The Local 303: Colorado Artists We’re Featuring for October 2020

October 1, 2020
Kori Hazel

We continue to stay true to our mission of supporting Colorado music and we are falling for some wonderful autumn releases for this month's Local 303! While we can't wait for the day when we can be back in the studio hosting a band for a session or in the same room with fellow music fans for a concert, our music scene continues to thrive with ways to connect virtually. We hope you'll discover a rising Colorado artist that we are featuring in October by checking out their profile below and linking up with them online. 

Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music.

Meet October's picks:

Alright Alright

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2007

Latest Release: "Crucible," Self-Release, Oct. 23, 2020

About: Husband and wife Seth and China Kent are well on their way to adding new life and complexity to the concept of the “family band.” The Kents, better known as Colorado-based duo Alright Alright, have been hard at work creating orchestral-folk for the open-minded and poetry for the broken-hearted with their new album, "Crucible." 

Full of contrast, "Crucible" tests the limits of genre and experiments with boundaries, something that Ben Wysocki (The Fray) leaned into and expanded upon in his role of producer. American Songwriter premiered the album's second single, “Trans Am,” praising the duo’s “decision not to retreat in the safety of folk music’s purposefully polished string plucks, angelically harmonizing vocals, and lush drapes of billowy reverb.”

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "Being an independent musician in the year 2020 is a little like being an astronaut launched into space. In some ways it feels like I am floating above the earth and watching things happen and trying to adjust my course. We finished our record the week before lockdown, and it's felt like a strange dream ever since. Putting out a record in a pandemic is a wild experience, but it has also been a good one. Music is the backdoor into people's hearts and minds and souls in this time where everyone has their front door barricaded. I feel a deep love for what I'm doing, and I see in a clearer way how important it is to be an artist that is connected to the heart of humanity. " - China Kent

Website: https://www.alrightx2.com/

Get Social:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Augustus

Sierra Voss

Hometown: Boulder

Formed: 2014

Album: "Color TV and Tall Tales," Self-Release, Oct. 9, 2020

About: At its core, Augustus is a singer/songwriter band, and the impressionistic lyrics are where this band's heart resides. Since 2014, Augustus has been burning the candle at both ends. The group's first LP and 5th studio album, "Color TV and Tall Tales," wrapped production in late 2019 with release slated for Oct. 9, 2020. With the help of Nate Cook’s (The Yawpers) razor sharp song crafting and production "Color TV and Tall Tales"  is sure to see the band enter into a new sonic era. "Be your Man," the lead single off the album, was selected into the KTCL Denver’s Hometown for the Holidays top 11 in 2019. 

What is it like being a musician in 2020: "There has been lots of time for personal growth, probably too much time. 2020 makes a musician wonder if they are still a musician. It may seem like a dramatic statement, but not being able to perform live or be in the same space as your friends and fans has made Augustus feel displaced and out of body. We have been trying to stay conscious that all bands/musicians,  well-known and unknown alike, feel this sense of displacement. Furthermore, everyone everywhere is feeling this feeling."

Website: augustus.live

Get Social: Instagram, Twitter

Big Hearts Club

Madeline Berky

Hometown: Denver and Fort Collins

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: "Dear, Nick" (Single), Self-Release, Aug. 11, 2020

About: Big Hearts Club is a band in a basement. <3

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "I’ve been having a hard time finding space to write and create in 2020. I think my survival brain is much more present in my day-to-day than my creative brain. It’s sad watching friend’s lose their businesses and everyone trying to imagine what the industry of live music will look like in the wake of 2020 ... My hope is that we see a shift in the way business is done and that we see people prioritize creating spaces of inclusion, and empathy, and joy, as opposed to spaces that use musicians as vehicles to sell alcohol. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in how the music business does business. Maybe this year will help people envision a more interesting future." - Dan Aid

Get Social: Instagram

Bison Bone

Luke Askelson

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2016

Latest Release: "Find Your Way Out," Self-Released, Sep. 25, 2020

About: Bison Bone is an Americana Rock and Roll Band. The new album "Find Your Way Out" is the band's most strikingly unguarded and redemptive collection of songs yet. While continuing a recovery through Lyme Disease, Bison Bone’s frontman, Courtney Whitehead, wrote songs about redemption, optimism, and kindliness, wrapped in Americana rock and roll.

“This record is for the people in or coming out of difficulties or discomforts. I've gotten my fair share of trying times in the last decade, but I continue to work beyond it and build on defining who I am. In my process of healing, I establish being more present, supportive, humble and vulnerable.”

"Find Your Way Out" is Bison Bone’s third album and was recorded with Ben Wysocki (The Fray) as co-producer, Mark Anderson (Paper Bird) co-producer/engineer, and David Welsh (The Fray) mixing. It was recorded mostly live with a lineup that includes Adam Blake (drums), Adam Stern (pedal steel/electric guitars), Ben Wysocki (percussion), Brianna Straut (backing vocals), Courtney Whitehead (guitars/vocals), Jess Parsons (keys), Mark Anderson (backing vocals), Tony Piscotti (bass), Wolf Van Elfmand (electric guitars.) All songs were written by Courtney Whitehead.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "Being a musician in 2020 is like being in any other industry in 2020 -- very difficult. I welcome the challenge though, as I do with any hardships. The band and I were in a good place before COVID and we will be ready when the time is right to get back out there. I hope this new record offers a lot of hope and optimism for our listeners because that's where I was when I wrote it. Coming out of a very difficult and dark time personally. I think our fans will be able to relate to it, and I am hoping that it can help them in some way."

Website: https://www.bisonbone.com/

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook

Ghost Tapes

Merne Judson III

Hometown: Denver

Formed: Late 2014

Latest Release: "FIG/Good News," Self-Released and distributed by Color Red, Sep. 18, 2020

About: Inspired by the elements of 70's funk and soul, 90's hip-hop and late 90's neo soul, Ghost Tapes delivers enchanting, cerebral, and poetic original music.

What it's like being a musician in 2020: "A gift and a curse. There is all the time in the world to make beautiful things. There are so few beautiful things left to write about. With so much anger and displacement and human rights violations it's difficult to write about anything else, it just doesn't seem relevant.  Social safety nets don't catch musicians as readily as perhaps a more regularly paid worker. It's difficult to keep trying to trudge on, getting much better skills while resenting the public's lack of respect for the safety of musicians or themselves. So we practice." -Zeke Kyoku

"Feeling disenfranchised, as if the platform where our collective voice resonates no longer exists. The live concert experience is the fruition that feeds both our audience and ourselves. Without it, I feel quite powerless. Continuing to write and practice instruments is difficult, as if there's a nagging sense of pointlessness to the whole affair. Being keenly aware of that now, I've been trying to let go of the identity of musician and embrace my own self-worth outside of that realm. The need to feel whole, something music satisfied for me, is better obtained through caring more intentionally for my family, friends, and community. It's worth considering how we, the musical community, would like to emerge out of this difficult time to continue our pursuit of enriching the culture around us. We'll likely need to be better connected and communicative with each other, more open to new ideas and paradigms of the live music experience, & to understand how our industry contributes to the quality of life in our community and thus embrace our own advocacy. Because if no one's listening, what's the point of playing?" -Will Carman

Website: www.ghosttapes.co

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

Josh Dillard

TOBY THOMAS HOLLINGSWORTH

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2003

Latest Release: "The Natural World," Self-Release, Nov. 20, 2020

About: Written over the past four years almost entirely in his head while studying and working as a nurse, Josh Dillard’s fifth studio album, "The Natural World," strikes like lightning, briefly illuminating the many shades of midnight.

The culmination of a 25-year collaboration with cousin and producer Peter Schottleutner (The Explorers Club), the album draws upon the history of their collective musical imagination, with influences ranging from Bill Withers, The Beach Boys, Buck Owens, and Paul Simon.

Building upon their previous successes, including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Colorado Creative Industries, the album was written and produced between Denver and New Delhi.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "It's very challenging. One of the ideas I'm navigating is how the artist speaks into the turmoil and suffering that make this world. Can an artist take hold of the invisible and make it visible? Ultimately, my desire is to use my place of privilege to honor the dignity of others by listening to, standing with, and sacrificing for the oppressed and the overlooked."

Website: WWW.JOSHDILLARDMUSIC.COM

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook 

Lokana

Cassandra Hidalgo

Hometown: Littleton, Colo.

Formed: Lokana started officially writing and recording music in October 2018.

Latest release: Lokana and her team Project Asteri released her debut single “Ride or Die” on Sep. 4, 2020 to all streaming platforms. 

About: Lokana is a 17 year old singer/songwriter who was born in Hawaii, but moved to Colorado when she was 4 years old. She has been singing since she could talk and has always dreamed about making it big as a singer ever since she could remember. Lokana has always wanted to have her music reach the ears of millions and touch the hearts of music lovers all around the world! 

In October 2018, Lokana started to write and record her music. She’s met a lot of amazing writers and producers along the way. On one of her music trips to California in early 2020, she met Producer NicoTheOwl and they had an instant connection. Together, with Topliner Sadye Cage, they created the hit "Ride or Die."

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "Being a musician in 2020 has been interesting! All I want to do is tour the world, meet fans, etc. and I just can’t do that with the way the world is right now. The cool thing about it though is that there’s a lot of people that are at home, scrolling social media and streaming music, so it’s a great way to get yourself out there. Another plus is that it’s really easy to write about the struggles of 2020. It makes for some great material!"

Website: Lokanamusic.com

Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook

Maria Levitov

Maria Levitov

Hometown: Born in Hibbing, MN. I don't really feel like I have a 'hometown' since I've lived in 10+ cities.

Formed: I released my first full-length record in 2014 and have been writing music for 17 years.

Latest Release: "Sugar Paradise" (Single), Self-Release, Apr. 10, 2020 and "A Netflix Original" (Single), Self-Release, May 10, 2020

About: Organic, spontaneous indie-folk defined by accessible, acoustic 
integrity. Music that sticks in your head and envelops your heart.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: Being a musician in 2020, for 
me, is lots of writing in my room with my dog, Chai.

Website: www.marialevitov.comhttps://marialevitov.bandcamp.com

Get Social: Instagram

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKBtaVx2kTo&feature=emb_title
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8jakealLFE&feature=emb_title

The Mazlows

Rick Kooker

Hometown: Lakewood, Colo.

Formed: 2017

Latest Release: "Community Locker," Self-Release, Aug. 6, 2020

About: Colorado-grown pop-punk band The Mazlows have been infusing their irresistible hooks, high-energy beats and infectious adrenaline into the Denver music scene ever since forming in 2017. With several successful singles and a hit music video under their belt, The Mazlows are proud to release their full-length debut album, "Community Locker," which hit airwaves in August 2020.

The four-piece band is made up of lead-guitarist/songwriter Colt Kooker, Nate Hout on vocals/rhythm guitar, Beatmaster D on drums and Pete Hodel on bass. All four grew up together in the heart of Lakewood, Colo., and are continuing on their evolutionary path, all while punk-rocking back to their roots.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "2020 sucks, no doubt.  But the great thing about music is it can help you escape your troubles, even if for just a couple of minutes. The songs you love can make you remember the good times and feel more optimistic about the future. Everyone is really craving live music right now. We've felt extremely privileged to have music as a resource in which we've been able to fall back on during this time. 

Even though we’re all close to 30 now, we’ve had some throwback angsty teen moments. All of the songs on our most recent album were written pre-COVID but they seem to really resonate with people in this crazy time. We've heard a few people say, "You're living through history." As daunting a statement as that is, it's pretty powerful at the same time. 

Website: https://www.themazlows.com/ 

Get Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify

Parker

Will Shellhorn

Hometown: Denver

Formed: Kind of back in 2018 when we made our first song “Song With Jack” off of my first project “Daisy,” but we’ve both been making music separately for all of high school.

Latest Release: “Care Not Carry,” Self-Released, Sep. 16, 2020

About: Jack and I have been making music together here and there for a couple years but this most recent project is when we decided to come together and make something cohesive. Having gone to Denver School of the Arts and studying music for the last seven years we were very inspired by our jazz education and wanted to put a contemporary spin on everything we learned in and outside of school. “Care Not Carry” was made during quarantine! This being said Jack and I had a lot of time to think about this turning point in our lives and in the world. “Care Not Carry” means that while you should care about what happens to you, you can’t give it the power to be an unnecessary weight on your shoulders.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "I honestly believe that while everything else seems so difficult to do these days, making music is one of the only things not included in that category. I knew that while all this staying at home stuff was happening that Jack and I had to come out of it with something amazing, and that we had no excuse but to do so. So much inspiration comes from experiencing new things and some of the stuff going on right now is totally new for young people like us. It has allowed me to reflect on my youth and be creative in a way that I’m not sure would have happened without 2020."

Get Social: Parker's Instagram, Parker's TikTok, Parker's Twitter, Jack's Instagram, Jack's TikTok                            

Psychologic & Kid Astronaut

Free People Records (Psychologic) and Peter Noir (Kid Astronaut)

Hometown: Kid Astronaut hails from Outerspace, but is currently based in Denver and Psychologic resides in Louisville, Colo. 

Formed: Kid Astronaut landed in your dimension in 2015 and four years earlier Psychologic was born. 

Latest Release: "Kenopsia" EP, Free People Records, Aug. 21, 2020 

About: Meet the two Colorado collaborators.

First up, a statement from Kid Astronaut, "I am Kid Astronaut, a time- and dimension-traveling musician from an alternate reality. My mission and purpose in this lifetime is to love, create amazing art and help raise the vibration of the planet. In short - I just wanna have a great time." 

Psychologic is the creation of Luke Barba, a California native who grew up in Colorado. Equipped with a keen interest in sound design, Luke began making music in 2010, with the goal of exploring his musical imagination to the fullest extent. Having drawn inspiration from heavy bass genres as well as trip-hop and electronic soul, Psychologic has since continued to evolve, resulting in music covering a wide range of styles: beautiful and emotional, dark and heavy, wonky and weird, and beyond. Luke is a classically trained pianist who is currently studying Recording Arts at CU Denver. 

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "This current reality we find ourselves in, it's asking a lot of humanity - asking us to grow, to learn, to expand, to forgive. This is a new level of the cosmic video game, but, like all great hero stories, we've been placed here because we can handle it. Musically, there's been a lot of great stuff that has come out as a reflection of COVID, social justice issues, life in general. I personally am excited to keep exploring and creating and seeing what all can come out of this time." -Kid Astronaut.

"I am very fortunate to have spent this pandemic being with my family and working on music; however, this period of time has been very psychologically taxing. The future of the music industry is very uncertain, and with this election, the future of our entire country hangs in the balance. As an electronic musician I can essentially only convey emotions, but if I were speaking on the issues of 2020 through my music I would have it say this: The problems facing the United States should not be considered political in nature. Systemic racism, economic injustice, and climate change are humanitarian issues. We created them, and we can solve them. We need to reinstate our country's commitment to equality, justice, and scientific facts, and from there we can start working on solutions. Black Lives Matter, as do the lives of LGBTQ+, immigrants, and all minorities. The reproductive health of women's bodies matters, and the state of our climate system matters." -Psychologic 

Website: Kid Astronaut, Psychologic

Get Social: Kid Astronaut Instagram, Kid Astronaut Twitter, Psychologic Instagram, Psychologic Facebook, Psychologic Spotify  

Schama Noel

Kori Hazel

Hometown: Orlando, Fla. based in Denver, Colo.

Formed: 2013

Latest Release: "Eternal Feels 2," Self-Released, Feb. 14, 2020

About: Born in Port Au Prince, Haiti to two conservative Christian parents, Noel’s rap aspirations were nearly dead on arrival. Despite his adamancy on not cursing and staying away from sexually explicit material, Noel still couldn’t get his parent’s blessing nor their blind eye. Yet Noel continued onward in secret, filling his teenage years with poetry that evolved into voracious flows that have established him as the artist he is today. Only when he received an invite to perform in Dubai in 2015 did his parents change their tune and finally begin to see his merits. 

Noel initially gained a viral profile on Twitter with RapLike, an account dedicated to emulating some of the biggest rappers in the world. He then moved from Orlando, Fla., to Denver, where his own music has rapidly tapped into a large audience. Through it all, Schama Noel has hit his stride.

What's it like being a musician in 2020: "Being a musician in 2020 means reinventing yourself as an artist, taking the time to truly master all aspects of your craft, and finding different ways to keep your audience engaged."

Website: twitter.com/raplike

Get Social: Instagram, Twitter

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