Denver's Annabelle Raps About The Importance Of Self-Love

By: Taylor Naiman

Annabelle is The Mile High’s very own 20-year-old female rap artist, and she’s making big moves in the industry. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she returned to her native Denver to hone her sound. Her introduction to the Denver scene was over a year ago at her first open mic and at the time, she felt like one of Denver’s only female artists. Still, she kept pursuing more stage opportunities at places like The Gothic and Cervantes’ Masterpiece, and while doing so, explored a range of sounds: hip-hop, jazz, rap, and soul.

Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Throughout the duration of her first EP, The Desire, Annabelle creates a storybook and gives the audience her true raw emotion. She has found a balance both lyrically and musically where she can explore different sounds and her own vulnerabilities. Her music is “melodic, soulful and highly vulnerable with hip-hop and jazz undertones.” It is open, emotional, and conveys her vulnerabilities. She strives to give her audience a spiritual awakening.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Annabelle told me that she is most influenced by artists she herself can dance to, such as Ashanti, Missy Elliott, 2Pac, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and J. Cole. Lyrically, she likes J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, and Kendrick Lamar. She told me, “I think I hold the same potential as any one of those legends.” And maybe that confidence is just what she needs.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Currently, Annabelle is working on three EPs in the studio, composed with a new energy and varied tones. They are going to be all about her life journey and “how people can be dangerous.” Each will unmask more of her vulnerabilities pertaining to relationships, self-love, and her continued growth. She describes this music as being reminiscent of an ambient Odesza sound with a  jazzy feel and a hint of a “50 Cent club record.” When she is not in the studio, you can catch her either riding horses or modeling in front of the camera.

Well-attuned to her style and vibe, Annabelle is someone to keep an eye out for. I recently had the chance to ask her a few more questions about her music:

What was your favorite song to write and why?

Should I’ because of the whole story behind it. I walked in on my ex with another girl in his bed. I was pretty calm about the whole situation at the time and didn’t know how to feel about it right when it happened. I tried to write a song about the way I was feeling and it went a couple of different ways before I finished it. But I went from the honest, vulnerable side when I wrote ‘Should I.’ It’s the battle, where you ask yourself, ‘What should I do?’ For me, it is a very poetic song where I can prove my self-love.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another female in the music industry?

Always know your worth and do not settle for anything less. Do not be afraid to tell people, ‘no’ in this industry. Have the confidence to do so! If your ideas do not align with those of other individuals, do not settle.

Learn more about Annabelle and her music here.

-Taylor

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

Where To Catch Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs This Fall

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Earlier this summer, BolderBeat’s man on the street Zach Dahmen caught up with singer/songwriter Matt Rouch at Denver’s Underground Music Showcase. It had been a year or so since we’d last chatted with Matt, and the frontman of Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs has been busy.

Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs 

Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs 

After the success of his 2016 self-released debut record, The Beautiful and the Damned, Rouch and his band have been touring the state, opening for acts like Ian Mahan and Kristin Diable. The Americana quartet have also played a number of festivals, like Spread The Word, The UMS, and even Boulder’s Porchfest.

Listen to The Beautiful and the Damned:

Rouch, who describes himself as a “southpaw whiskey-loving Virgininian,” now calls Denver home, along with bandmates Alex Fostar (violin/guitar), Stu Guarney (upright bass), and Ricky Brewer (drums). The four-piece have been in the process of recording new music, some of which you may be privileged enough to here at one of their upcoming fall shows. Rouch still plays solo often as well, which is a special treat to hear if you can swing by one of his shows.

This Tuesday, September 19th, Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs will actually share the stage with renowned jazz and blues singer/songwriter Pokey Lafarge at Denver’s Gothic Theatre, marking one of their biggest shows to date. They’ve also managed to lock down a Summit Music Hall set with Cowboy Mouth on Friday, October 13th. Needless to say, Rouch & Co. are rising fast in Colorado’s scene, so make sure to snag tickets to one of their upcoming sets here. We’re excited to see this Americana folk outfit in action.

Keep up with Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs 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.

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.

Real Estate Stopped at Denver's Gothic Theatre Before Coachella This Weekend & Kept Things Chill

By: Sierra Voss

Real Estate cruised into Denver’s Gothic Theatre this week. The band recently created a buzz by releasing their first music video for their single “Darling,” which features a horse named Moose who has become quite famous. Shortly after their release of “Darling,” Real Estate dropped their newest album, In Mind.

Founding band members Martin Courtney (guitar/vocals), Alex Bleeker (bass/vocals), and former member Matt Mondanile meet in high school. It wasn’t until post-college that the three met up again and formed Real Estate. Soon after taking the plunge, they signed to Domino Recording Company and have since played plenty of national music festivals, including Coachella (which they will play again this weekend) and Pitchfork. Last year, Mondanile left the band and was replaced by Julian Lynch (guitar). Real Estate’s current touring lineup also includes Jackson Pollis (drums) and Matthew Kallman (keyboards).

Real Estate’s mission with their new record seems to simply be to keep shit chill. In Mind holds fast to their well known tranquil guitar lines and whimsical lyrical phrases, but is missing some of the flare found in old songs like “It’s Real” or “Had to Hear.” As such, the show was pretty much just that- laid back tranquil vibes reflective of In Mind. Upon taking the stage, band member Bleeker actually lit a stick of Palo Santo. And let’s face it- it doesn’t get much chiller than that.

Beeker and the Palo Santo sticks. 

Beeker and the Palo Santo sticks. 

Following the first song, frontman Courtney announced to the audience that his guitar string broke and asked if anyone out there knew how to restring it. Almost immediately, an audience member began to hop on stage, offering to restring the guitar for him. Newbs move, since it turns out the band was just joking, and handed the guitar off to be dealt with by the pros. But after that, Real Estate’s very chillness continued on with Palo Santo smoke in the air and most of us hoping for a Moose sighting. Keep up with Real Estate’s full tour here.

-Sierra

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

Trev Rich Blows The Door Open on Denver's Hip-Hop Scene

By: Sierra Voss

Rapper Trev Rich has blown open the door on Denver’s hip-hop scene. All eyes are now on the Mile High City’s hip-hop community thanks to Rich’s announcement in 2016 of signing with Cash Money Records (Drake, Nicki Minaj, Young Money). Denver has already been spotlighted in the national music scene with breakout artist like Nathaniel Rateliff, The Lumineers, and now, rapper Trev Rich has also made this shortlist.

Watch Trev Rich’s music video for “Gossip”:

Last week, Trev Rich took the stage at The Gothic Theatre, wrangling up all of his fans, friends and family from far and wide to celebrate his musical journey thus far. Trev has a reputation of being a genuinely happy dude who knows how to rhyme, and his performance was true to form. The venue was packed and buzzing as the night's openers took the stage, which included sets by Squizzy DJS featuring DJ Squizzy Taylor + DJ Hollywood Cook + DJ KDJ Above, Trayce Chapman, and Povi.

Trev sang hits off of his most recent mixtape, including popular favorites like “Flex Sumn.” He worked the entire stage, backlit by an LED screen which displayed an array of graphics behind him with short video clip interludes between songs. Standout graphics included drone images of Denver’s cityscapes and Rich’s classic portrait from the cover of his 2016 album To Make a Long Story Short.

Rich’s set was short but fierce, marked by explosions of fog and vocal tags including the classic airhorn sound. Fans ate it up, dancing and singing along as he crushed through his set. Trev Rich ended the show by inviting a fan up onstage to take the mic as he smiled, “I know she knows every word to this one!” His charisma during his performance and his involvement with the crowd proved this is an artist who has the spirit needed to represent Denver hip-hop and take it to the national level.

IMG_2341.jpg

We can’t wait to see what's up next for this talented Denver artist.

Keep up with Trev Rich here.

-Sierra

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

Sting Like The Beeves

By: Pete Laffin

Honest question:

When was the last time you moshed?

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

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

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

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

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

The Beeves.

The Beeves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

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

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

I was richly rewarded for my open-mindedness.

Photo Credit: Veltrida

Photo Credit: Veltrida

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

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

Listen to The Beeves’ track “Oogamy”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Pete

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

Seu Jorge Played 'The Life Aquatic's Tribute to David Bowie' For Sold Out Gothic Theatre Last Friday

By: Claire Woodcock

Over the weekend, Seu Jorge reprised his role as Pelé dos Santos, the “safety expert” and Brazilian singer-songwriter who acted in and soundtracked the 2004 Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The classic red curtains of The Gothic Theatre in Denver opened on Jorge sporting the Team Zissou trademark uniform, ready to play acoustic hits from the late David Bowie. He launched into “Ziggy Stardust” while pastel pinks and aquatic shades of blue lit up the theatre. Jorge, a Brazilian pop samba revivalist, strummed his maple-shade guitar with intention as he sang the Portuguese translations of Bowie’s hits.

When Jorge first released his covers in coordination with Anderson’s cult film, Bowie praised Jorge’s renditions of his songs by saying, “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”

Some of the electricity and rhythm of Bowie’s lyrics are lost in translation, but that’s not to say that Bowie songs are not translatable. During his lifetime, David Bowie released French, German, and Indonesian versions of his own songs. Because the Portuguese translations do not always sync up, in many instances Jorge changed lyrics to fit the covers. For those of us who haven’t had much exposure to the language, the English words sometimes stuck out at Friday’s show, like in Jorge’s cover of “Changes” where the chorus rang out in the familiar, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” across the room.  

Yet for other tunes, the translation from English to Portuguese was seamless, like in “Rebel, Rebel,” which is arguably one of Jorge’s strongest covers. The crowd of the sold out show did their best to sing along not in English, but in Portuguese. The singing sailor’s setlist veered away from the film’s soundtrack sequence on “Astronauta de Mármore (Starman),” a song which presents a challenge for translation due to its preexisting rhythm. On Jorge’s covers of “Rock and Roll Suicide” and Suffragette City,” he embraced the unsettling and urgent discordant nature of the tunes as he reached for high notes with a grittiness that the late Bowie would have breezed through. On “Lady Stardust,” Jorge was able to settle back into his lower register, where his voice exhibited strength and poise.

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The crowd at Friday's show consisted of an eclectic mix of Bowie lovers and Life Aquatic fans gracious for Jorge’s tribute. People reciprocated Seu Jorge’s enthusiasm, wearing red beanies popularized by Team Zissou, as they tried to stumble through the endings of phrases that they recognized and made their best attempts at several Portuguese sing-a-longs.

Life On Mars. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Life On Mars. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Jorge took a moment during his set to talk about losing Bowie last January. Like so many others, Jorge drew much inspiration from the late artist. He told us that three days after Bowie passed away, Jorge lost his father as well. As a commemoration to them both, he then played “Life On Mars.” In the crux of this moment, it was clear who Jorge was singing for.

As his set closed for the night, the crowd erupted with shouts of “Volta!” which means “Come back!” in Portuguese. Jorge returned for an encore with a reprise of “Rebel, Rebel” while a farewell slideshow of psychedelic images, film clips, and animations played behind him. Finger-picking with elegance, Jorge’s cover of the classic Bowie hit became his own. It was worth listening to twice.

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Bowie’s spirit was surely getting freaky with us on Friday evening. So if you liked The Life Aquatic and miss David Bowie, I couldn’t recommend The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge (2005) more. It’s available on Spotify. And if you’re looking to catch the last leg of Seu Jorge’s tribute tour, grab details and tickets 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.

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

By: Joliene Adams

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

BolderBeat's 'Get Your Creep On' Playlist

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

Genre: Suggestively invasive, disquieting fertile terror.

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

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

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

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

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

Genre: Fight or flight.

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

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

Genre: Dracula Monster Mashing on a surfboard.

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

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

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

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

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

Genre: Unpredictably sourced nonlinear chaotic noise.

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

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

Genre: Murderous lullaby crooning creepstyle.

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

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

Genre: Ambient jungle terror.

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

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

Genre: House of mirrors B movie camp-glam.

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

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

Genre: Rock'n’roll into the grave.

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

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

Genre: Horror western languid death march rock.

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

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

Genre: Reality based lyrical fear hop.

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

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

Genre: Teddy Ruxpin death rattle.

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

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

-Joliene

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

We Talked to The Fighter and The Kid About Their Upcoming Denver Stand-Up Shows, CO Music, & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich + An Interview By David Landry

This is a duo you don't want to miss. 

You may know actor/writer/comedian Bryan Callen and former professional football player, UFC fighter, and Colorado native/CU alum Brendan Schaub best from their podcast “The Fighter and The Kid”, which garners over 3 million downloads a month. I first heard the comedic duo on The Joe Rogan Experience, which prompted me to dive into their hilarious and wildly successful show. Recently, the two announced that they’re hitting the road together for a nationwide stand-up tour, starting at the Irvine Improv in California this Wednesday, March 16th. We were hoping for a Colorado date, and lucky for us, WE GOT FOUR, the most shows of anywhere that these riotous dudes are scheduled to perform.

Our contributor David recently chatted with the duo about their upcoming stand-up tour, Schaub’s time at CU, Colorado music, and more. So get ready to roar this Friday and Saturday at Comedy Works Denver South, because if our conversation with these two is any indication, it’s going to be one hell of a weekend at the CW. Keep reading, and for the full audio interview, scroll to the bottom and listen up:

D: How yah doing gentleman?

C: Just a couple of men on a Friday morning.

Schaub & Callen. 

Schaub & Callen. 

D: Haha great. So you have a really fantastic podcast. It’s really funny and it seems really natural, like you guys just have fun talking and laughing with each other. How did y’all meet and build that chemistry and create something like this?

S: We’ve always kind of had that chemistry, from day one. I met Brian on the set of The Ultimate Fighter in Vegas and I’ve always been interested in the entertainment business. Bryan is one of the pioneers for that out here [in LA] so when I moved out here, he took me under his wing. He asked me to come on his podcast and we had this weird chemistry, so it was Brian’s idea to start this thing and, man, I was never expecting it to become what it has.

C: Yeah- you never know if something is going to become successful. But we are two guys who are hanging out and talking the way we would anyway- and that’s the big thing. We’re not planning anything. We just go and talk. And when we have someone on as a guest, we’re not trying to interview them…. They’re part of a conversation. There’s no filter.

S: Yeah we have no agenda. We can talk [with our guests] about whatever we all want to talk about. We’re just hanging out. I think a lot of people tune in because [it’s like] they’re one of the guys. A lot of people in this business want the love from everybody, but that’s not the way to go. And that’s how I know a show is good- if we get a bunch of bad comments or good comments, as long as they’re comments, it’s good because then we know they care about what we’re saying.

C: It’s true. In comedy, if 20% of the audience is a little disturbed or maybe doesn’t even like you that much, then you’re doing your job. If everybody likes you, then you’re just one of those comics up there smashing watermelons or something, with all due respect.

S: Yeah I’m thinking about smashing fruit at our next live show Brian. I’m running out of material…

C: I’m already all over it.

D: I think as long as you wear a cabbie hat and a mustache for that, you’ll be fine. So talk to us about this radical tour ya’ll are about to start on March 16th.

S: We start in Irvine and then we head to my hometown of Denver.

D: So Brendan you’re from Colorado? You grew up here and are from the Denver area?

S: Correct- I grew up in Aurora, Colorado and I went to Overland High School, and then I went to University of Colorado where I played football for four years.

D: That’s fantastic. I didn’t know you grew up in Colorado as well. Is that a reason you are doing four shows at Comedy Works Denver on March 18th and 19th?

S: Yeah that’s usually not our game plan. Usually what we do is one city, one night, one show- a big show- in like 800-900 [person] theatres. But in Denver at Comedy Works… I mean I’m from there so I’d like everybody who wants to see it to be able to see it, and it’s Denver. I know they’re going to come out and support, so that’s kind of the plan here.

C: A lot of times we’ll do a show and sell out really quickly but the bummer is we have to turn a bunch of people away and we’re like look, we’re in Denver, let’s just do four shows and see what happens.

D: That’s awesome.

S: Oh and it’s my birthday March 18th!

D: So the 18th show is going to be like a nude show? Everyone’s going to be in their birthday suits?

S: Yeah the only way you’re going to get in is with a birthday suit and a positive attitude. 

Callen preparing to get into his birthday suit. 

Callen preparing to get into his birthday suit. 

D: I’m glad we’re on the same page. So BolderBeat is a music news and entertainment website. Brendan- growing up in Colorado, who were some of the local bands and artists that you were listening to? And what were some of the places you’d go hang out in with your football buddies?

S: I remember one of the [local] bands who was really huge in highschool and college was The Fray. They were awesome. As far as other Colorado bands, I worked security at The Fillmore, The Gothic, and Red Rocks in college so I was around a lot of the music industry… And as far as where we hung out, I was in the typical Boulder spots: The Sink, Pearl Street.

C: Yeah some really big bands have come out of [Colorado] right? Like Big Head Todd [& the Monsters]?

D: Yeah and The Samples. So when you guys go out and do a performance of “The Fighter and The Kid” live, are you going out and doing the podcast?

S: See that’s where people make a mistake. A lot of the bigger podcasts in the podcast world go out and do these live shows, but “The Fighter and The Kid” live show is not a live podcast... it’s a live experience, it’s an entertainment show. It’s not like the podcast. But if you like the podcast, you’ll love this. We get pretty wild and have some fun.

C: Yeah we kind of surprise each other too. We like to throw things in there and get crazy.

D: Nice. So your podcast is weekly- are you still doing the podcast while you are on the road since y’all are on tour until May?

S: Yeah we always find time to get it done. The podcast is our mothership and home base and we know that not everyone can make it to these live shows. We realize that. So people can still bank on two podcasts a week, that’s for sure.

C: Always. Without fail.

D: Cool. Can you tell us one of the weirdest things that has happened to y’all while you were traveling on tour?

C: One time this woman got up and accused Brendan of proposing to her and there was this weird moment in the audience. She was like, “You asked me to marry you.” And she was um… she was the worst. She looked like Brendan with a wig. And Brendan was like-

S: -yeah we do open forum fan questions at the end where it’s a live mic, so you can’t really censor those. So we’ve had some pretty interesting questions. It makes it fun though. That’s how we end every show.

C: Then it’s like $10 to touch us and $15 to have sex with us.

50 Cent   allegedly paid $20 in Vitamin Water to touch Callen and Schaub. 

50 Cent allegedly paid $20 in Vitamin Water to touch Callen and Schaub. 

D: Well gentleman, I don’t really have any more questions. We know you’re playing Comedy Works South in Denver this weekend. Anything else you’d like to add?

C: We’re excited.

S: Last time I was in Denver, I was fighting in an octagon for the UFC, so this performance, I think, is going to be a little more fun.

D: Well hopefully there will still be a knockout.

C: Brenden and I are going to do some light sparring on stage, some light sparring.

D: Can’t wait.

Get your tickets to the show while you still can! Buy them here.

Listen to our full audio interview with The Fighter and The Kid:

We’ll see you at Denver Comedy Works South this weekend peeps.

-Hannah & David

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