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.

The Rocket Summer & 888 Bring Crowdsurfing Alt Pop Tour To Denver

By: Matti Earley

Local icons 888 returned for a stop in their hometown on Friday at Denver’s Marquis Theatre. The alt-pop three-piece first started gaining momentum in 2015 by winning 93.3 KTCL’s Hometown for the Holidays contest, and ever since then, they’ve been busy on a national scale. Friday’s show marked the start of their second tour of the year, following one with Missio in the spring.

888.

888.

“Gold" was an example of the kind of juxtaposition 888 have mastered in sound. It is the ideal pop radio hit, but not formulaic in the way that some top 40 songs can be. Instead, it feels like a much needed moment of honesty about the uncertainty that comes with trying to find a place in the world. Such underlying fears were explored even further and with a more melancholy overtone in “Creepers,” which came out less than a month ago and was great live. Of course, the trio also played their hit "Critical Mistakes," the song that arguably gave them their start on a national level.

The Rocket Summer began his impressive set soon after 888 ended, and played over 20 songs to fans. Ten years after the release of his record Do You Feel, Bryce Avary is still going strong. His choice of what to play Friday was undoubtedly a culmination drawing from his entire discography, and even included songs that he had never been done live before.

The Rocket Summer.

The Rocket Summer.

As evidenced by putting “So Much Love” near the beginning of his performance, Avary is uncontainably joyous about being a musician. This really showed in his interactions with the audience, who were as much a part of the show as him. After playing on a platform in the middle of the crowd, Avary made his way back upfront via crowdsurfing. In between songs, there were moments on the setlist specifically designated for him to talk with the audience. And rather than a preset encore, he asked the crowd what we wanted to hear before finishing with a few fan favorites. One of those, called “Brat Pack,” came from 2005’s Hello, Good Friend and was a seriously popular throwback that was crazy to hear live.

The Rocket Summer with 888’s tour wraps up in less than two weeks on August 29th at Arizona’s Crescent Ballroom. Make sure to catch a show while you can, and in the meantime, check out both acts recent releases on Spotify.

-Matti

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

One Flew West Drop Two New Singles + Headline Release Parties

By: Austin Michon

Hailing from Longmont, CO, One Flew West was formed in 2010. Their unique brand of folk-inspired, catchy rock in conjunction with their entertaining live shows have earned them a place as a force to be reckoned with in the Colorado music scene. Currently consisting of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Linden Jackson, lead guitarist/singer David DiSalvo, bassist Dawson Fry, and drummer Jonah Bartels, One Flew West has performed at 93.3’s Big Gig, Hometown for the Holidays, and Kegs and Eggs, as well as received a Westword Music Award.

OFW.

OFW.

On March 3rd and 4th, OFW will be hosting two release shows for their upcoming singles, “All In My Head” and “Ten Years Later.” Continuing the trend set by their sophomore EP Selective Memory, the band’s new tunes are dynamic compositions ranging from soft, acoustic intimacy to big, powerful rock and roll sounds with catchy guitar riffs and introspective lyrics carried out in a warm, emotional voice.

“All In My Head” begins with an acoustic, folky, feel-good intro before it transitions to a look into a young relationship, one rife with various problems brought about by the dark, nagging feelings found in the protagonist’s mind, and his battle with these thoughts in order to maintain this relationship. Besides the incredibly infectious whistling motif present, the song and lyrics create a wonderful, catchy rock anthem which fans will latch onto as, if not more, quickly than their breakout hit “Kind of Love.”

In contrast  “Ten Years Later” is a slow, acoustic ballad which brings our attention to thoughts and memories of someone estranged and long gone. While Jackson admits he had a specific relationship in mind while writing the piece, the meaning is universal, one that any listener can easily identify with. According to Jackson, “Everyone has someone they wish were still around and when you peel back the skin, ‘Ten Years Later’ is simply about missing someone you care deeply about.” Longtime fans will notice a call back to the more folky sounds reminiscent of One Flew West’s debut EP Through the Winter’s Ground, while still maintaining the forward progress in songwriting and sound that OFW have been crafting.

As One Flew West continue their musical and lyrical experimentation and progress, the quality does not falter, but rather, continues to grow and strengthen. Be sure to catch them at their upcoming March shows at the Lost Lake Lounge (with Citra and Overslept) and at Downtown Artery (with Ivory Circle and Silver & Gold), and watch for more OFW news because “there are rumblings of a super secret listening party, summer tour, and much more in store from the Colorado-natives in 2017.”

-Austin

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

Iolite's Fierce Start In The Denver Music Scene

By: Sierra Voss

2016 was a huge breakout year for Denver’s music scene. Nationally recognized artists with local roots including Nathaniel Rateliff and Trevor Rich have been doing their part to put the city on the music map. Will 2017 bring Colorado another local breakout artist?

Meet Iolite (Elina), born and raised in Arvada, Colorado. Iolite hails from a family of musicians who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1996, and at only 17 years of age, this pop artist is already making a name for herself in Denver. In 2016, Iolite independently released her first single “Spinning.” She garnered some definite buzz for the track and placed in the top three finalists for Channel 93.3’s "Hometown for the Holidays" event this past December.

Iolite.

Iolite.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Iolite about her musical journey, and I came to learn it has been far from the the norm:

So when did you start writing your own music?

I started writing when I was about ten or eleven years old. Ever since then, I knew [music] was what I wanted to do. I was in a program called Two Roads, where you go twice a week [to their classroom] and the rest [of the program] you’re homeschooled. I graduated early mainly because I wanted to focus on my music and spend a lot of time writing.

Tell me more about your name Iolite- what does it mean?

Iolite is a gem stone. It was pretty random how I came up with it. I literally sat on Google and randomly generated words until I found one I loved. It just seemed to fit.

Take us inside your writing process.

My process is always developing. I think of a melody first and record it as a voice memo on my phone, then I sit down at a piano and really build it out. After that, I bring it into a studio and work with a producer to create the full track. It’s always a bit of a different process for each song, and I collaborate with a bunch of different producers. It’s an open, collaborative process.

What does an average day look like for you?

My normal day is waking up, doing some online college courses, and then I start writing. I always spend time every day playing classical piano too. My day is mainly based around my music.

We know your family is musical too. Tell us more about that.

My parents are both musical. My dad had thirteen brothers and sisters; all of them were very musical. I am one of six kids, am the second youngest, and am the only girl. My three older brothers had a band called Everfound growing up and a lot of my childhood was traveling with them on tour across the US. My family have been a huge inspiration for me and still are. It’s really awesome when you get to pursue something you love with the people you love, so it has been a blessing to have brothers interested in the same thing. One of my brothers is now a producer in Nashville, and is actually one of the main producers I work with currently. I’m sure once I go on tour, my brothers will come with me whether they are my band or are just holding the tour together.

What's your dream venue to play?

Red Rocks is definitely my dream venue.

What does 2017 look like for you musically?

I just started releasing music in 2016, so I will just keep writing and putting out a lot of music this year. I hope to play some shows throughout 2017 as well.

Keep an eye out for new music from Iolite on her Soundcloud, and in the meantime, take a listen to her latest single “Bloodstream” below:

-Sierra

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

Denver's Wiredogs Headline Lost Lake Lounge Tonight with The Hollow & CITRA

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Wiredogs have been shredding Colorado since 2013. Comprised of Dan Aid (vocals/guitar), Mark Hibl (bass), Stefan Runstrom (drums), and Steven Beck (guitar), this rock four-piece have released two records to date, performed at major gigs including Denver’s Riot Fest and 93.3’s Hometown for the Holidays, and have shared the stage with acts like Pennywise, The Ataris, and Teenage Bottlerocket.

Wiredogs.

Wiredogs.

Though it’s been over a year since the band dropped a record, they’ve got a sweet surprise in store for you tonight: Wiredogs are headlining a show at Lost Lake Lounge, and have promised that their set will be all of their new material coupled with a few of their classic hits.

Earlier this year, Wiredogs dropped a track entitled “Broken Youth”. Fans were stoked, but it’s now been a minute since Wiredogs have dropped anything into the atmosphere, so if you’re as curious as we are about what to expect next from these Denver darlings, get to tonight’s show!

The Hollow.

The Hollow.

Also aboard tonight’s all-local lineup are The Hollow and CITRA. The Hollow, a project by music mastermind Spencer Townshend Hughes, is an alt-rock Denver outfit who actually toured extensively in the Southwest earlier this year in support of their self-titled EP. And CITRA, who we’ve had the chance to chat with and see live, released their debut EP Ocean earlier this year, and have been giggin’ ever since.

Make sure to give all three of these bands your ear tonight! We guarantee it’s gonna be a rowdy time. More details on the show can be found here.

-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.

Breaking the Rules of the Music Biz: BLDGBLKS Artist Mawule

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Mawule and his music both have stories to tell.

BLDGBLKS Artist Mawule.

BLDGBLKS Artist Mawule.

Born Ebenezer Yebuah, better known by his artist name, Mawule, was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. He and his family moved to Denver when he was 10 years old and he’s remained here ever since. Music has always been an integral part of Mawule’s life, starting with his active involvement in his church’s gospel choir.

But success in the music industry has never been the only goal in mind for Mawule. His lifelong fascination with human relationships and an interest in becoming a couples counselor drove him to pursue a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies, as well as a Masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Colorado State University. As a student, he produced his first song titled, ‘Let You Go,’ which caught the attention of two producers. While education remained his top priority, he continued to write lyrics, concoct amazing beats, and produce music as a hobby. Upon his realization that a life without music was not an option, he re-emerged as Mawule, which means “Only God Knows” in the Ewe language, native to his birthplace.

Mawule’s music reflects his passion for the human connection and he uses it as a source of both comfort and empowerment for others. He is inspired by what is real about relationships, including trust, doubts, and abuse. His songs bring awareness to the objectification of women, harassment, and sexual assault-- all donned in a cloak of deep lyrics and catchy rhythms.

Mawule recording at   The Spot Studios  in Denver .

Mawule recording at The Spot Studios in Denver.

When he is not in the recording studio, Mawule works for the University of Colorado Boulder as a Hall Director. He is also a workout junkie, a food fanatic, and an adventurer. He loves to travel, and makes the 20-hour flight back home to Ghana as frequently as his busy schedule allows.

While Mawule’s music carries hints of futuristic, R&B, and club-vibe tones, he has no plans of limiting his fanbase by genre category. It’s reasons like these that Mawule is breaking the rules of the music business. On the topic of music categorization, Mawule says:

“I don’t want to be categorized into one sound. My music is soulful. Lyrically, I write in the form of R&B, but production-wise, I am all over the board. Music is always changing, and R&B is not what is used to be. I want to cater to all audiences. I want to be the future of R&B.”

Mawule released his first EP, Reflections, in July of 2014. This year, he was featured in Denver’s 93.3 Radio’s December 2015 ‘Hometown for the Holiday’ event, where his single ‘Mirror Mirror’ was selected for one of the top 10 hits.

With an EP, a multitude of songs on SoundCloud, and a lyric stock folder filled with enough songs for three additional albums, Mawule is one artist to look out for. His newest single, ‘Chosen’ will be released online April 8th of next year, and his upcoming album Anything will be subsequently released on June 3rd, 2016.

Check out Mawule’s website for discography, merchandise, and upcoming news about his music. To get up close and personal, be sure to connect with him on Instagram and Twitter as well.

Listen to Mawule's Reflections here:

-Jura

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