Poet's Row is set to release two new EPs this weekend -- "The Artichoke" and "The Armadillo." Both records showcase a different side of the Denver band: The former is solely the folk duets of founding members Mickey Bakas and Emily Hobbs, while the latter incorporates a full band. Poet's Row celebrates the EP releases with a two-night stint at Syntax Physic Opera on Friday and Saturday. Before those shows, the band stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for the first time since 2013. They performed four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recruiting members of Clouds & Mountains and Chimney Choir for "The Armadillo" and how Bakas and Hobbs balance their marriage with their band duties.
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.
Eye & The Arrow brings a different musical direction with each visit to OpenAir's studio. The Denver trio, which features two members of folk-rock band Paper Bird, visited in 2012 and 2013, but neither performance was quite like the one they gave us earlier this month. They performed three songs from the forthcoming EP and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the real-life "ghost" tapes that inspired the record and working with John Oates of Hall & Oates in Nashville. The band is set to release the new cassette EP "Ghost Tapes," with a performance on May 27 at Globe Hall.
Elephant Revival last joined us at OpenAir in 2014 as they were preparing for a Red Rocks Amphitheatre show opening for Devotchka. The band will perform at the famous Colorado venue again on May 22, but this time around, they will be the headliners. The Nederland-based quintet just released its latest album, "Petals," which they recorded in part at eTown Music Hall in Boulder. The band performed four songs from the new album at OpenAir and spoke with us about the exciting visual elements of their live show, the time cellist Bonnie Paine's bow "exploded" on stage and the forthcoming music videos the band filmed in Colorado.
The band Caveman tells a story on its website about a group on a desert planet who seek an "archaic apparatus." The device is said to end the so-called "Otero War," which is the title of the forthcoming third album from the Brooklyn band. Caveman will release "Otero War" on June 17. The band was tight-lipped about the concept behind the new album when they recently performed new songs at OpenAir. But frontman Matthew Iwanusa did tell OpenAir's Jeremy Petersen that the album features a cohesive, central story.
Singer Brent Cowles took a big risk in late 2014 when he split up his Fort Collins-based band You Me & Apollo. He's now pursuing a solo career and shared some new songs in the CPR Performance Studio.
Matthew Logan Vasquez spent the past decade fronting the California-based band Delta Spirit, which has released four albums. The band's music soundtracked the final scene of the television series "Friday Night Lights." Delta Spirit is currently on a break, but Vasquez isn't slowing down. He released his debut solo LP, "Solicitor Returns," in February and recently played a headlining show at Denver's Lost Lake Lounge. The album is Vasquez's attempt to move away from pure Americana-folk and into a rock 'n' roll sound.
Denver band Pan Astral kicked off their OpenAir session with a song that pays tribute to their hometown. "Mile High City" appears on their recently released third studio album, "Suburban Blues." Pan Astral has a growing reputation for live performances. The group recently expanded into a fuller rock band sound with strong electronic influences thanks to new member Kyle Zender.
We first heard the music of Whiskey Autumn in the band's submission to NPR Music's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. The Boulder trio's video for "Dog Days" introduced us to their smart, catchy electronic pop and we included it as one of our 10 favorite Colorado entries this year. The band played four songs at OpenAir and spoke with OpenAir's Jeremy Petersen about the production behind their Tiny Desk video, shifting from folk to electronic music and how R&B singer Frank Ocean inspired their sound.
Syracuse, N.Y., band Ra Ra Riot returned to our CPR Performance Studio this month before a headlining show at Denver's Bluebird Theater. The band's fourth album, "Need Your Light," finds the group blending the string-laden baroque pop of their early catalog with the '80s synthesizer vibes of their more recent output.
Denver singer-songwriter Rachael McCuaig was one of thousands of artists around the country who submitted an original video to NPR’s second annual Tiny Desk Concert Contest earlier this year. She used a simple setup in her contest submission -- just vocals and guitar -- but it was enough to make our list of 10 favorite Colorado entries from 2016. McCuaig hasn't recorded an official release, so we were thrilled to host her in the CPR Performance Studio recently and share her music with our audience for the first time.