We are taking some time this month to honor some of the women who inspire the music scene across Colorado. From mainstays like Porlolo, Dressy Bessy, and the newest band from Suzi Allegra, to welcoming in new voices like Claire Heywood and Nina de Freitas, this is the Women's History Month edition of The Local 303.
Genre: Soul, Indie-Rock
Latest Release: "The Wind It Howls" (EP), self-released, March 2019
About: Claire Heywood is a singer-songwriter known for her powerful voice and emotive lyrics. She self-released her debut EP, "The Wind It Howls," at Syntax Physic Opera in March 2019 and followed with sets at The Underground Music Showcase, SoFar Sounds, and Ophelia's.
This year, Heywood and her band are recording new material out of guitarist Michael Sandoval's home studio and Avalanche Recording Studio.
Heywood's next release (April 17) is a high-energy, anthemic single called "Python," which sees her take on new roles as a rhythm guitarist and co-producer. The new single also includes backup vocalist Rebecca Hannigan, who joined the group's live show shortly after their first release.
A longtime creative writer, Heywood explored the crafts of vocal performance and songwriting for two years before beginning to play solo sets in small listening rooms around Denver in 2017. By late 2018, her backing band had formed: Wes Barton (drums), Trevor Vader (bass), Duncan Britt (keys), and Michael Sandoval (guitar). In 2020, Heywood will release new singles throughout the summer, culminating in a second EP which will be out early fall.
Artists That Inspire: Mazzy Star, Jenny Lewis, Johnny Cash, Chan Marshall, and Sharon Van Etten.
Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico, now residing in Denver
Genre: Indie rock, or as Lizzie Manno says, "the crossroads of retro folk-pop, indie rock and psych funk!"
Latest Release: "Hurts Being Alive" and the singles are "Not a Complicated Person" and "Hurts Being Alive," Mutually Detrimental, Mar. 6, 2020.
About: Down Time formed in 2015, with no intentions, with no ego—the way groups of friends gravitate towards like-minded people. The jamming, the casual creative sessions, and early live performances eventually became the collection of songs on Down Time’s first EP, "Good Luck!", released in 2017. It’s an inviting handful of bedroom indie rock -- the type of glass-half-full songwriting that at once delights, consoles, and rewards multiple listens. From there, the band grew its regional fanbase outside of Denver—touring throughout the southwest and west coast and performing with the likes of Snail Mail, Liza Anne, The Shacks, Palehound, and The Reptaliens.
What listeners connect with is Down Time’s affectionate melodies and lyrical benevolence. This communal atmosphere of creativity soon linked Down Time with Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore of Denver band Tennis. Riley and Moore recorded Down Time’s debut album "Hurts Being Alive" in June 2019, marking a leap forward for the band in terms of scope and vision.
Listening to Down Time is like dropping in on a friend -- someone who’s there to listen or challenge or provide a new perspective. Down Time brings excitement to familiarity. It’s a conversation between three friends that invites the listener to be part of the family.
Artists That Inspire: Front woman Alyssa Maunders said she grew up listening to her dad sing along to Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell a lot: "Quite well I might add, with my mom chiming in encouragingly, 'He has SUCH a beautiful voice doesn't he?'" Maunders goes on to say that the singer-songwriters of the 60's and 70's were prominent in her home. More so she adds, "It wasn't until recently that I rediscovered some music and fell in love with forgotten voices such as Connie Converse (1924-1974) , Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton and Kim Jung Mi. These were mostly thanks to friends' recommendations. More recently I have been very inspired by Cate Le Bon's writing style ("Reward" was top 5 albums of 2019), Jessica Pratt's ethereal voice, Lomelda's free-writing feel, Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief.... that's probs enough."
Catch Them Live: Album release show at Lost Lake on Mar. 6 with Bluebook and Bellhoss.
Band Website: downtimeforever.com
Get Social: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Latest Release: "Fast Faster Disaster," Yep Roc Records, June 14, 2019
About: It's been just over 20 years since Denver's Dressy Bessy released their debut album and as founding guitarist John Hill sees it, they're better than ever. Reflecting on frontwoman Tammy Ealom's direction for their 2019 album, he says, "Tammy's songwriting and performance are as vital as ever. She's the genuine article and one of the strongest, most talented women I know." On their seventh album "Fast Faster Disaster" the band says even though it has serious elements, it also remains consistent with the same pursuit of joy and transcendence that's motivated them since the early days.
Catch Them Live: The band will be at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on Mar. 21 and playing supporting dates in Colorado this spring opening for Southern Culture On The Skids from May 14-16.
Genre: Dream Pop, Psych, Shoegaze
Latest Release: "It Means Trouble" on Potential Music and self-released, Jan. 4, 2020
About: Suzi Allegra (vocals/guitar) started Eyebeams in 2017 with friends from previous bands as a renewed channel for her songwriting.
“At age 14, I began writing music informed by emotions – I needed an outside space for intense feelings to go, where I might explore, understand, share, heal, evolve and strengthen connection, where it was OK to be vulnerable. Over two decades later, I owe young Suzi a thank-you for cultivating that space.” – Suzi Allegra
Eyebeams presented their first self-titled EP in 2018 with a companion black light poster designed by long-time musical co-conspirator and then bassist, Nathan Brazil.
"It Means Trouble" was released January 2020 on 12” vinyl with front and back covers featuring colorful Perler bead art by the band’s guitarist Andrew Elkins, who also recorded and produced the album.
“The bright, languid psychedelia of the record ranges far from what we’ve come to expect from that loose genre of the past decade. It’s as though lead vocalist/guitarist Suzi Allegra absorbed all the influences that have manifested in recent music but long before when she was growing up and used it as a launching point into emotional outer space.” - Tom Murphy, Queen City Sounds and Art
Eyebeams is: Suzi Allegra (guitar/vocals), Andrew Elkins (guitar/vocals), Dave Meyer (bass), Fez Garcia (drums).
Band Website: https://eyebeams.bandcamp.com/
Get Social: Facebook, Twitter
Genre: dark + soulful americana-rock
Latest Release: "Chaos Tongue" EP, self-release, March 28, 2020
About: Denver-based Florea weaves together an unexpected blend of dark, soulful, and sultry americana-rock. The haunting ebb and flow feel like stormy incantations beckoning light and dark, lost and found.
Artists That Inspire: Megan Fong of Florea reflects, "I've been fortunate to have music part of my life since I was pretty little. It gave me an anchor and an outlet, and plenty of opportunity for my older brother to tease me singing along to my cassette recordings from the radio. Growing up, my mom loved Dylan, and Joni, and Neil, and Ronstadt, and dad was all about the Stones, Who, Doobie Brothers, and lots of jazz classics. Cliché, I'm sure! Always loved Etta and Leonard and Nick and PJ and Whitney and Aretha and Otis and Al, to name a few. Feeling inspired by artists who share their truth and those lifting each other up."
Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico, moved to Denver in 2009
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Experimental Pop, “Heaven Metal”
Latest Release: “Forever,” The Flenser Record Label, April 10, 2020
About: Midwife is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Madeline Johnston. Her sophomore album, "Forever," will be released on San Francisco’s heavy music label The Flenser.
As a self taught guitarist and recording engineer, Midwife explores dark subject matter in her anthemic, pop-gaze hits.
"Forever" chronicles Johnston’s first encounter with death, and trying to navigate that experience.
Artists That Inspire: When asked about musical inspiration Johnston said, "I’m very inspired by live music, and Denver’s diverse music scene! I have always been inspired by experimental music Rhinoceropolis, focus on womxn and LGBTQIA+ identifying artists of Titwrench Collective, and Jonathan Bitz’s focus on local curation at (now closed) Syntax Physic Opera."
Catch Them Live: Tour kickoff shows at Nude City Relief Center on Mar. 27 with Devin Flower (from Chicago), Roger Green, and Jason Sidney Sanford. Also, Shove Chapel at Colorado College on Mar 29.
Band Website: www.midwifemusic.com
Nina de Freitas
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Latest Release: "Keeps Me Coming Back," self-released, Dec. 6, 2019
About: After forming as Nina and The Hold Tight in 2017, Nina de Freitas is currently transitioning back into being known as a solo artist. As The Hold Tight their submission to the 2018 NPR Tiny Desk Contest resulted in a feature on the All Songs Considered blog. Following that, they performed including a critically-hailed main stage set at Denver’s 2018 Underground Music Showcase. Alex Kramer of 303 Magazine wrote of the band’s live set, “Through music, The Hold Tight supplies an inexplicable excitement and devotion that carries itself through your whole being.” As a solo artist de Freitas continues writing and performing energetic and emotional songs, with the intention to elevate her listeners to a new level of feeling with every passionate note she plays. Nina will be recording a new EP this spring and is excited to debut new music very soon.
Artists That Inspire: When asked about musical influences, Nina de Freitas said, "Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins has been my vocal hero lately. She is so unafraid of using every part of her voice to convey whatever it is she is wanting to convey. It's so inspiring and so enlightening. Every song she sings is like a study in human emotion."
Catch Her Live: Mercury Cafe on Mar. 7 for Women, Whiskey, and Song; The Chimney Place on Mar. 12
Get Social: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Latest Release: "They Say You're A Demon," Self-Release (July 12, 2019)
About: Lela Roy’s soaring voice powers the band’s songs, which mine the sounds of dream-pop, 90’s alternative rock, and experimental indie. Eddie Schmid (bass) and Ramel Sanchez (drums) are the band’s driving backbone. Daniel DiMarchi (lead guitar/synth) adds dreamy textures, and Stephen Pamas (guitar, synth) adds honeyed vocal harmonies and tuneful leads. After honing their sound in Colorado basements, the five-piece went on to record their debut album. In July 2019, on the heels of being named "Best New Rock Band" by Westword, the band released the EP “They Say You’re a Demon." Looking ahead, the band will release their sophomore album in Fall 2020.
Catch Them Live: Larimer Lounge on Mar. 18 with Palehound
Artists That Inspire: Front woman Lela Roy said, "I grew up listening almost exclusively to the Beatles, Jewel and Lucinda Williams. I think my childhood influences really pushed me to be what I always thought of as 'another girl singer/songwriter writing sad love songs.' In the past I have really resented that about my own style, I thought it was too cliche. In my more recent years I’ve come to some peace with that idea, learning to respect romantic love and heartbreak as another amazing color to our human experience. I’ve learned to see the music that I write as pure therapy for myself, and I no longer judge the subject matter."
Hometown: Denver, now based in Fort Collins, Colo.
Genre: Indie Folk
Latest Release: "Awards" EP, self-release, 2016 and "I Quit" (single), 2019
About: Porlolo is a true labor of love, with good friends finding peace and party times through musical connection. Formed in Denver in 2002 by the eccentric and prolific Erin Roberts, Porlolo has been a highly collaborative project. Roberts -- a self-defined sister, swimmer and stunt artist -- is a powerful songwriting force, cranking out grungy, sometimes twangy, often pure pop hits. Over her last 18 years of deliberate wandering through Denver, Gunnison, Colo., Eugene, Ore., and most recently Fort Collins, Roberts draws inspiration from the dramatic landscapes and even more dramatic personalities.
Says Roberts of her current lineup, “Porlolo has been an incredibly powerful force in my own life, providing equal amounts of sanity and absurdity, keeping it weird when life gets tedious, heavy and too adult.”
Porlolo just finished up a 5-song EP with producer James Barone (Beach House, Nathaniel Rateliff), to be released in summer 2020. Stay tuned!
Our motto: "BE COOL, FIND YOURSELF, FIND YOUR PEOPLE, BE TRUE TO WHAT YOU ARE, HAVE PARTIES, JUMP AROUND, CARE LESS WHILE CARING BETTER."
Artists That Inspire: "It's easy for me to identify artists that have influenced me as a songwriter - Palace Music, Songs: Ohia, Silver Jews, Cat Power, and Kate Magnus.
But the artists that inspire me tend to be those with such clear artistic vision, that push up against genre and bring something super compelling. Big Thief, Koffee, Kathleen Hanna, and Down Time. And I'm extremely inspired by women with longevity in the industry, because there is still almost no female representation -- music managers, club owners, booking agents, sound engineers, label owners, radio professionals -- so many dudes. I think women artists totally won 2019, so many insanely good releases. I hope the industry opens up a little to diversifying other key roles as well, because too much of the same limits creativity & progress."
Catch Them Live: EP Release party (TBD)
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.
Latest Release: "Miss Sometimes,” self-release, April 2018
About: Rock isn’t dead and Señorita Sometimes is here to prove it. The five-piece powerhouse band fuses punk, grunge, and alternative rock sounds to create music that is relentlessly fun, energizing audiences in Colorado and across the country. Pulling inspiration from rock legends like The Distillers, Nirvana, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Señorita Sometimes is the band you’ll want to tell all your friends you discovered first.
Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Stacy Sevelin was playing solo in California when she moved to Fort Collins, Colo., in 2008. In 2015 she eventually formed Señorita Sometimes with lead guitarist Menyus Borocz and drummer Sean Speer. The rest of the band came together with the addition of bassist Craig Powell in 2017, and keyboardist/guitarist Cassie Cowan in 2018.
Señorita Sometimes have been longtime festival favorites in Colorado, and regulars at the FoCoMX music festival since FoCoMX8 (also their first live show). Believing there’s no rest for the wicked, the band has continued to grow their fervent fan base throughout 2019, with appearances at both New West Fest and South by Southwest music festivals. Their well-received debut album, "Miss Sometimes," is available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, and iTunes. If you live in the Fort Collins area, you can sometimes get lucky enough to catch the band as their dynamic alter-egos, No Doubt About It, a No Doubt cover band they break out for special occasions like Halloween and FoCoMX!
Sure, music is a serious business, and to make it in the industry, a band has to be serious too. But despite their professionalism and dedication to their craft, what sets the members of Señorita Sometimes apart is they all believe in the same vision: life is short, so let’s have a blast!!!
Artists That Inspire: Frontwoman Stacy Sevelin lists the following as a few of the many female musicians that inspire her, "Brody Dalle, Lizzo, Karen O., Santigold, St. Vincent, and Kim Deal," among many other local artists like "Jen Korte and Bevin Luna."
She looks back at the power of music in her life growing up, "As soon as I can remember, music was something special in my life. It made me experience an array of different emotions. I remember listening to Led Zeppelin and Bowie records and Michael Jackson on tape at just 3 years old. I was in love. It made me feel good. I began begging my Dad for karaoke machines (where you could fade out the vocals) and started to sing when no one was home. As soon as I heard any sound from humans, I quickly stopped and acted like I was doing something else. I recorded myself singing and would share them with no one. One time my sister stole one of these tapes (I was singing “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette) and she put it in my dad’s tape deck for all to hear. I was mortified and wanted to karate chop her but started planting my revenge instead.
I then picked up the guitar around 13 years old and began writing songs. I also wrote poetry and would often use the poems as lyrics to my songs.
I began going to punk rock/rock/alternative shows in the greater LA/OC area around age 14. I was hooked. All my money supported my obsession in going to live shows. As soon as I saw The Distillers and No Doubt as a teen, it was just the beginning of my dream to play live music. And I eventually did.
Music is my life. Music brings people together. Music heals. And music saves."
Catch Them Live: Surfside7 in Fort Collins on April 3, Music City Hot Chicken’s Anniversary Party in Fort Collins on April 18 and part of the lineup at this years FoCoMX12 the weekend of April 24-25.
Band Website: www.señoritasometimes.com
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
The Still Tide
Latest Release: "Between Skies" EP, Mod y Vi, Jan. 17, 2020
About: Anna Morsett has never been in one place for too long. Whether traveling in her mind or in actual transit, she has always been searching for the steadiness that her band name implies: The Still Tide. While Morsett’s project has gone through several iterations, hometowns and releases the one constant has always been her honest, intentional and luminous brand of indie rock. Influenced as much by growing up in the Pacific Northwest as by her experiences traveling the globe as a guitar tech for artists such as The Tallest Man on Earth and Kaki King, The Still Tide is Morsett’s true and heartfelt landing place for her confessional lyrics and intricate guitar work.
Catch Them Live: The band will be hitting the road this month to play South By Southwest in Austin, Texas as well as Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho.
Get Social: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
Hometown: Formed in Boulder, now in Denver
Latest Release: The Velveteers, self-release, Feb. 7, 2018
About: The Velveteers are an American Rock trio who is the epitome of punk with the aggressive sound and grungy wisdom that transcends through 21-year-old guitarist and lead singer Demi Demitro and her two drummers. Through fuzzed out guitar riffs and thunderous drums they lure their audience with vibes that come right out of a classic horror flick. They are compared to the likes of The Stooges, T.REX, and Led Zeppelin. They began as a duo but more recently added a second drummer, and in doing so have created something completely unique, with their two kits partly morphed together. The two sticks men now not only conjoin to create the rhythms but are also forced to share cymbals. The result is an aggressive primal sound, a thundering syncopation that spars against Demi's vocals and distorted guitar for attention, and produces a listening experience like being slammed by a ten-ton truck.
Artists That Inspire: Frontwoman Demi Demitro's range of influences include PJ Harvey, Meg White, Brody Dalle, Lizzo, Alison Mosshart, Poison Ivy, Yola, Karen Elson, and Dolly Parton.
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