Viretta To Release New Music Video This Friday (03/30)

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Viretta, a Denver-based alt-rock band, is coming out with a 12-track album that took over two years to complete. Why? The band took it upon themselves to record and mix the whole thing in their own studio, making it sound exactly the way they wanted. The tracks were their oysters. 

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As it turns out, taking on this task all by themselves was no small feat. Mike Moroni, Viretta’s frontman, lightheartedly admits to the pains and turmoil of taking on such an endeavor saying, “It was hell!” Ultimately though, he acknowledges it was worth the fruits of labor. Combining the heavy riffs reminiscent of Queens of Stone Age and with Radiohead-like reverb, the album fronts an electric hard-rock swagger with vulnerable and emotional wanting. And now the band wants you to get ready!

The single off the upcoming album, “You are My IV” is already out. If the rest of the tracks deliver like this song does, then we’re all in for an angsty, roaring, riff-rocking treat to satisfy all our alt-rock cravings.

The Fear is scheduled for release in full across all platforms on May 18th. In lieu of the date, Viretta will be releasing three music videos to get you amped, starting with the first video for the album’s second track “Cordyceps,” which will be released this Friday, March 30th to view online, or if you find yourself on Market Street in Denver at The Black Buzzard, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew you can see it in person. Viretta will play a live show, along with The SIR Band, before unveiling the video to the crowd.

Want more details? Head to the Facebook event and get tickets!

-Mirna 

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

Television Generation's 'Peel' Is About Your Lonely Life As A Millenial

By: Norman Hittle

Denver’s own apathetic indie-rockers Television Generation are back on the scene with the same attitude and a new EP.

Check out Peel below:

The new music was released December 8th, 2017 through At Night Group. According to the band: “Peel is a 7-song excursion through the eyes of a Denverite's lonely millennial existence in an ever-gentrifying city.” Staying close to the same vein as their previous release (the four-song EP Fuchsia), TVG harnesses a raw energy brought to popularity by greats such as Nirvana (circa Bleach), The Strokes (circa Room on Fire), and indie greats Japandroids.

TVG.

TVG.

“Whatever” kicks off this release with a straightforward garage rock feel in a Dandy Warhols kind of way, highlighting the simple, yet, effective and easy to relate to lyrical content TVG presents to its listeners. “I’d Kill Myself But I Have to Go to Work Tomorrow” follows suit with an added level of dirty bass and a monologue-esque style of singing that reminded me of The Hives.

Katy Johnson.

Katy Johnson.

“The Model” holds coveted spot number three on the EP and presents the listener with what I interpreted as a sarcastic critique of the lifestyle of a fashion model, sung by bassist Katy Johnson. “My Favorite Drug” is a laid back punk vibe (if there is such a monster) alluding to a relationship being a favored drug. “Placeholder” comically comes in as an homage to its own name, but is noteworthy due to the song being uncharacteristic of the energy of the rest of the EP, and almost like an early Radiohead song in regard to its droning lethargy. “Going Blank Again” returns to a more traditional post-punk vibe, as well as being the longest track at over five minutes. “Thirteen” closes out the EP in emo-pop/punk style with a playful guitar lead while Will Hayden sings from the point of view of being a thirteen-year old.

Keep up with TVG on their social media and check out Television Generation live March 9th at Streets of London Pub. Event details here.

-Norman

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

19-Year-Old Ben Pisano Proves You Can't Underestimate Young Artists With Current Project Corsicana

By: Will Baumgartner

When Denver band Corsicana took the stage at Boulder Theater as openers for local-gone-international heavyweights Devotchka, one couldn’t help wondering how much such a young, slender band could deliver live. I’d heard the album Haven online, and while the music had definitely drawn me in and left me impressed, I also noted that all the instruments and electronics had been played by Ben Pisano, the group’s 19-year-old frontman. Like Prince’s first recorded efforts, where he also played everything on the recording, my question was, “Great stuff, but what’s it gonna sound like live?”   

Corsicana. Photo Credit:  Montana Martin

Corsicana. Photo Credit:  Montana Martin

Corsicana onstage was indeed a small, young-looking band. Pisano in the middle with his guitar and sensitive look, two petite women flanking him on guitar and bass, and another member on drums. By the middle of the first song of their set though, most of my skepticism about the band had vanished, and I found myself reminded of two things: 1) Never underestimate the power and scope that can be drawn out of two guitars, a bass, a drum kit, and a little bit of electronics. And 2) Never assume that the young have little of depth or substance to deliver.

Steinway & Pisano. Photo Credit: Montana Martin

Steinway & Pisano. Photo Credit: Montana Martin

Being the first of two opening acts (Pandas & People, another rising local band from Fort Collins, were coming up next), Corsicana only had a half-hour to win me over, which they unequivocally did. In the first song, Haven’s “Revelry,” I heard why the term “dream pop” is used right after “indie rock” in the “About” section of their Facebook page; the swirling music and ethereal vocals of the verses definitely invoked a floating, dreamy feeling. Then, the wait to see how hard they could rock was over, as the song’s chorus kicked into passionate overdrive.  

In the second song, “Attrition” (also from the Haven album), I began to hear the more “pop” side of Corsicana, as I was reminded of a sort of Death Cab-meets-Radiohead combination of delicate verse with beautiful falsetto vocals leading into a hard-driving bridge. Guitarist Melanie Steinway (also of Denver band Tyto Alba), bassist Jordan Leone, and Amos Chase on drums and synthesizer all worked beautifully together with Pisano to create the feel of a real band, not just a solo artist with backing musicians.

The third song, “Empyrean,” showcased more of Corsicana’s well-crafted way with linking a wistful verse with sparse instrumentation to an explosive chorus. It also boasted a killer arrangement, showing that Pisano and company are more than familiar with the art of balancing and bouncing musical colors off of each other with a masterful use of dynamics.

Ben Pisano. Photo Credit: Montana Martin

Ben Pisano. Photo Credit: Montana Martin

One of the things that I find so impressive about Pisano’s songwriting is his lyrics. Though I couldn’t always make out what he was singing at the show, I later asked him to send me the lyrics, and was a bit blown away by how literary his writing style is. His songs read like short stories, with imagistic sentences creating little snapshot-like flash fictions where one can picture a whole scene or even a period of time in people’s lives. “Empyrean” also boasts the added feat of being a story told entirely in dialogue; the song is a conversation between two people, with each line separated from the next by quotation marks. And apropos to the rather epic scope of the music, all the songs have either direct references to history and myth, or an overall mythical/historical feel. Epic battles, exiled characters, big cities and small hallways, funeral pyres, and people locked in or out of a “prison of heart”. In these days of illiterate solipsism, it’s really something to read lyrics that evoke whole worlds and complex lives.

The next song, “Kokytos”, continued Pisano’s fascination with myth: Kokytos is one of the five magical rivers of the underworld in Greek mythology, and translates as “The River of Wailing.” This was, ironically, the most upbeat and insistent song of the set, at least musically. The lyrics imply more of the story of heartbreak and frustration that seems to be the central theme of this young man’s songs- at least for now- but the music is so insistent that I couldn’t resist grooving and bopping a bit to it. Again, Pisano showed exquisite vocal prowess, veering between his falsetto and a full-throated howl. And like a lot of the songs in this set, the ending featured the band’s ability to power-drive upward to an instrumental climax.  

The set’s closer “Patron,” another song from the Haven album, again reminded me a bit of the Death Cab/Radiohead combo I’d heard at first, while also invoking a sort of stripped-down version of the Icelandic experimental rock band Sigur Ros. (This was actually not the first time in their set that I heard echoes of that band.) This song had a bit more pop and drive to it, while still having an unhurried groove, and gave an appropriately powerful ending to their set as it rocked harder and harder through the instrumental section that closes the song.

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When I asked Pisano where he got the band name, he told me it was the title of a song by The Antlers, one of his favorite bands. Listeners may hear all kinds of influences in Corsicana’s music, and considering Pisano’s powerful and expansive voice, it’s not hugely surprising that he was chosen to open for Devotchka, whose singer Nick Urata arguably possesses one of the most impressive voices in modern music. But Pisano’s ultimate achievement, so early in life, is that after hearing his music for a while, it sounds like no one else as much as Corsicana.

Corsicana will be taking some time off from performing to go back into the studio for the rest of 2017, and according to Pisano, these sessions will make use of not only of his live bandmates, but also of several guest artists contributing. Given what Corsicana has already done, I’m sure the new recordings will be an event well worth the wait and anticipation.  

Keep up with Corsicana on Facebook and their website.

-Will

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

Review: Whole Milk's Debut EP Is Packed With More Than Just Calcium

By: Norman Hittle

Classifying themselves as beach goth/shoegaze, it's difficult not to be curious about Whole Milk’s self-titled debut EP. Thankfully, they do not disappoint, with a roster of dark surf-rock songs that also throw in elements of jazz and psychedelia.

With admissions of following in the footsteps of The Astronauts, Whole Milk’s songs also have nods to early Radiohead (circa The Bends and OK Computer) and even some remnants of the more dirge-ish compositions of The StrokesRoom on Fire.

This four piece- featuring Alec Reid on guitar and vocals, Kevin Netz on keys, Nate Ball on drums, and Devin Burgenbauch on bass- may be new to the scene as Whole Milk, but members roots roll back to former projects such as The Cut and Wolfhawk. Several of them have individually played the circuits of national festivals including Lollapalooza, Gathering of the Vibes, and the Vans Warped Tour with former projects as well.

Check out Whole Milk’s self-titled EP here:

The debut starts out by serenading us with “Aqua Milk,” an instrumental that sounds like a cross between classic Super Mario 3 Waterworld and Broken Bells’ “Trap Doors.” It then switches gears into the alt surf rock “I Don’t Miss You,” and back to the instrumental soundscape with “Mariana’s Lullaby.” “Psychedelic Spirit” follows with sonic remnants of its namesake, and into the droning, heavily distorted guitar filled “Hypnogaja.” The EP concludes with their final instrumental “Spooky Milk,” which reminded me of an eerie bossa nova-infused waterscape.

All around, this record is a fantastic first effort for Whole Milk’s debut. You can catch them appearing May 29th on Sounds, a music showcase hosted by PBS Channel 12 in Denver.

-Norman

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

Coachella Announces 2017 Lineup

Coachella’s 2017 lineup was announced this morning for both weekends of the Indio, California desert festival via Coachella’s Twitter page. Weekend One runs Friday, April 14- Sunday, April 16; Weekend Two runs Friday, April 21- Sunday, April 23.

Headliners include Radiohead, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar. Other honorable mentions include Father John Misty, Big Gigantic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bon Iver, Future, The Head & The Heart, Four Tet, Thundercat, Lorde, Justice, New Order, Toots & The Maytals, Real Estate, and King Sunny Ade.

Mysteriously missing is rumored Frank Ocean, but maybe that’s to be expected...

Coachella passes go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4 at 11AM Pacific.

See the full lineup below:

Coastal Wives EP Traditions: Love at First Listen

By: Dawn Raymond

Denver's Coastal Wives released their debut EP Traditions recently, and are already scheduled for a UMS performance this summer.

Coastal Wives is an indie blues rock band based out of Denver, CO consisting of Forest Knauff, Logan Bishop, Austin Perkins, and Kyle Misencik. Their name comes from a time when Forest and Logan were into "surf sound" bands like The Babies, Beach Fossils, and Real Estate, and the two initially wanted to create music in that vein. But their music had other plans, and now borrows more from bands like The Black Keys and Radiohead instead. The name Coastal Wives, however, stuck.

Denver's Coastal Wives.

Denver's Coastal Wives.

Forest and Logan wanted to create a band as an outlet for their songwriting, and so together, they engaged in some healthy competition, trying to outdo each other in the songwriting department. As you might imagine, this caused them to hone their skills quite nicely. Soon, they converged their talents to create music together. As Logan said, "Coastal Wives was us really biting the bullet and saying we are better together than on our own".  

After joining forces, Coastal Wives released their Traditions EP just last month. It consists of 4 songs- a total quality over quantity proposition for the listener. You will find this group striving to evolve musically and instrumentally, but also lyrically on the EP. The writing is an integral part of this collaboration, with the intention to create cathartic, "real" music that stems from an unflinching reflection of life, for better or worse. This is the perfect release for commitment-phobes, as the entire EP is short enough to try on for size, but more than enough to be completely immersed in, and it's strikingly easy on the ears. It's a kind of "love at first listen", which might be because the vocals are reminiscent of another band and another time, or it might be Coastal Wives’ heartfelt lyrics and tightly knit instrumental execution. Whatever it is, it works.

Coastal Wives have a number of Denver shows this summer, including a UMS appearance. You can check out Traditions on the band’s website, and keep up with their shows on Facebook. Go give them a listen!

-Dawn

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

Ben Hanna Wants to Surf with You at The Fall Showcase This Friday.

By: Zach Dahmen

Behind the scenes of Ben Hanna.

Boulder-based musician Ben Hanna.

Boulder-based musician Ben Hanna.

It’s a cold and wet fall evening as I wait for BolderBeat’s Fall Showcase opener at a coffee shop on Pearl Street’s west end. I take a few more sips of coffee and in walks a mop of black curls with a five o’clock shadow. Ben Hanna sits down across from me and instantly, his deep voice becomes the prominent sound over a bustling coffeehouse. With little prompting Ben starts telling me his story, with little to no filter; much like his music. He has these basset hound eyes which, as he starts to tell me how he fell in love with music, draw me into his twenty minute answer.

Hanna grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan. As he describes it, the suburbs are more akin to Orange County, California than the inner city. Instead of the hard knocks attributed to growing up in Detroit, Hanna was afforded an adolescence steeped in whatever music he could get his hands on. The earliest parts of his musical journey had him taking huge pit stops with The Violent Femmes, Ryan Adams, Radiohead, and Nirvana, the latter being a big enough influence that he’s actually wearing one of their shirts under his bulky cardigan tonight. Starting with simple bar chords and punk rock at the age of 15, Hanna progressed into taking lessons and giving serious thought to being a musician: “I wanted to be a player. I had a vision of me sitting in as a session musician down the road.”

Tea Time.

Tea Time.

After high school, Hanna moved to Colorado for college. He tells me this part of his life was framed by the music of Townes Van Zandt, whom he lends credit to as a catalyst for finding his voice as a songwriter. An even more noticeable influence in his music is Lou Reed (watch Ben Hanna’s “High Society Scene” as a perfect example). And Ben does credit Lou for helping him find direction. He tells me, “Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, they didn’t have these panty-dropping singing voices, but they were getting the point across in a really effective and powerful way. And so I realized that is kind of the voice I have.”

More recently, Ben’s musical efforts have been shaped with difficult times and personal hardship. The end of a relationship left him unable to write a song for months. That struggle lead him to a different way of approaching music: Being present in each moment.

“It’s being cultivated even when I’m asleep or just observing things, and there is this thought that I am absorbing it like a musical sponge.”

The Street Light Type.

The Street Light Type.

Ben keeps a notebook of lyrics on his phone that he calls “my emotional well.” He shows it to me- there are lyrics, sayings, and musings- a collection that takes more than a few finger strokes to move through. As I glance through it, Hanna tells me he’s got somewhat of a “different sound” overall, especially within Boulder. Unfiltered but focused is what comes to mind as Ben describes his musical life; much like our interview.

That “different” quality was exactly what drew BolderBeat to ask Hanna to open The Fall Showcase. With Ben Hanna & The Knighthawks, Hanna’s sound is a fleshed out, full rock and roll experience, fitting nicely into the night’s lineup of Blvd. and Whiskey Autumn.

“I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to just kinda go surfing; play with the energy of the space and share a stage with different bands because we are all in subtle ways influencing each other. It’s going to be a really nice blend of sounds. People are in for a treat.” Hanna said of the upcoming show.

Sandboxin'.

Sandboxin'.

Beyond his Fall Showcase performance this Friday, Ben will be playing more live shows with the Knighthawks around the Front Range and beyond. Lately though his focus has been continued work on his new record. He’s been in the studio with Robbie Stiefel and Todd Adleman at The Mountain House Recording Studio in Nederland. Ben, admittedly ambitiously, tells me the new record is “a mix between Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker and The Violent Femmes self-titled.”

Come see the ambitious, unfiltered Ben Hanna & The Knighthawks THIS FRIDAY at The Fall Showcase. And let’s surf.

-Zach

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

Interviewer Zach Dahmen.

Interviewer Zach Dahmen.

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake: A Chat with the Venomous Band's Frontwoman Hayley Helmericks

By: Deana Morton

The band with a bite: Denver's Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.

There’s something venomous about Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. The band name alone describes a sound that is alluring, hypnotizing and mesmerizing, all of which the group manages to deliver effortlessly. As someone who leans toward bands like The Cure, Joy Division and Depeche Mode, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake fits right into my wheelhouse. Their latest release Totem is textured with synthesizers, guitars and drums. Lead singer Hayley Helmericks' psychedelic crooning voice is reminiscent of great singers like Siouxsie Sioux or Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen. SRRS have a unique sound with a progressive modern edge.

Hayley recently chatted with me to discuss the evolution of her vocals, the Denver music scene and how Snake Rattle Rattle Snake is a family affair.

Do you remember your first exposure to music?

My brother Wilson (guitar/keyboard) and I grew up in a household where there was always music on. My folks were taking us to music festivals from the time we were born!

Was there a particular album or singer that inspired you to start singing?

I was always drawn to Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac when I was young. Then of course there was a brief Top 40 radio phase, then a singer-songwriter phase and by the time I could drive myself to the record store and buy my own music it was all PJ Harvey, Fugazi, Radiohead and Sleater-Kinney.

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.  

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.
 

You have such a beautiful, distinct voice with so much confidence and a command over your lyrics when you sing. I’m guessing it’s been a journey to develop your vocals. Can you talk a little bit about that process?

First of all, thank you! I've always been a singer but I definitely wasn't always confident about it. I was the little kid who would sing and show off for my family but if put on the spot, I would shut down and get super shy. That said, I've always been outspoken and confident in other areas of my life, so once I started playing with other musicians and turning [things] up loud, it became easier. I have a low voice so it took me some time to figure out how to use it to my advantage. My first band Monofog was loud and raucous and I was screaming a lot. In Snake Rattle Rattle Snake it has been more about maintaining the natural power of my voice, but using it in a more precise way. I think I'm a much better singer than I was 5 years ago.

What year did Snake Rattle Rattle Snake form and how did you all come together?

We played our first show on Valentine's Day 2009, so we've been together 6 years now. My husband Doug and I were in Monofog together for many years before that and knew we wanted to start a project with my brother Wilson. The three of us had written songs and jammed in the past and it was good timing to start something new. We knew Andrew Warner (drums) from the days of playing shows with his old band Red Cloud West and he'd always expressed interest in playing too. We've had a couple of people come and go, but Jon Evans has been playing bass with us for a while now. [He is] another addition brought on from being friends through music, namely his old band Achille Lauro who practiced in the same building as us.

Scaled.  

Scaled.
 

You guys have received a lot of attention as one of the best Denver bands of the year from 303 Magazine and The Denver Post. How is the Denver indie music scene different or the same from other indie scenes around the country?

This is a tough one and the short answer is I don't know! The scene in Denver is very insular, a nod like "Band of the Year" here doesn't mean anything anywhere outside of Denver; outside of Colorado. And that's fine. We've been lucky to get local attention and it has afforded us lots of great opportunities. There has been, and continues to be, the problem of getting noticed on a national level. Things like OpenAir and various arts programs help, but there isn't the infrastructure here yet to support bands/musicians/artists because our scene is still relatively new and growing. We are lucky to have a diverse sound and a large talent pool. There is a LOT of music here- we are beginning to be known for that in Denver and people are certainly banking on it.

Hayley on   OpenAir   Colorado Public Radio.  

Hayley on OpenAir Colorado Public Radio.
 

You’ve shared the stage with bands like The Dead Weather, The Rapture and Devotchka. What has been your most memorable performance and how has sharing the bill with such high profile bands impacted how you approach to live performances?

Watching the Dead Weather sound check in an empty Ogden Theater while we folded freshly screened shirts will always be at the top of my musical memories list! And playing with The Rapture after spinning their music at every dance party I've ever had was amazing. Playing with those bands just makes you want to get better, write better songs and put on a better show (but I feel like that after I see any amazing band, high profile or not). It definitely does make you consider the production of it all- I want fabulous lighting and set design and outfits too! And good sound, I always want good sound.

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake recently released the video for “The Breath and Glow” by filmmaker Matthew Brown. What was the concept behind the video and how did the creative process unfold?

Matthew Brown is a friend of ours and he had always shown interest in doing some kind of film work for us. When we released Totem he singled out "The Breath and The Glow" immediately and we basically let him go wild with it. He had recently moved to LA, so he was primed to cast great actors and find cool locations. He picked up on the dark, psychedelic vibe of the song and went with it. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

SRRS's latest release:  Totem .  

SRRS's latest release: Totem.
 

I think the chorus to “Versus” is a perfect example of the dark, enchanting lyrics that fill Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s catalog. Is there someone in the band that takes the lead writing lyrics for each song, or is it more of a group effort?

I write all the lyrics. I've been a journal-keeper and poem-writer since I was young, and that took the form of lyrics once I started playing music in my teens. I like to create imagery without spelling it all out for the listener. I like there to be a little mystery, a little bit of obscurity.

Catch Snake Rattle Rattle Snake at their next Denver performance: at UMS!

-Deana

Follow Deana on her music blog 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.