Premiere: Grayson County Burn Ban Release Second Single From Upcoming Debut Record 'Better Neighbor'

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Grayson County Burn Ban first came together in 2014 after frontman Austen Grafa was on the road with another Colorado band and decided he wanted to combine two of his favorite genres: country and rock’n’roll. Having grown up in Texas, Grafa was inspired by songwriters like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Terry Allen, and Robert Earl Keen. After teaming up with fellow Denver musicians Nate Wilson, Travis Page, Brian Beer, and Tyler Brewer (Ned Garthe Explosion), GCBB was formed and Grafa began using his influences to craft what is now considered the band’s “campfire country” sound.

This January, GCBB are releasing their debut record, titled Better Neighbor. The title track from the 12-song release is already out with an accompanying music video (see above), and one that is hard for any Denverite not to laugh along with. It details (rather sarcastically) some of the trials of Denver city life, like trying to park in Cap Hill, or the frustration many have faced when finding recyclable beer cans in the trash bin after day-drinking in Cheesman Park. The song’s refrain, “Are you an idiot? Or just an asshole?” will have you laughing as the band members experience other annoyances while venturing around their neighborhood and asking you to be the exact thing the title of their new record suggests.

Today, the band has released their second single and accompanying video for their song “Up Here.”

Animated by artist, Sarah Letteny, the video follows a character slowly climbing up a ladder in black and white while reflecting on the world down below before it falls through a psychedelic-colored sky back to its colorless reality. As the chorus repeats, “I’m higher than I’ve ever been/looking down at this little world I’m in/Everything is making sense/but I don’t know if I should be alone up here,” things like money and cars appear just out of reach of the video’s character before it crashes through the clouds.

Said Grafa about the video, “Sarah did an amazing job bringing our vision to life for this song, which is, as the lyrics state, all about being ‘a little too high,’ where you can see everything going on, but maybe you shouldn’t be so high alone.”

“Up Here” continues GCBB’s “campfire country” sound with Grafa’s rolling, storytelling vocals over guitar before it breaks into a full-band-at-your-favorite-dive-bar slow country jam.

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Grayson County Burn make the kind of music you want to crush cans to. Just make sure you recycle those when you're finished.

Keep up with Grayson County Burn Ban 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.

The UMS Set The Tone For A Great 2017 Festival With Recent Fox Theatre Show

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Underground Music Showcase recently brought three great Colorado acts together for one rocking show at Boulder’s Fox Theatre in celebration of the upcoming festival, which takes place this July 27th-30th.  

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Party-hardy Ned Garthe Explosion kicked off the night, a Denver four-piece known for their garage rock anthems and good times. Though the night started with a smaller crowd, NGE kicked up the energy and commenced to get down by making fun of each other onstage, sipping Coronas, and rocking out. Frontman Ned Garthe told us the story of how he once spray painted his name on the side of a police station, only to be immediately caught, lending more credibility to the crazy punk antics of this band. They closed out their set with their popular “Forgot Your Name,” and by that point, a solid crowd had settled in and was singing along. 

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

Boulder’s The Velveteers took the stage next, with Noah Shomberg (The Yawpers) and John Demitro (The Bandits) on drums accompanying guitar prowess and vocalist Demi Demitro. It was the band’s first Fox Theatre show in their hometown, and they once again proved live why they are one of Colorado’s fastest rising acts in rock’n’roll. Demi’s vocals are gentle and melodic at times, and whipped with raw attitude and grunge at others. All the while, she slays on guitar, and it’s here I’d like to point out an observation I had checking out this set: The entire first two rows near the stage were comprised of headbanging dudes. Now that’s what I call rock’n’roll.

Demi Demitro.

Demi Demitro.

Demi has harnessed her artistry in every aspect of her show- from her writing, to her commanding stage presence, to her skilled instrumental abilities. She’s hypnotizing to watch and she’s talented. With continued grind, this is a Colorado act I see going national.

Flaural.

Flaural.

Denver’s Flaural closed out the night with a drippy shoegaze psych show. The four-piece started their set with groovy instrumentals and very little vocals. They played several tracks from their recent release, Over Imaginary Cigarettes, and a few older tunes as well. Formed in 2015, this band has already done a lot of national touring and had some notable festival appearances, so it was exciting to have them back in state for a show. They kept things very poppy and psychedelic, keeping the crowd swaying before it was time for many to jump on the Bus to Show back down to Denver and the remaining Boulderites to wander home. 

The night definitely set the tone for a great UMS this year, so make sure to grab passes while they’re still cheap here!

ICYMI: Check out our full photo gallery from this show!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The UMS Is Bringing Three Awesome Acts To Boulder's Fox Theatre This Thursday (06/29)

This Thursday, June 29th, Denver’s new wave psych rock four-piece Flaural headline Boulder’s The Fox Theatre. The show, which is presented by Denver’s The Underground Music Showcase, is an exciting peek into a few acts on the festival’s 2017 lineup.

Flaural

Flaural

Flaural entered the Denver music scene in 2015 with their record The Thin King. Comprised of Nick Berlin (drums), Connor Birch (synth/keys), Noah Pfaff (guitar), and Colin Johnson (vocals/bass), the quartet released their sophomore EP, Over Imaginary Cigarettes, a year later. In the two years since their inception, the band has played more than 75+ shows across the US. They’ve shared a stage with acts like Thee Oh Sees, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Built to Spill, while also locking down sweet festival gigs including Treefort and Tomorrow Never Knows.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Two other UMS acts will open Thursday’s show- Denver’s Ned Garthe Explosion and Boulder’s The Velveteers. We went for a wild ride with Ned Garthe Explosion at last summer’s UMS, and they ended up being one of our favorite sets of the festival. Get ready for a party.

The Velveteers. 

The Velveteers. 

And for Boulder’s The Velveteers, this event will be one for the books, as it’s their debut Fox show, and a rare hometown gig for the busy duo. The two-piece have spent the past year on the road and in the studio between a European tour stint with Deap Vally and a number of festival appearances this summer.

Thursday’s bill is going to rip!! Come check out these amazing Colorado artists- tickets here and while you’re at at, grab your UMS festival passes! Full event details at this link.  We’ll see you there!

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

(Un)Traditional Love Songs: A Playlist For Your Valentine's Day & So Much More

By: Joliene Adams

Forget complaints about Valentine’s Day commercialism. Let’s think instead on the limitations of the kind of love that gets advertised to us. Love comes in all shapes and sizes far beyond romantic, and this playlist reflects all those feelings and shades of love. Wherever you are at in your love life and whoever you love in whatever ways, whether the burning embers of passion or the charcoal heart of getting burned from love; from your lover to your mother, it’s all here:

Listen to BolderBeat’s “(Un)Traditional Love Songs” Playlist:

1. “Death Hex” – The VelveteersDeath Hex (2016)

No one said love came without barbs. Hook, line, and sinker, The Velveteers rock straight for the jugular. John Demitro’s drums thunder with the urgency of foreboding storms while Demi Demitro’s tight, heavy guitar licks smack you awake. Staggered vocal notes build tension up to lift off as Demi lets melodic hollers unapologetically rip. If their rock doesn’t shatter the teacups on your shelf, you haven’t turned that heavy grit up loud enough.

And this one’s lyrical content doesn’t dote expressly on love. Demi speaks to this in an interview covered by BolderBeat’s Hannah Oreskovich, “‘Death Hex’ is about awakening from the dead and saying goodbye to the past. It was really inspired by a sense of magic I felt happening. It’s a story of coming back from a bad situation and coming out on the other side better than you ever imagined.” It might not be about love, but it’s an ages old story, that of the lover who rises from the ashes. Take your heartbreak, wipe the floor clean with it, and rise from the ashes bigger, better, stronger, faster, badder-asser.

2. “Didn’t See You There” – Red Fox RunRed Fox Run (2015)

Ever turned around or glanced sidelong at your buddy and all of a sudden SPLAT, you think, “I did NOT realize my friend was this cute let alone that that I was in love with them this whole time?” This number cascades and careens as your own feelings might at such a realization. Red Fox Run fearlessly showcase vocalist and rhythm guitarist Daniel Rondeau shouting out a proclamation from the truths that sit in the center pit of a heart. He’s proclaiming hopeful, but it’s clearly uncertain since “I couldn’t love you more than I do right now” isn’t the end of the sentence. Red Fox Run keep it playful, but in the end, they’ve said all they need to say.

It’s the year anniversary of Red Fox Run being no longer, an anniversary that may bring with it many a fan’s broken heart. But the good news is that three out of four original RFR members continue on in their new Denver-based project Wildermiss.

3. “I Like You” – Ned Garthe Explosion Flashlight Tan (2016)

Crash forward, skid in sideways, stop abruptly- you’ll travel at all different speeds in Ned Garthe Explosion’s capable hands. Splaying themselves across diverse elements is something familiar to Ned Garthe Explosion and their fans. As Andy Thomas of Westword notes, 2016’s Flashlight Tan finds frontman Ned Garthe and his co-conspirators messing around with genre and intent “writing deliberately toward a certain genre, in an earnest near-parody that’s so good you can’t tell it’s a parody. It’s a depth of vision that can only be achieved late at night, when the cops are nowhere to be found.” But isn’t that love sometimes? Crashing forward, landing backwards… and even sometimes ending in a weird parody you sort of knew existed.

4. “Call Through the Wire” – Inner Oceans Call Through the Wire (2016)

“If I leave you in the night...” The suggestion alone leaves you indignant, does it not? The sentiment wells up from something clearly much deeper as Inner Oceans’ frontman Griffith Snyder sings lushly of the story unfolding. “I see you all the time and it hurts to think you were right,” he sings. The sound is atmospherically absorbing while the message delivers clear adoration with a twinge of regret and a still-in-love/lust-with-you. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two, in life or in music, and I can’t come down on which it might be here but I’m ok with it.

5. “Shooting Star” – RossonianYou Are Your Own Dentist (2013)

Rossonian use space and astral phenomena as metaphor, delivering dreamy and delicate wonder. This one is absolutely a love song, but also earns love for the success of their symbolic narrative. It propels, then floats, taking pause to deliver changes in emphatic subtleties. Rossonian is master of small sound shifts across a slow build, lending the song a complexity that doesn’t announce itself like a smack to the face, but rather comes at and through you like the feeling of slowly waking up. This one’s a gentle journey from one end of conscious awareness to another, starting gently and sleepily as it comes to burn bright-eyed awake.  

6.  “Day I Was Born” – 5ive, Jessica Jones – Radioland (2016)

There’s romantic love, and then there’s the love for your mother. Both can overpower. If I had any doubts as to which it was here at first (the word “mama” is sufficiently vague enough terminology to always throw me off without further clear direction), Jessica Jones’ vocal turn sways results to the latter. “Mama you believed in me, even when my skies were gray, you gave me the entire world… people asked me how’d I got so strong. I tell ‘em that my mama showed me the way. You always raised me up right, with all the love you gave.” Where 5ive (Quinn Lynch) and Jessica Jones put the soul in your playlist, your mother put you and your soul into this world. So if you tell anyone you love them on Valentine’s Day, make it your mother and be sure to thank her.

7. “If I Grew a Violet (You’d Ask for a Rose)” – Andy Sydow A Little Messed Up (2016)

Ever read the children’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? This is an adult version of that tale in more ways than one. If you give a mouse a cookie, they’ll want a glass of milk. They will want something else and more after the glass of milk, so on and so forth until eternity. Sydow dishes up love pangs boiled over lost hopes in the spirit of said book. Emotionally honest, raw words of disappointed love come in, combined with loving, earnest, even sweet melody. The message delivered could interpret as one lover's greed or the other’s embittered pessimistic complacency. You can’t tell who is at fault but you can tell who fell short of the two: the “I” of the singer. It sounds at once an apology, and at once a screw you.

But this tune is also for the times everything you give or have isn’t enough. It’s a song of love exhausted and felled short. Although heartbreak does lead to some great songwriting, as Andy Sydow reminds. Thank you for breaking your open heart for us, Andy.

8. “Tilt-A-Whirl” – The RailsplittersThe Faster It Goes (2015)

If Colorado’s associated with bluegrass, The Railsplitters play a huge support role in buttressing the strong reputation and taking it on tour across the nation. Clear-ringing harmonies usher in a fast-paced minimalism foregrounding wise essentials and together, they come carrying melodies at different speeds, much as a Tilt-a-Whirl carousel making circles. Research lends insight here, for when Dusty Rider songwrites he, “writes with the full band in mind, imagining an entire song in his head before it’s even heard it out loud.” This one is a reflective reminiscence on the memories of someone who came before, but is gone now. And with mind racing, you start to question yourself and all that was.

Lauren Stoval’s lead vocals are clear as sunlight on snow, while Dusty Rider and Peter Sharpe’s alternations between plucking each note and full-bodied strumming chords lend interest and supplement with distinctive, rhythmic filler. Leslie Ziegler’s bass comes in barely, but richly, serving the more invisible role, like that of editor to writer. And of course, there’s Joe D’Esposito’s fiddle coming in on the top to send the song off into its final soars of that gloriously spinning Tilt-a-Whirl.

9.  “Someone Like Me” – SF1 Inamorata (2012)

From hand drums to lyrical repetitions, SF1 keeps their sound light, and their message relatively straightforward. There’s a serious sense in which this song seems at once upbeat, and then anything but. It’s a song that wouldn’t have to come without heartbreak, but it takes its pride on walking away in fulfilled request from another. “You’ll never find someone like me” could come out all wrong in a breakup, but the cheerful sonic delivery here gives this song a quality of what you sing in your head knowingly to comfort and uplift your own self on the walk home, giving props to your emotional regulation in honoring a request, and moving on.

10. “Bloodstream” – IoliteBloodstream (2016)

Bloodstream’s sophisticated stormy pop comes through even better on headphones, as Iolite’s (Elina Odnorlav) full-bodied indie-electronica pounces at you with confident authority. She fuses an ear, talent, and a decade of piano work with electronic assets wisely, and all at the ripe old age of seventeen. Laying down this kind of sophisticated, well-calibrated arrangement with undergirding convinces you she’s worth your ear time. The sheer carnal sensuality of this tune pulses at you with a cosmopolitan sensibility, one that makes the heart beat fast. Iolite is fierce, and if you need more proof, read BolderBeat’s interview with Odnorlav by Sierra Voss.

11. "Wait to Rust” – Kayla Marque, Kid Astronaut, Sur EllzLive and Die Like This (2016)

Triple Denver whammy! This Kayla Marque, Kid Astronaut (Jon Shockness), and Sur Ellz (Khalil Arcady) collaboration 110% comes out the most natural thing in the world. Lyrically and vocally caressing you with emotion, this trio allures in their fervent R&B/soul blend as soft finger snaps and harmonies soften your ear and melt into your heart chambers.

Marque caresses your emotions with intimacy in both lyric and lead vocals. Muted cymbal, reliant drums, and the hushed guitar unobtrusively lend rhythm, combining together and across this song to create instrumental romance and a certain sense of enchantment. The heart, bloodstream, nervous system, and muscle memory in you recognize the message: wanting something at a cellular level you know at a cognitive one is only going to destroy or undo you. Having a heart is a wonderful gift and real son of a gun, ain’t it?

12.  “They Love to Hate” – Molina Speaks, DJ Icewater Sex Money Ego (2016)

Robust, fresh beats thump and bump as they palpitate at heart rate speed. Chill, smooth, and with a pinch of lyrical sass, this one’s also purely carnal. It’s got sexy love and wantingness combined with a creed of holding-your-cool and enjoying all the spontaneous pleasures of life. It’s definitely a turn-up tune for cruising in your car, or even cooler, on your low-rider bike with the sweet speaker you should probably have. Molina Speaks and DJ Icewater have collaborated to make something seductive, both in romantic passions and in making you just want to live out loud to the full. So get to it.

13. “Lucid Recall” – Sunboy Yesterday Is in Love With You (2016)

Yes to a song that I’d enjoy instrumentally, yet do with its lyrics just the same. Sunboy give it a good 55 seconds before vocals seep in though, setting the feel first. If only we all had lucid recall, but memory doesn’t always work that way. Yet, at the same time, it’s by dint of the lyric “haven’t felt this way in a long time” that we remember: sometimes it isn’t the memory, but the feelings evoked that bring back lucid recall in all its vivid glory. And what a robust memory sensation it is when it hits.

Synthy sounds and a certain protraction allow emotions here to take flight. Vocals and piano instrumentation undergird a sound that might be tinny and emotionless otherwise, which would be the last desirable thing in a song so emotionally charged in content. Like Iolite’s “Bloodstream,” headphones are most recommended on Sunboy’s “Lucid Recall” for best up-close-and-personal vibes.  

14. “Medicine” – Rose QuartzAxis of Love (2015)

In the abstract, medicine is there to make us better. Humans are no strangers to using or abusing another person in this way at some time. Sometimes leaning on others is necessary and appropriate. But there is a difference between asking for help and being soul-suckingly co-dependent or reliant. Like a prescription drug, it can be toxic, and this song rails against the notion that one partner serves that role. You can use medicine or abuse it, and this one splits the difference.

A combination of electronic space-esque warble, full-bodied guitar notes, and clips on the drum machine set the scene. Lyrically unapologetic, this is a power number for those times you need to speak to your decision to leave someone who treats you like something to be used up rather than given to. Rose Quartz build and release tension with efficacy, establishing a subtle back and forth strain that fits the bill in the stark truths this electronic groove-pop song seeks to sing out and deliver sans apology. The only thing bigger than its sound may be the heart behind it. This is definitely one to get sassy to under lights on the dance floor, and that sounds like a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to take a listen to this playlist and more Colorado music playlists at BolderBeat.

-Joliene

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

Day Three at The UMS: Are You Ready to Rip, Denver?

By: Sierra Voss

Alright UMSers. Saturday started off for me with a, “holy wow, is-it-really-this-epically-hot-outside?” kinda vibe.

I’m not scared. I will say it. I woke up Saturday morning exhausted from a 10+ hour day of awesome music the night before. I found myself really starting to wonder if I was going to be able to crush another non-stop day of tunes. Amidst my doubts, I quickly remembered that UMS was created by champions for champions. So I prepped up and started chugging water, coffee, and mimosas. The time was soon upon me. The first band I wanted to see was taking the stage only blocks away from where I pleasantly laid on my friend’s cozy couch. It was time to crush again.

Residual Kid. 

Residual Kid. 

The day was ripping away as I popped in and out of venues strewn along S. Broadway street. Each hosted different genres of music, from soulful singer-songwriters to thrashing heavy metal bands. It was all right there for me, beckoning, as I created my epic Saturday journey through The UMS land. But no matter where I was as the day continued, I found myself longing to return to the Hi-Dive.  

SPELLS at the Hi-Dive.

SPELLS at the Hi-Dive.

The Hi-Dive is truly the beating heart at the core of The UMS. You think about her when you leave. You wonder what’s happening in her life when you’re not around. You make sacrifices in order to see her. You wait in line with other people who love her equally as much, just for a chance to hang out with her for a couple of hours. But at the end of the day, it’s all worth it, because once you’re in there, it feels so good. You stop worrying about all the other venues and you're there, you’re with her, in that pulsing core of it all.

Dirty Few at HD.

Dirty Few at HD.

Time truly warps while you’re in the Hi-Dive. Hours become minutes as you thrash around, dancing to show after show after show actually after show, stopping only for bathroom, drink, and picture breaks. The lineup last night at the Hi-Dive was fierce: Dudebabes, SPELLS, Dirty Few, Ned Garthe Explosion, and Bud Bronson & The Good Timers.

The aftermath of Ned Garthe Explosion.

The aftermath of Ned Garthe Explosion.

My favorite set of the night was Ned Garthe Explosion. They no doubt know how to party. In fact, they started off their set counting down as Garthe himself held up a disco ball and let it drop while the audience cheered, “3-2-1!” The band tossed out glow sticks and champagne bottles as confetti, and their homemade fog machine filled the air. Within what seemed like seconds, people were spraying champagne throughout the crowd. And by the second song, people had cut open their glow sticks in order to create what I like to call a galaxy party, as neon goo speckled the venue walls, and our bodies.

Life in the depths of the Hi-Dive.

Life in the depths of the Hi-Dive.

Hot damn that Hi-Dive! She takes you in. She fills you up, and then she spits you out exhausted to the bone, but with a smile on your face, and crazy-fun reeling in your head for days to come.  

Day three was an epic one for The UMS books. Who’s ready for round four? Sunday-funday here we come...

BONUS: Yesterday’s stops summed up in one sentence:

Marshall Poole: The band that is perfect for when you just wanna hang, but also wanna rock.

Shilo Gold: A soulful performance set at the perfect venue under South Broadway Church’s towering organ and stained glass windows.

South of France.

South of France.

South of France: Dreamy surf rock vibes.

Residual Kid: These guys know how to rip 90s style, even though they were born in the 2000s.

Thee Oh Sees.

Thee Oh Sees.

Thee Oh Sees: Awesomely unique sound, repped by a crazy frontman who likes to lick his guitar and suck on his pick.

Dudebabes: Girl dressed as guy and guys dressed as girls with turkey legs, lemonade, and more.

SPELLS: Loves nothing more than to mosh with the audience.

Dirty Few: The lead singer jumped in the air and did the splits at the end of their third song of the set.

Ned Garthe Explosion: Champagne galaxy. See above.

BBGT Jorts.

BBGT Jorts.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers: American rock rippers that you can count on to bring it home and seal in the epic vibes of a truly rockin’ night at the Hi-Dive. Also, they look damn good in jorts.

-Sierra

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