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.

Review: Cody Munro Moore's 'Perfume Nights' Will Give You All The Right 80s Feels

By: Adrian DeSimone

Australian artist Cody Munro Moore is clearly a millennial, even if he’s not. His music is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a sound that hearkens to something specific but upon deeper reflection, carries notes of a vast array of influences that inevitably create his own unique flavor of 80s inspired alt pop. These elements are evident on his new record, Perfume Nights.

On “Just Don’t Need It Enough,” he carries Joe Strummer’s heavily reverbed, almost wailing tone from The Clash’s early days. The sonic space given in the middle part of the song allows the listener to ponder a scene of their choosing, letting the echoes bounce around their own imagination, right as the song builds back in to get you grooving again. Moore does this beautiful balancing act between blending upbeat danciness and spatial vibes.

 

No Matter How Hard” borrows some notes from The Cure in vocals, as well as some modern influences like Tame Impala on the bass line, but again one can’t shake the visions of The Clash on this record. There is a fond sentimentality as Moore embraces the rawness of punk sensibility with a stronger emphasis on a “prettier” sound (reverb, echoes, distant horns), which is what always endeared me to those formative Clash albums. There is also a roughness to Moore’s voice that he doesn’t try to hide- in fact emphasizing those notes give his voice that special quality. Where someone like King Krule goes all the way, Moore is more subtle, allowing the glowing production to exist in the same sonic forum.  

Cody Munro Moore.

Cody Munro Moore.

On “Gold Watches,” Moore goes all in on the 80s feel. Echoing sax lines and unintentional visions of traveling through the city are almost reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen, the king of sentimentality. What I love most about Moore is that while he clearly has an audible aesthetic built around a relatively recognizable sound, there are so many bits and pieces of his influence that make these songs a cut above. Check out Perfume Nights above and purchase the vinyl through Dinosaur City Records

Keep up with Cody Munro Moore here

-Adrian

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

Bad Suns Set To 'Disappear Here' At Boulder Theater This Week (06/14)

Formed in 2012, California’s Bad Suns is comprised of Christo Bowman (vocals), Gavin Bennett (bass), Miles “Morris” Kottak (drums), and Ray Libby (guitar). The four-piece picked up major mainstream steam just a year after coming together with the release of their rock post-punk hit “Cardiac Arrest,” which propelled the band into recording their first full-length album Language & Perspective in 2014 with Vagrant Records. The group then released their next hit, “Salt,” toured with The 1975, played Coachella in 2015, and just last year, released their sophomore record, Disappear Here.

Bad Suns.

Bad Suns.

Said Bowman about the band’s indie and post-punk sounds, “I grew up with a lot of world music playing in the house. When I was 10, I started getting heavily interested in the guitar, and my dad began introducing me to his records from the 70s and the 80s. Initially Elvis Costello, then to The Clash, The Cure, and so on…”

It makes sense then that the band’s newest record has alt rock, pop, indie, dreamwave, and post-punk vibes. The record’s title track, “Disappear Here” has catchy 80s guitar riffs coupled with Bowman’s poppy chorus lines and melodic new wave synth sounds.

Listen to Disappear Here:

Alternative Press called Disappear Here an “experimental jams with new readings of synthesizers and guitar effects reminiscent of British-born New Romantic acts such as Duran Duran and Depeche Mode.”

Fresh off their recent Bonnaroo appearance, Bad Suns hit The Boulder Theater this Wednesday, June 14th for a sold-out show. Make sure to catch a glimpse of these LA rockers before they disappear back on the road for the rest of 2017. Keep up with Bad Suns on Facebook. We’ll see you there! 

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

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

By: Jesse Sandoval

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

Listen to Ink:

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

Empress.

Empress.

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

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

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

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

-Jesse

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

Album Review: Race to Neptune's "Oh Contraire"

By: Jesse Sandoval

Imagine: The alarm clock goes off. You and your closest friends begin to stir. There is a faint light coming in through the curtains; a welcome reminder that today, you and your friends are about to set out on the summer road trip you’ve been planning for months. The sun will be up in less than an hour, and a quick glance at the sky confirms it’s likely to be an extra beautiful day. Everyone is ready. The last of your supplies are moved into the already packed car with a fervent haste. You get in the driver's seat as everyone is buckling up. Last minute checklist: Wallet? Phone? Keys? Check, check, and check. Clothes? Gear? Beer? Check, check, and check. Coffee? Double-check. And most importantly, an album to start the adventure off right?

Check:

Oh Contraire, is the 9-track debut LP from the Fort Collins-based rock band Race to Neptune. It is sonically pleasing, playful, and refreshing. It teems with lush guitar-wall effects, tasteful melodies, and head-bobbing beats. The Colorado four-piece, comprised of Brian Maier (vox/guitar), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vox, guitar), and Zach Berger (guitar), have managed to squeeze as much luscious guitar tone as possible into some of these tracks. Nothing in the mix sounds too loud or too quiet. In fact, the whole album is evidence of some pretty nice production, which justifies a shout-out to the team at The Spot Studios, where it was recorded. The record is enjoyable to listen to, and has some genuine replayability. I caught myself grooving to RTN’s music each time I listened to it.

Race to Neptune.

Race to Neptune.

Most of the vocal melodies on the LP are fetching and evocative. The topics of the songs are fairly unrelated, but revolve around feelings of longing, fear, anger, and disgust; classic staples for this style of rock, which I would call shoegaze, dream-pop, indie/alt-rock. I tend to shy from labels; they usually say more about my experiences than what the band might actually sound like to you, but I gotta say something. In any case, I’m pretty sure that anyone with a solid appreciation of alternative rock music will enjoy Oh Contraire.

The opening track, “Wanderlilly”, is definitely my favorite track on the album. The succinct lyrics tell of a brief connection that is both sad and beautiful, and the song just rocks. Not far behind is the last track, “Waterspout”, which I love for its varied, yet balanced musicianship.

Listen to “Wanderlilly” for yourself:

Despite my endorsement, I do have one critique. The eighth track, “The Bayou Brew”, is a southern rock track that is too far a stylistic departure from the alt-rock sound of the rest of the record. Still, overall Oh Contraire is a strong debut.

In its entirety, Oh Contraire is a good rock album worth your listen. So whether it be for your next road trip, or whatever adventure you embark upon this summer, choose Race to Neptune’s Oh Contraire to come along for the ride. Keep up with the band on their Facebook and Reverbnation pages. Like you, I hope to catch them live soon.

Recommended If You Like: The CureSmashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Nirvana

-Jesse

BolderBeat's Guide to Colorado's Summer Music Festivals 2016

By: Claire Woodcock

It finally feels like summer, so let's fest. 

We know you want to hit the festivals on our list. 

We know you want to hit the festivals on our list. 

It’s festival season, which has all of us here at BolderBeat elated. Press kits are flying, and we want you to be as on the curve as we are! So here are our top picks for Colorado’s summer music festivals:

Project Pabst May 20-21

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats at Denver's Project Pabst. 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats at Denver's Project Pabst. 

Project Pabst was a wild success,” were Zach Dahmen’s words in retrospect of the festival that rocked Denver a few weeks ago. We brought you exclusive coverage on Best Coast, TV on the Radio and more in our feature of the event. Relive that time Charles Bradley almost did the splits and The Violent Femmes helped us blister in the sun with our photos per Ian Glass.

Sasquatch Music Festival May 27-29

Kurt Vile at Sasquatch.

Kurt Vile at Sasquatch.

BolderBeat had a press invitation to Sasquatch Music Festival this year, so we threw down content on The Cure, Disclosure, Florence and the Machine, M83, Grimes, Sufjan Stevens, Purity Ring, Kurt Vile And The Violators, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats, and more! Take a scroll through our pictures right here and read over our recaps of the awesome weekend. It wasn't in CO folks, but it sure was awesome.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 16-19

The 11th annual Sonic Bloom Festival is coming up soon! This year, SB is at Hummingbird Ranch, nestled in the heart of Spanish Peaks country. The weekend will feature performances from Bonobo, Tipper, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival also features a crazy lineup of yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 16-19

Telluride's Bluegrass Festival has been a massive success for 43 years. 

Telluride's Bluegrass Festival has been a massive success for 43 years. 

Telluride is known as one of the best festival spots of the west, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival has been keeping that notoriety alive for 43 years! The festival dates fall on the weekend closest to the summer solstice, giving you the longest day of the year to wander from set to set. Guests this year include Ryan Adams, Neil Finn, Emmylou Harris, and more!

Westword Music Showcase June 25

Summer in the city at Westword's Music Showcase. 

Summer in the city at Westword's Music Showcase. 

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts, most of which are Colorado-based. Denver band 888 is slated to play one of Westword’s main stages, while Cold War Kids, Matt and Kim, and New Politics front a lineup sure to make this year’s showcase a success.

The Ride Festival July 9-10

Views on views at Telluride's Ride Festival.

Views on views at Telluride's Ride Festival.

The Ride Festival, another Telluride fest, is one of the first live music/camp combos of the summer. Since 2012, this festival has firmly established itself in rootsy rock vibes. This year’s headliners include Pearl Jam and Cage the Elephant.

The Divide Music Festival July 22-24

divide-2016-lineup.jpg

Divide in Winter Park is a new music festival in Colorado this year. Its lineup boasts performances by Bleachers, Cake, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Kid Cudi, Miike Snow and more! Festival perks include hiking, biking and yoga for festival-goers.

The Underground Music Showcase July 28-31

For many Colorado musicians, UMS is one of the biggest festivals of the summer. Performers on the national scene include San Francisco garage rockers Thee Oh Sees. Go celebrate over 100 local performers making it happen in CO's music scene at this Denver setup!

Bass Center July 29-30

Bassnectar is bringing a massive show to CO.

Bassnectar is bringing a massive show to CO.

California’s Bassnectar first brought Bass Center to Colorado in 2010; this festival is the traveling circus of electronic music. The Bassnectar tour travels with its own custom sound rig, and headlines some of the most noted venues in the country. Acts this year include Flux Pavilion, Flying Lotus, Wu-Tang Clan, and Lupe Fiasco. You can check it out in Commerce City, and there are two camping villages for the hardcores: “The Shire” and “Narnia”.

Vertex Festival August 5-7

At its core, Vertex is diverse music, outdoor adventure, and artful fun in beautiful Buena Vista, CO. Alabama Shakes and Odesza are two of the headliners, to give an idea of the range of performers on this lineup. We’re covering press at Vertex, so expect lots of info to hit our site over the summer on this one!

ARISE Music Festival August 5-7

Nighttime shows at Arise rule. 

Nighttime shows at Arise rule. 

Here’s another festival that is Colorado heavy. ARISE will take place at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch again this year, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films!

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 12-14

Did we mention this fest is free?

Did we mention this fest is free?

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in historic downtown Fort Collins. Local faves DeVotchKa and The Fray are headlining this bad boy, and there's a ton of other great local acts playing too. Check out the lineup here!

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 19-21

BYOBlanket to Rocky Mountain Folks Fest.

BYOBlanket to Rocky Mountain Folks Fest.

The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is happening in Lyons, CO, a mountain town 15 miles north of Boulder that NPR’s All Things Considered once described as “the Nashville of the Rockies”. The festival recently added The Decemberists and Conor Oberst as national acts to their local lineup.

Riot Fest September 2-4

BolderBeat couldn’t be more excited to wrap up the summer festival roundup with Denver’s Riot Fest & Rodeo in September. With national acts like Sleater-Kinney, The Misfits and Yo La Tengo, to name a few, Riot Fest will be an explosive ending to the upcoming sunny summer of music!

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on our dedicated fest page!

-Claire

All photos per the festivals featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Sasquatch Day Three: Leon Bridges Plays a Small Acoustic Set to a Lucky Few, Savages Slay, Mac Demarco Parties (Duh), & The Cure Still Rule

Even with high winds threatening sets, the third day of Sasquatch had its share of awesome festival moments.

Sunday was a rough day here at the fest. The high winds that started early in the day never let up, and cancelled all but the main stage shows. Allen Stone and Tacocat were rescheduled, while Houndmouth, Saint Motel, and Frightened Rabbit’s sets were scrapped altogether. Leon Bridges, a highly anticipated show for many Squatchers, waited out the wind as long as possible, but as threats of cancellations loomed, Bridges actually made his way out to the lawn of the main stage to play some acoustic tunes to a lucky few.

Windy or not, Mac Demarco had a good time The Gorge. 

Windy or not, Mac Demarco had a good time The Gorge. 

Though it was a rough day for artists and festheads alike, there were definitely some highlights:

Summer Cannibals. 

Summer Cannibals. 

Portland's Summer Cannibals were a sunshine and wind-fueled set of rock’n’roll and good times.

Jehnny Beth of Savages. 

Jehnny Beth of Savages. 

The ladies of London’s Savages put on a truly savage performance, dressed in all black. Lead singer Jehnny Beth (Camille Berthomier) jumped from the stage platform into the crowd every other song, making for one of the most kick-ass aggressive sets of the entire weekend.

Yo La Tengo's James McNew.

Yo La Tengo's James McNew.

Yo La Tengo, a band that didn't get the numbers they deserved, were another example of the casualty of festivals booking great bands that get overlooked by the crowd that came for EDM.

Kaleo.

Kaleo.

Kaleo was an unexpected set to stumble on, and a nice surprise. The Icelandic troubadour sounded like a sweeter, prettier, modern-day Hank Williams. His steel guitar was gorgeous, and his playing was beautiful too.

Mac Demarco.

Mac Demarco.

Party boy Mac Demarco lured what seemed like the biggest crowd of the day, possibly due to the timing of the main stage closure, and possibly from people expecting another set like Ty Segall’s.

The Cure.

The Cure.

With the pinnacles of day three over, the sun set across The Gorge and evening entertainment began. Unfortunately, either people lost hope that shows would resume for the night after all of the day’s cancellations, or the majority of Squatchers don't know who The Cure are, because the night’s closing act played to a surprisingly thin crowd. Scheduled for a two hour set, The Cure played just an hour and fifteen minutes chock-full of hits. The sound was incredible; Robert Smith’s voice was just as smooth and perfectly toned as ever. They were true professionals and it was definitely a great performance, but it was a disappointing turnout.

Here’s to hoping the wind dies down for the final stretch. We’ll keep you posted!

All content per Kaitlin Summer for BolderBeat.

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

Sasquatch Music Festival Is This Weekend

 

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Sasquatch Music Festival starts tomorrow and we're pretty excited about it.

The furry creature in the woods is REAL kids and we’re STOKED to be covering its presence in The Gorge this year. Welcome to our weekend at the ‘Squatch! The massive music festival starts tomorrow, and here are the deets:

Who’s playing?

Sasquatch has a fat lineup this year, with heavy-hitters including: The Cure, Disclosure, Florence and the Machine, Major Lazer, M83, Grimes, A$AP Rocky, Sufjan Stevens, Purity Ring, Leon Bridges, Jamie xx, Kurt Vile And The Violators, Big Grams, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats, and more! You can peep the full list on their website, and if you’re trying to figure out who to see when, click here for the schedule.

Are tickets still available?

Only a few, which are likely to sell-out in the next 24 hours. Cop ‘em here.

Life at The Gorge.

Life at The Gorge.

What’s up with this festival?

4 days. 4 stages. Music, food, comedy, and camping. Hooping. Ice Cream. The chance to see Bigfoot. Sun. Sweat. Unexpected onstage collaborations. Fun. The opportunity to refuse to shower for four days and make your best friends revel in your Yeti-like scent. And all the while, surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in what is now the fest's 15th year. Yeehaw!

Aye! We're headed to Sasquatch!

Aye! We're headed to Sasquatch!

We’re bringing you exclusive coverage over the holiday weekend, so get ready for rad photos and sweet show summaries! Check back for all things ‘Squatch- show starts tomorrow.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos and artwork per the festival featured and those credited.

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

By: Deana Morton

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

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

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

Do you remember your first exposure to music?

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

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

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

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.  

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.
 

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

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

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

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

Scaled.  

Scaled.
 

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

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

Hayley on   OpenAir   Colorado Public Radio.  

Hayley on OpenAir Colorado Public Radio.
 

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

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

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

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

SRRS's latest release:  Totem .  

SRRS's latest release: Totem.
 

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

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

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

-Deana

Follow Deana on her music blog and twitter.

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

It's Good To Be Reminded - Matt Pond PA

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver loves Matt Pond PA.

“It’s good to be reminded.”

That’s what frontman Matt Pond of Matt Pond PA told us about halfway through his set at the Marquis Denver when he teasingly asked the audience for the name of opener Young Buffalo.

“I know their name. But you know- it’s like- ‘I love you’. It’s good to be reminded.” he smiled as a collective “I love you Matt!” echoed from the audience.

As Matt said, "The marquee of the marquis". Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich    

As Matt said, "The marquee of the marquis". Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich
 

Since 1998, New York based MPPA has been dropping consistently solid albums into the indie rock sphere. They’re currently on tour for the ten year anniversary of their sixth studio album, Several Arrows Later. Their sound is this: a hushed version of The Cure met up with a groovin’ drummer and one badass cello player. The hooks are catchy, the pulsing groove pulls you into each song, and the strings keep you floating next to Pond’s vocals.

Matt Pond PA set the mood the moment they walked onto the stage Tuesday night to The Cure’sPictures of You”. With the lights dimmed, the five-piece lineup was silhouetted against a golden backdrop reminiscent of the Several Arrows Later album artwork (and a simultaneous nod to the upcoming State of Gold). They fervently dove into the winding lyrics of “Halloween” with a tight hold on the kick and dreamy cello staccato. This was followed by “So Much Trouble”, which was my introduction to MPPA ten years ago and still stands as one of my most played songs of all time (thanks for that mixtape Greg Laut).

Several Arrows Later.   Photo Credit:    Hannah Oreskovich

Several Arrows Later.  Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

MPAA sinuously continued on, playing all of Several Arrows Later with bouncy energy and skilled musicianship. Their drummer Kyle Kelly-Yahner was killer and bass player Tierney Tough (coolest rocker-chick name maybe ever) added vibrant harmonies to some of the songs.

Following the album, Matt Pond PA played a few jams from their back catalogue and two new songs from upcoming State of Gold, one of which was the poppy, yearning “More No More”. It’s decidedly different from anything else from MPPA, but that’s been Matt’s style throughout his career.

Myself & contributor Becky post Matt chat. Photo Credit:   Greg Laut  

Myself & contributor Becky post Matt chat. Photo Credit: Greg Laut
 

After the final note rang out into the rainy night, I learned why Matt Pond PA has continually evolved with each album. I asked Matt what it’s like looking back to the conception of Several Arrows Later ten years ago. With a smirk he said, “I don’t know. I mean what have you been doing with your life for the last ten years? It’s like… you know you write these songs and you start out hating yourself but you learn to play them better and you learn to play for you.”

So maybe that’s it. Maybe State of Gold will show us what it’s like for MPPA to create something that they’ve learned to just play for themselves. But in the meantime, I’ll keep spinning Several Arrows Later. Because if there’s one thing I can tell you about listening to Matt Pond PA play one of their best albums live, it’s this: it’s good to be reminded.

Keep an ear out for State of Gold’s release on June 30th with Doghouse Records.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

PS: Matt- Because we talked about it, I had to:

Matt Pond PA a few years ago when they opened for Ben Folds in Omaha, NE. Photo quality terrible; show memorably great. -Hannah  

Matt Pond PA a few years ago when they opened for Ben Folds in Omaha, NE. Photo quality terrible; show memorably great. -Hannah
 

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