Review: Retrofette's New Single "Lover In Japan" Is a Tasty Summer Splash of Synthwave

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based Retrofette are an electropop act with 80s era funk and a splash of synthwave. Their latest single, “Lover in Japan,” is due out just in time for summer. Check it out:

If you left it up to me to describe Retrofett’s sound, I would liken it to what might have happened if Broken Bells, Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, Prince, and David Bowie had the chance to record a song together. Is it that good?! Yes, yes it is.

Frontman Sean Culliton pretty much nailed the overall feel with his comments on the song when he told us, “Lyrically, (it’s) a melancholy note written to an estranged lover. But sonically, it's a sunny day at the beach with neon sunglasses and volleyball montages.”

Retrofette. 

Retrofette. 

The band is the byproduct of keyboardists Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher's love for vintage synthesizers and sweaty dance floors. Joined by synth bassist Ben Weirich and drummer Dylan Johnson on stage, the quartet’s brand of 80s-tinged synthpop was born in March of 2016. Aside from this single, Retrofette released its debut three-song EP I Don’t Mind in 2016. They have also played BolderBeat’s Official Showcase at 2017’s Underground Music Showcase, been listed as one of 303 Magazine's top Denver acts to see, and selected as the “Best Pop” act of 2017 by Westword Magazine.

The guys will be celebrating the release of “Lover in Japan” this Saturday, June 2nd at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. The night will also feature sets from Motion Trap and DJ Clay Cornelius. Tickets and show details here.

-Norman

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

Review: The Hunger Artist Release New Indie Rock EP 'Uh...'

By: Trevor Ryan

Colorado’s mysterious underground indie rock outfit The Hunger Artist are at it again with a second studio recorded EP titled Uh…, and the four-piece collective have really given us summer pangs with their newest music.

Uh… has heavy-hitter influences from bands like The Strokes and even Cage the Elephant, but The Hunger Artist’s brand of indie rock has a vibe all its own. Think summer jams on steroids. You’ll have roadtrip feels from these tracks the whole way through. Uh… is sure to get you ready for summer adventures, and keep you thoroughly entertained all at once.

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The record starts off with the track “Gotta Live a Life,” which was also featured on the 2016 release of Rock Against Trump, a collaborative effort featuring various artists. As you may have guessed, “Gotta Live a Life” has a political stance throughout, though it never veers from its upbeat positive roots and heavy distortion. A great opener for the EP, this song gives you the overall feeling of who the band is and what they’re about, and all while proving a point.

From here, we’re led into “I kno! You Don’t Know.” Featured as the single of the record, and even supported by a music video of its own, this is where we start to genuinely hear those iconic influences. Strokes-esque in sound, “I kno! You Don’t Know” utilizes heavy, dirty guitar riffs accompanied by a hard-hitting, yet simple upbeat rhythm. With that, you get these wailing, lung-clenching vocals, making this track a superb choice for the single release.

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Finally, and most significantly in my book, is the ballad “Darling Please.” With heart-grabbing lines like, “We've been changing for so long/It turns out maybe we're both wrong,” this is the one that will have you in the feels. Lyrically, you’ll find that The Hunger Artist have a simplistic way of subtly conveying a message with a profound, witty passion and powerhouse vocals.

“Uh…” is set for release on April 18th. You can find show dates and more right here.

Keep up with The Hunger Artist 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.

Television Generation's 'Peel' Is About Your Lonely Life As A Millenial

By: Norman Hittle

Denver’s own apathetic indie-rockers Television Generation are back on the scene with the same attitude and a new EP.

Check out Peel below:

The new music was released December 8th, 2017 through At Night Group. According to the band: “Peel is a 7-song excursion through the eyes of a Denverite's lonely millennial existence in an ever-gentrifying city.” Staying close to the same vein as their previous release (the four-song EP Fuchsia), TVG harnesses a raw energy brought to popularity by greats such as Nirvana (circa Bleach), The Strokes (circa Room on Fire), and indie greats Japandroids.

TVG.

TVG.

“Whatever” kicks off this release with a straightforward garage rock feel in a Dandy Warhols kind of way, highlighting the simple, yet, effective and easy to relate to lyrical content TVG presents to its listeners. “I’d Kill Myself But I Have to Go to Work Tomorrow” follows suit with an added level of dirty bass and a monologue-esque style of singing that reminded me of The Hives.

Katy Johnson.

Katy Johnson.

“The Model” holds coveted spot number three on the EP and presents the listener with what I interpreted as a sarcastic critique of the lifestyle of a fashion model, sung by bassist Katy Johnson. “My Favorite Drug” is a laid back punk vibe (if there is such a monster) alluding to a relationship being a favored drug. “Placeholder” comically comes in as an homage to its own name, but is noteworthy due to the song being uncharacteristic of the energy of the rest of the EP, and almost like an early Radiohead song in regard to its droning lethargy. “Going Blank Again” returns to a more traditional post-punk vibe, as well as being the longest track at over five minutes. “Thirteen” closes out the EP in emo-pop/punk style with a playful guitar lead while Will Hayden sings from the point of view of being a thirteen-year old.

Keep up with TVG on their social media and check out Television Generation live March 9th at Streets of London Pub. Event details here.

-Norman

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

Review: Whole Milk's Debut EP Is Packed With More Than Just Calcium

By: Norman Hittle

Classifying themselves as beach goth/shoegaze, it's difficult not to be curious about Whole Milk’s self-titled debut EP. Thankfully, they do not disappoint, with a roster of dark surf-rock songs that also throw in elements of jazz and psychedelia.

With admissions of following in the footsteps of The Astronauts, Whole Milk’s songs also have nods to early Radiohead (circa The Bends and OK Computer) and even some remnants of the more dirge-ish compositions of The StrokesRoom on Fire.

This four piece- featuring Alec Reid on guitar and vocals, Kevin Netz on keys, Nate Ball on drums, and Devin Burgenbauch on bass- may be new to the scene as Whole Milk, but members roots roll back to former projects such as The Cut and Wolfhawk. Several of them have individually played the circuits of national festivals including Lollapalooza, Gathering of the Vibes, and the Vans Warped Tour with former projects as well.

Check out Whole Milk’s self-titled EP here:

The debut starts out by serenading us with “Aqua Milk,” an instrumental that sounds like a cross between classic Super Mario 3 Waterworld and Broken Bells’ “Trap Doors.” It then switches gears into the alt surf rock “I Don’t Miss You,” and back to the instrumental soundscape with “Mariana’s Lullaby.” “Psychedelic Spirit” follows with sonic remnants of its namesake, and into the droning, heavily distorted guitar filled “Hypnogaja.” The EP concludes with their final instrumental “Spooky Milk,” which reminded me of an eerie bossa nova-infused waterscape.

All around, this record is a fantastic first effort for Whole Milk’s debut. You can catch them appearing May 29th on Sounds, a music showcase hosted by PBS Channel 12 in Denver.

-Norman

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

The Growlers' Latest Colorado Visit Was a Beach Goth 'City Club' Dream

By: Claire Woodcock

There’s nothing like getting hit in the face by the drop of a lead singer’s sweat. BolderBeat was at the foot of the stage to Brooks Nielsen, frontman of The Growlers, last Saturday night at The Fox Theatre.

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s DJ boyhollow played ‘80s pop hits from Bowie and The Stones; basically he played anything a little too dark to be included on the soundtrack of a John Hughes flick. But the show didn’t really start, meaning the crowd didn’t really get down with the goth-pop, until the Orange County psych rock revivalists took the stage, and Nielsen started jiving to the percussion on “Big Toe”.

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Nielsen joked that he was excited to play new songs off The Growlers’ latest release, City Club, “because who wants to listen to Chinese Fountain anymore?” I laughed, but I’m also really into their directed professionalism onstage. City Club is The Growlers’ eighth album in six years. The City Club Tour is a classy time warp that essentially revived Creedence Clearwater Revival. But The Growlers evolving style is taking an obvious clue from The Strokes.

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Don’t worry Chinese Fountain fanatics. They played the title track of the release, “Dull Boy”, and “Black Memories” as well. Earlier tracks were included on the setlist too, like 2010’s “Empty Bones” and 2013’s “Tell It How It Is”, which was like hearing The Growlers restored years before Urban Outfitters releases the 10-year anniversary vinyls. So if you’re listening to the new Hot Tropics anniversary drop in 2020, just know that BolderBeat heard “Sea Lion Goth Blues” first, ok?

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Full disclosure: Post show, post going home to write this review, I found myself sipping on good whiskey and dancing to my now Chinese Fountain pastimes in my living room. I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s okay to do that, but “I’ll Be Around,” one of the singles from City Club, made for catchy encore repertoire that clearly has producer Julian Casablancas’ magic all over it.

Suit game on point. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Suit game on point. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

In Boulder, this California surf-pop-rock band was as polished as I’ve ever heard or seen them. White suits with floral decals complimented the “city club” get-up that was going down. The signature clean guitars and distorted vocals that have made The Growlers such a staple on the Colorado music scene were all around. And Nielsen was all business when he rocked the stage with his classic two-step, two-mic performance.

Whispers. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Whispers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Though he’s known for being notoriously shy, eager fans took every chance they had to get close to Nielsen. It’s a really surreal experience to be conjoined at the hips to the people on every side of you swaying. At that point, there’s really nothing left to do but submit, and let everyone crawl over you to take pictures, touch Nielsen’s surprisingly clean white Converse, and reach around you to tug at any part of the man they could attempt to grasp. Fans boosted fans trying to get onstage to hug Nielsen, talk to lead guitarist Matt Taylor about an after party, or stage dive into the dancing crowd. Which had me wondering, “When the band doesn’t initiate crossing the fourth wall into a mob of fans, shouldn’t fans not only be cognizant of that, but honor the stage space, no matter how much you love them? Or does being a fan entitle ticket buyers to create their own experience out of the evening, even if it could impact the musicality of a band’s set?” Leave your thoughts on this one in the comments folks.

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Fortunately, The Growlers are one of the most talented national bands I’ve seen this year, and even with all of the attention at Saturday's show, they managed not to miss a beat. This was The Growlers’ fourth show in Colorado this year; they played Belly Up Aspen, The Ogden Theatre, and Mishawaka Amphitheatre before returning to Boulder’s The Fox  to premiere City Club. We’re looking forward to the album, which drops next Friday, September 30th, as well as future shows from these top notch dudes. Maybe even with a little more sweat.

Keep up with The Growlers here.

-Claire

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.