The Reminders have explored an intersection of hip-hop and soul for more than a decade. The Colorado Springs duo of Big Samir and Aja Black has released two albums and shared a bill with acts like Snoop Dogg and Nas. The group recently performed at the new Levitt Pavilion with Denver act Fed Rez. The Reminders stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for a memorably upbeat session. The married couple performed four songs and spoke with Bruce Mitchell about a forthcoming third album, their energetic approach to live performance and a recent memorable show in their hometown.
CPR Performance Studio
The Colorado Pubic Radio Performance Studio provides a stage to showcase the depth and variety of both classical, and new and independent music coming to, and from, Colorado. CPR's OpenAir also offers a podcast of interviews and performances from select musicians, and additional performances from the archive available here.
Since releasing his debut album in 2014, Benjamin Booker has become a major name in modern blues-rock. The singer and guitarist incorporates punk and soul music on his sophomore album "Witness," which features politically charged lyrics and a guest spot from gospel singer Mavis Staples. Shortly after headlining the Underground Music Showcase in Denver, Booker stopped into the CPR Performance Studio. He performed three songs from "Witness" and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about working on the album in Mexico City, how his collaboration with Staples came about and his crowd-diving set at UMS 2017.
When Plume Varia visited CPR's OpenAir in 2015, the band shared its plans to record a debut album with producer David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets after meeting him in Denver. The husband-and-wife duo released that album this month. It's called "Fact | Fiction" and features moody experimental pop songs. Just before the album's release, Plume Varia returned to the CPR Performance Studio. Members Shon and Cherie Cobbs played three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recording with David J in Texas, how the HBO comedy series "Girls" influenced the album and their surprise collaboration with a former member of Nine Inch Nails.
Andy Thomas established himself in the Denver music scene with bands like The Knew and Tin Horn Prayer. His latest venture -- Andy Thomas' Dust Heart -- finds the singer and guitarist writing Americana-rock that often veers into dark territory. But the band's latest record, "No Poets," is a more lighthearted release that Thomas wrote over the course of a year of sobriety. Andy Thomas' Dust Heart stopped into the CPR Performance Studio last month. Thomas performed four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the "life-affirming and positive" direction of the new record, collaborating with his wife in the band and his work for the new Levitt Pavilion in Denver.
The Districts will release their third album, "Popular Manipulations," next month. From what we've heard so far, the Philadelphia band changes up its sound on the record by adding elements of shoegaze to its twangy indie rock. They also tackle more mature subject material. The Districts stopped into Denver for a show at Globe Hall earlier this month. Beforehand, the band members visited the CPR Performance Studio to play three songs and speak with Jeremy Petersen about becoming more confident in their songwriting, working with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and their opening gig for The Rolling Stones.
GVgrace features two of Colorado's most notable independent musicians in recent years. The married duo of Genevieve Patterson (Paper Bird) and Griff Snyder (Inner Oceans) creates lively synth-pop with the new project. The two have relocated to Los Angeles but are back in Denver this week for a set at the Underground Music Showcase. GVgrace stopped by the CPR Performance Studio last month to play three new songs. Patterson and Snyder also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the band's origin, getting involved with the L.A. music scene and running the Guilty Pleasure record label.
Andy Palmer has made gritty folk music as a solo artist and with the band Grub Street Writer, while also maintaining a career as a public defender. The Denver singer-songwriter in May released his latest album, "The Switch." The record explores themes of religion and social justice. Andy Palmer and his band played four songs from "The Switch" in the CPR Performance Studio. Palmer also spoke with Alicia Bruce Mitchell about how his career has shaped his music, his success in a recent songwriter's competition and his ode to abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
When Male Blonding last visited CPR's OpenAir, the Denver band had just released its self-produced "Tiny Death" EP on cassette tape. In the year since, the quartet has recorded its debut full-length in Oakland, Calif. The self-titled LP continues in the post-punk style of previous releases. Male Blonding performed three new songs in the CPR Performance Studio last month. The members also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about working with a producer for the first time, the themes of discomfort on the album and playing the Underground Music Showcase in Denver this month.
Head For The Hills has become one of the biggest names in Colorado bluegrass since forming in 2003. The Fort Collins quartet in May released its fourth album, "Potions And Poisons." It features songs about addiction and heartache, but with upbeat folk and country energy. Head For The Hills last month stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play three songs from the new album. Stream that performance and check out bassist Matt Loewen and fiddle player Joe Lessard's interview with CPR News for more on the new album.
Dandu's recent performance in the CPR Performance Studio featured a wide range of musical styles. The Denver trio -- with the help of The Other Black frontman Wes Watkins -- channeled elements of funk, hip-hop, rock and jazz. The band recently released the "Caught Between" EP and embarked on a West Coast tour. The members of Dandu played three songs and spoke with Scott Carney about how the band came together through The Other Black, recording the new EP in a basement studio and their expectations for the band's first tour.