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.

John Lensing Releases New Music Video For "Joanie"

By: Trevor Ryan

John Lensing, the Minneapolis bred turned Colorado singer/songwriter released his new video for the heart-wrenching, soulful “Joanie” this month and it’s everything you wanted it to be.

You may know John for his street performing on the streets of…. well everywhere, or maybe you’ve caught a show or two. No matter how you may have stumbled upon Lensing’s tunes, you one thing you’re sure to get when listening is a moment of sincerity and brilliance. Flowing with influences such as Passenger, and all while gripping you with an awe-inspiring take of his own is exactly where you’ll find his newest folk gem “Joanie.” Lensing has this incredible ability to take the world and tell you what it means with raw emotion and simplicity.

The song itself portrays the story of a young woman who has “her picture taken every week,” who is surrounded by everyone that “made” her, and yet who remain the perfect strangers. A powerful take on the struggle between self loathing and worth, you can expect lyrics like, “they took something beautiful, and made it just ‘bout selling things” describing the events of Joanie’s life as “the holiest of sins.”  

John Lensing.

John Lensing.

The video, a project that Lensing describes as “always meant to be simple” became exactly this, and so much more. You find Joanie, despondent and worn, carrying out day-to-day life without notice and lost to the world. Elegantly shot by the ever talented Zoë Keeler, the focus is always on “Joanie,” with the same vacant but beautiful expression, with the world in full motion around her. There are different places with different people filling the background with their own lives and memories, and then there’s Joanie, with eyes as far away as possible.

Check out the full John Lensing experience here, where you can find show dates, new stuff, and a even a newsletter. Toss him a like on Facebook here while you’re at it and don’t forget to catch the video for “Joanie” above.

-Trevor

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 Host Club Release Catchy Electropop Record 'Flash of Life'

By: Trevor Ryan

Colorado electronic trio The Host Club have just dropped their sophomore record Flash of Life, and it makes me feel absolutely everything all at once.

The Host Club started out in 2009 as just three brothers ready to take it all on. They played gigs throughout Colorado and eventually found a place within the airwaves in 2014, when they debuted Coincidence, a full length album featuring ten tracks.

The Host Club.

The Host Club.

Now, with Flash of Life, we have an emotional, phenomenally catchy record, described as an ode to their chocolate lab “Worf.” I found myself sonically immersed in tracks like “Constellations,” “If I Forget,” and “Come Apart.” There are these big, emotional moments introduced to us with strong hooks and “cut through you” melodies, but you also get a sense of happier times as well.

You’ll find a less emotionally broken taste in tracks like “Flash of Life,” “Stay The Same,” and “Undefeated.” These songs slam you with sticky hooks and more poppy, electro-vibes. From the instrumentals to their butter-smooth vocals, at times I’m reminded on this record of popular music’s Owl City era. Only this is better.

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To me, The Host Club’s record feels like it’s ready for your upcoming summer playlist because I definitely get road trip vibes the whole way through. Be sure to keep up with The Host Club on BandCampFacebook, and SoundCloud for more music and their next slew of shows.

I'll be catching one in a flash.

-Trevor

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

Trevor Hall Bringing 'The Fruitful Darkness' To Cervantes' Denver for New Year's Eve

By: Trevor Ryan

Veteran singer/songwriter Trevor Hall has just released his new EP The Fruitful Darkness PT. 1, a three-track record that leads off with the mellow acoustic riffs of the title track. This particular song appeals to the wanderer in us all. As Hall croons, “I had to find my way through,” his raspy vocals are accompanied only by his guitar and a small choir near the end.

Listen to The Fruitful Darkness PT. 1:

Next is a slightly more upbeat tune with the follow up track, “What I Know,” a song that shows off the reggae roots that Hall is known for, but features an R&B feel as well. From here, we’re set up for more catchy rhythm and synth work with the final track, “Wander.” His smooth voice grooving, “my home is where I wander, body and soul” shows Hall’s rawness and gives us a welcomed twist to a more standard, overall R&B feel. The feels are strong with this one.

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Be sure to keep up with Trevor Hall on Facebook and catch him at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom on NYE weekend, December 30th and 31st. You can find tickets here.

-Trevor

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

Colorado Americana Outfit The Railsplitters To Drop New Record 'Jump In'

By: Trevor Ryan

Colorado bred “masters of folk” and award-winning bluegrass group The Railsplitters are back with their third full length record Jump In, due out this Friday, November 10th. The band, who have been on the Colorado bluegrass circuit for a while now, first debuted in 2013 with a self-titled release. The record featured 12 tracks of heavily intricate stand-alone banjo riffs atop some very impressive mandolin, guitar, and string work in tracks like “Spray.” Along with this, the record showcased the effortlessly sweet vocals of Lauren Stovel, accompanied by the Harmonic Pete Sharpe, who shine in songs like “Boarding Pass,” “My World,” and “Where You Are.”

The Railsplitters.

The Railsplitters.

This record was followed by the band’s 2015 release The Faster It Goes, which was an exciting follow-up for both the listener, as well as the band, who developed their strong, progressive sound. The album gave us craaaaazy gems like “Goosetown,” which gives a real sense of where The Railsplitters’ talent truly lies as far as instrumentalists are concerned. Along with this, the band implemented a gypsy folk vibe that proved to be an upbeat surprise from their previous bluegrass leanings. Pair all of this with the outright most beautifully melodic stuff to come out of new age folk since City & Colours’ “Bring Me Your Love,” and there you'll find The Railsplitters with tracks like “You,” “Met That Day,” and “It's a Little Late.

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Needless to say, the anticipation for Jump In is HIGH, and is rumored to be the band's most Americana-leaning record yet.

Keep up with The Railsplitters on Facebook, and of course look out for Jump In, dropping on November 10th.

-Trevor

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

Review: Morning Bear Wrote His Newest Single During Iceland Airwaves Festival

By: Trevor Ryan

Hailing from Denver and releasing new music for the first time in two years is the fiery, folksy project Morning Bear (John Runnels), with his newest single “You’re Right.”

Morning Bear.

Morning Bear.

With hints of Bon Iver and City and Colour in the mix, Morning Bear’s new track is an emotional hitter. The amount of effort put into the instrumentals alone on “You’re Right” is pretty astounding, and when you add those soft, clear pipes from Runnels, it’s hard not to listen to the song on repeat a few times through once you hear it. Although the production is what most stands out with this track, there is still something to say about Runnels’ ability to write a catchy, articulate tune.

When asked about the inspiration behind the track, Runnels told us, “‘You’re Right’ was written in a tiny Airbnb in Iceland during Iceland Airwaves. [It’s] about being stubborn and fighting for something despite all odds, as well as accepting when it's time to give up. It's a song about the struggle between what you want and wish, and what must be.”

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Runnels will be performing “You’re Right” live, this Friday, September 8th at Denver’s The Walnut Room, along with many of his other tunes. He will be joined by a full string quintet, making for a stellar night of orchestral indie folk. Snag your tickets to the show here, and make sure to keep up with Morning Bear and more of Runnels’ new music 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.

Review: A.J. Fullerton's 'Kalamath' Is Slide, Blues, & Incredible Fingerpicking

By: Trevor Ryan

Colorado’s award-winning A.J. Fullerton is releasing his new album Kalamath today, and let me tell you, it’s a whirlwind of that fingerpicking blues that we all love him for.

A.J . Fullerton.

A.J . Fullerton.

Hailing from Western Colorado, Fullerton has recently exploded onto the state scene. In just two years, he’s been the Colorado Blues Society solo/duo winner, and won the organization’s “Member’s Choice” awards for best slide guitar, best acoustic act, best young performer, and best solo/duo act. Utilizing these skills and more in his own playing, Kalamath also features several talented local artists, including Megan Burtt, Taylor Scott of The Taylor Scott Band, and Stud Ford and Sharde Thomas of North Mississippi Allstars.

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The album, a solid addition to Fullerton’s catalogue, definitely showcases his outstanding slide ability, steaming vocals, and his incredible fingerpicking style, which almost sounds as though he brought the blues back from the dead to teach him how to play it. Gems like “She's So Cold,” “Lover Come Back,” and “Smoke and Mirrors” will all leave you reflecting on Fullerton’s intricate playing. Overall, Kalamath will introduce you to a new world of blues while certainly appreciating the greats in the process.

Keep up with A.J. Fullerton 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.

Premiere: Electro Pop Rock Duo ANGLS Release Debut Single "Terminal Velocity"

By: Trevor Ryan

Everyone loves a catchy tune. Something that you can wake up to. To drive to. There's just something really comfortable about it. And among the notable new anthem vibes comes “Terminal Velocity” from electro pop rock duo ANGLS.

Listen to ANGLS new single:

Made up of producer Ellipsis, and musician Norman Hittle (Hydrogen Skyline), you'll hear influences of Maroon 5, AWOLnation, and The Killers on this track. It's mostly the poppy vocals, and heavy hitting riffs that make this track really glow. But there is definitely credit to be given for the witticism in its lyrics as well.

ANGLS.

ANGLS.

Beginning with some deep guitar riffs, and backed by some well-placed synth work, ANGLS’ “Terminal Velocity” has chanted, almost rap-esque verses following its intro. The heavy distortion that follows pairs nicely with the sort of water-logged vocal effects you hear next. And with the chorus, you get a rangy hook that carries you onward.

Hittle and Ellipsis.

Hittle and Ellipsis.

ANGLS make a phenomenal duo, and though new to the Colorado scene as a project, they come experienced from their time in other bands with a catchy sound. Put “Terminal Velocity” on the last of your summer playlists, and keep up with ANGLS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as their official site right here.

-Trevor

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

Hallie Spoor Set To Release Debut Record At Denver's Syntax This Friday (08/04)

By: Trevor Ryan

Hallie Spoor, the folky singer/songwriter born and bred in Colorado and currently based in Denver, will be headlining Syntax Physic Opera this Friday, August 4th for her debut record release show. And I for one, could not be more stoked. Why is that you ask? Three words: Those. Pipes. Though.

Hallie Spoor. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss Photography

Hallie Spoor. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss Photography

Upon listening for the first time, you can’t help but be immediately drawn to the range of Spoor’s voice. Often described as “an old soul” whose sound may remind you of powerful folk ladies who’ve come before her, like Joni Mitchell or Sheryl Crow, Hallie Spoor might just be the Adele of Americana. You’ll know exactly what I mean with tracks like “Till I See You Again.”

Beyond her impressive vocal range, Spoor’s tunes just make you feel good. She rocks the smooth, upbeat, Americana, easy-listening sound that so often define one element of popular Colorado music. This is most evident in her tune, “More To The Sky Than Blue,” which I recommend listening to. The simple rhythm, along with that acoustic/electric lead duo in this track, all accompanied by her amazing voice bleed awesome vibes that are definitely worth seeing live.

Watch Hallie perform the title track tune from her upcoming record:

Spoor will release Side 1 of her debut album The Brave Ones at her Syntax show this Friday. Sam Columna (Dear Me,) and Shelly Rollison will open the evening; you can grab tickets here. Keep up Hallie on her Bandcamp.

-Trevor

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

Review: Montreal's Viral YouTube Cover Duo Chris Kelly & Nicole Gibson Release First Original Single

By: Trevor Ryan

YouTube is known for many, many things. Comedy channels, news broadcasting, and of course, rather controversially, music. One of the more popular types of artists with a large viewership on the ‘tube is the cover artist. This has been a longstanding trend for the YouTube community, and among these cover artists are Montreal’s Chris Kelly & Nicole Gibson.

Nicole Gibson & Chris Kelly. 

Nicole Gibson & Chris Kelly. 

After both being in separate alternative rock bands, Chris Kelly & Nicole Gibson joined up about a year ago to create ambient, alternative sounds. Starting out with a video cover of Linkin Park’s “Battle Symphony,” the pair gained an audience quickly when the video reached 28k views. With covers ranging from Sum 41 to The Chainsmokers, the duo have recently landed on their new original single “Ghost of You.”

This track has a really great blend of rock and ambition. Adapting many of the newer elements that popular rock uses today, like spikes in synth use and overall electronic influences, can sometimes, as we all know, get tricky. But “Ghost of You” showcases some of these sounds well. The track starts out very mellow, and builds with smooth vocals and synth. Reminiscent of Taylor Swift's ballad “Style,” Ghost of You has hard hitting bass lines, and that steady kick/synth combination that really fuels the chorus. The duo scene is coming back, and these two are doing a pretty great job of making their way to the front lines of Montreal’s pop rock scene with this release. They're currently working on their second single, "Battleborn," which will drop later this month.

Keep up with Chris Kelly & Nicole Gibson on Facebook, and catch up with their latest music on their YouTube and SoundCloud.

-Trevor

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 Fremonts' 'We Don't Live There' Is A Fresh Take On Classic Americana Sounds

By: Trevor Ryan

Americana blues rock band The Fremonts dropped their first full-length album We Don't Live There last Friday, June 9th. I recently had the pleasure of giving it a listen and I’m here to tell yah: it’s a fresh take on the classic Colorado Americana folk/blues sound. Because let’s be honest- the Colorado music scene has welcomed a number of Americana folk performers to its various stages over the years, and continues to do so, even in the popular music realm. So what sets The Fremonts apart? This definitely isn't a short answer, so buckle up:

The band, founded in New York City, relocated to Boulder just a couple of years ago to find their niche, which some would argue they did find instrumentally in folk-heavy Colorado. But they (Stephanie Dodd and Justin Badger) did so pretty organically, and with more than just their instrumentation. What really sets this husband and wife duo apart is their storytelling and the inspiration behind their stories. On We Don’t Live There, The Fremonts combine what sometimes feel like ghost stories of old with what they say is “the heartache of leaving our past in a distant skyline and walking into fresh, open spaces with hope for the future.” You'll hear what I mean in the ballad track “Olivia.” It’s a tune with a progressive interlude (which you don’t always find in classic Americana) that also beckons the roots of the genre in an original way with a story that leaves you a bit haunted.

Listen to The Fremonts' We Don't Live There:

There are a lot of emotions that surround this album, and they show in the songwriting and composition of the record. Starting with the whimsical, somewhat mellow opening and title track “We Don't Live There,” the record then levels out with classic, upbeat Americana tracks such as “Back To The Mountain,” “Holding Place,” and “Tell My Mother.” It also offers a darker, more emotionally haunting feel with “Tillman's Wall,” and with the violin in “Joanne.” “Tillman’s Wall” is such a treat that I can say I’d love to see more of the darker, grittier production on this tune in more of The Fremonts’ future recordings.

The Fremonts.

The Fremonts.

My only real criticism of this record is that though both Dodd and Badger front the project strong vocally, and each have notable leading tunes throughout the record, their harmonies can sometimes feel as though they’re battling for that lead sound. Other than that, I really find this record a refreshing take on classic sounds that you should definitely listen to. 

When it comes to We Don’t Live There, The Fremonts have a new take on the Americana sound that I’ve been told is even more of a fun ride live. So be sure to catch them while they're still in Colorado at Denver's Squire Lounge on June 16th. And if you're traveling this summer, crash a couple of shows on their summer tour, or support them on the road with their tour Kickstarter campaign. Get their full list of dates on the road here

-Trevor

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

Review: Ireland's Empty Lungs Drop New Indie Grunge Rock EP, 'Don't Get It'

By: Trevor Ryan

Empty Lungs recently released their third EP Don't Get It on Hidden Pony Records, and it will undoubtedly leave you wanting so much more from the trio if you get down with indie grunge vibes. Fronted by Matt Carson, the three-piece utilizes classic and new age elements meshed together to produce one insane gem.

Wasting absolutely no time getting you to their sweet sounds on Don't Get It, the three track project confidently throws you into their fresh, original, and upbeat sound from the start. With every track nearly borderlining ballad territory, Don’t Get It will dwell on your mind for days with its immensely catchy hooks and adrenaline pumping breakdowns.

Check out Don't Get It:

The band, who are based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, have quite the following overseas and online. But what makes this project so unique is the contentment you will get from the record as a whole. You can legitimately feel the raw effort put into each track, and are only left wanting more of their refreshingly distorted sound.

Watch Empty Lungs’ video for “Losing It. FInding It.”:

Be sure to keep up with Empty Lungs on their Facebook; follow their current tour here.

-Trevor

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

Meeting House Are Getting Ready To Drop New Music On You

By: Trevor Ryan

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

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Meeting House. Photo Credit: Veltrida

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

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

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

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Life at a Meeting House show. Photo Credit: Veltrida

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will the new music be a follow-up EP?

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

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

Ethan Cowell. Photo Credit: Veltrida

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

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

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

-Trevor

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

Review: Whiskey Autumn's 'Ice Cream In The Sun' Is Tasty Electropop With R&B Vibes

By: Trevor Ryan

These days, the electronic-leaning movement in music is strong. And although the growing brand definitely holds the current popular vote, it can be challenging to make a true mark worth hearing. But that is exactly where Colorado’s Whiskey Autumn shine through. The project, founded by multi-instrumentalist Greg Laut, is a fluid blend of pop/soul, incredibly catchy synth work, smooth euphonic vocals, and a lyrical witticism that originally found its voice with their EP 2014 EP Into Something New. Though the band has made a turn from Americana to electropop with their latest EP, Ice Cream In The Sun, they’ve managed to keep their music warm and inviting while introducing R&B hooks with synth sounds and soul.

Whiskey Autumn.

Whiskey Autumn.

There’s a futuristic sound blended with their early soul-feel too- you'll hear what I mean in the opening track “Dog Days.” And the song following, “Human Frailty,” brings back the tempo with a slightly more mellow-groove-type R&B vibe, but not enough to really make you question it. This pattern seems to weave throughout the rest of the EP, along with a pretty upbeat energy and catchy storytelling. My favorite track is the closer, “Postcard From Tokyo.” It blends interesting sounds with harmonies that will make you float off into space, or at least I know I did...

Listen to Ice Cream In The Sun:

My only criticism: I would love to see WA experiment with bringing out their percussion even further, with more of a build from time to time. The instrumentals here are very tight though, making this trio refreshing to listen to (Matty Schelling is on drums, Jason Paton is on bass). They seem to have their sound really pined with this record, and I for one am excited to see how they grow with it.

The band has described Ice Cream In The Sun, as their “most confident release yet,” and it’s easy to see why. Giving us a taste of a their new brand of electronic influence with classic R&B nodes, along with that touch of soul ultimately forces our mouths (and ears) to water in the hopes that we may have more from the “Coney Island” crooners sooner rather than later.

Schelling, Laut, & Paton.

Schelling, Laut, & Paton.

Whiskey Autumn play The Fox Theatre Friday, May 26th and have discount tickets available. Contact them on their Facebook for free ticket delivery from the crew (they’ve got $12 presale tickets for you), and follow them on Instagram and Twitter for other updates. The rest of their summer tour schedule throughout Colorado and the Midwest and Southwest can be viewed here.

-Trevor

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

Review: Carry Me Ohio's 'Stonewall' Will Take You Back To Simpler Times

By: Trevor Ryan

When you think of Americana, you might conjure the classics like Bob Dylan, or Robert Earl Keen. Today, the genre has been reinvented by the indie scene, giving us artists with varied sounds in the genre including The Alabama Shakes, Iron and Wine, and Colorado’s Carry Me Ohio.

Fronted and founded by vocalist/guitarist Evan Crouch, Carry Me Ohio is leaving an obvious impression in the midst of the recent renovation of the genre. With classic rock and folk elements, the Boulder four-piece are achieving their own brand of Americana with gems like their 2010 debut Oak and Iron Bound, as well as their most recent record Stonewall.

From beginning to end, Stonewall is a concrete and very comfortable listen. Emotional at times, yes, but comfortable. It's easy to get lost in this record in self-reflection. But what really makes this release stand out is Carry Me Ohio's ability to take on several well-established genres and truly mesh them all together while letting them shine individually. Taking bits from obvious indie sounds, as well as newer country feels, the group also ties in a lot of rock influence. Yet, it doesn't feel over-produced to force these elements, but rather like what kind of fell into place with the album. If you really dive into Stonewall, it's a “take you back to warm, simpler times” type of listen with a very clever sound.

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It should be safe to assume that CMO, who are signed with Round Barn Recordings, have created high expectations for their fanbase as to what may come next. The world’s take on music these days is such a beautiful scene if you just listen to the right people, and Carry Me Ohio are definitely in my rotation after Stonewall.

Be sure to keep up with Carry Me Ohio on Facebook, and catch them on their official site for tour dates.

-Trevor

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

Thrash Vibes, Garage Rock, & Green Things- Oh MY!

By: Trevor Ryan

Last weekend, I found myself once more at the University of Colorado’s Memorial Center attending another incredible show put on by Club 156. The vibe was familiar, only this time, an almost hardcore energy filled the room. It was very hype-y; the sound crew seems especially stoked for the coming show. I arrived early, and a few fans already lined the walls of the intimate venue; a small room hosting a quaint stage bursting with grungy potential.

Listen to Loretta Kill’s “Too Cool For You”:

First onstage was Loretta Kill. With a very garage rock sound, the trio utilized heavy distortion accompanied by growling vocals. Theirs is not always an easy sound to master in a small room, but Loretta Kill definitely killed it. They emit a bit of that nostalgia you had listening to Nirvana in your youth, combined with experimental gestures and a “too cool” attitude that is somehow instantly appealing.

Princess Declaw. 

Princess Declaw. 

Next up was Princess Dewclaw. An act that I will not soon forget, this five-piece held absolutely nothing back. The first thing to hit you was lead vocalist Amanda G.’s pipes. The self proclaimed “no wave trash pop” frontwoman gave literally everything she had with ear shattering wails, followed by abrupt near-whispers. And the whole time, she rolled her eyes excessively, apathetic in stature, and in an almost character-like way. Meanwhile, behind her, the band used intricate synth work and some sick rhythm to really make it all POP!

The Beeves.

The Beeves.

Following them, the show’s headliner appeared: The Beeves. This trio is an insanely tight act in their appearance and their sound. Their glances to one another while playing had me wondering what move they’d make next; that unspoken language that keeps everything flowing in a good set. But just as you’re distracted by their tight playing, that’s when it enters: The Green… Thing. A mascot of of sorts parades around the stage, holding a seemingly pointless purpose, until you realize how pumped you become watching him. You want to dance; you want to mosh and The Beeves will get you to do it with classic ska elements set to a hard rock theme and a punk/thrash vibe. Move.

Listen to The Beeves’ self-titled EP:

Once again, Club 156 put on a fantastic show. You'll go for the people; you'll stay for the friggin’ insanity! Keep up with their upcoming events here.

-Trevor

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

Review: A Calling West Release New Record, 'Space For Echoes'

By: Trevor Ryan

Matt Owen, also known as A Calling West, has just released his latest album, Space For Echoes. Indie rock based out of Boulder, CO, A Calling West is a relatively new project. Owen’s last release under the name was with his EP, Static, which was released in 2015.

The feel of Space for Echoes is pretty progressive. Starting out with a few very mellow, experimental tracks which are backed by a female vocalist, Matt and his instrumentals build with each tune. Every song gives you the sense of this specific build, which feels like it rockets upward on the upbeat vibes of “Her Name Is Summer” and then mellows out with the instrumental "Forest" before ending with the truly echoey at times "Climbing Trees."

There is a strong, independent-feel to the entire record, which was mixed and mastered at World Famous Studios in Lakewood, CO. It’s a very raw, yet well executed project that provides some of the best long-drive road trip tunes I’ve heard in awhile. At times it feels like an elaborate experiment with different sounds, down to the very pure, yet offbeat vocals that fade in and out of each track.

A Calling West, in short, definitely has my vote. Experimental music is thriving right now and if there is a local band that has the potential to grow this genre, it’s safe to say these guys are definitely in the running.

Be sure to follow ACW on Facebook, Twitter, and their BandCamp here.

-Trevor

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

Pin Up’s New Video for “End of the Night” Gives You One More Reason to Wake Up In the Morning

By: Trevor Ryan

Pin Up, a pop rock band formed in Canada's city of Montreal, has released the video for their song “End of the Night,” and the general consensus is one of feel good vibes.

Consisting of a sweet blend of indie pop mixed with a little rock, Pin Up has successfully dominated the art of catchy tunes. After three years of what the band called “Artist Development” with engineer Bill Szawlowski, Pin Up officially released their debut self-titled EP in 2015. It is this record, along with the substantial touring that followed and the EP selling over 1K copies, that sent this band on their way to something special.

Watch Pin Up's "End of the Night":

The video for “End of the Night” is an artsy, yet visually gratifying depiction of two people coming together. The feel-good story line centers on Pin Up’s frontwoman Sam Martel, with stunning visuals and some risky angles.

Although the video focuses primarily on the band scene-wise, the story will no doubt keep you entertained with heartwarming scenes between members, conveying the tight-knit chemistry it truly takes to make a project thrive.

So, if you're looking to start your day off with a smile, definitely check out Pin Up. With a sound like this and a majorly growing online fan base, you'll likely be hearing of this group soon.

Be sure to follow these Pin Up on Facebook, catch them on Twitter, and share a smile with them on Instagram.

-Trevor

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

Review: Colorado's TAARKA Drop New Record 'Fading Mystery'

By: Trevor Ryan

Every band has the dream of the perfect album: that one project that resonates with fans immediately. This may not be a far off concept for acoustic/folk band TAARKA of Lyons, CO. With their unique, fresh take on Americana, as well as their seventh album Fading Mystery dropping this Friday, March 10th, it’s safe to say this hardworking supergroup/husband and wife duo aren't going anywhere anytime soon except straight to your ears.

TAARKA.

TAARKA.

Combining a number of sounds including swing, folk, jazz, and even a dash of bluegrass, TAARKA produce a truly unique style sure to appease listeners of a variety of genres. Founded by vocalist/mandolin/guitarist David Tiller and five string violinist/vocalist Enion Pelta-Tiller, TAARKA’s current members also include bassist Troy Robey. TAARKA released their debut album TAARKA: Live In The Studio with Omniverse Records in 2001.

David & Enion.

David & Enion.

Breaking all sorts of new barriers with its folk sounds, Fading Mystery features everything from rugged, bluesy riffs to fun melodic, folksy vibes. This record really takes an imaginative approach to acoustic music. TARRKA give us raw and emotional vocals with full and inspiring instrumentals that honestly bring you chills at certain times. With every track flawlessly transitioning to the next, you never lose the overall “still” vibes within this moving piece of work.

“Polyamorous Polly Ann” comes out as the MVP on the Fading Mystery. Illustrating the honest beauty in acoustic music with such a mellow feel and powerful lyrics, this track proves the raw nature of the record. You can, at times, hear the real emotion in every musician at their own respective moments. In fact, there are times that you forget you're listening to an album and almost feel like you’re standing in the studio with them during their creative process. This is a record you can imagine yourself in.

With its experimental approach, listeners from every walk of life can groove to this innovative and melodically stunning record. Fading Mystery will absolutely leave you needing more, and wondering how 10 tracks flew by so quickly.

So make sure to catch TAARKA this Saturday, March 11th at Shine in Boulder for their CD Release Show, where they will play Fading Mystery live. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door. And be sure to follow TAARKA on the road and in the studio here.

-Trevor

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

The Night The Funk Took Over Boulder's Club 156

By: Trevor Ryan

There were many things that stood out to me as I walked through the University of Colorado’s Memorial Building and into the “Connection,” a social spot for students that leads into an almost secret entrance to the quaint, yet nostalgically grungy venue known as Club 156. The building itself, for one, is a beautiful dedication to Colorado's servicemen and an almost overwhelming structure that is home to several campus-affiliated organizations. I saw students come and go, chatting amongst their peers about their daily lives, and I could feel the energy as I found my way through the crowd and into the dimly lit club. To my left was a small stage with lights from top to bottom covered in equipment. And on my right, there was a small open control room for lights and sound. I got the vibe that this place puts on shows that are both intimate and really cool, and I was relieved they’re not just for students.

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Barking at Dogs, a funk/soul group out of Denver, were up first and I walked in mid-mic check. Crew members scrambled to get everything in order, and the show started with a deep bass line from the five-piece outfit. This group is confident, to say the least, in their sound. With funky bass lines accompanied by sweet lead riffs and a saxophone, frontwoman Lauren Duff uses a wide vocal range, and an almost raspy tone to really bring the band’s sound together. Playing all originals with a variety of funk, soul, and a touch of swing, Barking at Dogs create groovy beats that promise to keep you moving. The crowd responded well to their set, with one listener commenting on the saxophone being an interesting choice of instrument for the group while another talked about how easy their music is to dance to. And by looking at the rest of the audience, it was safe to say she was right.

Sun Time Hannah.

Sun Time Hannah.

Sun Time Hannah was next, with their own unique blend of funk and soul. Using their extreme motivation and high energy to intoxicate the crowd, frontman Josh Ewers eventually parted ways with his t-shirt in an excited frenzy around three and a half songs into the band’s set. Sun Time Hannah played a lot of their own music, and even throw in a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover. These guys are definitely an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with in the funk community.

Public Safety. 

Public Safety. 

Finally, Public Safety took the stage. The funk rock headliners of the bill are also based out of Denver, and when I asked how fans would describe their sound, one listener whispered, “Funk rock with a little soul.” Yes. Drummer Tim Kane described the project similarly, but “with a few more elements that can't really be described.” The group had an extremely well-performed set list of originals and threw a little Kid Cudi cover into the mix toward the end. Overall, PS gave us a variety of smooth, almost jazz-like interludes with the familiar funk and soul rock they’re known for.

At the end of the night, the outcome was one happy crowd. What had started out with bit of swaying and the occasional chant had turned into something more: a bond between listeners shouting and singing with each other while feeding off of the immense energy coming from such a tight show. This bill proved that it doesn't take a million people to bring the house down, nor does it take a big venue with bands you've heard a million times. It just a few loud and ambitious talented acts in a great space with great vibes. And that’s Club 156.

Be sure to keep up with Barking at Dogs, Sun Time Hannah, and Public Safety on their Facebook pages for news and future shows.

Get tickets to a Club 156 show here

-Trevor

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