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

By: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Portugal. The Man.

Portugal. The Man.

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

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

John Gourley.

John Gourley.

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

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

See our full gallery of photos from this show here

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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

J.D. King Just Wants Your Love In New Music Video

By: Hannah Oreskovich

LA’s J.D. King recently release his new video for “Love Me Back,” the single from his upcoming record 'Moon Gardens,' which was recorded entirely in J.D.’s home studio. The “Love Me Back” video, which was directed by his longtime collaborator Avery Wheless (HUSH) stars King, director and actress Kansas Bowling, and cameos from Parker Love Bowling, JuJu Sorelli, and Linda Ramone. It was filmed entirely at Ramone Ranch (yes, Johnny Ramone’s place) in Los Angeles, a place that you’ll want to party at with J.D. (or maybe more so with Kansas?) after watching the video. After a few views, we caught up with J.D. to talk about his most recent release:

Let’s start with a bit about your background. Where are you from and how has that environment shaped your music?

I’m from the city of Norco in Southern California. The environment for music there was interesting [growing up]: oldies radio, learning piano, Catholic hymns, gospel hymns, Gregorian chants, saxophone/flute classes, bluegrass, cowboys, and rock’n’roll. One of my earliest memories is trying to sing into recorders to have a reproduced sound. I made cassette tapes from the radio. I'd also make tapes from vinyl and CDs that I would borrow from the public library and transfer them. I had a genuine thirst to listen to a lot of music and gravitated mainly to pre-1973 stuff. My father found a nice collection of Beatles and Elvis vinyl albums on the beach one time, and I listened to those a lot. I would also watch Hard Days Night often. I found skateboarding videos to have some tasteful music to sample as well. Skateboarders are more often appreciators of non-mainstream music.   

I can definitely feel some of these styles coming together musically and visually for “Love Me Back.” What was the concept behind this video? 

[It’s] “The Fool” who needs love. You’re vulnerable when you love. You fixate, focus, and place your bets; you need the validation of another person to love you back. You are torn to shreds sometimes if they don’t. Make your own happiness and the rest will follow.

J.D. King.

J.D. King.

 Sound advice. What else are you working on?

Paintings, writing more songs, motion films, poems...

Sweet. Any other special plans for 2018?

More beautiful holograms with sound and visions. Probably some live shows.

Speaking of those, when you perform live, what type of environment are you trying to cultivate?

The “I’m gonna take all my clothes off!” vibe. I want the free people to come out, let loose, and listen.

You heard the man. Take off your clothes and give J.D.’s new video a view below:

Keep up with J.D. King here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The Ivories Want To Be Your Valentine This Year

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Los Angeles trio The Ivories identify their sounds as “indie surf psychedelic punk.” The band, who are signed to Vogue House Sounds, came together after meeting in college. The diversity of their backgrounds may explain why their style encapsulates several genres, so we sat down to talk with the three-piece about the music they grew up on, the atmosphere they try to create in their live shows, and why it’s appropriate that their debut EP will drop on Valentine’s Day this year.

Let’s start with a bit about your background. Where are you all from and how has that environment shaped your music?

Erin: I’m from Zaragoza, Spain. I remember starting to have some kind of interest for music when my aunt made a Spotify playlist for me when I was around 12 years old. It had songs from David Bowie, The Cure, The Doors… I thought it was sick! And then my family gave me my first guitar and I started playing music. One of the first albums that I discovered was The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie and it blew my mind. Later on I started digging a little bit more into Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and also Spanish rock thanks to my group of friends back home. Rock’n’roll baby!

Bryan: I’m from Santa Fe, New Mexico. My mother’s from South Korea and my father is from Texas, so I got a lot of different cultures growing up. Before I knew how to use the internet, it was mostly my family’s CDs (Michael Jackson, Korean music, and my dad’s classic rock and blues stuff), MTV, and the music in the Gamecube games that I listened to. The first CD I ever bought was Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled record. Everyone around me in Santa Fe was self-loathing and depraved for the most part. I did a lot of crazy things- I traumatized myself by choice and had like 20 ego deaths from ‘shrooms by the time I was 17. I developed anxiety from all of that and then I started writing music that actually had some substance.

Xavier: I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado to a large family whose taste in music spans far and wide. I grew up surrounded by many amazing musicians who have inspired me to pursue my dreams. My earliest memories as a child were being in my father’s studio watching him record his EP. I was intrigued by the work he was doing and wanted to do the same thing. My parents had a nasty divorce that affected me for quite awhile as a child; as a result I was exposed to many things a kid were not supposed to see nor comprehend, so I became frustrated with the world around me. A few months after the dust settled I was gifted my first drum kit at the age of nine and found my escape from reality. I was able to take all of my angst and frustration and release them through rhythm.  

How did the three of you meet and start making music together?

Xavier: We met in one of our classes while attending college in Los Angeles and proceeded to form a band based on our mutual interest in music.

Listen to “Red”:

Talk to us about your newest single and your upcoming EP.

Xavier: We’re planning to release our EP on Valentine’s Day. We just put out our first song from the record, “Red.” I think we’re making a video for it soon- we’re working with the incredible Italian filmmaker Caterina Piccardo. We have SO many songs written that we want to record!! Making music takes so long though. We’re playing a bunch of shows in the next few months as well.

Beyond the artists you mentioned listening to growing up, who do you draw inspiration from for The Ivories sound?

Bryan: If Kurt Cobain and Paul McCartney had a baby and they were raised by Talking Heads’ grooves- that’s us. We cover a few artists like P.H.F (a New Zealand band we love), Blondie, Blur, and Violent Femmes. I also kinda wanna be Morrisey. The Cure is a big one. When people hear us play live, they usually compare us to The Smiths, The Cure, The Beatles, and The Pixies, which is one of the reasons our band name is what it is. I loved the Tony Hawk [video] games and skating when I was a kid too, so definitely those soundtracks influenced me.

Xavier: As a kid, my parents as well as my uncle inspired me to play the drums. Seeing them play music made me want to do the same thing. When I first started playing drums and bass I received a copy of Death From Above’s “You’re A Woman I’m A Machine,” and was immediately hooked- from that point on I knew I wanted to be a musician. I loved the high energy rock’n’roll and was determined to re-create that emotion in my music. I draw a lot of inspiration from disco/punk influenced bands such as LCD Soundsystem, Death From Above, and Moving Units.

Erin: When I was in Spain there were not a lot of women playing music in the young music scene of my town. And since I moved to LA, I’ve been finding so many bands fronted by women, which made me feel super inspired and empowered to keep writing music. Bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Savages, The Kills, or The Runaways have been pretty important in my life lately. And also the LA scene is amazing- I love to go to shows of small LA bands and get to know what their sound is and how can I add it into my music.

The Ivories.

The Ivories.

When you perform live, what type of environment are you trying to cultivate?

Xavier:  When we perform live, we want to pull people away from their thoughts, concerns, and troubles. We seek to make people feel euphoric as they witness one of the most raw forms of human expression known to man and woman.    

Bryan: I’m trying to make everyone in the audience feel like I’m their Valentine. All the songs are about a girl, and I’m singing them all in first person like I’m talking to that girl... disassociated and detached… a whisper in your ear when in reality, I’m screaming into a microphone. It’s weird. I feel like coming to our live show is like being my counselor and just listening to me talk about all my problems. All the lyrics I write are kinda self-loathing and sad, but people dance and that makes me feel good and I guess that’s what matters!

What about your music most makes you feel most empowered?

Bryan: Being able to tell people things that I would never otherwise express. Whenever I get nostalgic and reminisce back to something, a big part of how I remember it is what music was playing at the time of the memory. I even associate people with certain songs and albums. I’d love for someone to feel that was about my music. I often overthink when something doesn’t go my way, so writing songs is a good way to channel that anxiety into a tangible form so that I can release it all and get it out of my mind. I take stressful or traumatic experiences and analyze them in a third-person kind of way to take myself out of the equation and try and look at it from a different perspective. I notice little details and little gestures or expressions that made something go the way it did, you know? Writing is a good way to process things- healthier than drowning it or bottling it up.

Erin: The fact that there’s music that can make you go back to one time of your life when you were having a similar sentiment- it’s amazing to me. And being able to make people feel that blows my mind. Also, just being on a stage makes me feel so powerful. It’s the moment that we have to show the best part of ourselves.  

27907740_150079042356621_745457302133211170_o.jpg

Outside of the glory and fame of celebrity, where do you see your music going?

Bryan: I want our music to be in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 soundtrack.

What are your plans for 2018?

Xavier: As we play more shows and just get to know each other better, we start meshing our ideas together more. Our music past this first EP is going to be much more collaborative and live-sounding; more how we initially imagined our sound being.We want to play some festivals this summer but we’ve been so caught up finishing our EP, making this music video, and playing shows that we haven’t been looking beyond that very much!

Bryan: I wanna put out at least two more EP’s, a few music videos, and I wanna have some kind of event that will put together fashion, visual art, and music. I also want to become truly happy independently this year.

Solid goals. When are your next few booked shows/tours?

Bryan: Our next show is at Harvard & Stone in Thai Town in LA on the 21st of February.

Keep up with The Ivories on Facebook.

-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.

Rodes Rollins EP 'Young Adult' Talks Of Young Love & Growing Up In Boulder, CO

By: Sierra Voss

Rodes Rollins (Talia Taxman) has been honing her songwriting skills since age eight in Boulder, CO, and it shows. Her first EP, 'Young Adult,' dropped earlier this year and is quite the masterpiece for this artist’s freshman release. 'Young Adult' is an intimate look into Rollins’ story of  young love and growing up. Rollins’ songs embody mystery, naivety, wisdom, passion and grit. I recently chatted with Rodes more about her Colorado roots and the story of how this EP came to be. Read on:  

When did you start singing?

I have been writing and recording since I was eight years old. I worked with a guitar teacher in Boulder and she was so supportive and let me use her home studio to start recording my songs. She often brought in studio musicians to play with me. So I have a lot of recordings from a really young age. I was writing pretty mature content, but my voice hadn’t quite caught up yet, so it’s pretty funny stuff to listen to. 

Rodes Rollins.

Rodes Rollins.

So how did songwriting come into play in your life? I feel like most people get into songwriting later in life, after choir, or taking voice lessons for a couple of years. I’m curious how the songwriting part of singing came at such an early age for you.

It's hard to say. For me, it was kind of the way I learned how to play. It was my exploration of music and of the guitar. Like I never really learned how to play other people's songs. It was just me jumping in and making sounds and trying to understand it that way. Even today, I would never call myself a guitar player- it's more always been a writing tool for me. Writing prose and other things has always been something important to me too. I think more than anything, I used music as another avenue for writing. My parents were also incredibly involved in the music scene in Boulder growing up and had us listening to all sorts of music at home.

What type of music did you grow up with? 

We listened to a lot of Cat Stevens and The Beatles. I was also super into my dad listening to Nirvana and punk grunge. I never really fully grasped that type of music in my younger age, but I remember being super drawn to those darker sounds.  

Did you ever play gigs around Boulder growing up? 

I did little things. I actually got to perform at a songwriter workshop. I was working with Wendy Woo, who was a local singer songwriter. She had me come perform at a songwriting workshop she was teaching to a group of adults. She would always include me in things like that growing up. It was really not up until I moved to New York in college at NYU and studied abroad in Buenos Aires that I started performing on a consistent basis. 

Did you go to NYU to study music?  

I actually studied at the school for individualized study where you craft your own curriculum. I studied- well the title is Iconography- basically it’s the study of what makes a person iconic, looking at the branding of people. So I studied that, which in so many ways relates to music.

So when you studied abroad in Buenos Aires you started performing? Tell me more about that. 

That was my sophomore year. NYU has an campus in Argentina. So it's basically you with other people from the US in Argentina. I felt frustrated with that setup- why would I come all the way down here just to be in classes with everybody from the States? So I started trying to figure out ways to go out and meet local people. I was meeting a lot of people at bars, but it was difficult as a foreign woman to navigate and make friends that way. So I started going to a lot of open mics instead and ended up meeting a really great artist community there. It felt like each gig led to another one. I got to do some radio shows just based on people I met at those gigs. It was a really kind of magical time. That's when I really started getting into performing my songs. 

Once you got back from that semester did you come back wanting to continue pursuing your music?

I think that semester abroad I really struggled with the idea of coming back to New York and being a student. I was so energized to keep doing music at that point. It clicked for me- 'This is what I want to do, full time- I want to dive in.' However, I ended up developing really bad tonsillitis right when I returned and wasn’t able to sing, let alone speak clearly. I ended up having to get surgery for that, which put a huge roadblock on music for me. When all was said and done, that took about a year to recover from. I stayed in school during that time but I kept writing. Once I healed, I started working with Sam Pattillo, who actually discovered my music on Soundcloud. I had recorded an EP at Coupe Studios, so that was floating around. He heard it and I ended up partnering with him on his indie label to do Young Adult. I recorded my EP in LA; Alex Goose (Kevin Gates, Weezer) produced it. That was my senior year of college: going back and forth between LA and New York in order to finish school and record.  

What has life looked like since your release?

It's been great to get my music out there. I ended up going to Mexico City for this release. I went to Casey Middle School in Boulder, which is an bi-lingual school, and from that point on I was very enamored with Latin culture. That led to me studying Spanish and studying abroad. For this EP, we worked on a video there so I ended up going there to release “Young and Thriving,” which is a single from the EP. Since then, I have been in New York playing a lot of shows.

What’s next for you? New music? Touring?

We are releasing a short film we did in collaboration with a group in Mexico. It was inspired by one of the songs on the EP called, “Wes Come Back.” It’s a very dark film, almost like horror. I am really excited to get that out! Hopefully I will be coming back to Colorado to tour. I am going back to LA to record a new album soon, so I am hoping either on the front or back end of that, I will be able to stop in Colorado.

Watch Rodes Rollins' video for "Wes Come Back": 

A lot Young Adult revolves around young love and growing up. Was that a young love you had in Boulder?

Yeah he was. He was my highschool boyfriend and my first love.

Are there any Colorado references throughout the album besides him?

Lyrically there aren’t, but sonically, [there are] for sure. I think a lot of the sounds are Western inspired, from the whistles to the tremolo guitar sounds. I really was envisioning a Colorado Western landscape when I was writing this first EP.  

Take a listen to Rodes Rollins and check out her music video for her song, “Wes Come Back” off her latest EP 'Young Adult' above! Keep up with Rodes here

-Sierra

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

Premiere: Dear Me,'s Debut Single "The News" Is Catchy Comedic Pop

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s indie rock trio Dear Me, are self-described “socially relevant, humorous songwriting.” Members Andrew Rogers (guitar/vocals), Sam Columna (guitar/vocals), and Jamie Beekman (keys/vocals) have been playing shows together since 2014, though they didn’t start gigging consistently until close to a year later when Sam told us, “It wasn’t until f*cking July 2015 when we agreed to play a gig at The Gothic with Chemistry Club that I honestly did not think we were ready for. But we somehow managed to survive and after that, shit was real.” It’s comments like these that kept me smirking during my recent chat with Sam about Dear Me,’s new single, which we’re stoked to premiere exclusively on BolderBeat from the band’s upcoming record Present Perfect.

Listen to Dear Me,’s new single “The News”:

“The News” is an undeniably timely tune in subject matter, and expresses a sentiment I think most of us can relate to: as informed as we want to be, the current media whirlwind of world news can be overwhelming at times and force us into one story before we’ve processed the others that came before it.

Dear Me,.

Dear Me,.

Said Columna about the track, “Part of me maybe wants to evolve past the magic of hearing something that you’re feeling expressed in a song- like it’s sort of cliche and basic and that makes it a character flaw. But every single time a song nails my inner monologue- dead to rights, word for word, kills me softly- it’s like a transformative experience. I’m reminded how lucky I am to be able to make art. If anything I make has that impact on anyone, then probably I am doing a good thing."

Sam continued, "[With “The News”] I was just hoping to capture some of the Groundhog Day-esque overwhelmed horror that I found myself feeling all the f*cking time. I actually wrote the hook, ‘I need something stuck inside my head besides the news,’ in like 2014 when I was a sunglasses salesman and I couldn’t afford to be in touch with my feelings at work or else my numbers would suffer. And that year planes disappeared out of the sky, Ebola happened, the Israel-Palestine conflict flared up, Michael Brown was murdered, there was that hostage crisis in Sydney… and yes I’m looking at a list of 2014 events right now... Robin Williams also died... and all of this happened to coincide with me falling in love with NPR, so I was hyper-aware of everything. And all of it was immediately politicized. There was no acknowledgement or time taken for human suffering- everything immediately felt like currency, or else like a weapon. I couldn’t f*cking deal with it. The hook [from “The News”] was super, ultra, mega-literal for me.”

Sam Columna.

Sam Columna.

Though the subject may seem a bit dark, Dear Me, manage to express Columna’s inner monologue of that time with a catchy hook and poppy vocal melodies, driving keys, and a strong percussive build interspersed with quick guitar breakdowns, while also weaving their stylistic humor within “The News.” This ability has had the trio previously described as “Louis C.K. meets The Beatles.” Though Columna admits there is definitely a comedic element to their work, it’s clear there is an important balance to Dear Me,’s songwriting.

Regarding this balance Sam, told me, “Oh man. Well when this comes up I always like to make it clear that we’re not Flight of the Concords or Axis of Awesome. We’re not a comedy band. We just sing songs with lyrics that are often blunt about social circumstances, and are sometimes funny, in a caustic, dark, Louis C.K. kind of a way. I actually didn’t really think of my songs as being particularly humorous until I started hearing people laughing during open mics. But I’ve always been a person who has found a lot of life to be depressing, or awkward, or uncomfortable, or shocking, or whatever, and I’ve always responded to those parts of life by laughing at them. I think Andrew is that way too. And since art is an outward expression of inward shit, it was inevitable that some of that would make it into the songs.”

“The News” is the first single from Present Perfect, Dear Me’s debut album. The record is a followup to the band’s three-song 2015 EP Name On a Page. The nine-song record was, in some ways, five years in the making.

Said Columna, “Present Perfect has lots of fingerprints on it. It was tracked either at Streetlight Audio or at Beyond the Infinite Multimedia, run by Dae Dupont, George Till, Quinn Blue and Leo Cashin. It was mixed and mastered entirely at Streetlight Audio, which is run by Tyler Paul Glasgow, Jack Roberts, and Jeff Hummel. Tyler Paul Glasgow produced and added some tasty slide guitar and synth layers on a few of the tracks. Elliott Cook played drums on any track with drums on it, and bass responsibilities were split between myself and Casey Cormier. That just leaves the core members of Dear Me,: Andrew and I both played guitar, Jamie played keys. Andrew and I split lead vocals on the album, and the songs were written by either me or Andrew, and arranged collectively by me, Andrew, Jamie, and whoever happened to be in the rhythm section at the time. Jamie mostly arranges all of our vocal harmonies, and we credit her with keeping us from sounding like a bag full of cats in a burning dumpster.”

Jamie, Andrew, & Sam.

Jamie, Andrew, & Sam.

When asked about whether Present Perfect is comprised more of old tunes the band has played over time, or new songs written just this year, Sam told me, “In some ways it’s like a greatest hits collection of a band no one knew about that had been skulking around in living rooms and cigar bars for five years and finally managed to stumble into a studio.”

More seriously, he added, “The vast majority of the songs are relatively recent, like written inside the last couple years. But something we really wanted to capture with the album was sort of the breadth of all the junk that we’ve kicked around over the last however many years. We wanted the album to capture everything we’ve been over the last five years, [and] I think it does that. Some of the tracks were multi-tracked in studio, some were tracked as full band performances with overdubs, and some were live acoustic trio tracks. That’s all the stuff we’ve been. And I think we managed to massage it into a mostly cohesive product. So I feel pretty dope about that.”

It’s this play between laughs and seriousness (and those same interplays throughout the band’s new record) that had me wondering who some of Sam’s influences are in the comedy and music realms.

“Beyond Louis C.K., I’m a fan of Mike Birbiglia and Dave Chappelle. I like storytellers. Obviously there’s innumerable musicians that I love, but my three desert island albums would probably be Abbey Road by the Beatles, Curse Your Branches by David Bazan, and Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers.” he told me.

And local artists?

Danielle Ate the Sandwich is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard. Andy Sydow and I have peed in many backyards together. He’s my closest non-Jamie friend from CU Denver, and he got me a job teaching music. I really admire his musicianship, and his tenacity. He puts on a pretty sassy live show too. Corsicana went on tour with us last October, and together we discovered the healing properties of cayenne pepper. Ben has the voice of an angel and is irritatingly young. Andrew actually taught him to swim a billion years ago.”

After the release of Present Perfect, Dear Me, have a CD Release Show booked at Syntax on June 10th and are planning to tour around Colorado and the region. They also want to jump back in the studio.

Said Sam, “I feel a little bit like releasing this album was the top of a roller coaster, and the five years before that were the long slow ticking part while we climbed up. And hopefully from here it’s screaming and raising our hands in the air for awhile.”

We’re definitely raising our hands for Dear Me,’s newest release, so give their single “The News” a listen for yourself above, and make sure to grab tickets to their Syntax show by contacting the band here. Keep up with Dear Me, on their Facebook.

-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.

Chuck Prophet Returns To eTown With 'Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins'

By: Claire Woodcock

Thursday marks California roots rocker Chuck Prophet’s return to eTown Hall. This San Francisco-based artist has been steadily cranking out folk albums since the ’80s, while collaborating with musicians like Cake and Alejandro Escovedo.

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

In February, Prophet released his latest full length Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. He recalled writing a cluster of songs with a co-conspirator who was lacking direction.

“I ended up putting on a Bobby Fuller record,” he said, “And I heard the record crackle, the needle skip and jump.”

To which his collaborator shot back, “Bobby Fuller died for your sins!”

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

At first, he didn’t think much of it. But for Prophet, Robert Gaston “Bobby” Fuller was an icon. A greaser-rocker type from Texas, he and his band The Bobby Fuller Four moved from El Paso to Los Angeles in search of the American dream.

“He was an inventive guy and he was completely out of time,” mused Prophet. “By the time Bobby Fuller got to Los Angeles, he had entered a world that worshipped The Beach Boys and The Beatles."

In 1996, the group released I Fought The Law, and within weeks of that record climbing the charts, Fuller was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

“I guess I kind of relate to that… I feel like I’ve always been out of step with the times,” said Prophet. “I’ve been making home records for a while. I mean [Fuller] made records in El Paso in his parents’ living room. And they built a reverb chamber in their parents’ backyard. I’d been making home records for awhile and I got my first big record deal at the height of grunge music.”

Prophet released Brother Aldo, his first full length LP in 1990 and said that at the time, roots rock wasn’t what record labels were looking for. “Later bands took that sound places,” he reflects. But on Bobby Fuller, Prophet recorded in real time to tape.

“I just wanted to slow us down,” he said, “And let the limitations to make us turn in a record with a little more emphasis on the performances and a little less emphasis on making it right.”

Bobby Fuller’s influence let Prophet slow down the process, which makes the album’s complexity play for itself. In Fuller’s fashion, Prophet describes what he calls the “California Noir” thematics at work on his new record.

Listen to Prophet's new record:

“We’re living in kind of a distorted place out here in California,” he said. “The money came to town and the latest tech wave is a little different from the last tech wave… young techies have come and it's like living in a science fiction movie.”

Boulder audiences can relate to the singer-songwriter’s message with songs like “Coming Out in Code,” in lieu of a tech boom that’s brought Microsoft, Uber, Twitterand Google to a city that was once seen as a gathering place for hippies, much like San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

One song off Prophet’s new record, “Bad Year for Rock and Roll,” is often seen as a tribute to the rock stars the world lost in 2016. While Prophet acknowledged the song was written last year, he added, “it’s about losing our heroes and losing our faith.”

“We live in a time of cultural exhaustion and people are exhausted. They’re overstimulated. I don't care what you believe in or who you believe in. I think everybody's faith was put to the test and I think the election year itself is really in the DNA of the whole album, if I think about it. A lot of the stuff on the record is about death and celebrity and dissolution of the California dream…”

Catch Chuck’s return to eTown Hall May 4th for a live radio show taping with rapper and activist Brother Ali at 7PM. For more information and tickets, visit etown.org.

-Claire

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

Television Generation's New EP Fuchsia + Their Move Into the Denver Music Scene

By: Claire Woodcock

Will Hayden (vocals/guitar), Katy Johnson (bass), and Anthony Elio (drums) split from Boulder for the Denver area after their respective exits from CU, where Television Generation came to be. That was in 2012, when the EDM scene was exclusively big in Boulder and there was little wiggle room in the music scene for a punk rock presence.

"I think Boulder has a problem with being a transient kind of place,” said Hayden. “Tons of people go [there] for college; these people come and most of them go. People just move away. And a lot of the bands that we saw pop up when we were in college are no longer active.”

Television Generation.

Television Generation.

TVG set their sights on the Denver scene and recorded their first EP If Only I Had A Brain with Mammoth Cave Recording Studios in 2013. After some feedback from producer Lance Bendiksen (The Fray), Hayden and Elio broke out the metronome and put more hours into mastering their ’60s pop, ’90s grunge, alt rock energy. Johnson joined TVG a few months after the band released their second EP Digital Static (2015), a release that includes a track called “Space Invaders” mixed by Jack Endino from Nirvana.

A year later, Television Generation has released their third EP Fuchsia with Todd Divel of Silo Sound Recording Studio in Denver. Hayden says they went into their first session thinking that they would only have time to lay down one or two tracks. But the result was an EP’s worth of tunes recorded over the course of just a few hours. It could have been the Simpsons references exchanged between TVG and Divel that kept things grooving. Or it could have just been, as Johnson said, “We were having a really good day.”

Check out Television Generation’s latest EP, Fuchsia:

Fuchsia operates on a sliding scale between garage rock, post-punk, super punk, (if that were legitimate genre) and alt rock. Television Generation told me they drew inspiration for this release from The Beatles, The Who and most notably, Sonic Youth. Johnson employs a Kim Gordon-esque style on Fuchsia by creating a lot of garage rock noise and manipulating the distortion and delay pedals to produce all kinds of uncomfortable, yet totally satisfying feedback in the middle of pop songs.

Will Hayden of TVG.

Will Hayden of TVG.

Back on the subject of the Denver scene, Hayden said that when Johnson joined the group, the trio started checking out other punk acts, which has become a huge support system for TVG.

“That’s what a music scene is and should be.” said Hayden.

Branching out from Boulder to Denver allowed TVG to not only meet talented bands, but to get a sense of the quality of the younger bands popping up from all over the place.

“The flux of people to Colorado probably helps because there's a lot of fresh blood out here and they're looking for places to play, and that's kind of what I was saying about Boulder [being transient],” said Hayden. “There are a lot of people coming in from out of state obviously for the weed and all that, and a lot of people see it as a bad thing, but I think it's really good for the music [scene]. It brings in a lot of fresh, excited people and I think that’s what we haven’t seen in years past: that excitement in people finding local bands. There’s enough talent and enough people interested, so let's blow it up as much as we can.”

TVG thinks that these trends in the Denver music scene will only continue to soar.

“We could make Denver the new Seattle.” Hayden added, with enough conviction in his voice that the possibility could someday be true.

TVG.

TVG.

This Sunday, November 6th, Television Generation will ‘Rock Against Trump’ at Seventh Circle Music Collective with an anti-Trump CD release show, featuring a whole laundry list of bands in the Denver punk scene. If you’re looking to rage the day before the election, this is where you should be. Proceeds will be donated to the Standing Rock protesters and Amnesty International.

Keep up with Television Generation here.

-Claire

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

Breakfast for Dinner: Lawrence Brought Home the Bacon to Denver's Larimer Lounge Last Sunday

By: Sierra Voss

I think nothing in this world beats an epic Sunday morning breakfast. You know what I’m talking about. It’s a breakfast with pancakes, a glass of OJ, a bowl of fresh fruit, the best egg scramble AND a cup of coffee (or three). A good Sunday morning breakfast can make you smile away weekday worries and fuel you up for the rest of your “Sunday Funday”. It’s magical stuff. The band Lawrence wonderfully captured this magical vibe on their 12-song debut album, which has been titled none other than, well, Breakfast. I got to experience this wizardry first hand last Sunday, during their show at Denver’s Larimer Lounge.

12027252_1036786089679513_3447197768072507468_o.jpg

The band is led by New York-based siblings, Clyde (22) and Gracie (19) Lawrence, accompanied by six other band members. Lawrence blends old school with new sounds, propelling the group on a mission to write the music they wish “pop” sounded like. Breakfast integrates pop soul with deeply rooted R&B vibes, all the while pulling classic sounds from musical influences such as The Beatles, Randy Newman, Etta James, Stevie Wonder and Janis Joplin.

Watch Lawrence’s official music video for “Misty Morning”:

Lawrence put on an epic live show. They were playful, soulful and incredibly energetic. The band defiantly fed off of the audience’s involvement as they called out for chorus lyrics and claps to accompany their groove throughout the performance. Gracie Lawrence stuck out as the powerhouse of the band, and I was extremely impressed at how well her vocal tone carried over the seven different instruments on stage with her. She continuously ripped out melody lines throughout the show that made me weak in the knees.

Lawrence.

Lawrence.

Lawrence has already been on the road for six months. They recently played Bonnaroo Music Festival, which the two expressed was a super exciting experience, as it was the group’s first big festival. They have 12 more stops to go on the 2016 Breakfast Tour. I highly recommended trying to catch one of their shows, and if they are’nt rolling through your city this summer, take a listen to their album. Better yet, play it on a morning you have time to slow down and cook an epic weekend breakfast.

Shilo Gold. Photo per the author.

Shilo Gold. Photo per the author.

Alright, I am going to take it back to the beginning of the night. It wouldn’t be right to end this without mentioning Sunday night’s show opener and soulful vibe setter, Shilo Gold. This Colorado native has recently made her way back to Denver after spending the last five years in LA. She just concluded her first three-month US tour in support of her debut EP, Sideways Glances. Shilo has an incredibly strong and authentic presence on stage. Her performance Sunday night filled the venue with smoky vocals and bluesy melody lines that left me wanting more. I am pretty excited to see her lay roots in the Denver music scene. For all you Colorado kids out there, she is playing shows all summer!  

All in all, Sunday night’s show served me up some breakfast for dinner… and it was real good.

-Sierra

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

Boulder's Jeremy Mohney Quartet Celebrates New EP

By: Claire Woodcock

Jeremy Mohney and friends dropped a new hot jazz EP and it's superb.

Long time Boulder-based jazz artist Jeremy Mohney is back, with a new EP and a whole quartet of players. It’s called Get Dancin' and it’s coming out this Saturday, May 7th. On this release, Mohney and his band play to their strengths; the rules of jazz standard, the swing influences genuine. Each mix is saturated strategically, as not to swallow any instruments, but rather, create unity among the players.

The Jeremy Mohney Quartet.

The Jeremy Mohney Quartet.

On “Get Dancin’”, the title track off Mohney’s new self-release, it’s hard not to get up and dance. There is no drum kit on this EP, though a hint of snare can be heard on this track. With Matt Cantor strumming on nylon and Alex Heffron jamming on electric, the pair dance like magnets through the song’s midsection.

There’s a heavy Armstrong influence partying out on “You Got It”, the EP’s starter track, with the horn charging the beat. Bassist Gary Sloan adds an electric energy with his horn solo. Endearing rhymes, guaranteed to make even the purists of jazz artists’ heart sing, pair well with a bebop falling bassline. Mohney purposefully plays up the blue notes, making a statement for standard contemporary hot jazz that reverberates throughout the recording.

“You’re Not Blue No More”, a song you might hear in the background on Fallout 4, is one track I always look forward to hearing on shuffle. The mix sounds well EQed, with much of the body toned down to make room for a hot clarinet and trombone reverb. Although there’s a slight repetition in word choice in the lyrics, there’s no damage. This is hands-down my favorite.

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

“It’s No More” is a romantic jazz ballad reminiscent of a more contemporary influence, Michelle by The Beatles. Mohney’s swanky vocals end in trills as he fades out of the vibrato, which creates a pretty suave effect. Cantor and Sloan rock a militant bassline that trudges on with style and ease, a style that’s showcased by all the quartet’s players through a reverberant room-tone.

Overall, Mohney’s newest release is Boulder sophistication to the beat. The group is tight, yet improvisational, with each player getting his moment. The arrangements are short and sweet, with a kick. I definitely recommend celebrating with The Jeremy Mohney Quartet’s Get Dancin' release party on the Pearl Street Mall this Saturday, May 7 at 4 PM.

Your feet will not feel blue- I promise.

-Claire

Connect with me on instagram.

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

Rock and Roll: A Revival Hits The Boulder/Denver Music Scene

By: Mirna Tufekcic

At a coffee shop, “Take it Easy” by the Eagles plays over the speakers as I begin writing a piece about what the revival of rock and roll looks like from where I stand, and where I stand is somewhere around Boulder/Denver, Colorado. Like the age-old mathematical proof goes, IF rock and roll is dead, THEN it’s rising from the grave as we speak. But rock and roll never really died.  It’s been in a lull; now reawakening. Hence why I’m choosing to use the word revival over resurrection.  

The rock and roll revival is happening in the Boulder/Denver music scene. Not just because the music is hard, raw, and will make you sweat, but because people are living it heart first. Today’s rock stands on the shoulders of rock and roll giants, and that’s why I believe it has this potency and capacity to move you; to get under your skin. Boulder/Denver is the place to witness it firsthand, but you’ll have to seek it out before it’ll find you. Still fluttering its eyes from decades of sleep, rock and roll around these parts is slowly rising from underground, but underground it is still.

BANDITS. 

BANDITS. 

The recognition of this revival started for me a few weeks ago at Boulder’s Lazy Dog, when the BANDITS played their homecoming show after touring the country. Their hard rockin’ tunes injected a potent dose of “wake the fuck up, it’s rock and roll time!”, and I couldn’t help myself. Apparently, neither could the people around me, who found themselves rocking back and forth to the BANDITS music: reminiscent of the 70s, metal like the 80s, and with an in-your-face alternative flare of the grungy 90s; the latter you can partly, one-third precisely, thank the lovely LuLu Demitro for, the vocalist/bassist/keys of the band. As she sang, “Oh, baby, who’re we gonna kill tonight?”, I found myself remembering the days of women-led bands like Garbage, The Cranberries, and The Cardigans. Vocalist/guitarist John Demitro didn’t half-ass his presence on stage, either. Truly putting up a hard-rock performance, he jumped on the drum set, walked down into the crowd guitar-first, and played on his tip-toes at the edge of the stage, beckoning the crowd to move closer and closer to him.

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

After that night, rock and roll was in me; it was coursing through my veins. I remembered what I seemed to have long forgotten: rock and roll is life itself. I started fiending for another hit the very next day, where I found myself in Denver at the Hi-Dive for a Plum show, a rock and roll band based out of LA. But I was really there to see The Velveteers, a local duo who project some heavy, hard sounds right into your rockin’ soul. The Velveteers’ frontwoman Demi Demitro is nothing short of breathtaking. Not because she’s beautiful, which she certainly is, but because her guitar shredding and sharp lyrics ooze talent like raw honey off a fresh honey comb. (Warning: hearing them live will make your mouth water). There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a budding, 19-year-old female artist making music-lovers’ jaws drop. It’s powerful.  

Witnessing The Velveteers perform in admiration, I told myself to keep both eyes and ears open for their next appearance around town. Lo and behold, the very next day my music-loving compadre hit me up to tell me about an upcoming event with Denver’s beloved Yawpers at Lost Lake. “The Velveteers are opening for them at the Sunday BBQ show,” he added. He didn’t have to say more. I hung up and went straight to the Google app on my phone to buy tickets.

The author with #Nate from Denver's Yawpers, Cosby sweater and all. 

The author with #Nate from Denver's Yawpers, Cosby sweater and all. 

Sunday’s BBQ show at Lost Lake was a more intimate setting than the Yawpers’ sold-out Larimer Lounge show the night prior, which you can read more about here. There were mostly “friends with the band” peeps attending this event, and it made for quite the view into real rock and roll. Nate Cook, the frontman of the Yawpers, led a high-level, party-on-a-Sunday energy with vibrant, ridiculous antics particular to Nate. #Nate exists for a reason (thanks for this, Pete Simatovic!). Just to give you an example: At 2:30 pm in front of Lost Lake, Nate walked out wearing cutoffs just short of exposing his balls with a vintage sweater straight out of the Cosby show, cigarette in mouth. His energy attracted those around him to start chatting about music and his show at the Larimer the night before. The conversation moved back to the bar, where all involved shot whiskey.

Blackfoot Gypsies. Photo per BolderBeat by   Hannah Oreskovich  .

Blackfoot Gypsies. Photo per BolderBeat by Hannah Oreskovich.

Outside, Blackfoot Gypsies, who had been touring with the Yawpers, congregated around their van in front of Lost Lake to take pictures. And if you didn’t know what year it was, you would have mistaken it for being 1971: the group was outfitted in tight bell-bottoms, long unkempt hair, aviator ray-bans, and flowery t-shirts unbuttoned to the chest and all. But it’s 2016 and these guys were making a statement: “We’re bringing back the true rock and roll!” And that they did. The Yawpers, The Velveteers, and The Blackfoot Gypsies revived the sound of rock and roll with every tune they played.

The Yawpers. Photo per BolderBeat by  Hannah Oreskovich .

The Yawpers. Photo per BolderBeat by Hannah Oreskovich.

As Sunday funday at Lost Lake slowly rolled on, people got more involved in the music: they danced and sang along, feeding off of the rockin’ energy each band emitted. And that’s when I realized rock and roll isn’t just about the music: it’s a lifestyle. You either feel it, or you don’t. And to feel it, you’ve got to be there. It’s dark, it’s emotional, and it will take a toll on you. It’s irresponsible sometimes, and it’s about living in the moment.

Whiskey Autumn at Studio 700. Polaroid per  Becky Guidera .

Whiskey Autumn at Studio 700. Polaroid per Becky Guidera.

This past weekend I went to Boulder’s Studio 700 to feed my soul with rock and roll once again. A long list of musicians were paying tribute to The Beatles with short sets. Boulder’s Whiskey Autumn headlined the event, with members of Cold River City, BANDITS, and other singer-songwriters contributing to the revival of rock and roll through Beatles covers. It was, like the rest of my recent adventures, a night to remember.

Rock and roll, from where I stand, sure has a palpable energy ripe with life. Hope to see you there.

-Mirna

On The Record with Zach & David: The Un- "Branding" of BANDITS

By: David Landry and Zach Dahmen

BANDITS rebrand and talk to us about their history and their horizon.

BANDITS.

BANDITS.

One night over whiskey and records, we came up with a cool idea: we wanted to sit down with musicians, listen to music, and just talk about how they got to where they are. For our first interview, we jumped on Boulder’s own BANDITS. John and Lulu Demitro walked into the Gingerbread house and the first thing they both said to us was: “Nice- Rubber Soul is on.” That’s when we knew it was going to be a good evening, with The White Stripes and The Greenhornes to follow.

So let’s just start with the fact that the BANDITS are opening for fucking HEART tonight- yes Barracuda at the Budweiser Events Center. But how did they get here?

The BANDITS are a Boulder band through and through. Though they don’t play here often due to Boulder’s lack of hard rock venues, their family started here, with their grandfather being one of the first Colorado University students to attend school for bass guitar. He even owned a music shop, located where The Riverside is today. So the Demitros grew up here and still love it. John embarked on his first band (Baseline) when he was 17 and started out on bass guitar. Baseline began as a four piece, fresh out of high school; a rock band playing 21+ shows for pennies and no tab because they ‘couldn’t’ drink. John has always been influenced by the heavy hitters of rock and roll, like Zeppelin and Sabbath. Trying to fill out the sound of the band, he looked to his sister Lulu to play keys. Lulu started playing piano as a toddler and taught herself how to read music by playing Beatles songs over and over. But with John being the older brother, it took some convincing for her to even come to a practice. Eventually, she joined the band.

Rock and Roll.

Rock and Roll.

Baseline played some gigs to empty basements but nothing too serious. Together, the group’s first gig under the moniker Branded Bandits was opening a show at The Fox Theatre for West Water Outlaws, and with guns blazing the Branded Bandits kept playing. When the guitar player left the band, John told Lulu, “You will have to learn bass and I am going to learn the guitar parts.” And so they did. Non-stop practicing made their shows go smoothly from there, but what really came from the change was that they liked their new three piece outfit. Compressing the band changed the sound, and all they wanted was a badass rock band.

“The thing about rock and roll [is] there are no rules, you can do anything you want.” -John

Andrew Oakley.

Andrew Oakley.

Finding new influences like Queens of the Stone Age, The Kills, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club showed Bandits that they really didn’t need a lot to sound heavy. Working on finding their own sound made drummers come and go, but finding current drummer Andrew Oakley (formerly of West Water Outlaws) was a sign that they were moving in the direction they wanted. They felt more at home with Andrew on the kit. They were trimming off the extra and creating BANDITS.

“[Andrew] is a pocket drummer and we needed that; he’s all about the song and the collective.” said John.

Added Lulu, “With Andrew we were falling into our sound.”

The unbranded BANDITS quickly started working on new songs and hopped on the road. A touring rock and roll band in their early 20’s brings debauchery, and they have stories to tell. They stayed on the road as much as possible and then jumped into the studio to record. For the first time ever, they got to record like their idols. They taped and pressed a 7-inch.

“It was the first time we got to see how recording a tape worked.” they told us.

BANDITS Bring It.

BANDITS Bring It.

Which brings us to now, with BANDITS opening up the Heart show tonight. BANDITS were contacted a few months back about the show, but didn’t hear much until two weeks ago when they got a call that said, “You’re in.”

“They are the female Led Zeppelin, such a unique, powerful, and original sound,” Lulu smiled, “Two leading ladies: one plays guitar and they write their own tunes. [When it comes to our set] we are going to do what we are going to do and have a good time doing it.”

Spoken like a true rock and roll band. If you are seeing Heart tonight, make sure you get to the show early to see this fantastic three piece. Or you can catch them around Colorado- they play the Snake River Saloon this Saturday. Keep up with their performances here.

Listen to a Bandits track here:

-David and Zach on the record

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

Band of Brothers: A Sit-Down with Whiskey Autumn

By: Pete Laffin

Whiskey Autumn are all about their art.

WA. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

WA. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

I had the great pleasure of sitting down last week with Whiskey Autumn, a band I enjoy and admire, for an in-depth chat. They're headlining The Fall Showcase tomorrow night. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did:

I’ve been a fan of Whiskey Autumn for awhile. What I’ve always been impressed by since the first time I saw you guys is that the aesthetic you present isn’t based on a current “in” trend. Often, newly-formed bands put their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing: “I know, let’s start a new-grass band with a Fleet Foxes twist!” Rather, you guys settled into an aesthetic that’s very much not “in,” namely first-wave British Invasion. That’s what it looks like, what it sounds like; from your originals, to your covers, to the way David and Greg knock their heads around in your music video like a couple of Beatles bobble-head dolls. It’s very bold to go against the grain, but it’s even bolder to pick something so far from the norm. How did the three of you individually contribute toward defining this aesthetic?

Greg: That’s an interesting question. I guess it wasn’t a conscious decision to go toward or against a trend. We were all big Beatles fans. We all had the vinyl. It was the way we first bonded.

David: Greg already had Whiskey Autumn going before we met. Then we found Matty, and it was just one of those things: What do we all listen to? What do you we like? Because that’s going to be the fun stuff to cover. Being a band in Boulder, we have to play three-hour sets.

Matty: We’re not a jam band.

Thank god.

Greg: One of the first covers we honed in on was “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” by The Beach Boys.

Matty: Which is not an easy song. If you have the balls to play any Beach Boys song to begin with, that one isn’t high on the list. You need multiple strong vocalists.

Greg: And from a songwriting perspective, it’s incredible how quick the movements come in that song. It’s almost a classical piece in that way. We were really drawn to that. And especially on our first EP, we wanted to play some doo-wop.

Laffin with the Whiskey Autumn boys. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Laffin with the Whiskey Autumn boys. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

That’s the other direction you guys go: Motown. And while the subgenres aren’t the same, they happened within the same few years.

Matty: The one thing we all could definitely agree on was the music we would listen to when we were hanging out, which was Hard Day’s Night or Pet Sounds or Rubber Soul. For all of us, that era shines above everything else.

That’s really strange. That’s a very specific subset of music for three players to run with in this day and age. It must be daunting to think you are attempting to repave a way that has already passed. Your originals reflect this era, too. In light of this, what does success look like to you guys? A week from today? A month? A year? What are the expectations for pushing something no one knows they are looking for?

Greg: The success is making the art.

Matty: Great songs speak for themselves, regardless of the genre.

Couldn’t agree more with that.

Matty: Whether you’re reaching for one aesthetic or another, if the melody is strong and the lyrics are strong, it’s timeless. You can still listen to “Be My Baby” and it sounds just as fresh and magical as it did the first time you heard it when The Ronnettes put it out. In the studio, we just want our songs to be the best they can be.

So is that success to you guys? Making the best song you can make? Does moving up in the industry have anything to do with it?

Greg: I find the joy in the creating. That’s when I feel like we’re doing the real shit. It’s also a beautiful thing not having to answer to anybody, which we don’t right now, outside of budget constraints. The art is what lives on. Live shows are super important, but creating the records is where it’s really at. That’s what will live on.

Matty: The band has grown from a bedroom-folk thing to more of a rock band, and I come from a hip-hop background playing with DJs. We are always trying to build on what we know. It’s like advancing in math, always trying to solve more complicated riddles.

Behind the scenes of Whiskey Autumn's newest music video. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Behind the scenes of Whiskey Autumn's newest music video. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Having played here for a few years, what do you make of the Boulder scene?

David: The Boulder scene is different than the one I grew up in.

Where did you grow up?

David: Dallas. Downtown there were fifteen venues with three or four band bills and everyone supported and watched each other. If you played the nine o’clock slot, you would go over to another bar to support another band that had the midnight slot. Here it’s like, damn, we have to play three hours and be on every fucking song the whole night. Where I came from you got forty-five minute slots where you played the best songs you could in that time. Being here is like being a glorified bar band where you are in the background a lot and noise cancelling.

Do you think that’s because of a shortage of acts here?

Matty: It’s a shortage of venues.

David: That’s why we are working with other artists and BolderBeat trying to create a mid-level venue over at The Riverside.

Greg: You have The Fox or The Boulder Theater, but you have to build up a lot before you can get there.

Right, you have to be invited into the kingdom. Moving on: nostalgia and sentiment. Two very unhip things you also make hip.

Greg: Why thank you.

Everything you play, especially the songs you write, seem to be reaching back in time. Not just the aesthetic, but the lyrics, the mood of the sound.

Greg: I’m always trying to draw on things that happen to me, to think of them in scenes and tell a story. I’m trying to make a song out of the picture in my head that I see of the past. After you have had some time to think about things, you can understand them better. You put them through a different filter. You write a song about it and really understand what happened.

Band of Brothers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Band of Brothers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

In order to live together and be in a band together, you guys must get along pretty well.

Matty: There are times we want to punch each other in the face.

David: It’s gotten to brotherhood.

Matty: We have this family dynamic. We aren’t competing. We are a family and we want to do what is good for the family name.

David: Exactly. These guys are my brothers. I want them to be honest with me. Letting them down is worse than hurting yourself.

Matty: This has definitely been something different for me. It’s been very exciting. I was asked if I could fill in at first, which makes you more present. Count to four, count to six; whichever time signature we’re playing in. Stay in the pocket, keep it simple. I went into this thinking I was just filling in, which I love, even if it’s in a scene I’m not really into. It’s going to bring something new out of me. You just make a choice that it will be fun. And here we are nearly three years later, a repertoire of ninety songs we can play together, always having new musical ideas to bounce off one another. I could not have envisioned this is what it would become.

Check out the Whiskey Autumn trio this Friday at The Riverside where they are headlining The Fall Showcase. More details here.

Join the FB event here.

-Pete

All photos per Hannah OreskovichThis interview was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. 

Isolated Vocal Release: Whiskey Autumn's "A Fool's Errand"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Whiskey Autumn's isolated vocals series is a cool look into their sound. 

A few months ago, Whiskey Autumn approached me about modeling for their isolated vocal release series. Frontman Greg Laut storyboarded, directed, photographed, and styled the shoot for their “Letterman Sweater” track artwork, which you can see and listen to here:

In talking with Laut more about Whiskey Autumn’s isolated vocal tracks, I was inspired to work with him on the production of the artwork for their most recent release, “A Fool’s Errand.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we put this shoot together:

First off- what made you decide to release an isolated vocal series? And why create artwork for each track?

Isolated vocal tracks are meant to showcase a song in a way that people haven’t heard yet. The idea stemmed from nerding out on YouTube and listening to isolated vocal cuts from classic Beatles and Beach Boys songs such as "This Boy" and "Wouldn’t It Be Nice." Removing the backing instrumentation allows these songs to take on new life and emphasizes how important the vocals are to the overall sound of the recordings.

Many of the songs I write tell stories, and creating photos provides an image for the narrative. It’s fun to present a visual story and is more engaging than posting our existing album covers which people are familiar with at this point.

The images really do bring the story to life. “Letterman Sweater” was really the beginning of the portrait-style art behind each vocal release. What were you hoping to communicate with the artwork for that particular song?

“Letterman Sweater” is the story of a young man pining for his lost love. The only place he can understand and make the girl happy is in his dreams, where she is cold and puts on his sweater. The photo represents his dream world where the girl wears a piece of him and everything is a bit surreal. I wanted the picture to convey a sense of innocence since the song is about young, naive love.

Sweet. So let’s jump into the thought process behind “A Fool’s Errand.” Originally, you came to me with the idea of wanting the photo to have a feeling of rebellion. You had a strong sense of direction with this photo relating to the lyrics “adorn every white picket fence in flames.” Talk more about that.

When Whiskey Autumn was initially brainstorming album cover ideas for “Call You Mine,” I really wanted the cover to be a white picket fence on fire in front of an idyllic ‘American Dream’ type of house. We went with a different idea, but months later, I still thought this would make for a grabbing image. We just pivoted from the direction of literally lighting a fence on fire to a rebellious man preparing to burn down an established dream that he doesn’t believe in.

Speaking of the rebellious man, let’s give a quick introduction to our model. I actually did a Craigslist casting call for this shoot. We had a ton of people submit, and eventually local artist Michael Maloney reached out to us. His long hair and awesome tattoos (which he designed himself) seemed like a perfect fit for the defiant look of this photo. After an initial meet-up (and eventually an interview for his own feature, which will be published tomorrow detailing his cool artwork), we knew he was a perfect fit.

Which brings me to what I love most about the theme of this track art- the portrait element. It makes the song feel like it’s focusing on a character; a specific story, which I think is an awesome blend with such stripped-down tracks. Cut the instruments; add a strong visual. It’s a cool way for people to envision and interpret the songs differently and it presents something for their imagination to jump from.

Definitely. Even though I have my own interpretation of each song, listeners will naturally project their own feelings and perspectives onto them. Hopefully the photos will showcase what the songs mean to me while giving others a new vantage point to develop their own perceptions.

So stoked for more releases in this series. Check out the final photo we chose from our shoot and give “A Fool’s Errand” a listen here:

And make sure to check back tomorrow for the feature on the model in the photo, local artist Michael Maloney aka OhhMika The Fox King!

-Hannah

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