The Local 303: Colorado Artists We’re Featuring For January 2021
We are welcoming the new year with some exciting Colorado musicians!
Get lost in the latest from hip-hop artist and activist Xiuhtezcatl. The teenage multi-hyphenate was named Time's "100 Next" two years ago as well as receiving accolades from Rolling Stone who put him on its “25 under 25” list in 2017.
South of France is readying the release of "Remember That Cool Thing We Did" due out next month. The album includes "Comme Ca," the poppy single heard in the latest season of Netflix series Bojack Horseman.
Northern Colorado legend Jon Snodgrass comes to the Local 303 after a very prolific 2020 that saw the release of three new albums; one of which is with English folk singer Frank Turner. Snodgrass is a founding member of bands Drag the River and Armchair Martian.
Boulder folk musician Daniel Rodriguez, formerly of Elephant Revival, has a new album out called "Sojourn of a Burning Sun," and one of our favorites is his song inspired by our state.
Teenage act HEINWA who recorded an EP with her brother during the first few months of quarantine sent us her debut; as well as Immigrant's Child, another band that started jamming in their mid-teens. The four-piece, now in their early-twenties, put out an impressive first EP in November.
Latin pop singer Katiria, who comes from a musical family, recently moved to Colorado from Puerto Rico will premiere her single "Mientes" a catchy song in Spanish that she wrote in quarantine.
Jess Parsons channels female folk and pop rock icons from the 1970s on her new solo EP out this month. The talented songwriter leaned into her break as a touring member of Australian musician Alex Cameron's band.
Another beloved Denver indie act, Bud Bronson & the Good Timers got some studio time during the pandemic with "Manifest Fantasy" and KoKo LA from the collective R A R E B Y R D $ represents her group as she digs deep with her new solo release.
Husband-wife band Plume Varia responds to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 with a hopeful new single "Hold On To Me." Collaborators and couple WALLY also share their new dream pop singles.
Meet some of the musicians (virtually!) We will livestream our Local 303 Meetup on Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. MT on our homepage or watch from YouTube. The Meetup will feature performances from Jess Parsons and Immigrant's Child.
Meet January's picks:
Bud Bronson & The Good Timers
Latest Release: Manifest Fantasy, Self-released, Dec. 4, 2020
About: Bud Bronson & the Good Timers (BBGT) has always been about mythology. As young 20-somethings in the early 2010s, we dove headfirst into the clichés of youthful indulgence, championing the idea that maturity was a burden to be forever avoided. In 2020, with the flames of dystopia rising higher by the day, the band's transformation has come full circle. "Manifest Fantasy" is a greatest hits collection of BBGT tropes—the war between escapism and reality, the promise and emptiness of idealism, the false safety of the past versus fear of the future—all delivered with the bone-crushing heaviness of modern-day American existence.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: We can’t practice, we don’t have shows to look forward to, and it’s hard to remember we’re part of a huge community of musician pals in town, because we never see them. But we did manage to record this EP last summer, and we are trying to prep for our next rock odyssey. We’re doing what we can. Things will get better!
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Hometown: Grew up in Mystic, Conn. but live in Boulder, Colo.
Formed: Started Elephant Revival in 2006. Went solo in 2018.
Latest Release: "Sojourn of a Burning Sun," Renew Records/BMG, Aug. 28, 2020
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: It's certainly has been tough on the financial side, but on the creative side it has been wonderful. I wrote a couple records worth of songs over this extended period of being stationary. Now I just have to get in the studio once this all blows over.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
Latest Release: "HEINWA: At Home with Her Greatest Hits" Self-release, Oct. 30, 2020
About: HEINWA is the solo project of Annalise Goetz, a music education student from Denver. Annalise started HEINWA during spring 2020 while quarantined at her parents' house. With the help of her brother and producer Alex Goetz, HEINWA's debut EP was released. The EP, "HEINWA: At Home with Her Greatest Hits" reflects on the unprecedented nature of 2020 and maintains a warm spirit by featuring audio clips of people closest to Annalise that she could not see in person. Despite all of the weird stuff that 2020 has brought, Annalise remains a funny guy motivated by Chicken Tikka Masala and good tunes.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: There is an inclination to want to create something meaningful in all of my time stuck in the house but everyday is pretty mundane so I don't feel like I can always create something that people will want to listen to. There is a lot of negativity and panic surrounding the pandemic and so it is important to find positive outlets for all of the emotion that comes along with this. Writing music has been everything to me during this time of disconnect. Even though it may be hard to write as much music as I want to, I've found that people around me are super supportive. Everyone needs good news and joy and great music right now so there are a lot of people to share your hype with.
Get Social: Spotify, Instagram
Hometown: We all come from different parts of Colorado so we just say Denver!
Latest Release: "Immigrant's Child" EP, Self-release, Nov. 27, 2020
About: Immigrant's child consists of four members: Josiah on bass, Mario on guitar, Brenden on drums and Keeana on vocals. Siblings Josiah and Keeana met Mario years ago and have been jamming since they were 14, 15 and 17. In 2017 the trio started writing music regularly and Brenden joined a year later.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: We started playing shows for the first time last summer. After working on a bunch of new music we decided that 2020 would be our year and we booked most of the summer, but then quarantine happened. We were bummed that we weren’t able to play live shows because it’s the best part about being musicians, but quarantine has given us time we may have never had otherwise. Recording the EP had been on the back burner because we got busy with work, performances, school, etc. The time at home gave us an opportunity to focus on recording, getting a new photo shoot done, working with a graphic designer for new art, and focusing on social media. It has been hard getting creative to keep people interested, but quarantine has taught us how cool of a tool social media can be in a time like this and how isolation can provide time for art to grow.
Get Social: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Hometown: Liberal, Kan. but Denver since 2008
Latest Release: "Hear Me Calling" EP, Self-released, Jan. 8, 2021
About: With equal parts heartbreak and splendor, Jess Parsons' songs evoke the classic singer songwriters of the 70s with a touch of Rumour's-style world weariness. She can also be seen performing with Alex Cameron, The Still Tide, Bluebook, Patrick Dethlefs & Street Cats Making Love.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: It's definitely been a shift. There was quite the hustle in 2018/2019. When I wasn't on tour with Alex Cameron, most nights of the the week I was performing or rehearsing with one of the other projects I'm in. The first few months of quarantine felt like a vacation. I really enjoyed the break! Over the summer and fall I recorded some. Also, performed at and booked for Lost City, which was a really fun experience. Most recently, some friends and I bought a tape machine. Working on a basement covers record to pass the winter months.
Get Social: Instagram
Hometown: St. Joseph, Mo. and based in Fort Collins, Colo.
Formed: Started releasing records in the early 90s
Latest Release: I've put out 3 records during quarantine:
1) "Prost Mijos" (a positive vibes kids record for adults mostly)
2) "TACE" (rock record w/ a bunch of buddies)
3) "Buddies II: Still Buddies" w/ Frank Turner
About: Jon Snodgrass is a longtime musician who plays rock & roll and Americana. He is a founding member of Armchair Martian, Drag The River,
and Scorpios. In addition, he has made records with Frank Turner, Cory Branan, Joey Cape, and is a senior class alum of The Revival Tour. He has toured all over the world with Flogging Molly, Frank Turner, and Justin Townes Earle to name a few.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: I'm getting more done actually. Three records & 33 jingles. I was commissioned to write a bunch of songs for people and jingles for places this summer.
Get Social: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
Hometown: Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to Denver, Colo. in 2019.
Formed: Quarantine 2020!
Latest Release: ''Mientes'' (Single), Self-Released, Dec. 12, 2020
About: Music was always my passion. All I ever wanted to do is sing in front of a large audience for the rest of my life. I would always sign up for school talent shows, competitions, or anything involving performing arts so I can have those minutes that fulfill me so much. I even remember performing some Shakira or Britney Spears to my entire family whenever I had a chance. I knew from an early age that this was the thing that was going to make me the happiest. My dad even bought me my first guitar for my fourth birthday so I can follow his footsteps.
Katiria’s father was a well-known singer and songwriter for the Salsa and Merengue genre, collaborated with big artists, such as Lalo Rodriguez, Paquito Guzman and Hector Tricoche.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: Not gonna lie, at first it was tough. I had to postpone so many things I had planned. I couldn't meet people to record or do music videos. My producer got sick and the other one had to go back to school, but I just had to find a way to make it work. I had an URGE to write and sing. I told myself this was going to be the year I finally start my music career, I couldn't let myself down again. So I bought myself a microphone, and started working with producers virtually. It turned out amazing! I met people who were going through the same thing and learned so much from doing music production online. I'm beyond grateful I didn't give up.
Hometown: Aurora, Colo.
Formed: I've been performing music as a classically trained violist since 2000. I've been a recording artist since 2011. In 2015, I teamed together with Kheya Lenay Yeager to form the R A R E B Y R D $ Collective, better known as the group R A R E B Y R D $.
Latest Release: "$UCH_IZ_LIFE," Self-released, Nov. 22, 2020
About: KoKo LA is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, engineer, producer who created a name for herself through her witty & forthright lyricism, as well as her unique style of soulful vocalizing. Once a solo artist, she banded with Key~Lady & the Front Strangers in 2015 to form R A R E B Y R D $, a collaborative collective based out of Denver. Along with R A R E B Y R D $, KoKo LA focuses on collaborating with as many quality artists as possible, with the intent of building & cultivating an expansive sonic future.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: Being a musician in quarantine has been highly beneficial for our craft, as a collective, & my personal craft(s). Before quarantine, we were always on the go, show after show. We were booked up through the summer! However, once the pandemic struck and we were holed up, I took the opportunity to continue the journey that is uniting mind/body/spirit. Through that, I was able to create more freely and without the pressures we set on ourselves because of the constant motion. I was literally forced to sit still with my craft and get to know it, along with what I wanted to hear. I will be a part of an unpopular opinion in saying that 00 it was the best thing to ever happen to my sound.
Get Social: Koko LA Instagram, R A R E B Y R D $ Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat
Latest Release: "Hold On To Me" (Single), Self-Released, Dec. 11, 2020
About: Plume Varia is the indie/dreampop duo of Shon and Cherie Cobbs currently based in Placitas, New Mexico. Their debut album "Fact | Fiction" was produced by and features David J. Haskins of Bauhaus/Love & Rockets, as well as Josh Freese of NIN, Devo, Sting, etc.
Launching in 2013, the duo made their mark in the Denver music scene, being nominated multiple years in a row for the Westword Music Awards and winning in 2018. They have been featured in Paste Magazine's Daytrotter, NPR, PBS, The Denver Post, Westword, and many national and international music blogs.
They've had the pleasure of opening for national acts such as Peter Murphy, Gang of Four, Dada, Pure Bathing Culture, Har Mar Superstar, In The Valley Below, and many more.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: It's an interesting kind of difficult, honestly. I think at the beginning of the quarantine, many people who identify as creatives envisioned a quarantine where you could allow yourself to become engulfed in some sort of creative exploration or pursuit. You tell yourself that there is a pressure on you to show that you were able to use the extra time to focus and really turn around some amazing art. But that's just not reality. Reality is that it is extremely difficult to create freely when you wake up dreading this day's death count, when you fear for the direction of the country politically, and especially when your creative whims suddenly seem less important while pressed against the backdrop of the fight against police brutality and this watershed moment for the BLM movement. Our new single "Hold On To Me" is about that feeling that no matter how hard we all are trying, or how differently we are each affected by this year's historic nature, we still feel it, that low hanging cloud of despair that has gripped us all since March. It then becomes about learning how to acknowledge those feelings, respecting their existence, but then finding a way to still create through the fog.
Get Social: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
South of France
Latest Release: "Hideaway" (Single), Dec. 1, 2020, "The Passenger" (Single), Dec. 1, 2020 and "Remember That Cool Thing We Did" LP, Staycation Records, Feb. 18, 2021
About: South Of France is an indie-pop band that was initially started by multi-instrumentalist songwriter/producer Jeff Cormack in 2011. Inspired by his love for retro guitar-pop, South Of France began as a spare-time, lo-fi, garage rock project until the indie music and film world noticed his unique ability to create dynamic melody and guitar-driven indie-pop that is centered around his intertwining vocal parts with layers of reverb-soaked harmonies. Their independently released, debut full-length album "Another Boring Sunrise" was released in 2012 and landed them print features in Under The Radar magazine, Filter Magazine and earned several excellent reviews from numerous influential music critics around the world.
In 2014 South Of France was listed as one of the top ten reasons to visit Denver by Refinery29 Magazine.
Get Social: Instagram, Spotify
Latest Release: "Shimmer" and "Sometimes I Do" (Singles), Self-release, Oct. 23, 2020
About: Wally is a musical project made up of artists Hayley Gray, Dex Carpenter, and sometimes you. Located in Denver, the couple creates their music from a makeshift studio in the corner of their bedroom. Wally lives in an experimental purgatory between Space Pop, Indie Rock, and your next-door neighbors’ soundscape EP. While their self-titled album deals in identifying and observing the strange and glorious things that make up life, their upcoming 2021 release is about facing it all head on.
Their most recent singles give the listener a sure foreshadowing of what’s to come. “Sometimes I Do,” is inspired by a sudden trip home for a family death. It offers a dark timbre in its musicality, while the vocals maintain bright and soothing harmonies reminiscent of previous single “Be a Dog.” The track “Shimmer,” a parable masquerading as a childhood memory, showcases an upbeat and reedy synth atop blown out drums, while the lyrics tell a frantic story about getting lost—and found—in the Appalachian woods.
What's it like being a musician in quarantine: We started writing our upcoming album right before the pandemic hit, and being home made our writing arguably more cohesive than was the case for our last record. When we wrote our first and self-titled album in 2018, we were basically working jobs with opposite schedules. So, sometimes Dex would lay the groundwork for a project and I'd add in over top or vice-versa. With the record we just finished writing, it feels more like we are finding a unified sound because we were able to create almost every song while we were sitting right next to each other. We feel very fortunate to have been able to concentrate on music during quarantine.
Get Social: Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.
Latest Release: "Runway Tapes" EP, Self-Release, Oct. 16, 2020
About: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an advocate, leader, activist and hip-hop artist. Recently named Time's "Next 100," Xiuhtezcatl has felt called to change the narrative on what it means to be an activist since an early age. Still a teenager, X has spoken multiple times at the UN, addressing the General Assembly and spoken on panels with the likes of Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Shailene Woodley, Bill Mckibbens and Pharrell Williams.
The young multi-hyphenate has a unique talent for connecting people through popular culture and sharing the message of his indigenous roots to better serve the planet and reimagine the future for his generation.
His message and depth transcends his 19 years on the planet, yet is still packed with all the hard-hitting grit that appeals to today’s hip-hop fans. His rhyme scheme is raw and quick witted, influenced by a diverse range of artists like Anderson.Paak, Jaden and Earthgang. His thought provoking lyrics are anchored by the Indigenous roots of his father’s lineage and the social justice work of his mother. Being bilingual and a skilled code switcher, he incorporates Spanish and English interchangeably into his music, which has become the outlet for representing his cultural heritage.
“Voice Runners,” Xiuhtezcatl’s new collaborative album with LA based artist Tru, is a project which reflects his identity and struggles as a young Indigenous man growing up as a minority in mainstream America. X is committed to delivering music that has as much meaning as it has radio appeal.
Get Social: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
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