when I get around other women, I just feel like ten times myself. I just feel like I can do anything. So I like to keep good solid women around me who also have goals, and they empower me. When I feel really confident in myself I’m empowered, when I feel sexy I’m empowered, and I get all that from [working with] other women. Which is crazy.

So how do you feel about breaking into the music industry as a woman?

I feel like it’s kind of hard because most of the workers in the music [industry] are men. You know, the producers and the engineers, and sometimes they get the wrong ideas when you just wanna work. Like, ‘Nah I just wanna get my shit done!’ But I do think this is a good time for women because I feel like there’s so many women doing so much right now. You have so many women in power: Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, even women on the come up like Tori Kelly, Kehlani, just all these great women in music. I feel like it’s probably going to be a little easier now, you just have to remember to be yourself and not try to be like anybody else.

Yeah, I feel like Sza cracked this huge gate of vulnerability.

Hell yeah, Sza’s amazing. Just so many women doing great things and it makes me so proud, because, I was actually talking to my girlfriend about this, and she was like, ‘You know, the women in this city are doing exactly what the women everywhere else are doing. And who knows what the women in other cities are doing and how they’re coming together and holding each other down and lifting each other up.’ It’s just, it’s a women’s world, I don’t care what anybody else says! (laughs)

What female artists do you most look up to?

All of them, oh my gosh. I really, really love Sade. I think she’s amazing and I used to listen to her a lot when I was younger. I took so much from Aaliyah when I was a kid, like I modeled everything after her it was crazy. And still to this day I watch all of her stuff and it just never gets old for me. I just love how she was so cool, just naturally cool. It seemed like she didn’t have to try, she seemed so sweet. Her music was kinda gangsta, but not really, she was sweet over her music so it was a nice balance and I really loved that about her. Now, I really look up to Rihanna, I think she’s amazing. As a woman in music, in fashion and in business. And she’s been doing this for so long. I really look up to Beyoncé, I love her so, so much. (pauses to think) There’s so many. I think Sza is incredible, I think she is such a good storyteller, you know what I mean? She’s not afraid to write about what she’s been through and it sounds like these crazy-ass stories that you get lost in but you’re also like, ‘Me too, I’ve kind of been through that!’

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Outside of the glory and fame of celebrity and things you can get caught up with, where do you really see your music going?

I just want to get a good amount of people who really like it all over the world who I can come to and perform it for. When I think about fame, and the people who have that, I just think about how unhappy they might be, like how much it must to be keep up with always being talked about or people always trying to find you and how that must really interrupt your peace of mind. I don’t want that, it just sounds painful. I just want people who really like my music and who are down to buy it and down to listen to it, and if I can make a living off of just traveling and performing and making music that’s really all I wanna do. The reality is we have to pay to live, and I think you just have to find something you like to do that helps you do that, that keeps you here, that keeps you fed, that keeps you clothed. If you’re good at something and you love to do it then make that the way that you live. I just wanna take care of my family with music and meet a lot of new people and go to a lot of different places. I don’t want all that extra shit! People kill themselves because they’re so caught up in the pressure and I think we live in that world now unfortunately where everyone is being looked at and there’s this pressure to be perfect and to have all your shit together, and it’s like no, nobody is like that in real life. It’s not even about all the attention, like sometimes it’s nice but if that’s all that you’re after, you’re just going to be so unhappy. I think about the things that make me happy, and it’s not that.

How do you stay so grounded? Have you always been this level-headed?

Well, one, my mom would slap the shit out of me if I ever came home trying to be bougie! But I just think, like, it is hard and sometimes I get caught up in it. I get caught up in what people think of me or what they’re gonna think of my next song. I think you just have to remind yourself, ‘Why do I do this? Why do I love this?’ I think it’s an internal thing and obviously the people you keep around you, too. No one in my life treats me as if I’m better than anybody else. None of us should treat anybody like that- we’re all equals. So I think it’s definitely keeping good people around you and loving yourself that is really important. If you don’t love yourself, you’re going to try to find all that from other people. So yeah, just really being comfortable with who you are. I feel like there’s so much to live up to. I don’t want my daughters or my nieces to feel like they have to be something unreal.

If you had a daughter, how would you try to guide her away from that pressure?

I would really just press self-love, because I feel like that’s really where it comes from, is inside. I notice that at times when I don’t feel good about myself, that’s when I try to do more with my appearance or I try to be extra on social media because I feel like I need people to tell me I’m doing okay. But that never fulfills me completely, you know. So I would really just teach her to love herself, and you’re different, and you’re unique, and that’s okay. You’re going to make decisions that people aren’t going to agree with, and that’s okay. I think in doing that you learn to appreciate who you are.

Keep up with Kayla Rae’s latest on her Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.

-Annie

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

Denver's Annabelle Raps About The Importance Of Self-Love

By: Taylor Naiman

Annabelle is The Mile High’s very own 20-year-old female rap artist, and she’s making big moves in the industry. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she returned to her native Denver to hone her sound. Her introduction to the Denver scene was over a year ago at her first open mic and at the time, she felt like one of Denver’s only female artists. Still, she kept pursuing more stage opportunities at places like The Gothic and Cervantes’ Masterpiece, and while doing so, explored a range of sounds: hip-hop, jazz, rap, and soul.

Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Throughout the duration of her first EP, The Desire, Annabelle creates a storybook and gives the audience her true raw emotion. She has found a balance both lyrically and musically where she can explore different sounds and her own vulnerabilities. Her music is “melodic, soulful and highly vulnerable with hip-hop and jazz undertones.” It is open, emotional, and conveys her vulnerabilities. She strives to give her audience a spiritual awakening.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Annabelle told me that she is most influenced by artists she herself can dance to, such as Ashanti, Missy Elliott, 2Pac, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and J. Cole. Lyrically, she likes J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, and Kendrick Lamar. She told me, “I think I hold the same potential as any one of those legends.” And maybe that confidence is just what she needs.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Currently, Annabelle is working on three EPs in the studio, composed with a new energy and varied tones. They are going to be all about her life journey and “how people can be dangerous.” Each will unmask more of her vulnerabilities pertaining to relationships, self-love, and her continued growth. She describes this music as being reminiscent of an ambient Odesza sound with a  jazzy feel and a hint of a “50 Cent club record.” When she is not in the studio, you can catch her either riding horses or modeling in front of the camera.

Well-attuned to her style and vibe, Annabelle is someone to keep an eye out for. I recently had the chance to ask her a few more questions about her music:

What was your favorite song to write and why?

Should I’ because of the whole story behind it. I walked in on my ex with another girl in his bed. I was pretty calm about the whole situation at the time and didn’t know how to feel about it right when it happened. I tried to write a song about the way I was feeling and it went a couple of different ways before I finished it. But I went from the honest, vulnerable side when I wrote ‘Should I.’ It’s the battle, where you ask yourself, ‘What should I do?’ For me, it is a very poetic song where I can prove my self-love.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another female in the music industry?

Always know your worth and do not settle for anything less. Do not be afraid to tell people, ‘no’ in this industry. Have the confidence to do so! If your ideas do not align with those of other individuals, do not settle.

Learn more about Annabelle and her music here.

-Taylor

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

Optycnerd & Play Pat Join Forces For 'Nonfiction' EP

By: Norman Hittle

Denver’s latest collaboration EP Nonfiction brings OptycNerd and Play Pat together with four tracks that are certain to get some winter dance parties grooving. Check it out:

OptycNerd is an electronic hip-hop/pop duo based in Denver. After meeting at a party and realizing they both had the same first name, Chris Kimmel and Chris Scott knew immediately that they had to form a group. Over the past few years, the Chris' have been crafting their sound and building up their body of work, including their released December 3rd single “Apollo” which is currently in the top 10 running for 93.3 KTCL’s Hometown for the Holidays - and you can vote on until December 12th!

Play Pat is an indie hip-hop artist with a great deal of work under his belt, including his most recent November 2017 release “Uber to Space”. Although he seems to keep his personal information under the radar, Play Pat has a solid SoundCloud following, including multiple tracks with over 10k+ plays- no small feat!

Optycnerd with Play Pat.

Optycnerd with Play Pat.

With their Nonfiction collaboration, both artists bring a solid hip-hop/rap effort to the table, featuring sounds reminiscent to Disclosure, Macklemore, and even nods to artists like Kendrick Lamar on their track “Photoshoot”. Yet, this isn’t the first collaboration these artists have had together, and likely it won’t be their last. Back in September, they combined their powers for the first time on the single “PM AM,” a far more pop/hip-hop oriented track.

Keep up with both acts via their social media, and keep an ear out for more material to be released. These guys are serious about content creation, so if you like what you hear, keep checking back!

-Norman

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

Premiere: Yasi Talks To Us On Video About Her Inspirations, Artistry, & Fears

The inspiration behind this video stems from Yasi's strong, feminine tone. I wanted to create a visual train of thought that viewers could follow and engage with that would accurately encapsulate who Yasi is, both as a human and an artist. It was important to me to create something that would interest people that are fans, as well as those who may not yet be aware of her music. I felt that by mixing video, photo, design and text, I could create something unique that would enable this attraction.

Catch Yasi next this Friday, December 8th at Globe Hall in Denver.

-Annie

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

New Year's Eve At Red Rocks Is Going To Be A Party

The clock is counting down as the holidays approach, and every year it seems to come by even faster than the previous years celebration. We're talking about ringing in the New Year, of course! Starting 2018 off on the right note will be easy when you consider all of the difference parties, local celebrations, and events happening throughout the Denver area.

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New Year's Eve on the Rocks at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is arguably the most anticipated party to ring in 2018, and even more so when you consider that this is the first ever New Year's celebration at the iconic venue. The all-star lineup for this concert almost guarantees a sell-out, with locals and tourists flocking into town to experience the magic! The line up is boasting names like Migos, Post Malone, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, and Dizzy Wright, so it's safe to say that this is going to be a night of hip-hop to remember for years to come. It's sponsored by Cervantes', Feyline, and KS107.5, so be sure to tune in for your chance to win tickets if you haven't had a chance to snag your own yet.

Safety is important anytime you plan on partying with friends, but even more so when so many people are partying for the new year, so be sure to prepare for your mode of transportation after drinking and dancing. Ride share services will surely take advantage of price surging during this time, so it's worth it to consider professional transportation such as a party bus or limousine. Not only is it more comfortable for a group of people, but it also comes at a comparable price tag after splitting it up among everyone who is attending. With amenities like cup holders, neon lights, comfortable seating and custom streaming ability on the subwoofer-equipped stereo systems, you're sure to enjoy the enhanced experience.

There will be shuttles leaving from specific bars around town like Thirsty Lion and Illegal Pete's, but be sure to weigh all of your options… especially if they're just as costly as professional transportation. Denver Party Bus Services allow you to have more control over your overall experience. For those able to attend, New Years Eve on the Rocks is going to be an exceptional party! Doors are at 5:00PM on the 31st, so don't be late. Swing over in style!

Book your bus now:

Limo Denver

1441 S Glencoe St Denver, CO 80222

(720) 619-2720

Browse the full fleet here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. 

A-Mac & The Height Reach New Peaks With New Record 'Part of It All'

By: Will Baumgartner

The ridiculously talented Denver band known as A-Mac & The Height have made a lot of noise over the past year, with a sold-out album release show at the Bluebird Theater, performances at their own Spread the Word Music Festival as direct support for the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, and a two-month fall tour which took them from the Midwest all the way to Florida. Behind all this activity is the group’s frontman and songwriter Alex MacKenzie-Low, a musically driven young man whose contagious energy not only drives the band, but has been an important part of the Denver area music scene for several years. I first met Alex when he booked my band at Moe’s Original BBQ in Englewood and the relationship has continued through a few years of the Spread The Word Festival, an annual event which is MacKenzie-Low’s personal labor of love and has been a vital and energizing part of the local live music landscape for the past five years.

A-Mac & The Height. 

A-Mac & The Height. 

Having seen the band (formerly known as A-Mac DZ) a number of times, I was not at all surprised to find that their current album Part of It All is filled with the same great songs and stellar musicianship I’ve come to expect from this band. The genre description on their Facebook page- “upbeat folk rock, reggae/world, hip-hop, jam” prepares the listener for a rather common combination of sounds in today’s music landscape, but the album itself is much more than the sum of these parts.  

Listen to Part of It All:

“Sun Comes Up” kicks off the musical journey of the record appropriately enough with a driving mashup of reggae and hip-hop, and a story of finding oneself and one’s family of friends through persistence and music. It begins with hopping on a train, facing loneliness and pain with the line, “‘Til I find my friends, my motivation/Music, yes, my inspiration.” These are lyrics that anyone who has chosen the challenging life of a musician can understand: we feel so much, and life can be so frightening and difficult, but music and the people we play it with makes it all worthwhile. From the drum and bass intro through the masterful rapping in the middle, all the way to the end, this is a great song performed by a super-tight band.

The second song, “Ends I’ll Never Know,” takes us into distinctly brighter territory. If “Sun Comes Up” is about climbing out of the darkness, this one is about dancing in the sunlight. It’s a happily grooving song with a bouncy guitar line that sounds like it could have come from Paul Simon’s Graceland or The Rhythm of the Saints albums, at least to my ears, it definitely has that happy South African/Latin-inspired feel. It’s also a markedly pop-sounding song, with its catchy chorus and hook-driven arrangement. You can practically hear the smile on MacKenzie-Low’s face as he sings “Oh I, oh I, ready for whatever comes my way today/Yes I, yes I, ready to grow to ends I’ll never know.”

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 “Indica From Heaven” is, not surprisingly, a feel-good party track. If weed is your party, blaze up and groove on down. The deeply funky reggae feel, horn lines, keyboard solo, and the lyrics all encourage the listener to just have a good time and not think too much. It’s also one of the most danceable tracks on the album, so don’t get too stoned to get up! The syncopation and breaks in the arrangement make it perfect for busting some moves.

The fourth track, “It Would Be Easy,” starts off in a sadder place. It’s a breakup song with lyrics like, “All our friends know you crushed my soul,” so the musical feel is appropriately wistful, at least at first. But the song is also about letting go, so there’s a break in the middle that suddenly feels like a Calypso/Salsa dance party, with a rolling Latin-sounding piano line and horns bouncing merrily over the top. You never know what to expect with these guys!

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“Streets of Colorado” is a homecoming anthem from a traveler who has gone away, but come back to where he’s from and feels most at home there. It’s the most rock-sounding track on the album, and the band ably supports the singer’s story with another tight arrangement and more excellent playing.

The album’s penultimate track, “Back On My Own,” revisits the theme of lost love while still emphasizing the singer’s drive to pick himself up and keep moving, which seems to be almost the theme of the whole disc: persistence, as Calvin Coolidge said, is omnipotent. As with all the songs on this album, the arrangement is a big part of what makes this song work: the individual instruments and the way they play off of each other, the musical dynamics, and the juxtaposition of different musical styles stacked together to create a balanced structure. The casual listener doesn’t need to “get” what’s going on behind the music to enjoy it, but musicians, songwriters and arrangers will find much to appreciate and admire. 

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And so we come to the final song on the album, “Here’s to the Love.” It’s a testament to the strength of MacKenzie-Low’s spirit that while he’s writing a song as a requiem to a dear friend, he still insists on not wallowing in the pain of his friend’s passing: “I will remember the good times always/No one can take away your memory, so here’s to the love.” You can hear the pain in his voice and in the music, and still, there’s that insistence on finding the good in everything, even death. So, ultimately, it’s not a sad song, but a celebration of life and love.

Again, I can’t overemphasize the strength of the musicianship on this record, and its importance in making it a successful recording. Drummer Matt McElwain, bassist Stephen Edwards, keyboardist Karl Rivers, saxophonist Joey Bean, and lead guitarist Ted Kleist are all great musicians, period. Colorado is lucky to have such talent in our midst, and A-Mac & The Height are blessed by the way they work together.

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Part of It All is available on Bandcamp. A-Mac & The Height are just returning from their fall tour, and will perform next in Colorado on Saturday November 25th at Mother Muff’s in Colorado Springs. Keep up with the band on their Facebook page and website.

-Will

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

DJ Zenas' New Single "Real Thing" Explores Today's Love Standards With Social Media

We first heard of Denver’s DJ Zenas on Mawule’s 2016 record Chosen. We later caught him live, and this year he is featured on Mawule’s track “Anything,” the video for which premiered on BolderBeat and will be featured in a number of national film festivals this fall.

DJ Zenas.

DJ Zenas.

Though DJ Zenas is well known for his verse collaborations and production work with other artists, he also creates music all his own. Today, he released his single “Real Thing.” The song also boasts vocals by local talent Kayla Rae. It’s a catchy, poppy, upbeat hip-hop track about the dichotomy that arguably plagues millennials: relationships on social media versus IRL.

Said DJ Zenas about this track, “I have been working on a lot of new music recently, preparing for an EP which I plan to release in spring of 2018. ‘Real Thing’ is the first single off of the EP. The inspiration for the record comes from the standard for love, or lack thereof, that we as a society embrace today. I am very old-fashioned, especially in regards to love, so I am completely out of tune with the norm. I wanted this record to embrace a notion of hope, that even today where vulnerability and feeling are borderline taboo, and love is nearly impossible to find, we somehow stumble upon it. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for much more to come!”

Make sure to give “Real Thing” a listen for yourself above and keep up with DJ Zenas here.

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

Hoodie Allen Bringing "Sushi" To You On Current World Tour

By: Shivain Chopra

Hoodie Allen is back with a follow-up album to his chart-topping Happy Camper LP in 2016. Having already released two singles this year, “Sushi” and “Know It All”, he is gearing up to release the rest of his 12-track album.

Hoodie Allen.

Hoodie Allen.

As a continuation of his style of mixing various genres to attract listeners from across the musical spectrum, Allen’s wonderful vocal talents go well with his mellow, but hard-hitting beats. While “Know It All” is a combination of alternative rock and R&B vibes, “Sushi” is clearly Top 40 pop/hip-hop material, and puts on display Allen’s versatility through the alternating of singing and rapping.

Allen's new record.

Allen's new record.

In addition, Allen recently announced his The Hype World Tour, with stops around the country, including Denver and Los Angeles. By the sounds of the music of his album so far, fans who are planning to see him in concert are in for a treat.

If you’re interested in seeing Hoodie Allen on his The Hype World Tour, he has shows coming up in various cities around the country, including Denver on October 20th and Los Angeles on October 30th for Halloweekend.

Keep up with Hoodie Allen here.

-Shivain

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

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

By: Mirna Tufekcic

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

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

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

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

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

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

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

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

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

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

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

Estes Park

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

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

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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

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

Greeley

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

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

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

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

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

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

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

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

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

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

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

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

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

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

Chance The Rapper's Intern Opens Up About Working For His Favorite Rapper & How One Night at Red Rocks Changed Everything

Hospedales & Chance. 

Hospedales & Chance. 

You may recall a few months back when Chance The Rapper put out a request for an intern across his social media. Canada’s Nagele Hospedales got the gig after turning his resume into a website that went viral. Recently, Hospedales opened up about what life was like touring the globe with Chicago’s hometown hero. From arranging story time for the rapper with Dave Chappelle to coordinating Chance’s hoops sessions with Migos, Hospedales eventually writes,

“I can talk all I want about my run-ins with various celebrities including the ones I lived with for 2 months, or how a taste of the VIP lifestyle changed me, but the first moment that really left shivers down my spine was a slightly more natural one:
Night 2 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO.
The band intros happen nearly halfway thru the show, and after the ovation for ‘Mr. Nico Segal’, ”Sunday Candy” begins. Suddenly, it was if the heavens literally opened up for a second; right as the vocalists harmonized the lines “Come on in this house, cause it’s gonna rain, Rain down Zion, it’s gonna rain”, the most peaceful light mist fell from the sky until the end of the song and as suddenly as they started, ceased. Something about that moment made me realize that I, or rather we, were doing something right, enough so to please our God & Mother Nature & the sky themselves.”

A life defining moment had at Red Rocks? We get you Hospedales.

Read Hospey's full adventures as Chance’s intern here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Review: Pat Ice Injects Hip-Hop Tunes With "Krispy Vibes"

By: Allan Tellis

Hip-hop, like any other art form, requires innovation. Unfortunately, hip-hop specifically can have the propensity to be stagnated and stuck on the dominant sound of the culture at the moment. Due to the speed at which changes in hip-hop move, it is even more obvious when artists are riding the wave or coattails of the current trends in the genre. As one half of the duo Pat Ice, Boulder artist and New Orleans native J-Ice is focused on shaking that stagnation and pushing the culture forward. His partner in crime, Play Pat, is a production-focused artist who infuses his trip-hop, blurry vibes into the duo’s interesting style. Their sound  is innovative, yet draws back on many of the technical skills cemented by the founders of the genre.

J-Ice.

J-Ice.

Although the group’s music has the ability to get a party lit, it doesn’t compromise the lyrical skill set that so many emcees hold in high regard. It also doesn’t particularly ride the sound pattern of current club music with heavy trap snare lines or West Coast funk-laden influences. Pat Ice has managed to create their own sound, which is a feat in itself in today’s hip-hop arena. Their smooth sonics, or as J-Ice phrases it, “krispy vibes,” can be found most notably in their tracks “Don’t Get Offended” and “Online.” These melodically upbeat, yet slow tempo tunes make the perfect backdrop for a relaxing drive through the city or a kickback in the living room with your closest amigos.

Pat Ice also has a strong lyrical pedigree, flexing his wordplay on tracks like “Ripple Effect,” so don’t let the group’s laidback vibes give any of you whack rappers any ideas. Overall this Boulder hip-hop duo is definitely worth checking out.

-Allan

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

Review: IMJLS Releases Concept Record 'The Blunt Diaries'

By: Norman Hittle

The Blunt Diaries is a clever hip-hop collaboration by Boulder's IMJLS and featuring sound engineer/DJ and producer Katmandoom. The record is a thematic concept effort with songs all named after Swisher Sweets wrapper flavors, and centering around getting high.

Independent artist and founder of "The Creative Collective," artist IMJLS (pronounced "I’m Jealous") first broke into the Colorado music scene in early 2016 with his melodic blend of East Coast influenced rap, soul, and R&B.

IMJLS.

IMJLS.

Longtime producer and DJ Katmandoom, or “Katty D,” came across fellow aspiring artist IMJLS after working radio in Colorado Springs. After discovering they musically meshed well, the two soon released over twenty tracks together. With two EPs and some singles, The Blunt Diaries was created.

Regarding the collective project, IMJLS says it began when “an immense amount of blunt smoke filled the air [and the] mention of scrap-booking our previously smoked blunts sparked a thought of an innovative concept. 'The Blunt Diaries' embodies all your favorite flavor[ed] wRAPS into everyday emotions felt day in and day out.”

Kick back with with this eclectic and highly conceptual project, and keep up with IMJLS on his Facebook and catch him at his Hodi's Half Note show this weekend.

-Norman

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

Reinventing the String Band: Darol Anger Forges A New Tradition

By: Riley Ann

String players in the Front Range had a real treat this past weekend. Living legend Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings, which features violinist Enion Pelta-Tiller of TAARKAand Joy Adams of Half Pelican on cello, hosted a workshop at Naropa before performing a concert in the evening on Sunday, April 23rd as the conclusion of their most recent Front Range tour. The full ensemble, which included Emy Phelps on guitar and vocals, Mike Robinson on guitar, and Eric Thorin on bass, played an evening concert the same day.

Darol Anger. 

Darol Anger. 

Darol Anger has made an indelible impact on the evolution of the fiddle. From his early days with David Grisman to the Turtle Island String Quartet, and his 2012 release of Chops & Grooves with Rushad Eggleston and Casey Driessen, Anger is no stranger to stretching possibilities and breaking rules through innovative techniques. His Fiddle-ology workshops are aimed at sharing these techniques that Anger helped developed in contemporary styles, techniques which transcend any particular genre. “I’m a failed classical player,” Anger laughed, “but that’s why I teach: to be the teacher that I wish I had.”

Nearly 50 string players attended the workshop, including fiddlers, cellists, mandolin players, and a harpist. Ages and experiences ranged as well, from kids under 12 who have played most of their lives, to touring professionals who make their living performing music, and adults who have recently picked up their instrument for the first time in decades, or recently picked it up for the very first time. Each participant shared their journey with music. “I played violin as a girl and put it down for a few years, but I just picked it up again after retirement,” said one fiddler, smiling. Another shared, “I’ve played professionally in symphonies for years, but you don’t get much exposure to music like this in Miami.” Despite their differing paths, all of the participants were looking to expand their musical vocabulary, whether it was getting out of habitual solos, diversifying their backup techniques, or even learning to break away from classical training to freely improvise.

Phelps, Thorin, & Robinson.

Phelps, Thorin, & Robinson.

The Republic of Strings are the perfect performers to share these techniques. Philosophically, the ensemble disregards limitations and borders. As articulated in their bio, “Our shared Republic Of Strings’ imaginary borders extend through all geographical or other imaginary borders, and we accept no unsightly cultural boundaries. We revel in variety and seek to deeply understand.” Such is true musically as they blend the folk music spanning the world, including Scandinavia, Africa, South America, urban America, Appalachia, and more with neo-classical, blues, jazz, hip-hop, bluegrass, and postmodern influences, ultimately weaving together a new tapestry of music that defies compartmentalization in any genre or style.

Pelta-Tiller & Anger.

Pelta-Tiller & Anger.

The partnership between Pelta-Tiller and Anger is also unique and longstanding. “Darol and I have been friends for a very long time,” said Pelta-Tiller. “I grew up listening to him in the Bay area and would go see him with my parents when I was really little. After college I was staying at my parents, and I took some lessons with him,” she said. Since then, they have taught at some of the same fiddle camps and see each other at festivals. “We’ve been friends for a long time, and I’m really excited to be able to bring him out here,” she said.

Joy Adams.

Joy Adams.

Although this was the first workshop of its kind at Naropa, Anger and Pelta-Tiller are considering the possibility of doing more area workshops in the future and even expanding what those workshops offer. The full calendar of events can be found on Naropa’s website, including this summer’s Creative Music Workshop, which focuses on improvisation. Pelta-Tiller and Adams are also both teaching at the Rustic Roots campfire jamming camp in Moffat, Colorado this August.

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

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

Review: Joseph Lamar's 'Quarter-Life Righteous' Is As Eclectic As It Is Beautiful

By: Jura Daubenspeck

I’ve recently fallen in love with some music. And I’ve gotta say, I think it’s getting serious.

Colorado Springs artist Joseph Lamar resides in many categories: a singer, songwriter, producer, storyteller, instrumentalist, dancer, and my personal favorite? Genre-f*cker. His debut album Quarter-Life Righteous (released March 31st) is an iridescent daydream, adorned with stunning vocals and introspective storytelling.

The badass album art for 'Quarter-Life Righteous.'

The badass album art for 'Quarter-Life Righteous.'

Quarter-Life Righteous feels like its very own storybook, with 15 uniquely-crafted and intentionally-chosen songs filling its pages. In the album, Lamar plays with double meanings and juxtaposition, all while exposing a common idea. He blends rock, pop, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, and neo-soul (amongst others) to create a vastly unique sound that challenges expectations and encourages expression.

Listen to Quarter-Life Righteous:

It’s hard to pick favorites, but there are definitely songs that have danced through my mind consistently since first listening to the album. “Black Boy,” “Not Gonna Call,” “I Want You,” and “Cosmic Joke” are personal frontrunners, but each song is complex lyrically and sonically. I dare you to find the songs that speak to you most.

Joseph Lamar. Photo Credit: David Rossa

Joseph Lamar. Photo Credit: David Rossa

In his own words, Lamar shared:

“I explored intersectionality and my experience as a black, gay, agnostic, cis-man on ‘Black Boy.’ I kinda explored the female identity (I think we're all both) on ‘Cruel Girl,’ and talked about the absurdity of existence on ‘Cosmic Joke.’ I think overall [Quarter-Life Righteous] is about trying to achieve a sense of self-actualization at a time in life when some people start to settle or become complacent.”
Photo Credit:  Gary Sheer

Photo Credit: Gary Sheer

Quarter-Life Righteous feels dark in the way that we all feel dark from time to time: that dark that stems from questioning yourself, others, and the universe that encapsulates us. It’s healthy, it’s present, and it’s real. The vibrant energy felt in this album is visceral, yet very much cerebral.

Photo Credit: Elle Coxon

Photo Credit: Elle Coxon

Many talented artists contributed to the creation of the album- check out who did what here and peruse the inspiration for each song.

Connect with Joseph Lamar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For an extra glimpse into his music, check out the music video for “About Love: Concerning the Discrepancies Between Expectations and Reality” below:

-Jura

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

Dive Into Groovin' Hip-Hop Tunes On Our 'Welcome To It' Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Wanna groove? Then dive into ‘Welcome To It’ right meow. We promise you won’t be able to sit still.

Deca opens our hip-hop Spotify Playlist tunage this month, with tracks by Nas, Qbala, J. Cole, No Name, Trev Rich, and of course, Tribe Called Quest. Tastemaker Sierra Voss has thrown in some lip-lickin’ numbers into this one.

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Make sure to follow us on Spotify for continued tunage, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it! Welcome to it.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Forward Funk: The Runnikine Release Debut Single + Hit Cervantes' with Joey Porter’s Shady Business

By: Will Baumgartner

Denver pop/funk/hip-hop fusion trio The Runnikine are something of a local “supergroup.” Keyboardist/vocalist Eric Luba plays with local funk/soul stars Analog Son, drummer Will Trask is in Great American Taxi, and bassist Jon McCartan is with rising Americana rock stars The Drunken Hearts. All of these bands are making a name for themselves nationally, and if there’s any justice in the music world, The Runnikine will soon follow in their footsteps.

The Runnikine. 

The Runnikine. 

For now though, the group is focusing on building a strong local following- and they’re doing that quite nicely, thank you. It doesn’t hurt that the members are gregarious fellows who, beyond their main gigs, play with anyone and everyone they can on the side: most music fans in the Denver/Boulder area know of these guys having seen them play at some of the area’s biggest all-star jam nights. The word is spreading among the musical and fan community that The Runnikine are a group to watch, and for good reason: Their music is powerful, innovative, and driven by solid grooves.

Laying the foundation for a move beyond local popularity requires coming out with a great recording, and The Runnikine are doing just that. “They Walk Among Us,” the first single from their upcoming debut EP (which is slated for a May release) is a gem. The song starts with block chords on the keyboard and kicks in with a solid hip-hop feeling backbeat; then Luba’s laid-back, pensive vocals reel out a picture of fearful mistrust and jingoism that, while it’s not overtly political, certainly speaks to the current political climate in Trump’s America. When I spoke with Luba about the song, he said it was actually written before the election and the anti-Muslim travel ban, making it an eerily prescient bit of songwriting.  

The verse moves through a couple of key modulations and more potent imagery before hitting the stark, simple chorus of the song’s title. I place a lot of stock in well-written lyrics, and have to say that the words to this song are very impressive with lines like, “They can’t see where they’re going/When their eyes are closed,” “It’s too late to run/They’re already here,” and “You tell me where we’re going/Just don’t say the war.” These words are carefully-chosen, chilling, and affecting. Musically, the song also bears the hallmarks of craftsmanship and thoughtful use of harmonics, dynamics, and melody. And the production, which was done by Josh Fairman of the local treasure of a recording studio known as Scanhope Sound in Littleton, is superb.

A song as well-crafted as this has me eagerly anticipating the release of the band’s full three-song EP, and fortunately I won’t have to wait long: May is just around the corner! In the meantime, we all have the opportunity to see The Runnikine live when they open for Joey Porter’s Shady Business this Friday, April 7 at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver. And speaking of supergroups, Shady Business features Porter, Garrett Sayers, Lyle Divinsky and Drew Sayers of The Motet, Kris Myers of Umphrey’s McGee, Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band, and Adam Smirnoff of Lettuce.

Aside from their hook-driven songs, The Runnikine are also highly adept at exciting live improvisation. That, after all, is how the band started- as a no-pressure side project for Luba and Trask when they were both in the Jaden Carlson Band. That was just a couple of years ago, and look how far they’ve come in such a short time. How far will they go? Hop on board with me, and let’s find out. Tickets to their Cervantes’ show are right here.

-Will

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