Our Top Picks to See at Denver's Underground Music Showcase 2019

By: Adrienne Thomas 

During the last weekend in July, the Underground Music Showcase brings out Denver’s local music scene, along with a handful of national headliners. Affectionately known around town as UMS, the festival came to life in the early 2000s when The Denver Post decided to ask local music experts to name the region’s “Top 10 Underground Bands” in an effort to rouse more interest and support for the local scene, as well as to cultivate a city that successful bands want to stay in. The festival’s evolution continued last year, when Two Parts took ownership of the festival under the direction of Tobias Krause, exciting supporters at the potential for new spins by the local event and marketing agency.

Headlining names this year definitely worth checking out include Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Still Woozy, Y La Bamba, and Earthgang. Also worth checking out are two hip-hop wild cards from Chicago: Rich Jones and RapperChicks. Let’s dig into these acts, shall we?

Y La Bamba.

Y La Bamba.

Chicano Batman is a Latin psychedelic soul and funk four-piece, so bring dancing shoes to this wildly percussive show. Stoner rockers Black Mountain will show up for the lovers, heady beach followers, and spirited grunge rock fans inside all of us. Still Woozy joins soul/pop melodies and raps together with smooth electronic bounces for a uniquely lovable style. Y La Bamba is an incredibly diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams. Earthgang, the fresh and unrivaled hip hop heroes from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D., will definitely be a UMS highlight to close out Sunday night.

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The lineup of local bands is beautifully long, and sometimes overwhelming, but mostly a glorious scroll through the talented musicians who walk our Broadways and Colfaxes every day. The heart of UMS is really just a big party where all the best local shows you’re invited to all year happen again- this time all at once- throughout the course of one weekend. Don’t sleep this time. Organize an interactive schedule of your own for the weekend here. But if that’s too much, here’s a list of favorites: 

FRIDAY 07/26

6:00 Corsicana @ Skylark Lounge - Ambient shoegaze that will make for a smooth start to the festival

6:20 Sophie Meiers @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Dreamy electro-pop from Durango

7:00 Extra Gold @Hi-Dive - Kickass country y’all

7:20 Still Woozy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Playful and melodic chill-hop with a devoted following

7:20 RapperChicks @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Self-described as “3 badass women who rap, sing, play & melt faces all by ourselves” from Chicago

8:00 Claire Heywood @ South Broadway Christian Church - Raspy bird songwriter known for poetic lyrics and soulful vocals and melodies

8:30pm Black Mountain @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Stoner rockers, go for a worthy rock show

9:00 f-ether @ Blue Ice - Electronic compositions, house music, dance party and big mountain energy

10:00 Motion Trap @ Denver Drumz & Music - Dreamy synth dance grooves 

11:00 The Velveteers @ 3 Kings Tavern - Heavy grunge-rock trio, double drummers, powerful female lead

11:00 The Hollow @ The Hornet - Alt rock with horse blinding attitude 

11:00 LITELVL @ Denver Drumz & Music - Triptastic soundscapes 

12:00 Oko Tygra @ The Irish Rover Pub - Dark and dreamy 80’s pop

1:00 @ Skylark Lounge - Shred rock with indie, Latin & ska feels

SATURDAY 07/27

12:40 Kiltro @ The Irish Rover Pub - Experimental folk mixes with Chilean guitar, makes dance party

2:00 Oxeye Daisy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - A nod to the 90’s, youthful synth/guitar rock band

2:40 Slowcaves @ The Irish Rover Pub - Indie rock with beach vibes 

3:00 Whole Milk @ Skylark Lounge - Surf jazz

4:00 Erin Stereo @ Blue Ice - House/Club DJ extraordinaire

5:00 Chicano Batman @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Latin psychedelic soul/funk 4-piece

6:00 Sur Ellz @ Blue Ice - Future space funk R&B

7:00 OptycNerd @ Blue Ice - Electro indie pop 

7:30 Rich Jones @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Prolific Chicago hip hop artist and evolving pop/soul creator, legendary presence

8:00 Decollage @ Denver Drumz & Music - Kaleidoscope avante-garde pop

9:00 Whiskey Autumn @ The Irish Rover Pub - “Prom jams from the future” meets indie psych synth surf rock

10:00 Anthony Ruptak @ Denver Drumz & Music - One of Denver’s singer/songwriters that we just can’t get enough of

10:00 Definitely, Maybe @ Moe’s Original BBQ - Lush percussive and vocal layering makes this psych rock duo very important to experience live

11:00 Random Temple @ Denver Distilling Co. - Electronic and acoustic instrumentalist known for diverse harmonies and eclectic, high-energy sets

12:00 The Cosmic Ball @ 3 Kings Tavern - A mix of Denver bands partnered with psychedelic production company Synesthesia which is likely to promise awesome visuals and glitter vibes

1:00 Retrofette @ 3 Kings Tavern - Part of the Cosmic Ball lineup, this synth group is not one to miss

SUNDAY 07/28

12:00 Laura Goldhammer @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Classic Americana merges with quirky styling to create socially-conscious folk music often accompanied by her stop-motion videos

1:00 Katie of The Spirettes @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Ethereal guitar-driven rock

2:20 YaSi @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Much like her Iranian-American upbringing, her music is a melting pot, with a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and pop 

3:20 Kyle Emerson @ Goodwill - Buzzy indie rock

4:00 Bellhoss @ Denver Drumz & Music - Female-led folk meets DIY punk

4:30 Flaural @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Spacey psych-rock band best known for drifting and dancing

5:00 Levi Double U @ The Irish Rover Pub - NuDisco beats 

6:00 Moon Hammer @ 3 King Tavern - A ragtag supergroup of unpredictable and wavy tunes

6:20 Y La Bamba @ Knockout State at Punch Bowl Social - Diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams

7:00 Big Dopes @ The Hornet - A modern 90s alt-feel with steady grooves 

7:55 Earthgang @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Hip hop duo from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D

8:00 Bun Bun @ Baere Brewing Company - Future Shock Bee Wave G-House

9:00 Cheap Perfume @ Denver Drumz & Music - Long-standing feminist punk-rock band from Colorado Springs

9:00 Emma Mayes & The Hip @ 3 Kings Tavern - “Highly Important People” making highly important music, a soul/funk/jazz band joining complex horn arrangements with lush harmonies

10:00 Los Mocochetes @ 3 Kings Tavern - Latin gypsy-funk band

11:00 Ramakhandra @ 3 Kings Tavern - Hip hop/soul fusion, with a pedal harp!

12:00 The Guestlist @ 3 Kings Tavern - Modern blues & soul

1:00 Ned Garthe Explosion @ Hi-Dive - Kinda bad, kinda rad but definitely a party to end the weekend

Whether you create a guide this year for your own UMS, follow ours, or just wander, discover, and repeat, give my Underground Music Showcase playlist a listen on Spotify. And if you haven’t yet, get your UMS tickets here!

-Adrienne 

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

Premiere: Listen to Moon Hammer's New "Unravelled" + the Band Tells Us How This Track Was Sewn Together

Moon Hammer. (Left to right: Reed Fox, Megan Crooks, Ishka Bee Phoenix, Mark Emmons) Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

Moon Hammer. (Left to right: Reed Fox, Megan Crooks, Ishka Bee Phoenix, Mark Emmons) Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

Denver’s Moon Hammer, an ever-changing collection of Moon Magnet-affiliated artists, is playing Denver’s Underground Music Showcase on Sunday, July 28th at 3 Kings Tavern at 6PM. In anticipation of their show, they decided to premiere their new song “Unravelled” with us today before it drops on all streaming services this Friday, July 19th. The song has been created and “destroyed” several times over to near its final completion, so take a listen:

“Unravelled” was mixed by Neil Lyons and frontman Reed Fox, and mastered at Moon Magnet Studios, but prior to that, a lot went into the actual writing and recording process of this track. Says Fox, “Moon Hammer is a writing collective and most of our shows feature a lineup of different members. Everyone can bring songs to the group to play and it's usually Megan Crooks (Ancient Elk) or Ishka Bee Phoenix (Ghost Tapes) because they're genius songwriters. Megan showed us her song ‘Unravelled’ two years ago and everyone was eager to bring it to life. Usually the songs are recorded and released quicker, but this one took longer because we kept reimagining it and adding stuff to it, which is ironic because it is the most minimalist recording I've ever been a part of. The process was a lot like the quote I'd never credit because it came from Bono: ‘Making records is like making sausages, the end result is palatable but you don't want to see how it's done.’ Basically we recorded a ton of things and all agreed it was best to scrap almost all of it.”

Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

Oddly enough, “Unravelled” almost became a House track at one point in the process. “We recorded it live initially with Dylan Johnson (The Other Black/Dandu) on electronic drums. Derrick Bozich (House of Aura/Sound of Ceres) came over and was recording mellotron months later and since the drums were recorded through an SPDS and every drum pad sound was mono on one channel, Derrick re-recorded the drums on separate tracks. With this project, Neil and I email projects back and forth frequently so I sent it over to him and he remade the drums again and re-recorded some awesome 808 bass. I think it was our third reiteration of drums and bass. He made it sound incredible and chopped up Megan Crooks’ vocals and threw the samples on pads and played them like an instrument (just like you hear in the recording). Then he emailed it back and I made a House version of the song. We considered using it for the chorus when Neil and I met up again at his studio to mix it some more and ended up realizing the House version was a terrible idea.” says Fox.

So how did “Unravelled” finally become sewn together?

“We scheduled a session for Megan, Ishka, Jeremy Averitt (Esmé Patterson), and Kevin Netz (Jurassic Netz/Fever The Ghost) to come over to Moon Magnet Studios and record more stuff, because we still were unhappy with [the song], but little did we know that a version from a year prior was our favorite, and the one you hear now is pretty much that. Kevin recorded gazillions of synths and bass (again) on it. Jeremy recorded xylophone over the whole thing. Ishka recorded vocals. Months after that we listened back to the version from a year prior and realized that was the best version and that we just needed to release it. Then Neil and I met up at the Magnet and I tried to include all the people that had recorded on it which was virtually impossible because that version had scrapped everything.

What you hear now is Neil on the beat, vocal chops, and 808 bass. Neil, Jeremy Averitt, and I co-produced it. Neil did a ton of the snazzy creative things. Derrick's mellotron is on the end of it, and you can hear Kevin's synth on the chorus. Ishka's harmonies are on the chorus and Megan sang and wrote the song of course. Jeremy's Xylophone is on the intro. We kept exploring options and didn't realize the song had already been finished and ended up having to dig up an old project file to get back to how it was before we ruined it.” Fox told us. 

In the end, the complex, two-year recording process of “Unravelled” almost mirrors the lyrics Crooks wrote from the start. Adds Megan, “This song is about letting the force of change and chaos take control and gracefully bowing to its power with faith that things will fall back in place for the better. I wrote the [lyrics] on a whim two years ago, pulling the knowledge from the ether, not knowing I was preparing myself for exactly this time in my life.”

Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

After letting the force of change take control over their final product and battling their creative demons to get to the gold, Moon Hammer’s “Unravelled” is finally ready for eardrums everywhere. As for what this collective is up to next, Fox tells us, “Moon Hammer is performing on the MCA rooftop with Wes Watkins August 2nd at 7pm! We're also unleashing two more singles before the year’s over, so check out our Spotify to hear our recent releases!”

Keep up with Moon Hammer here.

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

Bellhoss's Latest Video Features a Dancing Flamingo Party at Fort Greene & Everything Pink

By: Julia Talen

Produced by Lady Cactus Media, bellhoss’s latest music video “geraniums #2 primes listeners and viewers for the release of this local folk-indie-space punk band’s first EP geraniums. Frontwoman, Becky Hostetler moved out to Denver five and a half years ago to pursue a master’s degree in political science and has been infiltrating Colorado’s music scene ever since, most recently with a performance at MCA’s B-sides and with an upcoming show at Underground Music Showcase this July. Her poetic, self-proclaimed “sadcore” tunes bend genres and traverse existential themes.

The flamingo-themed video project for “geraniums #2”, shot inside Fort Greene, pilots relatable topics and motifs through many shades of pink. The video opens up with a catchy intro as two strangers, dressed as flamingos, walk into a flamingo-themed party. The camera lens meanders through the synthetic hot-pink crowd to hone in on Hostetler, sitting awkwardly on a couch next to a guy playing a song for her, or seemingly for anyone who will listen, on the ukulele. She begins to sing and removes her kitschy, plastic flamingo glasses. Her eyelids are the only ones at the party smothered in blush-colored eye shadow.

Hostetler's warm voice, akin to Swedish folk-duo First Aid Kit, mingles with the melody as she moves through the party towards the bathroom singing, “I imagine earthquakes early/ I dreams of geraniums/ I will kill my own thoughts thank you/ I don’t need your help.” In the pale pink bathroom, Hostetler puts on lipstick and then takes it off, as the band rolls through the refrain accompanied by mellow, gazy instrumentals, harmonizing the lyrics, “I’ll do what I want to/ I’ll do what I have to figure it out.”

Bellhoss.

Bellhoss.

Eventually Hostetler leaves the bathroom and bumps into a line of people, who appear angrily impatient with her, before she heads to another couch and sits down next to two television screens showing lengthy singular shots of palm trees and ocean waves. The video has this simulacrum feel to it with the vapid pink assembly of folks and the plastic costumes and birds. It’s as if our protagonist is moving through a world covered in seran wrap. Hostetler sings, “Reading all the bible backwards/ waves crash into the sea/ peeling off my own skin sickly/ crashing into the sea,” and listeners get this sense of alienation, not fitting in, feeling backwards like a wave moving the wrong way, as our protagonist navigates this giant sea of pink.

At one point Hostetler joins the party-goers for a group dance, the only time throughout the video that she actively blends into the crowd. The synchronized dance feels empty, and Hostetler eventually leaves it before ultimately leaving the party.

This brilliantly crafted video gives a taste of bellhoss’s musical poeticism and artistry in digging through the cringey, dark, and all too true themes of feeling different and feeling like you don’t see yourself in something. This project offers a peek into what’s in store as the group continues to make music in the Mile High City. Check out the video and don’t miss the band’s release party and show at Lost Lake Lounge, June 9th with Corsicana and Two Tone Wolf Pack.

-Julia

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

Premiere: Dream Feed's Music Video for "Hey Now" Is a Raw, Animated Look at Their New Music

Dream Feed.

Dream Feed.

Denver’s Dream Feed, formerly known as Miguel Dakota and the Differents, have had a busy year. You may remember frontman Miguel Dakota from season nine of America’s Got Talent, where he was a “Top 6” finalist and was offered a national tour with a backing band, but declined to remain in creative control of his work. Dakota continued on with his former project Miguel Dakota and the Differents, and this year, launched Dream Feed. The current band is comprised of Dakota on lead vocals and guitar, Ryan Wagner on lead guitar and vocals, Brian Nolan on drums, and Will Gaines on bass and vocals.

Recently, Dream Feed won the grand prize in the KTCL 93.3 and Pabst Sound Select “Demo Derby” contest with their track “Push and Pull.” Then, after this year’s Underground Music Showcase, Jimmy Siler of Tri Lakes Radio declared Dream Feed, “the best surprise of the festival.” The band also won the grand prize in last summer’s Road to Velorama contest (as Miguel Dakota and the Differents), beating out over 200 local bands and being awarded a performance spot in the Velorama Festival. Last month, on September 14th, the band dropped their debut track “Hey Now” from their self-titled record and subsequently sold-out their show that night at Syntax Physic Opera. Needless to say, their buzz has been building.

Today, we’re excited to premiere the band’s video for “Hey Now,” which was animated by Gary Tussey. Tussey is known for his work depicting musicians like Bob Marley and Miley Cyrus.

Said the band about working with Tussey, “We're a fan of all of Gary's work and saw some sketches he did of other musicians. We thought that the rough style fit well with the gritty, raw vibe of the track ‘Hey Now.’"

Though “Hey Now” is rather lyrically ambiguous, the band wants you to “focus on the raw, gritty, go-getter energy of it,” and there’s plenty of that to go around.

“Hey Now” was recorded at RiverRock Studios in Minneapolis by Eric Blomquist with the rest of the band’s upcoming debut record. The track was mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in NYC.

Said Dream Feed, “[‘Hey Now’] was a lot of fun to record. At one point, we stood at one end of the studio screaming at the top of their lungs with the mic at the other end of the room.”

As for the rest of their 2018, the band is heading back in the studio at Third and James in Denver to continue recording new tunes. They’re planning shows and tours, and you can keep up with Dream Feed here.

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

10 Sets We Really Loved at The Underground Music Showcase

By: Nathan Sheppard

South Broadway in Denver was home to the 18th annual Underground Music Showcase (UMS) this past weekend and was bigger and better than ever. With 20 venues and 300+ artists, there was truly something for everyone to enjoy. Now under the directions of Two Parts and a very talented booking team, this year’s UMS put an emphasis on community. The UMS provided so many local artists a place to show off their skills and a place to discover new national artists coupled with interesting immersive experiences. From many local artists to national fan favorites, it was a serious struggle to see everyone who played, but these were a few of my favorites from this weekend.

PPL MVR at the UMS.

PPL MVR at the UMS.

The Burroughs

This old school funk band definitely puts the soul in soul music with their high energy live shows. Their onstage presence has enabled this Greeley band to grow a loyal following since 2013. Frontman Johnny Burroughs brings a very distinct singing style and energy that will make you groove along to their funky jams.

Cloud Cult

The experimental indie rock group had us hypnotized with their spacey tunes. Known for their theatrical shows, the band made the most of the shortened set and took everyone at main stage through a musical adventure. There was even on onstage engagement after their third song.

Deerhunter

Another experimental indie band, Deerhunter was also a must see set when they closed out Saturday on the Main Stage. The parking lot was packed tight for the Atlanta band, and they played a number of their hits for the eager crowd. The set ended with “He Would Have Laughed,” and then “Snakeskin” for the encore to finish off the night the right way.

Decatur

Tucked away in Moe’s BBQ on the first night of UMS, Decatur played one of the earlier shows on Friday but rocked the cozy venue. This up and coming alt-rock band made the most of their show by creating an atmosphere with their own lighting and smoke, and then by rocking our socks off. This is a band to keep an eye out for in Denver.

Hot 8 Brass Band

We got our dance shoes on and got down to the funky tunes of New Orleans Hot 8 Brass Band. In fact, I’d say Denver got a little taste of Mardi Gras in July; the guys are able to combine some old school elements of NOLA street music with more modern elements. They even paraded down the street at one point during the fest, making them one of our favorite UMS artists.

My Body Sings Electric

People packed into Illegal Pete’s to get a glimpse of MBSE and the boys brought the noise for one of the best sets of the weekend. The packed room sang along to every song and even assisted with some crowdsurfing of lead singer Brandon Whalen.

PPL MVR

One band that flew under the radar as one of the most entertaining shows of the weekend was PPL MVR. By combining comedy with their synth rock, you get the unique “yeti rock” that made PPL MVR’s set so much fun. They jumped into the crowd in costume at several points and came out to meet fans after their set too.

Silver & Gold

Northern Colorado’s Silver & Gold have quickly made a name for themselves as one of the state’s best local bands. Friday night was proof of that, as Illegal Pete’s was filled to capacity once more. This band’s energetic and fun-loving attitude made for a great time for everyone to dance along to their hit songs “Smoke” and “Headed West.”

Slow Caves

Slow Caves had double duty playing both Saturday and Sunday sets, with their first being at 3 Kings. This old school indie band brings different popular 80’s and 90’s elements to their music and adds modern twists. They’re a Colorado staple so I hope you caught at least one of their UMS shows.

White Denim

Easily the most energetic show of the weekend was from rock band White Denim. The band drew the biggest crowd that the Sesh Stage had all weekend, so it was a bit surprising that this act wasn’t at the Main Stage. Everyone present sang along to their tunes and those who weren’t familiar with the lyrics were jamming out just as hard.

This year’s UMS was definitely one of the biggest and best in the festival’s 18-year history. The UMS is a place where you can bond with people over a shared love of music while being able to support and learn about new local businesses and different ways to become involved in the arts and cultural scenes in Denver. Though under new ownership, UMS proved it is truly the showcase of Colorado’s booming music scene, keeping true to its roots of discovery while also improving community elements and experiences that were new to the fest with its multiple outdoor stages and art installations. We’re glad  to have shared in this year’s amazing experience, and a special thanks to all the artists and volunteers who made this weekend so great.

See a full gallery from our UMS 2018 weekend here

-Nathan

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

Denver Cellist & Soundscape Artist Lief Sjostrom Releases New EP 'Counting Breaths'

By: Norman Hittle

Lief Sjostrom, a cellist and guitarist living in Denver, has released his latest cinematic neo-classical full-length album Counting Breaths. Take a listen below!

Lief performs and records his own original, cinematic, and neo-classical/post-rock compositions; he also performs and records with live bands. His first solo EP, Her Prayers Sound Like Warnings, was released in 2017, and according to him, this latest album is a continuation of that EP with a darker edge.

Counting Breaths is a 14-track journey that takes the listener through cinematic soundscapes that alter in movement from track to track. One moment the listener may feel like they’re at the top of a verdant mountain range in Middle Earth, and the next they’ll be guided into the high tension of the misty woods of M. Night Shamylan’s The Village. Next they’ll find themselves gliding through a beautiful glade on sparkling waters along with some Game of Thrones-like heroes all before being taken to the doors of a sepulcher in a Lovecraftian-inspired horror tale. Both beautiful and emotionally captivating, these compositions could easily be on some epic gaming playlists and I know I’ll be adding them to my own.

Lief Sjostrom. 

Lief Sjostrom. 

On the side, Lief has been teaching cello and guitar lessons for four years, and has been a central component of the band PrettyMouth the last six years. He’s also performed or recorded with Edison, Sawmill Joe, King Cardinal, The Patient Zeros, Florea, Chad Price, Tyto Alba, Brianna Straut, Adam Hooks, Poor Me, and The Dead Orchids, to name a few. He’s also crafted music for the score of a documentary by Adam Reynolds.

Keep up with Lief Sjostrom on his social media and make sure to catch his set at Denver’s UMS this week Sunday at 1PM at Baere Brewing Company!

-Norman

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

Denver's Underground Music Showcase Hosting Pop-Up with Free Beer & Discounted Festival Passes This Weekend (07/13)

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Denver’s Underground Music Showcase is throwing a pop-up event this week in celebration of the upcoming festival. This Friday, July 13th at Black Buzzard, UMS bands Oxeye Daisy, in/Planes, and Tyto Alba will be rocking out to get you excited for the upcoming fest. The UMS is giving the first 100 people through the door a free Oskar Blues draft beer, which means you can choose a Dale’s Pale Ale, Pinner IPA, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub and G’Knight on the house!

We’ve already laid out for you several reasons why we’re so excited for this year’s UMS but if you missed that, check out The Underground, the multiple outdoor stages, and the festival’s plans for comedy, art, and more to be a part of this year’s weekend.

Festie time is just a couple of weeks away, July 27th-29th, and at the pop-up show this week, you can snag UMS tickets at discounted pricing with NO service fees. Get your party on this Friday the 13th by RSVPing to this UMS pop-up show here! RSVP is required for entry.

See you at the Buzzard soon!

Five Things We Love About the Initial UMS Lineup

Slowcaves at UMS 2017. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Slowcaves at UMS 2017. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

One of our favorites events of the year announced their initial lineup last week. Denver’s Underground Music Showcase will return to South Broadway July 27th-29th and right now, early bird tickets are just $35. Earlier this year, Two Parts purchased the music festival from the Denver Post, and while the Denver event company will be keeping classic pieces of the fest alive, they’re also bringing new fun into the mix. Here are our five favorite things about their initial announcement:

5. The fest has been shortened to three days.

Previously, the UMS started on the last Thursday of July and ran through Sunday night (some years the fest even hosted a preview show on Wednesday evening and then ran four nights following). This year, Two Parts has solidified the fest to run strictly Friday-Sunday, and while this does mean a few less shows, it also means attendance at Sunday shows is likely to improve. In years past, Sunday was a slower day, especially for afternoon sets. We get it- it’s hard chasing your favorite bands with an Oskar Blues brew in hand for four or five days straight. But this year, with three strong days of shows, no excuses! We expect to see you from dusk ‘til dawn and back again. Or at least everyday from Broadway brunch onward.

4. There will be a lot more happening than just music.

We love music. In fact, that’s most of what we do at the UMS every year. But this year, Two Parts has added in more experiences at the fest- panel discussions, comedy, and even podcasts. Local artwork will be showcased throughout the weekend too. Bringing together the entire artistic community, along with Denver’s incredible music scene, is something we’re excited to witness and connect with at this year’s UMS.

3. 303 Magazine will be curating “The Underground” pop-up events.

In their announcement of the festival last week, 303 Magazine reported that they will be hosting “unique experiential moments in various locations inside the festival for all attendees to spontaneously discover.” It’s these sort of weird surprises that keep things super interesting and build a community that festheads want to come back to year after year. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this.

2. The headliners rock and the touring acts are so good.

Festival lineups can vary year to year, but this one rocks. Alvvays, BJ The Chicago Kid, Classixx, Cloud Cult, Deerhunter, Digable Planets, Frankie Cosmos… damn. After hitting Alvvays’ sold-out set at the Ogden last fall, we were pumped to see they’re one of the headliners. But in all honesty, every touring act on this year’s lineup is someone we’re stoked to see. Impressive.

1. There is still a MAJOR focus on local.

When festivals are bought and sold, there’s always the risk they’ll become more corporate with a focus on all of the (mostly) same touring acts hitting the festival circuit for the season. We had no doubt Two Parts would keep it real since they’ve helped curate events like Denver Flea and they created the Denver Passport Program. That said, we’re excited to see SO many local acts billed as tier two this year. Favorites like All Chiefs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Last of the Easy Riders, One Flew West, Slowcaves, The Savage Blush, The Velveteers, and Tyto Alba topping that tier brings a big smile to our faces, as we’ve covered and watched these acts grind over the past year. Plus, the UMS’ overall lineup announcement included a lot of regular favorites and a lot of up-and-coming. There’s a great balance and a lot of different music to see. Overall, the local push was strong and we’ve heard rumors it’s only going to get better with the next announcement round this June.

It may be June, but we’re counting down the days until the UMS per usual. Countdown with us and grab your tickets here.

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

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

Tyto Alba Release Haunting Video For "The Hunger"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s indie rock outfit Tyto Alba released their newest music video this week for their track “The Hunger.” The song is from the band’s EP, In Our Own Time, which dropped earlier this year.

Frontwoman Melanie Steinway’s haunting vocals combined with eerie masked figures make “The Hunger” and its accompanying music video a mysterious and emotive track. The video, which was filmed by Slice Cinematics (A Shadow of Jaguar), showcases Steinway performing at Syntax Physic Opera surrounded by men in feathered masks interspersed with eldritch church scenes and Steinway calling out at her own reflection. Colorado’s Brent Cowles makes an anonymous appearance as the band’s “voodoo priest” at the start of the video as well.

A scene from "The Hunger."

A scene from "The Hunger."

Tyto Alba held their release show for the video last night at Syntax, a venue which has turned into a local haven for many musicians, and which was a new addition to this year’s Underground Music Showcase spots.

Brent Cowles as the "voodoo priest."

Brent Cowles as the "voodoo priest."

Check out the band’s video for yourself above and stay on the lookout for more new music from Tyto Alba by keeping up with the band 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.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Brought Together Artists & Fans For Four Days Of Awesome

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s annual four day music festival The Underground Music Showcase rocked South Broadway last weekend. We crawled the strip, ate nothing but pizza, and almost refused to sleep in the name of good music. Here are some of our favorite things about this year’s festival:

The Bands

Of course we went to as many shows as possible and of course most of them really rocked our socks off. But here we’re going to be shameless and first tell you about the killer acts who played our packed official day party.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

BolderBeat & KGNU combined forces this year to bring you Brunch with a Beat at The UMS, which was five hours of sugar and synth by some of Colorado’s most promising electro acts.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Mirror Fears kicked things off with her industrial goth pop, Church Fire kept things movin’ with their Crystal Castles-esque electronic primal therapy, and DéCollage wrapped the front of The Irish Rover in Mylar and swept the stage with their avant-garde pop. Retrofette’s synth stylings followed, and created a massive dance party full of hip-shaking & flash tattoos. Whiskey Autumn’s indie synth pop closed the show; their unreleased track "Birds That Flew" had many whistling along to its chorus. And in between sets, DJ Erin Stereo crushed sweet beats. We gave away tickets to upcoming Future Islands and Thundercat shows, and we passed out donut lollipops, which many showgoers expressed they hoped were laced with weed (they were not kidz).

As for the rest of our UMS:

Anthony Ruptak.

Anthony Ruptak.

Our first official set at UMS 2017 was at Hi-Dive on Thursday with Anthony Ruptak, who started us off with amazing tunes from his new record Don’t Let It Kill You, and even streamed a Facebook live anti-Trump vid from the stage. Punk rock.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ghost Tapes were a funky, neo-soul standout at Skylark; frontwoman Ishka Phoenix had the crowd melting as she delivered tasty R&B sounds from her ice cream microphone.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Corsicana gave us tasty indie tunes while we nommed hard on an Illegal Pete’s burrito, which was the only non-pizza item we allowed ourselves for sustenance. The four-piece are playing a couple of big Colorado shows with Hippo Campus this month, so make sure to roll to those.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

OptycNerd describe themselves as “eclectro indie pop hop sexy time,” and well, we wish we’d written that ourselves. Their sexy time at Hi-Dive was enjoyed.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus brought her dark, operatic vocals to the main stage; Red Fang spouted the classic rock stoner jams they’re known for to a headbanging crowd.

What is cooler than wearing glow-in-the-dark face paint? Glow-in-the-dark guitar strings- DUH. Motion Trap had ‘em at their Rover set on Saturday, and they played their electro sonic disco tunes to a packed house that boogied with them from start to finish.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

All Chiefs kept us out of the rain at Hi-Dive with their indie rock vibes, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones kicked up some folky soul at Gary Lee’s Motorcycle Club, and GALLERIES played a heartfelt tribute show celebrating the life of late Denver music prodigy Kyle McQueen.

The Outfit.

The Outfit.

Rock’n’roll’s The Outfit played their final set ever at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday to a mosh-ready, beer-heavy crowd who were clearly sad to see them go.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

The Savage Blush had a killer psych rock-dripping set at the main stage, Slowcaves brought us chill wave surf rock sounds, and Dragondeer managed to blues rock us almost straight through a downpour, though they had to cut their set a bit short when the rain just about flash-flooded the festival parking lot in true Colorado fashion.

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

Brent Cowles revived a soaking crowd with “Cold Times” when the sun came back out, Esmé Patterson slayed her evening dream rock set with unreleased music and a touching tribute with Kitty Crimes to the late Tyler Despres, and Benjamin Booker crowd surfed his way right into Colorado’s heart, closing out the main stage of the festival Sunday evening.

The Booze

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Breckenridge Brewing was a main sponsor for The UMS this year and we sipped many an Avalanche by the main stage throughout the fest. Dewar’s had what felt like a tiny house made for drinking with free smells and scotch eggs. It was delicious and why you would have wasted your tongue on any other mixed drink in the hot sun and the pouring rain is beyond us.

The Bunny

Yeah. This one.

Yeah. This one.

Mixed Up Gifts’ pop up shop on South Broadway had some sweet merch for sale from Sacred Bones Records and a creepy night light if you’re in the market to wake up afraid of the dark only to find Jason lurking in your bathroom. But best of all was their bunny, who tried to coerce festival-goers into the shop while eerily reading children’s books through the window.

The Budz

No, not that kind you typical Denverite. Overall, we had a rad time at The UMS this year, and we highly encourage you to check out all the bands we mentioned, all the acts we live-interviewed with Zach Dahmen, and any of the performers on the local lineup in general. Because if there’s one thing we came away with after four days of music-hopping insanity, it was with community- from the performers themselves, to the UMS staff and volunteers, to the eager ticket holders bouncing from show to show hoping to find their next favorite band- Denver came out to support its own. Whether we were playing beach volleyball in the artist tent during a downpour or running from the main stage with our best budz to get back to Broadway for a set (those smarter ones took the Meow Wolf bus), this weekend really showcased you- the local music supporter. And for that, we and apparently Governor Hickenlooper, thank you.

Check out our full photo gallery from The UMS here.

-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.
 

Taught By Members of The Flaming Lips, The So Help Me's Are Existential Rock For Your Soul

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Taught by members of The Flaming Lips and best budz with Denver’s Tyto Alba, Oklahoma City’s The So Help Me’s are rolling through Denver this weekend for a performance at The Underground Music Showcase. Slated for a 2PM set Saturday, July 29th at the Hi-Dive, this neo western shoegaze five-piece plan to shower you with plenty of dream pop and existential rock tunes. We recently chatted with the crew to talk about their trek here and all things summer. Read on:

We noticed you came together in 2014 at the Flaming Lips’ Academy of Contemporary Music in OKC. Talk to us about that experience.

John, our guitarist and main songwriter, was studying music education and jazz at the University of Central Oklahoma, along with three of our other members. We wanted to step out and start writing our own music, and The So Help Me’s really developed in garages and living rooms between college orchestra and jazz ensemble rehearsals. In these spaces, we felt free to write weird music and explore sounds and compositions in a way we couldn't in our school ensembles.  

When John transferred to the Academy of Contemporary Music for music business, we were just starting to establish ourselves as a band, and the school welcomed us with open arms. It was really crazy to learn from members of the Lips. We look up to them a lot and it’s an amazing opportunity to get to learn from a band we grew up listening to and really love. It’s almost impossible for me to see our band without the school. It’s a really tight group of world-class musicians and artists there, and everyone’s pushing for each other. There’s a beautiful thing happening in OKC.

The So Help Me's.

The So Help Me's.

Since your inception, you’ve released an EP, 'Relativity' (2016). What are your plans for future recording/releases?

We are putting out a single in the next month, as well as finishing an EP. We’re also in pre-production on a full-length album slated for release at the end of the year.

Listen to The So Help Me's Relativity:

We noticed you’ve had a couple of festival spots this summer. Tell us about those!

This year’s spring festival season in Oklahoma was bananas. We normally play 3-5 festivals in the spring, and this year we were rained out of three in a row because the weather in Oklahoma sucks. At one of the festivals we did play, some dude wandered onstage menacingly and looked like he was going to stab our singer Sophia. This dude got escorted off the stage by security and we were not even halfway through our set.

Whoa. What should Denver know about the OKC music scene?

OKC had a big influx of money due to Thunder basketball and some people are saying the city is going through a sort of renaissance. This being said, it still seems pretty evident to bands that you can't sustain a career in OKC. We know a lot of bands who have relocated, or focus a lot of their time and efforts on touring out of state, and it’s hard to blame them. Even the Lips only play in OKC once every five years or so.

We know you’re friends with Denver’s Tyto Alba- how’d you meet?

I think Tyto Alba were touring through to SXSW and we ended up being booked to play with them twice in one week somehow. They have this huge wall of sound guitar tone that blew us away. We hit it off immediately and became close friends- since then we've played several shows with them in Denver and had them out to OKC.  Our personalities vibe well, and we all share a really intense passion for guitar pedals and making music.

Cool. We’re excited you’re playing Denver’s The UMS! What are you most looking forward to about the festival?

We’re most looking forward to the weather not being a hundred billion degrees like it is in July in OKC. We’re excited to see Tyto Alba, Male Blonding, and The Velveteers play specifically, and we all plan on seeing as much music as possible. Huge festivals like this are amazing because you can walk a few blocks and see different genres and different bands everywhere you look. It’s a beautiful thing to have that many people together who share a common love for playing and listening to music.

Anything else in store for The So Help Me’s in 2017?

We plan on touring regionally several times in the middle of recording our album, and we have shows and festivals booked through at least November, so we’re definitely charging ahead full force.

Make sure to check out The So Help Me’s at The UMS this Saturday- tickets here. Keep up with The So Help Me’s on their website.

-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.

Rock Out To Our 2017 Underground Music Showcase Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

With Denver’s Underground Music Showcase just a couple of weeks away, our very own tastemaker Sierra Voss has created a sweet summer playlist full of tunes from tons of artists on this year’s lineup.

Denver darling (and headliner) Esmé Patterson opens our playlist, followed by fellow headliners Benjamin Booker, Zola Jesus, and Red Fang. There are a ton of Colorado favorites to bop your heads to after that-  déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer,  CITRA, The Velveteers,  Slow Caves, Television Generation, and Whiskey Autumn- are just some of the artists you’ll find on our UMS playlist!

So get ready to pop a cold one at Irish Rover, headbang at Hi-Dive, and dance with us up and down South Broadway at the 2017 UMS! Get your festival passes here!

Listen to our 'Underground Music Showcase 2017' Playlist:

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out more of our playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our contact page and do it!

-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. 

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.

The UMS Is Bringing Three Awesome Acts To Boulder's Fox Theatre This Thursday (06/29)

This Thursday, June 29th, Denver’s new wave psych rock four-piece Flaural headline Boulder’s The Fox Theatre. The show, which is presented by Denver’s The Underground Music Showcase, is an exciting peek into a few acts on the festival’s 2017 lineup.

Flaural

Flaural

Flaural entered the Denver music scene in 2015 with their record The Thin King. Comprised of Nick Berlin (drums), Connor Birch (synth/keys), Noah Pfaff (guitar), and Colin Johnson (vocals/bass), the quartet released their sophomore EP, Over Imaginary Cigarettes, a year later. In the two years since their inception, the band has played more than 75+ shows across the US. They’ve shared a stage with acts like Thee Oh Sees, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Built to Spill, while also locking down sweet festival gigs including Treefort and Tomorrow Never Knows.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Two other UMS acts will open Thursday’s show- Denver’s Ned Garthe Explosion and Boulder’s The Velveteers. We went for a wild ride with Ned Garthe Explosion at last summer’s UMS, and they ended up being one of our favorite sets of the festival. Get ready for a party.

The Velveteers. 

The Velveteers. 

And for Boulder’s The Velveteers, this event will be one for the books, as it’s their debut Fox show, and a rare hometown gig for the busy duo. The two-piece have spent the past year on the road and in the studio between a European tour stint with Deap Vally and a number of festival appearances this summer.

Thursday’s bill is going to rip!! Come check out these amazing Colorado artists- tickets here and while you’re at at, grab your UMS festival passes! Full event details at this link.  We’ll see you there!

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

Premiere: Retrofette's New Music Video For "Skeletons" Will Make You Shake Your Bones

By: Hannah Oreskovich 

Denver’s synth-pop new wave four-piece Retrofette formed just a year ago, but in that time, they’ve managed to build quite a following after the release of their debut EP I Don’t Mind. In 2016, the band, comprised of Sean Culliton, Xavier Provencher, Ben Weirich, Dylan Johnson, played two sold-out shows at Denver’s Hi-Dive, opened for acts like Magic Sword and Mark Mallman, and jumped back into the studio to record more music. Today, they dropped their first music video for the tune “Skeletons.” Watch the premiere below:

The track “Skeletons” is actually on the band’s debut EP. It was mixed and mastered at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins. Chris Beeble helped the band record vocals and mix the tune, while the rest of the song was recorded and produced by Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher. Sean also takes writing credit on the track. And Hidden Woods Media braved the cold to film the video.

Xavier & Sean. 

Xavier & Sean. 

Said the band about the "Skeletons" video, “For the shoot of this music video, we watch our heroic dancing skeleton survive below-freezing weather and a few awkward encounters with the police of North Denver. His struggles were the real life illustration of what the song ‘Skeletons,’ and in a greater scope the whole concept of Retrofette, is all about. We make music because we want to see people dance in spite of their everyday problems. Maybe you're a skeleton that doesn't feel love. Maybe you're a skeleton that doesn't feel wanted. Maybe you're a skeleton who doesn't feel its face because you're wearing a latex suit in the middle of a blizzard. Whatever the problem, Retrofette plays music for people who want to escape for a minute and get sweaty on the dance floor.”

And just why does Retrofette think getting your own bones up to dance is so important?

Said Xavier, “I think dancing is the most basic and maybe primal form of human celebration. I love being able as a musician to give that to an audience. I love watching people be able to drop whatever their day has done to them and celebrate together. It’s also maybe a bit self-fulfilling. Lyrically, I feel I can get a little dark and down on the world. Setting those ideas to dance beats and watching people get down while you expound your sorrows onstage is the weirdest and most satisfying sort of therapy. I like the idea of people celebrating both happiness and sorrow.”

Retrofette’s “Skeleton” video release show is tonight, June 9th at Denver’s Fort Greene Bar with DJ Erin Stereo, and promises to be an intimate viewing experience.

Added Xavier, “We're so excited about this video release because it’s a brand new platform for us to share what we do with the world. We genuinely think that synth pop is a genre that the Coloradan people are missing out on, and can't wait to show everyone why they should be listening to it!”

So make sure to get yourself over to Denver’s Fort Greene Bar tonight and dance! Retrofette play Boulder’s Lazy Dog June 15th, followed by Denver’s Westword Music Showcase and The Underground Music Showcase. They’re also heading back into the studio to record some new music soon, and we’re stoked to see what those sessions bring.

Keep up with Retrofette 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.

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Announces Second Round of Artists

The Underground Music Showcase 2017 just announced their second round of artists for this year's festival! Additions include: Headliner Zola Jesus and artists like Bad Licks, Chocolate Diamond, Dear Rabbit, Decatur, Edison, HERESTOFIGHTIN, The Hollow, innerspace, The Kinky Fingers, Ned Garthe Explosion, Retrofette (we should mention here we're premiering something awesome from this band this Friday), Sleepy SunSIR, Sugar Skulls & Marigolds, Sur Ellz, Treehouse Sanctum, Turvy Organ, & more! Make sure to get your tickets for the July 27th-30th festival in the heart of Denver here. And see our previous story for initial lineup announcements at our original announcement link.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.

A Magical Midnight Carnival: Esmé Patterson, Kitty Crimes, and DéCollage Get Wild At The Hi-Dive

By: Riley Ann 

Wizards danced, Mylar dolphin balloons bobbed above the microphones, giant cellophane-wrapped cardboard crystals sparkled from the stage, the costumes were loud, and the energy was palpable. The crowd packed the house to welcome Esmé Patterson back home to Denver on Sunday night for a show at the Hi-Dive along with local favorites Kitty Crimes, joined by the Blondetourage, and DéCollage.

DéCollage.

DéCollage.

Not only was the show high energy, the artists exuded themes of love, acceptance, and pride throughout the night. Kitty Crimes introduced one of her songs by saying, “This song is about being gay as f*ck!” Esmé Patterson introduced another, saying, “This song is about having the courage to be exactly who you are...” Each time the crowd roared with delight.

The evening also illustrated the sense of community within the Colorado music scene. Natalie Tate, another local favorite songwriter and performer from the Denver scene, joined both Esmé Patterson and Kitty Crimes for harmonies. The pairing of Patterson and Kitty Crimes on the same bill celebrated their former band Harpoontang. In addition to past projects, the show recognized the loss from the community. One of Patterson’s new songs honored the life of Tyler Despres, the guitarist for the Gin Doctors, whom the community unexpectedly lost late last year.

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Patterson alternated tunes from her recent 2016 release of We Were Wild with a fair number of brand new ones. Her performance featured more experimental sounds on guitar through her pedalboard, feedback against her amp, and manipulating her guitar in unexpected ways, like dragging the strings against her mic stand. Based on her performance, it seems likely that a new album is underway. Based on the new tunes and the crowd’s reaction to them, the possibility of a new album is bound to be a solid addition to any record collection. 

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

If you missed Esmé Patterson this time, you can catch her again in July when she headlines the Underground Music Showcase, which is happening in Denver from July 27th-30th. The festival features over 350 performances on 15 stages along South Broadway, and over 100+ artists have already been announced. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

You can find out more about Esmé Patterson on her website, along with the websites of DéCollage, Kitty Crimes, and Blondetourage.

 -Riley

 Find out more about Riley on her blog

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

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Initial Lineup Has Arrived

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Underground Music Showcase 2017 lineup has arrived. With headliners Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esmé Patterson, this year's fest will take place July 27th-30th. Colorado’s Bandits, Britt Margit, This Broken Beat, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers, Brent Cowles, The Burroughs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Coastal Wives, Colfax Speed Queen, Corsicana, déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer, Wolf van Elfmand, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones, Gasoline Lollipops, Get Along, Jilly.FM, Joseph Lamar, King Cardinal, Last of the Easy Riders, Loretta Kill, Mawule, Modern Leisure, One Flew West, The Other Black, Povi, RL Cole, The Savage Blush, Silver and Smoke, SIXXXD, Slow Caves, SYCDVK, Television Generation, The Velveteers, Whiskey Autumn, Whole Milk, Wildermiss, and Yasi are just some of the acts on the bill we've featured in the last year, so needless to say, we're stoked on this lineup. And there are more artists still TBA!

Stay tuned for more UMS info and get ready to join us on Denver's South Broadway for one of our favorite events of the summer! Tickets here.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.