Review: Corsicana's "Reprieve" Recalls The Detriments Of Growing Up

By: Sam Piscitelli

Growing up as naive children we tend to imagine life as an exploration of majestic intent. We prefer to seek out our own wanderlust in order to see what the world has prepared for us. There’s an impression that the lives we lead will be difficult at times but we tend to see it as less realistic and more fantasy than anything else. In Corsicana’s new single “Reprieve” from their forthcoming record Perennial, that flawed logic falls short as we’re given an authentic perspective into the detriments of growing up.

Corsicana makes it clear within their first line that there’s essentially no give and take left in their adult lives except when they’re asleep. With taut precision and delicate placements Corsicana’s “Reprieve” introduces us to the loss of innocence, the unwarranted heaviness it leaves on your chest and the undying life of having life figured out only to end up questioning the answers you had before. The song is contradictory in the sense that it lulls you into a warm familiarity while also causing a recurring shock of wondering what’s ahead, but it’s the contradictories complexity that makes the song genuinely sincere. The ability to mourn while comprehending the ability to move forward is the basis of learning to live through life.

Corsicana.

Corsicana.

The attempts at painting a picture that is a universal struggle may seem like a challenge, but here, it’s done with ease. It just goes to show that an old idea can have a nuanced perspective when done right. It’s a welcomed approach to an idea that’s seemingly been all dried up. The idea of growing older is largely capitalized on, but is rarely executed right. While Twenty-One Pilots hint at growing up as unromantic and Taylor Swift muses she wants to turn back time, Corsicana’s take is about relying on life to balance itself out. “Reprieve” is a song that expertly unravels life’s little moments, whether that may be the beauty, the ugly, or the fine line that treads between them.

Keep up with Corsicana here.

-Sam

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

Compass & Cavern Release New Music Video For "Before it Begins" ...In Reverse

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based pop/rock duo Compass & Cavern have been working hard on bringing you quality media since 2015, and their newly released video for “Before it Begins” doesn’t disappoint!

At first you may be thinking this video isn’t anything groundbreaking. I mean, sure the song is cool, but they’re just kind of singing and playing instruments. But then maybe it’ll dawn on you as it did for me, the ENTIRE video is put together in reverse and then reversed again to play forward! And then I really started looking closely: Is frontman Will Timbers playing that solo accurately backwards? Is synthesist Chris Frucci also playing the correct keys in reverse? It seems like it!

Though yes, this technique isn’t their original concept, you have to give them some big props for putting together such a well rehearsed production that most bands wouldn’t spend a quarter of the time on. And it’s especially cool when considering the real-time actions they have in the background of different scenes, like Chris spray painting walls while Will is singing and playing. Moments like these give you the unmistakable knowledge that the band didn’t edit the crap out of their footage to make these things work.

Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

“Before it Begins” is the title track from Compass & Cavern’s 2017 full length release. As with a decent amount of their music, C&C show a definite influence from other hip-hop-meets-pop-rock acts with nods to bands like 311, Twenty One Pilots, and Fall Out Boy.

The band has a good amount of performances booked for the rest of the month and into June, so check out their dates here and try to make it out to one of their upcoming shows!

-Norman

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

Public Safety On Why There's Nowhere Else To Go In The Mile High But Up

By: Annie Kane

Four-piece Denver band Public Safety believe that there is nowhere else for them to go but up. I spoke with them recently at a local coffee shop prior to their show at The Biergarten in Boulder to pick their brains on their roots, influences, and what they might expect on their ascent.

Public Safety.

Public Safety.

Do you guys want to start off with your background? Where you’re from and how you feel like that shaped the artists you are today?

Bear: Well, Jimmy and I actually founded Public Safety back in Charleston two and a half years ago. We were down at the College of Charleston, and he and I met and we started [Public Safety] as more of a college party band. And then, I decided I wanted to transfer back here and do music and asked him to come with me and he came and we re-formed Public Safety with you guys. (looks to other band mates)

Jimmy: Yeah, we started in September of 2015.

Do you feel like Boulder is a better platform for your music?

Bear: We’ve only played Boulder like, three or four times. We mostly perform in Denver; yeah we’re out of Denver. That’s where I was born and raised and he came six months after I moved back and I kinda got my feet wet in the Denver scene.

Jimmy: This whole area, just like Colorado, is way more of a scene than what we had in South Carolina where we were at, so definitely a good decision to come out here.

Bear: And it’s crazy how quickly it’s growing, too.

Ethan: Oh yeah, the scene is getting a lot bigger for sure.

How do you guys like the scene here in Colorado?

Bear: I don’t know the Boulder scene too well yet, but I’ve definitely seen a lot of bands in Boulder and a lot of bands come out of Boulder. But the Denver scene is crazy, it’s just exploded. It’s so fun to be a part of.

Ethan: There’s some people doing some cool stuff in Boulder, like the Cosmic Collective guys who we just did a podcast with a couple weeks ago. [Eric] is doing some cool stuff, he’s a super nice guy.

Agreed. What kind of environment do you guys like to create when you perform?

Bear: Rowdy! I like it to be lit to the max! (laughs) But, I’m very into hip hop and that stuff so I try to make it really hype.

Ethan: It’s definitely a party feel.

Jimmy: We definitely like people dancing.

Bear: I hump my mic stand quite a bit. (laughs)

Lem: This will be my first time [performing with Public Safety].

Bear: Yeah he’s brand new. Only his second show with us. We had a different drummer for a little while, and we found this guy right here, and we felt he matched the vibe a lot better and I think it’s just the right move. We’re about to record the first really album at Coupe Studios here in Boulder, actually. So we’re excited about that.

What can your listeners expect from that album coming up?

Bear: What do you guys think? (turns to bandmates)

Jimmy: I think it’s gonna be rolling with a way tighter sound; more production. We’ve taken the time to put the songs together in a better way. Last time [we recorded] we didn’t really have an idea of what to create in the studio and this time we have a way more clear vision. If anything else, it will just be upgraded with the drums, so it’s just gonna be way better.

Bear: Just fuego. There’s gonna be some fire in there. There’s some sensual songs, there’s some darkness in there, and then there’s a couple rock songs. A lot of angry songs about my ex-girlfriend.

Ethan: It’s a lot of emotions! The whole spectrum.

Bear: Yeah, if you watch the progression of my lyrics, they’re very indicative of what’s going on in my life. If I’m in a bad mood, I’m writing songs like ‘Retrograde’ just about being mad. ‘Impulse Control’ is about being mad too.

Ethan: (laughs) You’re just an angry individual!

Bear: I’m actually a very jovial man, full of joy and happiness.

Ethan: It’s good to vent.

Bear: It’s good to vent. Yeah, what better way to get back at somebody who’s hurt you than to throw it in a song?

Ethan: Make a bunch of other people sing it with you.

Bear: Yeah, have a bunch of people sing along.

So do you write the majority of the songs Bear?

Bear: Jimmy writes music and I write lyrics for the most part. It’s kind of interchangeable as well. He’s written some verses for ‘Night Call,’ which is a song I’ve been working on for a long time; it’s gonna be on the album. I had the basic outline and he comes in and is like, ‘Alright, well I hear this’ and we put it together. That’s why I think I had Jimmy come out here because we had such a good connection with songwriting and performing.

What genre would you guys classify yourself as fitting into, or not fitting into?

Bear: We say rock and soul.  

Jimmy: It’s a big variety. It’s definitely rock-based, for sure. It’s definitely hard hitting, but we like to get soulful too.

Bear: We get down and dirty. We also get hype.

Lem: I’ve wanted to play rock too and this is the first band I ever get to play rock with. As much as I’ve wanted to, I just always get R&B or gospel or funk. So this is awesome to change it up.

How long have you been playing?

Lem: Professionally, for like thirteen years. But pretty much since I was three.

Bear: Somehow he wanted to end up with this band, somehow he said yes.

Lem: It worked out.

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Is there anybody that you feel like you make your music for?

Bear: The ladies. I think that we fit into the multiple niches or sections of music. We have the rock stuff, almost Royal Blood. We have one song that’s almost like Rage Against the Machine. But we also fit into the pop scene with Kaleo or Twenty One Pilots that you hear on the radio who have a lot of musicianship but also have that sing-along pop. We have more deep tracks as well.

Are those artists that you named who you draw a lot of inspiration from?

Bear: I think we all have different people who are inspirations to us.

Ethan: I know there’s a lot of bands that I listen to that they don’t. We definitely all pull from different music genres and have a lot of overlap. Like I listen to a lot of classic rock, a lot of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, that kind of stuff. Jimmy listens to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and a lot of rock’n’roll.

Bear: I really like Motown. James Brown is probably, on stage, my hero. That’s the guy I really look up to, how he takes control of the stage, takes control of the entire arena. That’s amazing for me.

Jimmy: I think the one thing we all have in common is that we love jamming. The song is the main goal- at the end of the day we just wanna have a good song to start from.

Bear: [Lem’s] best quote ever is, ‘It’s about the feel not the fill.’

Lem: I know that sounds strange- most people are like, ‘What do you mean?’ I mean the feel- like the soul, feelings, emotions you get versus doing a whole bunch of licks on drums. That nostalgia that you get.

Ethan: It’s more about the melody than anything.

Bear: I was sold when I saw that [quote]. I knew he needed to be in the band. That is the quintessential piece. Something I’ve noticed about all these guys is this drive to be better and know that we can always be better. That’s something that I really respect from everybody here. No one’s ever really happy after a show- we find areas where we need to work on. On stage there’s so much confidence and [we] come out with a bang, but at the end of the day we’re always looking to get better.  

Ethan: I think we’re our own hardest critics for sure.

Where do you see Public Safety going?

Bear: 13 nights at MSG.

Ethan: 17 in 17! We just gotta wait for 3017.

Bear: I wanna be one of those bands. When people think about the Colorado scene exploding, and they think about The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, Motet… I wanna be in that list. I think we’re on our way. There’s been a lot of traction, it’s just about finding the right people to get in our corner.

Ethan: I think the only place we’re going is to the top, honestly. There’s nowhere else to go.

Lem: It’s definitely the dream. It’s all we’re trying to do forever, and ever and ever. We have to go to the top.

Bear: We work, we show up to gigs on time, we don’t get shitfaced before shows. Everybody is on it, we know our parts. We have a contract and a bunch of agreements we’ve made. I’ve been in good bands but never had the confidence like I do in us right now. All [of us are] excited about what we’re doing which is really inspiring and motivating.

Ethan: We’ve only been playing seriously for about a year, and it’s pretty cool to see all the crazy things we’ve done in that limited time. We’ve toured around a bit; played some festivals in front of a few thousand people.

Bear: We’re headed down to the East Coast, back to Charleston in March doing a 14-stop tour. We’re pretty excited about that, that’ll be a lot of fun.

To the top it is. Keep up with Public Safety here.

-Annie

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.

The Front Bottoms' Fans Sing Louder Than Yours

By: Benjamin Tillis

On Tuesday, November 7th, New Jersey-based indie rock band The Front Bottoms headlined a packed show at The Wiltern Theatre located in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The band released its sixth studio album Going Grey mid-October, so fans were excited to hear the new songs live. Just as expected, the band began its set with the new album’s opener “Used to Say (Holy Fuck)”. And from there the band played a full 21-song set, a majority of the tracks from the newest release and their 2013 Talon Of The Hawk.

The Front Bottoms.

The Front Bottoms.

Most concerts host a core group of day-one-fans who know most songs, and usually the entire crowd sings the one with the most radio play, but this show was in its own league: no audience member missed a single word. It makes sense though, considering TFB’s most unique draw are its witty and emotional lyrics and lead singer Brian Sella's unique voice that enunciated every syllable. It was clear that the audience truly connected to these songs that they belted out. And it is no coincidence that The Front Bottoms are signed to Fueled By Ramen, the same label as Twenty One Pilots, who also have passionate fans.

The Front Bottoms at The Wiltern. Photo per the author.

The Front Bottoms at The Wiltern. Photo per the author.

The way fans connected to these songs was also interesting. The Front Bottoms definitely does not hold back with its often depressing and dysfunctional imagery in its songs. For example, during the show, Sella proclaimed that the next song was about “drowning someone you’ve been in love with for a really long time.” The songs are sad, but playful, and it’s clear the band doesn’t take itself too seriously. This leads to a close-knit community in the crowd, who smiled and sang to each other, proving that these sad songs are about moving on and improving, not harping on the past.

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Very grateful to its fans, Sella thanked The Wiltern concertgoers multiple times for coming out the the show. Most entertaining was their final encore. Throughout the show, an excited and impatient fan kept yelling for TFB to play “Ocean,” Going Grey’s closing track. At one point Sella even addressed her and assured her that they would play the song at some point. Sure enough, for its encore the band invited the same girl to sit on a couch onstage with the band as Sella played an acoustic version of her requested song. Needless to say, she lost it on stage when she wasn’t taking selfies with the band. It was great to see the group turn a nagging fan, an element that is often an annoying aspect of playing a live show, into a really fun and entertaining situation. Overall it was a great performance and a show that you shouldn’t miss. If you’re not a fan now, you will be after seeing them live.

Catch The Front Bottoms as they continue on tour here.

-Benjamin

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

Premiere: Compass & Cavern's "Good Enough" Showcases Sound Of Their New Alt-Pop Record

By: Norman Hittle

It’s been two years of cultivation with odd dreams of rock’n’roll legends, bouts with love, and feeling the press of time as temporal beings; and finally the Denver based indie-rock/power-pop duo Compass & Cavern are back with their full-length album Before it Begins, and premiering their third music video from the record for the track “Good Enough.”

Compass & Cavern is frontman/guitarist Will Timbers, and synth-master Chris Frucci. Their name is derived from two concepts that resonated with Will and Chris throughout the project’s formation. “Compass” refers to the phrase, “don’t confuse the map with the territory.” Will first came across this idea in college philosophy lectures and thought it was a particularly beautiful way of describing how we mistakenly claim to “know” things with which we have a surface-level connection. For example, we could learn everything there is to know about the Grand Canyon, but our understanding of its grandeur is incomplete until we actually experience it for ourselves. The “map” pales in comparison to the “territory” it is representing.

“Cavern” is an allusion to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a parable that uses sweet imagery to help us understand how we develop ideas about what is “real.” Remember the black and blue vs. white and gold dress picture that took the internet by storm in early 2015? That was a powerful and tangible example for how we can experience reality differently because of our varying perceptions of the surrounding world. Knowing this, C&C sees music as the best medium to share perspectives with others.

As far as sonic similarities, I would say C&C’s sound is influenced by some of the more formidable alt-pop acts such as 311, Twenty One Pilots, and Weezer.

Regarding the video, Compass & Cavern told BolderBeat:

“The song attempts to portray a blend of confidence and self-doubt in the context of a relationship (or at least a desired relationship!). It's the feeling of superiority and the recognition of personal shortcomings when thinking about what, or who, is best for a person you admire. It's basically a pride pendulum swing. The video plays on that theme, but leaves even more ambiguity as to who the ‘good guys’ are in the story. With every song we write, my biggest hope is that listeners will understand and identify with the emotion and message, at least to some degree.”

Stream and listen to Compass & Cavern’s Before it Begins on Bandcamp, add them to your Spotify playlists, and take a gander at the creative storylines in their other videos on YouTube!

-Norman

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

Puddles Played A Pity Party That Made Us Laugh Through Tough Times

By: Claire Woodcock

People who came out for Puddles Pity Party last weekend were in for a sweet treat: Laughter.

Puddles Pity Party was a puddle of cuddles and fearless fun at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver last Friday night. The 6’ 8” baritone “sad clown with the golden voice” started off his show by doing something that I used to do when I was 9 years old: stuff as many pieces of gum as humanly possible into one's mouth to make a super gumball. After doing so to quiet giggles from the crowd, he set the gumwad aside and entered into audience territory. Breaking the fourth wall to pull a woman onstage, he placed her hand over her heart and motioned for all patrons to follow suit. He then pulled out a small American flag, put his own hand over his heart, and sang the most powerful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner that I’ve heard in a long time. Here it’s worth noting that a number of showgoers were wearing safety pins over their hearts, a trend that started this week after President-elect Donald Trump won the electoral college in last week’s election. Only about half of the crowd held their hands over their hearts as Puddles sang on, but all cheered in support of the giant clown as he concluded the tune.

Mike Greer, the man behind Puddles, didn’t need a microphone Friday night. His voice would have carried even without that support. He’s that good. In fact, microphones were more visibly used as props throughout the evening than anything else. He followed up the national anthem with a cover of “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots, where he pivoted around the mic stand, making good use of the stage. Throughout the evening, Greer was very in-tune with the audience, demonstrating his strong improv skills by bringing patrons onstage for unpredictable covers and antics.

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles brought the room together with songs about being an outsider and the feelings that conjures up, like Eric Carmen’s All By Myself.” The backing instrumentals were pre-recorded and supported him, which he playfully highlighted when pretending to strum on a white slab of wood meant to look like a toy guitar. Puddles could have gone through the entire performance a capella if he had to. On Coldplay’s Fix You,” he broke into “tears stream down your face” with scenes of robots malfunctioning and falling down, which made the breaking point in a sad song funny. It was moments like these that Puddles really charmed.

On Puddles’ cover of ELO’s Telephone Line,” he alternated between singing into a telephone with vocal high-pass and distortion, and singing into a regular mic, continuing to use the telephone effect as he segued into a growly verse-chorus of “Hello” by Adele. The late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujahwas one of his most powerful covers, no doubt. When he pulled the microphone away from his mouth and was able to bring the room with him on his journey to the great crescendo, my earlier hypothesis on the no mic necessary was proven true.

Watch Puddles' viral cover of Lorde's "Royals":

His interaction with the audience in the cover he’s most known for, “Royals” by Lorde, was unlike anything I’ve ever seen an artist do in a performance space. With a sepia filtered projection of the musicians on his breakout YouTube video, he again broke down the fourth wall yet again. He took phones from audience members trying to capture the moment, and gave their phones to other audience members trying to capture the moment. What resulted was a tangle of people who had to retrieve their phones from each other; a web of connection.  

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles’ Queen and the late David Bowie’sUnder Pressure” cover was another sweet moment. He brought a man from the crowd onstage to give him mini cupcakes and coffee from a french press while the phrase “stressed spelled backwards is desserts” projected on the three screens behind him. And that’s when he started playing with the giant gumball again, to the crowd’s distaste, followed by a roaring cover of Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” It was this song which concluded a show that brought people together for genuine laughter during what has been a hard time for many people in this country.

Thanks Puddles.

-Claire

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

Colorado Springs' Hydrogen Skyline Wades Through Vulnerability In Their Music

By: Annie Kane

Hydrogen Skyline are a Colorado indie rock band with one hell of a frontwoman.

Soft but strong vocals from Asher Skyline lace between keyboard beats by her husband Norman, all of which is backed by Mark (Norman’s twin brother) on guitar, Heidi on the bass, and reverberating drums from Kyle. This is Colorado Springs-based band Hydrogen Skyline.

Colorado Springs' Hydrogen Skyline.

Colorado Springs' Hydrogen Skyline.

Since their inception in 2011, HS has toured across the western United States, receiving numerous praise from the likes of UK-based XRP Radio, beat100.com and Indierockcafe.com. And in just 5 years, the group has released 2 full length albums, 2 EPs, and one deluxe album, all the while consistently selling out shows.

Frontwoman Asher Skyline in action.

Frontwoman Asher Skyline in action.

The five-piece indie/electric/rock outfit pull influences in sound from artists like Twenty One Pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and the Arctic Monkeys. But one refreshing thing that sets them apart is Asher, their fiery female frontwoman. Her vocals pepper enough distinction into Hydrogen Skyline’s catalogue to give them a unique sound, which ranges from Phantogram-like fast and dancey tracks, to stronger, rockin’ elements reminiscent of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Hydrogen Skyline’s songwriting is worth mentioning too. Their “brand of melodic and groove laden compositions” results from their ability to be self-reflexive, with mentions of passions, loves, losses and continual changes throughout their music. Asher is also highly involved in animal rights activism, and local outreach for those affected by depression. Her ability to open herself up to others filters through her music and singing, and makes room for genuine songs.

Check out Hydrogen Skyline for yourself by listening to their single “Inhale”:

Peep more HS originals on their Bandcamp, and keep up with Hydrogen Skyline’s busy show schedule here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author; embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited.