From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

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Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

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

Winter Is Coming So Snuggle Up To Our 'Cozy Vibes' Playlist

With a few snowfalls behind us now and many more ahead for those of us in states with actual seasons, we’ve got a cozy playlist for you to cuddle your ears with this winter:

Tastemaker Sierra Voss has crafted this warm blanket of fireside sounds for us, which features songs from artists like Leif Vollebek, The Haunted Windchimes, Bon Iver, Hallie Spoor, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Whitney, and more.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out our many playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Stay warm music lovers.

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

Rock Out To Our 2017 Underground Music Showcase Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

With Denver’s Underground Music Showcase just a couple of weeks away, our very own tastemaker Sierra Voss has created a sweet summer playlist full of tunes from tons of artists on this year’s lineup.

Denver darling (and headliner) Esmé Patterson opens our playlist, followed by fellow headliners Benjamin Booker, Zola Jesus, and Red Fang. There are a ton of Colorado favorites to bop your heads to after that-  déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer,  CITRA, The Velveteers,  Slow Caves, Television Generation, and Whiskey Autumn- are just some of the artists you’ll find on our UMS playlist!

So get ready to pop a cold one at Irish Rover, headbang at Hi-Dive, and dance with us up and down South Broadway at the 2017 UMS! Get your festival passes here!

Listen to our 'Underground Music Showcase 2017' Playlist:

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out more of our playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our contact page and do it!

-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. 

Jump Into Summer With Our 'Pickin' On CO Summers' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Just in time for summer and the many folk & bluegrass festivals that come with it in Colorado thanks to Planet Bluegrass, here’s our ‘Pickin’ On Colorado Summers’ Spotify Playlist:

Tastemaker Sierra Voss has put some serious tuneage together for your summer soundtrack. Trout Steak Revival classically opens our pickin’ playlist, with tracks by Caribou Mountain Collective, Fruition, The Haunted Windchimes, Elephant Revival, Punch Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Blitzen Trapper, Railroad Earth, Sarah Jarosz, and others. Several of these artists play the upcoming 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out our many playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Happy Summer.

-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.

Dive Into Groovin' Hip-Hop Tunes On Our 'Welcome To It' Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Wanna groove? Then dive into ‘Welcome To It’ right meow. We promise you won’t be able to sit still.

Deca opens our hip-hop Spotify Playlist tunage this month, with tracks by Nas, Qbala, J. Cole, No Name, Trev Rich, and of course, Tribe Called Quest. Tastemaker Sierra Voss has thrown in some lip-lickin’ numbers into this one.

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Trev Rich per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. 

Make sure to follow us on Spotify for continued tunage, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it! Welcome to it.

-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.

Jump In The Sun With Our 'Hey Spring' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

After the 80 degree weekend we just had, spring feels like it’s just about in full swing. What better way to usher in the sunshine than to roll down your windows and bump some good music? Lucky for you, we’ve got a new playlist up that will help yah do just that.

Check out our ‘Hey Spring’ playlist, courtesy of our tastemaker Sierra Voss:

The Pixies open the 16-song mix, Denver’s The Shady Elders close it, and there is a lot of deliciousness sandwiched in between with tracks by Dressy Bessy, White Denim, The Yawpers, Queens of the Stone Age, Colfax Speed Queen, and more.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify for continued tunage, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Spring on kids.

-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.

(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.

'Resolution As Revolution' - Give Our January Spotify Playlist A Listen!

By: Joliene Adams

Did I make a New Year’s resolution? Did you? Whether any of us did or didn’t, the fundamental spirit behind it is a worthy reminder. Every day is an opportunity to begin a personal revolution in all the ways you might dream. Here is a playlist that, for each of its own various sonic and lyrical reasons, can help you toward your own resolution for revolution in 2017.

Click here for our 'Resolution As Revolution' Playlist or play it below:

1. “Highways” - REIGHNBEAUSister Grotto – Blood (Deluxe) (2016)

“Highways” has audible ebb and flow. Electronic pulses fuzz and fade in close while ten words make up the lyrical content and are given constant return. The repetition begins to act on the ear and body/brain like a mantra. A collaboration between New Mexico’s REIGHNBEAU and Denver’s Sister Grotto (Madeline Johnston), this one is dream fuzz that occupies a space somewhere between the here and there of the slightly awake and half asleep. What begins with gentles sounds of a rainstick fades to what sounds like a resampling of the rainstick with more static and fuzz interlaced. Sophisticated subtleties keep this song interesting alongside its relaxed and meditative feel. Let this one help you develop your own mantra for the year to come. Open your heart throttle and imbibe sound poetry: 2017 is a wholly open road.

2. “When” - RUMTUM – Mystic Wonders (2013)

Sampling Vincent Gallo’s hauntingly wistful and imminently gorgeous 2001 “When,” RUMTUM puts a pip in Gallo’s depressive downtempo and melancholic step. RUMTUM takes it away and makes it fresh, fun, and comparatively light. Basically, they take Gallo’s frown, turn it upside down, and give it proverbial jazz hands. They take Gallo’s gentle cooings and splice them to a tune to tap your toe to. RUMTUM isn’t afraid to experiment with anything, and you shouldn’t be either. It’s the new year after all.

3. “Elevate” - Kid Astronaut – Moon Theory (2015)

“Elevate” is chalk full of takeaways. “We were not born to be complacent,” Shockness maintains. Agreed. His loungy R&B sound with a soft hip-hop thump to undergird here goads and uplifts you gently into that place of higher being. And, “We were born to be special.” The task is yours to become the most special version of yourself you can. The possibility to be that is the gift you are given at birth. You owe it to yourself, and the most fundamental things between you and better you at any given time is complacency if you’ve fallen into it. Shake yourself awake. “Elevate” is loaded positivity; it is, in other words, more than positivity for positivity sake. Kid Astronaut summons the best of you.

4. “Base” - CRL CRRLL – Wave (2015)

CRL CRRLL (Carl Carrell) successfully builds a musical jenga tower with “Base” one piece at a time. The song retains solid structure despite the increased pressure of newly added elements, balancing R&B notes in lead vocals, hip-hop in backup vocals, a jazzy quality to the drums and keys, and  then you already have several musical layers by the time her chill lead vocals come in clear. As the song chugs forward into jazzier fusion with all these elements, it ends with a sudden peaceful fade out of ocean shorescapes and the faintest mutterings of what could be voices at the wharf: “Lovin’ just what I am, lovin’ just what I ain’t.” The creed of self-acceptance will serve you well in the next year if you can abide.

5. “Into the Wind” – King Cardinal – Once a Giant (2015)

Remember that scene from Ace Ventura where Ace himself rips out a waiter’s heart and gives it to him in a doggy bag? Welcome to how it feels to listen to King Cardinal’s soulful alt-folk. This is a safe one to cry, mourn, long, hope, and remember to. Brennan Mackey gives the term singer/songwriter new meaning, and he wants your second chance. You enter without words, while Ben Waligoske’s steel pedal daggers you in the side. It continues to supplement, yet give that country-underbelly feel that allows heart pangs to echo through the room. Lean into life as you would gale force winds. Looking back too hard can get you depressed, looking forward too much can bring you anxiety. Just lean where you are, lean into the wind; trust your struggle and be not afraid.

6. “Just Don’t Stop” – The Kinky Fingers – Vagabond (2015)

Tone and message make this a happy, head-bop worthy (or inducing) tune. There is a delightful float in Taylor Doyle’s guitar, and soar in his vocals. Eventually, he stops crooning as he sends you off on a couple high notes, punctuated neatly with three steps back down and low, “Just. Don’t. Stop.” We take instrumental flight with Daniel Hogan and Travis Page’s soft rhythmic drums keeping it steady while the guitar takes surf rock-esque flight with reverb indulgences. This one’s a fun journey for the ear that never loses its path despite its wanderings. It’s a good one to get, or keep, you going in the new year.

7. “Get Loose Have Fun” – Dirty Few – Get Loose, Have Fun (2012)

Dirty Few touts warm beer and out-of-tune guitars; they never get too serious about themselves save two exceptions: partying and playing drinking man’s music. They want you to have a jolly good sullied blast of a night, and they shake it off with the tambourine whose sound drops into the background but propels the track forward from the get-go no less. Dirty Few here has that slight 60s pop beat in its pulse and the “ooh, ooh, OHH, OOH” backup vocals. It’s the kind of 60s vibe you can readily imagine leading to proto-punk on down the line, and then to skate rock. But we’ll call it dive-bar rock because no matter the acoustics of the place, any dive-bar is the best venue to catch Dirty Few in. It’s homecourt. Let’s get this 2017 party started!

8. “The Mtn Song” – Rayland Baxter – Ashkelon (2013)

Uh oh. We’re getting sentimental again. But Rayland Baxter could be singing about shoelaces and nonsense and get you to emote. Fortunately, he knows not just how to sing with all his heart, but to storytell both as musical abstraction and in literal lyrical composition. This is one to give you chills. It’s so soft and sweet. He whistles, serenades, and implores, turning over tender phrase after tender phrase as drums and guitar support this gentle, unhurried, and earnest offering of love. Love is all he has to give. Is that enough? Normally I’d say no. But syrup-ing from his earnest, low-lyrical valleys and high peaks, I’d say, “I’ll think on it. Ask again tomorrow,” and know I’ve already decided while falling asleep to the sound of those endearing whistlings in my own head. Even if love is all you have to give in 2017, it’s better than nothing at all, and is, quite truly, one of the best things in the world you can give. So take a note from Baxter and do it with all your heart, soul, and perhaps even your singing voice, should you be so inclined.

9. “Whistle While You Work” – Wheelchair Sports Camp – No Big Deal (2016)

You come in building off mixed whispers of Emcee Kalyn Heffernan. It’s a sheer drop at 00:20 into straight hip-pop thereafter, coming at you with melodic and rhythmic whistles and Joshua Trinidad’s synchronized trumpet horn on blast. Intermixed are, by comparison, callous, hard-cutting electronic beats. They all join together and maintain the BPM to make this track the banger that it is. From the first, Emcee Kalyn Heffernan’s vocals and lyrical delivery are all her own. She captivates. And when she turns the phrase, “they call me Little Miss Guided,” it’s just one of her many lyrical delights. In reference to Wheelchair Sports Camp, the Village Voice reported, “If there were ever a moment for a queer, disabled rapper with a love for pot, jokes, and revolution to be a star, the moment is now.” It’s about time. Thank you 2017.

10. “Left Fist Evolution” – Bianca Mikahn – Left Fist Evolution (2010)

A low, thumping beat and hushed, bluesy choral vocals reel you into this tune. Bianca Mikahn weaves her story in poetic clips and fragments that suggest a certain story without really telling a story in the classic sense. But there’s a story there, for sure. She leads the listener to hear, see, and feel what she’s driving at unequivocally without saying who, when, where, or why. Lyrically, vocally, and stylistically, “Left Fist Evolution” is powerfully evocative. I’ve heard the word “fortified” used to describe Bianca Mikahn, and that is how the listening process and outcome of “Left Fist Evolution” feels. We all need fortification, and music is the next best supplement to vitamins. So take yours by taking this one in.

11. “No Worries” – Trigga ManThe Reminders – Hit Man (2012)

Sampling another old favorite, The Specials’ “Ghost Town” is featured in the background here, and their reggae and ska influence comes through beyond the sample in this song. Where it’s got a pinch of dance hall in the female vocal chorus, there’s a dash of hip-hop with male vocal delivery in verse. Where musical components blend samplings and reminisce on interrelated genres, the content delivery blends too, packed full of literary, cultural, and political references. “Get it twisted like Oliver, yo.” you hear. This is a composite piece of precocious stature that makes it easy to miss if you’re too busy getting down to it the first go around. But also, in 2017, tell yourself as often as possible: “Me no worry with what them say and me not goin’ to be afraid.” Hold strong with Trigga Man and The Reminders’ beats.

12. “Music Is a Gift” - Grim & Darling - Beauty Through Pain (2015)

Music is good for you: mind, body, and spirit. And Grim & Darling part with their musical gifts for your benefit as gentle organs and strings grace your entrance: “Create a song as a gift just to give it a way, royalty free, no fee, just in hopes to teach about loyalty, honesty, forgiveness, giving second chances lovingly. Nobody’s above the beat, in fact we need it to breathe. That’s the mentality. Give away your masterpiece as if we never had to eat, leave your ego as a casualty. I’m glad to be passing this to all of you, it’s all truth, try to use it, I will too. I hope we can all focus on the consequences of what we do.” Grim & Darling’s mindful tune serves as an homage to what you musicians do for us. This isn’t empty flattery. Being a musician isn’t easy work, but humans thrive in music, so thank you. Scaling up and down graduated xylophone bars with patience, the delicate clear sounds ring a victorious and encourage your feeling the same about your own power. Get after the new year.

13. “Ready to Live - Pt. 1” - Thug Entrancer - Death After Life (2014)

We start and end on a meditative note, only here we go pure electronic instrumentation. This one’s a sonic journey from sound artist Ryan McRyhew. Thump off to the pace of an electronic pulsating heartbeat as horn-reminiscent tones enter. Sounds begin to grind in and on top, creating an ever complex liftaway into layered reflections on itself. McRyhew does his personal sound poetry one to two new sounds at a time, letting you slowly take in the cerebral, but ready flow of this musical peregrination. Get work done or space out in daydreams to this one. It’ll get you where you’re going if you let it take you there. I hope 2017 finds you more ready to live than ever, and this playlist serves as a continued asset in your endeavor.

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.

'Colorado Sings Colorado'- Our December Spotify Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

Paper Bird knows what I mean. We both get it. Coloradoans LOVE Colorado. With plenty of good reason. This month's playlist is a love note to you Colorado, and all the music scene does to stoke fires in the hearts and minds of its people. To honor that love Colorado artists also have for their art and the people who listen, here’s our playlist of no-shame-sing-your-heart-out-loud for Colorado. We’re listening and thank you!  

BolderBeat's 'Colorado Sings Colorado' Playlist:

1. DéCollage, Magnetize (2016), “Denver Hustle”

DéCollage is one of those rare, exceptional beasts whose capacity for innovation is matched by their ability to effectively, cohesively render it on repeat. Their knack is a multidimensional, sensorial experience. I wouldn’t call DéCollage stylistic minimalists, but just as the art form of décollage, (where you remove parts to create your art rather than to add like a collage) this group has a sharp sensibility for which parts to leave in, and all the more importantly, which to leave out. They achieve stylistic versatility across and within songs without giving way to clutter.

There’s also something definitively fashionable about DéCollage’s music. This is in no way to trivialize it or call it fleeting. Quite the opposite. It’s so damn fashionable because it picks up on the numerous textures, trends, and facets available in contemporary and past pop to render a whole new thing from all these roots. “Denver Hustle” sounds runway ready. “Hold that pose,” they lyrically interject, “Hustle, hustle, hustle. Shine, shine. Summer, summer. Glow, glow, glow, glow.” Get it girl, get it.

2. Bop Skizzum, Coloradical (2012), “Coloradical”

What we have here is unadulterated funk’n’roll. This band is eight members thick and it sounds like it. “Coloradical” is fit to start a spontaneous street parade from the second the percussion hits. Crunchy guitar and saxophone raise the bar of this tune, and keep the voracious good times spiraling upwards.

I’ve always prided myself on an immense capacity for fun, and Bop Skizzum renders that passion musically. Though disbanded as of Valentine’s Day, 2014, Bop Skizzum made the final cut of sixteen potential songs found of Colorado musicians playing Colorado-themed music because: A) Colorado lives for the funk; dies for the funk and B) This tune is fun as hell. May the horn section and keys bring the funk to the fore always.

3. Mesita, With Love, from Laniakea (2016), “Chronolorado”

The piano hit me like a rearview mirror. Reflective. You can see forward past it, backwards through it, but both through the ultimate view of now. Emotively drift off to the gentle unfolding of instrumental minimalism on this track. And no worries: the thematically, existentially-heavy material will lighten your load like a backpack lifted from the shoulders at a journey’s end. All in due time, Chronolorado.

4. Head for the Hills, Robbers Roost (2007), “Telluride Song”

Appropriately, we have one of Colorado’s most popular bluegrass bands of the day singing about Telluride. Joe Lessard’s lovely fiddle, (which I’ve heard described as a violin you can spill beer on) gently brings you in. Solo vocals give way to echoing ones as the fiddle breaks things down hard and shows exactly how beer might get spilled on it, being played with such exuberant force and all. Sam Parks’ mandolin definitely shows how to roshambo right proper all the same too. This is a song the whole family will tap their feet to at the farmer’s market or a bluegrass fest. Classic Colorado for everyone.

5. Fed Rez, Folk Rock (2016), “Danver”

Let’s play a word association game. I’ll say a word, and you say out loud the first word that comes to your mind. Your word is: Denver.

What’d you come up with? I’ll hedge my bets it wasn’t diversity.

Fed Rez brings a Chicano/Mexican contingent into their work heavily on this number, both linguistically and culturally. And the song’s as full of food as a belly on Thanksgiving. “Danver” doesn’t eliminate your appreciation of the song as a listener if you don’t happen to know what a pot of hot posole is or chicken mole either. But if you do, I bet your stomach’s growling.

Fed Rez refer to themselves as allegorical hip-hop. Whatever the precise allegory is on “Danver,” food and location are definitive themes, as you ride around Westwood and Athmar Park to Green Valley Ranch and Park Hill, effectively cruising Denver with the Fed Rez Mile High City natives.

6. Grant Farm, Grant Farm (2012), “Funky Boulder”

This one sure sounds like the Boulder I know and love. As with a number of songs that made this playlist cut, this one’s good for dancing away or driving down a road, hand out the window doing that thing where you swerve and wave it against the force of the wind. But keep an ear- the pace of this song keeps at a clip that the brief escalating drum builds with a charging guitar that could easily get you caught speeding. Ride on you mountain roads.

7. The Good Time Travelers, The Good Time Travelers (2016), “Colorado”

My favorite moment on this tune is a very specific, but subtly calling one. “Getting high in the country, above the tree line, my head’s in the clouds. Getting low, in the ______.” Play another word game with me. What goes there? I’d go with valley. The Good Time Travelers go with canyon. And that’s so Colorado of them! This one’s a lighter, more reflective piece. The acoustic singer/songwriter duo keeps it simple and true. It’s an honest homage to home sweet home.

8. Hang Rounders, Bring Your Sister (2015), “I-70 Westbound”

Hang Rounders hang their hats on a simple foundation of guitar, pedal steel, bass, banjo, tenor guitar, drums, backup vocals, fiddle, and the proclamation that they are best heard live and danced to. Sonically? Good old fashioned country western. Thematically? Good old fashioned country western. Pick a highway, any highway. Pick a past or current flame… aim for one you’d most want to hear say or say to, “Daddy, would you please come home?” Add 3AM and snowing literally, or as metaphor, and you arrive at the same place as the listener: memories and/or daydreams of flying down that chosen road toward a chance of love. Nostalgia.

9. Paper Bird, When the River Took Flight (2010), “Colorado”

“Colorado! It’s your mother’s favorite state!”

Paper Bird represent something a lot of folks think of when they think Colorado music: bluegrass, Americana, and rootsy. They inject a sense of humor into this one, hitting the nail on the head that you’ll all whoop and yell “Colorado!” with joy when you make it here, but in all honesty? “No offense, but we won’t miss you when you’re gone.”

Caleb Summeril’s banjo strums undergird harmonica solos with Paul DeHaven’s guitar make you want to take a turn on the dance floor as each instrument takes it’s turn at the forefront. This is good mountain town porch music to the hilt. They ask you to sing along, and that’s a gas. I sang proudly in the shower to this tune more than any other jam, so that’s absolutely something. Coloradans are nuts for Colorado and Paper Bird sings it proudly.

10. Dechen Hawk, Soul Sessions (2012), “My Hometown”

Dechen Hawk’s hometown is Boulder. So this one’s a love song that is, well, just that: a love song. It just happens to take place in his hometown. References to the city don’t come up, but this well known Front Range artist is a staple of a vital, vibrant component of the local music scene. Our solo artist goes soft and soulful with variations in vocal delivery that keep this track interesting while showcasing a certain diligence of Hawk’s songwriting and musical composition abilities. The ultimately cheery melody alongside the sometimes lamenting lyrical content lend an authenticity and a fresh uplift, despite sometimes hard feelings. And that’s love.

11. Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, Even Better Times (2014), “Denver Rock City”

“Denver Rock City” comes at you straight with punk’n’party roll. They sing of changes Denver’s undergone or undergoing in the same lyrical breath as they sing of a stubborn personal refusal to change one’s ways or intentions. They tell you flat out, “And I know it’s a shame South Broadway is gone, but we’re all still kickin’ man- the party’s never gonna stop.” Bud Bronson & The Good Timers full-bodied guitar with rock rolling drums brings the perfect backdrop to keep said party going musically without you ever having to reduce yourself to vodka redbull to do it. They even got me to give it up for John Elway without thinking twice, and I’ve never seen The Denver Broncos play. Live or on television.

12. Lotus, Nomad (2005), “Colorado”

Get in the recliner, chez lounge, or down on the ground and lay on your back because it’s time to float off into full relaxation mode. Mike Greenfield’s light whisking of brushes on the drums and tender splashes on the cymbals combined with Luke Miller and Mike Rempel’s warm and restful guitar chords take you there inherently. It’s an instrumental love homage to Colorado. Considering both the song title, and this track’s downtempo lounge music vibe, you can easily imagine yourself wandering on a warm Colorado summer on a sunset mountain trail with zero of effort (either in imagining, or in physical labor). Chill.

13. Small Hands, This is Our Colorado (Single, 2011), “This is Our Colorado”

Small Hands’ (aka Richie Wallace’s) first two influences listed on Facebook are Hunter S. Thompson and Wu-Tang Clang. Chances are good that could be someone from many places, but any Coloradoan familiar with its literary and musical ties know the two are staples on the scene. If you’re even remotely familiar with the Boulder area, Small Hands will give you known coordinates that stimulate crisp mental visuals in no time. If you’re not familiar with it whatsoever, carefully crafted and accessible lyricism create a mental picture that won’t have you missing out on the joyride: “Lookin’ at the mountain silhouette… sky ahead, electric blue… Towering rocks tempting you to climb… Yellow aspen like fire in a sea of pine…” The song cruises and lets the visuals seep through its hip-hop poetics and uncomplicated, rich electronic and drum backbeats. Smooth.

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.

BolderBeat's 'Get Your Creep On' Colorado Halloween Spotify Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

As an Introduction to Film Studies T.A. at CU Boulder for three years, I became no expert, but learned right quick and true: a film soundtrack, and to a much larger extent, a score, can make or break the terrifying in a horror film. So I moved to emulate that, best I could. Here you have what could or should be on a horror film soundtrack if it were Colorado-music exclusive. Make sure to follow us on Spotify and take a listen to these tunes at BolderBeat:

BolderBeat's 'Get Your Creep On' Playlist

1. Echo Beds, New Icons of a Vile Faith (2016), “Obvious Signs Of Forced Entry”

Genre: Suggestively invasive, disquieting fertile terror.

Staccato snare drums set this one off, and from there, I can’t place all the sounds of this track, but according to Echo Beds, I’m maybe not supposed to. As they themselves describe, “Echo Beds crafts a caterwaul of contact-mic'd oil drums, broken cymbals, battered basses, unrecognizable tape loops, and dilapidated voices.” It’s sound like art, completely, so listen and let this one creep into your distorted veins and “excorcise” its sound notes. It’s precisely that all the sounds can’t readily be placed, nor their arrangement readily recognized or described, which acts to unhinge the bolts on your comfort zone.

2. church fire, Pussy Blood (2016), “Midnight Sidewalks”

Genre: Alien abduction gone right (for the aliens).

“Midnight Sidewalks” starts you off nice and easy. As easy as slightly screeching metal on the ears. What happens next sounds like a battle between an alien ship's tractor beam shining down on you, and your attempt to fight it beaming you upward. But the tractor beam locks on at 00:26, a struggle ensues, and around 00:40 the UFO starts to win; 00:50 comes, and you’ve lost the battle. Once you’re on the ship, the vocals hit, and you chill into the groove safely, but as the melodies tick higher at the chorus, so do your nerves instinctually.

3. itchy-O, Burn the Navigator (2014), “Burn”

Genre: Fight or flight.

00:00-00:05 should be put in a stock horror film sound library, if it didn’t come from one. And since there’s nothing more calming than police sirens and medical equipment beeps, the 32-piece Denver-based percussion-centered electronic performance band itchy-O naturally included both. The percussive pacing races the song ahead, with a mix of blended elements. And the continual return to a combination of hand drums and hard driving guitar downstrokes, punctuated with unapologetic crashes on splash cymbals, will have you running or biking at more than your normal pace. But that’s a good thing, because you don’t want to burn in the fire that, it’s only fair to assume, the muffled static background voices are talking about. Of course this band has a Halloween Show booked at The Gothic Theatre! Get tickets here.

4. The Blue Rider, Year of the Horse (2016), “Nightmare”

Genre: Dracula Monster Mashing on a surfboard.

You could easily put this song right into a late 60s or early 70s horror film without too much question. This one doesn’t terrify me, but it’s oldie pop surf rock vibe mixed with the prospect of a nightmare from which you can’t wake up from have me, to my horror, dancing to a terrifying prospect. I blame the lyrics and the organ for the extremely catchy quality that found me in such a nefarious position.

5. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, The Commandments According to SCAC (2016), “Commandment 3”

Genre: Suspiciously benign late 50s era-esque death pop.

“Commandment 3” is a lighter track musically that doesn’t disquiet like Echo Beds, Animal / Object, or Janet Feder quite do; it’s a fun ditty with lyrically dire consequences. There’s a “Love Potion No. 9” quality to this track, from the mix of it’s catchy melody, to the very serious subject matter and consequences of drinking a love potion & kissing a cop, to that of the acutely real difference between you catching the Queen Snake or the Queen Snake having caught you.

6. Animal / Object featuring HAALAND, Yule – Ogy (2016), “Little Drummer Boy”

Genre: Unpredictably sourced nonlinear chaotic noise.

There was a period of time at Guantanamo Bay when David Gray’s “Babylon” was put on loud and constant repeat as a form of torture. This seems like a particularly cruel form of torture. The original “Little Drummer Boy” on repeat would be my personal hell. But when it comes down to it, even your favorite song on repeat 24/7 becomes torture as equal and painful. What this song by Animal / Object does to really creep at you is not as heavily percussion-dependent as many others. It’s all strings. Not the whole song, but the part that gets you where it matters on Halloween.

7. Stella Luce, Zugenruhe (2009), “Monsters”

Genre: Murderous lullaby crooning creepstyle.

If Bjork and Joanna Newsom have an illegitimate child out there that we do not know about, Stella Luce is her. She might live in a beautiful, albeit potentially haunted music box. When she sings in the shower, I imagine it in all minor chords, which tend to stimulate greater feelings of tension or apprehension. From the sliding up the xylophone scale the starts it off, to the plucking strings that come in, the sounds reminiscent of record player static with drums in no hurry, and a Bjork-Newsom voice, the lyrics of this one seal the deal of songs about monsters we’ve told our children forever. Brothers Grimm, anyone? I can’t believe we called those “fairy tales” and read them to children…

8. Jane Rigler and Janet Feder, Rarefactions (2015), “Quiver”

Genre: Ambient jungle terror.

Pan flutes make a quiver effect, and an intermittent reminiscence of Spanish-style guitar suggest a regional, cultural musical theme and influence on “Quiver”. It skits and scatters and slithers around your ankles, and mostly, you definitely wouldn’t want to be walking alone in the jungle listening to this tonight, unless you like being that much more freaked out… especially if you’ve ingested Ayahuasca first…

9. Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Totem (2014), “Bad Magic”

Genre: House of mirrors B movie camp-glam.

In “Bad Magic”, subtle percussive underlayers usher you into that haunted house in a film scene where you go inside, get lost in a hall of mirrors, and sense Mike Myers may be in possible pursuit (from Halloween, not Austin Powers). It doesn’t sounds like the infamous score or soundtrack from Halloween, but it does sound like something people in a film would look cool dying to. If that’s too weird, too bad. It’s Halloween.

10. Colfax Speed Queen, Satisfaction Intended (2013), “Skeleton Man”

Genre: Rock'n’roll into the grave.

This tune plunges straight into vocals. “Bag of bones!” guitar riffs punctuated with exclamatives from the organ make this song comparatively friendly and funky. And let’s be honest, a skeleton was always the least scary of the scary-costume genre. But then you realize here “he’s gonna kill himself,” and Skeleton Man isn’t really dead yet, which is why he terrifies us. Because if he doesn’t change his story, he might show up right here, right now.

11. Native Daughters, War Elephant (2012), “War Elephant”

Genre: Horror western languid death march rock.

It’s the fact that I think the narrator is dead by the time we get this musical missive that unsettles me most. His narrations are presented as happening in a nightmare: “And then I woke up,” his husky voice tells. The musical narrative that ensues then takes us where the dream wouldn’t have if he’d stayed asleep. The horn serenades like a march to meet fate with the man, creature, spirit; whatever it/he/she may be. Which never ends well. Enjoy the discomfiting solitude of lamenting guitar strokes and bass chords knowing you’re on a journey in the dark toward an even greater darkness.

12. Qbala, Battle Cries (2015), “So Alone”

Genre: Reality based lyrical fear hop.

This one represents fundamental questions and anxieties that will stick with you long after Halloween. The fears of the day-to-day: “At an all time low… When you fail you must continue to begin, within the walls of desperation and hesitation...  is it all in my head? Or is it in the mirror?”  The honesty, lyricism, and frequently minimalist style of this track are almost chilling, and the fear of who you maybe haven’t become feels real. Same with what’s held you back. It shows the earnestness it takes to do you. The time is now.

13. Rubedo, Love is the Answer (2015), “Psychic Tune”

Genre: Teddy Ruxpin death rattle.

You’re a child. You have a doll or stuffed animal that talks when you pull a cord or push a button or squeeze its plush palm. And then the batteries start to die, the voice slows, and it terrifies the dickens out of you. The deliberate vocal torpor in this song brings those vibes, and makes even understanding the lyrics, in a seeming contradiction, at times more challenging. Equally slow, loose acoustic guitar strokes sit behind nearly-spoken backup vocals with drum hits you could almost call lazy, but not in the derogatory sense, make this song the one you might like to go to bed or wake to the morning after your many Halloween rousings.

Happy Halloween. Follow BolderBeat on Spotify for more Colorado music playlists. 

-Joliene

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