Review: Girl Group Riverside Drive Release New Album 'Serious Business'

By: Jura Daubenspeck

On May 21st, Denver’s newest “retro pop” divas Riverside Drive released their sweet, sassy, and soulful album Serious Business - I’m already hooked.

The musical brainchild of singer/songwriter Rachael Pollard, Riverside Drive has a retro-soul feel that soothes and uplifts simultaneously. Pollard’s heartfelt leading vocals team up with Tia Cope and Mary McGroary’s accompanying vocals to create a beautifully layered sound. On top of that, drummer Nathan Marcy provides just the right amount of steadying beats to match the singers’ unwavering energy.

The album artwork for  Serious Business .

The album artwork for Serious Business.

Serious Business is an eight-track album that delivers just the right amount of folk-ish, pop-ish vibes. It has a nostalgic quality, reminiscent of a warm and sunny day. Stories of love, jealousy, and even a missing childhood pet (“Oh, Tiffy”) are told in a grainy, sepia tone. Just like the closing credits of a film (think driving off into the sunset and never looking back) the album feels hopeful and empowering.

Listen to Riverside Drive's Serious Business:

It’s hard to pick a favorite on this record, as each song induces different feelings. Songs such as “Look But Don’t Touch,” “I Don’t Mess Around,” and “Tiger Stripes” have a stirring, assertive energy. Other tracks such as “Guessing Game” and “Push Me Away” are commanding, haunting, and powerful. There’s even a bonus track (for those who purchase the album)- Pollard’s killer song “Make U Proud” (off of her upcoming album Take Heart) serves as the gentler conclusion to the well-rounded collection.

Rachael Pollard. 

Rachael Pollard. 

Listeners who enjoy artists such as Benjamin Booker or Leon Bridges will love Riverside Drive, as they bring a refreshing twist to soulful, old-timey songs. Their unapologetically strong female presence is invigorating and inspiring for any other women who have stories to tell.

Be on the lookout for Riverside Drive, as they’re sure to raise some hell in the Colorado music scene. Connect with them on Facebook, and check out their Bandcamp page to listen to their sweet tunes.

-Jura

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

The Gamits Are Still Killing It, In Case You Were Wondering

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last weekend, Denver’s punk rock veterans The Gamits came out of hibernation and tore it up, with performances in Colorado Springs (The Black Sheep), Denver (The Marquis Theatre), Fort Collins (Hodi’s Half Note), and in Laramie, Wyoming (8 Bytes Game Cafe).

The Gamits.

The Gamits.

I had the pleasure of seeing the guys grace the stage on Friday night at The Marquis, along with Samiam, Armchair Martian, and Hotel Bar. I even scored a few minutes of face time with three of the members: Chris Fogal (guitar/vocals), Forrest Bartosh (drums), and Johnny Wilson (bass/ backing vocals). I didn’t get a chance to chat with guitarist Michael Marti, but still got to see him shred onstage.

How does it feel to be back at the Marquis, a venue where you most certainly get a lot of love from fans?

CF: It feels good. Our last show was almost exactly a year ago, on St. Patty’s Day Weekend. So it was a big mess, but still awesome.

Since you all got back together in 2009, you’ve released 'Parts,' and also went on a worldwide tour, hitting up places in Europe. But more recently, what have you guys been up to?

CF: We go into hibernation, and then when we get asked to do fun stuff, we consider it and look at what’s going on in our lives, and then we go, “Okay! We can do that. That’s worth getting together and practicing for.”

At this point of the conversation, I couldn’t help but notice Chris super gluing Johnny’s fingernail.

What’s that about?

FB: “Oh yeah, this is a good one too. All of their fingernails get torn up.”

CF: “Yeah, we do a lot of down picking.”

JW: “Playing in The Gamits is not easy!”

CF: “Yeah, I’m about to do mine too. It turns into blood and then it starts to hurt. But it feels cool. It’s like having a little superman shield on your finger.”

Forrest Bartosh. 

Forrest Bartosh. 

The Gamits are obviously widely known, especially in the Denver area, and people clearly have mad love for you at your shows, going wild and all, but what’s a performance like for you guys?

CF: Well, a good one is like tonight. We’re stoked when people are singing along and going nuts. But it’s like any band, crowd reactions and things of that nature. Also, the older we get, we tend to play with older bands. But we stay pretty current; we like a lot of bands. Johnny runs For the Love of Punk; I run a recording studio (Black In Bluhm). So when we get to play with younger bands, it still feels awesome too. It feels like we’re doing the exact same shit we were doing in in ‘98, or generally around that time period.

Who are some of the younger “up and coming” bands you guys like?

CF: Hotel Bar- they’re killer, and just played first tonight. Also The Bombpops, Red City Radio, Russian Girlfriends, and Redbush. Just bands that have been doing exactly what we’ve been doing, working hard and playing good music. Some of the bands might end up more under the radar, or maybe huger.

Chris Fogel. 

Chris Fogel. 

Playing for such a long time, you know the ins and outs, and have established a more mature mindset when it comes to playing music. Some might even say you are “pros” at this. So how do you keep it interesting? How do you keep yourselves on your toes?

CF: We won’t play shows for months! And it’s never not interesting. There’s always something interesting going on- usually something out of our control.

What are some of the challenges you face now that you didn’t in your earlier years?

JW: Not practicing for a while. And if you don’t sing for a while, it takes a bit to get back to it. We’re not a slouch band in the vocal department.

CF: And I’m even a little sore from playing a show last night.

FB: Playing with bands like Bud Bronson & The Good Timers is a lot more mid-tempo, whereas The Gamits are at a turbo level. So when you haven’t done if for a while, it’s tough.

CF: You rip your fingernails off!

Johnny Wilson.

Johnny Wilson.

I also really like the lyrics in your songs, and that is something I’ve always liked about punk music: the poetic nature of the lyrics, paired with a heavier sound. Is that something you guys always like to incorporate into your music?

CF: Totally. Especially if you’re playing “pop punk,” which is the genre we usually get put into. Some of that is teenagery bubble gum lyrics, so I like to combine those with something a little more, as you put it, poetic. I like the combination.

It’s often said the topics musicians talk about in their music is a product of what’s happening in their own lives- is that true for The Gambits?

CF: Write about what you know. Otherwise, you might come across as a bullshitter.

So do The Gamits have any other other releases coming up in the near future?

CF: Nope, just playing shows and figuring out what the next thing is.

Also, I was asked to ask you guys if you have any plans to release your music besides 'Parts' on vinyl?

CF: Yeah, repressing in Canada has been talked about forever. And I’m sure if someone wanted to do it, it would be cool. I doubt that would happen though unless we came out with a new album.

Again, having been in Denver’s music scene for so long, exiting, and then coming back in, what kinds of things have you noticed? How has the scene changed?

CF: Well we’re always involved in the music scene; we’re never out. We’re always doing other shit in other bands besides The Gamits. So we’ve been able to be in the music scene here and watch it grow, and it’s totally different now. Obviously it’s a bigger city and people are moving here, but it’s also still landlocked, which it always will be, which is pretty cool.

So besides the size, what else do you think has changed? How else has it developed?

JW: I think there’s a resurgence to people looking back to older bands.

So you guys have played a number of bigger name venues, but I’d love to hear about your favorite underground houseparty-type show?

JW: Russia was hands-down my favorite place. We’re the only band I’ve ever heard that has done twelve days in Russia. We did the really depressed areas, and went into the thick of it. Most people do Saint Petersburg and Moscow, but we did some of the most insane places, like the early scene of punk rock.

FB: Yeah the kids were like, “What the hell you doing here?” And they’d be bouncing off the walls, man.

JW: They would pick me up and sing the songs, and I couldn’t even play. It was just the strangest thing.

Shortly after this, we split ways, and I watched the guys blow the roof off the joint, playing their hits, new and old, for a crowd of diehard fans.

It’s safe to say that The Gamits are a group of regular, genuine guys who just like to have fun and play good music. So if you have the rare chance to see them play, then peel yourself from your couch and do it!

-Jura

All photos per Joel Rekiel of BLDGBLKS Music Company. All videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

OklaHomeGrown Music Showcase Set To Bring Oklahoma Talent to Historic Cain's Ballroom

By: Jura Daubenspeck

With the February freeze, it’s a good thing we’ve got solid tunes and sweaty concert halls to keep us warm.

The OklaHomeGrown Music Showcase is taking over Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom on Friday, February 17th with performances by: Taddy Porter, Nicnōs, Skytown, and Good Villains. All hailing from the great state of Oklahoma, this will be the first time all four bands will be performing together on the same stage. OklaHomeGrown's “collaboration over competition” mindset will bring local music back to the fans, offering opportunities for musicians to gain exposure they might not have received before. With no headliner, and no performance order indicated, its set to be an equal representation of talent in one of the top performance venues in the country.

Here’s a little taste of what each band brings to the table:

Caleigh Trotter of Good Villains. 

Caleigh Trotter of Good Villains. 

Starting off in Tulsa as a two-piece, Good Villains was a concept created by drummer Steven Davison and vocalist Caleigh Trotter. As their music began to progress, pianist Felicia Arnhols joined the group, followed by guitarist Ted Scott and bass player Todd Shaver. The band's story-teller theme is coupled by expert musicianship and an eerie sense of childishness, making the group a heavy contender in the "doom-pop" genre. Good Villains are a force reminiscent of the 90s, yet full of the unknown with a ton of imagination.

Skytown.

Skytown.

Tulsa-grown alternative Americana rock group Skytown are about more that just feel-good party music. With clean tones, soothing leads, and memorable hooks, their music keeps the tempo up and the crowds wild. With influences ranging from Black Sabbath to Dropkick Murphys, the six-piece band has concocted their own unique “sonic mash-up” of folk, rock, and balladry. With a vocal palate akin to rust, Dale Crain serves as the band’s storyteller, welcoming listeners into their eerily familiar world of lore. Acoustic guitar duo Tim Burress and Jason Ford’s powerful, yet melodic foundation complements the steady bass rhythms of David Williams, while John Edens’ electric guitar riffs are crisp, complex, and very funky. Finally, drummer Eliot Cooper keeps it tight, commanding the stage even from the back.

Nick Sigman of Nicnos.

Nick Sigman of Nicnos.

Hailing from the heartland of Oklahoma City, Nicnōs, expel elements of rock, blues, funk and bluegrass. Innovators in their craft, Nicnōs have independently released two highly successful albums, performed at major festivals, toured and shared stages with artists such as STYX, REO Speedwagon, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, and The Revivalists. Lead singer Josh Cox is a vocal powerhouse, marrying a brooding blues tone with rock. Electric guitarist Nick Sigman is also a master of tone, seamlessly laying down razor-sharp leads. Bluegrass-rooted fiddler Blake Parks brings a delicate dynamic, adding a melodic rock-fiddle layer that uniquely contributes to the band's sound. High energy bassist Jared Gaiser flawlessly anchors in the foundation, inventively bringing the funk. Jerred Bauer on drums cleverly blends a rock core while infusing hip-hop grooves and fills.

Taddy Porter.

Taddy Porter.

Rock quartet Taddy Porter were formed in Stillwater, OK in October 2007 by singer/guitarist Andy Brewer, guitarist Joe Selby, bassist Kevin Jones, and drummer Doug Jones. After building up a following around the Oklahoma City area, they were signed to Primary Wave Records for the release of their self-titled debut album. Prior to the release, they earned airplay for the single "Shake Me" and had songs such as “King Louie” and “Mean Bitch” featured on the season premiere of the TV series Entourage.

Tickets for the OklaHomeGrown Music Showcase are on sale for $15, which is a great deal to see all of these acts in one room. Get yours here.

-Jura

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

 

Boulder's Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove Fly Solo In Anticipation of New 2017 Releases

By: Jura Daubenspeck

During these times filled with frozen-shut windows and runny noses, it’s more important than ever to find some soulful tuneage to warm up your soul. Thankfully, Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove are just the band to do just this. Hailing from Virginia, but currently residing in Boulder, the four-piece Americana group is churning out the kind of music that reminds you of those breezy, sun-soaked hammock days.

Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove.

Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove.

Throughout the last two and a half years, band members Mitchel Evan (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Dave Janssen (bass, vocals, arrangements), Connor Craven (guitar/vocals), and Phil Crump (drums/percussion) have taken to stages throughout Colorado, and have impressed many with their 4-song releases, A Place of Love (2015) and Higher Ground (2016). Both EPs remain consistent in their soulful, funky, and sincere nature, yet no two songs sound the same. Of all the stellar tracks, personal favorites of mine include, “A Place of Love,” Up In Smoke,” and “Higher Ground.”

Their most recent release, Songs from The Archives (2016), takes on a much different tone from the previous two releases, as it’s a collection of Mitchel’s solo recordings and unreleased concepts that have finally found their home.

Listen to Songs from The Archives:

In November, the band announced that they would be taking their music in a different direction, playing their final shows as a full piece band over the New Year. Frontman Mitchel Bamberger will focus his efforts on future solo releases and performances throughout the country and beyond. While it may have come as disappointing news to Mangrove fans, it’s well known that the music will never die, it will just take a new form.

So in the name of love, life, and the constant cultivation of one’s craft, give Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove a listen, and stay tuned for Mitchel Bamberger’s upcoming announcements as he takes his tunes to a new level! Word on the street is that there will be some exciting announcements come the New Year, and many performances you’ll not want to miss.

Keep in touch with Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And for a little taste of what these guys are all about, check out this live performance of “When the Music Pays the Bills,” courtesy of Image of Colorado and I Love Colfax Productions.

-Jura

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

BLDGBLKS Artists Score Grammy Considerations

By: Jura Daubenspeck

A Grammy Award is no doubt the highest honor for recording artists. Each year, thousands of artists are entered for considerations. And while the heavy-hitting musicians we know and love often find their way onto the ballots, it’s also important to note the other hard-working up-and-comers who make their way onto the list.

This year BLDGBLKS artists Bonne Finken, Amy Kress, Mawule, R Michael Rhodes, and Interstate 10 have made the cut for the 2017 Awards considerations.

A membership with The Recording Academy is required in order to submit any music. Glenn Sawyer, producer at The Spot Studios, as well as a Voting Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), has taken charge and submitted the following music for these BLDGBLKS artists:

Bonne Finken - “Speak to Me” - Best Pop Solo Performance

Amy Kress - “Fly” - Best Dance Album of the Year

Mawule - “Chosen” - Best R&B Album

R Michael Rhodes - “After All These Years” - Best Americana Album

Interstate 10 - “I’m Gonna Miss You” - Best Country Duo Performance

So what happens for these artists between now and the Awards? After the voting members submit their music for the consideration round, the expert Grammy committees come up with a final ballot of artists. Artists are generally taken from the top percentage of nominations, but many artists not on this top list still make their way onto the ballot. This part of the process can take about two weeks. After the final nominees are contacted and, once again, voted for, the results remain hidden until the fateful February evening of the Awards ceremony.

Until then, considered artists can connect with one another, and make a push to have their music heard. Artists such as Bonne Finken, R Michael Rhodes, and Mawule all plan on partaking in this lobbying process, sending out personalized letters and connecting with voting members.

No matter what degree of fame an artist holds, it is an immense honor to even be considered for the acclaimed Grammy Awards. And while many voters may already have their eyes and ears set on a sure-fire winner, it’s important to always honor the accomplished local talent, who will stop at nothing to get their voices heard.

-Jura

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

R Michael Rhodes & His Band Kept Sunday Funday Going Strong at The Brew on Broadway

By: Jura Daubenspeck

After a full-blown weekend of fall activities in Denver, as well as some startlingly warm temperatures, I think we can safely say that everyone wanted to continue the party as long as they could. Come Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining more than ever, and there was a warm breeze tickling my skin. I couldn’t think of a better excuse to head on over to a brewery for delicious pumpkin ale and easy listening music, so I made my way to The Brew on Broadway to see singer/songwriter R Michael Rhodes and his band play some of their tunes.

Though a bit off the beaten path for Denver residents, The Brew on Broadway on South Broadway in Englewood has a bit of something for everyone. With a wide selection of craft beers, freshly brewed coffee, tasty bar snacks, and a dog-friendly beer garden to enjoy it all in, it’s the perfect neighborhood spot to gather at for a little Sunday Funday relaxation.

R Michael Rhodes and his band, comprised of Nick Morgan (guitar), Joe Armenta (four-string guitar), and Don Kalil (drums), soothed the souls of everyone at The BoB. Having just released his solo EP After All These Years in September, the almost two-hour set showcased some of Mike’s recently released music including “The Only Song,” “Please Remember Me,” and “Sunday Mornin’ Breeze,” as well as new band originals like “Whiskey Nights,” “Evil Woman,” “Chasin’ Ghosts,” and “Where Are You Now?”

Listen to R Michael Rhodes' latest EP:

All four musicians were in-sync, relaxed, and genuinely seemed to be having a great time playing for their friends, family, and everyone guided inside by their music. They played some cool covers too: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Somewhere with You,” and even had everyone in the bar singing along with “Proud Mary.”

Staying true to form, Mike and his band paid homage to great musicians like the Eagles, John Denver, Neil Young, and Garth Brooks, yet still maintained their own stylistic flair. With playful, personal anecdotes between each song, and hoots and hollers from attendees, the overall vibe of their show matched the weather perfectly, warm and bright.

All in all, Mike’s performance at The BoB was the perfect wrap-up to my weekend. Between the sunshine, fall beer, friendly faces, and relaxing music, there’s not much else I could have asked for.

I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next for Rhodes as he continues to work on new material for recording. Check out R Michael Rhodes’ website and his Facebook for more updates on upcoming performances and releases.

-Jura

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

Mawule's "Black Is Beautiful" Music Video Premieres This Thursday at The Walnut Room Denver

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Months of grinding have finally led up to this moment: Mawule’s music video for “Black is Beautiful” is set to premiere this Thursday, September 29th at The Walnut Room near Denver’s RiNo Art Districtand it is bound to astound. 

I’ve already had a chance to take a sneak peek at the music video, and even after multiple viewings, I am still blown away by the artistry and depth of it. The video was filmed at Creative Cultures Studio in Arvada, CO, and was the creative brain child of Garrett Hayes, owner of Square Visions. Hayes and Mawule, who have been friends since their days at Colorado State University, teamed up to create this passion project, which will no doubt inspire anyone who watches it.

A scene of Mawule from his upcoming video.

A scene of Mawule from his upcoming video.

“Black is Beautiful” features fellow artists Bianca Mikahn and ILL Se7en, as well as two Colorado State University students, Zelle Moore and Jhasmyne Cooper, who did interpretive dance in various scenes. After much anticipation, it’s time unveil the final product that so many creative minds have contributed to.

The night will also feature spoken word pieces by renowned poets. Slam poet maestro Theo (Lucifury) Wilson, who was been featured on TEDxMileHighSalon for his beautiful piece “Woman: An Ode to the Feminine”, will perform. Alejandro Jimenez, who cuts to the root of the matter with his piece, “For Brown Boys”, will also take the stage. And so will Marthè Ndongala, whose “A Collection of Wild Flowers” page showcases his vivid written pieces that will come to life Friday. Mawule will also be joined by artists Bianca Mikahn and ILL Se7en, who will speak their mind to their own respective tune.

Bianca Mikahn.

Bianca Mikahn.

There’s no denying the overwhelming amount of pain our country is undergoing currently. News sources are teeming with stories of hatred, paired with the desperate cries of, “Why?” I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use a night of cathartic release through creativity.

For every piece of evidence pointing to poisonous thinking, there’s ten more pieces pointing to empowerment and connectedness. Mawule’s “Black is Beautiful” music video is being released at a time in which we need it most. Its message rings loud, and will reverberate far and wide for all to hear.

ILL Se7en.

ILL Se7en.

So if you’re like me, and want some respite from the outside world for some time, join Mawule for the “Black is Beautiful” music video premiere at The Walnut Room this Thursday at 8PM. Tickets are available and can be purchased here. Stay in the loop about Mawule’s upcoming announcements, and check out the “Black is Beautiful” teaser trailers on his Facebook and website. The "Black Is Beautiful" music video will drop online for public viewing on Friday, September 30th, so if you miss the party this Thursday, make sure to view it then!

-Jura

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

A Night With Nine Inch Nail's Ilan Rubin & His Current Project, The New Regime

By: Jura Daubenspeck

He may be known for his role as drummer for bands like Nine Inch Nails, Angels and Airwaves, and Paramore, but Ilan Rubin has reached impressive heights with his solo project The New Regime. The group just toured with Juliette Lewis last month, and is about to tour with The Cult, as well as Alice In Chains later this year.

Ilan Rubin.

Ilan Rubin.

When it comes to alternative music, The New Regime does it different. What you hear on the album is purely Rubin’s work. But on tour, his music is translated to fit a three-piece band, which includes Danny Rubin (bass) and Hayden Scott (drums), taking live performances to a whole other level.

Last week, I had the chance to see The New Regime play at Larimer Lounge. The night opened up with Denver’s wilderness rock group Open to the Hound and indie natives Roommates, both of whom brought the energy up for the headlining group. The New Regime took to the stage, playing some of the music off Rubin’s recently-released EPs, 'Exhibit A' and 'Exhibit B'.

The New Regime.

The New Regime.

Watching The New Regime, it was clear that all three band members are seasoned musicians, playing their fine-tuned instruments with ease and clarity. They had the ability to take a heavier tune and bring it down to an oozy blues feel, only to bring it back up for a powerful finish. You can tell that there has been an immense amount of sweat put into the hand-crafted intricacy of each song. Their explosive sound permeated through the lounge’s walls as Rubin shredded out some fan favorites including “We Rise, We Fall”, and also took it back a few decades, covering Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic”.

I also got the chance to sit down with Rubin before his performance. During our casual curbside conversation, I got to hear about his current nationwide tour, the importance of classical music, and what it’s like playing with heavy hitters such as Muse, The Killers, and The Used. Here’s a bit of what Rubin and I chatted about:

Is this your first time playing at Larimer Lounge?

Yes, but we’re about to start touring with The Cult in a few days. The tour starts in New Hampshire, and being from San Diego, we thought we would book some shows along the way for fun. We’ve been here quite a few times with a few other bands. We’ve played in Denver possibly more times than any other city in the country, which is weird. But it’s a lot of fun. We’re playing here, then in Chicago, and soon we’re going to be touring with The Cult and Alice In Chains.

Sounds like you guys have some exciting months ahead of you.

Yes, and every time we come back to one of these cities, it’s as if we’re playing there for the first time. Because none of the audiences overlap. Before, we were here with The Joy Formidable at Ogden Theatre, and then [we were] at Bluebird Theater with The Used. And 2-3 other shows aside from that. Each band is so different that it’s a different audience. So it’s exciting to think about who from those shows may come out tonight.

Watch the new music video for The New Regime’s “We Rise, We Fall”:

So you are the frontman for all the music that you play. Are you playing with a band tonight?

There will be a band. So on the albums I write, play, and sing everything. Every note, harmony, and vocal you hear, I do in the studio. But I can only do so much while playing live. So it’s presented as a band. I play guitar and piano, and I have a bass player and drummer. My brother Danny is on bass, and the incredibly talented Hayden Scott is on drums. And what’s extra fun about it being a three-piece is that it’s as raw as can be, and portrays the same songs on the album, but in a different way.

Rubin.

Rubin.

How did you get into music?

I first started off playing drums. Drums come second nature. I’ve played them more than I haven’t played them in my life. I started when I was 7 or 8 years old, and now I’m 28. I have two older brothers in music, and they urged me to get into it too. I realized every instrument has its forte. Drums [are the] greatest instrument at keeping rhythm and driving force, but [have] no melody or harmony. Guitar has harmony, melody, structure of song, but no bottom end. Bass has all bottom end, but nothing on top. Piano is the greatest instrument there is. It has all the musical range, and you can always find ways to play four parts or more with two hands. You can play the greatest amount of music on it with just one person. Classical music that has stuck around for so many years.

Can you elaborate on that?

I got into classical music when I was around 15. I have more classical music on my phone than anything else. You may find it odd that I like classical music most, but to me, as an art form and as a style of music, I think it does the best at covering all grounds, from emotion, [to] technicality, [to] virtuosity… It covers those grounds better than any other type of music.

Do you channel the stuff you’ve learned in classical music into your music now?

Absolutely. I’m self-taught, and music is all I do and it’s all I’ve ever done. I’m fairly disciplined. And for us tonight, aside from the show and the city, it’s going to be different for us because we’ll have the piano out. I haven’t played in a long time, so that will be a new element.

So when you play the piano tonight, will it be classical style piano, or will you add any extra effects to it?

Very good question. The majority of it will be piano; maybe [with] some echo on it, because I love the sound of echo. I use that a lot in the song “Enjoy The Bitterness”. That’s just one important sonic element of the song. But there are only three of us, so we’ll have to find out how to make the most amount of noise and sound as possible. Fortunately, with the keyboard and stage piano, I can blend in two sounds at once. So the top will be your standard piano, but beneath will be a very heavy sub bass. And that’s my intention. Technology helps you do the parts of three all at once.

Will you be playing some new music tonight?

I’ll be playing the most recent stuff that I’ve released. I have new music that I’ve been recording that we will not be performing. But we’ll be doing a bit of everything that I’ve already released, with an emphasis on the last two EPs.

Are you still involved with other bands, such as Paramore, Angels and Airwaves, or Nine Inch Nails?

Paramore gets mentioned often, understandably so. And the extent to that was that I played drums on the last album, and I did some touring with them. But that was pretty much it. I had to stop working with Paramore because Nine Inch Nails was getting back together. It was a transitional thing. Originally, I was just supposed to play drums on the [Paramore] album, but we got along so well and they had tour dates and needed a drummer. So they asked me, and I was flattered and really enjoyed it. They were great people and have been great friend since. But I’ve been with NIN since 2009, so when it was time to get that up and running again, around 2013, I joined back in.

I’ve noticed that you guys have a lot of exciting collaborations in the past few months, like Juliette Lewis.

So there’s no confusion, you say collaborations, but it’s just touring. But yes, all incredible opportunities. I toured with Juliette Lewis a few weeks ago, and that was so much fun. We’re going out with The Cult in a few days, and then we’re joining back up with Alice In Chains. And I say ‘going back’ because we did three shows with them in the Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Spokane), and they invited us back out, which was extremely flattering. So between all these shows, we’ll be out for about a month.

That’s awesome. What’s it like playing with these big name bands?

We’ve played with so many different kinds of bands. We’ve played some shows with Muse in Europe, which were phenomenal. We were invited to play some shows with them in Mexico City [too]. We also played with The Killers in San Diego, and were with The Used for about three months. And they’ve all been fantastic opportunities. We’ve been able to play as much as we want to play, and we’re just happy to do it and hope that things keep lining up the way they have been.

What’s been your favorite band to play with so far?  

I feel the best fit musically has been with Muse. When we played those shows, I thought, ‘Okay, their fan base will gets it’. And it was awesome. There are times when there are bands who have those diehard fans, and they don’t care who is opening, or don’t want to hear anything that sounds different in any way to that band. But Muse’s audience seemed to be up for anything. And because it was a great musical fit, it went off very well, which was really pleasing to me. You can get great opportunities to tour, but when you play for somebody else’s fan base, you never know. And when it goes great, there’s nothing better. But there are few things worse than when you know that someone’s fans do not care, and would prefer we weren’t even there because they came for this certain band. But it’s understandable.

For every experience like that, I’m sure there are other experiences that are so positive where you feel even more alive and fulfilled.

Exactly. You can have a great show followed by a horrible show. I’m always confident we’re going to play well. We put a lot of work and time into it, and know the material. We’re great performers and we play well. But there are so many other factors. It could be the show, it could be the people, who knows. It could be a language barrier. We’re always grateful for the opportunities, but you have to have an iron will of sorts. Because if you don’t have the mindset, you could be easily discouraged. Things have been far more positive than negative for us. But, you have those moments.

Any other big announcements?

I’m constantly working, either always on tour, or always writing when I’m home. We were home for two and a half weeks between the Juliette Lewis show and tonight’s show. And I wrote and recorded three songs that I’m very happy with. It’s a matter of making the most of each day.

That it is. Keep up with both Ilan Rubin, and The New Regime here.

-Jura

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

Behind the 777 Album Set, an LSD Trip, & 'Resurrection': Our Interview with Clay Rose, Frontman of Gasoline Lollipops

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Recently, I had the chance to talk with Clay Rose, the frontman of Colorado's alternative country/folk-punk group Gasoline Lollipops. With the help of producer John McVey and Gregory Alan Isakov violinist Jeb Bows, the GasPops have been putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album Resurrection, thus tying together their 777 album set. Clay and I discussed the band name, the intersection of life and death, and how their music speaks to the evolution of the human soul. Read on:

You’re settled in Boulder now, but where are you all from?

All over the map: I grew up between Boulder and Nashville, our guitar player Donny comes from Chicago, and our bass player Brad is from Niceville, FL. Brad’s the nicest guy you’ve ever met. Adam’s from Pittsburgh, and our fiddle player, Jeb, is from Ward, CO.

Gasoline Lollipops has been a functioning musical machine since 2009. How did you all come to be what you are now?

I’m the last original member of the band; Jeb is another original member, but he’s generally on the road a lot with Gregory Alan Isakov or Brandi Carlile. So whenever he’s not on the road, he’s playing with us.

Boulder has an incredibly eclectic music scene, how did you all come to settle there?

There was no conscious decision to do that. Although, when I moved back here from Nashville in 2002, the music scene was pretty happening, with lots of smaller venues and a wide array of musical styles being played. But, like its architecture, Boulder's music scene has become more homogenized. So now I drive a lot, playing in places like Fort Collins and Denver.

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit:   WeTubers  .

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit: WeTubers.

You’ve got quite a diverse string lineup, with one of my favorites, the stand up bass. How did you come to choose this lineup?

It’s a very natural process. If you don’t try to sound like anything, you’re going to end up sounding like like what you listen to. It’s an extremely diverse collection, and I never try to control how any of the players of the band sound. If I like their style and what I’m hearing, I bring them into the band. Donny has a country/rockabilly background, Brad is from classical jazz, Adam is very punk rock, and Jeb has bluegrass-gypsy feel. I like all those kinds of music, and I listen to all of it. So when you put it together, you get something vaguely familiar and extremely real.

You’re classified as “dirt floor folk with the energy of rebelliousness of punk”. That’s a very colorful description of your music. Is that a description that you guy came up with?

The “dirt floor” saying comes from the style of playing where the musicians would stomp through the floor down into the dirt. Our sound sets us up for that kind of genre.

If you could categorize Gasoline Lollipops' sound by a meal or type of food, what meal would it be?

Holy crap, well it wouldn’t be anything I’d want to eat. Maybe Tex Mex with a scoop of ice cream and cinnamon schnapps poured all over it. We also came up with an acronym for our genre called PAFC*R (punk alternative folk country rock). So that’s a good way to describe us.

Speaking of food, your band name, Gasoline Lollipops, elicits a very visceral reaction, if you ask me. Where does the name Gasoline Lollipops come from?

It comes from LSD, to be honest with you. Actually, the name came way before the band. It came from eating LSD with a friend back in high school, sitting around coming up with band names. I don’t even think I played guitar at the time. The name came up and it stuck with me, like, “Man, if I ever come up with a band, I’m going to name it Gasoline Lollipops”. I think the band kind of ended up growing into our name. We play things that are sweet and sincere, on one hand, and explosive on the other. It really is lyrical folk punk.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

I hear you guys are a fairly superstitious group who dabble in the supernatural from time to time. For example, your “777” album mantra. Would you mind talking more about that?

Yes, superstition rock, which more stems from a gambling addiction. 777 will save your life, you know, when you pawn off the last penny of your chipped college fund. So 777 in that regard, is the same kinda deal as Jesus. Or Elvis, if you’re in Vegas. In Vegas, Elvis and Jesus are the same person. So that’s where all lines intersect, in Vegas.

You guys have two albums released already; 'Dawn' and 'Death'. And your upcoming album is 'Resurrection'. Will you continue your 777 theme after that last release?

No, so the 777 deal is that there are 7 songs on each of the 3 albums. So we’re hoping that once Resurrection is released, that will spark the second coming of Jesus or Elvis… or both.

And when will 'Resurrection' be released?

Nothing is set in stone yet. We keep vacillating between Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit:   Joshua Elioseff

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff

How else does your belief in the supernatural play into your music? What other themes pop up in your music?

I definitely sing about damnation a lot. I sing about gambling, devils, angels, and resurrection, but I always have to believe in resurrection, even in the darkest songs. I gotta put in at least a little peppering of that into each song.

Would you consider yourself a religious group at all?

(Laughs) [We’re] absolutely not religious; we’re the most hedonistic band you can think of. It’s just writing about life experiences, but I have to put it in the context the masses can relate to. Many people in this culture think in a dualistic nature. They want to know if you’re talking about light or dark, black or white. So you have to use that language, but I’m really just talking about the evolution of the human soul.

Are there any songs in particular that you would recommend for somebody who is interested in these themes?

Definitely- listen to the songs “Resurrection,” “Devil's in the Ace”, and “Cannonball”.

Do each of these albums tie-in together, concept wise? Or are they completely different?

Not completely different. Like I said, I try to speak in dualities in practice, but I tried to make Dawn the more idealistic album, and Death the more jaded "falling into darkness" album. Resurrection will kick off where Death left off, but will redeem itself back into the light… hopefully.

Are you working on any new music?

Yeah, we are definitely bringing a lot of new music into our live shows that are not even in Resurrection. We’ve probably got half of our next album already written. We can’t stay in one genre for too long, so it’ll be something new.

You just played at Underground Music Showcase this summer, and at an erotic novel convention in Las Vegas. Any other upcoming performances?

We’re playing one huge show at Caribou Room on September 23, and we’re really excited about that. It’s a fairly new venue and they’re really going all out for it.

If you could pick one of your creative idols to sit down with, alive or deceased, who would you choose?

It would be Leonard Cohen. I wouldn’t want to say a word. I would just want to sit in silence and look at him.

Great answer. So lastly, any final sentiments? Anything you’d like the world to know?

Just that the Gasoline Lollipops love you.

Be sure to catch the GasPops next at their Caribou Room (9/23) show in Nederland, Colorado. Other shows they’ve got on the books include Swing Station (10/14) in Fort Collins, Denver’s Hi-Dive (11/10), and the historic Gold Hill Inn in Boulder on New Year’s Eve. And keep up with them on their Facebook.

-Jura

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

Bonne Finken Showcases Her Multi-Faceted Artistry in Upcoming "Speak to Me" Single & Music Video

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Des Moines singer/songwriter Bonne Finken is no stranger to the music game. A professional vocalist since 2005 and a cancer survivor, she has made quite the name for herself locally and nationally. She has released two albums (Soul on Display; Fairytales/LoveAffairs) with numerous hit singles, and is about to release her upcoming single and music video "Speak to Me" this Friday, August 12th.

Bonne Finken.

Bonne Finken.

Bonne recorded the single with producers Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop of The Spot Studios in Denver, CO. "Speak to Me" is the first song from Finken’s upcoming album, set to be unveiled in full this winter. It is a powerful electronic dance tune, but like much of Bonne’s music, the thought and work put into it make it so much more than just a catchy song.

"Speak to Me" is a personal statement about transition, growth, and resilience, and how those themes have influenced Finken’s writing. Bonne is known for challenging her skills and taking her craft to another level. Over the last ten years, Bonne’s music has been shaped by her constant thirst for knowledge, and her desire to be more involved in the process. She storyboarded, directed, edited, and starred in the video for “Speak to Me” herself, truly making it a representation of her in every way.

Watch Bonne Finken’s teaser for her upcoming music video “Speak to Me”:

"It’s very meta," Bonne shared, "it’s very much how my music started off. I used to ask people who knew better to work on the technical parts. But I’ve learned now the only way to get exactly what you want is to do it yourself. So on top of knowing the music in and out, I learned the editing, production, recording, and directing aspects.”

The music video took five weeks to film, with only one hour each day acceptable for the type of lighting needed for the video. While she learned a few lighting tricks of the trade, Bonne channeled her fierce passion and commitment to the music by insisting her team use the natural light instead. While this project was still a collaboration of creative talent, working with a skeleton crew of producers Jon Locker and Mike Ray, "Speak to Me" is Bonne’s transformation into an even more multi-faceted artist.

The music video for "Speak to Me" is its own entity, and not a direct correlation to the lyrics. Each convey a message of bravery, perseverance, and transformation, but are meant to be related to in different ways. Yet, no matter how you take it all in, the overlying message speaks to the struggle, the fears of failure, and the overwhelming need to keep moving forward no matter what. The video represents the song itself, as well as the hard work put into creating the video.

Bonne has already released a 15-second teaser for the "Speak to Me" music video. It’s been a totally hands-on process for Bonne so far, and she cannot wait to unveil what she’s been working on. Tune in to Bonne’s upcoming announcements by checking out her Facebook, website, and blog.

-Jura

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

Interstate 10 Premiere's Their Summertime Smash Single & Music Video "Let's Ride"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

If you’re looking for your next feel-good sun-soaking antheM, look no further. After weeks of anticipation, the dynamic duo Interstate 10 has finally released their newest single and music video "Let’s Ride".

Unlike their previously released tribute song, "I’m Gonna Miss You", this newest single is a summertime smash that will leave you shaking the sand out of your hair for days. It’s a ballad to one of the finest things about the summer: kicking back and enjoying life with those you hold most dear. With an upbeat feel and an unmistakable message of fun, you can’t help but turn up the volume on this tune about summer love, delicious ice cold brews, and never-ending adventures.

The duo recorded their vocals for the tune at The Spot Studios prior to their recent deployment, and have been steadily releasing more of their music to their devoted fanbase. After the immense success of the release of "I’m Gonna Miss You," they partnered with Grammy award-winning producer Nathan Chapman. Chapman, who has worked with artists such as Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum, was incredibly excited to take on the endeavor of producing their upcoming release "Let’s Ride". They are also working with fellow Grammy nominated mix engineer/songwriter/producer Kevin Kadish as well, who produced Meghan Trainor’s hit song "All About That Bass".

The exciting news continues with Interstate 10, as a number of radio stations, including WUSY 101, Thunder 100.3, Conch Country 98.7, 107.3 Mountain Country, KXLO - KLCM 95.9, and Wild Country 99 will be premiering the single and music video on its official release date, Friday, August 5th. The Heartland TV Network will be premiering the song on August 4th, and will broadcast it all weekend long on a regular rotation, so make sure to tune in!

With the end of summer creeping ever-slowly around the corner, it’s no doubt we’ll all need a little Vitamin D-soaked pick-me-up to keep us going. It’s guaranteed that after listening to Interstate 10’s "Let’s Ride", you’ll be itching to hop into your car, drive to the nearest body of water, and unwind with a smile singing:

"And Let’s Ride
Come on baby, Let’s Ride
Leave it all behind tonight
Come on baby, Let’s Ride
Leave it all behind tonight."

With all the success Interstate 10 are experiencing, Justin and Andrew are remarkably charismatic and friendly guys who cherish every interaction on their page. Despite being overseas, they have been making appearances via Facebook LiveStream, and are excited to announce their upcoming endeavors with their fans. So get connected with them on Facebook and stay up to date on their latest moves!

-Jura

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

15 Must-See Bands at The Underground Music Showcase 2016

By: Jura Daubenspeck

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

RL Cole and the Angels

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

Gasoline Lollipops

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

Plum

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

Lee Fields & The Expressions

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

Porlolo

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

Open to the Hound

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

Methyl Ethel

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

Sunboy

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

Thee Oh Sees

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

SPELLS

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

Dirty Few

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

KITTY CRIMES

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

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

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

DéCollage

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

The Yawpers

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

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

-Jura

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

Mawule's "Black Is Beautiful" Is A Poetic Platform For Empowerment Through Dialogue

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Throughout these difficult times in our country, we all search for empowerment, for hope, and for something that will help us see the light in humanity, however dim that light may seem. We turn to political leaders, celebrities, and religious figures, in hopes that they will help us with the change that must occur. But in actuality, we must turn to each other, and ourselves, for this change.

Music is often a powerful platform for individuals to share their message, and Mawule is one of those individuals whose music creates a path for integration and dialogue to occur. His fascination with human relationships combined with his passion for building connections shines through not just his music, but also his work life as a Resident Director for college students. Mawule recently released his debut album, Chosen, and his subsequent release party was a wild success.

Bianca Mikahn.

Bianca Mikahn.

All nine songs on this album are noteworthy, but one that beckons particular attention is Black Is Beautiful”, which features hip hop maestros Bianca Mikahn and MC ILL Se7en. As usual, Mawule’s lyrics urge us to reflect on the human experience, and his beats are invitingly rhythmic. “Black Is Beautiful” was one of the final tracks added to the album, and is a personal tribute to the challenges that people of color face due to the systemic racism and oppression in our country.

Listen to Mawule's "Black Is Beautiful":

The lyrical and melodic combination of Mawule, Bianca Mikahn, and ILL Se7en is brilliant, as each artist brings their unique sound to the song. Mawule and ILL Se7en sing their truths and piece their rhymes like poetic puzzles, while Bianca powerfully takes hold of the chorus, repeating:

“Let’s make this useful/Our lives are fruitful/Change what we’re used to/Black Is Beautiful”

Above all else, “Black Is Beautiful” is a call to action. It emphasizes pride and empowers people of color who experience adversity every day. It encourages individuals who do not directly face the institutional discrimination to use their privilege to take in knowledge and create positive change, even if it induces discomfort.

Mawule.

Mawule.

We must think critically about the country we live in and the hateful actions we choose to accept, through ignorance or inaction. “Black Is Beautiful” urges us to stop authorizing overt racism, covert micro-aggressions, and comfort in privilege. For those who face this systemic injustice every day, the track encourages you to stay proud of who you are. Mawule reminds us of the significance behind Black Lives Matter and challenges us to recognize the injustices currently plaguing our country.

For an inside peek into the making of “Black Is Beautiful,” check out the 'Behind The Story' video, filmed at The Spot Studios. And get the inside scoop on the creative genius behind Mawule’s music through his personal blog. Chosen is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

-Jura

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

The Jeffrey Dallet Band: Colorado's Folk Troubadours of Yesteryear

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The Jeffrey Dallet Band are old and new all at once.

It’s always a delicious treat to discover music that transports you to another time period; the type of music that carries the feel of a past life, yet keeps you grounded in the present happenings of one’s everyday existence. Colorado’s music scene provides an excellent array of such artists, who break barriers and forge on with their own unique sounds. Denver’s very own The Jeffrey Dallet Band follows suit, making a name for themselves as the "folk troubadours of yesteryear".

The Jeffrey Dallet Band at Larimer Lounge.

The Jeffrey Dallet Band at Larimer Lounge.

The group, who classify themselves as “folk‘n’roll”, are in their early stages of bandhood, having just nailed down their current member makeup last February. Guitarist and lead singer Jeffrey Dallet was originally focused on solo work, writing music and playing local gigs around Colorado. He then joined forces with longtime friend Brian Long, who also plays guitar for TJDB. Producer Glenn Sawyer, of The Spot Studios, then introduced the duo to members Caroline Browning and Caroline Wright. Browning slays on the bass and percussion, while Wright brings a fresh folk feel with violin. And that is where the killer quad that is The Jeffrey Dallet Band stands today.

Jeffrey Dallet.

Jeffrey Dallet.

You’ll find yourself having similar nostalgic feelings listening to The Jeffrey Dallet Band as you would listening to artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, or the late Steve Young. Their music speaks of distant memories, of heartbreak, urban decay, politics, gentrification, and about how, in the words of Bob Dylan, "the times, they are a changin’." The relatability of their music is a bonus, but the easy-listening, lyrical folk-rock vibe that this group has is enough to hold your attention by itself.

TJBD has recorded two songs with the creative minds at The Spot Studios recently. The first tune, "Gypsy Jewel", has a haunting melody that, like the song’s subject matter, casts a spell on you with its violin and percussion, swaying in the minor key. But just when you think you’ve nailed down the band’s sound, the four-piece switches it up. "My Old Record Store" brings up the group’s tempo and gets playful with their social commentary, lyrically interweaving song and artist titles to tell a story. After the success of these tracks, The Jeffrey Dallet Band are already back in the studio working on their highly anticipated EP, which will be released in the coming months. Until then, you can check out their SoundCloud page to get a taste of some of the sounds you might expect from these talented folks.

Listen to "Gypsy Jewel":

This group of wandering troubadours are playing various intimate gigs throughout Colorado this summer, including Denver’s Underground Music Showcase (July 28-31). This will be the band’s first time playing at the festival, but Jeffrey Dallet’s sixth time returning to the eclectic rock fest. So get in early on the action and buy your tickets for UMS here! We will announce TJDB’s exact set time and location as its announce by UMS. And be sure to stay in touch with The Jeffrey Dallet Band on their website and Facebook pages! They’re a great band to add to your soundtrack for summer.

-Jura

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

Interstate 10 Goes Viral With "I'm Gonna Miss You" Single & Memorial Day Tribute Video

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Interstate 10's new music video went viral this weekend. 

Big things have been happening since we last checked in with Interstate 10. This past weekend, the duo released their single and tribute video for their song “I’m Gonna Miss You”, and its success was far beyond what anyone initially imagined.

"I’m Gonna Miss You" dropped last Friday, in honor of Memorial Day and the service men and women who have given their lives to protect their country. The song reflects not just the struggles of combat that a soldier endures, but the emotional toll it takes to say goodbye to those you love without knowing what the future holds. Since BLDGBLKS Music Company has worked closely with Justin and Andrew in preparation for this single release, we got the inside scoop about the song’s meaning from the men in uniform themselves:

"We wanted to write about the emotion captured when not only the soldier, but their loved ones as well, have to say goodbye. It’s extremely difficult, but we are trained to make this sacrifice and have learned how to adapt mentally. This song is a thank-you to all the families that stay so strong, and unconditionally love their sons and daughters through multiple deployments, training exercises, and time lost."

Andrew Yacovone and Justin Wright of Interstate 10.

Andrew Yacovone and Justin Wright of Interstate 10.

“I’m Gonna Miss You” clearly cuts to the root of an emotional struggle that so many people can relate to. And with its release over Memorial Day weekend, the song found its way into the hearts of thousands. ABC News, KKTV 11 News, HLN, iHeartRadio, Good Morning America, and Fox News are just a few of the channels who have already featured the single and video, generating immense traffic on the song’s YouTube page.

Beyond traffic, there is a lot of good coming from Interstate 10’s new single too. The band initially vowed to donate $500 to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation if the video hit 100,000 views by midnight of Memorial Day. RTIC Coolers then joined the cause as the video’s success grew, offering to donate $1,000 for 200,000 likes, and $1,000 for every 100,000 views up to a whopping $25,000. At the time of this writing, the video is currently at over 200,000 views. Interstate 10 has also decided to donate 100% of their Apple Music sales of "I’m Gonna Miss You" to another honorable cause, the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, Inc.

See what the hype is about for yourself by liking Interstate 10 or BLDGBLKS Music Company on Facebook. And, of course, be sure to take a look at the "I’m Gonna Miss You" tribute video above. After all, you’re helping a great cause with every view.

-Jura

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

Interstate 10 Honors the Brave on Memorial Day with Upcoming Single "I'm Gonna Miss You"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

ARMY ranger duo Interstate 10 are working on new music and releasing a single that will fittingly drop Memorial Day Weekend.

Every musician has their story and brings their own personal experiences to the music. And more often than not, they are also taking on so many more tasks in life than just creating their respective art forms. The contemporary country pop duo Interstate 10 exemplifies that every day, as Army Rangers Justin Wright and Andrew Yacovone have been on deployment since February 2016.

They may be far away, but they have been busy as ever. They are stationed in different locations, with Andrew being in Kandahar and Justin in Bagram, near Kabul. Justin has been in charge of battle tracking all of his unit’s missions, while Andrew has been an Executive Officer in charge of maintenance, logistics, and accountability. Despite the long arduous hours and long-distance, the two have managed to find time to write nine songs during their off time. They often get together via a video teleconferencing system and stay up late writing songs.

The last few months have been full of hard work, appreciation, and growth for Interstate 10. They’ve tackled the challenges of a new environment and long-distance with immense enthusiasm, and are proud to showcase what they’ve been working on.

With Memorial Day approaching, the two decided it would be the opportune time to release their upcoming single, "I’m Gonna Miss You". Unlike many of their light-hearted hits, this song carries a more solemn sentiment. It was originally written by Andrew during the week leading up to his first deployment. It’s a bittersweet tune that reflects the proverbial road soldiers face, where God only knows what is to come. It is a tribute to the men and women who have given their lives to protect their country, and shows a new side of Interstate 10 that you have not seen before. The single and music video will be released on May 27th, Memorial Day Weekend. 

Watch Interstate 10's promo video for their upcoming single "I'm Gonna Miss You":

Justin and Andrew will be reunited this July in Bagram, where they plan to continue writing, and publishing videos of the songs they’ve been working on. They will be releasing their track "Get Down", along with a music video, this fall while they are in Afghanistan.

With the combined charisma and willpower these two share, there’s no doubt there are great things to come. They will be keeping themselves quite busy these next few months, so check out their website for upcoming announcements. And for a closer look into their everyday lives, check out their Facebook page and blog posts.

-Jura

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

Bury the Doubt Brings Electronic Punk To Oklahoma With Their New Single "Cast Away"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Bury the Doubt is bringing electronic punk to their hometown and beyond.

Nestled in the small town of Newkirk, OK, you’ll find the band Bury the Doubt, who are determined to make a name for electronic punk in a town that is overgrown with country music.

Oklahoma's Bury the Doubt.

Oklahoma's Bury the Doubt.

It all started with a screamo band called River Parade, made up of Josh Layton and Cade Peterson. Then about a year ago, the two decided to focus more on an acoustically-oriented sound and change their name to Bury the Doubt. Now the six-piece band is made up of original members Josh Layton (vocals/songwriter/ukulele) and Cade Peterson (drums), along with longtime friend Shahannah Wilkie (piano), Matthew Colsen (guitar), Colby Burke (guitar), and Drayton Oldfield (DJ).

Buskin'.

Buskin'.

Like many up and coming bands, Bury the Doubt deal with the struggles of lack of rehearsal space and a tight budget, so they have had to get creative. They practice in living rooms and jam out in their cars on the open road, and when they recorded their first album Love Hate & Other Sins (2015), they had to make every minute count. The studio charged by the hour, so they got to work and even recorded the song "Lela" in one take.

Listen to Bury the Doubt's album Love Hate & Other Sins:

They group just recorded their latest single "Cast Away" at The Spot Studios in Lakewood, CO. The song itself sounds playful, but touches on some deeper feelings of rejection and longing. It speaks to those who have felt cast out and feel that being alone is sometimes easier than allowing yourself to be judged. It’s one of those songs that you find yourself isolating various sounds in it as you listen, and just when you think you’ve figured it all out, they manage to change it up again. The lyrical maturity also takes the song to a very vivid level:

Lift my skin and you might find
A sunken ship left behind
In hopes of treasure to finally save the free
Packed up in a wooden crate
Shipped away a day too late
To an island only the dead could ever see.

“Cast Away” is a single off Bury the Doubt’s upcoming album The Tale of Two Tragedies. They are launching their Kickstarter campaign this Saturday, May 14th, in order to raise funds to record the album. They will be offering exclusive reward packages for supporters, including: a signed copy of the album, Bury the Doubt logo beanies, band posters, VIP tickets to the album release show (or a show of the guest’s choosing), original artwork for select song titles, backstage passes, a chance to be a "Rockstar For A Day," and much more.

High-fives all around for new sounds.

High-fives all around for new sounds.

Once again, Bury the Doubt is looking to adapt their sound and form a new genre, incorporating electronica, punk, and the sounds of Gothic Transylvania into their odes for those who want to listen. So be on the look out for their musical makings, as they show you a side of them you haven’t seen before. Check out their Facebook for upcoming announcements.

-Jura

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

R Michael Rhodes and 7&CO Productions Hit the Mountains for "The Only Song" Music Video Shoot

By: Jura Daubenspeck

R Michael Rhodes is a Colorado singer/songwriter who firmly believes "it’s never too late to be what you might have been", a sentiment originally from poet Mary Ann Evans, better known as George Eliot. Rhodes grew up in rural Wyoming and North Dakota, where he was surrounded by a tight-knit community who was supportive of his musical talent. This talent, along with his innate ability to learn music by ear, has carried on with him well throughout the years. Now in Littleton, CO, Michael spends his time writing, rehearsing with his guitar, coaching youth wrestling, and engaging with his church community.

R Michael Rhodes.

R Michael Rhodes.

His sound is a medley of Americana and Nashville country/rock, tipping its hat to artists such as James Taylor, John Denver, The Eagles, and Garth Brooks. The nostalgic and relatable quality of his music makes it difficult not to reflect upon your own experiences, while still holding onto that "easy listening" feel.

Two weeks ago, Michael and 7&CO Productions, a team comprised up of Thomas Jaeger, Wes Manethy, Gabriel Cox, Bryan Harrold, and Ali Abo-Adas, traveled to a family friend’s hunting and fishing cabin just northwest of Fairplay, CO to film a music video for Rhodes’ new track, "The Only Song”. The rustic cabin was built in the 1970’s and sits at a breathtaking 10,000 ft. overlooking a picturesque mountain valley and a vast bare forest. The 7&CO production crew came prepared with a solid storyboard, and collaborated with Michael to create the finished product.

"The Only Song" is one of the tracks which will be featured on Rhodes’ upcoming EP After All These Years. It tells the story of a man, played by Michael, and a woman, played by actress Laura Lee. The two lovers are torn apart by various circumstances, and the cabin serves as the secure base for their thoughts about the other to roam, despite their obstacles. It is a story of heartache, longing, and grand romantic gestures.

The music video, along with the After All These Years EP, is set to be released early this summer. Be on the lookout for it, as it will be Michael’s first full-production music video. Michael has been working hard in the studio, so stay tuned for his upcoming announcements and releases on his website.

-Jura

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

No Sleep for Bud Bronson & The Good Timers As They Approach Their 'Electrify the East' Tour

By: Jura Daubenspeck

With a dash of absurdity, a pinch of nonconformity, and a few killer riffs sprinkled on top, you’ve got Bud Bronson & The Good Timers. The Denver rock group, made up of Richie Nitro AKA "Brian Beer" (vocals), Vic Bone (guitar), Cabo Wabo (drums), and Scraps Jackson (bass), have been dabbling in the wild and the clever since 2012.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers. 

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers. 

Between the four, each represent very different parts of the country, hailing from Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey respectively. Once the group united in Denver, they played in ice-cold garages and managed to record their first EP in January 2014.

If you try hard enough, you may be able to nail down these guys to a genre. But why spoil the fun? Bud Bronson & The Good Timers’ music toys with the identity of a classic hard rock "shred ‘til you drop" group, as well as the identity of a band you are likely to find playing at a sweaty, beer-splattered basement party. Their stunningly straightforward lyrics ensure that matters are not taken too seriously and their shameless ability to have fun with each other is a delightful breath of smoke-filled air.

Fantasy Machine, released in November 2015, is a coming-of-age head banger of an album. Like much of their music, the album tells the story of, well, the good times: hanging outside with friends, chatting up beautiful babes, and shotgunning Coors. But while these summertime vibes are all good and dandy, the album speaks to an underlying question of how much more will my boyish charm let me get away with? Or, put more simply… how long will these good times last?

Listen to Fantasy Machine:

Notable tracks off the album are "Vapedemic", which was featured in High Times, and personal favorites of mine, including: "Kitties South", "Party or Party", and "Sleeveless Nights".

Watch the video for "Vapedemic":

The guys are about to be on the move, with an upcoming 20-day tour they are calling the Electrify the East Tour. They will be hitting up over fifteen cities and states, including: Lawrence, KS, Tulsa, OK, Nashville, TN, Greensboro, NC, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Baltimore, MD, Washington DC, Philadelphia, PA, New Jersey, New York City, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Detroit, MI, Columbus, OH, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, Quad Cities, and Omaha, NE.

They will also be performing with talented artists from each city, including: Skytown, Four Arm Shiver, Varma Cross, Butthole, The SuperWeaks, Lizard Police, Left & Right, Greasy Hearts, Wormhole, Bookmobile, The Pollinators, Jessica Wiles, Nato Coles, Gerald Lee, Briner, and more soon-to-be-announced artists.

The Electrify the East Tour is bound to be a wild time, and here’s to hoping the band comes back all in one piece. If you’re looking for a band whose music will make you want to unapologetically thrash about, then check out Bud Bronson & The Good Timers. Their music can be found on Bandcamp and YouTube.

-Jura

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