If you’ve kept up with the rock scene in Northern Colorado for the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Plasma Canvas. And, if you’ve happened to be fortunate enough, you’ve had the outfit rock …
Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock in a compound with no electricity, you’ve more than likely heard of the phenomenal force of nature that is Colorado’s Inthewhale. Inthewhale is the loudest two-man operated rock …
NOT A TOY’s new album, PRBLMS, is a thrilling, genre-defying gem. Lead singer and producer, Branson Hoog, brings a unique vocal timbre to every track, delivering an authentic sound, while exploring an array of musical …
The Burroughs Don’t Settle For Singles In Their Second Full-Length Album Even with attention spans reduced to 15-second blurbs on TikTok and indie artists spacing out their music releases to one single at a time, …
Let’s face it. For many, the past couple of years have been pretty garbage, in a lot of ways. However, for Colorado’s progressive pop-punk outfit Trash., it would seem the past two years have been about growth and preparing a sophomore release that, in every sense of the word, is quite the opposite of what the band’s moniker projects.
Progressive rock is certainly its own multi-tentacled beast. Its key characteristics align with virtuosic musicianship and a sort of refined taste which, as with caviar or any stereotype, can lend itself to negative connotations.
But the debut release from Colorado’s Jellyfish Farm could not be further from any preconceived notion of “stuffy” progressive rock. Rather, it’s a delightful and abstract breath of fresh air for not only the state’s local music scene, but modern prog as a whole.
Following in the Soft-Croon tradition of fellow Colorado folkers Covenhoven and Gregory Alan Isakov, Fort Collins’ Farmer paints with a palette of little more than acoustic guitar and vocal. But a flutter of woodwind textures, flecks of orchestral harp and thoughtful string arrangements elevate the album’s eight songs to a 10.
Fans of Bon Iver will love A Mold For The Bell, but expect a few unique brush strokes in this impressionist piece, namely, the pointed, trembling timbre of Farmer’s vocal: It’s hushed and rife with vibrato yet convinced with a determined grit.
Colorado mainstay metallers Draghoria have long been a force to be reckoned with. Their latest effort, Dangerous Species, has not only maintaineed their place on the mountain but have effectively secured their territory at the top. Draghoria is known in the Colorado community for sheer, sonic brutality, creating an amalgamation of old-school thrash and modern metal held together by forceful melodies, unmatched musicianship, and nods to a plethora of styles that scream (pun intended) pure metal.
People in General are making the leap. Since their first release Piglet in 2019, the trio has grown into a full 8 piece band with horns, extra vocalists and more. The sounds on the new EP Friends are more mature, with bigger, fuller arrangements. But the shift isn’t only because the band is suddenly all grown up. Like it or not, the vocalist is the most identifying element of any band, and People in General have changed that up too.
Denver’s femme trio, mon cher, explore synth-driven dream pop in their new EP tell me baby. It’s meditative and vibey, reminiscent of synth-pop groups like Washed Out (the group that wrote the “Portlandia” theme) and the Minecraft’s ethereal composer, C418.
When you find yourself on the old familiar quest for heavy, ethereal, instrumental music that takes you on a sonic journey through space and time, look no further than the latest effort from Colorado’s Pathos & Logos, “Cult.” Pathos & Logos is a two-man operation that sounds like a galaxy of performers smearing a solar system of sounds together.
To say that Musuji’s reputation precedes them would be an understatement. Known for their “wild with madness” moniker, Musuji mash together layer upon layer of sound and energy to create their own blend of funky, intense indie rock that is equally as chill as it is disastrous – and that’s in a good way.
Eufórquestra’s recent single, “Arizona to Georgia,” leans into groovy funk-rock, with jammy vibes and a big sound, reminiscent of early Steely Dan or Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle.” This song has a lot of potential to extend to a full jam, pushing audiences to have a “little less talk, a little more listen” as the lyrics demand.
We last heard from Denver hip hop up-and-comer Jelie in May when the rapper / producer released the pandemic-inspired “Cope” to coincide with mental health awareness month. Today, she’s back, premiering the music video for “Just Like You” via BandWagon – and it cuts just as deep.
Knock, knock – It’s Nick Sanville and Dugan’s group I In Team ushering you into your living room, commandeering the nearest bluetooth speaker and showcasing cuts from their freshly minted project Bad Neighbors – a rap album made with intention. Not the intention of doing something on purpose – rather, something done with purpose.
It’s barrel aged and small batch, but without the pomp of a soft launch for some hipster yerba maté bar. It’s meticulously crafted hip-hop refined by a pair of artists who take their music – not themselves – quite seriously.
Fort Collins based identical twin sisters Sophia and Jo Babb, otherwise known as Companion, release their debut folk/americana album Second Day of Spring with vocal harmonies that match as perfectly as their DNA.
They find creative ways to use their voices throughout, processing the trauma of their father taking his own life and their own feelings of isolation. Their unisons are striking, the balance and the carefully constructed harmonies giving the illusion that they are coming from the same person.
Denver synth-pop resident Neoma brings her Ecuadorian influences to the Front Range with her new album Hyperreal. Her definitive style brings a welcome slice of musical diversity to Denver’s predominantly americana/rock scene, and her ‘sad-girl’ aesthetic doesn’t stop listeners from wanting to dance-it-up like they’re at the club.
Colorado mainstay metallers Draghoria have long been a force to be reckoned with. Their latest effort, Dangerous Species, has not only maintaineed their place on the mountain but have effectively secured their territory at the top. Draghoria is known in the Colorado community for sheer, sonic brutality, creating an amalgamation of old-school thrash and modern metal held together by forceful melodies, unmatched musicianship, and nods to a plethora of styles that scream (pun intended) pure metal.
Denver’s Elektric Animals ring in the summer via the upbeat rock sound of their new EP Channels. They guarantee that every song, no matter how few, is a bop you will dance to as the weather warms up. “Come Clean” pulls listeners right in with a fast, dancy drum groove and rhythmic guitar and Nick Sanders’ gritty vocal is sent boiling into a fevered scream. If they haven’t already, 93.3 needs to put this track in their rotation now.
Like Ruptak’s earlier work, Backrooms is emotionally charged, but themes of anger, regret and despair are balanced by love and connection.
“The overall arc is one of evolution and healing,” Ruptak explained.
Scenes that play out over fragile, haunting melodies include a funeral for a well-loved dog, an ambulance ride to a hospice center and a white-knuckle drive to the house of a suicidal family member. On “Angie,” Ruptak proposes to his wife. Literally.
Ronan Andrews’ new solo EP Quarter Life Crisis features upbeat and bright pop with some groovy jazz and soul undertones that should please fans of Mayor Hawthorne or Silk Sonic.
There’s a happy, feel-good air about his songs, like the upbeat opening track “Dancing Like a Fool,” featuring a bouncing piano groove, full vocal harmonies and cool guitar licks. It gives “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 feelings, especially when the piano plays lush, jazz-influenced chord changes.
Holdfast.’s new album Movies brings their expected electro dark-pop and rock aesthetic but leans into other styles that open their doors to new fans.
Singer Charlie Maddocks demonstrates a dramatic contrast in dynamics, one that MUSE’s lead Matt Bellamy is well known for, though Maddocks’ tone is undoubtedly his own, becoming one of Colorado’s most recognizable lead vocals. Holdfast. continues to deliver strong songs while experimenting with new sounds and textures.
Music seldom tells you what to imagine in a concrete, absolute way. It requires you to fill in the gaps — sometimes thin, sometimes wide. Young Habitat’s debut EP In First Person Perspective, is a meditation on this idea.
Riley Sbarna and saxophonist Hayden Farr (Trash Cat, The Burroughs) have long riffed about a potential musical collaboration, but the inspiration to finally follow through came from an unlikely source: the pandemic.
Though In First Person Perspective retains the emotional vulnerability of Sbrana’s previous work, the sonic landscape is a left turn. Understated vocals often devolve into heavily affected opacity. The instrumentation is reminiscent of lo-fi hip hop with frequent saxophone odysseys provided by Farr. It’s one part contemporary Bon Iver and one part Porches with a sprinkle of neo soul. It’s both melancholic and beautiful.
“Under These Lights,” the new album from Denver’s Kaitlyn Williams, walks the line between neo soul and music for the masses, departing from the bedroom pop she showcased in her 2019 album and subsequent singles. A contributing factor to this shift in style is the live recording, which leaves less room for glittery production and more room for natural musicianship.
Fort Collins-based Dead Man’s Alibi keeps a post-grunge metal sound while tossing in some blues on their debut. They have a classic early 2000’s sound, with some Alice in Chains mixed in on tracks like “Hole In A Hat,” and “Lowly Saint” which feature roaring guitars and rowdy drum grooves.
The vocals show some grit but shy away from the screaming and growling most bands these days employ. Epic guitar solos call up Judas Priest, but what makes Dead Man’s Alibi cool is the blues influence in their sound.
Denver based Big Brooklyn begs the question “what is jazz?” with their new album Everyone Everywhere, in which every track dips a toe into different sub-genres underneath the jazz umbrella.
They have enough “straight ahead” stuff,but they also share some funky fusion you might hear from Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters era. Their incorporation of Melody Dornfeld on clarinet (and bass clarinet) lends a quirkier sound for a group that doesn’t focus on gypsy jazz or 1920’s repertoire.
Nederland, Colorado’s Thom LaFond is most well known as the guitarist and singer in Denver’s four-piece gypsy jam rock outfit Banshee Tree. But on this, his debut full-length, he lets his inner voice shine.
Close, acoustic and intimate speckles of piano, pizzicato violin and nimble upright bass frame his hushed, masculine baritone with gorgeous minimalism; a composition on par with a Kandinsky.
“Did they take the moon you were after and give it back piece by piece?” the record’s first lyric asks, initiating a song and an album dense with gorgeous prose, artful arrangements and beautiful music.
Eden’s reimagining of the Bush classic fits the song’s mystical and mysterious feelings of being in love by surrounding the listener with ambient synths and heavy reverbs. Justice’s vocals have a grungy texture reminiscent of Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, a nice call-back to the original.
A GLORIOUS ONE from rapper One Peace finds itself at the crossroads of trunk-knocking production, emotion-soaked sampling, and vivid, unapologetic songwriting.
Released on independent Fort Collins-based record label Lion League Music, it’s a nostalgic yet relevant album that feels as diverse as it does cohesive. Sonically, it could stand in as the score to a Tarantino flick or the tracklist for a forthcoming Grand Theft Auto radio station with OP’s speaking voice alone commanding more presence than the average MC yelling full volume into the mic.
The Burroughs continue to progress their sound while retaining some of the retro vibe that first captured the hearts of Northern Colorado: 70’s and 80’s musical tropes, a flirtatious female response chorus, loud synth and their 4-piece Stax-style horns. A rap from baritone sax player Hayden Farr adds a fun new bit too.
As modern rock groups lean into synthesized productions, Denver’s Fast Eddy keeps the standard rock ‘n roll traditions alive in their new full-length album Take A Look. The album is fun, upbeat and packed with …
When the phrases “prog metal” and “solo studio project” occupy the about section of a band’s website, a couple of red flags go up. But Zahari Tzigularov, a Bulgarian-born long time Denverite and the mastermind behind The Matterhorn Project, has used his studio time well. Though his musicianship is apparent, his artistry is front and center. The 5-song EP is at once lush and foreboding. Tzigularov’s compositions weave between sludgy bass-driven riffs, wandering clean guitar melodies and fantastical whisper-growled lyrics.
Intimate and sexy, Branson Hoog’s nimble, close-up vocals evoke an alluring darkness. The NOT A TOY (fka Shatterproof) frontman employs deep and minimalistic beats on “No Vacancy,” the second release under his own name.
Dropping realness like a reference to FaceTime helped folks relate to FoCo’s Co-Stanza (to the tune of nearly 2 million streams on “I Don’t Mind”) and by the sound of this hooky new toe tapper, Co-Stanza will continue racking up fans with each tick of the clock.
Fort Collins based Crescent City Connection brings New Orleans flavor to the Colorado funk-rock scene with their new album Yeah You Right! Powerful rock organ, scratched rhythm guitar and horn lines infuse their niche sound with characteristics popular in Nola Brass and Dixieland traditions.
It’s 2022 and yes, it’s possible that your garage band owns 100 synthesizers. Out January 20, “Cassi-o-Peia” pushes DEBR4H’s blipping to a full-on synth stomp at the outset, thickening things up to a dense sparkle as intricate as the Milky Way on the chorus.
N3ptune’s RENAISSANCE is an appropriate title for an album by an artist who does it all: acting, singing, modeling, producing and performing. It is a birth of style that combines elements of trap, dark dance pop, and heavy blues rock and there’s nothing else like it.
Folk trio Magpie the Band emerges into the Northern Colorado scene with their debut ‘Under The Maple Tree,’ featuring more Celtic and Eastern European sounds than the western Americana commonly heard in the Colorado scene. Balancing the amount of slow, introspective songs, and bouncy foot-stompers, the album plays like an intimate house concert put on by close friends.
Julio Perez, lead singer of This Broken Beat has the kind of pop-rock cross-over voice that would make Adam Levine turn his chair around. Perez’ tenor shows clear Ed Sheeran influences, and with such an asset at the heart of their sound, it’s no wonder This Broken Beat shot for the stars on Far From Home.
Fort Collins-based Fredo The Rapper brings intricate layerings in his new EP Movement, featuring his long-time collaborator, producer (and step-brother) Suburb based in Chicago, IL. The movement is chill, and his relaxed tone glides over the complex trap and lo-fi beats.
No Hands Brass Band brings an upbeat New Orleans sound with considerable chops to Colorado, with their debut EP “Off The Curb.” It features an instrumental mixture of pop, jazz, funk, and traditional Dixieland swing through their original compositions and arrangements, and it shreds.
For Coloradans, the name Covenhoven has become synonymous with intimate and heartfelt yet cinematic and powerful folk music. Over the course of three previous full length albums, Joel Van Horne, the stalwart man behind the timidly convicted voice around which the music of Covenhoven swirls, has unflappably delivered expertly crafted, immersive music which seems to speak directly from his heart into our ears.
Ragtime World, the new album from Boulder, CO’s Augustus mixes their psychedelic rock sound with classic rock vibes and folk, giving listeners no expectation of what will come next. After releasing several full-length records, with Ragtime World Augustus can take pride in keeping their music fresh.
There is a cultural, dad-inherited fondness for flipping through AM radio channels while driving late at night. The Crooked Rugs’ new LP, THAT! is what you’ve been searching for on that AM dial all of these years – something that manages to sound otherworldly and familiar at the same time, drawing from every era of psychedelic rock.
Listening to Fort Collins-based We Are William gives a refreshing perspective on just how difficult it is to play progressive metal, and the band deserves props. Though they may not have reached the peak of “metal Everest” on their self-titled, first full-length album, the effort is admirable and the band shows a lot of potential, and flashes of greatness can be heard.
What’s impressive about Death of a Martyr, Birth of a Phoenix from Diez De León is that the album occupies two worlds simultaneously. It’s thoughtful, introspective and authentic, and effortlessly pairs it with the best qualities of modern hip-hop: catchy hooks, head-nodding grooves, and addressing the all-important question, “but does it slap?”
Formerly known as B.B.T.U.C. of Colorado rap trio Soul Brothers, Diez De León showcases a high level of artistic maturity on his debut album. Death of a Martyr, Birth of a Phoenix displays a degree of lyrical finesse that’s refreshing in today’s musical landscape.
Jackson Maloney: singer, songwriter, folk musician, and Colorado transplant via Northern California. The coarse-voiced busker has found himself a home in unincorporated Boulder County, at a place called Dharma Farm – a small hippie commune near Hygiene, CO. The location, in fact, where Maloney recorded his latest EP – a six track EP that encapsulates the simplicity of a working farm, which, after having been recorded in a ruined grain silo, ‘checks out.’ It’s a bare-boned, extended play that is completely comfortable with skimping on the pleasantries.
Greeley’s jazz-leaning (Hannah &) The Cuddies put on a rock show, but shine in moments of intimacy on their full-length debut Fix It Myself, a gloss-rock review via theatrical means. The band flexes their arrangement chops with big horns and fast guitars, offering tricky rhythms in the vocal. Akin to female-fronted bands like Letters to Cleo or the Cardigans, the Cuddies cleverly twist the unexpected into four-on-the-floor fun.
If you’ve ever gone out drinking with public school teachers, you know they’re a rowdy bunch. Maybe the job requires the same kind of youthful energy that carries you through to late night karaoke. Maybe ...
BandWagon Magazine’s favorite band Silver & Gold are at it again, and instead of going home, they went big on their new single “Saving Face.” Catch them Friday, September 10 at The Block Party in downtown Greeley.
Griffith James has released his most noteworthy song yet, “Market and Black,” which features Colorado legends Tennis on backup vocals. This folky groove, with James’s almost Simon and Garfunkel vocal, feels removed from the modern era in an off putting yet infectious way.
At their best live, Southern Avenue finds enough soul, R&B and pop to please middling blues fans while maintaining enough roots and respect for the genre to satisfy hardcore blues veterans.
The Memphis-based band’s virtuosity and energy on ‘Be The Love You Want’ is pronounced and the album is a joy. The title track hits like a wallop, and “Move Into The Light,” (a co-write with Jason Mraz) is better than 95 percent of what’s on the radio. The production seems louder, tougher and sharper, with brassy horns and a clearer sound than their previous release ‘Keep On.’
Fort Collins-based rock outfit King Crawdad has hit an impressive new stride, producing an EP alive with the particular energy they are clearly looking to translate. Taking their latest material to the renowned Fort Collins recording studio The Blasting Room and adding Tucker Valentine into the mix on bass, King Crawdad 3 stands as some of their best work yet. It punches where it needs to punch, kicks out the jams when it needs it the most, and shows a band really honing in on their sound.
For the past few years, Banshee Tree has played in barrooms, theaters and music festivals all over Colorado and Wyoming. Although the band’s music showcases each member’s impressive chops, the recurring theme is vibrant energy. Dancefloor denizens will sway to neo soul for one song and spin their partner to gypsy jazz for the next.
After years of solely identifying as the co-front man of Colorado’s adored brother-band Slow Caves, Jakob Mueller steps away from those familiar indie guitar shoegaze shores. Adopting the pseudonym Cody, Mueller dips his toes into new, even washier waters. Cody’s first single “I’m Not Really Listening” premieres below, via BandWagon today.
Fusion and rock group Ms. Nomer are releasing their debut full-length album TAOTUNU (IE; “things are on the up n up”) July 16 at the Aggie. Ms Nomer’s music already pulls a jazz sound with their colorful chords and complex grooves, but the addition of three additional musicians pull them out of the “rock jam band” genre and into a jazz fusion realm, reminiscent of instrumental giants Herbie Hancock or Chick Corea.
Bright, energetic and bursting with pop polish has been the name of the game for Fort Collins indie rockers Lady Denim and it’s paying off. Releasing one of their sharpest songs yet, they take a stab in the right direction with “Old & New.”
From the Playa at Burning Man to the mountains, deserts, and jungles of world’s most iconic festivals, the seminal duo Desert Dwellers are known across the globe for their ability to craft lush, worldly soundscapes and renegade dancefloor vibes. If the wait to see the Boulder-based duo live at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre on July 17 proves too long to bear, feel comforted that the freshly-released third installment of their Night Vision series can tide you over until then.
When Slow Caves puts out a track, the Colorado music scene collectively gazes on in awe. A ‘90s post-psychedelic stroll through the minds of the Mueller brothers, “Before I Leave” shows signs of something different.
Devin Tremell is one of those surprises everyone saw coming. In the last two years Tremell has cranked out an impressive amount of material, and his latest single “Light of Mine ii” – released on Juneteenth – stands on its own.
Longtime fans of Magic Beans keep coming back for their staple rock-funk sound, filled with high energy grooves and invigorating rock organ. Their new album, Slice of Life, still has that, but those fans might also cock their head in confusion.
Catch them live at The Beanstalk Festival on June 24 in Bond, CO.
On Butte La Rose, Colorado’s mountain-bred quintet Tenth Mountain Division find space between extremes: A party with a big band, booze, questionable substances and endless jams; and relatable, folk-influenced storytelling. They stamp a crisp modernity on top, incorporating styles as far reaching as the Rockies themselves.
‘Lighthouse Sessions’ is the debut EP from Denver’s D.C. Myers, and while it’s a dark catalogue of a sad man alone in a room with his electronics, it’s also one of the most engaging, smart and fun records to come out of Colorado in months. Myers knows this well: stimulate the more sophisticated neurons of those goths and their black-leather-clad hips will follow.
Fort Collins indie poppers People In General find themselves aptly named for the theme of their upcoming single “icicic.” Seeking universality in songwriting is usually a great idea. If lightning strikes and the writer finds …
Smooth and understated, Denver’s Cous, continues to find ways to make writing simple and approachable music look easy. “Turpentine” is easy going yet packed with a loneliness just below the surface that gives some wonderful depth to its sentiments.
The Denver-based acoustic duo LVDY (pronounced “lady”) show what beautiful sounds two women and a guitar can make on their full-length album, Gold. In 11 songs, Kathleen Hooper and Aubrey Mable give us tight harmonies, the sway of natural acoustic pop refrains and a warm folk ambience, showcasing the creative ways two women use sparse instrumentation and vocals to create full sounds.
Cole Scheifele writers heartbreaking music and delivers a soaring melody with unrestrained emotion. Behind his voice, an ambient brew of siren-like drones creates texture while he keeps time on an acoustic guitar.
In Denver, a hyperactive, fashion-forward group is making music that could just be the cutting edge of this pop punk resurgence. Though VYNYL strayed into synth-pop territory with their first EP, Pink, 2021’s aptly titled The World Is On Fire, and I’m Lonely is full of grit without losing any of the hookiness of the band’s earlier work. Catchy melodies are paired with crisp production and colossal energy, making it a good case as the perfect bittersweet summer soundtrack into the final stretch of the pandemic.
Denver-based Mlady’s full length album Maladaptive Daydreaming feels like its title: an atmosphere of vivid dreams told by lead singer Hannah Beeghly, accompanied by washy, pop orchestration. The record favors reversed reverb and atmospheric textures …
“This isn’t the normal, like, girl-joins-the-band story,” DEBR4H’s Jed Murphy tells BandWagon. “I was really kinda hitting the end.”
Murphy’s dead-end feelings were palpable to his audience and especially to his romantic partner. “Kayna literally got tired of going to shows and just sitting there,” Murphy laughs, “so she joined the band.”
But it’s not that simple. “It’s more about having a team,” Murphy says, citing DEBR4H’s newest single “The Court Of Richard II” as a turning point, with synth modulations atop an ever-steady beat, while stabs of disoriented Kraftwerk-keyboard undercut Murphy’s Morrisey-like monotone.
“Richard the 2nd was a boy king. He did whatever he wanted. Then he’s overthrown and they starve him to death. I really liked that idea: have whatever you want, but it can turn bad.”
The term “in the box” has taken on more meaning over the past year, especially for musicians forced to do almost everything from only (and often for only) their computers. But that doesn’t mean artists like Carti Ferrari aren’t thinking outside of it.
On his new single “The Farthest,” Ferrari flexes a talent for wordplay, compressing all the feelings of a sad, romantic saga into a tight two and a half minutes of sharp rhymes.
“The Farthest” premieres exclusively today via BandWagon.
Colorado’s A.J. Fullerton is a roots, blues artist with a reputation for slick, fingerpicking guitar and bottleneck slide talent. He has won 16 Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in 9 different categories – all while under 30 years of age.
Featuring a Canadian cast of handpicked session musicians, AJ leaps from the acoustic to a rich full-band sound on The Forgiver and The Runaway.
Intense, haunting guitar work, funky bounce and searing soloing pair with tasty, powerful harp from guest harmonica players Paul Reddick and Jake Friel throughout.
Bones Muhroni, aka Crew Rienstra has done a lot over the years to find ways of making interesting music. While folk rock was always at the center of the breadth of material Rienstra (along with many other talented musicians) released under the Bones Muhroni name, there was always something bizarre and out of place happening underneath.
Packed with nuance and texture, Boom Snap Clap is Rienstra letting go in a lot of ways, creating something that bounces between electro, R&B, grunge rock, even a metal tune.
Coloradan songwriter Wolf van Elfmand’s music has always had a western flair. This remains true in his newest album All Blue released in February, but he also incorporates what the title suggests: the blues.
Cool and steady like a long lost J.J. Cale gem, van Elfmand incorporates improvisation and musical playfulness between the melody and simple chord structures, leaving comfortable spaces for harmonica, pedal steel and lead guitar to add conversational nuances to the texture.
On (yes) Valentine’s Day, Colorado’s funky genre-hopping Shwarma continued their saga of madness with the Loveworthy Live EP, debuted as a live stream. In the video, the overtly-silly mix of tightly-arranged funk jams and melodramatic ballads is accompanied by a revolving door of meticulous costumes, sets and effects.
Denver singer/songwriter/shoegazer Isadora Eden’s history includes living in New Orleans and New York City where underground music scenes the likes of the late, great Sidewalk Cafe shaped her talent for forlorn, connectable music. The soft …
“Sweep Me Up” premieres via BandWagon today, and it’s a black lipstick affair. Goth Club’s third release, it sinks to the half-spoken, sultry depths of Monster Magnet’s “Paradise” or even Ramstein with an added layer of synths and old-school drum machines akin to an early Depeche Mode. McFadden looks directly into the black mirror on “Sweep Me Up,” finding shadows, distortion and sludge within it.
Northern Colorado’s Pie Lombardi presents his finest work to date with the moving single “Some People,” which premieres today exclusively via BandWagon. Etching honesty into the stone of post-emo indie rock, Lombardi finds a new musical space, distinct in its everyman delivery and folk-song realism.
A haunting tune, “Hold On To Me” is like a nighttime journey through the southwest, channelling the late night cold of the desert. For their latest single, Plume Varia return to their comfort zone of spacey goth country.
Denver based multi-instrumentalist Brent Somermeyer, under the name Yung Lurch, is not an artist tied down by conventions. If ever that was apparent, it is on his new EP entitled B ALL IN, a four-track peek into the life and work of a unique recording artist deeply entrenched in the music making process.
Isadora Eden’s second EP, the vulnerable ‘All Night,’ opens like a dark, reverberated flower in your headphones. Eden’s young, muted alto offers sad solidarity to those who will listen, while she and bandmates Sumner Erhard and Corey Coffman carry her shy messages on the shoulders of stately guitars, dignified drums and echoey atmosphere.
Andy Sydow enters 2021 with “Piece of the Valley,” a raucous and bombastic single that pulls no punches. Leaving the mark of someone with a clear ear for what they want, Sydow shoots for the fences as one of Colorado’s most notable working songwriters.
2021 is going to see Denver’s best synth pop outfit Retrofette become one of the biggest bands in Colorado. Stripping away the frill and grandeur of modern electronic music, their new single “Photogenic” is a simple yet textured synth number throwing back to groups like Hot Chip and Hercules & Love Affair. It’s clean, simple synth tones lay the groundwork for vocalist Sean Culliton’s cool, sultry mumble-like voice to set the mood.
Stop sifting for obscure ‘70s soft-pop on Spotify playlists like “candle-lit living room slow dance” and buy Jess Parsons’ “Hear Me Calling.”
Denver’s Parsons knows well that charm and honesty go a long way. Often compared to Fleetwood Mac, she finds her true groove somewhere between Jenny Lewis, Aimee Mann and the disco side of Feist on her new EP “Hear Me Calling.” The record has a core of sweet, singer-songwriter sincerity, but keep a spot on your dance card free for that special someone, because it’s got hips.
On their debut LP IT!, Colorado quintet The Crooked Rugs take the compulsory ingredients of modern rock band instrumentation and create something wonderfully foreign. Echoes of psych, prog and garage rock resound, but each song is clearly the result of diligent experimentation.
IT! was recorded this summer in Durango, and for an album made in a barn in rural Colorado, it’s anything but folksy.
The groovy, Denver-based soul band Fresh Fruit! released their first EP on January 1st. And while the chill, yacht rock vibes of their past occasionally surface, “Independently” accentuates their soul sounds in a way that is groovy and more commercially appealing.
For listeners looking to skip the drive-thru, Eat Out Culture, Vol. 1 from rapper Nick Sanville and guitarist-turned-producer Timo Massa (Stella Luce, VIVIAN) reminds us of the value of a home-cooked meal. This 4-track EP covers sonic landscapes seldom heard from contemporary Hip-Hop artists, combining intricately woven punchlines with masterfully crafted moody atmospheres.
Alright Alright’s new album Crucible is an intimate experience with dreamy orchestration and relatable lyrics, something for which they are already known. But here, that intimacy is closer than before, like the genuine musings of a close friend.
Musketeer Gripweed released “More Than Ever” late last month, taking their bluesy Americana sound and infusing it with gospel and soul. Gospel and soul sounds are appropriate for a project that was brought back to life after it was halted by COVID-19.
As with all of Enzi’s music, her full-throated vocal performance on “Mad Chemistry” carries the track. She croons through a hooky chorus while calling and responding to a many-layered harmony of her own voice. You get the feeling Enzi is jut getting started.
On “Mercy Be” the Beeves leave behind their beloved flailing antics, revealing their influences to be just as loyal to the Flamingos, The Beach Boys and Elvis as they are to The Vines and The Strokes.
The accompanying video is a slo-mo-rodeo prom night dream. Its beautifully shot, beautifully sequenced simplicity masks The Beeves in more intrigue; the kind of dark mystique indicative of Princes, Bowies and Mercurys.
Making the best of quarantine, Crew Rienstra (aka Bones Muhroni) released “I SHOULD HAVE IT RN”, a song and video summarizing all the weirdness your average person is going through RN and a genius take on the quarantine video.
Denver’s future-electro R&B musician Machu Linea is bringing his jazzy experimental sound back to the people with the release of “Feelitboi,” the first single ahead of his second album HeXotica (out now).
A Massachusetts native by the name 30 recently moved to Colorado to make the best of covid reality, releasing genre-non-specific singles in support of his full-length “Introspects Of A Psycho,” out October (yes) 30.
Ecuadorian-pop-songstress-turned-Denverite Neoma has been making waves in Colorado since relocating here in 2018. Recently, she was featured on the single “Gold Chain” by Ecuadorian hip hop artist Método, a sexy down beat R&B track that will speak to people no matter what hemisphere they live in.
Denver’s Joel Ansett says he finally noticed how much emotional energy he spent on “just trying to be liked. It’s so childish,” he tells BandWagon, “but it turned into a habit; just how I would function in social settings.”
“Ease” is about non-approval-based friendships, but it’s deserving of high praise.
The Stubby Shillelaghs’ forthcoming full-length LP “Glass to Mouth” (out October 30) will mark ten years of silly drinking songs and sea shanties for this Greeley band, complete with impressive musicianship, humor, and well-placed profanity. All-in-all, “Glass to Mouth” is as good a jolly-olde-time as it is tongue-in-cheek.
Pervasive feelings of extreme unknown lurk in the consciousness of most citizens on planet earth these days, which is why the similarly intangible music, soundscapes and dark, thrilling emotions on the concept EP Kenopsia hit so hard. A brilliant and concise collaboration between Denver-based R&B hip-hop vocalist Kid Astronaut and producer Psychologic, the record’s pop sensibilities are balanced by an epic, dystopian sense of drama and purpose.
Founders Colin Kelly and Jim Herlihy of the Boulder-based band Augustus have delivered a technicolor whopper. “Color TV and Tall Tales,” their 5th LP due October 9, features guests from Eldren, The Yawpers and Dragondeer, who add flesh and flare to the bones of the band, but the original duo’s rock rawness remains the focus of this accessible, eccentric rock n’ roll romp.
Gaudy for the sake of it, NOT A TOY’s self-titled release is as bombastic as it is fearless. Coincidently signed to Fearless Records, the former Fort Collins (and formerly named Shatterproof), Denver band is hitting an incredible new level. NOT A TOY is one of the most prolific recording projects to come out of Colorado in a while.
Colorado alt rock legends The Wild After are back with their second EP after the release of Lessons Learned in 2014. It’s a long stretch between releases but that doesn’t mean they weren’t been busy. …
Royce DeZorzi & The New Freedom Movement have a pocket groove, play elongated solos, and do a great job of building energy collectively. But what really stands out about their debut album is not the notes they play, but how they want the listeners to hear them: every track on the album is a first take recorded live, directly to tape.
Bison Bone is a little bit country, a little bit rock & roll, and fully led by the boisterous singer/songwriter Courtney Whitehead. Where heady, heavy, post-hippie Americana is what many find themselves drawn to these days, “Find Your Way Out” (due October 25) gets there enough times to tickle the fancy of most fans of the style. But the deeper side of the genre is what Whitehead and crew truly feel in their bones.
“I mean, what is stopping us? Why don’t we?” said Maddie Hein of Dream Cult Press. Well, she was 17, but that wasn’t enough, apparently. Nor was the fact that they met online and not in her hometown of Greeley (one of them, in fact, was from Kazakhstan). The new indie label released their first album in July 2019 and started picking up fans and followers, but quickly also decided to use their platform to benefit individuals and organizations that were helping out during protests across the country.
One of Colorado’s most popular bands, The Gasoline Lollipops, will be delivering what can arguably be considered their masterpiece on September 11, 2020. “All the Misery Money Can Buy” has been described by the band as a politically charged union of soul music and Southern rock, blending singer Clay Rose’s gritty singing style with what appears to be a full-on gospel choir. It sounds like it was recorded at the Crossroads in the presence of the devil himself.
Kyle Hollingsworth and his bandmates in The String Cheese Incident had been on tour for a solid decade. They needed a break, so they took 6 months off. Then, live music itself took a break for the foreseeable future. Ironic, isn’t it?,” Hollingsworth said. On September 11th, Kyle Hollingsworth Band will play a socially-distanced Drive-In Theater show at The Chinook in Cheyenne, Wyoming, another first for him. “We’re just, so excited to be playing – it’s shining out of us. We’re bringing great energy.”
Going solo after the end of the renowned Elephant Revival, Daniel Rodriguez entered a new world. His music changed, some of his relationships changed, and the world changed around him. That’s where his new album Sojourn of a Burning Sun (out August 28) finds us. Stepping away from some of the more existential elements of Elephant Revival but taking the smokey folk music with him, Rodriguez safely steers his boat to that lonely island meant just for him.
Long Live the River by Estin & The 86’D kicks off with an ode to classic southern rock filled with pure, unadulterated attitude. With lyrics referring to being baptized in rock and roll, it’s a hell of a way to be introduced to the band. Full of emotion, great songwriting and musicianship, “Long Live the River” (out August 14) is like a stiff drink at the end of a long day.
Charlie Stevens by Charlie Stevens is the first official album release from Northern Colorado’s young bluegrass extraordinaire of the same name. The first to ever graduate from the University of Northern Colorado’s world renowned music program with a degree in bluegrass, Stevens possesses dual credentials in classical and bluegrass guitar. The album is what any bluegrass fan could ask for, featuring traditional elements of stringed instrumentals and folksy storytelling.
Fact is, on “Dockside Saints” it’s all really good stuff. Throughout, Cary Morin has an amazing ability to mix in a little of just about everything, while staying unique and true to himself. A masterful guitarist, songwriter and singer, he honors his Native American Crow background with some of the most beautiful blues ever heard and a powerful mix of rock, jazz and zydeco.
Alcario Artuso’s tracks on his new double single EP “I Will Always Be With You “(feat Kyle Kounovsky and Terrah Schultz) revive the alternative indie rock sound of the late 2000’s, where distorted guitars and sprinkles of synthesizers met minimal production, and a live musician still stood behind every beat and note. The double-single EP premieres via BandWagMag.com
Whether it’s your first time going on a hike since lockdown, or an anticipated camping trip, David Burchfield’s album “State to State” makes for a proper soundtrack to a mountain getaway. He combines elements of Americana, Country, and traditional Celtic to set the scene for a night around the campfire. Songs like the opening and title track show that this folk style is his fluent language.
Dream pop, as a genre, has a home in Northern Colorado, and in a way has come to represent the leisurely stroll through anxiety you get from living here. Capturing this is Polyakov’s four track debut EP ‘Hazy’ – a luscious and well textured delivery that lives up to the title. Killer vocal harmonies, guitar effects and layering techniques here are mesmerizing, making Polyakov another NoCo artist to watch.
My Dog Ate Chad is exactly what it should be. A conglomeration of 5 flanneled friends from high school throwing their influences at the wall to see what sticks. They’re looking for their true identity on their full-length debut Krakatoa with wide eyes, open ears and loud-ass guitars.
With top production, austere turn of phrase and beautifully transparent melodic construction, “Walk In The Park” by Slow Caves sparkles with the slow motion lens-flare of memories you haven’t even made yet.
Riff-heavy with the pizzaz and swagger of the White Stripes, The Beeves’ new single “Playing Bingo” highlights the proper rock yelps of vocalist Ian Ehrhart and the grooving instrumental playfulness of bassist/vocalist Margot Sease and drummer Will Ehrhart.
Even during the pandemic, Fort Collins-based dream pop band VIVIAN pushed forward the release of their debut full length album The Warped Glimmer, and according to the band, are already well into producing a full length follow-up. Spacy in all the right ways and saturated in the tell tale signs of art-rock gone pop, The Warped Glimmer is VIVIAN turning on cruise control and putting the seat back for you. It’s a warm envelope to rest in but exciting enough not to put you to sleep.
‘Wicked Dreams’ – the title track of Andy Sydow’s most recent EP, is an alt-country story about nation-wide travel and going through the motions, while deep down the storyteller longs for true purpose. Reminiscent in style of early Wilco and Ryan Adams, it’s highlighted with a slide guitar solo that might appear in one of Derek Trucks’ dreams. After rambling through several states, the protagonist lands in Colorado which he “calls home,” full of “beauty, adventure, and a different kind of tone.”
With their (yes) fifteenth release Careless Laughter, A.M. Pleasure Assassins remind us there’s a whole scene of bands in Northern Colorado who refuse to care what you migh think. They remind us that making music is supposed to be fun; it’s about putting yourself out there.
The subtle tug-of-war between the power of youth and the perspective of experience usually comes when young artists break the mold put in place by seasoned veterans from the former generation. It’s how new art ...
Two-piece Northern Colorado rockers King Crawdad entered 2020 like many bands around the world; with high aspirations and a sudden wipe-out of the entire music industry. But a little pandemic isn’t going to stop a band self described as a “hug you can hear” in a time when we could all use one.
“King Crawdad 2” is Miles Mercer (guitars/vocals) and Nick Perich (drums) tackling their older material in a way they felt it deserved.
“I Can’t See” is an evolution for I Am The Owl. Their no-nonsense shredding with a twist of experimentation has flourished into a galloping monster of thought-out riffs and rhythms that will have Every Time I Die fans grinning from ear to ear. It deserves to be heard and supported, so buy this EP if you can.
Michael Morrow & The Culprits have proved themselves to be a mainstay in the Colorado music scene with their latest effort: I’m With the Banned. Their grasp on classic 1970’s rock with bluesy undertones allows them to carry the KISS-like torch for Northern Colorado as proudly now as they would have back in the day.
Bones Muhroni and it’s figurehead Crew Rienstra have been a lot of things over the years: cheeky, folksy, a touch uncouth, but always a good time. Triquetrum is the happy and painful accident that, in my opinion, gave us his best music to date. It has some of the country quality old friends and fans of Bones have come to love on “The Ballad of Clifford Griffin,” but musically Rienstra has clearly moved beyond that being his primary sound.
JuiceBox emerges from the ashes of Colorado funk outfit Moves at Midnight to produce retro, funky sounds reminiscent of times before most of us were even sipping on Capri Suns. They combine funk, rock, and R&B with strong horn lines under a 70’s aesthetic umbrella, curating a collection of fun jams for bouncing while they search for Soul with a capital S.
Space Force does not play smooth jazz. Their true genre, Jazz fusion, is easily mistaken for commercial artists like Kenny G (you know, your dentist office’s official soundtrack) but it deserves more credit. The 6-piece Fort Collins outfit debut their record Space Force: EP 1, and it celebrates what jazz fusion really is: a melting pot of rock, jazz and funk.
In Between, the debut album from Fort Collins trio Glass Cases, strives to relate to the band’s own demographic: a generation disillusioned with adulthood. Combining elements of synth-pop and alternative rock, Glass Cases create a vibe that’s both interesting and marketable. With rapid, spoken-word, and sung vocals that shine like Keane, Glass Cases’ topically relevant lyrics about social media and insecurity hit close to home for any millennial or gen Z-er.
The band’s originally planned release show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre March 21 was to be their debut at the famed venue, but has been cancelled due to coronavirus precautions.
When it comes to good music in Northern Colorado, everyone has their own approach. Some seek perfection with meticulous engineering, and then there are bands like safekeeper who just don’t give a shit. “bummer beach bonanza” (out March 21) is a glorious mess, painting a dreary, apathetic picture, but the lo-fi quality gives it charm and that extra something special you need in making a stand-out indie rock record.
Since their inception, MountainUs has been leading the way in Northern Colorado’s expanding reggae world. The Fort Collins fivesome has a new EP, ‘Captured Live At Chimaera,’ which holds the kind of energy that would never be attainable from a studio recording. They release the album at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins on March 13.
Colorado’s ‘Sweaty Soul’ band The Burroughs step out of their James Brown and retro-funk style to deliver two distinctive tracks. Love & Unity, released on March 3rd, is a digital two-sided single featuring a new evolution of The Burroughs: modernized funk mixed with psychedelic texture via producer Eric Kranso.
Gabrielle Louise lived alone for the past couple of years, existing in slow, rural life in Paonia, CO. Her new album ‘The Unending Alteration of the Human Heart’ (out March 20) is the soundtrack to that life. She captures the earthy, folk essence with twangy guitars, acoustic bass, and her clean, lightly brassy voice. But she’s comfortable letting the music breathe by providing sparseness and leaving herself exposed in the record’s intimate tracks.
Whitewater Ramble recently dropped their third full length, the long awaited non-live release Pseudonymous. Bluegrass at their core, Ft. Collins-based WWR stray from the norm with rock, soul, and dance infusions. Self-branded as “High Octane Rocky Mountain Dance Grass,” Pseudonymous gives fans what they’ve been waiting for and challenges new listeners too.
Amaya Arevalo is starting to make her mark in the Northern Colorado and Denver jazz scene. She frequents the stages at Dazzle and Nocturne, supporting various bandleaders and groups with her expressive saxophone playing or on accompanying piano. But jazz isn’t her only language. Her debut solo album Love Wears Many Faces shows her audience everything she can do as she looks for her voice as a solo artist.
Saints Of Never After are Fort Collins’ answer to the amalgamous sub-genre known as post-hardcore. Combining the somewhat contrary elements of metal and emo to create a truly unique sound, the band returns with full force on their latest EP, Return to Tower: Part 2, due out Feb 21 at The Moxi Theater.
As far as local bands go, Loveland, Colorado-based Satellite Pilot can be a lot. Identifying as something like Dr. Dog meets Polyphonic Spree, Flaming Lips, and The Kinks, Satellite Pilot push all their weirdness to the front. Yet that weirdness feels as natural as sliding on an old pair of shoes. This is the case with their fourth full length album titled Toad Tone and His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe: on the surface, it’s the psychedelic mess you might imagine it being, but underneath it is so much more.
Satellite Pilot release Toad Tone and His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe on February 14, at Pinball Jones Campus West in Fort Collins, accompanied by a children’s book co-written by the band and illustrated by Bailey Corimer.
Precision has long been one of the favorite descriptors the world uses when talking about the Swiss, and Lucerne, Switzerland-based indie rock quintet Cold Reading certainly don’t break the mold set-forth by the neatly ticking clocks their ancestors meticulously crafted.
Their newest concept album, a three-part guitar-drum-bass-keys opus called ZYT is literally an homage to the concept of time in it’s lyrics and musical composition (and the title if you speak Swiss German). But the long-running Swiss ideology Cold Reading also exemplify on is that of staunch autonomy and independence.
Brian Claxton is one of the Colorado music scene’s most treasured side-men. The bassist for Greeley’s sweaty-soul band The Burroughs and drummer / shenanigan-conductor of the quirky power-trio known as Trash Cat, he wears many musical hats.
Claxon’s debut solo album When I Get Home sheds his outer layers and makes this very clear: He is first and foremost a jazz drummer. Quarter notes have never swung so hard.
Mike Shamrock is the on-stage moniker for Mike Robertson, a leader in one of Northern Colorado’s most well loved, yet under-celebrated categories: cover bands.
The number of tribute acts in Colorado alone has grown significantly in the past handful of years, with live bands reenacting everything from Devo to Slipknot. Shamrock currently leads at least three heavy rock tribute acts in the region, but what happens someone who makes his living playing covers wants to release original material?
Wild Flower features so many different instruments that it’s hard to keep track. In addition to Tyler T’s signature vocal rasp, the record boasts both acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, organ, saxophone, flute, dobro, and two notable staples of every Tyler T. show: marimba and didgeridoo, provided by Tyler himself.
Brandon Harris has lived the first few chapters of a quintessential Fort Collins musician success story. He started out playing a $15 guitar nicknamed “Trash-tar,” without a car or mode of independent transportation until a bike was gifted to him by a friend, and now makes his living playing music. His solo musical pseudonym is called Meat and Potatoes, although it more accurately translates to his bread and butter.
Emily and Chris Winters are the duet behind Last Call Romance, a six-person Rockabilly band out of Fort Collins. Within the Rockabilly world, they’re a fairly well respected outfit, traveling to the Hemsby Rock n’ Roll Weekender festival in the UK and pulling accolades from Blue Suede News Magazine. Their 2019 release, Double Funeral Volume 1, is a perfect example of the genre, aimed straight at the hearts of Rockabilly die-hards.
Marbin’s new album ‘Strong Thing’ is the love child of prog rock and jazz fusion. Eddie Van Halen and Charlie Parker surely smiled down on the Chicago based quartet when they recorded it; their collective energy and virtuosic solos are enough to invigorate both long-distance runs and epic boss-battles royale.
The Great Salmon Famine’s newest release ‘Kelp!’ along with their recent, packed Aggie Theater CD release party are helping to solidify their place among the Burroughs, Silver & Gold and other stellar Northern Colorado bands of note. From breakneck speed funk to deep grooves, ‘Kelp!’ is a record no lover of good times can afford to miss.
People In General is a self-described jazz-pop band out of Fort Collins, though their new record ‘Piglet’ is no One-Note-Samba. Delivering complex sound behind the cutesy lyrics guitarist Abe Dashnaw sings, the trio deftly use the technicality of their compositions to draw the listener in without being heavy and pretentious.
Have you ever been so fed up with your 9-to-5 that you decided to quit your job and pursue your true calling? Further Notice, the new album by NoCo rapper Mitchell James, paints the picture of somebody who chooses to act on that urge and all the dreams and nightmares that come along with it. Catch his switch-up flow live at The Moxi in Greeley December 13 and Hodi’s HalfNote December 28 in Fort Collins.
Born from a young perfectionist’s downward spiral of indecision, ‘Overthinker’ is a confident, polished and mature debut from Swiss/American pop artist Liam Maye. Though he laments “I forgot who I was” in the EP’s first single “Note To Self,” it’s clear that his unique voice as an artist makes him who he is.
What sets FoCo’s Luna Shade apart from many reggae bands is their use of the Spanish language: the majority of the stand-out tracks on Flock Together’ feature a Spanish verse. And as ‘invierno’ approaches in Colorado, we’ll need a break from the snow. Thankfully, when ‘Flock Together’ drops on November 28, it’ll be a sunny day in reggae paradise.
Post Paradise has been a staple of the Northern Colorado music scene for several years with their blend of cello, piano and guitar-driven alternative prog rock. Their latest record ‘Lonely Worlds’ (recorded at The Blasting Room) solidifies their place as high-ranking NoCo musicians, exhibiting their potential as contenders for international acclaim.
Colorado-based Jazz saxophonist Kenyon Brenner steps into the spotlight on his first solo album The Long and Short of It. He doesn’t rely too much on his soloing prowess to showcase his personality – the album listens like a novel, each piece communicating an emotional story through beautiful composition and sensitive playing.
False Report is a band that hasn’t played by anyone’s rules. Their latest EP, Tear The Pages is proof that great emo music in Colorado isn’t going anywhere. Their fourth release in just as many years, Tear The Pages is the sound of False Report hitting their stride. Striking a more somber tone than some of their previous work (which says a lot for this band), they touch the nerve of something special with this release.
Berlin iconically represents the concepts of borders and breaking through them. Electronic Berlin-based piano, bass and drums trio Grey Paris exemplify that attitude on their second full-length electronic jazz release Medea, channeling the sounds of the established past through the fiber optic feel of the future.
The initial jaw-dropping shock one goes through at their first Paris Monster show is thus: how are just two people doing this? Josh Dion simultaneously sings unstoppably pure, mammoth-powered soul while drumming and playing keys, and the ominous bass murk and whine of feedback via Geoff Kraly’s electric bass wired through modular synth pulse hard. Dion’s pure, eloquent vocal soars in an open atmosphere of Kraly’s electro-arpeggios; making high art out of foggy funk.
The duo support Cory Wong at The Aggie on Halloween night as well as the Fox on November 1 and The Bluebird November 2.
Greeley-based country singer-songwriter Lacy Jo’s forthcoming, self-titled EP is mainly ballads – raw songs focused on being real, which Lacy wrote based on her own life. Produced by Dave Beegle, the EP releases October 25 with a Moxi Theater show with Smooth Hound Smith.
The Northern Colorado music scene is truly a unique animal. We've got everything from bluegrass, new-grass, indie, alternative, and metal. However, if there was ever a void for a sultry, chill style of blues rock, ...
Jarrod Gipson, known in the local scene as the drummer for Colorado’s own Nina and the Hold Tight, ventures out with debut solo album Heart Eyes. Cycles. Clear Mind. It’s an impressive, ambitious introduction to him as a soloist, where he throws everything he’s got at us. Look for it October 11 and check him out live on November 9 at ALMAGRE in Colorado Springs.
Since Race to Neptune’s inception in 2015, they’ve been delivering gritty yet fun, melodic alternative rock to Northern Colorado. Their upcoming EP Share My Frequency kicks off with the angsty “Unnatural Desires,” which delightfully reeks of flannel and Converse, though it doesn’t stay in one vein, drifting into pop-punk territory, employing spooky vibes and even cinematic, sentimental imagery. Catch them September 13 at Blast N’ Scrap and September 28 at The Downtown Artery with Valdez and Plasma Canvas.
The moody synth-pop elements on VYNYL’s new record PINK, out October 3, are reminiscent of vintage synth groups from the late 80’s like Erasure, a departure from their former alternative rock sound. Dark and moody, they take some classic new wave ideas, dressing them up in 2019’s clothes. Dig them live at White Groves Barber & Taproom September 13 and Lost Lake Lounge October 3.
Ryan Kirkpatrick, frontman and songwriter for Fort Collins’ The 14ers, has a love of the outdoors, to say the least. His lyrics and crystal-clear tenor are reminiscent of the band Fun, and fun seems to be the point on ‘Mountaintop Folk-Pop.’ The band’s “pay-what-you-want” release has a joyous, travelling feel, and The 14ers celebrate it’s release Friday, September 13 at Washington’s in Fort Collins.
David Baker’s new jazz album “Minus Piano” is just that. A trio without a piano, or any chordal instrument. Ironically, Baker chose to feature songs written by famous pianists. Without the density of a chordal instrument, the arrangements allow space, demonstrating that bells and whistles can drown-out the tune itself. Baker plays Jay’s Bistro in Fort Collins August 23 & 24, and at Tower 56 in Greeley on August 29.
Seeing music as a chance to honestly express complicated realities, Fort Collins rock quartet Places Back Home focus their music on darker topics brought earnestly to the forefront on The Color & Decay EP, out August 20. But don’t be fooled by the sincerity – the band will have you on your feet nodding your head at their release parties August 23 at Lost Lake and August 24 at The Downtown Artery.
Even when Denver’s Oxeye Daisy steps out of the box from the feel of their newest EP ‘They Say You’re A Demon,’ they find ways to integrate new textures without sacrificing the dark, spacey vibe. Straying from the dreamy atmosphere by evoking Dick Dale playing punk, Lela Roy’s fearless wails embellish the band’s frantic tension until it floats off to vivid, dreamy Pink Floyd territory mid way. Catch them at Bohemian Nights August 10th in Fort Collins
American Tomahawk has been a well regarded name in the Colorado music scene for years despite being Los Angeles residents since 2011. Growing up in Ault, Colorado, frontman and mastermind Adam Halferty formed his musical identity in Northern Colorado as an active member in a surprising and sorted list of Colorado bands. “Mr. Griever” is achingly beautiful in its simplicity with a slight stench of toxic masculinity lingering over it, bringing a brutality to that honesty. Catch “Mr. Griever” live at Magic Rat on Friday, July 26 in Fort Collins.
Sampling is an art. Though you’ll hear a few you recognize on Greeley hip hop group Soul Brothers’ new album Inertia, which dropped today, what an artist does with the chopped-up interpolation can be the difference between a good song and a great song. Catch the trio live at the Greeley Stampede Extraction Stage on July 5 and The Moxi Theater July 20.
The vibe of The Trujillo Company could be summed up as a steady cloud of reefer smoke wafting out of a storm drain into the misty Seattle air, we’ll say circa 1991. Despite this, the Denver outfit is nothing short of a breath of fresh air for the Colorado music scene, releasing “Home” June 22nd at Larimer Lounge.
If you just heard Dressy Bessy for the first time, you missed quite a lot. Formed from the same seminal Elephant 6 collective that gave birth to Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel, the group released half a dozen reliably enjoyable records. Dressy Bessy is a Colorado cause célèbre, releasing ‘Fast Faster Disaster’ June 13 via Yep Roc Records at Downtown Artery and Lion’s Lair respectively.
When you think about contemporary worship music, you think of 20 piece bands singing with at least three acoustic guitars. When Northern Coloradans hear the name Burroughs we think of the 9 piece “sweaty soul band” fronted by Johnny, the eccentric red-haired dude who commands you to get up and dance. “DAY 1,” Johnny Burroughs’ debut solo record is clearly not The Burroughs and is distinctively about singing praise to God, but it’s done with soul, in both the literal and metaphorical senses.
Ethyl and the Regulars’ new album “Honest Work” is a reflection of just that – a mature Americana sound grounded in tradition, yet they incorporate jazz elements including a Thelonious Monk melody as a thematic tool for instrumental conversation.
“Wealthcare” is an eight track wander through the vast scope of Rock n’ Roll. Anxious yet contemplative, the new record from Chess At Breakfast burns hot at times with tracks like “Ambulance” and “POTUS Blues” but bounces quickly to the cool modes of “Hello Haunt” and “Glaciers.” “We love that super trapped-in-the-head kind of weird, wonky stuff,” says lead vocalist Caleb McFadden.
A newfound polish and poise comes to Denver dream pop / shoegaze indie rockers Tyto Alba with their forthcoming record Sucker, out May 4. Melanie Steinway’s yelp of “we gotta bring this sucker down” peeks out amidst rich, swirling builds like something off The Cure’s “Disintegration.”
“40 years in radio. 50 years as a working musician. This is my official debut, at age 64. Crazy huh?” This is the line we got from Chris Kresge, frontman of GOATZ! when he sent us his debut bluegrass/Americana record “Sweet Inspiration”
Julian Cary is a jazz artist, but he doesn’t allow the idea of what jazz should be interfere with his expression: On “heaven?indeed” he neglects traditional song form, adapting the music to fit the form of E.E. Cummings’ poems. The record retains a subtle honesty wrapped in moments of dynamic, tonal beauty.
The Fort Collins “Funk-n-Rock-n-Roll” band Graham Good & The Painters’ second EP opens with the uplifting gospel-esque of “Good Things,” like the start of Sunday morning service, but Graham Good & The Painters take it further than church.
“With Or Without” (Overslept’s newest) is melodious and melancholy, yet it’s jarring enough to keep discerning pop rock ears piqued, pushing past the boundaries of traditional indie into new, dissonant territory.
Try not to say “quirky” when describing Trash Cat. Red-headed singer/bandleader Mary Claxton wields a sassy ukulele, backed by her husband Brian, a beardy University jazz instructor, and funky, mohawked baritone saxophonist Hayden Farr. (Say what?) Throw in references to Scooby Doo and titles like “Robot Girlfriend” and it pretty much seals the quirky deal. Plus, their release show takes place inside a laser tag arena. Say what?
Though it’s impossible to know, it’s safe to assume that while the world was “doing the Charleston,” H.P. Lovecraft had a very different tune in his head. Whilst writing his masterpiece about the terrifying sea beast Cthulhu, Triton’s The Abyss could easily have been the soundtrack.
Greeley’s Infinite Conscious has not only succeeded in paying offerings to the gods of the riff, but have also created a dark, adrenaline-pumping hunk of metal that caters to headbangers across the board. Catch Infinite Conscious at The Moxi Theater March 23 with Triton.
“Abandon Fashion” from Fort Collins’ Race To Neptune is a sturdy four track EP and one of the better modern interpretations of early ‘90s grunge and alternative rock. It’s reminiscent of the music that followed hair metal’s death in the ‘80s. But this is not a throwback album. Check R.T.N. out at Pinball Jones on March 1.
Moving forward takes change. Luckily for indie synth pop fans, Jed Murphy did just that. He stepped down as editor of BandWagon Magazine, fell in love, moved to a different city and extinguished the torch he held for his band Futurebabes. Kind of. Bringing his girlfriend, vocalist, keyboardist and designer (yes, your band needs a designer) Kayna Hobbs into the creative fold, the two re-branded as DEBR4H.
Jenna McLean abandons the path of the lounge songstress, instead programming “Brighter Day” like a horn player. As winner of Downbeat’s 2018 Outstanding Vocal Jazz Soloist award in the graduate category, McLean has truly refined her craft.
After the release of Pedro The Lion’s 2004 record Achilles Heel, the term “emo” would be weaponised as a slur—by outsiders and longtime acolytes alike—and earnest and plaintive music was largely cast aside for the irreverent, angular, and abstract indie rock that would define much of the next decade. Fifteen years after the band’s last release, hordes of music listeners will gather in front of stages throughout 2019 t(including The Bluebird Feb 10) to see Pedro the Lion in support of its long-anticipated return on Polyvinyl Records.
Pie Lombardi’s second album “Worry Lines” presents a somewhat autobiographical outlook. It’s a coming of age, but not quite a blossoming into the expectations set for oneself. “I’m trying to get into a bigger scope of just writing and not really thinking about what it’s supposed to sound like,” Lombardi says. “Worry Lines” releases January 25 with a Moxi Theater appearance supporting Neyla Pekarek.
There’s a youthful power to Kaitlyn WIlliams’ lark-like breathiness. Her debut EP ‘Sunset’ reveals fun, Beyoncé-in-the-bathtub tones and vocal runs contrasting her stronger suit of vulnerable introversion a-la The Staves. Williams glides over electro-climaxes with cool touches of distant synth yowls. Slip into something more comfortable and prepare for a close, rewarding listen.
Death Or Devotion, The Motet’s ninth album, showcases the band’s reverence for the funk tradition through masterful execution of the style. Each track exudes booty-shaking energy, thanks to airtight grooves from the rhythm section, crisp but nasty horn lines, and soulful vocals. Catch them January 11 and 12 in Aspen and Telluride and at Red Rocks this summer.
Greta Van Fleet have gained a lot of popularity by appealing to rockers both young and old. Their second full-length album Anthem Of The Peaceful Army once again pays homage, both musically and lyrically, to their heroes. You can hear melodic bits of John Paul Jones and the energy of Pete Townshend supporting the aggressive wails of Josh Kiszka, especially in tracks such as “When The Curtain Falls” and “Age of Man.”
Boiled down into an emotional lo-fi art rock reminiscent of an early Modest Mouse, safekeeper is releasing the aptly named On Sludge Summit December 14. This five-track EP glistens with slow ride emo guitar licks and drunken yawls that drudge through at a satisfying pace. Catch them at Pinball Jones December 21.
In a musical era defined by digital austerity, A Place That Never Changes is a powerful ode to maximalism, a carefully layered production of towering melodies and micro-cacophonies that cede just the right amount of space for Ruptak’s searing lyrical attack. It captures 2018 America’s prevailing feelings of confusion, anxiety and dread.
Keep Your Candles Close By is sonically, emotionally intimate and thematically concise, teasing at something we won’t see pan out. Some strife within the band Igaus Davis has lead to this being their final release, creating sonically solemn vignettes of despair and resignation.
With Paper Crane, Chess at Breakfast stay true to their blend of atmospheric psychedelia and gut-hammering riffs, paired with lyrical themes of despair, angst and fantasy. The band goes on a musical journey from soft and subtle, gradually building with spacey synth leads to an all-out head bang, complete with a Gilmour-esque guitar solo and vocal effects spiced in for grungy flavor. The track ends with a satisfying glam-rock supernova for its climactic finale.
Northern Colorado’s metal fans have needs, and those needs are filled by the sheer sonic brutality of The Panoramic who surprise-dropped the independently released EP Dead Trumpet Call on October 13th. It’s fresh as new blood and proves that The Panoramic is as heavy as ever.
Freshly releasing CHROMA: III (the five-track follow up to 2017’s CHROMA: II) on October 26, Bryce Merritt is at it again with some of his best work yet. Both sexy and sleek, it could be read as disingenuous on the surface, but it shows a musician stepping out of his comfort zone and going for it. At its heart, that’s what all Bryce Merritt’s previous releases have been as well: pulling out all the stops and going for it.
Trash., in a way, has been a long time coming. Kayleigh Gutskey and Michael Olivier have been very active in the Colorado music scene for years, both together and separately. Once upon a time they were Greeley punk heroes Nasty Bunch of Bitches. Love it or hate it, there is a lot to respect – they are independently doing everything themselves. These aren’t your Bitches anymore, this is Trash.
Fashioning themselves as Americana rock, there’s a streak of folk influences in The Wind, but it’s really a rock album with nothing to prove. Nelsen showed up to BandWagon’s Battle of the Bands with only their raw talent and came close to winning their round. The Wind is the result of that polished, raw talent showcasing each member’s abilities.
Greeley Rap trio Soul Brothers show off their talent while furthering their immersion into the culture of Hip-Hop, both on God’s Sons and live in concert, so pay close attention. With inspiring performances that promote crowd participation, their lyrics are relevant and relatable to anyone with even a mild appreciation for rap and hip-hop
Eminem fans were elated when he surprise-dropped his 10th studio album Kamikaze at the end of August. The album was chock-full of carefully plotted disses aimed at everyone from Lil Pump and Tyler The Creator to Machine Gun Kelly. “The word I called him on that song was one of things that I felt like, ‘This might be too far,’” Em told Sway. Machine Gun Kelly continues to milk the “Killshot” diss track for publicity. Mathers just released the viral, so to speak, music video for Venom.
Seth and China Kent are the married couple behind Alright Alright, each of whom have very different musical backgrounds, explaining AA’s unique, diverse sound. China is a classically trained pianist from Vanderbilt University; Seth a former guitar tech for The Fray (“How to Save a Life”). Alright Alright stand out from the masses with a gentle sense of depth and even gravitas on their new album, Nearby.
London based neo-soul band Jungle are gearing up to release what is going to be the best sleeper album of the year. For Ever is a vibrant cosmopolitan display of what it means to be a musician in 2018. What started as two multi-instrumentalist friends in 2014 making music in their London bedrooms is now a seven-piece musical movement making infectious dance music. Catch Jungle fever, so to speak, at The Aggie in Fort Collins on Saturday, September 29.
In 2014, Murder By Death was the first Rock & Roll act to play the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park; this year, their fifth annual winter residency extended to five sold-out shows. As much as the American Gothic sound of Murder By Death fits the open prairies and rugged mountains of Northern Colorado, it is equally out of this world. It’s fitting, then, that their latest studio album, The Other Shore is a space western.
Draghoria is a multi-generational metal band from Greeley with a recurring theme that describes their music to a tee – thrash metal. The follow up to their first EP, appropriately titled Thrash AD, will be released during Downtown Greeley’s 12th annual Block Party (via Sweden’s Big Balls Production) undoubtedly to a room of sweaty kids in black shirts that beat up their friends for fun, but pick them up when they fall.
Getting a 5-piece, all-redhead band with members from New York, Denver and Los Angeles together is an accomplishment. Colorado songstress Megan Burtt has wrangled such a group, aptly named: Gingerbomb. LA via NYC producer/drummer Ryan Vaughn and engineer/multi-instrumentalist Zach Berkman along with Burtt, vocalist / keyboardist Sara Dee and bassist Casey Sidwell join forces for the project with a maturity that defies any red-headed stepchild jokes critics might conjure. They kicking off the Bohemian Nights New West Fest in Fort Collins August 11th, 2018.
“Straight Shot,” the lead single from DeVotchKa’s forthcoming release This Night Falls Forever, takes both citizens of “Old Denver” and global fans of the pioneering Gypsy-Folk band “right back to the good times – before the paperwork got signed.” After years of soon-to-be-released announcements, the album finally arrives this August 24. “We have been extremely lucky in attracting so many great collaborations,” Nick Urata says. He admits, however, “with the benefit of hindsight, we now see that it took us away from finishing our album. We can only hope that the projects we have done will somehow find a way to influence our latest music.”
I Am The Owl’s newest release is for longtime fans of the Fort Collins punk/metal band and new listeners alike. Recorded at the Blasting Room, a heavy hitting local recording studio readers should familiarize themselves with (if you haven’t already), A Mission to Civilize: Part II rips. Fans of the hybrid genre will dig the searing guitars and signature “tight, but huge” drums. Following up their first release, A Mission to Civilize: Part I, the new drop expands on I Am The Owl’s galvanizing sound with much-welcomed production value increase. Fans of local DIY punk rock, don’t let that turn you off.
The Golden-based “Desert Grass” quartet Heavy Beauty has a clean but unfiltered sound to their work. The three songs on the EP – “Dreams,” “Butterflies” and “Stars” – are simple but elegant. They possess a slow, even flow to their singing that never stutters or overpowers certain elements. Dobro player Mike Testagrossa, bassist Angel Edgemon and Willie Thomas on the mandolin provide vocals, with Dax Hunter Jordan on drums.
Modern Leisure’s Super Sad Rom-Com is a chilled-out / bummed-out illustration of a songwriter’s studio apartment life. Having departed from former Denver bands The Outfit and Shady Elders, mastermind Casey Banker “wanted to express the loneliness and euphoria of being a guy living in a semi-big city in my 20’s.” Made layer by layer and then re-recorded from scratch, the resulting collection of mid-tempo dream-folk jams make us want to hit the beach and text our ex with a Bluetooth boombox and ice-cold LaCroix in hand.
“Where To Begin” – a simple question revealing that there’s much to tell. So is Covenhoven mastermind Joel Van Horne’s gift: the ability to fill oceans of meaning through simple use of poetry, guitar and voice. This opening track and the entirety of A Kind Of Revelation weaves an arpeggiated spell on us with its haunting mix of plucked strings, synth beds and cavernous vocal reverberations.
Inspired by time on the west coast, Van Horne calls A Kind Of Revelation his “ocean record.” Impressively self-produced, his only additionally credited recording engineer is his late brother Ben.
The release of Kinesics’ full-length album Surfacing will be its third attempt at seeing the light of day. Self-proclaimed “sad rock songs” sung mournfully and deep, this is the full and final realization of music which began its journey back in 2015.
There’s a beauty in the unexpected here, most notably the fact that the somber, low voice of Kinesics’ songwriter belongs to the diminutive, dare we say cute, alto – Kenzi Everitt. A solo project on her first two tries, there’s now a universality to the work. The androgyny in her liquid vocal delivery, fully-invested band arrangements, and the fact that her main collaborator (guitarist Jason Bartek) is also her fiancé reflect the band’s mantra of community, teamwork, and equality. Did I mention that the drummer and bassist are married to each other too? They are. It’s adorable.
Hometown For The Holidays finalist Chloe Tang’s newest EP Stranger has the Denver songstress aiming for the fences. Rich with a pop sound that is accessible as hell, Stranger shines. This five track EP comes to us after a series of singles since 2016’s “Forgive You Again,” and gives listeners a songwriter and vocalist taking herself to the next level.
Bitter Suns is on to something with Broken Off Bones. Produced by Alan Hlavacek of the Ft. Collins band Attack On Venus, the tracks are tight and the guitar tones crisp, making a fine punk record. It’s less of a ‘fuck the man’ style of punk and more of a ‘what’s your damage dude, I’m trying to get pitted with my boys’ sound. The song “Pitted” summarizes the whole vibe of the EP (and the band) with lyrics like; “yesterday I got totally pitted, it’s been a while since I’ve been this broke off.” Not exactly Shakespearean level poetry, but coupled with the rich punk instrumentals throughout, it hits the mark more closely than if they sang about something they didn’t care about.
This proud bluegrass band – consisting of Jarett Mason on the mandolin, Jon Pickett on bass, Alex Thoele on guitar, and James Weatherly on Banjo – is held together by the harmonizing voices of Mason, Pickett, and Thoele and the fast-paced picking of all four members. Where I Want To Be, released in 2016, is probably the most pure bluegrass album we’ve heard in some time.
Nathaniel Rateliff is a name that carries a lot of weight in the Colorado. Born out of the south Broadway scene in Denver, those running in music circles watched as year after year his star continued to rise until one day to the surprise of no one, his soul band Nathaniel Rateliff and Night Sweats popped with a little song called “S.O.B”.
First and foremost, while the band is breaking up after the release of this album, it is not the end. When a band separates there is usually a negative connotation that is associated with it. Immediately people often conjure up images of blow out fights between members or self destructive drug habits catching up with them, but for Left Hand Shakes, this is not case.
He was inducted in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2013. He’s an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado’s Denver campus. He beat back Leukemia after being diagnosed in 2010. He’s been featured in commercials for Ford and McDonalds, made music for television, and acted as a record producer. (He helped put together Andy Sidow’s Reasons for Departure, which we reviewed recently.) And since 1984, he’s been fronting the blues outfit Chris Daniels and The Kings, putting out album number 15 in September of last year. That album, now featuring Freddi-Henchi frontman Freddi Gowdy, is Blues with Horns Vol. 1.
Giants & Pilgrims call themselves “a marriage of art and music.” Aptly, Bellwether, the Greeley group’s forthcoming full-length, feels like an impressionist painting, lush with color and rife with rustic detail. The picture painted here explores three examples of sacred spaces via an array of instruments and close mic’d vocals whispering almost mythic indie-folk wisdom.
At age 26, Andy Sydow has already put out four albums since 2013, Reason for Departure being his newest. BandWagon Magazine hasn’t heard much of his stuff, but his new album, a relaxing rock album rife with blues touches – possibly thanks to album producer and guitarist Chris Daniels of Chris Daniels & The Kings – is not a bad introduction to the Denver-based singer-songwriter.
Tyja3 bleeds hyphy and embodies fun on the project, bringing a very new school vibe to old-school braggadocio bars and flow. Even the deeper track “TML” keeps the momentum of the feel-good vibes while still giving a story of facing adversity. For old heads on the search for a nostalgia kick, tracks like “Dope” and “Forces” give the feeling that Tyja3 just snatched the mic from the DJ and started spittin’ his heart out.
Tired Bones is still very much an emo/hardcore album, which is Olivier’s natural habitat, but his rock and roll roots peek out from time to time, giving us a glimpse at the scope of this maturing songwriter. While his work in Disguise The Silence pushed for an intense heaviness, the end result could at times come across as sporadic to the casual listener. Tired Bones is much more concise, with tight guitar licks and dare I say poppy melodies, clearly showing Olivier as the captain of the ship.
Denver-based quintet Decatur proclaim their sound as “slithering guitar rock.” It’s an apt descriptor for the ominous atmosphere, overdriven guitars and cigarette-flecked vocals that permeate their eponymous EP.
John Adam Smith is a one man band whose smooth and raspy vocals accompany his guitar in a captivating way. His looping skills and homemade stompbox allow him to focus on the melodies and intricate stylings he plays on his slide and acoustic guitars, while singing his all original self-written songs.
Denver indie-pop group Wildermiss combine rhythmic, harmonic tension with the chart-tested power of hook repetition. Though first looks at synth-wielding front-woman Emma Cole may conjure pop stereotypes, don’t be fooled. Wildermiss are guitar rock kids at heart – Heart they carry through their debut EP Lost With You and their engaging live shows.
Denver music scene icon/Greeley kid Ian Cooke leaves us with a night-sky full of memories after 15 years. The Flight I Flew is an homage to his 2007 debut The Fall I Fell which put him on the cello-based prog-folk map in Colorado. There’s a map for that, right? The new album, allegedly written under starlight exclusively, parallels the vastness of the cosmos with that of love lost and found, released upon Cooke’s end as a Colorado resident this fall.
Vaporwave is probably one of the most niche music genres in existence, as well as the only one that the Internet could claim as its own. Mostly found on Bandcamp, Vaporwave is a nostalgia-tinged, remix-heavy genre of ambient electronic music that sets out to recreate mall music/elevator music of the 1980s and 1990s. Its name is a take-off of Vaporware, a tech industry term for hardware that never really existed outside of tech demo and trade shows. And the most prominent artist of Vaporwave is Vektroid.
The best songs stand on their own. Shiny packaging can make for an attractive top 40 hit, holiday gift or Christmas cookie, but the ones that really resonate are the personal ones hand-made with love. Giants & Pilgrims’ The Joyous Mysteries sets out to give us such a gift, though not without some slick sonic tricks up its green sleeves.
II is, as the name suggests, the second EP from the Denver based synth-pop group Modern Suspects. Formerly known as Claymore Disco, the band updated their guitar driven sound for a more modern, synth based sound and moved from a four piece to a three piece. The five song EP is packed with tracks that make you want to get up and dance alongside tunes with more personal lyrical content.
Denver pop band this broken beat has been rising to the top for the last year since releasing their first single, “Sweat And Blood,” in 2016. What’s On Your Mind, their first album, showcases radio-ready songs, including “Sweat And Blood,” with some interesting artistic choices scattered throughout the album. While it is a solid record, this broken beat is still figuring out what their sound is.
We have gotten some throwback/retro albums over the years at BandWagon from a lot of different genres, but one we never expected to get is a 1980s-style hair metal album. Michael Morrow & The Culprits’ Raucous is technically a debut album but Morrow had previously released a solo album, Bad Penny – which is very much an ‘80s metal album, bringing to mind Sammy Hagar more than Def Leppard. Raucous is relatively under-produced; it sounds like an unadorned three-piece rock-and-roll band with a distinctly ‘80s influence.
Matthew Wilburn Skinner makes up one-third of the band Tallgrass, picking up the banjo and guitar, playing the harmonica and contributing his raspy vocals to the band. Tallgrass managed to nab a spot on NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest as well as share a stage with former President Barack Obama. Skinner is a solo performer and earlier this year put out Play For The King, a perfect showcase for his Delta Blues/jazz style of playing.
Genre-bending rockers, The Great Aerodrome knock it out of the park with their debut album Happy Birthday to Me, I Guess. The band is comprised of members: Justin Maul, Philip Sellabarger and Michael Ross, but they have a larger than life sound. Combining elements of punk, dance-rock and metal makes for a high energy album that is fun to listen to from start to finish.
If anyone knows how to get weird in the Northern Colorado music scene for Halloween it’s going to be the dudes from Bitter Suns. Staying true to themselves and the season, Bitter Suns released a new instrumental single called “Surfin’ With Scoob”, a fun and spooky horror surf rock tune inspired by doom metal and everyone’s favorite monster hunting, crime solving dog.
Get Along is a husband and wife indie-pop duo made up of Nicholas and Cara Yañez, who just released their diverse EP, Let My People Go. They may be a two piece but they don’t let that limit them in the studio as their arrangements are bold and ambitious. Their songs range from upbeat, danceable synth-pop to orchestral ballads and everything in between.
Relatives in Descent, Protomartyr’s third full-length record reads like an existential crisis, full of the bitterness and anger we have come to expect from their style of post punk. Anxiety and frustration rides high on this record, and brings with it a tension that gives their sound form. At the front of it all is vocalist Joe Casey, who’s mumbled crooning is delivered like the venomous philosophies of a drunk and angry step dad.
Pandas & People’s debut album, Out To Sea, is good. And, frankly, it should be. Pandas & People have been together since 2013, putting out EP’s and singles, opening for the likes of the Doobie Brothers and Twenty- One Pilots, and placing in the top three of 93.3‘s “Hometown for the Holidays” twice over the last couple years. Not bad for a folk/alternative band formed in Greeley only four years ago.
Back in April, Denver-based hardcore band, Victim Culture, released their debut, self-titled album. Coming in at eight songs and a breezy 23 minutes, the album packs a heavy, but swift punch from start to finish. Comprised of Zack Hill on guitar and vocals, Connor Hampton on vocals and bass, and Noah Shockley on drums, the band’s sound is rooted heavily in punk. They have a raw but defined sound, blending together melodicism with dissonant, angular guitar riffs.
Attack on Venus is your local pissed off galactic explorers. With the release of the album XO they explore new territory. XO is a fairly short release that focuses on bringing you along their journey. If you have listened to Attack on Venus live it is very much a sonic exploration, however this EP directs you more towards structure and catchy hooks with an occasion sonic bloom.
Ian Mahan, based out of Denver, says he blends together pop, blues, folk, “and old-time entertainment,” and his latest album, Rockford, particularly leans toward an acoustic indie/pop blend with gentle, relaxing lyrics. The album could be called sweet, or in less generous terms, sappy. But for an independent singer-songwriter, Rockford is a good step forward.
Last November, we spoke to Oklahoma native Bryce Merritt, a singer-songwriter and YouTuber, who had released his first album CHROMA I at the time. Growing up, Merritt had thought only country music existed since that’s all his parents listened to in the car, and began to write country songs. Upon getting his own car and picking his own stations, he discovered Motown and other genres which pushed his songwriting into a Pop direction. Merritt’s follow-up, CHROMA II, is a continuation into pop music, but it’s still a really good album.
Hailing from Denver, traditional country music songstress Leslie Tom spent a few years traveling around the country, opening for the likes of Josh Turner and sharing the stage with Jeff Bates and Lee Roy Parnell.
Bad Ass Freaks’ debut record showcases the joys that come from late night jams with close friends and the musical relationship between Yamirah Gercke, a one-time University of Northern Colorado music student, and her father Lenjes Robinson.
Denver-based quartet, Foxxes, make their debut with this nine-track, self-titled lo-fi album with a nice DIY vibe to it. It keeps a consistent sound throughout, bringing in elements of garage rock, psychedelic pop and indie rock. The first track “Patterns and Sequences” is a mid-tempo tune that has a ‘90s alternative feel to it. The song opens up with big whole note guitar chords before singer Chris Felbush’s washed out vocals float along on top.
Sludgy thrash is the best way to describe the contrasting and somewhat ironic style that Infinite Conscious brings to the table on their latest EP Trials and Tribulations. This style alone really shows the internal conflict that is explored throughout the EP. Starting the tracklist is “Passed Over and Done” which is a sledgehammer of emotion. Starting with a slow almost anthem-like guitar line, the song starts the album with a trudging drone and increases with intensity over time.
Coco Montoya’s latest album Hard Truth demonstrates the 65-year-old Stratocaster singer’s ability to play and sing the blues. Montoya certainly holds his own with the blues community and has a storied resume. He even used to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, filling a spot once occupied by Eric Clapton and Peter Green.
After transitioning from leading You, Me, and Apollo and opening for big names like The Lumineers, Brent Cowles has released his first solo EP titled Cold Times. With contemporary musical inspirations like Nathaniel Rateliff, he quickly learned that going solo doesn’t mean hanging up the electric guitar.
Scarlet Canary’s new EP Perspective fits the band name very well, showing with this wild songbird can do. The album is a mishmash of heavy rock and’ roll riffs combined with elegant vocals. The tracks have an interesting dynamic of party-starting vibes and determined vocals. The album follows a loose concept around perspective, starting with the track “I’ll Be Okay,” which is a very energetic way to begin the record. Touching on the emotion of a broken heart, what led to it, and the outlook afterward, it fits the theme well. This song is a great example of the many catchy hooks that litter the album.
I Don’t Mind is the first proper full-length album from synth pop Inner Oceans. Upon first listen you’ll most likely think, “Wait this band is from Denver???” Originally yes, but they just recently made the big move to Los Angeles. Coming in at five members, the band packs a huge punch with their own brand of stadium ready, psychedelic, synth pop. Amid the state’s craft beer-centric, bluegrass, rock, funk, and EDM saturated music scene, there is a lot of great pop music and artists that often get overlooked. The band delivers a sound that is almost too big for Colorado to contain.
Los Angeles based Band Suns entered 2017 with style. With the release of their second album Disappear Here, they proved they weren’t just a flash in the pan. Their first album Language & Perspective made them a household name, but it is Disappear Here where we see Bad Suns expanding their sound. Full of the pop hooks and lush vocals long time fans have loved, Bad Suns are at their best.
Good Bones is the latest release from Denver-based, math rock band Montoneros. The self-proclaimed ”Mile High Twinklers” effortlessly combine intricate guitar riffs with catchy pop melodies that makes for an accessible sound that musicians and casual listeners can both enjoy.
The split EP by Pie Lombardi and Little Lights molds a certain beauty to a modern-day folk sound. It’s not just the graceful vocals produced by both Lombardi and Devon Hildebrandt, but the energy in their sound.
Rise and Shine is another big step forward for the Kris Lager Band and offered fans a satisfying place to return to. This album proves they really know how to deliver solid blues and rock tunes, but it’s some of the funk and R&B tracks that don’t quite add up. I get it, they want to explore some different tunes and create something unique, but KLB fans know what they want and it’s the blues.
With their latest release, You Wouldn’t Believe What Privilege Costs, the band Civilian’s indie rock album is bound to remind you of something old and new. Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, with this album the duo of Ryan Alexander and Dan Diaz continue their journey which they state is “to make the world a better place,” specifically through music. A bold statement but filled with proof after hearing the different tracks on this album. This Nashville duo is no newbie when it comes to finding their own sound, although there is a reminiscent feel to the album drawing comparisons to Ben Gibbard and Band of Horses. There are new sounds to be heard throughout the album from the first track “Skulls” that opens in brief acapella to the last “Judas” with a harsh closing statement of “I am not damaged, just discouraged.”
For the first time going into the recording process, Crew Reinstra found himself the principal songwriter for Bones Muhroni. A band to come out of Greeley and winner of the BandWagon Battle of the Bands in 2011, Reinstra, Ryan Wykert, and Chris Jones who made up the band at the time move to Los Angeles together. Now, fast forward to 2017, Jones got married and moved back to Colorado to be close to family, and while Wykert is still in the band, he is tied down by several other projects.
Inside Voices is the debut, full-length album from the Denver based quartet, Shady Elders. An appropriate album title as the songs are dreamy, lush, and moody. Singer/guitarist Fox Rodemich’s smooth alto voice compliments the band perfectly and is the defining force behind the songs.
STRFKR’s fourth album Being No One, Going Nowhere is named after Ayya Khema’s popular book on meditation. Fittingly the album explores the Eastern philosophical concepts of existentialism and introspection. But this is still a STRFKR album. While it delves into more serious themes, the music is nevertheless fun and groovy in the most cosmic ways possible.
The Unlikely Candidates new EP Bed of Liars arrives in style. The EP is an elegant alternative sound that has plenty of fans tuning in. Steering away from their previous, acoustically dominant EP Follow My Feet, Bed of Liars delivers a powerful performance that fully utilizes Kyle Morris’ electric and wide-ranging vocals.
One Flew West is flying into the public eye, and fast. The Longmont, Colorado indie folk band has announced the upcoming release of their two new singles titled, “Ten Years Later” and “All In My Head,” both will be available on March 3, 2017.
A visit to the inside of Jack White’s head would be an interesting one. The prolific rocker, responsible for such diverse acts as The White Stripes with relationally ambiguous Meg White and the far too short-lived The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, and who has also appeared on a James Bond theme song with Alicia Keys and an Ennio Morricone-inspired Danger Mouse album, breaks ground with every new record.
Back in October, we reviewed Death, the 2014 album from folk/punk outfit Gasoline Lollipops. Clay Rose, the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist of the Boulder-based band, said that the creative process for Death was “a very manic free for all.”
A good song should always make being human totally sweet and terrible all at the same time. A good song like a dream takes me on an adventure to a robot alien saloon in space and I’m reaching for my six-shooter laser blaster because there’s a robot who’s had too many oil cans and he’s about to start a brawl. Then suddenly my alarm clock is going off and it’s time to leave for work. A good song makes me forget I exist then it’s over and I want more.
Notice is the first full-length album from Denver based band Wrinkle. Coming in at a whopping 15 tracks, the album may seem like an intimidating listen amidst the sea of four track EPs, but only three of the songs are over three minutes. The band is the brainchild of Amos Helvey, who sings and plays guitar and keyboards on the album. He is accompanied by a Evan Kallas bass and Nick Manske on drums. The trio has a very organic sound as they have played with each other in various projects in some shape or form in the past. They also rotate on instruments to form the band PACEMAKER.
In an age where it is becoming increasingly uncommon for a band with high-energy live performance to be able to showcase that same intensity while in the studio, Draghoria is a breath of fresh air for the metal scene. At just slightly over 40 minutes, their long-awaited debut album, Portal to Extinction, is eight tracks of madness. Recorded by Greg Keenan at Sound Minon Studio in Longmont, the quality and attention to detail is what sets this album apart from others. From the moment the opening track, “Suicide Serenity” hits your ears, it is clear that this record is not for the faint of heart. With subject matter ranging from the mass shootings plaguing America on “Kill or be Killed” to inner demons on “Awaken the Wicked,” Joes Brim delivers a brutal vocal style that is in-your-face and straightforward.
Denver-based folk/rock outfit Edison, consisting of singer/guitarist Sarah Slaton, multi-instrumentalist Dustin Morris and former Lumineers guitarist Maxwell Hughes gave been around since late 2014, and spent most of that time on the road. The hustling paid off as the trio signed with Rhyme & Reason Records in late 2016 and soon after released their first album, Familiar Spirit.
With powerhouse bands like Animals as Leaders, Chon, and Russian Circles storming the music scene, it’s clear that the art of constructing instrumental music better left for the prodigies who hide away in the shadows making sweet love to their instruments for days on end.
futurebabes just released two singles, “Wolves” and “Thirsty Man’s Hungry Plea”, just in time for the holiday season. The synth pop outfit is the brainchild of singer/keyboardist Jed Murphy who is joined by Mikey Unruh on bass and Zach Shepherd on guitar. The band channels ’80s nostalgia with the pulsating rhythm of drum machines, lush synths, and Murphy’s crooning baritone voice.
Underseer is an explosive band, new to the Greeley music scene. Starting as an instrumental group, Austin Southern, Christian Nunez, and Damon Tyson on guitar, bass, and drums respectively got together to play some heavy, in-your-face, and groovy tunes. After a while of playing as a three piece, Michael Olivier, formerly of Disguise the Silence, joined the band as the lead vocalist. Olivier’s vocals added a totally new element to the band as his clean vocals nicely compliment the band’s heavy riffs. Shortly after, the band hit the studio to record a self-titled, eight-track album with Olivier also serving as the recording, mixing, and mastering engineer for the album.
Since the massive success of 2008 breakthrough Walking On A Dream, Empire of the Sun have been touring voraciously, gradually floating to the top of the international headliner circuit. The Aussie duo of Emperor Luke Steele and Lord Nick Littlemore aim to solidify that status with Two Vines, their third studio album and follow-up to 2013’s Ice on the Dune.
The Symbols, consisting of singer Mer Sal, guitarist Jasco and drummer Don Stahl, is a peppery rock band out of Fort Collins that exude positive energy in their work. Symbolized, their newest album that was released a few months ago, showcases the unique cover songs they play between their original songs at live shows.
Post Paradise is a band with chops. Few Northern Colorado bands have the experience or industry know-who as the members of Post Paradise. This alt-rock band led by Nick Duarte based out of Ft. Collins has made a name for themselves for their signature rock and roll with a nice dose of cello on top.
Since In the Whale began they have been a band not afraid to take chances. Bands starting out usually have certain hurdles they have to get over to reach the next level. Recording professionally, marketing, a solid live show, and hitting the road are all things bands face on their journey to making it. While others stumble, In the Whale has leapt forward each time, embracing whatever comes. Their latest EP, Quicksand, is proof all of these things are coming together in a big way.
According to Clay Rose, lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist for Boulder-based Gasoline Lollipops, it took him about 30 years to put together their first album, Dawn. “Then it took about one year to record it.” …
Oh Contraire is the first full-length release from Fort Collins rock band, Race to Neptune. Formed in 2012, the band has been a staple of the Fort Collins rock scene and now, with the release of their new album, they have a solid body of work to show for. The band has an overarching sound of 90’s alternative but they pull from a multitude of different influences that span a 30 year range, from the 60’s to late 90’s. What’s impressive about this album is the band’s ability to go from “in your face” riffs, to soft ballads, to even country while still staying true to their sound.
Recently, the BandWagon sat down and spoke with Elias Armao of the up-and-coming Denver indie band, Overslept, to discuss their latest split release with sister band, Father Mountain. “We met the guys in Father Mountain when we opened up for them on the Denver date of their winter tour back in January. It was pretty evident right off the bat that these guys made music from the same place we did, even though they played a very different style/genre. The idea of doing a split together happened pretty naturally and was really spawned out of friendship. I think the beauty of splits is using the different styles and regional influences as a juxtaposition,” starts Armao.
Igaus Davis, real name Matt Davis, has a story relatively common in the emerging Greeley music scene. Like many musicians in town, music was more or less a hobby until they started going to shows and seeing some of the bands coming through on tour. The collective thought from local musicians seems to have been, “Wait, I can do that.”
Take the hooks from the best music of the 1960s, hand them over to an EDM outfit with a couple good singers/guitarists, and you would get Fun-Land Express, the fifth album from MISCOMUNICADO, a Fort Collins-based EDM/Psychadelic Rock fusion band that originates from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They call their music “Future Classic Rock,” and the artists they also like, they only answer “Everything.”
Singer Johnny Ryan, Bassist Jeff Bostic and Guitarist Jeff Mere are the trio behind the Fort Collins blues outfit Johnny & The Mongrels. The three met at an open blues jam sometime in 2015, officially starting The Mongrels in April of last year, then lucked into the SpokesBuzz Springboard Program, playing live shows and recording You Ain’t Ready, their debut album that dropped earlier in 2016.
In the opening track of Top Flite Empire’s Debut LP Bad Decisions, they give the definition of a bad decision. It states that it is a “poor judgement, conclusion, or resolution reached or given. The act of making up one’s mind.” These words set the precedent and theme for the rest of the album both lyrically and sonically.
Graceful Jungle is the newest album from Denver pop collective, The Circus House. Consisting of members from jilly.fm, Ancient Elk, Candy Claws, and Retrofette the group is spearheaded by Armando Garibay, who is 1/2 the mastermind behind the songwriting and production team, The Blackout Beat. The Circus House brings their unique brand of ‘90s-esque pop to Denver and breathes a breath of fresh air into the music scene.
Art relies on experimentation for its continued growth. If Chuck Berry had never thought to have two guitars on the track instead of one, well, someone else would have eventually done it, but you get my point. If you take an existing idea (the thesis) and fold into it a new and challenging thought (the antithesis) that makes something new, and thus, growth! In the past decade Black music has had no shortage of new and challenging thinkers, and Tahliah Barnett is among them.
Years ago, we covered an independent feature film made in Fort Collins titled Whensday, a comedy that had it’s love of bicycling, beer and Colorado on its sleeve. This included it’s soundtrack, which was a best-hits of NoCo music circa 2013. However, one of the songs featured in the film, “Small Town Lights,” was created by an outfit originally from Wyoming, The Patti Fiasco. The five (man) band, lead by Alysia Kraft, have kind of become a fixture within the Fort Collins music scene, winning FoCoMA’s Best Front Person award in 2013, and have gotten to play alongside the likes of Charlie Musselwhite and Big Head Todd And The Monsters. And we now have their latest album, Saved By Rock And Roll.
Earlier this year, electro-pop duo Lzrwlf, comprised of Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher, announced that they would be changing their name to Retrofette. The 3 track EP I Don’t Mind EP is their first proper release under the new moniker and it marks a new beginning as they hone in on their danceable, new wave/synth-pop sound. Along with the name change, the band brought in Ben Weirich on synths and Dylan Johnson on drums to take their live shows to the next level.
While we’ve reviewed our fair share of country albums here at BandWagon, Denver-based singer Bryan Thomas is the first artist we would compare 100 proof whiskey; while casual listeners probably won’t gravitate to it, but for someone looking for something “harder,” this is it. While there are hints of country, Burn It To The Ground, it is undeniably Southern Rock. Thomas doesn’t possess the typical twang/drawl of a country singer; his voice is more of a guttural growl filled with the kiss-my-ass attitude you would more associate with hard rock/metal singers.
“I’ve always been interested in the concept of fate because I believe there are two sides to it. I believe there’s a side you can control and that side is your thoughts and actions. The way you think and act can definitely have an effect on your fate for better or worse. I also believe there’s a side of fate you can’t control and have to learn to accept.”
These days, there seems to be no shortage of new psych rock bands that are worth checking out, and today that band is The Baltic. Hailing from good ol’ Denver, Colorado, the band is comprised of drummer/singer Graham Epstein, guitarist/vocalist Adam Dankowski, guitarist Ari Kononov, and bassist Josh Kaplan who have been playing together since high school. They are a force to be reckoned with having just recently signed a record deal with Misra records and releasing their trippy, new EP: Archipelago.
Having played with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Concert Hall back in November 2013, Gregory Alan Isakov has recently revisited that night by recording a full length of many of his older compositions featuring the Colorado Symphony.
A Mission to Civilize: Part I is the first EP from Fort Collins punk rock band, I Am The Owl. Staying faithful to punk’s D.I.Y. mentality, the EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered by the band’s vocalist and guitarist, Josh Rivera, with the exception of the drums being tracked by Oliver Mueller of Slow Caves. With well written and executed parts, I Am The Owl is a good reflection of modern punk music.
Loveland, Colorado is a strange place. Situated conveniently on the I-25 corridor, it is simultaneously too far from anything cool and perfectly located between many awesome things to do. A true Colorado city, life in Loveland can be quiet, suburban, and scenic. But like everywhere else, when you mix these things together you get a reaction and often it is an artistic response to the loneliness and the self-imposed isolation of living in what can feel like a suburb of a suburb. The four-piece dream pop outfit Gleemer is that reaction.
Upon first listen, the lush layers, hushed vocals, and bedroom style production put you into a dreamlike haze that makes you want to dance your way down to the beach on a summer afternoon. Petering’s soft spoken vocals perfectly compliment his production, and can be compared to the likes of Toro y Moi, The Books, or Washed Out.
The latest offering from Montoneros, Heat Horse, is an exciting release which goes on a journey through many different and incredible musical elements. Recorded in Black and Bluhm Studios with Chris Fogel, the group was astonishingly able to record the entire EP in a single day. Don’t let this fast paced studio venture fool you; this EP is well thought out and the musicianship in these songs is undeniable.
While BandWagon covers any and all music thrown our way, we have never heard any work from a child artist up until now. So when Grace Kuch, a 12-year-old blues singer from Fort Collins, approached me during a Symbols concert last month with her debut album, I had to give it a go.
Synth-pop band St. Lucia, created in 2012 by South African native, Jean-Philip Grobler, have just released their second studio LP, Matter. The sounds blended together in the tunes by St. Lucia are a creative twist of Grobler’s love for R&B, ‘80s pop, and alternative rock.
Grizfolk, a five piece indie rock band that hails from Los Angeles have just released their highly anticipated debut album, Waking Up The Giants via Virgin Records. Here is an album that successfully melds together folk, electro-pop, and indie rock in a way never done before.
The goal of Death Of A Bachelor is trying to express a celebration of life changes, which the lyrics succesfully show, but the ever-eccentric, power pop duo (including Dallon Weekes) sees Urie’s powerful voice wielded like a hammer, sometimes inspiring a mild headache.
When Fort Collins superstar emcee Kahlie “Qbala” Quinones was 27, she finally had the courage to verbalize she preferred females over males. Little by little, she started becoming more comfortable with who she was and discovered, through music, she was able to divulge the truth.
Shafer, initially from Chicago, has played over 200 shows a year between his solo gig and the band he’s a part of, The 21st Century, and the polished talent that comes with that level of prolificacy shows itself with Weddings.
Epiphany can come in a myriad of strange and unexpected ways. In the the 1978 Superman film, Lex Luthor pontificates that “Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”
As the year comes to a close, all us music geeks can finally start openly discussing the “best of” lists that have been taking up valuable storage in our brains. Best EP’s, best albums, best singles, best artists; From the months of October to January, the inside of your average music junkie’s brain is a tiny imaginary Grammy’s, rewarding and unrewarding as new albums put their name on the ballot. This week on TTT, I take a look back at one of my favorite records of the year, one which almost definitely appear on my own year end list (the official laminated one that I show people). The record is Policy, by Will Butler.
If you’re a regular reader of our Top Tunes Thursday column, then you’ve heard me talking about my adoration for the side project. Low professional and high personal stakes make for an amicable environment for most artists, feeling the chains of “keeping food on the table” slip away.
While I find the majority of instrumentals have a regional style, not always glaring, but almost always present. L.A. jazz, Delta Blues, the sample heavy style of production prevalent in the East coast, generally speaking there’s something you can grab on to. Khruangbin plays like a musical atlas, sending fiery frets to Japan, then Brazil, and back over to Africa. The eighth track, cheekily titled “The Man Who Took My Sunglasses,” almost creates the illusion of needing them. Blinding sun beams reflect off polished surfboards and sparkling fret boards, cutting through swirling cigarette smoke on its way. Four tracks earlier, guitarist Mark Speer cools the jets to a low roar, infusing in its exhaust at first a wiff of the Far East, then an utterly American crashing collapse of guitar, amp, and kit.
Day Job is a nostalgic nod to the days when drum machines and synthesizers ruled the land. The opening track, “Hearts for Now” grabs your attention, kicking off the EP with a beefy arpeggiated synth and an insistent, thumping drum beat.
The track is joyful in a resurgent kind of way. Driving leads and a surprisingly groovy rhythm for a pop band (let alone a pop band of such drear and atmosphere) cloud your mind like the smoke from a caterpillar’s hookah. It’s relentless and irresistibly toe tapping. Jam packed into their wooing, if not predictable, brand of pop are notes of Earth Wind & Fire, Phoenix, and fretwork from U2’s The Edge as well as modern pop titans, like Pharell, Justin Timberlake, and Daft Punk, especially the latter, considering their recent poppy-funky love affair. I feel the song chip away at winter’s frost, and as frontman Chris Martin heralds chorus after chorus of “I feel alive again!” I can’t help but agree.
Stylistically, the track actually falls nicely between the two records, meshing cozy Southern hospitality with smoldering soul. The tune kicks off slow, enchant us with us a gated chrous across shiny pickups. Not long thereafter, the incomparable Brittany Howard welcomes herself to the track. At this point, it borders on the clichéd to talk about the thundering soul machine that are the pipes of Brittany Howard, but the vocal, as is typical for most Alabama Shakes content, truly is the star of the show. Murphy works the crowd like melted ropes of taffy, jumping from croon to croan at the pluck of a string. It’s a joy to listen to her work, and the crowd feels the same.
Ty Segal’s Fuzz looks to dustier paragons of noise like Sabbath, Wolfmother, The Hives and The Eagles of Death Metal and says “we’ll take it from here.” The sounds born within the mildewed and crawling horror swamp that is Segal’s musical brain can only be truly appreciated in the context of honestly curious rock exploration. When you’re talking about pushing the guitar to its structural and audial limits, about reaching to the very corners of our musical expectations and poking a finger over the line, Ty Segall is the only one we millennials can claim for our own. Like the artful goofballs of old (Bowie, Reed) Segall is relentlessly catapulting himself from project to project, with no love lost in between.
In 1979, a group of musicians bound by circumstance gathered in earnest to craft their first album. Calling themselves Edge of Daybreak, the album that was recorded, while finding little commercial success and almost no financial returns for its creators, was (is) absolutely laden with the sounds of the day from which it came. The players behind this record, a record brimming with vitality and an urgency for life, were all inmates serving out sentences at the Powhatan Correctional Center in Richmond Virginia. Reaping the benefits of a liberal prison music program, band mates Jamal Jahal Nubi (drums, vocal) Harry Coleman (adt. vocal) James Carrington (keys), Cornelius Cade (guitar), McEvoy Robinson (bass), and Willie Williams (percussion) crafted Eyes of Love on a budget of $3,000 and a little less than five hours studio time. Now, almost 40 years later, the Numero Group has re-released the record for our listening pleasure. Lucky for us.
This week, I stumbled across Orange, California duo, The Garden. Founded by twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, The first couple of vexing seconds told me I had found a winner. I wouldn’t describe the clattered natterings of The Garden weird (though you wouldn’t be wrong to do so), so much as unexpected. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or listening to at the time, The Garden is a non sequitur.
Two weeks ago, while I was researching the newest Little Simz record (review here) I came across a list of “rappers to watch for.” Little Simz was featured for her E.D.G.E EP and AGE 101 series, while a young Miami Rapper, Denzel Curry was featured for his debut album, Nostalgic 64. After inhaling the hallucinogenic trap flavorings of his debut, I was happy to find his new effort (which had not been released at the time of the record) had been out since June! Normally, on TTT I like to bring you my favorite release from the week, but this week, we’re taking some time for an excellent record that I missed. This article is an effort to make sure you don’t make the same mistake. The record, or “double-EP,” is 32 Zel / Planet Shrooms.
Encajando en la escena de “Rock En Tu Idioma”, Izcalli significa renacimiento, y es la tierra natal de los hermanos Avina. No se designan exclusivamente a ese género, pero tampoco se distancian de él porque sus similitudes a grupos como Los Jaguares o Julieta Venegas, por quienes han abierto conciertos, los han ayudado cautivar esa audiencia. Representan el nombre de su grupo como testimonio del renacimiento en su música, actitudes y cultura.
I’d like to see the “to do list” for this record. It must read something like: “1. Make awesome music. 2. See #1.” Yes, it’s simple, but it’s simply fun. If Big Grams set out to make music to dance/copulate to, I think they hit the nail on the head. Phantogram released their most recent record last year, and the last time OutKast put out new music, I was a Junior in highschool. (Wow, I’m old.) While there doesn’t appear to be any tour dates in Big Grams’ future, I guess you’ll just have to settle for playing this record on repeat.