The Colorado music scene is starting to open up again. We've seen venues like Hi-Dive and Larimer Lounge continue to welcome back socially-distanced concerts and outdoor venues Levitt Pavilion and Red Rocks are among the list too as the weather warms up. While we've missed being at concerts to take in songs at the moment of their creation; we are lucky that artists are still finding inspiration and releasing new music. This month welcomes exciting bands born out of the pandemic and some local mainstays too.
Meet some of these bands virtually. The livestream of our next Local 303 Virtual Meetup will be on May 24 at 4 p.m. MT on our homepage or watch from YouTube. It will feature a performance from Porlolo.
Meet May's picks:
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: "Beast in The Bottle" (Single), Self-release, Apr. 20, 2021
About: “Music is our break from life’s complications.”
AMZY blends rock and modern textures to create a genre all their own. In their music, empathy comes first. Each member’s inner conflicts — from struggles with identity, societal pressures, depression and simply being human — are interlaced between each track.
AMZY carved out their place in Denver with detailed and energetic live performances that blend passion, humor and heart. “We put on suits because they make us feel like we’re going to do something great. We put on good live shows because that’s what we think we’d want to see. We’re awkward at times, and goofy often, but we know where we are.” The on-stage journey of self discovery and finding happiness helps build bridges between genres, sounds and each other.
In 2015, AMZY released their debut EP We Don’t Walk, We Dance with single “Five to Midnight.” In 2016, the band released “Words,” followed by “Sorry (Not Sorry)” in early 2017. AMZY released their sophomore EP "Worlds of Our Own" in mid 2017.
After joining Saint Motel for their US tour, AMZY hit the road on a solo tour throughout the midwest to the East coast. Their singles "Words" and "Sorry (Not Sorry)" went into rotational airplay on Colorado's Top Alternative Rock station Channel 93.3. Words reached #1 most wanted in Denver.
After their sold out shows and tour, AMZY went into the studio to record new music. AMZY kicked off the first ever Grandoozy Music Festival, from the co-creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.
AMZY has shared the stage with bands including Bastille, The Wombats, Cold War Kids, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Atlas Genius, The Airborne Toxic Event, Robert Delong, MisterWives, Flume, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar.
Musicians That Inspire: So Many! But here's a few- Daft Punk, Jack White, The Killers, Does it Offend You, Yeah!, The Kooks, The Hives
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: For us lockdown has been a well needed rest and reflective period.It's been a good time for us to focus on our health, mental health, and what is really important to us in and out of the band. We do really really miss playing live though!
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona then moved to Denver for College (now in LA)
Formed: 1996 lol
Latest Release: My "E-Pity-Me" EP that was released March 12, 2021 with 3V records and Virgin Music.
About: Chloe Tang’s first major industry experience was opening a 4,000 cap room for pop superstar, Dua Lipa in Boulder, Colorado. Since then the rest as been history.
Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Chloe has been an eloquent writer from a young age. After college, she hoped to develop these skills further by moving to Los Angeles and collaborating with some of the biggest up and coming producer/writers like Shawn Wasabi (Justin Tranter Camp) and Lixa (Ammar Malik Camp) - without the help of a team.
Chloe often jokes that her music says, “love me, but leave me alone” - but this message rings true in her sultry power pop anthems. Chloe’s music lives in the dichotomy between sweet and spicy. So far, Chloe has amassed over 4 million streams across catalog. In addition to her music, Chloe is an advocate for Asian-Americans, and often pays homage to her Chinese culture in her music and creative.
Musicians That Inspire: I'm going to give a straight forward answer and list some songs that have shaped my upcoming project (to be released summer 2021). Justin Timberlake and Timbaland- Sexyback, Gwen Stefani- Hollaback Girl, and Ashnikko- Daisy.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: I feel like lockdown has changed me as a person, therefore really changed me as an artist. I've become much more in tune with my body and mind. I have spent so much time by myself that I was forced to get to know the real me and actually face all the insecurities that were so easily avoidable before. For me, a lot of physical things happened- I shaved my head, I started working with a new team, I moved apartments, got more involved in my community. Then the artistic changes happened naturally from those changes..I started writing music that felt more true to myself, I learned how to speak up and be proud of my voice whether it was the vocal delivery in my music or contributing my opinions more often. I can just feel myself evolving into the person I've always wanted to be and being quarantined really expedited that process.
Get Social: Instagram, Twitter, TikTok
Hometown: Boulder, CO
Latest Release: "Back Then" (Single), Self-Released, Apr. 8, 2021. This song is the second of four single releases for my upcoming full-length album The Hideaways out July 22, 2021.
About: Cole Scheifele is an up-and-coming folk singer/songwriter based out of Denver, Colorado. He combines beautiful melodies with deep and thought-provoking lyrics that he says stem from his never ending hunger to discover more about the human experience.
“I don’t think we ever stop learning and digesting thoughts and feelings from the world around us” he said, “I try to go into some of the deeper parts of the mind that can be inherently scary, but also endlessly beautiful.”
His debut EP “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters At All” was released in 2019 and is a perfect example of this, as it delves into deep human connection, loss, and existential questions.
Backed by a stellar local cast, Scheifele has landed gigs opening for international touring acts such as Jade Bird and got chosen as a Top 10 Finalist out of over 400 entries for The Planet Bluegrass Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Songwriting Competition. He recently caught the attention of The Fray’s Ben Wysocki, a fellow Denver musician and producer. The two recently recorded Scheifele's first full-length album which is set to be released in July of 2021.
Musicians That Inspire: Gregory Alan Isakov, Leif Vollebekk, Bon Iver, Mandolin Orange, Tallest Man on Earth, Hiss Golden Messenger
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Lockdown has provided endless opportunity to work myself. I have taken a deep dive into some aspects of myself that I may not have really taken the time to look into if it weren't for the countless days at home with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I think that those deep dives and the untethering of things that have been held down for a while will start to make their way into the new songs. It also provided a ton of time for me to get in the studio and really pour myself into the making of this record. I was furloughed during the period when we were recording which was kind of a blessing in disguise because I was able to just dedicate all my time and energy to recording for a few months.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Hometown: Denver, CO
Formed: In 2020 as my pandemic escape
Latest Release: Light Levels EP, Moon Magnet, Feb. 2021
About: I started Deth Rali in 2020 to share and reflect on my experiences in isolation, parenting, friendship, relationships during the pandemic. On my new (and first) album Light Levels, I collaborated with my housemates at Moon Magnet and mixed the songs at Colorado College in the recording studio where I work on campus. I also got to work with Davey Pierce from one of my all time favorite bands, of Montreal. He wrote these amazing basslines on 'Wreckingball" and "Light Levels" which for me really helped pushed this new phase of using synthesizers and samplers and drum machines.
Thematically, like a lot of great albums, it's about transitioning from one big phase in your life into the next. The end of an era and reconciling of the present. I was listening to the new Tame Impala album "The Slow Rush" a lot, Kaytranada, Phoebe Bridgers, King Gizzard's Infest the Rats Nest. I guess some of that stuff is very contemplative, others is just brilliant production and cool riffs.
Just on a personal level I have a hard time sometimes sharing what's going on in my life with people, and so music and going to live music in general has always been my place of showing up in the community and sharing intimate parts of myself, which in a way is very therapeutic and fun for me because I won't do it otherwise.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: Discomfort Creature, Black in Bluhm, Apr. 2, 2021
About: Chris Fogal (The Gamits, Tauntaun, Dwayne, Midrake) and Dan Fox own Black in Bluhm studios in Denver, Colorado. There Fogal has produced, mixed and mastered rockers the likes of Pears, Joey Cape, The Bombpops, Strung Out, and countless more. During the Fall of 2020 Fogal and Fox wrote a batch of songs, then added Ian O'Dougherty (Uphollow, Ian Cooke, Eolian) to play bass and co-produce.
Musicians That Inspire: Scared of Chaka, Dillinger Four, PUP, Weezer
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: I think that if the lockdown had not happened this band would not exist or at least it would be very different. The band was formed to let off steam and have some fun in the middle of a pandemic. You can hear it in the songs.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Spotify
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: “Roshni” (Single), Self-Released, Apr. 23, 2021
About: Flobots are an alternative hip-hop band from Denver, CO, who are on a mission to use their music as a tool to create community, conversation, and ignite the activist in all of us.
MC’s Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit became friends in the fourth grade and bonded first over their love of comic books then hip hop. Flobots are best known for their blending of genres and lyrical landscapes, traversing topics of race, equality, democracy, and social justice.
Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit met guitarist/vocalist Andy Rok in high school and became fast friends. While finishing their final year in college, Andy Rok recruited a number of Colorado musicians including Kenny O on drums to create an all-star backing band inspired by groups like The Roots. After playing their first show as a full-fledged band, they vowed to never perform with a backing CD track ever again and the rest is Flobots history.
In the 15+ years of being a platinum-selling band, touring the world, and founding the nonprofit Youth on Record, Flobots continue to invite us to imagine a world rooted in empathy, equality, and love using music as their superpower.
Today’s core group is comprised of Emcees Jonny 5 (born Jamie Laurie) and Brer Rabbit (born Stephen Brackett) along with musicians Andy Rok Guerrero (guitar/vocals) and Kenny O (drums). The band’s current roster of live touring musicians includes Sarah Hubbard (violin/viola), Sean Blanchard (Bass), and sisters Larea Edwards & Chrissy Grant (members of Spirit of Grace).
Musicians That Inspire: Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Rage Against the Machine, The Roots, MF DOOM, Black Thought, Open Mike Eagle, Tierra Whack, Snow Tha Product, Das Racist, Childish Gambino, Andre 3000, Digital Planets, Lyricists Lounge, Hieroglyphics, Souls of Mischief, and Young M.C.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Being forced to slow down and sit still reminded of the significance of personal struggles that unfold daily against the backdrop of seemingly mundane tasks. Witnessing an entire planet grapple with the same situation from different angles just helped call attention to the possibility of facing such shared struggles by cultivating solidarity. Both the daily grind and the vision of shared struggle went straight into our latest music.
Get Social: Instagram, Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: "Out Singing" (Single), Third & James Records, Mar. 5, 2021
About: ge·stalt | \ gə-ˈstält: An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
Formed in 2016, Gestalt set out to be true to their name- a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts that make it up. Staying true to this idea, Gestalt fuses elements from all over the musical spectrum, culminating in a sound that is all their own.
What began as a collection of voice memos on vocalist Zane DeLuccie’s cell phone went on to become the band's debut EP “Longboix”(pronounced 'long-boy')- quickly amassing over 100,000 streams on Spotify alone and cultivating a devoted regional following.
From there, the band followed up with their second EP “Do I Look Lovely” shifting into a more mature sound and vision of the project, while still maintaining the elements that brought them together at the start. After signing to Denver-based Third & James Records in 2020, Gestalt has released two singles, “Connect the Dots”, and “Out Singing” to positive fan and critical acclaim.
The band is now composed of Guitarist Cooper Dickerson, Drummer Xavier Robinson, bassist Mackenzie Broadhurst, and frontman Zane DeLuccie.
Musicians That Inspire: Along with a straightforward influence from pop/punk and emo artists such as Sum 41, Joyce Manor, and Saves the Day, Gestalt takes influence from an extremely wide-range of artists, from Frank Ocean to Frank Zappa, from Barenaked Ladies to Nine Inch Nails, Gestalt truly draws influence from the entire spectrum.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Certainly. Like most other performers, live shows and touring were our bread and butter pre-pandemic. However, the pause on live events has allowed us to put our focus almost entirely on making new music with our producer/engineer, Matt Legge (Taylor Swift, Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr), and really stretch the bounds of our creativity. Looking forward to coming out on the other side of lockdown with fresh eclectic new tunes that anyone can enjoy.
Get Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: "I Decided Not To Change/“Little Leaf” + “I Decided Not To Change”, Self-Release, Apr. 23, 2021
About: The Maykit has been making music for over 10 years, sharing the stage with the likes of Tim Kasher, Kevin Devine, David Dondero and many more indie heavy-hitters.
I Decided Not To Change, The Maykit’s sixth album, is an emotional release that examines a dark period from the perspective of someone who is walking through the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hopeful but realistic, wistful, and longing for something “normal.” Musically, it travels from rock-fueled, punchy indie, to delicate acoustic, with intricate synth work. All music was composed by Max Winne with Daniel Grant on keys, Gary Deguero on guitar, Brad Waller on drums, Noah Matthews on bass, mastered by Jamie King (BTBAM), and artwork by Andres Guzman.
Musicians That Inspire: Man, musicians that I love that I find inspiring… Let’s see. Anthony Ruptak is definitely one. He writes beautiful music and uses his platform to try to make the world a better place, he rules. All Human is wonderful, makes me feel all the feelings. That Adam Fisher is really a wonderful music maker. I find The Books make me excited to explore sampling and production in the studio. Fleet Foxes trigger the feels so easily, Robin knows what he’s doing with that classical guitar. Cursive makes me want to get my rockin’ side out, Tim’s lyrics are so good and instrumentally, they are just wild. Olafur Arnalds, Aphex Twin and Black Moth Super Rainbow all make me wanna dive into synthesis and composition. There are too many bands that inspire me to name em all. I LOVE MUSIC.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: At first I was not too worried about lockdown. I thought “oh I’ll take this time to mix the album and in a month things will be back to normal”. As time went on and it looked more and more grim, I started to rethink my optimism about the pandemic going away and of getting through it unscathed. To save my sanity, or what was left of it, I dove into learning more about writing music, synthesis, studio production, commercial audio work and started writing some new songs. Fast forward over a year and though I’m more knowledgable about what I love and can probably play instruments a little better than I could before, you will find me exhausted and not as confident in being an indoor cat. I want out! I want shows! I want FREEDOM!
Get Social: Twitter, Instagram
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: Maladaptive Daydreaming, Self-Released, Mar. 31, 2021
About: Fronted by singer/songwriter Hannah Beeghly, Denver-based mlady makes emotionally indulgent dreamy pop. First formed in 2018 with guitarist Austin Bourdon, mlady quickly evolved from duo to full band and now includes Ian Mahan on guitar, Sydney Jones on drums, and Karina Demagistris on bass. Their first full-length album Maladaptive Daydreaming showcases songs ranging from energetic indie rock to Beeghly’s softer, more atmospheric home-recorded demos—all mixed by Chris Beeble of the Blasting Room Studios. Verby guitar and harmony-laden vocals are consistent throughout this album, which 303 Magazine calls “glistening.” Catch mlady live at Moe’s Bbq in Englewood on May 22nd, or July 25th at Lost Lake in Denver.
Musicians That Inspire: I (Hannah) have been listening to a lot of shoegaze and dream pop albums, and although my songwriting definitely veers pop, we tried to adopt some gazey guitar tones in this album as well as some Eno-inspired synth atmospheres. Class of 09 was written after a Beach Boys discography binge and is definitely influenced by some of their surfy songs. The War on Drugs’ reverb heavy guitar and instrumentation also influenced our studio sessions and full band arrangements. In addition to all that, I really admire Kacey Musgraves’ songwriting. Love her clever lyrics and ability for authentic storytelling and I strive to write with similar creativity and polish!
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Lockdown was weirdly productive and unproductive. We were fortunate enough to have finished tracking our full band songs for the album right before it started, which allowed us to gradually release singles throughout the pandemic and helped us feel somewhat active while everything was shut down. However, it’s been hard to take a break from shows! We got to play the Bluebird in January 2020, and having to abruptly stop playing live felt like a lost opportunity to build on some of the momentum from that show, which was one of our biggest so far! Lack of physical shows also put a heavier focus on social media, which is something that can sometimes feel anxiety-inducing. I think quarantine has taken a toll on the mental health of a lot of people, and I personally struggled to create during some of those lower times. Despite all this, we were able to film and release our first ever music video (for “Class of 09”) with Riff Bros Media, and also released our first full-length album Maladaptive Daydreaming! We’re looking forward to being fully vaccinated and hopefully enjoying/playing some live music this summer. :)
Get Social: Instagram, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: No Praise, No Blame, Self-Release, May 2021
About: Formed in Denver in 2002 by the eccentric and prolific Erin Roberts, Porlolo has been a highly collaborative project. Roberts is a powerful songwriting force, cranking out grungy, sometimes twangy, often pure pop hits. Over her last 15 years of deliberate wandering through Denver, Gunnison, Eugene 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 discography includes What Would This Be For (2002), Storm and Season (2004), Meadows (2006), Pony Trekk (split EP with Kate Magnus, 2009). Everything, Barely (2014), Awards (2016), I QUIT (single – 2019), Christmas in Hollis (single – 2020), Are we there yet (single – 2021), No Praise, No Blame (2021) Erin Roberts also released Fill Your Lungs (2012) with the Denver-based band Ending People.
Porlolo has extensively toured the US, playing alongside Jessica Lea Mayfield, Cass McCombs, Destroyer, Magnolia Electric Company, Fleet Foxes, Phosphorescent, Two Gallants and more.
BE COOL, FIND YOURSELF, FIND YOUR PEOPLE, BE TRUE TO WHAT YOU ARE, HAVE PARTIES, JUMP AROUND, CARE LESS WHILE CARING BETTER
Musicians That Inspire: My early influences were really melodic popular bands like REM, The Beatles, Tom Petty. But I got into the straight-edge scene in early ‘90s and was heavily influenced by the intensity of those live shows, then wore out all my cassettes from Dischord Records and Simple Machines -- Fugazi, Lungfish and Tsunami on repeat. College threw me into a scene with Cap’n Jazz, Braid, a little more emo influence. And when I first started songwriting I was heavy into Palace Music, Papa M, Smog… God I love music. Currently super into Arlo Parks, Porridge Radio, Black Pumas, Dry Cleaning. So much good stuff coming out of South London.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? I don’t even know how to begin to answer this. It’s been really hard to navigate all the compounding crises in the world and figure out how my own music could possibly contribute to anything in any way right now. For most of the last year, it didn’t seem my time or place to contribute to any sort of musical or political dialog unless I was directly supporting the voices and issues that needed to be heard. I’m horrified by how profoundly we need to address the deep-seated systemic racism that is woven into pretty much every system in America - education, housing, criminal justice. Centuries of trauma and harm to people and communities of color.
So I’ve spent time reflecting on what it means to have a voice and privilege and sometimes literally a mic in my hand. I haven’t married Porlolo with activism in the past. It’s generally been a place for me to be irreverent and escape. So I’ve actually stepped away from focusing much on my own music to promote the people and artists that are integrally engaged in the conversation.
All that said, I do believe that art and music are the cultural glue and the magical stardust that keep us sane and connect us to each other in powerful ways. And I hope that Porlolo can continue to bring people a little joy and good heart feelings as we get to work on our giant, broken world.
Get Social: Instagram
Hometown: Shelton, CT (Now based in Denver, CO)
Latest Release: “Think About You” (Single), Rezlo Records, Apr. 29, 2021; “Young And In Love” (Single), Rezlo Records, Mar. 20, 2021
About: Rezlo is a pop/R&B artist hailing from a small town in Connecticut where he grew up playing guitar and writing songs from the age of seven. Flashforward to becoming a fully fledged artist and Denver transplant, rezlo met his producer, Blake Shimoda, in CU Denver’s Music and Entertainment Industry Studies program where their collective love and passion for making music bonded them together.
Rezlo’s nine song debut album, Young And In Love comes out later this year. The project is an emotional, reflective blend of pieces that pulls from his experience in his young 20’s navigating romance and relationships.
Musicians that inspire: Rezlo’s musical inspirations range from Sam Smith and Victoria Monet to SG Lewis and Ariana Grande. He uses his inspirations to craft music that combines honest, self aware lyrics, with poppy beat driven sonic atmospheres, courtesy of his producer, Blake Shimoda.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician? If so, how? Absolutely! My album Young And In Love started in the middle of quarantine and wouldn’t be coming to fruition if I didn’t have this valuable time to reflect and create. As challenging as quarantine was for all of us, I'm very grateful that I was able to use the time to explore my goals and my identity as an artist. It was cathartic, emotional and very transformative. I’m definitely ready to share this part of my journey with people.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook
Hometown: Denver / Kansas City
Formed: Summer of 2019
Latest Release: BIG, Self-Released, Apr. 20, 2021
About: slop pop rock n roll imposters with an electric boogie.
Musicians That Inspire: We try to sound like ZZ Top and Act like Queen.
Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: We were gearing up for a big April tour with a new member that hasn't played a show with us yet and with no solid releases as well. The lockdown gave us time to slow down and put more effort into the process of the songs and put out full releases with our solid final band member line up. Now we have two more EPs coming out and two tours in the fall that we are fully prepared for!
Get Social: Instagram
You made it!
You love learning about new music and the Denver music scene. We have a weekly newsletter for you -- Inside Track. Sign up here to stay in the know about the hottest Colorado concerts and how you can score tickets!