“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.
Imagine you know someone who wants to be a world renowned rapper. Regardless of talent or ability, how many challenges lay ahead of this person? Find/compose beats, write verses, record said verses, produce record/mixtape/single, and somehow get that content out to the people, whether that be through radio, concerts, or some manner of digital dispersion. Now imagine this person is a woman, and lives in the UK, a locale as synonymous with hip hop as it is with hardcore death metal (which is to say, not very). This is the monumental task Simbi Ajikawo set for herself at the tender age of 9. After dabbling in the movement and screen disciplines, Ajikawo dedicated herself to rap, donning the moniker Little Simz. 4 mixtapes, 6 EPs, and 1 independently created record label later, Simz has garnered adoration from ravenous listeners around the globe, including some of rap’s biggest names, including J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z.
When I find a new artist (whether it be a new single, a new album, or by recommendation) if I can, I like to start at the beginning of their discography. If I’m really going to get a feel for the art being created, I think an important part of that is knowing where they started from. This holds particularly true for this week’s subject of TTT, Albuquerque bred pop outfit, Beirut. Though their name might betray their more worldly senses, there’s not much you can do to prepare yourself for the jangling gypsy chorus this is Beirut’s debut record, Gulag Orkestar. The record does enough to make you scratch your head, and becomes even more confounding when you find out it was recorded almost completely by Beirut frontman and founder, Zach Condon.
When your first public appearance has you labeled as a protege of Kanye West, it’s safe to say you travel with heavy expectations on your shoulders. When Travi$ Scott was revealed as one of the top producer’s behind West’s blistering thrash-rap opus, Yeezus, the countdown to his solo album began. While his debut EP Owl Pharaoh failed to impress, his follow-up Days Before Rodeo did much to increase the appetites of Scott’s swelling fanbase. Now, two plus years after the source of his fame, Travi$ Scott has released his highly anticipated solo record, Rodeo. Without giving too much away, it lives up to the name.
Local Greeley group who call themselves The Cairn Project created their self-titled debut album “to serve as a marker in their own musical journey.” Started by drummer Brian Claxton and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist/bass clarinetist Joel Harris simply to form a band of friends and make music that was personal to them, The Cairn Project (“Cairn” is a stack of stones hikers make to mark a trail, FYI) consists of six professional jazz musicians – alto saxophonist/flutist Briana Harris, guitarist Ben Parrish, pianist Tom Amend and bassist Patrick Atwater. Each song is composed by a different member, leading to a jazz album of unique instrumental pieces, each of which has it’s own thing going on.
Miami-based rap collective ¡Mayday! never imagined a superstar like Lil’ Wayne would gravitate towards their music. But sure enough, while Lil’ Wayne was shooting a video for his rock-inspired album, Rebirth, the director suggested Mayday to appear in a video. Naturally, emcees Bernz and Wreckonize, and band members Gianni Cash, LT Hopkins, Plex Luthor, and NonMS jumped at the opportunity.
Too often when discussing our musical greats, we forget where they came from. In every world renowned musician, there was once a rookie. I once heard the drummer Questlove recall an old adage from his father; “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” Some have professors, some after-school tutors, some musical parents, but others have only the drive.
String Cheese Incident and Nahko and Medicine for the People at Red Rocks 07/26/15 BandWagon Magazine Mark Rudolph A beautiful sunny day at the spiritual Red Rocks Amphitheater was the perfect way to …
In the early summer of 2010, my best friend bought me tickets to see one of my favorite performers at the time, Tallest Man on Earth. In line, before the show, two men stepped out the front doors and both lit up smokes. One, short and petite, who I recognized to be Tallest Man, and the other, only slightly taller, with a bushy handlebar mustache and a round gut held in by denim, who my friend recognized as a performer who knew as Nathaniel Rateliff, the night’s opener. The show that followed that evening lived up to the praise my friend had given him. He sang in long, sad shouts. And when he did, he would kick and shake. He was a livewire jammed into the ears of his audience. While I have enjoyed his particular brand of rock-folk every year since, I have been waiting for the self titled debut from his new band for approaching five years now. Following a standing ovation on The Tonight Show and years of buzz (from people other than myself) the group has finally dropped the record, consequentially making every second of waiting worth it.
Believe it or not, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s first record contract with late Eazy E’s Ruthless Records resulted from a single phone call. In 1993, original members Lazyie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Bizzie Bone and Wish Bone hopped on a Greyhound in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio headed for California. The self-described “broke millionaires” had no idea how they were going to infiltrate the rap scene, but they knew they just needed the right person to put them on. It just so happened to be Eazy E, former member of the groundbreaking rap collective, N.W.A.
For those of us looking for a local folk/country fix, Lunde Station’s debut EP Another Country is the perfect fit. The Fort Collins’ band is a decidedly folk-rock-country affair that stands out amongst other local folk and country outfits, leaning hard on folk with a slight country twang to it. The band itself describes themselves as a “fiery Roots, Rock and Americana band,” influenced by “Old Gospel and Bluegrass, Outlaw and Traditional Country and the 1960s/70s literate Folk Rock movement.”
The morning can be rough for some people. Your bones are creaky, your vision foggy. You might be hungry, and you almost definitely have to pee. The whole thing just feels like a hassle. For most of my life, I was one of these people. I don’t know, maybe it comes with age or something, but now some of my earliest moments of the day end up being some of my favorite moments. The sun’s barely awake, and already, people all across the newly glowing portion of the country are getting up to start their day, just like you. That thought and a cup of coffee often gets my days started fairly well. This quiet meditation, and the feelings that surround it, are the thesis of the new Teen Daze record, Morning World. This is Teen Daze’s (who goes by the monomous “Jamison” in professional life) first full length release since 2012’s Glacier.
Writing and recording a pinnacle metal album is not simple. The process often takes the cooperative effort of three to five smelly dudes who spend every waking moment together arguing over who drank the last beer and why musicians shouldn’t attach their ego to the parts they contribute. After they’re nice and pissed off, the riffs and melodies begin to flow. Denver metal band Forty Fathoms are a relentless metal collaboration who’s EP, More to Hate, designates Colorado a place at the forefront of influential rock music.
If I were to list some of Mac Demarco’s exploits (outside of his three fantastic LP’s) you might think I was talking about one of the members of Odd Future. Releasing his debut record Rock N’ Roll Night Club in 2012, Demarco’s unconditionally carefree tunes are only part of the reason for his ravenous fan base.
Formerly of the bands Mazes and Veronica Falls, respectively, the gentlemen became fast friends when their bands went on tour with each other, Mazes opening for VF. After bonding over musical tastes, as well as those of film and television, the pair began jamming together. It didn’t take long for a friendship to become a partnership, and it would be named Ultimate Painting.
Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado hosted it’s third annual Arise Music Festival. The three day camping extravaganza featured artists such as Earth Guardians, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes, Mike Love, The Shook Twins, Elephant Revival, Caustik, Polish Ambassador, Project Aspect, Rising Appalachia and many others.
Hailing from the island of Oahu, Hawaii Mike Love was a powerful force at the ARISE music festival this weekend. The islander preformed top tracks from his two albums and a few from his upcoming release entitled Love Will Find A Way. This 35-year-old family man is well grounded in his life and career sharing the stage with artist such as Nahko and Medicine For the People, Jack Johnson and the John Butler Trio. His music settles between the genres of conscious roots rock reggae and his presence at Arise was befitting for a festival in which the motto was “More than a festival, it’s a movement.”
Following the success of his debut effort Country Sleep, Yellen gathered his go to collaborators, many of which appeared on his debut. This includes longtime friend and collaborator Benjamin Kaufman, Caleb Hickman (who plays a devilish sax throughout the record), and Yellen’s little brother Abraham, who plays producer on the record. Though the credits on the record reach just over twenty, Yellen credits this small group as the core of the project.
Aunque apenas había regresado de su viaje a Guadalajara, el rapero Sonorense, MC Magic compartió detalles sobre el comienzo de su carrera musical, trabajos actuales, y de su gira nacional, Love & Kush Tour al lado de Baby Bash. Esta gira comenzó el 23 de julio en Salinas, CA. El rapero aclaró el nombre de su gira, que comenzó el 23 de julio en Salinas, CA, declarándose “entusiasta de canciones de amor” y su compañero el que promueve el kush. Nos damos cuenta que MC es promotor del canto romántico con los trabajos originales que lo hicieron arrancar en su profesión como cantautor.
The most obvious observation about The War On Drugs is they sound like old Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. However, lead singer and founding member Adam Granduciel would rather have you focus on their progression as a band. Formed in Philadelphia in 2005 with fellow artist Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs put out their first album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. After a few lineup changes, they released their most recent album, Lost in the Dream, in 2014. Despite its name, The War on Drugs, in fact, does not have a war on drugs.
This week, Will “Quantic” Holland released the debut record for a new side project. Holland is a man of many projects, including The Quantic Soul Orchestra, The Limp Twins, Quantic and his Combo Barbaro, as well as numerous one on one collaborations. His latest is called Quantic Presents The Western Transient, and the record, A New Constellation. At seconds under the 3/4 hour mark, the record delivers ten locations for his dream jazz vacation, and is recorded with artists and performers handpicked by the maestro. From balmy Caribbean, to melodic 70’s, A New Constellation is a warm and snuggly love letter to jazz and soul music, with just enough “Quantic” thrown in.
Fort Collins, Colorado native Derek Smith, better known as Pretty Lights, started making beats in high school, but eventually found himself at the forefront of the electronic music scene. His first album, 2006’s Taking Up Your Precious Time, 2008’s Passing Up the City Skies and 2009’s Passing by Behind Your Eyes revealed Smith’s ability to seamlessly sew together a blanket of sonic textures, but 2013’s A Color Map of the Sun uncovered his aptitude for actually composing every single musical note of each track. The 34-year-old producer is once again on tour and ascends on the Red Rocks stage August 8 and 9. He took some time to discuss the severity of drug use at EDM shows, the recording process and his outlandish height.
Of all the musical instruments iconic to American music, the paramount would be the guitar. Although blues music originally came in the form of African spirituals and hymnals, it was changed forever when it met it’s six stringed soul mate. Rock n’ roll, arguably the most American genre there is, was built around the glistening tones of the 1957 Gibson ES-350 T. For Kurt Vile, Pennsylvania born indie rocker, the guitar is both the means and the end.
“Everything from the groove that you’re in, to the words that you say, to the melodies you sing is suppose to come from right here,” Johnny Burroughs says using both open faced hands to clutch between his gut and lower rib cage. “If it’s not coming from here, than it’s not soul music.”
Philadelphia based singer/songwriter/siren Melody Gardot hasn’t known many times in her life without music. Being raised by two grandparents and a travelling mother, Gardot was rarely in one place for long, so when she began to take piano lessons at the age of nine, the blooming musician finally had something that was hers: music. At 16, she began playing in local bars two nights a week, and in 2003, after being in a near fatal car accident, she coped with excruciating pain by teaching herself to play guitar.
It’s been a long time since I was first introduced to the sonorous sounds of Ben Folds, but he’s still making music. This week, Folds released some of the first new material since his 2008 record, Way To Normal, which was followed with a college a-capella record, and a compilation album. The two singles, titled “Phone in a Pool” and “Capable of Anything” instantly remind me of what I found so appealing as a rolly-polly youngster, and what I still find appealing as a, well, rolly-polly not-so-youngster.
Kyle Hollingsworth is famously known as the keyboardist for The String Cheese Incident and his own “SCide project,” The Kyle Hollingsworth Band. The band was formed in 2007, while SCI took a step back and Hollingsworth fronted his own solo career. He’s been playing music for over 20 years professionally with a Jazz Piano degree from Towson State and along with his free-spirited dedication to music, he is a grand proprietor of beer. The upcoming Kyle Brew Fest in Denver on July 23rd is the official SCI pre-party as well as a chance for fans to indulge in craft beer, enjoy an exclusive performance by the KHB and support the Conscious Alliance- art that feeds. BandWagon caught up with this down to earth creative at his birthday celebration earlier this year to talk skills in music and hops.
106.7 KBPI and Jagermeister present Lola Black’s Borracho Bash at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Featuring 21 Taras, In Death and Decay, Soundman Killz, Boo the Ghost, Omniism, Scarlet Canary, Lost Point, A Memory Down and Lola Black.
Anyone who has seen Macfadden on the turntables knows he will be just fine. Last year’s Renegades of Rhythm Tour with DJ Shadow featured albums pulled strictly from Afrika Bambaataa’s collection, which is currently archived at Cornell University. The performance was nothing short of mind-blowing. From the Shaft in Africa soundtrack and Isaac Hayes to Chicago Gangsters and even Jurassic 5 (which Macfadden couldn’t believe Bambaataa had), the magical duo took the audience on a trip through some of the best eras of soul, funk, disco, hip-hop and more.
As electronic music continues to fill the market, it’s becoming easier with each new act to separate the wheat from the chaff. A tragically high number of up-and-coming electronic/alternative acts are either forgettable or just plain boring. Thankfully, Panama not only avoids mediocrity, but races forward with memorable energy. Far more than merely passable, the Always EP is just a great piece of alternative music.
Frenetic and shaky, Furman delivers a parcel of tunes so jam packed of intention it’s hard not to break down in some punk rock convulsion, hunched over your air piano, banging out imaginary chords. While not as feverishly paced as his usual fare, “Lousy Connection,” a lead single, lays the toothy lyrical musings over a groovy doo-wop, shining light on Furman’s sensitive side.
“EOTO” in Japanese means “good sound” which perfectly suits electronic duo, EOTO. With extensive histories as professional drummers, it seemed only natural that members Michael Travis and Jason Hann would evolve to another level in their musical careers. After all, they had mastered their percussion instruments and almost needed to embark on a new journey. During their days in the progressive bluegrass band, String Cheese Incident, Travis and Hann discovered a shared love of electronic music during late night jam sessions. EOTO was formed in 2006 and they’ve been going at it ever since. The 100 percent improvised sets Hann and Travis perform night after night are created without a script or prerecorded loops, lending their material a completely original feel. BandWagon Magazine caught up with Hann to discuss how to easily classify EOTO’s sound and their integral role in the dub-step boom.
It wasn’t always this way though. In the Whale got their start after Valdez recorded an acoustic EP titled Songs About You and drummer Eric Riley’s previous project dissolved. In the early days at AF Ray’s (Greeley’s only rock venue at the time) I personally witnessed them clear the room night after night as they searched for what would become their signature sound.
Ganadores de la Batalla de las Bandas de Colorado del Norte y Los Campeonatos de la Feria Estatal de Colorado, Poquito Maz comparte su emocionante música tejana con sus fans y comunidad. Además de ser completamente originarios de Greeley, desde su establecimiento en 1989, han encabezado en la escena de música tejana aquí como banda tejana más larga permanecida en nuestro sector. En una entrevista con los miembros declararon que tienen grabados dos CDs de su música vieja y tres “un-released” álbumes con su sonido más reciente.
With In Another Life, Bilal releases a collection of tunes ripe for the season. The record kicks off with “Sirens II,” which paints the picture of the slow and unwitting seduction of our main character. With a bossy beat, and a bass line some of you might recognize from Jay-z’s “Picasso Baby,” it’s the perfect setting for the sensual jaunt that is to come.
Though we’d all like to believe that each inspired sound that comes from our favorite artists are completely original, the fact is that even our heroes have influences. Bob Dylan had Woodie Guthrie, Jack White had Son House. Even Chuck Berry (who’s credited with creating rock n’ roll music) was influenced by the blues and jazz musicians of his time. Chuck Berry influenced The Beatles, and I don’t have to tell you how many people have been influenced by The Beatles.
This week, Thundercat has released a new “mini-album” entitled The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam. Co-produced by long time collaborator Flying Lotus, TB/WtGR clocks in at a bite sized six tracks. If you’re thinking the diminutive packaging is telling of the content, think again. In an interview with Billboard, Bruner discussed how the high volume of collaborations he’s been involved with generated a creative catalyst within him: “it was kind of like a by-product of everything that would be happening.
Red Rocks was packed elbow to elbow for Sunday’s show as Ingrid Michaelson and Ben Folds preformed with the Colorado Symphony and Folds Choir that featured students and alumni of the University of Northern Colorado.
In the early 2000’s, Suzi Horn had numerous jobs that brought her close to music: “I had worked in music venues all my life – behind the bar, in the coat room, on the door – but never played in a band. Then I met Tobin.” By Tobin, she means Tobin Prinz, the other half of the uncategorizable experimental rock outfit, Prinzhorn Dance School. The two began tooling around with the spare instruments Prinz had scattered about his flat, specifically the drum and bass. As Horn puts it; “We didn’t set out to start a band – and now it’s ten years on.”
The A-Ok’s with Be Like Max, White Cat Pink, Rotten Blue Menace and Short Bus Rejects at the Bluebird Theatre Saturday, June 20th. The historic Bluebird in Denver is a blast, and these talented local bands delivered an epic performance.
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino has gone through some noticeable changes since the duo’s 2010 debut, Crazy For You. Aside from her smaller appearance (the result of lots of exercise), her confidence has blossomed and she’s much more self-assured on stage. Whether that’s the result of the dissolution of her long-term relationship with Wavves’ Nathan Williams or simply getting older, on Best Coast’s third studio album, California Nights, it’s clear she’s a new woman. Album opener “Feeling Ok” and “Wasted Time” seem to touch on finding strength after a break-up and reflecting on what went wrong. While her lyrics are nowhere near complicated, it’s the simplicity of them that make them so relatable. Everyone’s experienced these feelings at one point yet she’s not afraid to talk about them. While the ‘50s/‘60s surf-pop influence is still heavily intact, the album shows more maturity than past efforts. It’s not all about bong hits and the love for her cat. As Best Coast prepares to kick off another national tour, Cosentino opens up about body image issues, her not-so-secret love for Hillary Duff and California Nights.
This years Annual Post Widespread Panic Power Jam at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom is set to feature two members of the band this weekend during the three day Widespread Panic show at Red Rocks. Even an entire …
Set against the 90 degree days and the blood orange sunsets of Colorado summer, Teen Men are a tall glass of cool, dry water. The debut record is out now on most major music services, and look out for the vinyl on shelves July 14.
This weekend marked the first annual Bandwagon People’s Choice Awards hosted at the Moxi Theater. Modeled after, you guessed it, the People’s Choice Awards, Greeley’s own music and culture magazine founded the event in order to recognize your favorite bands and the people who are transforming the Northern Colorado music scene.
Born Teren Delvon Jones, Del didn’t stumble into it by accident. As Ice Cube’s cousin, he had plenty of influences surrounding him during those early years. Yet Jones was always a bit of an anomaly and decidedly went a different route than his West Coast gangster rapping contemporaries. When he was just 18-years-old he released his 1991 debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here. He took a more tongue-in-cheek approach to hip-hop, sampled a lot of Parliament and it was obvious he was a having a lot of fun with it. That album produced the single “Mistadobalina,” now a cult favorite. A couple of years later, he came out with 1993’s No Need For Alarm, which also introduced the entire Hieroglyphics crew. It showcased a style that was unparalleled to what was coming out of the Bay at that time.
No two people explore loss in the same way, particularly when it comes to musicians. Whether it’s the dichotomous musical and lyrical tandem of Mike Ring and the Connection, the raw anguish of The Antlers, or the sprawling light-in-the-dark hopefulness of Arcade Fire, music as a coping mechanism is a powerful thing. Chicago-based City States uses their newest release, Geography, to do the same thing in honor of frontman Joel Ebner’s father. Joel was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band and the album.
Imagine Speed Racer has just collided with a cargo train full of toxic sludge and candy. Dead and injured are everywhere, fire wrecks the countryside, as a shambling, stumbling figure emerges from the carnage. It’s the entity known as Deerhoof! Candy coated and chaotic, Deerhoof is here to lay waste to your musical comfort zones. They come armed with a 20-year discography, and minds that pump out frenetic, frenzied noise. Basically, you don’t stand a chance.
After some much needed down time the trio reformed with a new and refreshed outlook on the project and proceeded to lay down the most raucous addition to their discography yet. On February 17th, APTBS released their new album, a perfect representation of why we need pop music and all its predictability. Transfixation exists, if only as a measuring post against the aural insanity that is Transfixation.
In late 2006, Kristian Matsson charmed listeners with his debut selftitled EP The Tallest Man on Earth. The sounds present were mournful, bluesy, folkloric, and odiously recorded. Despite the tinny quality present in the tracks, Matsson’s command of sound was clear. Almost two years later Matsson released his full length debut, Shallow Grave, which traded in the Ozarkian twang for a sweeter folk bend, and redolent, flowering lyrics. Now, at the tail end of nearly a three year break, The Tallest Man on Earth returns with his fourth record, Dark Bird is Home.
The Providence, Rhode Island-native, former spoken word champion, seasoned emcee and founder of Strange Famous Records has built a comfortable career for himself over the last two decades, but he would rather stay under the radar. Francis has never been one to seek out fame, it kind of found him. His incredible writing talent was undeniable. Coupled with a strong stage presence, it was only a matter of time before he attracted attention. Curiously, it’s the attention he tends to want to avoid. As a self-proclaimed introvert, he’s much more relaxed inside the fours walls of his home than he his outside in the world. However, that all goes out the window when he takes his first step on stage; he explodes with confidence.
There are several issues going on with the whole Smash Mouth incident that occurred over the weekend. Granted, they are one of the last bands on Earth that should have been booked, well, anywhere, but lead singer Steve Harwell should have been able to deliver his god awful music in peace.
For me, the best artists (musical or not) are the ones who are growing from project to project. Whether the development is a growth in the boundaries of their particular sound, or an emotional one, which garners tasty new morsels of insight, it’s important to me that the struggle is present. It makes the music feel more genuine, more organic. Last year, when Sharon Van Etten released Are We There, we glimpsed into the gnarled and fraught mental scape of a woman on the edge of love. Now, in her new EP, I Don’t Want to Let You Down, we visit Van Etten on the same heart break, now with room enough for perspective.
Red Rocks Amphitheater was alive this weekend as Colin Hay opened up the Barenaked Ladies show who’s acoustic set consisted of mostly classics from his days back with Men at Work. He ended his set with a beautiful cover of the Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun.” Violent Femmes took the stage for a 45 minute set that included the first new song that the band has performed in 15 years.
Después de su desintegración de Aventura, Romeo Santos se lanzó como solista en el 2011. Aunque la desintegración entristeció a fans, Romeo Santos ahora gira promocionando su álbum Fórmula vol. 2 que estrenó el 28 de enero del año pasado. Su gira Formula vol. 2 world tour ha llegado hasta nosotros en Denver al Pepsi Center este 14 de junio. El álbum consiste de 16 canciones que como siempre lo hipnotizan a uno con su bella voz y su letra y sonido inolvidable. El cantautor nos enamora de él y la vida con su romanticismo que recuerda todos los aspectos del amor.
Elvin Bishop has had a long and prolific career as a blues guitarist. A teenager in Chicago during the ‘60s, he had the privilege of both witnessing and taking an active role in blues in it’s heyday. Under the tutlage of several blues greats such as Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and John Lee Hooker he honed his skills in the best way possible before launching into an incredible career that included a song that peaked at #3 on the US Billboards in 1975 with the song “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” which featured Mickey Thomas and Donny Baldwin of Jefferson Starship (and for you younger kids was on the Gardians of the Galaxy soundtrack with last summer). Gearing up for the Greeley Blues Jam, we had a chance to sit down with Bishop to talk about the blues and his amazing career.
If you’ve never heard the name Kamasi Washington, there’s a reason for that. It’s because up until now, he’s had no solo records outside a few small self releases. Like Kishi Bashi, Washington has supported many a musician. His first national tour was with Snoop Dogg, and he joined Raphael Saadiq for his first international tour. Before releasing his new record The Epic, he lent his skills to records like Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead! and Kendrick Lamar’s masterful To Pimp A Butterfly.
If there is one thing you can say about the music industry it’s there are a lot of people really working their asses off. From the countless promoters, managers, photographers, press outlets, sound guys, door guys, bartenders, and not to mention all the artists putting everything out there every night just to scrape out a living, everything is a grind to have a seat at the table. But then there are those people who walk in, step on stage and are just so talented that everything fits perfectly together before our eyes.
If you were confused this week about reports of a new Chance The Rapper album, don’t worry, you weren’t the only one. And even if you and I are the only two who were, I’ve got the facts here: while Chicago born kid dynamo Chance The Rapper does have new content out, it is not his highly anticipated follow up to Acid Rap. The new album is credited to Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. What is The Social Experiment? Beginning as Chance’s band on his “Social Experiment” tour, the four person group (Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, and Nate Fox) are now some sort of songwriting/production/band amalgam, and have released their new album, Surf.
Bones Muhroni drummer Ryan Wykert describes their music as a funky folk band, but Ryan was always a little weird. Now that I think about the time they lived in Greeley and we named them the winner of the 2012 BandWagon Battle of the Bands, all the guys in Bones Muhroni were pretty weird. Now living in Los Angeles, the Muhroni boys have out done themselves with their latest release Maxwell and that weirdness has congealed into something special. Unpretentious, unabashed, soulful, and honest, Bones Muhroni have created something unique in today’s world of following trends. Although grandiose at times and the production drifting into the ‘big for the sake of big’ realm, Maxwell lives in the classic world of rock’s forefathers.
When the whisper quiet fire that is My Brightest Diamond first hits your headphones, you wouldn’t expect that its matriarch Shara Worden hails from Arkansas. For that matter, you wouldn’t assume she hails from this solar system. Beginning her musical career in the band AwRY, Worden soon left the group, and began producing music under the moniker My Brightest Diamond. Enrapturing fans with the deft composition and ghostly vocals of her debut record Bring Me The Workhorse, Worden would go on to release a her Shark Remixes EP series, as well as a handful of full length albums, including the ethereal and cheeky All Things Will Unwind.
“The Way You’d Love Her” is the lead single from Another One, the mini-LP scheduled for an August 7th release. The track doesn’t do much to push outside Demarco’s wobbly-kneed stoner yodels, but I’m not sure anyone wanted him to. I know I didn’t. “The Way You’d Love Her” features the same smiley strumming and light keyboard work we have come to expect, though the vocal ventures closer to earlier works from Rock and Rock Night Club. Demarco creates a lazy river with his melodies, which the listeners glide abidingly down. The author has an unusual knack for writing melodies that feel upbeat, while creating a sneaking feeling that the content doesn’t echo the sentiment.
Mumford may have gained their fame riding (some say starting) the wave of popularity for pop-folk music, but Wilder Mind finds the band ditching almost all of their familiarly twangy tunes for a fairly straight laced alternative rock sound. In place of fever pitched banjos come shining, sometimes dry guitars. The resulting sound places them closer to War on Drugs, Ryan Adams, or Ben Howard than any of their pop-folk contemporaries.
esse Spencer, local celebrity and adamant musician released his latest endeavor from his solo project Breach & Bellow this last month. Burn the Effigy is B&B’s debut album, but Spencer is anything but novice to the music scene. From Longmont, Colorado he was born into music.
The tunes on Peach Kelli Pop’s aptly named third record Peach Kelli Pop III are crunchy, low-fi, and (maybe obviously) poppy. Think Ariel Pink meets Blink-182 with a Sailor Moon costume. Tracks like “Princess Castle 1987,” the album’s intro track, features the same fuzzy nerd-pop fans have come to expect from Peach Kelli herself, Allie Hanlon. With releases stretch back to summer of 2011 with her first EP Panchito Blues, Hanlon dances the line between The Runaways and MC Chris, blending nerdcore sentiments with headbanging riffs.
New York City native Justice Allah Cadet, better known as J-Live, has a laundry list of collaborations, albums and EPs he’s done since emerging in the mid-90s. He’s worked with everyone from Handsome Boy Modeling School and DJ Rob Swift to DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 and Oddisse. Prince Paul, who had his hands in De La Soul, Stetsasonic, Gravediggaz and, of course, Handsome Boy Modeling School, really took J-Live under his wing. Being from Long Island, Prince Paul was easily accessible to J-Live at an early age. Their first collaboration was on Rawkus Records’ now infamous compilation album, Soundbombing II. From there, they did J-Live’s album 2001’s The Best Part and formed a tight-knit friendship along the way. Eventually, J-Live popped up on a Handsome Boy Modeling School album and ended up contributing vocals to one of the strongest tracks on the record, “The Truth.”
For the last few years, one of the local artists I’ve personally supported was musician/photographer/former BandWagon staff member Joe Lee Parker, who has been one of the mainstays of the Greeley music scene for the last few years due to his Sound Art Live shows. In January, Joe released Daiji, a collection of his experimental snyth/electronic music, on Bandcamp and on CD, but due to the hustle-and-bustle of the new year I completely missed it until I attended one of Parker’s shows in March, where he gave me the CD himself. Since then, I’ve gotten to listen to it a couple times, and it’s great.
If fans were worried about the band resting on laurels on their second time around, they need not be. Sound & Color is a noticeably more challenging collection of tunes. What made B&G so great was its immediacy. The second you put in the headphones, it was as if the songs coming through had been on your “most listened to” for years. Sound & Color finds the band leaving one foot in their Southern rock roots, and planting the other in soul and blues. While the lead singles, “Gimme All Your Love,” “Don’t Wanna Fight,” and “Future People,” highlighted the electric Brittany Howard’s ability to send hooks screaming into your long term memory, the majority of the tracks require a little more patience.
Released in January 2015, Save Me, the new EP from alternative-rockers Racing on the Sun, was the perfect way to kick off the new year for the Northern Colorado music scene. Recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins and released at the Moxi Theater in Greeley along with a fancy new light show, Save Me marks a new era for the band. The EP is comprised of three emotionally charged songs and is the perfect introduction to the band’s new and refined image to new and old fans alike.
Vetusta Morla, un grupo musical originado de Tres Cantos, Madrid, es reconocido por sus melodías de género rock alternativo. Desde el ’98 esta banda de seis miembros ha estado participando en concursos musicales estatales, tocando en conciertos de radio y de beneficio, publicando álbumes y demos, y girando por todo el mundo presentando sus discos estilo indie español.
24 year old rapper/producer/writer, and founding member of the Odd Future hiphop collective, Tyler, The Creator is without a doubt, one of hip hop’s most controversial figures. Exploding onto people’s desktops with the infamous “Yonkers” music video, Tyler would go on to release two albums full of the pervasive, bludgeoned horror-core he would come to be known for, Yonkers and Bastard. Though in 2013, with the release of Wolf, Tyler dropped the horror-core facade, in favor of a jazzier, more main-stream sound that capitalized on the snot-nosed braggadocio Odd Future does so well, while still leaving room for the best storytelling we’ve received from the rapper so far. As big of a departure as Wolf was, Cherry Bomb is from Wolf.
Sequential is the brutal, five track EP released in December 2014 by progressive metalcore band The Panoramic. The band is comprised of four extremely talented musicians from around Colorado, with half of the band being Greeley residents, although they claim to be based out of Fort Collins. To keep things interesting, the band also draws from a multitude of different influences ranging from world music to spoken word.
To dismiss Twin Peaks simply because they share a name with an old television show beloved by some and forgotten by others would be a mistake. Indeed, the Chicago quartet is rudimentary at face value, but the second the disc starts spinning they reveal their true colors as something much more exciting and special. Their newest LP, Wild Onion, is an entertaining piece that keeps things relatively grounded to huge success.
If it’s not already evident, maintaining a band presidency for forty-nine years is a pretty impressive feat, especially when the band is a 16 member jazz ensemble that came about during a racially tense America in the ‘60s. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has welcomed several top named professionals in the industry and undergone a succession of directors, but they’ve consistently produced lively, intricate jazz performances throughout their existence. They currently post up in New York City performing the historically reputable Village Vanguard, where they’ve been a weekly headline for decades. The VJO have successively preserved the initiative of big band music against all popularity odds allowing their talent to transcend listeners back and forth through time.
From Kansas City, Missouri to the farthest borders of Indonesia, renowned jazz soul singer Deborah Brown has been establishing footholds in contemporary jazz for over thirty years. Her discography expands 26 albums and as jazz is inevitably a list of collaborations, Brown’s book includes legends such as pianist Monty Alexander, trombonist Slide Hampton, double-bassist Red Mitchell and trumpeter Clark Terry among others. All big names aside, Brown has made her own path in jazz and although her music isn’t as prevalent on American radio, with good reason she doesn’t mind that her talent has a greater influence on the international jazz community.
In May of last year, I was lucky enough to score some tickets to see one of my favorite bands in concert. The show was at the Pepsi Center (not my first, second, or third choice in venue) but the show was everything I hoped it would be. It was raucous and colorful. The band’s members were decked out in Bowie-esqe face paints, the set changed with every song, and at one point, the stadium was filled with gold confetti to the effect that I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. To the left of the singer, holding a tambourine, or guitar, or pounding on the keys, was who I would later come to know as the lead singer’s younger brother. I know the singer is typically the focus in band settings, but the energy coming off the tambourine man was inescapable. The music was his voice, and he screamed his throat raw every song. The band was Arcade Fire, and the man was Will Butler.
Growing up in San Diego, California made it easy to fall in love with reggae. The sound of the ocean, the inevitable “chill” vibe and countless music festivals around southern California painted the perfect picture for reggae music to thrive. Brothers Steven Rene and Tony-Ray Jacobo were immersed in the music early on. Consequently, it comes as no surprise they are the co-founders of the San Diego-based reggae band, Tribal Seeds. Founded in 2005, it was the Jacobo brothers’ way of finding a spiritual connection through reggae music. Much like their predecessors, which include Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, among others, reggae gives them a sense of peace unparalleled by other musical genres.
Chris Potter is no stranger to hard work and the nature of the beast that is the professional jazz world. With over fifteen album releases and 150 guest spots on records of some of the most prolific musicians in the industry (a list that includes Steeley Dan for all you non-jazz heads out there) Chris Potter sits in the top echelon of saxophonists in an ever changing and modernizing international scene.
Love him or hate him (because it’s more than likely one of the two) Conor Oberst is one of his generation’s most eminent singer/songwriter, not to mention prolific. Most commonly known as the one man/band folk rock act Bright Eyes, his side projects include Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Monsters of Folk, and Desaparecidos. The latter is a punk-rock band. As a fan of his works, I was a little surprised (and embarrassed) to find an Oberst project I hadn’t heard of. When the guy who turned me on to Bright Eyes told me about the single, I knew what I’d be writing about this week.
It was the later days of her first project, and Connie Hong was beginning to feel like it was time to move on. She approached friend and producer Chris Beeble about beginning a new project, and from those early days of collaboration, Ivory Circle was born. Now armed with three extra members and a clearer musical focus, the band finds themselves in the middle of an EP trilogy. This month, the BandWagon caught up with Connie Hong to talk about the trilogy, and its process.
Former Greeley band, now Denver favorite hit the ground running with their latest EP Full Nelson. It’s a raucous, thunderous expansion on their already raucous and thunderous sound. On Full Nelson we hear In the Whale in full command of this wild animal of a band birthed out of a particularly grueling time in the Greeley music scene. Since then they have clawed their way up the Colorado music latter with show after show, release after release, and now tour after tour. Full Nelson has them at their current best with five tracks of honest rock and roll.
I’ll admit, I judged this book by its cover; the album cover, that is. Expecting some sort of sloppy metal, I braced myself for what I might hear. I could not have been more wrong. Jalbert commands the mic from first to last. The vocal that came as coy in Loyola loses the cuddle in favor of something more listless, lilting, and sardonic. The change is apparent in the instrumentation as well, which sports a fuzzy coating of 60’s psych, and sunny 70’s pop. The effect is something close to The Zombies meets Kimya Dawson, without any of the kitch.
This month, The BandWagon sat down with Connie Hong, lead singer of Denver’s very own Ivory Circle. During our discussion, we talked about the release of the band’s triple EP series. They are titled Equilateral, Isosceles, and Scalene, respectively. In the first two chapters, Hong and her cohorts have crafted a thrumming, vibrant collection of dream-pop tunes. Equilateral is out now, and Isosceles hits shelves April 14th. Scalene is currently slated for a 2016 release. During our talk, we discuss Hong’s creative goals for this project, and how recent life events found their way into the the backbone of its content.
As a fan of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and other “riff rock bands,” as he puts it, Barnes is not afraid to go big. Evidence of that comes within two seconds of the opening track, “Bassem Sabry.” With its heavy guitar riff, it’s more reminiscent of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath than an Of Montreal song, but as soon as his vocals kick in, it goes into a disco beat. This is typical of Barnes. He loves to experiment with all types of music and often incorporates several genres into one track. Often described as a “modern-day Bowie,” Barnes doesn’t shy away from this comparison at all. It’s clearly a compliment.
This week, Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett has released her highly anticipated sophomore album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (which for brevity’s sake, shall be referred to as Sometimes from here on out). The patently Australian chill that was present in her first album still rings true, while lazily wandering into new musical territory. There’s a warmth present in her tunes that beg for the album to be enjoyed on a couch, or front porch. Even the punchier tracks like “Dead Fox” or the lead single “Pedestrian at Best” have a “neighborhood BBQ” vibe to them.
If music is a universal language, Jerry “J Boog” Afemata has mastered that language through reggae. Born in Long Beach, California and raised in Compton as the youngest of eight, J Boog worked to make his sound a collaboration of family influence and personal freedom. With the help of reggae artist Fiji in 2005, J Boog produced his debut album Hear Me Roar. Joining up with Wash House Music Inc, he worked with reggae family legend Ambassador Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage, island producer and artist Don Corelone, and international reggae star Yami Bolo to put out his Billboard charts topper Backyard Boogie in 2011. He won Best New Entertainer at 2012’s International Reggae and Music Awards. He continues to produce singles that make their way to the top charts for reggae and put out his latest EP Live Up in 2014.
Producer Blockhead (real name Tony Simon) is currently on another leg of his solo tour in support of his latest album, Bells & Whistles, which was released in November 2014. His last effort, 2012’s Interludes After Midnight, offers more instrumental brilliance and puts the cherry on top of an already impressive catalog. From 2004’s Music By Cavelight (his Ninja Tunes debut) to 2009’s The Music Scene, literally every track that bares Simon’s touch is flawless. Growing up in Manhattan, he was enamored with hip-hop since the moment he heard it. He met emcee Aesop Rock while attending Boston University in 1994 and it was on from there. Although Simon prefers rap music over instrumental music, he has a deep appreciation for all genres
Death Grips fans rejoice! We have been eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting the release of the hiphop trio’s “final” album for quite some time now. After splitting up in July, the band promised the 2nd half of their final album by the end of the year. If you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you that MC Ride and crew squelched on their promise. After the release of the unexpected Fashion Week LP, and numerous release date changes, it appears as though Death Grips has finally settled on a release date, and they mean to keep it. Jenny Death, the 2nd half of the powers that b, will be release March 17th. This Tuesday. Like I said, rejoice.
Each member brings forth a unique musical background, ranging from jazz, to classical and metal. Only when the members of Aspen Hourglass combine these elements does something magical happen. Ethereal at first, but with time, and multiple listening sessions, the complexities of the music begin to reveal themselves.
The Hotboxed EP is intended to be a showcase of his abilities as a songwriter, producer, and performer. The album incorporates many reggae elements and features local reggae talent Bad Kat, President Destine, and Spellbinder. The album dropped while opening for Afroman last year at the Moxi Theater.
This week, Purity Ring released another eternity, the 2nd studio release for the duo. The lead singles, namely “push pull” did a good job of describing the sugary sweet synth that we’d be getting in this album. The digitized Megan James vocal is the perfect candy-coated counterpoint to the whomping, swirling bass. Each song is a druggy fever dream tumbling through your computer screen. James and band mate Corin Roddick know their sound, and they do it well.
Juanes incorpora el amor con su estilo de rock n’ roll que todos conocemos y nos encanta de el. Como el lo describió en su entrevista con Billboard Track by Track, Loco de Amor “es como poner un rayo de amor por un prisma es todos los diferentes enfoques que el amor tiene entre relaciones.” El álbum comienza con la canción titulada “Mil Pedazos” donde da referencia a su corazón roto. Menciona una navaja y como el filo le corta el alma, continua a decir que el es mil pedazos de un amor. La canción tiene la tradicional guitarra de Juanes pero también tiene el ritmo parecido al latido de un corazón dominando todo el tema.
Anyone who has followed Doomtree’s career knows emcee P.O.S (real name Stefon Alexander) was having severe health issues that caused him to lay low for the better part of three years. The Minneapolis native and Rhymesayers signee had just released 2012’s We Don’t Even Live Here when he was forced to cancel a major national tour due to health concerns. Thankfully, that ordeal is over and he is now the proud owner of two new kidneys. Naturally, he’s back to killing it. The Doomtree crew, comprised of Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Sims, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, Dessa, and P.O.S., dropped their latest studio album, All Hands, January 27, their first full-length since 2011’s No Kings.
At 15, when Aly Spralto began writing music of her own in the basement of a DVD rental she worked at, she grew into the habit of keeping a journal by her bed. They would hold doodles, lyrical nuggets that begged to be written down, and figments of dreams. Sometimes, she would wake up to find a message written by her half-asleep self. This was the case with her moniker. What she awoke to find scrawled on the journal page, would soon become the name on her debut effort, Ripley Pine, as well as her new album After, which hits stores March 3rd.
In 2006, Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Mattson released his self-titled debut to overwhelmingly positive reviews under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth. Eight years later, and with 3 albums under his belt, The Tallest Man …
In Oakland, California, if you mention the name Zion I, most likely people know who you’re talking about. Go further inland and there’s less of a chance people have ever heard of them. However, emcee Zumbi and producer Amp Live are on a mission to change that. They’ve come a long way since their 1997 debut, subsequently spitting out albums on a regular basis for over 15 years. With Amp Live’s futuristic production and Zumbi’s introspective, often metaphysical lyrical content, Zion I stands out amongst the contemporary rappers of today. Zumbi is more likely to rap about yoga before he raps about “da club.” As we continue to sail through the worst economy the world has seen in decades, it’s ironic that mainstream rappers brag about how much money they have, something Zumbi approaches with common sens
If Erik Hall, the mastermind behind the Chicago based band In Tall Buildings, could have everyone listen to two albums it would be Neil Young’s On The Beach and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, two strikingly different albums. One is a powerful expression of minimalism that is highly technical and enveloping, the other is well, Neil Young hanging out on the beach. The albums are far removed from each other but after listening to In Tall Buildings’ latest release Driver which is out February 17th, the influences they’ve had on Hall couldn’t be more apparent.
This month, The BandWagon sat down with Aly Spralto, more commonly known as Lady Lamb The Beekeeper. In our conversation, we talk about her creative process, touring, and the writing and recording of her new album After. Check out the March issue of BandWagon Magazine to see our review.
Imagine Dragons, the quartet from sin-city capital Las Vegas, Nevada released Smoke and Mirrors this weekend. Their second studio album stands to fill some large shoes as their debut album Night Visions went platinum winning the band’s number one single “Radioactive” a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Smoke and Mirrors track “I Bet My Life” has been looping through radio networks since last fall, giving fans a taste of the upcoming album, yet their single is no indication as to the overall sound of the album.
As the baritone voice of Jurassic 5 (J5), Chali 2na has been lending monumental contributions to hip-hop culture since he emerged from Los Angeles’ Good Life Cafe scene in the early ‘90s. Originally part of the Unity Committee (with Cut Chemist and Mark 7even), Chali 2na formed J5 after merging with The Rebels of Rhythm (with Akil and Soup) in 1993. After J5’s self-titled debut dropped in 1998, the group followed up with 2000’s critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Quality Control. On the track “Contribution,” Chali 2na spits: “The most that you can spend on any child is time.” It’s a philosophy he took to heart and carried into his family dynamic. Growing up on the Southside of Chicago, the now 43-year-old artist was lacking a strong male role model in his life.
Just as diverse as the big city itself, Denver punk band The Potato Pirates’ new album has something for everyone. Raised Better Than This came out on October 7, 2014 after a much anticipated wait by local fans and the band. This quintet is usually known for being a Mile High punk band with occasional ska influences and the curveball bagpipe player. They have come a long way since their first self-titled album released in 2008. The twelve songs on their new album include several different influences that make this collection as incredible as the first two albums were.
This month, the BandWagon had the distinct pleasure of having a conversation with lead singer of A Place to Bury Strangers, Oliver Ackermann. The noise-rock trio is based out of Brooklyn, and have just released their 4th studio album, Transfixation. In our conversation, we talked about the the song-writing process, performing live, and the band’s brief hiatus. Transfixation comes out February 17th. Check out the March issue of the BandWagon Magazine for our full review.
They are six distinct characters that don’t initially seem to match one another. A juggler, a poet, a bilinguist, a mechanical mind, a beat-boxer, and a Rubik’s cube master, are all musicians with a singular vision: to play good music. And that vision won this funkadelic reggae band the 2014 BandWagon Magazine Battle of the Bands.
In 2012, Alabama locals Brittany Howard, Zac Cockrell, Steve Johnson, and Heath Fogg released their debut album, Boys & Girls. What began as a trickle, soon became an unstoppable waterfall of fandom for the band. The album snagged them a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, as well as a headlining spot at the awards in 2013. This week, Alabama Shakes has announced their wildly anticipated sophomore album, Sound & Color. “Don’t Wanna Fight” is a smoky, sexy take on the band’s trademark bluesy rock vibe.
A few weeks ago in our New Music Monday column, I said that the debut singles from The Decemberists’ new album suggested we might be seeing another warm, kind, folksy album. While What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World may sound at first to be just that, it is far away the toothiest album to The Decemberists’ name.
The Ugly Organ would prove to be the group’s breakout record, earning accolades from Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. There are several tracks on the album where the use of the cello is abundantly clear and contributes a powerful element to already electric songs. Thankfully, as Cursive gets ready to reissue The Ugly Organ and head out on tour in support of the record, the group has decided to reintroduce the cello at each show.
Al describir así mismos como una banda bilingüe de math/punk/indie rock, Montoneros captura algo por lo que varias bandas locales matarían. Con temas en español e inglés, Montoneros abraza sus raíces y se acerca a una audiencia con las ganas de alguna representación en el corazón del rock en Colorado. Debutando con el albúm If You Think You’re In the Wrong Place, You’re Probably Here a finales del 2014, Montoneros llega al escenario con un disco que es honesto y sorprendentemente vulnerable.
Though original content dates back to 2011, it was with the 2013 release The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas that Australian rock artist Courtney Barnett first grabbed American attention. While “singer-songwriter” would be accurate, it gives Barnett an implied sweetness that she quite simply doesn’t have. Her lyrics are biting and sarcastic, and her deadpan sing-song can range from Mac Demarco to Johnny Rotten. Her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit arrives in late March. Luckily, we have an amazing new single, and an accompanying music video.
If you aren’t a prior Death Grips fan, here’s a little background. This is a band that positively described the vibe at their own concerts as “volatile” when speaking to Pitchfork in November 2012. This is a band that left their label over disputes concerning the release of their fourth album, Government Plates for free to the public. This is a band that after later launching their own label, “Third Worlds” in conjunction with Harvest and Capitol Records, broke up seemingly out of no where, and cancelled all upcoming tour dates, including an opening slot for Nine Inch Nails at Red Rocks.
When members Andrew Heringer and Robbie Arnett started sending tracks to each other after they graduated, they soon discovered the hardships of booking their own gigs. To address the issue, a fictional booking agent was invented. The character was British, well-read, confident, wore a monocle and three-piece-suit, and his name was Milo Greene.
Think about classic country. People like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Merle Hagard, Dolly Parton. What do you think of? Soulful and sad melodies, and (depending on who you’re listening to) some politically tinged lyrics. Like it or not, country music is a big part of American culture and American music. If you consider yourself a true music lover, its important to give it a chance (if you haven’t already). When you do, you get people like Ryan Bingham.
In 2013, the Lips’ released its 16th studio album, The Terror, which completely abandons any formulaic methods of songwriting and delivers something refreshingly unique. It may not be as commercially accessible as previous efforts, but it’s another descriptive chapter in The Flaming Lips’ story. They followed up with 2014’s With A Little Help From My Fwends and also released an EP called Peace Sword. Once again on a massive nationwide tour, which makes three stops in Colorado, Drozd took some time out of his day to talk about Wayne’s “celebrity status” and drug addiction.
“It’s not about meth,” says Noel Afan Billups, of Greeley-based band Duchovny, regarding their new EP Crystal Broth.
“Well, if you want it to be, I mean, sure,” adds Dylan Sonke, the second principal songwriter of the group. Billups and Sonke met during freshmen orientation at the University of Northern Colorado more than three years ago and formed Duchovny soon after. Since then they have been grinding away at their live set with constant gigging and a series of small tours that honed their sound into a psychedelic ethereal dream pop. The record title was inspired by a UNC English professor of the same name, which is equally as weird, but the imagery of “crystal broth” fits the album like a glove.
While their name might evoke images of seniors engaging in dangerous or illicit activities, the sounds from their previous records featured heavy, lush instrumentation, and a moody melody. Hailing from our beloved capital city, I am speaking, of course, of Shady Elders. The follow up to the No Favors EP has arrived: The Night Air EP.
Aesop Rock, real name Ian Bavitz, is one of those rare hip-hop artists who has developed such a unique rhyming style, he’s basically impossible to replicate. The second you hear his voice, you immediately know it’s him. While his rhymes often appear nonsensical and so cryptic it’s difficult to decipher any meaning, once you dig deeper you can discover a lot about the man behind the moniker. For example, he craves solitude, has no interest in “fame” and is just as down to earth as any one of us. Those qualities alone are the most refreshing about him. In an industry supersaturated with massive egos, especially in the hip-hop world, humility is hard to find. Aesop Rock is like a breath of fresh air. However, all coyness goes out the window when he grabs the mic and jumps on stage.
Second only to folk music, hip-hop is the paramount storytelling genre of all time. It builds on the abilities of funk and blues, two great predecessors. Most typically, we see it used as a poppy-hit-machine, though at its most realized, hip-hop is an outlet for feelings of rage, frustration, and oppression. While hip-hop stars are most often characterized as hyper-aggressive chauvinists, when used correctly the genre allows them to rise above and to tell their stories.
Born in Germany and raised in North Carolina, J. Cole grew up in a house with a folk-hippie mother and a hardcore gangsta rap loving father. As such, his sounds are blended and nuanced. His new album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, is without a shadow of a doubt, his best release yet. This is the most sensitive we have seen the J. Cole character to date. He’s frightened at the state of hip-hop and the world he lives in. The album is a call to action that is partially piggybacked from Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail; “We need to write the new rules.”
Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, Brian Rosenworsel, Luke Reynolds, and Joe Pisapia make up Guster, a Tufts University-birthed pop outfit, which began when Miller, Gardner, and Rosenworsel met Freshman year. Evermotion is their long awaited 7th studio album, and it’s just the dose of cheer that I needed, full of atmospheric charm, and stellar melodies.
Talking to Pittsburgh native Mac Miller is just what you’d expect. He’s a smart ass, laughs a lot and appears not to take his career too seriously, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mac Miller (real name Malcolm James McCormick) is self-made and essentially a workaholic. He knew from an early age he wanted to make music for a living and he made it happen. As a child, there was never any doubt Miller was musically gifted. At the age of six, he taught himself how to play piano, drums, bass and guitar. His older brother was getting into hip-hop in the mid-’90s and soon little Mac was pilfering his albums.
After months of posturing, Kanye West’s ravenous fan base have been chomping at the musical bit for something new. The details up until now have been vague at best, and frustratingly stingy. Sources close to West including funny-man Seth Rogen and musician Theophilus London have generated whispers of secret and smoky listening parties, and a rough cut of the rumored single “All Day” was briefly (as in hours) featured on Instagram. Apart from that, fans only had repeated promises that the album was finished, and waiting for release. Well, folks, it’s 2015, and there’s no new album, but we do have a new single.
Este verano pasado Miranda! nos presentó con su sexto álbum llevando por nombre Safari. Ahora Alejandro Sergi y Julieta Gattas (ambos vocalistas) se encuentran sin la presencia de Lolo Fuetes, quien fue su guitarrista estrella desde el comienzo de la agrupación en el 2001. El primer sencillo de Safari se lanzó en diciembre del 2013 y lleva por nombre “extraño,” en el nos ofrecen una letra muy magistral y juguetona. La letra sugiere una relación que ya no es lo que había sido y extrañan esa parte, por el otro lado son como dos desconocidos o dos extraños donde no hay marcha atrás. “Extraño” tiene un sonido que caracteriza a Miranda! y sin lugar a duda una buena elección para darnos una probadita del resto del disco.
Nostalgia. One of the more relevant feelings in the age of “10 Things Only 90’s Kids Will Get” listicles. It’s an itch that might be scratched by watching Even Stevens, The Goonies, or old Warner Brother’s cartoons. Or maybe listening to oldies music. The clean cutting guitar of the Beach Boys, the cajoling croon of Frank Sinatra. There’s something in the sound that evokes a warmth for a better time, or at least a different one. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward make up the duo known as She & Him, a group that has built their music largely on the back catalogs of American music.
It’s not what you’re smoking but where you’re smoking, that seems to be the consensus of Greeley’s city council as they schedule their final reading for banning public use of e-cigarettes for January 6th. The citizen’s initiative to ban e-cigarettes was set for October, but after members of the community encouraged they reevaluate their assumptions that vaporizers be classified and banned like cigarettes, the issue was tabled.
In true DFA fashion, the album bristles with vintage synthesizers and dreamy arpeggios, and the length of the songs allows for the grooves to have a settling effect that fits nicely into their aesthetic. With vocalist Nancy Whang taking more of a lead on the album, the songs exude class and talent. Recently, we had a chance to catch up with The Juan MacClean after his DJ set at Bar Standard in Denver.
BandWagon: Do you ever see yourself as a Top 40 musician at some point? Do you ever see yourself shooting for that 3 to 5 minute pop song that’s accessible to everyone?
The Juan MacClean: Yeah I used to think that kind of thing, that one day, I don’t know if you would even call it “selling out,” but as an experiment see if it is possible to do that kind of thing. But the reality of it is, it’s not really possible. At that level everything is so manufactured. I could sign to a major label and that kind of stuff but it would be burning my career. I would lose all my real fans and it would be too weird for the rest of the world.
“I’ve seen a lot of personal friends lives be damaged, destroyed or ended through making the wrong decisions with drug use,” Lorin Ashton says. “I’ve also seen some amazing transformations happen from very limited and responsible experimentation. I want to be ultra careful about not condoning anything without expressing how important it is to be safe and aware.”
Ashton, better known by his stage moniker Bassnectar, is often at the helm of massive EDM parties and has undoubtedly seen all sorts of debauchery in the crowd. However, at age 36, he’s learned valuable lessons over the years— not only as a musician, but also simply as a human being.
The Juan MacClean (real name John MacClean) has been a major player is the world of electronic music for almost a decade although most fans of the current style of the genre wouldn’t know it. One of the original artists on the DFA label, which was founded by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, The Juan MacClean is an artist who has been a rock in the electro dance punk scene.
Run The Jewels has never claimed (or wanted) to be anything other than themselves. To the auteurs behind this project, Killer Mike and El-P, Run The Jewels is more than a title, more than a catchy hook. It is a call to arms; take to the streets, and raise hell. You’re in, or you’re out. The effect is so encompassing, that their 2013 debut began with the song “Run The Jewels,” making that “Run The Jewels,” on Run The Jewels, by Run The Jewels. The sequel, aptly titled Run The Jewels 2, is a tactically precise release that feels like it answers all questions early critics had, while simultaneously doing whatever the hell they want. If they’re careful, there will be much more to see from them in the future.
I’m going into The Echo Chamber’s new release, Synesthesia, completely blind. While I have an interest in electronic music, I don’t necessarily listen to a lot of it, and while The Echo Chamber has played here in Greeley, I can’t recall ever attending one of their shows. So I’m largely judging it as if this is the group’s first album, even though this is the Fort Collins-based group’s second release.
Condensadores de Fluzo es la traducción incorrecta de Flux Capacitor que debería de ser condensador de flujo cuál es la parte principal de la máquina del tiempo de la película Back to the Future. Esta traducción incorrecta es de España de donde se originan el grupo más exacto de Jaén. Los Condensadores de Fluzo es un grupo mas nuevo que empezaron en el 2010 que tocan música Rockabilly. Los miembros son Fernando Valverde o conocido como “Perro rabioso” que toca la batería, el bajo lo toca Tonino McFly, Juan Antonio Plutonio toca la guitarra, y el vocalista que también toca la guitarra es Carlos o conocido come “Fluzo.” Rockabilly “Typicat” Spanish fue estrenado apenas este año después de su exitoso lanzamiento de su álbum “Back to the Fifties” en el 2012.
At the release of this article, it has been nearly 4 years since The Decemberists released a new studio album. This is not uncommon for the group, who have taken multiple-year breaks before. The longest break prior to this was taken in between the albums The Crane Wife and Hazards of Love, the latter being the groups paramount release (at least from my perspective). One can only hope that time away is just what the group needs as they prepare to release What a Beautiful World, What a Terrible World.
Greta Morgan Salpeter (better known simply as Greta Morgan) began playing piano at the tender age of three. With a classical pianist for a mother, Morgan has many fond musical memories, especially with her father:
“My Dad is tone deaf, but he loves music. So he always took us to musicals, and I actually remember dancing with him to motown in front of our juke box as kids.” You can sense the importance of these memories in Morgan’s voice
Music continued to be a fierce passion into her teens.
It was a big surprise to hear Grandmaster Dee wouldn’t be joining the other two members of Whodini for the Winter Wonderland Jam on December 6 in Denver. After all, as DJ for the ‘80s soulful hip-hop group Whodini, Grandmaster Dee carved out a permanent place for himself in hip-hop history with the celebrated group. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the trio’s second album, Escape, was certified platinum and delivered eight solid tracks, including hit singles “Five Minutes of Funk,” “Freaks Come Out at Night” and “Friends.”
Jager’s Got Talent was a competition consisting of three rounds that were judged and voted on to find the winner. Copycat edition refers to the theme performers were given each week to “copy” in order to fulfill the requirement (i.e. ‘90s or Boybands etc).
Pink Floyd released a new album which marks their first studio album release since The Division Bell in 1994. The album titled The Endless River presents newly worked tracks from material that was once a part of the production of The Division Bell.
It’s not every day that you get a debut album from a jazz trio, but more often than not, the music on it doesn’t sound that much different from anything else out there that’s getting play on the radio. Born to Wander, which consists of vocalist Kate Skinner, guitarist Steve Kovalcheck and bassist Erik Applegate, manage to stick out a bit. They’re a jazz outfit with a mellow yet peppy sound and an electric guitar ato offer style change their songs. Their debut album is a fun, cool production that shows what jazz can be.
Manchester Orchestra is not new to the game. With four critically acclaimed albums under their belt including their fantastic fourth album Cope which dropped April 1st of 2014, they can pretty much do whatever they want musically. So in true bands-that-do-whatever-they-want fashion, the Manchester Orchestra boys dropped Hope, a stripped down, not quite acoustic version of Cope.
They re record the entire album song by song in a true testament to their prowess as songwriters and musicians. They completely re envision the intensity of the album, holding on to the desperate driving nature of Cope while at the same time creating something fresh for themselves and fans.
What makes this album so interesting is the care and the meticulous nature of the production in each song making this more than a simple vanity project. One thing you see from successful touring bands is a certain kind of boredom with their own music. Manchester Orchestra breaks from this by reinventing themselves without completely departing from the things that fans have come to know and love. For one album the band lets out their inner Sufjan Stevens, something every band should probably do from time to time.
As a stand alone album Hope tip toes slightly into Boresville when listening from beginning to end if you’re expecting hard rock Manchester Orchestra and something is lost when recreating the intense breakdowns of Cope. But when you compare the two albums they work together and by listening to one the other becomes that much better. Especially Cope, that album is the tits.
The second J Mascis got on the phone, everything I had read about him was verified to be true. He was a man of few words, spoke with a bit of irreverence in his voice and was very matter-of-fact, but in the best way possible. As front man of Dinosaur Jr. he’s earned the right to be a little nonchalant about these things. My introduction to Dinosaur Jr. began as a teenager when I heard 1991’s Green Mind. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, indie rock or “alternative rock” as it was called back then, was just beginning to inch its way into the Midwest from the “grunge capital” of Seattle and various West Coast music hubs. Although the group originated in Massachusetts, Dinosaur Jr.’s sophomore album, 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me had been released on SST Records, a fierce independent label based in Long Beach, California and home to Black Flag, Descendents and Sonic Youth. It was kind of the “it” label at the time. Mascis began carving out a niche for himself.
When thinking of Minneapolis and hip-hop, Rhymesayers is the undeniable forefront. But the independent group Crunchy Kids takes a contending stand among the idols of underground music out of Minnesota. The four man project combines quick-beat vocals (Slim Chance), live drums (Marcus Skallman), bass (Eric Burton) and the keyboard (Eric Mayson) giving hip-hop a greater live band sound. They qualify their music as hip-hop and other but it’s hard to categorize these badasses.
Did you know Robert Downey, Jr. has been nominated for an Oscar twice?
Yes, back in 1992, the man who would be Iron Man was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of silent film star Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin. Not long after that, Downey would soon be better known for his drug addictions and his trips back-and-forth to rehab and jail, events which would make him the perfect candidate for bringing womanizing, boozing weapons designer Tony Stark to the big screen in 2008.
When Immortal Technique speaks, you listen. There’s no way to get around this. You sit in your chair and you listen because every word he says carries weight. Sometimes it’s almost too heavy and you want him to crack a smile, but he stays steadfast in what he’s saying. There’s no wavering from his agenda—an agenda that started in 2001 when he released his first album, Revolutionary Vol. 1 with his own money and pushed it down the throats of anyone who would listen. And again, they listened. Immortal Technique, born Felipe Andres Coronel, emigrated from Peru to Harlem in 1980. As a teenager, he often found himself in hot water with authorities, which led to a yearlong prison stint during college. After he was paroled, he took up political science at Baruch College in New York City and at the same time polished up his rapping skills. All of his hard work paid off and soon he was rubbing shoulders with pioneers of the genre, including Chuck D of Public Enemy, KRS One and Mos Def. Armed with messages of a political nature, his lyrics revolve around controversial issues surrounding global politics, although he believes the word ‘revolution’ is used too loosely these days.
Afroman could quite possibly be the best spokesperson for the legalization of marijuana. His first single, 2000’s “Because I Got High” became the pothead anthem of the new millennium and sent Afroman spinning out of control into a media frenzy. The South Central Los Angeles native never imagined that song would carry him so far, but it did. Now we’re here. Afroman, real name Joseph Foreman, released a remix of “Because I Got High” in mid-October and the internet exploded. With over one million hits in two days, it almost seemed like Afroman never left, although he’s been flying under the radar for the past few years. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t making music. Since 2000’s Because I Got High album, he’s put out over 25 various albums, singles and EPs. He never stops creating. At 40-years-old, he is experiencing a resurgence of popularity, but there’s a newfound maturity to Afroman’s style.
Mention Tenacious D and people’s faces light up. The superstar duo comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass has delivered their signature brand of comedy-infused rock since 1994. At the time, they only had five original songs, including “Tribute,” “Kyle Quit,” “Krishna,” “Melissa,” and “History.” Since then, of course, they’ve catapulted to international recognition and appear to be unstoppable. Black has released several lucrative films while Gass has made a number of movie appearances, as well. At the same time, they’ve balanced an incredible musical career revolving around “the D.” Gass also started The Kyle Gass Band [KGB] in 2011 alongside fellow D guitarist John Konesky, guitarist/vocalist Mike Bray, drummer Tim Spier, and bassist Jason Keene. Talking to Gass is what one would expect- a non-stop laugh riot. That’s right. Riot. It’s impossible to have a serious conversation with a guy like Gass. And why would you want to? He knows he was put on Earth to make people laugh and that’s what he does. In anticipation of KGB’s appearance in Greeley this month, we got him on the phone as he was driving to the Shrine Expo Hall in L.A. to prepare for his Festival Supreme event, an annual extravaganza he puts on with Black.
Silver and Gold have been a Greeley talent treasure trove with bounds of musical silver, and surprise, surprise… premium gold. The five star band features Davis Williams (drums), Brandon Vela (bass), Claire Jensen (keyboard/ vocals), Pie Lombardi (guitar/ vocals) and Devon Hildebrandt (guitar/ vocals). They just keep getting better. Their new EP, Compression is a direct reflection of how well they work together.
Alternative country is something that I don’t necessarily pay much attention to, even though I have a love and appreciation for country music. The alternative scene pushes country in directions one wouldn’t normally hear on KYGO. For those that think country is about daisy dukes, pick-up trucks, drinking, Jesus, and ‘MURICA, I’d ask you to look into alt country music.
Self-described brass house trio Too Many Zooz has only been around since late last year, and rose to national prominence sometime in January when someone posted a video of the group performing in Union Square. Fans have said that the first time hearing the group was when they were walking through the area and “suddenly heard this massive, incredible sound.” That’s about accurate.
Could it be? Could Grieves, the Rhymesayers emcee, be leaving hip-hop for neo-soul? Not so fast. Although the Seattle-based artist’s most recent album 2014’s Winter & the Wolves offers more soulful singing than previous efforts, it’s still very much a hip-hop album. After all, Grieves (real name Benjamin Laub) has been “professionally” rapping since his brief stint with Black Clover Records in 2007.
When I was younger, I willingly sat through three Saw movies without flinching. I have a deep appreciation for the likes of Evil Dead, Halloween and Videodrome. However, it has been a while since I’ve seen a horror film, and walking out of one recently made me question if I’ve gotten soft as I’ve grown older.
And the man responsible for it? Silent Fucking Bob.
The moment vocalist Yukimi Nagano drops her first note on the 2010 Gorillaz track “Empire Ants,” she promptly steals the show from Damon Albarn. As the 32-year-old front woman of Little Dragon, she’s used to being in the spotlight by now. Since 2009’s Machine Dreams, the Swedish four-piece (sometimes five) has been steadily on the rise, especially in the United States. Their third album, 2011’s Ritual Union, appeared to cement their arrival, reaching number 78 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It’s their most successful album to date.
“Everyone can have fun being a DJ,” DJ Qbert says. “But it still takes a lot more to be a scratch musician.”
The San Francisco native has carved out his own spot on the list of legendary turntablists, beginning with his involvement in FM20 with Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boy fame) and DJ Apollo in the early ‘90s.
Por primera vez en la historia de Camila tenemos un dúo. Así es, su tercer álbum fue lanzado en Junio del presente año y solo cuenta con dos integrantes. Samo había sido parte de la agrupación desde sus comienzos en el 2006, más sin embargo decidió decir adiós para dedicarse a su carrera como solista. Mario Domm es el productor de Camila, también es compositor, cantante y toca varios instrumentos musicales como el piano y la guitarra. Pablo Hurtado es el guitarrista y co-productor. El más reciente álbum lleva por nombre Elypse. En el buscan escribir una nueva historia como lo han hecho en el pasado, la diferencia es que en Elypse no hay reglas. Es sin confort, sin limites y sin miedo como lo describe Domm.
First off, Riot Fest was awesome. There is no other way to say it, after it’s all said and done and we the critics have our say about what went well and what didn’t and ask the ultimate festival question of if it was worth the ticket price, Riot Fest was still awesome. To see this particular line up whether you grew up listening to them or not was something everyone there knew would only happen a few times in our lives. To see The Flaming Lips then literally turn around and see Primus begin made me wonder, where the hell am I?
Aside from the mesmerizing instrumental electronic music Slow Magic makes, there’s a mysticism surrounding the young producer that pulls you in even more. The “young” part is even a guess because nobody really knows for sure who the mastermind behind Slow Magic is, his real name or what he looks like. Armed with a multi-colored imaginary animal mask, Slow Magic takes to the stage like the untamed beast he represents. He pounds on the drums like he’s harnessing his primal instincts and delivers an infectious sound so sweet, it’s impossible not to love. More performance art than anything, Slow Magic reveals why he hides his identity.
Clutch, an original 90s rock band played the Byers General Store Stage at Riot Fest this weekend and an interview with drummer Jean-Paul Gaster shed some light on the process of building upon their legacy as successful musicians.
Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst always seems to be in high demand, at least in terms of interviews. He seldom consents to one and if he does, it’s for the typical major publications like Rolling Stone or Spin. It’s a rare day when he agrees to one on a smaller scale. However, Oberst grew up in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve seen him around since he was a wide-eyed 14-year-old at Creighton Prep, an all-boys Jesuit high school. Even then, Oberst had his eye on playing music, not so much his studies.
Rhymesayers Entertainment artist Brother Ali has been spitting out albums since emerging out of Minneapolis with 2000’s Rites of Passage. It was a brave introduction to the life of an albino rapper and a little insight into his heavily politically minded views. 2003’s Shadows on the Sun, 2007’s The Undisputed Truth, 2009’s Us, and 2012’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color continued Brother Ali’s path of delivering content-driven, independent hip-hop.
Zoé es una banda Latinoamericana formada por cinco integrantes. La banda tuvo su comienzo en la ciudad de México. Su establecimiento retrocede hasta mediados de los años ‘90. Su música originalmente fué influenciada por el pop británico sin duda alguna como los Beatles.
León Larregui (vocalista y guitarra), Sergio Acosta (guitarra), Jesús Báez (teclado) y Ángel Bosqueda (tambores) emprendieron Zoé en 1994. Casi veinte años más tarde, los mismos cuatro integrantes más la incorporación de Rodrigo Guandiola (batería) son a lo que llamamos Zoé. Hoy en día los podemos apreciar con un estilo de rock alternativo e indie rock que se podría clasificar entre más estilos.
Every dream 79-year-old Rock ‘n Roll idol Jimmy Angel ever had growing up was to be a New York Yankee, not a legendary Rock star. But when his baseball career with a Yankees farm team was cut short by an injury, the pressure to support his mother who he humbly referred to as Mommy couldn’t be solved by a simple day job.
For the past year or so, Captain America star Chris Evans has been stating in interviews that he’ll probably retire from acting after his contract with Marvel Studios is done, with plans to go into directing shortly thereafter. Looking at his resume, it might seem understandable: he’s been a few movies that leave much to be desired, such as the Fantastic Four films and stuff such as Push and The Nanny Diaries.
TV Girl started as a collaboration between Brad Petering and Trung Ngo before becoming Petering’s solo act in 2013. Petering casually refers to French Exit as a solo album “Depending on how you look at it,” which is an odd line considering this follows a 15-track mixtape a couple of years ago titled The Wild, the Innocent, the TV Shuffle. The album’s Bandcamp page goes on to advertise “12 songs about lost lust, too much love and not enough.”
As we all know, hip-hop has a revolving door of rappers. With contemporary artists being chewed up and spit out faster than you can say Lil Jon, the probability of a career spanning multiple decades is highly doubtful. Notable East Coast emcees such as KRS-One, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are among the few that can claim years of longevity. Lyrics Born (real name Tom Shimura), however, has been at it since the early ‘90s and is still going strong with his latest release, As U Were. Growing up in Berkley, Shimura had a hard time getting his hands on good hip-hop. Fortunately, he crossed paths with future label mates, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Lateef the Truthspeaker (Latyrx) while attending school at UC-Davis where the idea for Quannum Projects was born. In addition to putting out their own records, the three entrepreneurs started putting out material by artists like DJ Shadow, Lifesavas and Pigeon John under the Quannum moniker. As Lyrics Born, Shimura has reveled in plenty of success with his funk and soul-infused hip-hop, something he learned as a college radio DJ in California.
Laguna Beach native Ty Segall has exploded with popularity since he started popping up in lo-fi garage rock bands around Orange County in the early 2000’s, and now, Segall’s solo career is on fire after releasing 2008’s self-titled debut. With an affinity for fuzzed-out guitars, surf rock and ‘60s-inspired psychedelic garage rock, Segall has proven to be on the front lines of the recent garage rock surge. Fortunately for Segall, he made the move to San Francisco before MTV’s reality show, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, landed on his front door. It transformed his hometown into something unrecognizable to him. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change.
In terms of comparisons, Operators are probably closest in sounds to Handsome Furs. Not to be confused by the hard rock band of the same name, Operators sport a peppy electronic sound that splits the difference evenly among its songs between clean, exciting beats and softer, fuzzier sounds. It mostly works quite well, and with the different types of ideas and sounds Boeckner experiments with on the album, it’s exciting to anticipate what he’ll do with the next Operators release, especially if that release is enabled by the expanse and budget of a full-length album.
Considering the music Aaron Holstein makes, you’d never guess the man behind VibeSquaD is a trained multi-instrumentalist with a background in jazz. The talented Colorado-based music producer emits sounds that can make your ears bleed with its pounding bass, swirling synthesizers and relentless energy—just don’t call it dubstep. His infusions of funk, hip-hop and other polyrhythmic textures into his electronic concoctions defy categorization. Combined with his eccentric stage persona, Holstein is in a world of his own.
When Big Boi walked out on to the Red Rocks Amphitheater stage in 2010 for a Rock the Bells performance, Andre 3000 was noticeably absent. Nonetheless, he performed many of Outkast’s singles, including “Elevators (Me and You),” “ATLians” and “Rosa Parks.” However, it just wasn’t’ the same. This year, when Big Boi and Andre 3000 perform at Denver’s Mad Decent Block Party on August 22, things will be a little different.
Formed in 2003, Bear in Heaven have been releasing contemplative, psychedelic synth music since before (and now quite a while after) such a sound stumbled its way into the zeitgeist. Up to this point the highlight of their career is probably 2009‘s Beast Rest Forth Mouth, a dark, spiraling collection of mind-bending synth-pop. With Time Is Only One Day Old, Bear in Heaven seek to improve their sound while also leading the listener down a stranger, more introspective path, and it’s difficult to listen to this ten-song collection without thinking they have succeeded.
Sha Na Na, the doo-wop band who began their successful career in the 1969 performance of Woodstock, is touring through Northern Colorado for the 1st Annual Rocky Mountain Rock n’ Roll Sing-Along Festival 45 years after their magical beginning.
The band started as an a cappella group at Columbia University. In the summer of ‘69 they decided to give the competitive musical scene of New York a shot. It was only their 8th musical gig when they impressed their peers at a downtown nightclub and landed the biggest live performance of their career.
Dean Curtis, a Fort Collins-based musician and singer, seemingly threw everything into Fallen, his 2014 album. I suspect if he could use a kitchen sink as an instrument, he would’ve done so. It’s an impressive solo debut album for Curtis, who’s the bassist for the reggae band DubSkin and has been producing music for the past ten years.
Jon Favreau has had an encompassing career in the film industry. Starting out as an extra on film sets, he hit it off with Vince Vaughn early on, writing his starring role in the film Swingers and eventually directing the charming Christmas film Elf.
Glass Boys is a follow up to 2011’s David Comes to Life, which saw the band’s first ranking on the billboards and created a big name for them. The album was conceptual and followed a light bulb factory worker that falls in love with an activist, who is killed by a bomb they build to blow up the factory. And while concept albums often feel forced, the band’s raw energy and the musical talent really pulled it into the foreground. This latest release is very similar, despite not being an official concept album though the “getting older” theme threads it together.
Clearly the atypical rapper, he deals in fallen angels and atheism, which alone sets him worlds apart from most other MCs. He has a style that absolutely murders the competition; speedy raps that combine wicked, tricky wordplay with melodic hooks, an on stage presence that involves tribal face paint, a straight jacket and blood red hair, making him one of the most unique figures in the game. With a career spanning over two decades, including fourteen studio albums and over two million independent sales, he’s no slacker either. After becoming increasingly frustrated with major labels, Tech launched his own imprint, Strange Music, Inc. in 1999 with his manager.
Fake Four, Inc., a small independent record label in New Haven, Connecticut, has far surpassed the expectations of its founders, brothers Ceschi and David Ramos. Established in 2008, it was born out of a mutual passion for music and grown by the love and support of its fans. As Fake Four was gathering momentum, putting out album after album and touring the world, Ceschi Ramos found himself in a terrible predicament, one even Hollywood couldn’t make up.
Whether they’re starting a full-on dance contest during a show with original compositions or performing rip-roaring covers of everything from Beyonce’s “Love on Top” to the Ghostbusters theme, The Burroughs are never short on energy. In under a year of operation, the band has already displayed impressive talent and limitless confidence to match a group several times their tenure. The wait has seemed longer than it actually was, but The Burroughs EP is here, and as expected, is plenty of fun.
It’s not easy being weird. Bands that attempt it come off as either trying too hard, or simply botch the effort to produce a product that skews too heavily in one direction: either half-hearted and boring, or so aggressive and outrageous, it’s off-putting. How impressive it is, then, that duo Dub Thompson toes that line astonishing precision, edging debut album 9 Songs into territory that lies comfortably between those extremes and rarely veering off-course.
I don’t envy bands that have the desire to carve out a fresh niche in the music scene. With the industry populated with so many new (and occasionally fresh) acts, introducing a new sound is not easy. Denver rockers Anchorage set out to do just that, advertising broad stylistic backgrounds and genre-bending music to be a unique new player in the rock scene.
Whigs_cover_nobandIt’s been 16 years since Greg Dulli released an album under his outfit The Afghan Whigs. It’s almost baffling to consider peripherally that the last album dropped in the late 90s. Dulli has remained active under his other groups, The Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins, but with the former starting to blur stylistic lines with his original group, Dulli felt it was time to come full circle and return to his roots with Do to the Beast, which mostly delivers exactly what Dulli followers are looking for—more dynamic, elaborate instrumentation and smoky.
Unlike last year, which seemed to be the year of disappointing sequels for me, (I’m looking at you, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness) I was enthralled in April with follow-ups to two of my favorite movies: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Raid 2. Both were films I was looking forward to, and I walked away with a level of satisfaction I haven’t really experienced with a sequel since 2012’s Skyfall.
Recently, a viral video surfaced of a construction worker boarding a crowded subway train. He starts beat boxing, using a cardboard coffee cup to amplify the sounds coming out of his mouth. After some bewildered stares another passenger starts singing. And then another. And another.
In the early ‘90s, Seattle native Sir Mix-a-Lot proudly proclaimed: “I like big butts and I cannot lie” on 1992’s Mack Daddy, his third studio album and first for Def American. However, little do people know the two albums that preceded Mack Daddy contained some of his best material. From “Square Dance Rap” and “Swap Meat Louie” to “Posse on Broadway” and “Beepers,” there’s more to Mix-a-Lot than just big butts.
For the last few years, Aaron Paul has been known for playing a character whose catchphrase is, “Something-something-something, bitch!” Now that Breaking Bad is off the air though, he’s moving into film, and his first lead role in a Blockbuster is an adaption of EA’s car racing game Need For Speed. It’s not as horrible as other critics have portrayed it. Those that are into cars, such as myself, won’t be that disappointed, but it’s not perfect. Then again, it’s an adaption of a car racing simulator; no such film is aiming for high art. It is entertaining though.
If one were to compile a list of directors that would be a suitable fit for a Biblical epic, Darren Aronofsky likely wouldn’t rank very close to the top at first glance. With his topics ranging from drug abuse (Requiem for a Dream) to fatally fame-obsessed delusional ballerinas (Black Swan), a story from the Bible doesn’t exactly fit into that class. But one needs look no further than a smaller, earlier film called Pi, in which a man was struck with the unflinching belief that the number 3.14 was a message from God detailing the apocalypse. It’s interesting then that Aronofsky’s latest film, Noah, is about a man speaking to God about just that topic. And what a film it is.
As always, In the Whale boasts a driving, electrifying power that takes up an incredible amount of sonic space despite being composed of just two guys. The basic guitar-and-drum formula works, and while there’s nothing at all elaborate about the band’s music, it’s the earnestness with which they perform it that makes it so damn fun.