Wheelchair Sports Camp has spent years establishing a reputation as "Denver's biggest smallest band" through live shows, EPs and singles that blend Kalyn Heffernan's rap lyrics with rock, jazz and even country instruments. Their music has won them fans like rapper Sage Francis and landed them on the cover of The Village Voice. This month the band released their debut studio album, "No Big Deal." They worked with keyboardist and producer Isaiah "Ikey" Owens on the album shortly before his death in 2014. Wheelchair Sports Camp returned to our CPR Performance Studio this month to perform some music from the album. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about working with the late Owens, signing to Sage Francis' Strange Famous label and getting "roasted" by comedian Jeff Ross at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.
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.
If you're familiar with the Elephant Six collective, you'll know there have been several notable bands with a Denver connection to come out of it. In addition to Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples In Stereo and Dressy Bessy, that list includes The Minders, who have since relocated to Portland, Ore. Fronted by Martyn Leaper, The Minders have been fairly quiet in recent years. But the band returned this month with the album "Into The River," which they released the same day they visited our CPR Performance Studio. Leaper and his band played four songs from the new album. He also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about incorporating string parts into the band's music for the first time, how they spent the 10 years since the debut album, and the history behind the Elephant Six collective.
Since visiting the CPR Performance Studio in April 2015, the Denver band Edison has expanded to a three-piece, signed to a new record label and toured the U.S. Some locations on their journeys -- the Arizona desert, the Chesapeake Bay and the Colorado mountains -- inspired their debut album "Familiar Spirit," which came out last week. Edison returned to CPR's OpenAir last month to perform three songs off the new album. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the band's expansion, their decision to sign with Rhyme & Reason Records and why a camera crew has been following the band all summer.
Low Cut Connie can count one very notable fan among their followers: President Barack Obama. The Philadelphia band's song “Boozophilia” appeared on one of his Spotify playlists for summer 2015. That selection led to a face-to-face meeting with President Obama last year. Frontman Adam Weiner described the surprising experience to Alisha Sweeney during the band's performance in our CPR Performance Studio last month. Low Cut Connie's latest album is "Hi Honey." The band performed a song from that album as well as a new song before a show at Denver's Hi-Dive.
River Whyless came to CPR's OpenAir highly recommended by WNCW in the band's home state of North Carolina. The four-piece out of Asheville, N.C., recently released their second album, "We All The Light," after a performance at this year's Newport Folk Festival. The band played three songs from the new album in our CPR Performance Studio before a show at Denver's Ogden Theatre. They also spoke with Scott Carney about forming at Appalachian State University, performing at NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert and how their music has become more personal with the new record.
Denver band Paper Bird returned this week to the CPR Performance Studio. We first hosted the band's retooled lineup -- with new member Carleigh Atkins, who replaced singer-songwriter Esme Patterson -- back in 2014, and today the band releases its new self-titled album. Paper Bird recorded the LP in Nashville with producer John Oates of Hall & Oates. It finds the band moving away from folk and into rock 'n' roll. The band played four songs from the album and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how a personnel change affected the band's sound, releasing their music through a record label for the first time and why this new album feels like a fresh start.
Lillian Soderman -- who performs simply as Lillian -- has a lot of musical friends in Colorado. That's a big reason she moved back to the Centennial state from California to record her new EP, "Desert Song." The release features members of Denver bands Inner Oceans and Paper Bird, but it's Soderman who is front and center on its five songs. The music features sparse folk arrangements that allow her breezy vocals to shine but often move into dream-rock crescendos. Lillian stopped into the CPR Performance Studio before her show tonight at Larimer Lounge. She performed three songs from the EP with her band and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about recording at Denver's Mammoth Cave Studio, how her sound has changed over the past five years and her time working as a counselor for homeless youth.
The Portland, Ore., band played five songs from their new album during their second visit to OpenAir's studio.
Kyle Craft's musical story begins in Shreveport, La., where he found inspiration in the swamp music of his home state and the glam rock of David Bowie. Those two genres meet on his debut album, "Dolls Of Highland," which he recorded in a laundry room. Craft and his band stopped into our studio to perform four songs from the album and speak with Alisha Sweeney about sneaking into the Sub Pop Records office to drop off his demo, the seedy characters on his debut album and his classic rock influences.
Robin Edwards' music career began in Denver. She played in bands like Lust-Cats of the Gutter and The Matildas, and booked concerts at venues like Rhinoceropolis and Bar Bar. When her earlier groups ended, the singer and guitarist started writing and performing pop-punk music as Lisa Prank -- backed only by a drum machine. Edwards now lives in Seattle and often collaborates with bands like Chastity Belt and Tacocat. This year she released "Adult Teen," her debut album as Lisa Prank. Edwards stopped into our studio to play four songs from the album and talked with OpenAir about her early days in the Denver music scene, what it means to be an "Adult Teen" and her love for the music of They Might Be Giants.