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.
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.
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.
Brooklyn composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone formed San Fermin for a one-off performance of his sheet music compositions in 2012. However, that music would live on past that show: The band recorded and released those songs in 2013 on San Fermin’s debut self-titled album. Ludwig-Leone then solidified San Fermin as an eight-piece touring band with two lead vocalists and a blend of rock and orchestral instruments. Last year San Fermin released its second studio album, "Jackrabbit," which came to life as Ludwig-Leone and his band adapted to life as a touring band and became a close-knit musical family.
Dan Boeckner puts most indie musicians to shame as far as his energy and sheer output. The Canadian musician co-founded the pioneering indie band Wolf Parade, fronted Handsome Furs and collaborated with Spoon’s Britt Daniel in Divine Fits. Now, he leads the new band Operators. The band played at OpenAir on the release day of its debut album, "Blue Wave." The record is a continuation of the synthesizer-driven sounds of Handsome Furs with contributions of drummer Sam Brown and keyboardist Devojka.
Hard-rocking Colorado band The Yawpers brings their national tour to Lost Lake Lounge in Denver on Saturday. The Yawpers' released their latest album, "American Man," last year on Bloodshot Records. The group talked about its songwriting inspirations, new love for Bruce Springsteen and the challenges of life on the road during its recent CPR Performance Studio session.
Karen and Ryan Hover are the married duo behind Fort Collins band Sound of Ceres. They recorded three synth-pop albums as Candy Claws before venturing into ethereal space-rock territory with their new group. The Hovers recruited members of The Polyphonic Spree and Brooklyn indie rockers The Drums for "Nostalgia For Infinity," their debut album as Sound of Ceres. The band stopped into our CPR Performance Studio shortly before heading to Austin, Texas, for SXSW.