Review: Redline Alchemy's '194 EP' Is As Fluid In Sound As These Multi-Instrumentalists Are Onstage

By: Norman Hittle

The guys in Redline Alchemy don't accept the traditional approach to having a band. To them, playing music is so much of a fluid art, that they themselves fulfill that fluidity by being multi-instrumentalists and loosely structuring themselves in a myriad of genres.

Listen to Redline Alchemy’s new 194 EP:

Comprised of the Ausmus brothers (Joe, Dan, and Nick), Corey Golon, and Nate Wilson, this quintet explores musical wizardry in their 194 EP through rock, jazz, funk, reggae, and jam band feels. With nods to notable bands such as Primus, Sublime, and Silverchair throughout their five songs, I also couldn't help hearing some Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Led Zeppelin influences.

194 EP opens with their single “Soul Searching” in a fun free flow that kicks into a 90’s era alt rock reggae feel that combines the stylistics of Cake and Gorillaz in a garage band format; song two “Pluto” follows suit musically and brings up the comical controversy of the dwarf planet’s categorization as a planet:

“Pluto is a planet, don’t you understand.
Your head’s stuck in Uranus if you can’t handle that.
Unless it is the Death Star then I think it's safe to say.
Pluto got the shaft in every way.”

Song three, “Rhythm of the Dance,” languishes with a sort of Counting Crows jam vibe while song four, “Burning Slow,” unleashes the EP’s best guitar lead lines and some fantastic saxophone soloing. The final track, “Making Moves,” starts out with some accapella, then hits with hip-hop and reggae jam feels to close out the EP.

Overall 194 EP is a solid writing effort from the guys in Redline Alchemy. It’ll be interesting to see where they take their music from here. Catch them at Moe’s BBQ Saturday, June 10th and keep up with the crew on their 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.

Sting Like The Beeves

By: Pete Laffin

Honest question:

When was the last time you moshed?

It had been a while for yours truly. By my mid-twenties I abandoned the more aggressive music of my youth, swapping volume and distortion for lyrical poignancy and musical nuance. Like many in my station, I held my nose up at the blustery rage of the still-young youth (which, it occurs to me now, can be easily explained with basic psychological insight: my disapproval of the kids and their raucous music was displaced, and the real culprit was the lingering memory of my own immature youth.) Music, as important as ever at the ripe-old age of 33, became something to be meditated upon rather than moshed to. And that was fine and good and purposeful. (As you age, it becomes suddenly important to do “purposeful” things.)

And then, a few months ago, I went to the EP release for The Beeves, comprised of the Ehrhart brothers, Ian and Will, along with Matthew Sease, at Seventh Circle Music Collective.

A mish-mash of seemingly disconnected events led me there. (If I may indulge in another bit of old-man wisdom, nothing is disconnected.) Suffice it to say, a grungy, all-ages, DIY warehouse venue is not where you would expect to find me on a Saturday night.

When I found the venue’s entrance in a neglected industrial park in the Denver periphery, I was greeted by a scraggly, weather-worn row of teenagers sitting behind a desk taking the expected donation for entry and exchanging remarks in a terminology and inflection I couldn’t attempt to decode. I handed them my credit card, but their machine wasn’t working, but I could go in. Just hook us up next time was the vibe I got.

I snaked my way through a few dark hallways and found myself in a gravel courtyard. The Beeves had a merch table just before entrance to the performance space, which looked like something between a backyard shed and a wheat silo. I peeked in through the entrance and saw a dark, frantic scene straight out of Altamont while opening act The Velveteers, fronted by rock prodigy Demi Demitro, shook the shanty’s shingles. Not ready to enter the hellfire within, I nosed around the courtyard looking for a place to buy a beer, until I realized no such place existed. A friendly and perceptive young kid intuited my struggle and informed me of a liquor store a few blocks away. If I had said I was going, he would have probably asked me to buy him a bottle.

The Beeves.

The Beeves.

At the merch table, I became disoriented, aghast. I was at an EP release, but there was no EP. Not in the conventional sense, anyway. I’d been to hundreds of these types of events in my seventeen years in music and never seen anything like this. Rather than rows of glossy jewel cases or neatly splayed, plastic-wrapped sleeves, the “albums” offered were burned CDRs packaged in the poster for the show.

Scandalous, I thought, in my stuffiest inner voice (which is somehow always British.)

I scanned the area for other embarrassed looks, embarrassed at The Beeves for not offering a more polished product at such an event. I didn’t see any. All I saw were a bunch of young, deliriously hyped-up hyenas bouncing off one another and rocking out to the vibe. No one gave a shit but me. I took the hint that I, and perhaps the majority of my music-scene generation- in all of our sensitive-guy mustache and pensive-girl thick-frames glory- had fallen out-of-touch. We didn’t see the storm coming (this was a theme in 2016.) We still give a shitit occurred to me. These kids really, really don’t. And they don’t have to.

The Velveteers closed out their riotous set and said goodnight. As I watched the stage through the doorway (I still wasn’t ready enter the dragon, as it were), puzzled at how Demitro could be playing such sophisticated, badass rock-and-roll at such a young age, an announcement was made for the performance area to be vacated while The Beeves set their stage. A swarm of show-goers drifted through the exit to the courtyard like clowns out of a car- it is amazing how many people that little place can hold- and stood around in circles, their hot, moshed-out lungs breathing thick into the freezing Denver December.

Amid the horde, I saw an older guy, the only person I’d seen thus far clearly older than I, who looked suspiciously similar to Beeves frontman, Ian Erhart. Eager to see if there was a connection, I wormed my way toward him. Indeed, it was Ian and Will’s father, John Erhart. He was a songwriter himself, and he wrote and performed songs for Ian while he was in the womb. He didn’t have to say how proud he was of his son, nor proud of himself for making the musical effort back then; his face was lit with pride in it all.

And then some kid in the circle next to us got punched in the face. Hard. Full-fisted.

Braced for bedlam, I stepped back, knuckles tight. But rather than swing back, the kid who got hit smiled and asked for another. The crowd had gone restless waiting for The Beeves to call us back inside. John and I shared a smirk. We had both taken part in similar youthful hijinks, it seemed.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

Inside, the stage was draped in a cartoonishly scraggly, misshapen sheet, the stage lights flashing out around the edges. The buzz in the crammed room rose; I was sure another backyard wrestling match would break out. But then The Beeves, in all of their earnest goofiness, kicked the curtain down and commenced with the thrashing. Their energy was unbelievable, and their affect, so entirely devoid of self-seriousness, spread around the room like an infectious, airborne disease.

I enjoyed the shit out of their set, as did all in attendance. It was arranged for maximum impact with a spirited selection of covers and originals, the latter so impactful I decided to pick up one of those poster-wrapped EPs from the merch table on my way out.

I was richly rewarded for my open-mindedness.

Photo Credit: Veltrida

Photo Credit: Veltrida

The album kicks off with the track “Skagua,” featuring Ian on guitar, Matthew on bass, and Will on the drums. It’s a hard-driving neo-ska spine breaker that serves as a fitting introduction the band, as its chief purpose is to punch you stiffly in the nose. The melody, rhythm, arrangement- none is particularly ground-breaking. In fact, the sound (along with the record in general) is rooted most evidently in the mid-nineties skateboard scene. But The Beeves offer a qualitative alteration to this well-trodden sound, one that’s as obvious to the ear as it is difficult to put a finger on. It’s as if Sublime and The Offspring had been reanimated and struck repeatedly in the tuckus with a cattle-prod. The following track, “Jesus, he came,” follows much in the same vein as “Skagua.”

“Shoelace,” the third track, is the anthem of The Beeves in the ears of their fans. By the time this song is played in a live set, the band is shirtless and possibly naked; it’s not for the sake of vanity or shock-value, but rather, it’s as if the freedom they derive from playing this song demands such release. In “Shoelace’s” three quick minutes, the entire experience of the band is had. If pressed to express what this is in three quick words, I could do it in two: goofy sincerity. The beat rocks (the younger Ehrhart, Will, is a revelation on this track); the melody hooks clean at the chorus where Ian and Matthew croon a startlingly honest question, one to which both a teenager and widower could relate: “Without you/How am I supposed to tie my shoe?”

Listen to The Beeves’ track “Oogamy”:

The fourth track “Oogamy” could slide easily onto the backend of your favorite Sublime record. Recording engineer Oliver Mueller does his best work on the album here capturing the tandem, note-for-note vocals of all three band members. This is no small task, especially given the free-wheeling, loose nature of the vocal style. The track also features a seriously funky clarinet solo performed by friend-of-the-band, Michaela Nemeth. The lyrics at the refrain are most poignant: “When I said leave me alone/I didn’t mean leave me/I wish I had could say what I mean/I wish I had something to mean.”

“Jerry the Drifter” is a fine display of punk thrashery with surprisingly musical flashes. The instrumental that comprises the song’s first half features guitar with flamenco overtones and a theatrically plucky bass, dipping and rising in volume as the moment demands. This all leads into a more conventional pop-punk song with melodic sensibilities. “Jerry” offers shades of early Car Seat Headrest, with its sweet hooks, advanced musicality, and unapologetically raw delivery.   

The best is saved for last on The Beeves’ self-titled EP. “Moe” is an instant classic, with the emphasis on classic. This is high praise, I know, but I can prove it. Well, kind of. You just have to believe what I’m about to tell you is true: In preparation for writing this review, I stealthily played the song in social settings to gauge reaction.

The first time was at my place, where one of my most musically sophisticated buddies came over to hang. As he stepped inside, he cocked his head and lifted an eyebrow at the sound.

Weezer?” he asked. I said nothing. “Is it old Weezer?”

Later that week, I took control of the sound system at a local pub that lets its patrons seize control of the music via bluetooth. From the table next to mine, some guy tapped me on the shoulder.

“Weezer?” he asked, that same sifting-through-old-memories look on his face that my buddy had.

“Moe” is a slow-time rockabilly blues jam with the kind of punked-out irreverence Rivers Cuomo rode to stardom. It’s as if he could have written the song himself as an alternative ending to The Blue Album. The bridge features a single guitar note crescendo, reminiscent of moments in “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground, which leads to the hook at the chorus, sung with wistful abandon and gaiety. It’s doubtlessly a keeper for the band moving forward.    

When ametuer athletes are scouted by professional teams, they are often evaluated in terms of their “floor” and their “ceiling.” The former indicates the kind of players they are at the moment, for better or worse, while the latter expresses their potential to improve. On rare occasions, a player is considered to possess high degrees of both. The Beeves appear to be in this rarefied category, as their sound already astounds, and their potential to improve is a certainty.

The ceiling is high for these kids. High enough, even, to inspire their elders, (your humble correspondent included) to toss themselves recklessly, once again, into a pit of flying elbows and whirling knees.

Make sure to see The Beeves at The Gothic for their show this Friday, February 10th with Mustard Plug; tickets here.

-Pete

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

KMG's Recent Zonnefest Hosted Spectacular Talent & Killer Tunes

By: Clinton Henderson

The KMG Studio Music Showcase continued to impress in its second manifestation last week. The fest is a free mini-show put on by KMG Studios on the last Thursday of every month which showcases bands and musicians for thirty minutes per set. May’s show (affectionately called the Zonnefest by many because it is organized by KMG’s Mitchael Zonnefeld) featured Nite Owls, Amoramora, Lady and the Gentlemen, The Last Minute Band, and Technicolor Tone Factory. Last week, the June lineup consisted of Andrew Sturtz and Sierra Voss, Boulder Sound Lab, Shantyman & The Speakeasies, The Last Minute Band, and Sixty Minute Men. Although the show started nearly an hour late, the music was once again stupendous! There wasn’t a bar... but what’s a boy to do?

The showcase stage at KMG. Photo per the author. 

The showcase stage at KMG. Photo per the author. 

KMG owner Greg Kimble introduced the first performer of the night, Andrew Sturtz, who was accompanied with harmonies by BolderBeat’s very own Sierra Voss. The crowd was told in Kimble’s intro how Sturtz had actually been busking on Pearl Street when Kimble happened to hear him. Kimble asked him to drop by the studio, immediately recognizing Sturtz’s talent, and Kimble was spot on; if anything he was slightly reserved in the praise Andrew deserved for his singing. On songs like “Changing by the Second”, a cover of The Beatles’ “You Got To Hide Your Love Away”, and a tune called “Southern Night”, Andrew sang wonderfully soulful and heartfelt folk music that was beautifully optimistic and melancholy all at once. His falsettos were stunning and the harmonies that Sierra sang filled out the duo’s sound. Sturtz’s original, “Bosnia”, conveyed a peaceful sense of loss, “Avalon” was a new song that captured imagination, and a cover of Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” completely re-imagined the original to highlight the quality of Strutz’s vocal range. Keep an eye out for Andrew and Sierra, who occasionally still play on Pearl Street, gig often at at The No Name Bar, and play other spots in Boulder/Denver.

Following that duo was Boulder Sound Lab, a funky group with goofy tendencies. Their first song, “Jeffery the Bagman”, was written by the band’s saxophonist, Lyle Wilner. It had a definite James Brown influence to it before it evolved into a far more spacey jam. Their second song was an instrumental bit that featured strange scales/licks that moved from raw funk to a more rocking-roll funk with driving energy, shredding guitar, and wonderful two-guitar and saxophone harmonies. Their final song, “Muffin Top”, paraphrased the theme from “The Pink Panther” at the beginning and then evolved into a major-key jam. Overall, BSL were a very positive, upbeat, and optimistic jam band with a party-funk sound fueled by members that are each excellent at their instruments. They write their own music and if you want a grand funky time, catch them this Friday, July 8th at Boulder House.

Andrew Sturtz & Sierra Voss. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Andrew Sturtz & Sierra Voss. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Next was Shantyman and the Speakeasies. From the get-go, this band had me thinking of Sublime mixed with the Grateful Dead, thanks to their  song “Cherry Pie”, a loose Wah funk sound. This is your standard Colorado jam band, and that’s a good thing in spite of all odds. The bass was funky played through a synth, the two guitarists played some awesome licks and sang harmonies, and their savage drummer was also singing. Their entire set was a groovy good time.

Featured last month at the first showcase, and in the same slot this month for this showcase was KMG’s house band, The Last Minute Band. This is a “Holy-Sh*t-Did-I-Just-Witness-That?” sort of band. With two Grammy nominated musicians in the group, The Last Minute Band will leave your jaw on the floor every time they play. Covers like “Feelin’ Good”, “Respect”, and “I Want You Back” showcased the band’s astounding talent. Greg Kimble hit impressive falsettos in spite of being sick, Ashley Kisner and Cayla Kimble shredded energetic vocals, Mitchael Zonnefeld held a great groove on bass, Zack Markle burned the keys, Chalo Ortiz absolutely amazed on the guitar, Angel Adams played a magnificent saxophone, and Motown played otherworldly drums. The group finished their set with a pulsing, driving tune aptly called “Party” and a song dedicated to Greg’s mother called “Rollin’”, a beautiful, determined bluesy song, followed by a spot-on cover of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.

Shantyman and the Speakeasies. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Shantyman and the Speakeasies. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Sixty Minute Men finished out the night. They’re a funky, soulful, prog-rock band. Their burning sax player wrote the tune “Groove Shoes”, which played exactly how the title sounds: it gets you moving. Another song, “Heartbreaker”, was a ripping rocker with some excellent rhythmic stops that kept the audience popping. Other tracks featured beautiful, loving melodies that will have your heart racing when you hear them play. This group plays next in Boulder July 23rd at Souther Sun

All said, the second KMG Showcase, aka the Zonnefest, was a success. Each of the performers were excellent and showed the varied talent that can be found in Boulder, as well as the community that KMG is adding to the already vibrant Colorado music scene. You can learn more about KMG’s studio options here. And you should definitely come out to the next KMG showcase, the third Thursday (July 21st) of this month!

-Clinton

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