Backseat Vinyl Talk To Us About Flipping Their Sound & What's In Their Name

By: Nathan Sheppard

Backseat Vinyl are a two-piece outfit made up of Nate Fuller (guitar) and Keenan Clarke (drums) who are paving their way into Denver’s music scene with their unique sound. The band was originally a metal/punk act four years ago when the duo started the band as a side project. But shortly after, the guys did a 180 and flipped their sound.  

Backseat Vinyl.

Backseat Vinyl.

“We initially started out with a very 90s grunge sound, but after getting tired of it, we began to evolve into a more indie style and have been perfecting the craft since,” says Keenan.

Although they changed up their style, you can still hear punk crafts in their music, especially with the drums on their newest single “Swing On By,” and with the guitar riffs in “Greaser.”

Backseat Vinyl (3).jpg

When asked about their musical influences, the band names Nirvana, Vampire Weekend, Wavves, The Frights, and Hippo Campus. And when it comes to songwriting, Nate said that he “just uses everyday experiences and how they affect you and make you feel” as inspiration. This style gives them a very raw feel that people are able to relate to easily, and the duo’s fun-loving and carefree attitude is a breath of fresh air in a scene where some bands can take themselves too seriously. This demeanor was most evident when I asked about the backstory of the band’s name.

“When brainstorming a new band name on the drive back home from a studio session, Nate and I were in mutual agreement that we wanted the first part of the name to be ‘Backseat’ because I always had a plethora of trash in the backseat of my car. We combined it with ‘Vinyl’ when trying to think of words that paired well together and rolled off the tongue.”  said Keenan.

Backseat Vinyl (5).jpg

The duo was recently featured on Channel 93.3’s locals-only show, which in Keenan’s words, “was a cool experience… hearing that other people listened [to us] on the radio and to get that kind of exposure is great.” Backseat Vinyl also played the Moon Room this month, one of their biggest shows to date, opening for New Jersey band Prawn. The guys have four singles on Bandcamp with an an album in the works, and have some studio time planned later in the year. In the meantime, you can catch Backseat Vinyl March 23rd at Streets of London Pub with Sadgirl and Bruiser Queen. Tickets here.

Nate and Keenan have a great musical chemistry with one another to create songs that you can just jam out to. Keep up with the band here.

-Nathan

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

Rain In July Rocked Their Moon Room Set From Start To Finish

By: Nathan Sheppard

While it was a chilly Tuesday outside, inside The Moon Room at Summit Music Hall, everyone kept warm while enjoying some excellent tunes. For what was arguably one of their best shows of the year, In My Room kicked things off with a bang. Their raw and edgy sound can be compared to Movements, loud and fast.

Coldfront.

Coldfront.

Next was Coldfront, hailing from Ontario, Canada, who put on a solid show with their energetic and upbeat style of pop-punk. They recently released a new album called Float Around that you can check out here. Hot Mulligan, who are on tour with Coldfront, followed with their angsty punk rock, and had the crowd singing along with them.

If I Fail took control of the stage next and showed why they are one of Colorado’s best pop-punk bands. Their infectious riffs had the audience on their feet and the band’s introspective lyrics gave our inner emo kid all the feels.

Rain In July.

Rain In July.

Rain In July was the final band to take the stage, and rocked it from start to finish. RIJ put on a lively show that had the crowd hyped and off their feet. Once everyone was singing along to their songs, they even threw in a cover of “Bodybag” by Hit The Lights. RIJ finished off their set with a fan favorite “Breathe” and a special guest appearance from Andrew Elofson from 1000 Miles of Fire, which was the perfect way to cap an epic show. The guys proved why they are one of Colorado’s best up and coming bands with a very bright future. You can check out their latest EP “Trying To Breathe” on Spotify.

Keep up with Rain In July here and check out the full gallery from this show for more photo madness.

-Nathan

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

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters Are Back In Colorado

By: Matti Earley

Shawn James started his career as many artists do- solo. In 2013, however, he united with four other musicians to form what is today Shawn James & the Shapeshifters, who we last caught live just a year ago at Denver’s Moon Room. Now, the crew is in the midst of a nationwide tour, and will be branching out with international shows beginning at the end of June. They make their last of three Colorado stops at Hodi’s Half Note this Thursday, June 1st and we’ll be there snapping the action!

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters sound is a mix of blues, folk, soul, and rock, backed by vocals from James that intensify an already powerful instrumental listening experience. The band are touring on their 2016 release, On The Shoulders of Giants which is a record "full of swampy beats, banjos, slide guitars, bluesy melodies, and James’ captivating vocals." The album speaks universally about the grittiness and tribulations of the human experience. Along with some of their other records, it’s the kind of music that wouldn't be out of place on a thriller soundtrack. In fact, a previous song from James’ called “Through the Valley” was featured in “The Last of Us Part II” which is described as “action-adventure survival horror.” It also explains why the last time we caught these guys live, they rocked a metal set

Tickets for the Hodi’s show are available here; locals One Flew West will open the night. Get yours now and we'll see you there!

-Matti

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

Meeting House Are Getting Ready To Drop New Music On You

By: Trevor Ryan

There really is no debate on whether or not the world needs more aspiring young musicians. We need bands that not only challenge themselves in forward motion, we need advocates for our influences as well. We need bands like Meeting House. I recently talked with guitarist/vocalist Ethan Cowell about where the band is since their last chat with BolderBeat, what's on the horizon, and of course, their upcoming new music, which will be released May 19th with a show at Denver’s Seventh Circle Music Collective.

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

If you haven't heard of these guys yet, they’re the loud, bluesy band from Denver CO with a grungy funk rock center. It's hard to put a name to their exact sound, but from the sound of it, these guys intend to keep it that way. With a well received self-titled EP, and countless live shows under their belts already, it appears that there is no stopping this three-piece group. And as you'll find out in my conversation with the frontman below, they have much, much more to give us.

Listening to your self-titled EP, it definitely feels like your sound comes together organically. Would you consider yourselves collectively still in that “finding yourself stage” or are you pretty comfortable with where you're going?

I don't think it's a matter of sound really. We don't want to sound like anything. We want it to sound like us. So I don't know, we may not ever find it.

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

You've been compared to The White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys. How does that kind of recognition make you feel?

Honestly I don't even believe it, like it seems so awesome. It's such an honor to [be] put out there and be compared to these people. Like I said, I just have a hard time believing it.

Just recently, you guys have played Moe's BBQ, The Moon Room, and Seventh Circle Music Collective. What would you say is your favorite type of venue to play as a band?

One with nice people. We just like to play. That's the reward for us: having the privilege to play anywhere.

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You've been teasing with talk of new music on May 19th. So as fans, what should we expect from the new release?

That's a tough question to answer. We have so much music. We just like to make stuff and record. Hopefully just honesty. We don't want to come across as overly cliche. We just don't want to sound like we're trying to be anything, we just want you to hear... us.”

Will the new music be a follow-up EP?

We’re actually still deciding, arguing over how much we want to release. Whether it be one or two songs, or a full album.

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Are there any bands that you've encountered or played with that are really fueling you at the moment?

The Beeves are our number one best friends in the entire world for sure, both on and off stage. But The Ephinji’s are a great band as well- we play with them a lot. We feel really blessed to be part of the environment that is the Colorado music scene.”

These guys have an energy that will make your bones jump- you know the kind I'm talking about. So make sure you see ‘em while they're still in the underground. Catch them at Meeting House with The Beeves Friday, May 19th at Seventh Circle Collective before they jet out on tour. Keep up with Meeting House’s latest news on Facebook.

-Trevor

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

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters: Metal at The Moon Room & More

By: Zach Dahmen

Shawn James and the Shapeshifters went metal last weekend and it was delicious.

Last week, I crawled through a sea of black t-shirts emblemed with the gods of metal: Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax, where beards as thick as midnight stretching until dawn were abound, and heavily tattooed arms were a part of the dress code for the evening. At the center of the room was an enormous square bar that left just enough room for the crowd to squeeze up to the stage. I was at Denver’s Summit Music Hall in the Moon Room, and if metal is a feeling, this space exudes it through the walls.

Shapeshifter Beats.

Shapeshifter Beats.

The night began with a pair of Colorado locals: Sea of Teeth and Champagne Charlie. Each set the tones of their performances by engaging with the crowd and creating anticipation for the headliner, and the band I was there to see, Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

As I sipped a $7 Bulleit, I watched Champagne Charlie’s horn section tune up, a band who claims to be “a drinking man’s music” and delivers. In what was a set of gypsy punk/folk and soul, the band was a surprise of pure fun who are definitely worth seeing live. Frontman Ryan “Peepers” King brought an energy to the stage that spread to the audience, who was soon jumping and shouting to CC’s tunes. The group brought an element of raucous fun that continued to vibe until the venue closed.

Metal.

Metal.

The crowd grew as the openers packed up their gear, and soon it was time for the headliner. Shawn James & The Shapeshifters came out strong, as a high energy rock band with the precision of metal and the sensibility of southern rock’n’roll. The Arkansas trio kicked off their tour missing a few members for this Denver show (those who add the banjo, fiddle, and slide guitar, to be exact), and so, they went metal. In what several audience members told me was a “harder, grittier” version of the typical Shawn James show, the three piece ripped through their set like a pro wrestler tearing a phonebook in half: enthusiastically and without remorse.

Shawn James.

Shawn James.

Frontman Shawn James, who has worked in a number of capacities (solo singer/songwriter and in various group projects), sang with gospel-like pipes, belting his songs over thumping rhythms and heavy guitars. The Shapeshifters made use of their namesake, moving in and out of their songs one after the other while slyly subverting genres.

Hands Up.

Hands Up.

The crowd ate up every moment: they moshed, they howled, and they screamed every word right along with James. And the trio fed the audience’s enthusiasm right back to them: they expressed their love for their Colorado fans as they pulsed the room with heavy sounds, streaming through everyone’s heads. And yet, with all the attention (many people we talked to traveled to all of the band’s shows in CO, and had seen them several times over the years), the men on stage could not have had a more humble and gracious quality to them. They thrived off of the crowd’s adoration, all the while doing what they do best: making great music.

Whip.

Whip.

For a head-whipping good time Shawn James & The Shapeshifters are not to be missed. Keep up with their tour schedule, and pre-order their album On The Shoulders of Giants here.

-Zach

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. To see more of this show, follow her on Instagram. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters: These Howling Hellhounds Hit The Moon Room Thursday

By: Hannah Oreskovich

We’ve been hitting the rock scene hard lately (see “My Weekend with The Yawpers and Blackfoot Gypsies” and “Rock and Roll Revival”), and we’ve got another one on the books for you Colorado! This Thursday, Arkansas’ rockin’ five-piece Shawn James & The Shapeshifters play Summit Music Hall’s Moon Room. With elements of bluegrass, folk, and metal intertwined into their rock roots, this show is bound to be a heavy-hitter with Colorado music fans.

Shawn James.

Shawn James.

This July, the band will release their newest album, On The Shoulders of Giants, with presales beginning May 7th. SJATS recently dropped their first single from the album, the roaring, guitar-heavy “Hellhound”. It’s a perfect showcase of James’ strong baritone vocals, howled over subtle percussion, catchy guitar riffs, and a droning violin. The track is a powerful introduction to On The Shoulders of Giants, an album full of swampy beats, banjos, slide guitars, bluesy melodies, and James’ captivating vocals.

Listen to Shawn James & The Shapeshifters’ “Hellhound”:

Shawn James is no stranger to these parts either. Not long ago, he filmed the music video below at the Colorado Springs Wolf Sanctuary. The howling artist had no problem making furry friends:

Denver’s dark folk/punk four-piece Champagne Charlie will share the stage Thursday night, along with Littleton’s blues outfit Sea of Teeth, a solid lineup put together by Soda Jerk Presents.

Listen to Champagne Charlie’s wild “Devil Bone Crazy”:

So roll with us to the Moon Room this Thursday 05.05 (yes it's Cinco de Mayo kids)! We’ll be there covering press and tickets are only $10 in advance; doors at 7PM. See you there for a night of rock!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

Get Along's Back At It With Their Live Recording of "Karaoke"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

After a musical hiatus, Nicholas and Cara Yañez, of the Denver group Get Along, are back at it. They've made live appearances at The Moon Room, Summit Music Hall, and at Larimer Lounge, alongside Teal and Tangent, Amy Kress, and Oh, Be Clever respectively. And the duo don't seem to be stopping any time soon.

Watch Get Along’s live performance of “DNA”:

On top of their shows and raising their infant daughter, Laika, the pair just recorded two live performance sessions at The Spot Studios for their songs "DNA" and "Karaoke," both of which will be featured on their upcoming album.

Recording at The Spot Studios.

Recording at The Spot Studios.

"Karaoke", which was officially released today, harnesses Get Along’s gift for the odd, the visceral, and the vibrant. It definitely tips its hat to their soul, punk, and electronic musical style, and it carries its own unique message within it.

Cara in the studio.

Cara in the studio.

The song starts off with a low rhythmic synth beat, almost something you'd expect to hear in a cultish noir film like Blade Runner; the tempo builds until it's surprisingly met with Cara's ukulele-playing, which takes you to a sunny, beach-side paradise. With this unique pairing, your expectations for this song are already shaken, and your attention is held. Cara's vocals are solemn, powerful, and moving, and all the while Nick gradually incorporates his drum playing, until the song reaches a punk rock crescendo, with the two singing in unison.

Watch Get Along’s “Karaoke”:

Even with its upbeat, alternative sound, "Karaoke" touches on a deeper meaning. It reflects not just the group's disdain of the musical "art form" of karaoke, but also the value of originality over conformity. It preaches finding freedom in one's unique design rather than "karaoke-ing" one’s way through life; and through that original journey, finding peace and empowerment. The lyrics are not a jab at karaoke, but a poetic reflection of keeping true to your own creativity, whether it's generally accepted or not:

But the songs never seem to sound the same,
with the lyrics rolling down on the video screen.
So sing a song that makes them remiss;
brings them back to the lovers and friends who are gone.
If Karaoke is as easy as they say it is,
then why can't I sing it for shit?
If it's as easy as they say it is,
then why can't I sing?

If "Karaoke" is the delicious appetizer for what's to come from Get Along's upcoming releases, I am incredibly excited. Their ability to juggle family life with crafting a totally new sound for their music continues to impress me, and I cannot wait to see what's in store for these two. Connect with the creative duo on Facebook to see what else they're up to.

-Jura

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