The Kaleidoscope Experience Is the One-of-a-Kind Psychedelic Wonderland Experience You're Looking For

By: Benjamin Tillis

Walt Disney once said, “Adults are only kids grown up.” And last Friday, The Kaleidoscope Experience, an event hosted at The Globe Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, proved Walt right. Marketed as “a whimsical playground for adults,” The Kaleidoscope Experience was a one-of-a-kind event that transformed The Globe Theatre into a psychedelic wonderland that sparked creativity and innocent wonder for all those who attended. The experience began the moment you walked into the theater, where funhouse mirrors and fog turned the hallway entrance of The Globe into a trippy maze. A multi-sensory, magical, make-believe land awaited once you completed the maze.

DSC07351.jpg

It was impossible to stay focused once you were inside. On stage was a Pink Floyd cover band, playing with Alice in Wonderland projected behind them. But that was hardly the main attraction. In the middle of the crowd there was a pyramid covered in chocolates and sweet snacks and a wheel for attendees to spin. Depending on your spin, you could take a snack, or even better, press a button to make popcorn explode from the volcano-looking structure. It was glorious!

On the sides of the venues were treehouse structures you couldn’t see into, so you had no choice but to explore. In them, you encountered someone dressed as a rabbit who did nothing but offer you lollipops and tell you to “write your hopes and dreams” on sticky notes and add them to a wall that was already filled with hundreds of these. Also on the same floor as the live music, there was a bottomless tater tot buffet. It was a junk food paradise.

DSC07798.jpg

The Kaleidoscope adventure continued downstairs with countless attractions. There were inflatable horse races, a tunnel maze that led to a secret pillow fort, and a close-up magician. Most notable, though, was the silent disco, which is usually a guaranteed good time. There was a dance floor decked out with lasers and glow sticks, and it was a fun escape from everything going on to dance to either the EDM channel, or a channel playing 80s and 90s classics.

DSC07571.jpg

Although the designated dancing area was fun, it was a whole new experience walking through the rest of the event with silent disco headphones on. Another attraction on the main floor was a free-play arcade. Competing in stand up arcade games like Mortal Kombat and Crazy Taxi while jumping and dancing to your favorite songs was exhilarating!

Later in the night, the band switched to a Led Zeppelin cover group, which performed alongside the original animated version of Lord of The Rings, a cherry on top of all the ridiculousness that took place at Kaleidoscope. I sat in the love sacks in the general admission area and enjoyed the handful of songs they played until the end of the event. And then I headed home happier than I’ve been in a while! Keep your eyes open for The Kaleidoscope Experience coming to your city. For more information, check out out their website!

-Benjamin

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

Review: Professor Plumb Releases Their New Single "Red Sky"

By: Adam Cabrera

In their new single “Red Sky” released on February 15th, the Denver-based rock band Professor Plumb drifts atop a turbulent sea of metal doom in a slow, heavy hitting jam which warns of impending catastrophe.

Professor Plumb.

Professor Plumb.

First appearing in the Mile High in 2018 with the release of two singles and eventually a five song EP entitled The Magic Twelve (EP 1), Professor Plumb has proven themselves to be one of Denver’s more noteworthy new artists over the past year. Led by vocalist/songwriter Benom Plumb, who began his career working in music publishing and is currently an Assistant Professor at The University of Colorado Denver’s Music Industry Studies Program (hence the bands name), Professor Plumb is his first effort as a performing artist. Comprised of Plumb performing second bass, John Demitro (Pink Fuzz, The Velveteers) on guitar, Alex Bailey on first bass, and Ben Hatch performing drums, the band managed to find some recognition with their 2018 single “Midnight Creep.”

But last year’s aggressive, punk-inspired single plays in stark contrast to Friday’s release, as “Red Sky” introduces a new sound previously unheard from the band. Where “Midnight Creep” was a fast paced, rock’n’roll shuffle, “Red Sky” is funereal. Reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” or Pink Floyd’s “The Nile Song,” the single moves along sluggishly while relishing in dark, menacing guitar riffs which subside just before breaking off into a high-energy guitar solo. One sound that distinguishes the recording is Benom’s voice. Sitting well below the vocal range of many punk/metal singers, Benom projects a unique baritone which cuts clean through the densely packed distortion and booming drums.

Furthermore, the heavier sound lends itself to the similarly dark themes presented in the song lyrics. Steeped in metaphor and ancient mysticism, the song’s imagery paints a picture of world destruction and coming apocalypse. Borrowing a line from an old rhyme often repeated by mariners, Benom’s words warn of red clouds on the horizon and “wicked” sailors who appear ignorant of the coming storm.

When asked what the song’s lyrics refer to, Benom explains that he has always been fascinated with “end-of-the-world” scenarios and the self-destructive, often hippocratic, nature of the people involved. In regards to Red Sky, Benom says that he was influenced by a red winged-planet referenced by the ancient Sumerians. The planet, aptly named “destroyer”, was said to wreak havoc on the Earth as it entered our atmosphere. With this in mind, it’s easy to imagine a certain pessimistic outlook on humanity that the song details but Plumb suggests that a far more positive message can be realized. To Benom, the song is a word for the wise and encourages, “kindness, empathy, love and compassion for one another” by pointing out the hubris of humankind and the dreadful consequences if it be left unchecked.  

Professor Plumb Band Poster Four Corners Logo Bigger Centered.jpg

The single comes as a precursor to The Magic Twelve (EP 2), the group’s next release in a series of three similarly titled EPs. So, in the swirl of an eerie crystal gaze and heavy metal rumbling, “Red Sky” gives us a taste of what’s soon to come from the band as well as something to blast over the stereo while we wait.

Professor Plumb will be performing at the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) Songwriter Showcase on Saturday, March 2nd located at The Post Brewery in Boulder, CO. The same day, Benom will be hosting a panel on film music and audio production on the Pearl St. Mall. On the morning of March 3rd, you can also catch them performing a short set just before the screening of The Mustang at BIFF.

Keep up with Professor Plumb here.

-Adam

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

Portugal. The Man Proved Their Reign In the Pop Rock Sphere at Recent Red Rocks Show

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The Lords of Portland landed in Morrison, CO yesterday at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Portugal. The Man, the progressive rock and recent “Best Pop Performance” 2018 Grammy winners made a sold-out stop at the Rocks between summer festival performances. Formed by John Gourley in 2002, Portugal. The Man originally started as a side project to Gourley’s group Anatomy of a Ghost. After a move to Portland from the group’s origins in Wasilla, Alaska, Gourley and bassist Zachary Caruthers began working on tunes for Portugal. The Man full-time, releasing their debut Waiter: "You Vultures!"  in 2006. The group put out another record in 2007, Church Mouth, and embarked on their first US tour in support of the record. The band then released a series of records with independent label Approaching AIRballoons before signing with Atlantic Records in 2010.

Portugal. The Man.

Portugal. The Man.

With a growing number of festival appearances and the success of their record Evil Friends (2013), Portugal. The Man continued to grow a strong international fan base. After more than a decade of building their brand of prog psych pop rock, Portugal. The Man achieved true worldwide fame for the pop hit “Feel It Still,” which just came out last year. After rising to the top of the Billboard charts, earning the band their aforementioned Grammy, and snagging them a ASCAP Vanguard Music Award, Portugal. The Man suddenly went from that band you once enjoyed seeing at a Bonnaroo tent to a major festival headliner. For this band, that switch appears as though it were seamless, though it took sixteen years.

Now comprised of Gourley and Carothers with Kyle O’Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist, and Zoe Manville, the six-piece had an incredible Red Rocks performance, both sonically, and in their stage production. Prior to the start of the show, the band had local Lakota tribe members give a blessing to fans before diving into their “For Whom The Bell Tolls” Metallica cover. They then transitioned into their Pink Floyd “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” mashup with their original “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” before sliding into a catalogue of their originals including “Live in the Moment,” “Noise Pollution,” and of course, “Feel It Still.” The band is known for inserting cover snippets into a mix with their own tracks, and this was evident to listeners with T. Rex’s “Creep In a T-Shirt,” Violent Femmes’ “Children of the Revolution,” The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” and the band’s encore, which featured a crazy mashup of their tracks “Sleep Forever,” “Plastic Soldiers,” and “Smile” with Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” It was also guitarist Eric Howk’s birthday, and the band had the crowd join in for a sing-along during their encore for this, which fans loved.

John Gourley.

John Gourley.

Along with their impressive instrumentalism, the band also had a massive projector onstage which displayed various messages from the band and “their management” since they claim to be bad with stage banter. This allowed for a great visual experience with the show whether you were close or far from the band, something that all major festival headliners know is important for a concert goer's experience. Gourley, who is also an artist, is as well-known to fans for his drawing, designs, and sketches, as he is for his music. Many of the art used throughout the show is his work, and was combined with lasers and projections onto the Rocks themselves, along with traditional stage lights.

Overall, the Lords of Portland proved their reign at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre with their sold-out show this past week. Take a listen to Portugal. The Man for yourselves here and keep up with the band’s current tour on their website.

See our full gallery of photos from this show here

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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.

Premiere: Last of the Easy Rider's Release New Psych Rock Single "Unto The Earth"

By: Julia Talen

Denver’s Last of the Easy Riders released their self-titled EP about one year ago. Since then, they have been busy playing shows and writing new music, having recently released a single called, “Goin' Down Slow” in September 2017. Their self-titled EP and “Goin' Down Slow” continue to showcase the band’s good ol’ sixties cosmic rock’n’roll vibe, effervescent of The Band or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. However, a subtle eerie quality hovers over their most recent track, “Unto The Earth,” expanding upon the group's psychedelic tendencies and echoing obscure nuances like those found in The Byrds’ “Eight Mile High" or Pink Floyd's “See Emily Run.”

Listen to "Unto The Earth": 

“Unto The Earth” opens with funky guitar scale progressions alluding strongly to late 60s and early 70s rock as notes and instrumentation blend with the group’s vocals, giving us a hazy, psychedelic feel. The vivid, colorful, and poetic verses are as enticing as the funky, bohemian sound with opening lyrics, "In her I see greens of spring/softly glistening/coming after me" and “Walking beside my love at dawn/wishing for an endless morning/a crown of violets in her hair/wilting as its warning.” The pastoral imagery enthralls the listener, invoking illustrative elements amidst the experimental guitar scales and chords that build and retract. The refrain "unto the earth we all return/laid to rest in these strawberry ferns/rosemary and white clover" slightly haunts the tune as well, with wailing harmonies and ghostly "ahhs" as we feel themes of grappling with love, existence, and endings permeate the track.

Last of the Easy Riders.

Last of the Easy Riders.

The song is even and balanced with psychedelic and vintage elements as it wanders, tunneling and traversing instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically. It has a kaleidoscopic quality, and though it's perhaps a little different than what we're used to from the Last of The Easy Riders, it highlights the group's versatility in exploring the many realms of rock’n’roll, from classic, country-folk, and psychedelic. You can see the Last of The Easy Riders alongside Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels play this song and others at their upcoming show, November 22nd in Denver at Globe Hall!

-Julia

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

Review: Spiral Cell's New Record Will Have You Questioning A.I. VS Human

By: Norman Hittle

If you can imagine the sounds of progressive/experimental rock set in a sort of sci-fi dystopian storyline and added the ambient sonic elements of a video game, you might just be able to begin to grasp what Spiral Cell is all about. Though I'd also recommend you listen to it, you know, because words can only describe music so much.

Check out Spiral Cell's The Maze In The Tree Rings:

Scott Uhl is the harbinger of the multi-faceted, multi-media, and multi-conceptual Spiral Cell project. And he's beginning to accomplish what a great many people in the music industry are predicting for the future: a fully integrated and multi-level experience combining music, art, storytelling, and gaming. What's more is his drive to put on a great live show with all of this- including synchronized lighting, backing tracks, and full stage decor.

Spiral Cell. Photo Credit: Underexposed

Spiral Cell. Photo Credit: Underexposed

Delving in to Spiral Cell's latest record, The Maze In The Tree Rings, I'm reminded of the juggernauts in the progressive/experimental movement and the nods made to legendary acts like Pink Floyd as well as more contemporary acts like The Dear Hunter and the Devin Townsend Project when I listen to Spiral Cell.

Scott told BolderBeat: “My goal as I was putting this together was to make something that viewers would at least pay attention to. Whether they like it or not, that’s not the point- as long as they pay attention. I’m a live performer, and I always love performing live. The studio recordings of it are necessary, but my main focus is putting on an intriguing live show. Since the first show, I said my goal was to get people to either say, 'That was f*cking amazing!’ or ‘What the f*ck was that?!’ If I get one of those, I’m happy!”

Photo Credit: Underexposed

Photo Credit: Underexposed

Though Scott claims there’s an established storyline to the project, he’s not quite ready to tell all of it. But he encourages us to listen and see what it means to you as the listener.

“Prologue” begins accapella, among haunting piano and guitar mixed with static radio transmissions. “(Re)start” encourages the sci-fi video game theme with an interlude between an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the presumed protagonist user, bleeding into “Divergence / Discovery” with its melancholy guitar notes echoing into a progressive and industrial climax. “Immersion” gallops in on incessant strumming before easing into a washed out dream state, while “Wake / Walk” is a chill and upbeat instrumental track that could easily find it’s way into the ending credits of a movie. “Ellipsis” is another sort of interlude that seems to convey the sense that the protagonist may not survive whatever it is the A.I. is testing them on. “Taste” continues the A.I. dialogue while bleeding into an enigmatic bossa nova rock sound, while “Cellophane Blindfold” comes together with a film noir lounge sound through the dialogue of what sounds like a detective on a voice memo recorder.

14962557_2129175623975008_841561374179993253_n.jpg

“Asymptote” is a haunting piano laden countdown to what seems like some sort of driver simulation that flows into “Spiral”, which is another user versus A.I. type of interlude. “Consonance” is a pensive, piano driven arpeggiation that progresses into full industrial electrorock with the A.I. giving some sort of psionic-test with riddles. “Free Flow” formulates under a chill indie electropop flag, along with string instrumentals and female vocals, while “Ocean” creates a longing and beckoning vibe in a calming alt blues meets electopop vibe. “Untitled” carries its namesake in a mysterious assortment of samples over a bed of echoing pianos, and finally “The Prism” concludes the complex tale of this record with dreamy acoustic guitar and autotuned male vocals.

15288631_2145441805681723_600645171848929703_o.jpg

Check out Spiral Cell September 29th at Sunshine Studios Live in Colorado Springs supporting One Eyed Doll and keep up with Spiral Cell on Facebook.

-Norman

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

Mlima Goes Interstellar: Fiske Planetarium Concert To Become New Album

By: Will Baumgartner

Denver’s Mlima have covered a lot of ground in the five years since their formation, but their journey, in a lot of ways, is only beginning. The group, who have coined the term “mountain groove music” in an attempt to encapsulate their sprawling sounds, first played together in 2012. Since then, they’ve played Red Rocks and were discovered and nurtured by the late legendary concert promoter Barry Fey; they’ve been with Fey’s management company, Feyline Presents, ever since. The band has also seen multiple personnel changes since their inception, with the one constant being percussionist Jack Breitenbach, the group’s founder. But as saxophonist/vocalist Zach Simms told me in a recent interview, it’s really been in the past year and a half that Mlima has found itself coalescing into the type of band that can look into the sky and say, “We could go there. And fill it with music.”

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

 In a very tangible way, that’s exactly what they did in their recent concert at CU Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium. Following a set of powerful, funky space-jazz by opening trio Dandu (definitely another Denver band to watch, by the way), Mlima populated the stage in their current incarnation featuring the locally ubiquitous vocalist Jessica Jones (who has sung with dozens of bands from the Glitta Kings to Galactic), masterful guitarist Jeph Kennedy, keyboardist Nate Todd (of Whiskey Tango and Jaden Carlson Band), bassist Ryan Thrush, drummer Lance Croucher, and the aforementioned Zach Simms on sax and vocals (also of Zobomaze and Like A Kenny G6). Together, these musicians proceeded to take the audience on a sonic journey that perfectly complemented the planetarium’s projected backdrop of intergalactic scenery.  

Watch Mlima’s live set at Fiske Planetarium: 

 

Aside from rallying all the talent onstage into an impressive and affecting musical whole, the concert marked another rather stunning achievement: virtually the entire set had been recently written by the band specifically for the planetarium concert, and the show was a debut performance of that material. This ambitious undertaking harkens back to another recent Mlima project, the transformation of their 2016 New Year’s show at The Bluebird Theater in Denver into the band’s soon-to-be-released next album, which drops August 17th, 2017. Much like this show, the Fiske Planetarium set will now be taken into the studio and made into the group’s next album, which they plan to release just a couple of months after the upcoming Bluebird record. These are not going to be live albums, but rather present an interesting twist on the live album formula: write a set for a specific show, go perform that show, and then take the material into the studio. If another band has taken that approach in the past, I haven’t heard about it! 

The tradition among local bands playing Fiske Planetarium has been to gear their sets toward the starry, trippy background of projections against Fiske’s domed ceiling, and for both Mlima and openers Dandu, this concert was no exception. But make no mistake that both bands, while playing sets that definitely leaned toward a reflection of the psychedelic/spacey feel of the visuals, did not skimp on the funk and hard grooves. Fiske has a largely seated arrangement, but that didn’t stop people from getting out of those seats and dancing in the aisles during portions of the show. Since most of the music in Mlima’s set was new, I of course didn’t recognize most of the songs, but for being brand-new material, there was no sense of the band “rehearsing” the songs onstage. In fact, many of these songs came across as anthems one might remember from dreams, or from life in another galaxy. With titles like “Planet Borscht” and “Hallucination Rain,” there was a sense of not only the type of tripping-through-the-universe groove which might remind one of Pink Floyd at their “Astronomy Domine”/”Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun” starry best, but also of the kind of mad fun one might find at a concert by Gogol Bordello, especially in the crazed performance of the Klezmer-party Mlima original “Kosher Dumpling,” which came near the end of the show and had Simms wandering among the audience honking on his baritone sax while audience members danced gleefully around him. 

The one song I definitely did recognize was their cover of the psyche-pop classic “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which was Kenny Rogers’ first hit in 1968. Mlima did the song proud, ably abetted by Jessica Jones’ always soulful and hugely powerful voice. For as much as that girl gigs, I must admit rather shame-facedly that this was my first time catching a performance by her, and I was far from disappointed. Her vocals are indeed a local treasure, but then again, everyone in Mlima brought so much to the stage: Simms is an insanely watchable frontman and an excellent saxophonist, and all the other musicians displayed dazzling virtuosity while making it all look easy and ridiculously fun. They definitely made a fan of me, and I can’t wait to hear their two upcoming albums when they’re released nearly back-to-back later this year.  

I don’t know what Mlima were like when they started, but Barry Fey must have seen their potential when he arranged to have them open for The Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks during their first year as a band. It seems from that highly auspicious beginning, the band has truly grown into a full realization of that potential, and will go amazingly onward and upward from here: even the sky may not be the limit for this band.

Mlima play The Fox Theatre July 7th opening for Jaden Carlson and Broccoli Samurai. Tickets here. Keep up with Mlima on their Facebook.

-Will

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

Review: Empress' Industrial Post-Punk Record 'Ink' Is Buzzy DIY

By: Jesse Sandoval

As the semester comes to a close, a buzz is in the air. Most of us, I imagine, are bristling with the months-long amount of pent up energy that wintertime often leaves us with. We’re biding our time, tending to the last of our stifling inside-duties ‘til that special time of release: summertime, summertime, summertime! And what better music to accommodate these feelings than Empress' most recent release, Ink?

Listen to Ink:

Ink is fun. It’s catchy, it's melodic, it’s earnest, it's punk. Over the span of four years, Empress have been honing their own style of industrial/post-punk and with this release, the Denver-based band has proven they have come into their own. Their DIY approach has led them to a state of self-sufficiency that I am sure many bands pine for. Members Santiago (vocals/percussion), Xavier (bass/rhythm guitar), and Alex (lead guitar/bass) all live together and record everything in their house. This allows them to record at any moment of inspiration and, from what I’m told, them doing just this is not uncommon. Several of the tracks on Ink are likely products of some band member’s sleep being interrupted in order to capture a moment’s inspiration before it’s lost in deep dreams…

Empress.

Empress.

The music on Ink is completely enjoyable because of how straight-cut and organic it is. Empress don’t try to be anything they’re not, and don’t try to affect any sound that isn’t true: they do what they do and that’s it. Their music is strong because of it’s simplicity, and ultimately, it works because it accurately conveys some of the most basic feelings we all share: feelings of longing, of unrequited love, of disconnectedness, of humanity.

As Empress have developed their musical abilities, they’ve also taught themselves to mix their own music (I’m a sucker for DIY) and the progress they’ve made in their last four years is very impressive. In the time since they cut Ink, they have actually been working on some new tracks and were kind enough to share some of those with me too. It’s clear that they are expanding and breaking their own molds, and I can see that there will be more to look forward to from Empress. Unfortunately, we will not be able to witness their long-term growth first-hand because come May, they will be moving to LA to shake up what they can there.

Good news is, on Saturday, May 6th they will be playing a show to celebrate their departure at Seventh Circle Music CollectiveThe Beeves, Meeting House, and others will share the stage. So go give Empress a warm Colorado farewell, and keep up with up with the trio after their move here.

RIYL: Joy Division, New Order, Wipers, The Cure, NIN

-Jesse

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

Review: Chess at Breakfast's 'The Gutshalls'

By: Austin Michon

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

Listen to Chess at Breakfast’s The Gutshalls:

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

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

Chess at Breakfast.

Chess at Breakfast.

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

-Austin

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

The Apples in stereo Release Limited Edition Vinyl Boxed Set of 'Science Faire' + Our Interview with Apples Bassist Eric Allen

By: Claire Woodcock

The Apples in Stereo, who co-founded the famed Elephant 6 Collective (E6), have a new Limited Edition 3x7” Vinyl Box Set of their compilation album Science Faire out today. It’s been 20 years since the collection of EPs, singles, and tracks from the indie pop group were originally released between 1993 and 1995, recorded reel-to-reel at the E6 Recording Co.

“I knew [The Apples in stereo] was good, but I didn’t know the whole world was going to flip out over it,” said longtime Apples bassist Eric Allen. 

The artwork for the  Science Faire  compilation album.

The artwork for the Science Faire compilation album.

After two decades, Science Faire has become representative of “the good ol’ days." As Allen told us, “[Listening to Science Faire] really sparks how excited I was because The Apples were my favorite local band and I liked them as people quite a lot before I even started playing with them. Science Faire just reminds me of the pure joy I got from seeing them and knowing them.”

The Apples in stereo. Left to right: Doss, Dufilho, Fuzz, Ferguson, Allen and Schneider (seated).

The Apples in stereo. Left to right: Doss, Dufilho, Fuzz, Ferguson, Allen and Schneider (seated).

It was the height of the grunge era; back then the Denver band were just “The Apples”, a name inspired by the 1967 Pink Floyd song “Apples and Oranges.” Allen knew The Apples’ original drummer Hilarie Sidney from working at Wax Trax Records on Capitol Hill.

“When The Apples’ first 7 inch came out, I went to the record release show and just thought it was amazing,” said Allen. “It was so different than anything that was going on; to have something that was so poppy and kind of fast…”

The Apples in stereo.

The Apples in stereo.

Allen, who started out on guitar with a few hardcore bands, joined The Apples in 1995 after original bassist Jim McIntyre left and Elephant 6er Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) was filling in on bass. As Allen says, “Everybody plays guitar and every band needs a bass player.” So Allen picked up the bass and signed on after most of the tracks from Science Faire were recorded. “When all of those singles- the stuff that’s on Science Faire- was coming out, those were all the songs that I learned and toured.” he said, “Obviously I didn’t play on the records but I pushed those records; I toured those records.”

At the same time The Apples were first starting out, founding members Robert Schneider (vocalist/lead guitarist/producer), McIntyre, and Sidney were collaborating with Schneider’s childhood friend Mangum, Will Cullen Hart, and the late Bill Doss (The Olivia Tremor Control). That’s how the Elephant 6 Collective came about, paving the way for bands to exist like The Olivia Tremor Control (then known as Synthetic Flying Machine), Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, Dressy Bessy, of Montreal, and of course The Apples in stereo.

The Apples in stereo 7" EPs (Tidal Wave and Hypnotic Suggestion), and the singles collection 7" Time For Bed with new original artwork. Together, these comprise the new Science Faire boxed set.


A few months after joining The Apples in stereo, Allen got a call from Schneider saying that the band was being asked to open for The Flaming Lips. That was the tour that took The Apples in stereo out of Denver to tour Science Faire, and eventually their later releases.

“Those songs really were kind of the bedrock of our shows for many, many years,” Allen said, adding, “And some of those songs have never left. I mean that’s not to say that we play them at every show or anything like that, but songs like “Tidal Wave” or “Turn Coat Indian” or “Not the Same,” we still play them.”

These tracks are all on the new limited edition Science Faire triple 7" vinyl box set via Chunklet Industries, and Allen’s teasing a more cohesive sound than the record release from ’96:

“Before, Science Faire [were] all these different 7 inch [selections] that came out on all different pressings at different times, and now it’s all been kind of streamlined through one pressing plant.” Allen explained. “It probably does sound a little bit more like there’s more continuity to it than if you just had all of your original 7 inches.”  

Taken from the original masters, the limited edition Science Faire boxed set takes on a wider, more cohesive scope. Allen says that when Henry Owens with Chunklet redid the record, he did it at 33 rpms rather than the initial 45 rpms, making the original recordings not only sound deeper, but more bass heavy, an element of the new limited release that Allen particularly digs.

The box for the limited edition  Science Faire  vinyl set via chunklet industries.

The box for the limited edition Science Faire vinyl set via chunklet industries.

The Apples in stereo have largely been on hiatus since the death of keyboardist Bill Doss in 2012. Lead singer/guitarist/producer Schneider has been a doctoral student at Emory University in Georgia for several years. And today, Allen and guitarist John Hill are the only members still kicking it in Denver.

So under that context, Allen said that listening to Science Faire makes him reminiscent, which isn’t something he goes out of his way to do often.

 “They’re still my favorite people in the world. The Apples [in stereo] is still my favorite band, but when you’re in it, you don’t have that sort of specialness you have when you’re removed.” he smiled.

It’s unclear whether The Apples in stereo will record new music in the future. But for longtime listeners, the new Science Faire triple record will be a remedy. Get the new special edition compilation of Science Faire here. Only 500 total have been pressed, and all of the clear/colored vinyl packages have already sold out in pre-sale, so the remaining limiteds are expected to go quickly, and may even be gone by the time you're done reading this... 

-Claire

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

'Outlaw Indie, In-law Country': The Almond Butters

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Get out your best britches for The Almond Butters.

Daryl Almond is casually rocking a Brooks & Dunn t-shirt with a bandana. And his cousin Jebediah Almond is crooning into a retro 1950s mic in a prairie-Western button up. Behind them, Leo Garretti is strumming the banjo. And drummer Jean du Le Monde is yelling something hilariously unintelligible in the corner. The crowd is excitedly yelling back at Le Monde, the bartenders are pouring beers 'round the counter, and all the eyes in the place are on the band. This is the scene at an Almond Butters show.

Cousins Daryl & Jebediah Almond. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Cousins Daryl & Jebediah Almond. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The Almond Butters describe themselves as “outlaw indie, in-law country”. They play a variety of original country jams with a few covers sprinkled in, ranging from Pink Floyd to Willie Nelson. Daryl plays guitar and the keys, Jebediah is on bass, Leo strums the banjo and guitar, and good ‘ol Jean is on drums. The Almond cousins share vocals, and Jebediah is especially animated in his performance. They bring an entertaining honkey-tonk to the bar, but the best part of their show is their engagement with the crowd. They make you laugh, they make you dance, and they make you feel like you’re at their backyard country barbeque and Jean du Le Monde is your favorite drunk cousin. It’s great.

So how did these Butter boys connect to bring Boulder such an amusing country spectacle? We asked Daryl, who told us that, “Jebediah needed a platform for his songwriting, and at the time [he] and I were listening to a lot of outlaw country music. Meanwhile I was getting to know Jean du le Monde and knew that he had the perfect drumming style for the band. Jean then brought in Leo, who had the style and personality we were looking for.” And so the Butter boys were born.

For the West. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

For the West. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

But things have been quiet this year for the Butters. They went on hiatus at the end of 2014 as their members formed and joined other projects. Luckily, their absence from the scene is about to change. The Almond Butters have plans to record in the fall, and will follow that with a few winter shows. So if you didn’t catch their tunes “Un Beso Mas” or “Ed Sentcha” at The No Name Bar this past weekend, something tells us y’all will have the chance to put on your best britches for an Almond Butters show real soon.

Keep up with the Butter boys 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.