First Listen: Whiskey Autumn's 'Modern Doubt' Is a Synth Pop Hollywood Dream

Today, we’re proud to premiere Whiskey Autumn’s new record ‘Modern Doubt.’ The Denver four-piece are releasing the record this Friday, April 12th at Lost Lake Lounge with fellow Denver bands The Milk Blossoms, OptycNerd, and a DJ set from Motion Trap. Synesthesia, who hosted The Pink Party earlier this year, is presenting the show. Take a listen:

 ‘Modern Doubt’ is the follow-up to Whiskey Autumn’s 2017 EP Ice Cream In The Sun. The first single from the album “Birds That Flew,” premiered with 303 Magazine, followed by the premiere of “Let’s Go Sailing Instead” on CPR’s OpenAir. The studio recording of “Monochrome Actress” premiered with our friends at Ultra5280 recently, and the band’s live music video for that song just debuted with Westword last week. Whiskey Autumn will also be on CPR’s OpenAir this Friday for a live session in support of their release and Lost Lake show. Clearly, this is a Denver band with a trajectory worth watching.

Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit:   Vossling

Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Vossling

Overall, ‘Modern Doubt’ is a psychedelic pop rock album with an overarching theme rooted in modern anxieties such as technology, political doubts, and navigating an always connected world. The album features dancey synth lines, jangly beach guitars, a Hollywood film noir sample, natural sound interludes, and produced hip-hop drum breaks. The record was written by frontman Greg Laut, produced by band members Laut and Jason Paton, mixed by Chris Scott (OptycNerd, Young The Giant) and mastered by Jim Wilson (David Byrne, Neko Case, The Yawpers). Recently, Laut answered a few questions for us about the band’s new record, Friday’s show, and Whiskey Autumn’s 2019 plans:

Tell us more about ‘Modern Doubt’.

Modern Doubt was written and recorded throughout 2017 and 2018 and reflects my experience of the tumultuous landscape of our current times. My bandmate Jason Paton and I threw out any preconceived notions of what our sound is supposed to be and challenged ourselves to create a record that transports the listener to the world that each song exists in, whether it be a dreamy beach, an old Hollywood film, or a crowded airport. For us, that meant looking at the songs through a cinematic lens and setting the scene with natural sound samples and production choices that catered to the storyline.

That’s really cool. It seems like you’ve already had a lot of attention surrounding this record. What else can you tell us about the release show this Friday?

This will be a Whiskey Autumn show like you've never seen before! We have a new rhythm section and a batch of new songs that will be played live for the first time. Synesthesia is presenting the show and they're bringing along Andy Ai and Kat Phenna who will be providing dystopian, film noir visuals that tie into the themes of Modern Doubt. It's going to be a wild night!

What else can we expect from Whiskey Autumn in 2019?

You can expect a vinyl release of Modern Doubt later this year, summer tour dates to be announced soon, and more surprises coming your way in the next few months!

Catch Whiskey Autumn live this Friday, April 12th at Lost Lake Lounge for the release of ‘Modern Doubt’. Tickets are $10 right now if you Venmo @whiskeyautumn; $15 day of show. Find more information on Friday’s gig at this link and keep up with Whiskey Autumn here.

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

Premiere: Denver's Boot Gun Debuts with a Bang with Two Singles & a New Music Video

Denver’s Boot Gun have entered the Colorado music scene with a serious bang. Today, the three-piece are releasing their debut single and video for “Virginia,” a high-energy rock’n’roll track with a Southern twang, and a rebellious video featuring a slew of Denver haunts to match. And folks, one thing’s for sure, the trio comprised of Keith Lawrence (guitar/vocals), Davie Landry (bass/vocals), and Cody Hart (drums), have brought the party.

“Virginia” was recorded and mixed by Todd Divel (The Yawpers, In The Whale, The Velveteers) of Silo Sound and mastered by Hans Liburd of Burdhouse Mastering. The video was directed and filmed by Colin Anders of Slice Cinematics (Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, A Shadow of a Jaguar, Dragondeer). Boot Gun also featured several friends on the track’s instrumentals including Bullfrog Baugh on harmonica, who makes an appearance in the video about 40 seconds in, Sam Janik on guitar, and Bill McKay on organ and piano.

Says frontman Keith Lawrence about the track, "Virginia came to me in multiple dreams last summer. I showed the boys the main riff and they said ‘Sounds great. Where's the rest of the song?' I told 'em I had to go back to sleep to hear [and] see the rest of it. A few months and a couple of disco naps later, we had us a rock’n’roll ripper."

A ripper it is indeed. “Virginia” is a boot-stompin’ tune rife with slashing rips, harmonica twang, and a jangly toe-tappin’ keys solo that will force you on your feet. Some of that energy didn’t enter the track until the boys rounded things out in the studio though.

Says Keith, “As a band, we all believe that a song isn't finished being written until we record it. Todd at Silo pushed for certain creative ideas that we were able to let shine on these tracks. Having Bill McKay sit in on keys helped round out the sound and bring our musical intention into fruition."

Boot Gun. Photo Credit:  Mountain Trout Photography

Boot Gun. Photo Credit: Mountain Trout Photography

Along with “Virginia” and their debut music video, Boot Gun also released their B side “Feels Like A Storm” today. While “Virginia” takes you on a wild ride, quite literally in the video, “Feels Like A Storm” is the moodier, heavy-hitting track from the trio.

Says Davie, “‘Storm’ is a song that we wrote collectively. It started with Keith singing but never felt completely right. So we argued and laughed, and laughed and argued, and I was forced to sing it… In the end, it became the beast that you're listening to today."

You can listen to “Virginia” and “Feels Like A Storm” on all major streaming platforms and catch Boot Gun live at Cervantes with Dave Watts & Friends on Friday, April 12th.

Says Davie on Boot Gun’s debut, “It’s a young band's take on all the rock’n'roll we love and grew up on. We go from A to Z, then back to A just make sure you're still with us."

Join that trip and keep up with Boot Gun here.

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

Extra Gold's Debut Record Has the Boot-Stompin' Bangers Denver's Country Scene Needs

With festivals like Country Jam and Bands in the Backyard, Colorado is no stranger to some good ol’ western music. And though it may not be as prevalent a genre as Colorado’s rock or hip-hop scenes, bands like Denver’s Extra Gold are setting the stage for a country Mile High takeover.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Formed in 2017, Extra Gold cut their chops by throwing a once-a-month showcase for country music at Denver’s Syntax Physic Opera. Crafted as “a take on country music cocktail that is equal parts golden-era country revival, folk, and rock & roll,” Extra Gold soon found themselves opening for larger Colorado favorites like The Yawpers and Dragondeer. Now, the band are set to release their debut record High & Lonesome this Friday, November 30th with a show at Denver’s Hi-Dive.

Founded by Evan Holm (guitar/vocals), Extra Gold is comprised of Gan Matthews (guitar), Carl Sorenson (drums), Randi Guthrie (bass), Ben Waligoski (pedal steel), Erin Armstrong (vocals), and Sami Steidl (fiddle). After the crew started gaining a reputation for their “tender three-part harmony ballads” and inciting “two-steppin’, beer slingin’ dance parties,” they picked up shows with honky-tonk heroes Whitey Morgan, Joshua Hedley, Jesse Dayton, Zephaniah Ohora, and more. They also played Denver’s Underground Music Showcase this past summer, and have plans for a slew of shows in 2019.

High & Lonesome, which is an 8-track LP mix of cosmic country ballads and boot-stompin’ bangers is a very solid debut for this Colorado band. The record was recorded with Mark Anderson in Denver. Tracks like “Emily” showcase the band’s incredible harmonies, “When The Matches Meet The Wood” has fiery strings that will force you to your feet, and title track “High And Lonesome” is the record’s crooner, a tune that is perfect for your favorite fireside playlist this season.  

Extra Gold’s debut record is available for listening on all music platforms. Give their new tunes a listen and find tickets to their Hi-Dive show here.

Keep up with Extra Gold at this link.

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

Gasoline Lollipops Gear Up For a New Beginning In Lieu of a Departure

By: Brody Coronelli

Drummer Adam Perry reflects on his decision to leave the band, and what’s on the horizon.

The Gasoline Lollipops have been a fixture in Colorado music for over six years. What began as a bar band became a group that can sell out the Fox Theater, open Red Rocks, get on the bill of some of the state’s most popular festivals, and have their name recognized all across the state. This meteoric rise wasn’t a passive one, though.

GasPops. Photo Credit:   George L. Blosser

GasPops. Photo Credit: George L. Blosser

Clay Rose’s songwriting was always too immense for the bars and breweries that gave the band their break, so their rise was always imminent. However, those who follow the band closely will notice that their rise to popularity happened right around the time their drummer Adam Perry joined back in 2016. The two met in a music class at Naropa University and became fast friends, which eventually led to Perry stepping behind the kit.

“I agreed to play some shows with the band until they found someone else. But in the middle of one of those shows, I had a moment where I realized, ‘Why would I not do this?’ So, it kind of took off, and we started playing all the time,” Perry says. “I did what I always do when I play in a band: I think about how it could grow, and how we could be on the radio. It was a bar band at the time, but the music [was much more than that]. Clay is an incredible songwriter, and it shouldn’t [have stayed] at [that] level. I started booking shows, contacting press, and getting us on the radio.”

Perry’s skills at working with press, booking, and promoting the band was the driving factor behind the band’s acceleration over the last two years. He helped turn a bar band with a performance that far outweighed their counterparts into a household name throughout the Front Range.

“Adam pushed us to a level where we were getting statewide recognition, and a lot of people knew our name. Booking agents started talking to us, but we weren’t really chomping on the bait, because as long as Adam was with us, we didn’t really need one,” says Clay Rose, the band’s frontman.

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Two years later, Perry has decided to leave the band. Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, focus more on work, and generally have less on his plate, his departure is completely amicable.

“Beyond music, Adam has been our manager. He’s built the railroads that we’ve been travelling on,” Rose says.

The amount of responsibility Perry took on- serving as the band’s drummer while also behind the wheel of all the bells and whistles it takes to keep a band relevant and in the public eye- was a lot, and what ultimately motivated his decision to leave the band.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to build railroads while you’re also on the train,” he says.

In addition to his duties with the band, Perry works at a law firm in Boulder, has an eight-year-old daughter, writes for Westword, and is an avid cyclist.

“I’m really embracing those things right now. It’s a great way to feel calm and still,” he says.

While the band has cultivated new friendships, connections, and a list of accomplishments that many musicians are never able to cross off their list, this sense of calm and stillness is something that’s often missing in his life.

“When we were on tour in Europe [in 2017], I was having a bit of a nervous breakdown. I realized that I can’t do this and everything in my life well if I’m putting it all into the band. But it’s nice that it’s an amicable split this time around,” he said, alluding to the musical fallouts he’s seen multiple times throughout his career.

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Perry has been playing in bands since he was 16. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, music has been at the center of his life since the beginning, and as he’s gotten older, it’s remained important, but he’s ready to re-center and set his sights elsewhere.

“My only education in music was through punk rock in high school, so my form of drumming is very primitive and loud. I was playing in clubs and bars when I was 16, and it was just about how fast and hard you could play,” he says.

His background in punk-rock shines through loud and clear. His presence on the songs is pummelling and thunderous, giving the band a density that most alt-country and rock acts have a hard time capturing.

Perry’s other notable project in Colorado was The Yawpers, a band he helped form in the aughts. After his time with that band came to an end, his plan was to turn his back on playing music entirely. But meeting Rose and stumbling upon the magic of the Gasoline Lollipops changed his mind.

“I left The Yawpers in 2012 and told myself I’d never do the band thing again.” he says.

Perry’s decision to leave the Gasoline Lollipops comes six months after the band released Soul Mine, their fourth album. The record came from a band with a long history, but it carries the pent up energy and polishing of their raucous, gritty, and often sweeping blend of alt-country and rock‘n’roll that renders it more similar to a crashing, bombastic debut than an album from a band with steady footing.

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

“I didn’t know how to push a band [before Adam joined]. You have to have an interesting story or a project to pitch to press, and he showed me how to do that and lit a fire under me as far as making [Soul Mine]”, Rose says.

Perry speaks of Rose with similar fondness of his role in the band, and the opportunities he’s granted them.

“With Clay, there isn’t a wall between him and his songs. Every other band I’ve been in, what the singer/songwriter is writing aims to portray something. I don’t think Clay could do that if he tried,” he says.

Perry’s last show with the band is their headlining show at The Bluebird on May 18th. With support from RL Cole & The Hell You Say and Grayson County Burn Ban, the night will be a celebration of where the Gasoline Lollipops have been, and where they’re headed from here on out.

Rose wants to dedicate his time to other projects at the moment as well, so it could be a year or two before we get another GasPops album, but until then, the band is just as alive as ever. They recently opened for The Tallest Man On Earth at Bluebird Music Festival, and they’re on the bill to play Grandoozy this September, sharing the stage with Kendrick Lamar, Sturgill Simpson, and St. Vincent, among other high profile acts. This is where the band was headed from the beginning, and they couldn’t have done it without Perry.

“Eventually, we might’ve reached the point we’re at now, but without Adam, it would’ve taken a really long time. This is where I always wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get here,” Rose says.

There’s a lot on the horizon for The Gasoline Lollipops in wake of Perry leaving. Whatever it ends up being, Rose assured me that it’ll take on a new sound.

“[Our new music is] going to sound a lot different. I’ve always had a definite direction where [my music] is heading, but I never see it until the last minute. It’ll definitely be more psychedelic and dreamy,” he says.

Here’s to a new beginning for the band, in lieu of a departure. Get tickets for GasPops Bluebird show here.

-Brody

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

Demi Demitro Of The Velveteers Told Us About All The Eerie Inspirations Behind Their New Record

By: Brody Coronelli

Velveteers frontwoman Demi Demitro reflects on the band’s debut EP, their roots, and what’s on the horizon for this young duo who are already making their mark on the scene.

The only way to get to the stage at the Hi-Dive, a small punk rock venue on South Broadway in Denver, is through the crowd. There’s no door or curtain onstage where the musicians emerge from, dressed in black, wearing leather and ivory boots. Instead, they’re reminded of the tightness, the body heat, precariously shaking drinks, and shallow breaths of the crowd before they come onstage. This didn’t stop The Velveteers from making a grand entrance to their release show for their debut EP on February 9th.

The Velveteers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss Photography

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss Photography

Instead of simply getting onstage, setting up, and starting their set, the band, fronted by Demi Demitro on vocals and guitar, carried in rhythm by her brother John, and aided by their third drummer and relatively new addition Noah Shomberg (who also plays with The Yawpers), set their gear in place and stepped back into the crowd only to confidently re-emerge onto the stage like three rock stars playing the O2 Academy.

This infectious, rock‘n’roll bravado isn’t something the band picked up along the way. It’s been there since the start. Their intense, convicted aesthetic and sonic identity has already brought on huge accomplishments for a band their age. They’ve toured the UK with Deap Valley, playing to massive crowds, played motorcycle festivals in Joshua Tree with sound by Hutch, Queens of the Stone Age’s longtime sound engineer, and they’ve had vinyl pressed of their newest album at the Third Man Records factory in Detroit. Each of these accomplishments spawned from their time spent as a centerpiece in the Colorado and Midwestern DIY scenes.

“Some of our favorite shows we’ve ever played have been at DIY venues. The people in that scene are really genuine, they’re not trying to rip you off, and they’re there to listen. What they do [for younger bands] is important, because I know it shaped who I am as a musician,” frontwoman Demi Demitro said over tea at the Yellow Deli, one of her favorite Boulder haunts.

Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss Photography

There’s an energy to seeing The Velveteers play. Onstage, the band occupies a tangent world of pointed shoes, glitter jackets, bones, and candles. It’s like hair metal if it were born out of Dracula or The Nightmare Before Christmas instead of big hair, zebra print, and leather pants.

“A lot of the inspiration we have for our band comes from places other than music. I’m really inspired by Tim Burton, Walt Disney, and Andy Warhol. The Walt Disney version of Snow White has this gothic-ness to it, and that’s something that really inspired our album,” she said.

The theatrics of these non-musical influences leave a lasting impression. The band’s merch table looks like a séance just took place, adorned with candles and skulls. The face of the band’s new album shows them with blacked out eyes and upside down crosses on their foreheads. Demitro even claimed that a chunk of the album was written in a graveyard.

“When [the song ‘Death Hex’] came out, I had all these Wiccans and Pagans following me around asking me if I was a witch. It’s a metaphor-- I don’t really mean it,” she said, laughing.

Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss Photography

The immediate fear with a band like The Velveteers is that they’re all show. One listen to their debut self-titled EP sends that assumption into the dust. Finding a loud, irresistible, and cryptic balance between the spacious grit of Queens of the Stone Age, the pummeling, percussive thunder of The White Stripes and The Dead Weather, and the sheer lightening of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the band has crafted a presence built on their own unique visual bravado guided by thundering, melodic songs that aren’t easily forgotten.

The EP, recorded mostly live and to tape at Silo Sound Studios in Denver, CO over the past year opens with “Just Like The Weather,” a driving, aggressive cut that places Demi’s tectonic, rhythm-heavy guitar playing and vast vocal range to the forefront, as the band occupies a musical storm that viciously encircles you until the words have found a way into your veins. The band’s songs have a habit of doing this, often effortlessly. They’re written with emotional sincerity and performed with bombastic assertion.

“When I write, it’s almost like being in a daze. [Sometimes it feels like] I’m not really there when I’m writing, which is this magical feeling. I got that feeling with every song on the album,” Demitro said.

“Anastasia Sings” is another song that takes you for a ride. With a piercing scream kicking things off, the track features some of the band’s most dynamic guitar playing yet, which reaches a jagged crescendo following the chorus.

“[That’s] another one of my favorite tracks [on the album]. That one was really inspired by Iggy Pop, ‘cause I had seen him live with the Post Pop Depression band,” Demitro said.

The band doesn’t lock themselves into a specific sound, though. In similar fashion to their haunting, non-album single “This Love Lasted,” “Darling Beloved” takes the album in a cryptically stripped-back direction.

“I did ‘Darling Beloved’ in one take. Vocals, guitar, everything. That song is really special to us, because it was completely in the moment. One of my favorite parts of going into the studio is when stuff like that happens, and in no way will you ever be able to recreate it,” she continued.

The stripped-back, horrorshow “Darling Beloved” and it’s stylistic sibling “This Love Lasted” aren’t currently fixtures in the band’s live set. Instead, their performances rely on roaring guitar, clamorous drums, and a fuzz that hits you right in the chest. The band doesn’t use a bass player, so Demi Demitro’s guitar playing has evolved into a versatile and rhythmic barrage that covers the low end, high end, and everything in between. The band is a sound to be reckoned with live; they pull the audience straight into their world of dark, irresistible magnetism.

In promotion of their debut, the band recently embarked on a two-week national tour in promotion of the record, have more dates in the works for the rest of the year, and are also set to play an unofficial showcase at SXSW in Austin, TX this March. Listening to their album and seeing them live leaves the impression that this is what the band was working towards all along: a sold-out release show for a triumphant debut record, a national tour (with many more shows to come), and a spot at one of the most popular musical festivals in the nation. Despite all appearances and affirmations of success, this is only the beginning for this band, and if their start is any indication, what’s to follow will be all whirlwind, heat, and flash.

Keep up with The Velveteers here.

-Brody

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

Gasoline Lollipops Brought A Storm Of Sound To Debut Red Rocks Performance

By: Hannah Oreskovich

There's a certain feeling of pride you get when you see local artists accomplish something big, like when The Yawpers were signed with Bloodshot Records or when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats got their first Jimmy Fallon gig and blasted into the international spotlight. This week, that same heartwarming feeling was much aglow as fans watched Colorado’s Gasoline Lollipops take the stage at the state’s best, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

The GasPops, as the band is more affectionately known to fans, first started back in 2009. Founding and original member Clay Rose, who is also the project’s frontman, grew up between Boulder & Nashville’s music markets. Piecing together sounds from each city’s scene, along with other influences, GasPops music combines punk, alternative, folk, country, and rock’n’roll. The Boulder band have been called everything from gypsy punk to “dirt floor folk” and played just about every venue in the state to date over the last six years.

Except for The Rocks. And that's why Monday’s show was just so special.

As the opening entertainment for the film Twister, the last “Film On The Rocks” of the summer for Denver Film Society’s series, Gasoline Lollipops brought a real storm of sound to the stage. There was a boot-stompin’ thunder of drums and standup bass (courtesy of Adam Perry and Brad Morse respectively), tempestuous, warm crackles of sound from Rose’s harmonica mic and Jeb Bows’ (Gregory Alan Isakov) violin solos, and a whirlwind of tight, raining vocal harmonies between Alexandra Schwan and Rose. Donny Ambory’s electric guitar playing also added a swirl of heated rebelliousness to the mix, an element the Gasoline Lollipops are well-known to evoke in their live shows.

GasPops on the Rocks.

GasPops on the Rocks.

The band opened their hour set with “Smoke and Steam” and played songs from several of their records, including “Death,” “Longest Night,” “Love Is Free,” “The Wire,” and “White Trash.” The six-piece also introduced us to some new tunes from their upcoming record Soul Mine, “Leaving Alone” and “Burns.” And the crowd, who sat for the film, were on their feet for the entirety of the GasPops’ set. There were hollers, cheers, and a lot of dancing happening between the night’s glowing rocks, which seem to be common sights and sounds at the punk rock hoedown that is a Gasoline Lollipops show.

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Overall, Gasoline Lollipops played a very Red Rocks-worthy performance for their debut at the venue. After the show, several crowd members voiced that they hoped for a GasPops storm to hit the rocks again next year. I'm hoping for it too but until then, catch them at the Fox Theatre this December for their Soul Mine vinyl release show, or drop everything and roll with them on their upcoming overseas tour this fall, where the GasPops storm of sound will be raging on.

Keep up with Gasoline Lollipops here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Review: The Yawpers' 'Boy In A Well' Is An Intensely Dynamic Psychobilly Concept Record

By: Norman Hittle

The Yawpers’ third album, Boy In A Well, is a conceptual album set in World War I France where a mother abandons her unwanted newborn child. Yet, despite the tragic plot line, the music carries an intrigue that’s difficult to ignore.

The Yawpers. Photo Credit:    Demi Demitro   

The Yawpers. Photo Credit: Demi Demitro 

Recorded with Alex Hall in Chicago at Reliable Recordings with production assistance and instrumental contributions from Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Bash & Pop), Boy in a Well extends The Yawpers’ sound with intense, dynamic, animated, and at times, deeply personal tunes.

Boy In A Well, which is a followup to the band’s Bloodshot Records debut American Man (2015), was imagined by lead singer Nate Cook after a "reckless combination of alcohol, half a bottle of Dramamine, and an early morning flight." The result is a 12-song onslaught mingling psychological fascinations (German realpolitik, Freud, Oedipus,) and the lasting social and cultural fallout of WWI interspersed with Cook's own emotions surrounding his recent split from his estranged wife. 

Listen to The Yawpers’ first single “Mon Nom” from their new record:

The album’s psychobilly/rock-swing sonic approach seems to have influences ranging from Reverend Horton Heat, to Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and the Cramps. And I couldn’t help but hear some very Lemmy Kilmister-inspired vocals nodding to the late and great Motorhead.

“Armistice Day” lethargically takes form with haunting piano, harmonics and chanting, leading way to “A Decision is Made,” the rockabilly-blues fusion laced with sliding guitars and guttural howls. The sobering “A Visitor is Welcomed” then takes place with an almost gentle caress of acoustic guitars in the wake of the former tracks, and leads us to an equally somber “Room With a View.” All of that ceases thirteen seconds into “Mon Dieu” with a gradual galloping climax into seeming chaos that crescendos into track six: “The Awe and the Anguish.” Here we find a lo-fi recording of twangy guitars and an almost backwater country vibe until the final half minute of anthemic post-rock.

The album artwork for  Boy In A Well .

The album artwork for Boy In A Well.

“Mon Nom” builds from sporadic muted notes into a decisive cadence that marches into “Face to Face to Face,” where a blues/swing builds into straight southern rock. “No Going Back” comes to light featuring a pensive bass line that swells into a solid, yet muted distorted finality. “God’s Mercy” brings us back to a peaceful and calming moment from the maelstrom just before plunging into the surf-rock meets grunge in “Linen for the Orphan.” “Reunion” wraps up the odyssey that is Boy In A Well with a seemingly straightforward (at least for The Yawpers) rock/folk-blues vibe that would fit well in a 1970s Americana collection, drawing out on a final piano note of the angst-ridden, yet sorrowful tale of searching and longing.

The Yawpers will be in Denver at The Oriental Theater Saturday, September 16th for their record release show, with Jesse Dayton, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones, and The Beeves. Get tickets here and keep up with The Yawpers on Facebook.

-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 UMS Set The Tone For A Great 2017 Festival With Recent Fox Theatre Show

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Underground Music Showcase recently brought three great Colorado acts together for one rocking show at Boulder’s Fox Theatre in celebration of the upcoming festival, which takes place this July 27th-30th.  

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Party-hardy Ned Garthe Explosion kicked off the night, a Denver four-piece known for their garage rock anthems and good times. Though the night started with a smaller crowd, NGE kicked up the energy and commenced to get down by making fun of each other onstage, sipping Coronas, and rocking out. Frontman Ned Garthe told us the story of how he once spray painted his name on the side of a police station, only to be immediately caught, lending more credibility to the crazy punk antics of this band. They closed out their set with their popular “Forgot Your Name,” and by that point, a solid crowd had settled in and was singing along. 

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

Boulder’s The Velveteers took the stage next, with Noah Shomberg (The Yawpers) and John Demitro (The Bandits) on drums accompanying guitar prowess and vocalist Demi Demitro. It was the band’s first Fox Theatre show in their hometown, and they once again proved live why they are one of Colorado’s fastest rising acts in rock’n’roll. Demi’s vocals are gentle and melodic at times, and whipped with raw attitude and grunge at others. All the while, she slays on guitar, and it’s here I’d like to point out an observation I had checking out this set: The entire first two rows near the stage were comprised of headbanging dudes. Now that’s what I call rock’n’roll.

Demi Demitro.

Demi Demitro.

Demi has harnessed her artistry in every aspect of her show- from her writing, to her commanding stage presence, to her skilled instrumental abilities. She’s hypnotizing to watch and she’s talented. With continued grind, this is a Colorado act I see going national.

Flaural.

Flaural.

Denver’s Flaural closed out the night with a drippy shoegaze psych show. The four-piece started their set with groovy instrumentals and very little vocals. They played several tracks from their recent release, Over Imaginary Cigarettes, and a few older tunes as well. Formed in 2015, this band has already done a lot of national touring and had some notable festival appearances, so it was exciting to have them back in state for a show. They kept things very poppy and psychedelic, keeping the crowd swaying before it was time for many to jump on the Bus to Show back down to Denver and the remaining Boulderites to wander home. 

The night definitely set the tone for a great UMS this year, so make sure to grab passes while they’re still cheap here!

ICYMI: Check out our full photo gallery from this show!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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.

Jump In The Sun With Our 'Hey Spring' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

After the 80 degree weekend we just had, spring feels like it’s just about in full swing. What better way to usher in the sunshine than to roll down your windows and bump some good music? Lucky for you, we’ve got a new playlist up that will help yah do just that.

Check out our ‘Hey Spring’ playlist, courtesy of our tastemaker Sierra Voss:

The Pixies open the 16-song mix, Denver’s The Shady Elders close it, and there is a lot of deliciousness sandwiched in between with tracks by Dressy Bessy, White Denim, The Yawpers, Queens of the Stone Age, Colfax Speed Queen, and more.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify for continued tunage, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Spring on kids.

-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.

Your Guide To Colorado Shows For New Year's Eve

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s time to pop bottles Colorado! Here are our picks for New Year’s Eve shows this weekend:

Berthoud

Jeremy Mohney at City Star Brewing in Berthoud 9PM-Close

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

Boulder’s Jeremy Mohney released multiple EPs this year, both of which definitely caught our ear. The jazz/swing artist is throwing down at City Star Brewery to welcome in 2017, and we definitely recommend getting your swing moves on at this one. Mohney will have your feet tappin’ in no time, and after a few celebration libations, you won’t want to sit still. Details here.

Boulder

Andrew Sturtz & Friends at The No Name in Boulder 10PM-Close

Andrew Sturtz.

Andrew Sturtz.

Soulful singer/songwriter Andrew Sturtz will be holding things down behind the big brown door tomorrow night for NYE. Known locally for his solo work and his performances with The Constellation Collective and other groups, Strutz will croon you into the new year in style. Plus, there’s no cover. What’s not to dig? Deets here.

Lady and The Gentleman at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s Lady and The Gentleman have made some changes to their lineup this year, but they’re still bringing mad grooves to the Colorado scene. Tomorrow they’ll grace the stage at The Lazy Dog, and no cover means no excuses. Get to it! More info right here.

The Alcapones at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

If you want to be shaken up Boulder, here’s your chance! The minstrel show of The Alcapones will be taking over Conor’s to dance you into the wee hours of 2017. Come hang and get rowdy! There will be lots of funky horn playing for your listening pleasure. More info here.

Yonder Mountain String Band with The Railsplitters at The Boulder Theater in Boulder 8PM-Close

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Nederland’s Yonder Mountain String Band are holding down the BT for NYE. The five-piece bluegrass band well-known around these parts will share the stage with Boulder’s The Railsplitters. Get over to get down! Tickets here.

Denver

Flobots with Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden Theatre in Denver 8PM-Close

Flobots

Flobots

Denver’s Flobots members have been locally active in several awesome events this year, including Denver’s “Our Neighbors, Ourslves” refugee benefit and the Rock Against The TPP event. Tonight, the crew will swing you into the new year with Portland’s Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden. Tickets here.

Fox Street & Friends with Tiger Party at The Bluebird Theatre in Denver 9PM-Close

Dever’s Fox Street & Friends will be rolling in the new year tomorrow at The Bluebird with a 12-piece band and double sets, which will include music from the movies Boogie Nights and Blow, and tracks by Rick James, David Bowie, and Prince. The band’s frontman Jonathan Huvard is relocating to NYC in 2017, so this show is your chance to catch this crew together in what may be their last local performance for awhile. Tiger Party will open the night with songs by LCD Soundsystem. Tickets for this dance party here!

Itchy-O with Total Unicorn at Summit Music Hall in Denver 8PM-Close

We actually spent our NYE with Denver’s Itchy-O last year, so we’re here to tell you this show is going to be a magical time! The mysteriously masked band will have you boogieing all over Summit Music Hall; Total Unicorn is opening. Enter the dark. Tickets here.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with Kid Congo Powers at 3 Kings Tavern in Denver 10PM-Close

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will be laying out their ‘Commandments’ for you tomorrow evening at 3 Kings Tavern, and we’ve actually got a whole interview with Slim himself for you here. This show will be one crazy ride into 2017, so take it! Tickets here.

The Yawpers with The Other Black at The Oriental Theater in Denver 7PM-Close

The Yawpers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

The Yawpers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

We love The Yawpers. And we love The Other Black. And both of them are sharing the stage tomorrow night at The Oriental for NYE! The Moved and Evan Holm & The Restless Ones are opening the show, making for a full lineup of Denver badassery. Get to this gig- seriously. Tickets here.

Winehouse Masquerade Ball with Judge Roughneck at Mercury Cafe in Denver 930PM-Close

Winehouse.

Winehouse.

Denver’s Amy Winehouse tribute band Winehouse are ringing in the new year at Mercury Cafe with plenty of sultry, soulful vibes. Presales are only $20 and Judge Roughneck is opening the night, so grab tickets while you can! This will be an awesome show. Deets here.

Durango

Nappy Roots with Jerney at Animas City Theatre in Durango 9PM-Close

Jerney.

Jerney.

Nappy Roots are closing out the year in Durango tomorrow, and Denver’s Jerney is opening the gig. Jerney has been dropping new music like crazy this year, and this is one of his last Colorado shows, so make sure to get to it! Tickets here.

Greeley

The Burroughs with Bryce Merritt at The Moxi Theatre in Greeley 8PM-Close

The Burroughs.

The Burroughs.

Greeley’s The Burroughs dropped some sweet new music this past year, and they’ll be playing that for you tonight + more tunes at The Moxi. The nine-piece soul pop outfit will be joined by Bryce Merritt for good measure. Wicked. Tickets here!

Fort Collins

Rose Hill Drive with The Velveteers at Hodi’s Half Note in Denver 9PM-Close

The Velveteers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Denver’s The Velveteers are arguably one of the most successful acts coming out of Colorado right now. Fronted by Demi Demitro, the heavy rock two-piece will make you headbang all the way up until Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive takes the stage at Hodi’s. Go get yourself hypnotized. Tickets here.

Rollinsville

Jaden Carlson Band at The Stage Stop in Rollinsville 10PM-Close

Jaden Carlson.

Jaden Carlson.

Teenage musical prodigy Jaden Carlson has had quite the year in the Colorado music scene. From impressive opening slots for bands like The Revivalists to her own headlining performances at The Fox, Carlson has proved she knows how to break. things. down. Head out to her last performance of the year tomorrow at The Stage Stop! We guarantee it will be an impressively good time. More info here.

That’s it for us for NYE Colorado! See you in 2017!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

A Light in the Darkness: An Interview With Wesley Watkins of Other Black

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Wesley Watkins is a powerhouse. To have a frontman with so much momentum will inherently draw attention to a band as a whole. But Watkins is just one member of an assortment of artistry that demand its presence on stage: what started with nine musicians back in 2012 has fluxed in members since then, but at times has been as many as 24. Meet the Other Black.


All photos per George L. Bosser.


I had the pleasure of seeing Other Black perform at Syntax Physic Opera in Denver recently and interviewed Watkins post-show. The small stage of the venue was crowded with somewhere between 12-16 artists throughout the set who played three hours of original tunes and featured several local artists whose voices carry a worthy message.

“When I thought about getting features for this show, I asked people who are gonna say something everyone needs to hear. If you’ve not experienced injustice, it’s my job as an artist to bring awareness to the fact that this injustice is around. And I want to encourage those who are strong enough to speak up to continue doing so.” Watkins told me.

Watkins and Heffernan.

Watkins and Heffernan.

Kalyn Heffernan from Wheelchair Sports Camp and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” from Flobots, both of whom have been through a lot of injustice in their lives, each made appearances within the crowd at Other Black's Syntax show to speak about current events in the world with fellow audience members.

Wesley Watkins.

Wesley Watkins.

My conversation with Wesley very quickly took a political, bigger-picture kind of turn. I want to believe it was because our heartstrings tuned in as two agents of change trying to shine light on darkness and bring awareness where awareness is so desperately needed during these hard times.

He went on, “As musicians, especially those staying true to what they sound like, [we] have a responsibly to talk about what is happening in our modern world. We have to be careful of what we put out there- this world can’t take any more bullsh*t. And as a musician myself, I want to encourage other musicians out there to stay true to themselves and not try to be a part of a product.”

I agreed with him wholeheartedly. We, as a people, definitely need inspiration and positive, good-hearted individuals to wield social and cultural sentiment, which music and art (and free press!) is ripe with the power to do.  

Watkins with Other Black.

Watkins with Other Black.

So, where does Other Black fall in this spectrum of empowering agency and bringing awareness?

The Other Black is a music project created out of love for hip-hop, jazz, soul, and gospel music, all of which are genres born out of slavery and life struggles experienced by the oppressed, specifically the black population of the US.   

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. It’s what I grew up with and what I wanted to tap into with this band.” Watkins said. “Most of the songs Other Black plays today, I wrote when I was homeless and on the streets back in 2009. And I want people to know that it was by no fault of mine that I ended up homeless.”

Wesley has been in several different bands including Air Dubai, Petals of Spain, and most recently, he toured with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. But he realized that having his own project was what he needed to do to fulfill his purpose as an artist.  

“By the time 2012 rolled around, I was just getting out of being homeless and had been in several different bands with some of my closest friends. But I kept quitting bands. That’s when a close friend of mine brought it to my attention that I needed to start my own. I started Other Black because of my love for soul and hip-hop.”

But when Wesley talks about soul and funk music, he is talking about the “old-school sh*t” like Sly Stone and Sam Cooke, whose music shed light on the daily struggles of black people in America, and 90s hip-hop, which gave a powerful voice to the still oppressed and marginalized black Americans.  

“We have a system that’s really bias. So what you see from black powerful figures in our media today is so bias and it’s perpetuating a stereotype. To have today’s hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar speak the hard truth they don’t want to hear, but need to, is important and it’s empowering the people. At the very least, what I can do with my music is bring awareness to what is unjust in the world.”  

When I started the interview with Wesley, I wanted to know what Other Black implies in its name. I forgot to ask, but now I’m left with only room for interpretation, which is a good thing. What I infer after talking to Wesley and seeing Other Black on stage at Syntax is that the Other Black is a light amidst the darkness. It’s the mold breaking the stereotype. It’s an attempt at bringing awareness through music by making people get down.

“I want to encourage people to experience themselves, because if people can experience themselves to the core of their being and be comfortable with that, then all of a sudden we have people who are comfortable with how other people are starting to experience them.” Watkins told me.

If you want to find out what Other Black means to you, you can. They will be rockin’ in the New Year with The Yawpers at The Oriental Theater on December 31st for New Year’s Eve. You can check out their Facebook page for more information, and to hear their music, click here. Be on the lookout for the Other Black’s first album too, which is still in the works and will feature 14 songs which more than likely will encourage you to experience yourself. And that’s powerful.

-Mirna

All photos per George L. Bosser. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Listen to BolderBeat's 'End of Summer' Spotify Playlist

By: Joliene Adams

Every month, we publish a new Spotify playlist for your ears. Make sure to follow us on Spotify and take a listen at BolderBeat. Here is September's playlist:

BolderBeat's 'End of Summer' Playlist:

1. Tenth Mountain Division, “Drunk Man’s Blues”

Song most likely to sneak jam bandy vibes and bluegrass inspirations right under your nose without it mattering one wit.

There’s something about the way the vowels are pronounced. I’m convinced it has something to do with the hints of warm, soulful vocal spice. You won’t have much to say about a mandolin not being able to throw down after this song either. Rock undertones and jam overtones effectively avoid over-indulgence and hit the baby bear right where the Goldilocks counts.

2. Big Gigantic, “Got The Love”

Song most likely to dance in hi-tops on a spaceship to.

Somewhere along the way, soulful hip hop meets orchestral marching band and they all go to Burning Man together and start a band. This is what happens afterwards. If not a true story, it’s a believable back-story. Also, I couldn’t help but think, “Is that a wooden cowbell coming in at 1:44?”, even though I know better. How can that not make a person smile?

3. A Shadow Of A Jaguar, “Mama Needs The Bottle”

Song most likely to be mistaken as coming from Denver.

Denver isn’t the end all be all. But they do have more rock and roll. Bar none. We almost did, until West Water Outlaws broke up. And then there’s The Yawpers, who relocated to and announced themselves officially as a Denver band. Drop into the rock bowl at the sound of charging, down-stroke guitar grit, and quick, punchy drumbeat stalls between classic, unfrilled, rolling rock drums. Watch out for rhythmic vocals with attitude enough to make you want to spill your whiskey. Just buy the cheap stuff before, m’kay?

4. Envy Alo, “Bodzinger”

Song I most want to see the crew of Scooby Doo dance to.

Instrumentals done well drive me wild. I’m no less obsessed with words than music. But music doesn’t need words. It can communicate perfectly fine on it’s own. Also, killin’ it cool on the keyboards. Anyone would look amazing dancing to this song in bell bottoms. Groovy, but in the still totally hip way.

5. Policulture, “Great Respect”

Song most likely to render me unable to think of anything but bunny rabbits in sunglasses dancing in a field throughout it’s entirety.

You can definitely skank to this, but you don’t have to. You can dance like a slinky might to the guitar too. Ska and reggae are certain influences, but the track is in no way walled-in by them. Short, jumping keyboard strokes with a steady low-key bass keeps the groove moving forward.

6. Sunsquabi, “Odyssey” (feat. GriZ)

Song most likely to jet ski in outer space to.

If you hear this song in the elevator on your way to work, by golly you have the right job. Elevator music has a nasty reputation. My words here are no diss and all compliment. Sunsquabi and GRiZ could totally fly on an elevator, and chances are everyone’s day would be better and the world itself would be a better place for it. High five.

7. Gregory Alan Isakov, “Suitcase Full of Sparks”

Song with the best story to tell, and the best way of putting it.

“Travelin’ through the graveyard/suitcase full of sparks/honey I’m just trying to find you.” You’ve got my attention Mister Isakov. Light smatterings of harmonica and banjo punctuate earnest lyricism, and have a way of making new feelings come from old familiars. It’s amazing how light instrumentation and unobtrusive background vocals can hit your heart with a such a thunderous thud. Here is the song most likely to make me feel feelings & get those goosebumps.

8. Augustus, “Virtues”

Song that’s the most unto itself amongst all.

Augustus’ “Virtues” is the most own unto itself amongst the whole set. This number has the most interesting musical arrangements and distinct use of instrumentation. Won’t find vocals that hit so high delicately and then swing low anywhere else on this playlist, period. Cello like molasses that doesn’t stick, and thus doesn’t slow down the way it pours over you so warm and soft.

9. Cold River City, “Time Slips Away”

Song most likely to make me chill the heck out when a bus is late, all the while falling in love with the person at the bus stop next to me.

Now that’s some saxy sexaphone (courtesy of guest Jeremy Mohney). Back and forth male and female vocals lend this song a lyrical, crooning playfulness that doesn’t hinge on catchy word play. It speaks to the still-in-love love struggle when it’s done in reality, but far from it in heart. Hits me like permission to move on from any break up while still knowing the past was special and untouchable. If you think that’s hokey, it still won’t stop my pokey.

10. Sixty Minute Men, “Born This Way”

Song most likely to listen to on a catamaran at sunset.

Possiblly the best transition from and into a song on the playlist. Cold River City to Sixty Minute Men rolls like a board off one wave, up onto another. This song’s not in a hurry, and the slow simmer gives the listener rooted boots on the ground and soaring above the clouds vibes all at once. Put it in cruise control and tap those thumbs on your steering wheel folks.

11. Na’an Stop, “Questions”

Song that sounds most like an album single, and I somehow feel most likely to least question if I heard it on commercial alternative radio.

It’s catchy, folks. It makes me grateful for stereo speakers and headphones. It’s lyrics call you out and leave you feeling encouraged all at once. Keys and horns sometimes make you feel like someone might be laughing at you, but in a way that doubles back and only has you laughing at yourself, life, and all of us. It’s catchy. But it’s way more than a surface tune.

12. Evanoff, “Transcendance”

Song whose title best matches its music.  

Transcen + (d) + ance. That’s how we do on this ditty. The song title works on two levels. I feel like I could transcend my next climbing problem to this at The Spot, then dance the good vibes that follow off at The Fox straight after. Vocal thunder emanating from a teacup, heavy beats that don’t browbeat: this song communicates what it calls itself without riffing off some theme or line from lyrics, because it has none!! Best guitar shredding to boot.

13. The Motet, “Know It Too Well”

Song I’m most likely to dance to on isolated vocals alone.

More cowbell?! How yesterday of you. MORE ORGAN. The Motet knows it too well. I’d call this articulate funk, an ice cream sundae of funky guitar layers cut fresh and so clean. So much more than a wedding song, I can’t help but say that I can picture everyone from grandma to the youngest buckaroo dancing out on the floor having a good sass time at anyone’s matrimony.

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.

Denver's The Velveteers Join California's Deap Vally for UK Theatre Tour

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Demi Demitro, frontwoman of Denver’s heavy rock duo The Velveteers. After a slew of shows around the state, including appearances at Belly Up Aspen, The UMS 2016, and performances opening for bands like The Yawpers and Plum, The Velveteers announced some major news last Friday: They’re headed out on their very first tour, which happens to be going down in the UK.

Demi Demitro of The Velveteers. 

Demi Demitro of The Velveteers. 

Demitro has managed to garner a ton of buzz over the past year, with features in our publication, Westword, and Scene Magazine. The Velveteers have been touted as one of Denver’s must-see acts, and once you’ve had the chance to see Demitro rock a stage, it’s easy to understand the hype. Demitro puts everything she has into her shows, and the crowd always gives it right back, making for magnetically energetic performances. Whether you’re watching Demitro jump into mosh pits with her guitar, headbang her massive mane at the edge of the stage while she strums away, or fall to her knees as she scratches her guitar on the monitors, it’s clear: this chick knows how to rock.

So it makes sense that The Velveteers (which often features Demitro’s brother John of BANDITS on drums) are jetting overseas with California female rock duo Deap Vally in just a few weeks. Ironically, The Velveteers played one of their first-ever shows with Deap Vally back in 2014, when Demitro was just 17. Deap Vally, which consists of Lindsey Troy (guitar/vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums/vocals), have been described as “a scuzzy White Stripes-meets Led Zeppelin rock and roll duo”. This will be one return of many for the two-piece to the UK; in the past they have played Latitude, Reading and Leeds, and Glastonbury festivals. They’ve also supported acts like Dinosaur Jr., Muse, and The Vaccines. And on this particular tour, Deap Vally are dropping their second album, Femijism.

The Velveers have a few shows left stateside, before their UK tour with Deap Vally begins in September. See them before they hit the air, and if you’re in the UK, catch them at a theatre near you!

Colorado tour dates:

  • August 22nd Belly Up Aspen- Apsen, Colorado
  • August 27th Hodi's Half Note- Fort Collins, Colorado

UK tour dates:

  • Sept 15 Thekla- Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Sept 16 Islington Assembly Hall- London, United Kingdom
  • Sept 17 Leeds University Stylus- Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Sept 19 Electric Circus- Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Sept 20 Invisible Wind Factory- Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Sept 21 Concorde 2- Brighton, United Kingdom

Keep up with The Velveteers here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Final Day of The UMS 2016 Showcased Powerful Females & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The final day of UMS 2016 started off slow, which was unsurprising given the late night slew of shows on Saturday. Small crowds of zombies, still with a rock’n’roll twinkle in their eyes and glow stick goo on their shoes, wandered into the main stage area around 2PM in a noticeably lower attendance than the day before, but no matter. There was shade. And shade at The UMS is a hard commodity to come by.

DeCollage.

DeCollage.

As I wandered around South Broadway in those early Sunday hours, I found myself reflecting on what was overall an amazing weekend in local music. Having the chance to bounce around from venue to venue for four straight days checking out bands was this girl’s dream come true. It was a heck of a weekend Denver! So let’s chat about yesterday’s shows:

My favorite thing about Sunday at The UMS was the number of female-fronted performances I saw. Say what you will; the music industry is still very male dominated, whether you’re looking at artists or those behind the scenes. But ladies repped The UMS stages yesterday, from the smaller venues to the main shabang.

Millicent.

Millicent.

Let’s start with Millicent. Fronted by Emily Knurr, Millicent is a vibe pop project making Colorado waves. Knurr delighted a growing crowd at 3 Kings Tavern, many of whom admitted to being pulled in by the sound of her voice echoing outside of the venue. Her deep and magnetically smooth vocals pulled people close to the stage as she sang songs from her last EP Deux, a Drake cover, and some of her newer music (which has been all over OpenAir, so tune in!) She was stellar.

Shady Elders.

Shady Elders.

Shady Elders took the stage next, an indie rock/dream pop four-piece out of Denver fronted by Fox Rodemich. Rodemich also plays lead guitar and soon after starting the set, she turned the dance floor into a vibey haven of indie. 3 Kings was really the spot to be for indie over the weekend, and Shady Elders fit right in. They had an impressive crowd for an early Sunday show, and kept people groovin’.

Adia Victoria.

Adia Victoria.

Adia Victoria played the main stage mid-afternoon Sunday. The Nashville-based songwriter and vocalist's most recent album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, was produced by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney). Her lyrical poeticism wrapped us up in Victoria’s world, which she describes as, “falling in love, dealing with loss, confusion, anger, love, and loving myself”. Victoria had an Erykah Badu sound wrapped in a tasty indie sandwich. It was delicious.

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

Ready to rock, I rolled to the Hi-Dive, where The Velveteers were already performing. Frontwoman Demi Demitro was ablaze onstage in a glittering golden jacket belting out powerful heavy rock tunes. Her golden curls covered her face, giving her a mysterious glow that you couldn’t look away from. She jumped around stage while slamming on lead guitar and headbanging with the crowd, and her drippy choruses were catchy and captivating. Demitro is one lady you have to see live, Denver.

Cold River City. 

Cold River City. 

Cold River City, who dropped their latest full length album Thank You. Sorry. Love You. earlier this year, took the Hi-Dive stage in the early evening. The Boulder/Denver five-piece, who describe themselves as, “the love child of funky soul and dirty blues” brought a party. With grooving bass lines, strummy licks, and frontwoman Emma Fields’ killer voice, the crowd boogied throughout their set. Fields jumped between guitar, shakers, lead vocals, and even some toy instruments. CRC rocked, and they kept the evening moving along with a fun energy.

San Fermin.

San Fermin.

San Fermin took the main stage next, a Brooklyn-based eight-piece who are as fun to watch as they are to listen to. The group has had a lot of steam behind them recently, thanks to their release Jackrabbit, and after hearing them live, it’s easy to see why. With a robust horn section (John Brandon, Stephen Chen), Rebekah Durham’s violin playing, and lead vocals running between Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate, this group brought incredible instrumentation to the outdoor stage that echoed throughout the bellows of Broadway.

Polica.

Polica.

Polica then closed out the main stage as Sunday’s headliner. The brainchild of Channy Leaneagh, Polica played across their catalogue for their set, but are currently touring on their release, United Crushers. And that’s fitting since the Minneapolis-based project crushed their set! With dual drummers and Leaneagh’s commanding vocals, Polica was the perfect outdoor close to a great weekend of music.

BANDITS.

BANDITS.

Once the main stage shuttered shut and the crowds funneled to smaller venues, I took to the Hi-Dive again, where Denver’s BANDITS were straight shredding. Sibling duo John and Lulu Demitro are the creators of this three-piece, with the multi-talented Andrew Oakley on drums. John (guitar/vocals) was an alluring showman, with a rock’n’roll edge that kept us locked on the band’s set wondering what he would do next. Whether he's scratching his guitar on the monitor or running into the crowd, energy at any BANDITS set is guaranteed to be high. And Lulu, on bass and vocals, was equally powerful in her stage presence, holding down tight bass lines, and getting the crowd to sing along with her on tunes like, “Kill Tonight”, which she’s described as a track inspired by “a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, a psychotic way of looking at yourself and letting the crazy side take over”. The crazy did take over, as BANDITS slayed into the final night of the festival.

Beyond all of these female-fronted acts, I caught some rockin’ dudes on Sunday as well that are obviously worth mentioning. Denver’s DeCollage helped people get weird with their opening set of the day, with crazy visual props, a live painter onstage, and even a dancing oyster. Ian Cook brought a beautiful grace to the stage with his amazing cello playing and a set of songs inspired by fossils and dinosaurs. Modern Leisure, who we recently wrote about here, had a super chill and groovy set at 3 Kings that kept the afternoon moving along nicely. And last but not least: Denver’s The Yawpers managed to not only rile up a half-dead crowd into a riotous dance party of foot-stompin’, head shakin’ fun, but they somehow even got the sun to come out for their set. They brought life to the stage in more ways than one; you just gotta love these guys. Seriously- take a listen.

We had a blast at The UMS this weekend, and hope you did too Colorado! Make sure to head over to our Facebook for all of our exclusive photos from The UMS!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

15 Must-See Bands at The Underground Music Showcase 2016

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Denver’s premier indie festival, Underground Music Showcase, is back for its 15th year and ready to kick it into high gear. The four-day festival (July 28-31) will take place in the eclectic Baker Neighborhood, with over 400 performances showcasing an array of talent. With so many incredible performers to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Even so, we thought we’d help out by sharing our picks of must-see artists (in no particular order) at this year’s festival.

RL Cole and the Angels

With a voice like warm molasses and a sinfully inviting way with the guitar, RL Cole’s music will take you to another dimension that resembles the underground New Orleans Voodoo rock scene.

Gasoline Lollipops

"Dirt floor folk with the energy and rebelliousness of punk" is one of the phrases used to describe Gasoline Lollipops. You’re sure to get a high-energy set with these guys, who are no strangers to entertaining large crowds.

Plum

Psychedelic rock fans will not want to miss Plum’s performance. Their groovadelic sound and overall stage persona will make you move between headbanging to swaying with trance-like delusions.

Lee Fields & The Expressions

With a worldwide music career that spans over 40 years, Lee Fields set will be history unfolding in front of you. From lo-fi rock to Southern blues, all soul fanatics must get themselves to this show.

Porlolo

It’s “creep rock” mixed with folk flavor and dream-like vocals sure to bring out all the feels. If you’re in the mood to float into some music, check out Porlolo and let yourself vibe a bit.

Open to the Hound

Enter into singularity with Open to the Hound, who are not afraid of exploring the weird. They’re wilderness rock, grunge folk, and a ton of fun to watch.

Methyl Ethel

Australian-made and internationally-known alternative pop group Methyl Ethel aim to dissociate their fans from the present and bring them into their musical multiverse.

Sunboy

Another psychedelic treat for any attendees who want to escape themselves for a bit, Sunboy’s multi-layered musical concoctions will leave you talking about their set for weeks.

Thee Oh Sees

Garage rock, psych-pop rock, or however you interpret their style, Thee Oh Sees are a headliner you do not want to miss.

SPELLS

Often known for saying “screw it” to the stage, SPELLS will have you moshing, flailing, screaming, and sweating all over each other.

Dirty Few

Dirty Few is the perfect group to celebrate your Saturday night second wave with. Their party ‘til you drop mentality is sure to blow the roof off of the devilishly fun Hi-Dive.

KITTY CRIMES

If you’re a fan of badass chicks who can rap, sing, and play guitar, check out KITTY CRIMES, who will keep your booty shaking even after her set is over.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

Playing at their second home, the Hi-Dive, Bud Bronson & The Good Timers are a group of hilariously charismatic rockers who just want their fans to have a good time. Their feel-good summertime party rock is impossible not to like, so grab a beer and get in on the fun.

DéCollage

One of the most unique sets I’ve ever witnessed came from DéCollage. With costumes, lights, fog machines, and shiny mylar galore, you won’t be able to stop your body from moving.

The Yawpers

Rock music resembling the moments right before a fever breaks, The Yawpers will leave you wide-eyed and craving another dose of their mania.

The UMS this year is bound to be one for the books, and with so many talented performers on the bill, it is encouraged to see every band you possibly can. If you can barely walk by day four, you’ve done it right. So grab those tickets, coordinate your schedule, and prepare yourself for a wild weekend. We'll see you out there!

-Jura

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

Sweat, Booze, & A Lot of Heart: My Rock'n'Roll Weekend With The Yawpers & Blackfoot Gypsies

By: Zach Dahmen

A personal account of my two days with The Yawpers and Blackfoot Gypsies in Denver. It was a rock and roll blur of sweat, booze, and a lot of heart:

My weekend felt like this: Matthew Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies.

My weekend felt like this: Matthew Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies.

The Blackfoot Gypsies are a four-piece soul and blues rock’n’roll mashup of perfection. Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, BFG are the type of band that you can’t help but notice the minute you walk into the venue. With their long hair, bell bottom jeans, and wide-brimmed hats, you instantly know that they’re playing tonight, even as they casually order beers with you at the bar; they ooze American rock band. The only thing more prominent than their rootsy Southern influences injected into their wild rockin’ blues sound is their humility.

Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

The Yawpers are a three piece, and one of Denver’s favorite local acts. They are thumping rock and roll mixed with poignant lyrics. They are a non-stop manic roller coaster of rock with country/blues sensibility, and some heavy Americana touches.

Paige, Cook, & Dylan Whitlow.

Paige, Cook, & Dylan Whitlow.

My weekend with The Yawpers and Blackfoot Gypsies started a week before the show. I went online to purchase my tickets for the Saturday night performance, which had sold out. Luckily, there was a Sunday BBQ show still available, so I grabbed my tickets for the alternative option. I was not going to miss my opportunity to see Denver’s own Yawpers return. Days later, the Saturday show moved from the Lost Lake to Larimer Lounge, opening up over a hundred more tickets. Without hesitation, I grabbed one. It was time for a Yawpers/BFG double dip.

Zack Murphy of Blackfoot Gypsies.

Zack Murphy of Blackfoot Gypsies.

Upon entering the Larimer, anticipation in the crowd was bowling over with the threat of a true rock’n’roll show, and one which happened to be the end of a month-long tour for both bands. The room swelled as The Blackfoot Gypsies moved to take the stage. The four piece took little time to endear themselves to the PBR-swilling crowd. Frontman Matthew Paige’s slender body moved across the stage with the grace of a rock’n’roll royal, setting the tone for the entire evening. With Zach Murphy fitted in a flower-print button up and a leather hat banging on the drums with maracas and sticks, the crew launched into a gorgeous set of barn burners, landing one after another. Dylan Whitlow’s checkered pants swayed with his bass playing, forcing the crowd to move along with him, while Ollie Dog leaned into the crowd with his harmonica solos and generally hilarious personality.

Noah Shomberg & Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

Noah Shomberg & Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

The Yawpers took the stage to a sold out crowd with pure poetry and fury. With their alt-country and overdriven acoustic guitars, stomping drums, and one enthusiastic mustache, the trio commanded the crowd to do whatever they asked. Frontman Nate Cook made love to the microphone, enthralling the audience to fever pitches, minor bruises from stage diving, and a swirl of rock’n’roll debauchery. Jesse Parmet slid around his guitar like a master commanding the sound, his long hair shadowing his face with a perfect element of mystery. Meanwhile, drummer Noah Shomberg beat the hell out of his kit with energy, sweat, and the driving rhythm that carried every song. From the quiet moments where the group had us singing back “3 am”, to the numerous tracks where The Yawpers had a usually docile Denver crowd dancing, it was a sweaty, booze-soaked good time. Celebration and conversations lasted late into night, with the crowd eager to greet the bands like long lost friends.

Paige & Cook.

Paige & Cook.

As Yawpers’ Noah Shomberg put it, “You couldn't ask for more to come home to after a month away from family and friends. I was proud of this show."

Added BFG’s Matthew Paige, “This is one of the best nights we’ve had [on tour]. This was one of our favorites.”

The Yawpers.

The Yawpers.

If the Saturday night Larimer show was a boozed soaked barn burner, then the Sunday afternoon Lost Lake show was the hair of the dog. The afternoon started with Cook offering me shots of whiskey in the green room, and little did I know that moment would set the tone for one hell of a Sunday-funday BBQ. Venue doors opened at 2pm, when a shuffling crowd made their way to hear openers Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove and The Velveteers. Both bands came out hitting it hard, pulling energy out of people where it didn’t exist before. It was delightful mania, with older songs shared for die-hard fans. The Yawpers of course played another raging set, with the crowd wanting every last bit of what the band had left to give.

Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies. 

Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies. 

After three weeks and over 20 shows together, the Yawpers/BFG tour had come to its end. While both are glad to spend some much needed time off, we wouldn’t be surprised if these two groups joined forces for another round on the road again.

Said Shomberg, “We had camaraderie right off the bat. We drove each other to play better each night; it’s been fantastic.”

The Yawpers closing out their Larimer Lounge set. 

The Yawpers closing out their Larimer Lounge set. 

So what’s next for these rock’n’rollers?

They're gonna miss each other. 

They're gonna miss each other. 

The Blackfoot Gypsies are heading back to Nashville to gear up for a string of tour dates in Europe. From there, they have plans to release their next studio album in September.

The Yawpers will take some time to enjoy being home before touring later this summer; they’ll also make a return appearance at Denver’s UMS.

And as for me, I think I’ll be recovering from this weekend for awhile. While listening to “Doing It Right”, of course.   

-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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 04/08 & 04/09 + More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Another weekend means another round of awesome local music. Check out our picks this week:

THE SIX

Today (Friday 04/08):

Gasoline Lollipops at Oskar Blues in Lyons 6PM-Close

Alt-country four-piece Gasoline Lollipops are well-known in these parts, and this weekend, the guys are playing Oskar Blues in Lyons. They’ve been called one of “Colorado’s Best”, and for good reason! Their performances are “high energy and heartfelt, like the American highway’s soundtrack. That’s something to grab a brew over. Start your weekend at this show!

Check out Gasoline Lollipops’ live performance of “White Trash”:

Residual Kid EP Release Party with Bud Bronson & the Good Timers and Slow Caves at the Hi-Dive in Denver 8PM-Close

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Austin’s noise punk/grunge trio Residual Kid are releasing their EP Salsa tonight at the Hi-Dive with special local guests Bud Bronson & the Good Timers and Slow Caves. We’ve got one word for this lineup: PARTY! This show is guaranteed to have stage dives, gnarly shredding, and more! Plus RK are giving away a copy of Salsa to the first hundred people that walk through the door. So get your tickets now and get there!

Watch Residual Kid’s promo video for the show:

The Zimmermans at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

We recently saw The Zimmermans at a private house show, and man were we impressed. This Boulder-based Bob Dylan tribute group brought mad character to songs all over the Dylan catalogue. Frontman Joshua Elioseff had everyone moving, while regular members, and special guests alike took the stage to showcase their musical talents. Tonight, the six-piece rocks the Conor’s stage, so drop in and dance!

Check out their cover of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 04/09):

Mawule Single Release Party featuring Miguel Dakota and the Differents, Jerney, DJ Zenas, & A Meazy at Club 156 in Boulder 730PM-Close

Denver’s R&B/pop artist Mawule is dropped his newest single this morning and he will be performing it live tomorrow as headliner at CU’s Club 156. His story and his music are super inspiring, so this is definitely a show worth checking out! Mawule’s got a ton of Denver talent on deck too- Miguel Dakota and the Differents will play a set, along with hip hop favorite Jerney, DJ Zenas, and A Meazy. This is a sick lineup you don’t want to miss; tickets at the door.

Hear Mawule’s debut single "Fall for Me":

The Burroughs with Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal at Moxi Theater in Greeley 8PM-Close

We just dropped a sweet review on Greeley’s soul act The Burroughs for their recent release of singles “You Are My Joy” and “1968”. Tonight, the nine-piece are celebrating their new music with a sweet hometown Moxi Theater show. Make the trek, or if you’re a resident, get your tickets here! It’s going to be a great night of soul with Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal sharing the stage. So get to it!

Listen to The Burroughs’ new singles:

The Fremonts at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Americana storytellers Stephanie Dodd and Justin Badger will be making their return to The No Name Bar tomorrow night. This duo are not only talented, they’re hilarious. Just check out their blog for a taste. So get your music fix behind the big brown door with The Fremonts tomorrow! They’ve got new music for you, and they’re sure to keep you entertained. 

Peep The Fremonts’ track “Echo”:

PRESS

We now actively cover press at shows, and we do our best to promote those. Catch some of us at the Lost Lake and the Larimer doing press for these performances:

FRIDAY: Hi-Fi Gentry EP Release Party featuring Whiskey Autumn, VWLS, & Griffin at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

Hi-Fi Gentry are a five-piece indie outfit based in Denver. Tonight, they’re throwing a massive party at Lost Lake for the release of their newest EP, Film Noir. The group have already dropped a couple of singles from the EP, which we really dig, and you can hear one below. Boulder’s R&B pop/rock trio Whiskey Autumn will be sharing the stage, along with experimental psych group VWLS, and Griffin. You get a free copy of Film Noir with your ticket purchase; tickets at the door.

Listen to Hi-Fi Gentry’s new single “The Tide”:

SATURDAY: The Yawpers featuring Blackfoot Gypsies NOW AT Larimer Lounge in Denver 9PM-Close

UPDATE: This show was moved to the Larimer Lounge after publication. Tickets are available at the time of this update- get them here!

The Yawpers are back in town. Do we really need to say much more? The badass rock and roll trio from the D are playing double hometown shows this weekend, both with Blackfoot Gypsies, a Nashville band that we’ve literally followed for years and can’t wait to see live. We guarantee BFG’s performance will be kickin’, so get there early for their set! Saturday's show is at Larimer Lounge; Sunday’s daytime BBQ at Lost Lake will feature Boulder’s The Velveteers, the perfect complement to an already sick rock lineup. Get tickets for the Sunday show here.

Watch The Yawpers vid for "Doing It Right”:

BOULDER COUNTY FARMERS MARKET

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Boulder County Farmers Market is every Saturday from 10AM-2PM. We’re working closely with BCFM to promote the music at the market, and this week, Denver’s Zen Mustache will be under the red top tent. Stop by to hear their soulful funk tunes and grab some food. And don’t forget about one of our favorite treats… the iced coffee!

GREEN LIGHT RADIO

This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Denver’s Open to the Hound in honor of their new music video and EP release for Way of the Critter! Rocky Flats was out of town last weekend, so he will play them tonight! Tune in to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light between 9-10PM to catch their song “Liquid Lady”.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

The Weekend Six VIDEO EDITION: Six Shows to See 11/20, 11/21, & 11/22

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Weekend! Weekend! Let’s go to these shows:

Today (Friday, 11/20)

Paul Kimbiris and The Dark Side of Pearl Concert at the Chautauqua Community House 7PM-9PM

Joined by the talents of cellist Philip Parker, percussionist Leor Manelis, keyboardist Danny Rankin, and vocalist Beth Preston, tonight is one of Paul Kimbiris’ last shows of the season. Kimbiris and these powerful players will be performing a number of songs off of his album, “The Dark Side of Pearl.” Though it’s a bit softer than what you saw with Kimbiris' project BLVD at TFS, it sure sounds like the cozy type of night we want to be a part of. There are only a few tickets left, so get yours here. PS: Say hi to Paul’s mom, and wear a nice shirt.

Watch Paul performing for CPR OpenAir here:

Ben Hanna & the Knighthawks, Whiskey Autumn, & Hunter Stone at Shine Gathering Place 730pm-Close

Get ready for Ben Hanna to electrify an entire room once again kids! We were crazy for Hanna’s performance at TFS and we can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve tonight. The show is only $5 and Whiskey Autumn and Hunter Stone will be opening things up, making for an overall tasty lineup. Word on the street is Whiskey Autumn is dropping a new single soon; yum. Anddd we caught up with Stone earlier this week before his rehearsal for tonight’s show so we can tell you, it’s gonna be a good one. Leggo.

Watch a Ben Hanna original right hurr:

Funky Friday at The Armoury featuring Vance Romanca, Amoramora, & Booster 8PM-Close

Vance Romance. 

Vance Romance. 

Head on down to the Larimer part of town tonight in the D and catch this funky fresh lineup at The Armoury. Rumor has it that tonight is Vance Romance’s last show for awhile, so catch it while you can. Plussss Boulder bands Amoramora and Booster will be kickin’ thangs off! The place is gonna be straight groovin’. Peep the set times here and head out.

Already ready to funk? Peep Booster’s “Slinky” vid here:

Augustus at Gold Hill Inn 9PM-Close

Augustus.

Augustus.

Augustus is making their Gold Hill Inn debut tonight and it's gonna be a party!! It's only $7 at the door and the Boulder rock trio is even setting up rides for fans and friends on their FB event page here. Head for the hills with these boys- the mountain views + their rockin' tunes will be well worth it.

Watch an Augustus video here:

Tomorrow (Saturday, 11/21)

KUNC Presents: Yawpers Album Release Party at the Hi-Dive 8PM-Close

Now that looks like rock'n'roll. Photo Credit:  Kirsten Cohen

Now that looks like rock'n'roll. Photo Credit: Kirsten Cohen

The only way you’re lucky enough to check out this one is if you already bought your tix friends because it’s SOLD OUT. Which isn’t totally surprising since Boulder--->Denver--->Bloodshot Records band The Yawpers are hanging out at home for the release of their newest album “American Man.” They’ve got quite a badass tour schedule, which you can peep here. So here’s to hoping you’re one of the lucky few shotgunning beers with these good ol’ American boys tonight.

And whether you’re headed to the show or not, watch The Yawpers “Doing it Right”:

The Next Day (Sunday, 11/22)

The Lovebirds and Theresa Peterson at Vapor Distillery 7PM-9PM

Lady projects + Vapored libations= All good things.” That’s what’s up with Sunday’s gig at Vapor Distillery. San Diego duo Veronica May & Lindsay White are The Lovebirds and they’re going to be bringing some “folk that pops” to you Boulder. Local staple and Boulder-in-the-Round creator Theresa Peterson will be opening the show. So go check out all three of these lovely ladies! It’s going to be a great end to the weekend.

Check out The Lovebirds “UNI” here:

So many killer shows. See you out there Boulder!

-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.

Producer Robbie Stiefel: Wolves, Making Studio Magic, & Finding That Thing.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Robbie Stiefel is a talented set of ears crafting tunes with several of your favorite local bands.

Ben Hanna and the Knighthawks. A Shadow of Jaguar. Whiskey Autumn. Greg Corcione. These are just a few of the Boulder-based acts that producer Robbie Stiefel has worked with over the past few months. And after recently watching Stiefel insert his own beats and sounds to a band’s live performance while he sat next to me at The No Name, I can see why so many local acts are partnering with him. His job is to bring that thing into a band’s recording. That thing. You know, the one that every musician is always chasing. And the one that Robbie can somehow hear in his head whenever he listens to a track. So I sat down with him over a giant calzone to find out exactly how he does it. How did he develop finding that thing? And this is what he told me:

Stiefel’s from the East Coast. He grew up in DC, started playing sax at 11, and followed that with guitar, which is when he says “the addiction started.” Toss in his Dad’s love for James Brown and Stiefel’s own discovery of Zeppelin’s discography at 13 and there was Robbie: a kid obsessed with sound.

“I used to sneak into my high school gym and re-record songs with this rudimentary cassette four-track trying to recreate Led sounds using ambient rooms. I was always trying to capture different noises, different ways to do something. And I played in a couple of high school bands too.”

Robbie at   The Crucible Recording Studio  . Photo Credit: Kristy Gray.

Robbie at The Crucible Recording Studio. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray.

And eventually, playing in bands is actually what brought Stiefel to Colorado.

“My first more serious band project was Ego Vs Id. I grew up with Jesse [Parmet, currently of The Yawpers] and when we first moved here, he had this big house and it was basically just a studio for us. It was like our college- we were just teaching ourselves and experimenting for a couple of years with different recording techniques. Eventually, things got more serious with Ego Vs Id and we had unlimited access to a local studio. We actually just worked for a year and a half on an album and learned to craft songs in the studio, trying to make them sound effortless. Making that album solidified something in me.”

But, like many bands, eventually the guys went their separate ways into other projects. And for Stiefel, the most serious of those became production.

“I ended up moving to the Bay area for awhile. I worked with artists there and made connections at different studios. And then I made my way back here eventually and have kind of been doing that same thing.”

Stiefel at   The Crucible Recording Studio   with Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray. 

Stiefel at The Crucible Recording Studio with Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray. 

Which is when I wondered, what exactly is the producer-artist relationship like? To which Robbie had my favorite answer of our whole conversation:

“Being a producer is like holding a wolf by its ears- I feel so responsible for the project and its success and to make sure that what a band wants done is done. By the end, I want them to feel like I’ve made it more clear as to what they are. I put a lot of pressure on myself- I can be obsessive but I think that’s a good thing. I mean- it’s a lot of money to record. I’m getting paid here. And it’s not like paying someone to fix your deck- it’s paying someone to work on what is most important to you. So I always feel like I’m playing with this very dangerous thing- like a wolf- but it’s only dangerous because I care about it so much.”

Robbie and the wolf. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray at   The Crucible Recording Studio .

Robbie and the wolf. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray at The Crucible Recording Studio.

Though holding a wolf by its ears sounds like an almost impossible task, Robbie assures me that while it’s a challenge and a fine balance of sorts, he puts in a ton of preparation before heading into the studio with an artist:

“What it’s really about in preparation before the studio is synergy. The way I work with projects is that I’m basically being invited in as a temporary member of the band or a collaborator, and so there has to be this initial connection there. Especially with bands- they have this brotherhood-tribal-thing and I’m coming into the mix aware that I’m in that situation and building trust. And sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to do that before you start recording. But I’m an artist too, so when I ask them to make big choices, I get the whole ‘I don’t want anyone telling me how to make my music.’ That’s why building that initial trust and having synergy are so important. I know that what I’m asking an artist to do [in my role as a producer] is a lot.”

And so what does one do when there’s a battle back and forth on finding that thing: on finding the right mix, the right beat, the right shaker for a track? On creating and developing one’s sound and making studio magic?

“In those situations, it goes back to trust. But the best thing I can do is to let a certain amount of any idea be worked through- everyone needs to be able to express what they want. You can’t shut anyone down. And then I have to ask, ‘How passionate are you about this?’ because then I need to let them know realistically I will go down that road with them, even if I wasn’t intending to, but that the consequences and hesitations will be x,y, and z. I can’t beat around the bush- that’s the worst thing you can do in a creative environment. At the same time, they have to feel comfortable- somehow you have to have that.”

Stiefel at   The Mountain House Recording Studio   with Greg Corcione.

Stiefel at The Mountain House Recording Studio with Greg Corcione.

Which brings me back to the night I watched Robbie tapping out new rhythms and making sounds that somehow fit into a song he’d never heard before at that live performance. How did he hear those beats he was making? Where does that come from? When I ask him about this, he laughs:

“I’m at a point now where I do just hear it. It’s hard to explain. But I think the development of that came from having an awareness when I’m listening to something of what excites me. There’s this alarm that goes off and I’m suddenly aware that something has grabbed my attention. ‘Oh that’s where that shaker comes in’ or ‘That’s where that intentional harmony changes.’ And I can pull sounds from so many things that I’ve listened to. Eventually, you just kind of have this idea of ‘Oh that might go there’ and things come together.”

And in listening to music from several of the Boulder artists that Stiefel’s been working with, things sure do. A Shadow of a Jaguar already released their single that Stiefel worked with them on, titled “Mama Needs the Bottle” and you can listen to it here:

And the other artists mentioned have plans for new releases soon. We’ll be featuring those as they come out, but in the meantime, go check out two of the artists Stiefel has worked with LIVE THIS FRIDAY at The Fall Showcase.

Read more about Robbie here.

And get details for The Fall Showcase on our FB event here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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