Benjamin Clementine won the 2015 Mercury Prize for his debut "At Least For Now," joining previous winners like PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys and alt-J. Clementine is a London-born self-taught musician who developed as a young street performer in Paris. His haunting and unique music blends classical music, rock and spoken word. At the center are Clementine’s bold tenor vocals and percussive piano arrangements. He stopped by the CPR Performance Studio before a headlining show at Denver's Bluebird Theater. He played three songs from "At Least For Now" and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about his career since winning the Mercury Prize, his experience as a street performer and his love for early rock 'n' roll artists like Little Richard.
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.
James Cooley has spent eight years making electronic beats and melodies in his Littleton bedroom. He has self-released five albums and three EPs under the name Mesita. Cooley rarely performs live, but he recently stopped into our studio for a unique Mesita performance: Instead of electronica, he performed solo with acoustic guitar. He performed three songs from his catalog including the recent single "All Out In The Open," and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about his new album "Laniakea," exploring new pop music directions and the possibility of a Mesita tour.
Peter Bjorn And John are now a decade removed from their breakthrough single, "Young Folks." However, the Swedish trio has remained consistently busy since then, and this year they released their seventh studio album, "Breakin' Point." The band worked on the record for five years with several producers, including Adele and Paul McCartney collaborator Paul Epworth. The result is a more pop-centric album than previous releases. In addition to performing four new songs in our studio, the band spoke with Alisha Sweeney about approaching the new album as a series of unique singles, the logistics of working with many producers on the same record and running the new INGRID recording studio and label in Stockholm, Sweden.
When The Outfit visited our performance studio in 2013, they were a fairly young Denver rock band with a few songs in their repertoire. The band has evolved quite a bit since then, and now has a debut full length out via the local Hot Congress label. We welcomed back The Outfit shortly before an album release show to preview four songs off the self-titled record. The band spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recording at Denver's Black In Bluhm studios, how Hot Congress founder Lucas Johannes has propelled their career and a recent opening set for punk pioneers Buzzcocks.
SHEL returned this month to the CPR Performance Studio for the first time since 2014. The band features the four Holbrook sisters from Fort Collins, though sister Sarah was absent for this particular session. The band recently released the album "Just Crazy Enough." The Holbrooks worked with producer and former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart for the record, which hit #13 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart upon its release in May. SHEL performed three songs from "Just Crazy Enough" in our studio.
Inner Oceans has had a steady rise since forming three years ago. The Denver experimental pop group received the "Best New Artist" of 2014 award from Westword and performed on the Underground Music Showcase main stage in Denver last July. The band has released only a few singles, but plans to release a debut album, "I Don't Mind," on Sept. 16. It will feature material they wrote and recorded during a month of seclusion in a studio outside Bailey. Inner Oceans returned to the CPR Performance Studio to play three synth-driven songs and spoke with OpenAir's Jeremy Petersen about how the band has developed its sound over the years and the details of their anticipated debut album.
The Denver band performed in our studio before their annual concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. They also gave a few hints about their forthcoming album.
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.
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.