The Local 303: Colorado Artists We’re Featuring For June 2021

June 1, 2021

Feeling the Pride with this month's Local 303. Representation of Colorado's LGBTQIA+ community takes center stage with new and returning voices.

We're welcoming back Colorado artists with new records and singles that we can't get enough of including indie-folk duo LVDY from their springtime debut. Former Denver-by-way-of-Iceland artist John Grant will release his new album "Boy From Michigan" at the end of June, so we are giving you a sneak peek of it. We'll also be playing electro-pop artist ZEMBU's new single "Mixed" about the "complexities of growing up mixed race" and reconnecting with her Japanese ancestry. Also returning, Claire Heywood, who has come out since being featured last March.

Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 11 winner Yvie Oddly is also a celebrated rapper and you'll be hearing from their debut. Rising hip-hop artist N3ptune just released an infectious new single perfect for summer. Producer-musician Destino released a new album "When The World Was Ending" earlier this year and spent time as an LGBTQ+ advocate in the community. Pop singer Grace DeVine's new single "Stargazing" is described as a "summertime, cosmic car ride, come to life." Another newcomer is DIY indie-pop band Blankslate, who met in college and have been working on their debut album.

Rounding out the Local 303 are queer icons Kitty Crimes and Wheelchair Sports Camp.

Meet some of these bands virtually. The livestream of our next Local 303 Virtual Meetup will be on June 28 at 4 p.m. MT on our homepage or watch from YouTube

Meet June's picks:

Blankslate

Photo: Alex Williams

Hometown: Denver

Formed: October 2018

Latest Release: {thursday} EP, Self-Release, Nov. 20, 2020

Pronouns: Tess uses she/her and Ryan and Emma use they/them

About: Blankslate is a three-piece indie rock/alternative band made up of Emma Troughton (vocals), Tess Condron (drums) and Ryan Dunn (guitar) that met while attending DU a few of years ago. We released an EP last year and have played at local spots like the Mercury Lounge, Corner Beet and Illegal Petes (Evans), and also played a livestream gig in New York for the Pamnation Backyard Jam series in 2019. We're headlining at Left Hand Brewery on June 5 for Longmont Pride along with Grace DeVine and are currently working on recording our debut album with Tyler Imbrogno of Eldren at his studio; Daymoon Studios. 

Musicians That Inspire: Some artists who've inspired us are Fiona Apple, Jade Bird, Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten, Death Cab for Cutie, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Fleetwood Mac, The National and King Princess.

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Lockdown has been really difficult for everyone. We headlined the Mercury Lounge the night the lockdown went into place, so that was kind of a surreal experience. Without shows to play, we turned our focus to songwriting, and have been working on the bulk of what will become our debut album for the majority of the last year.

Website: https://blankslate303.bandcamp.com/releases

Get Social:
Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Twitter


Claire Heywood

Photo: Adrienne Thomas

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: "I won’t resign my love for that old dream" (Single), Self-Release, Dec. 2020 

Pronouns: she/her

About: Claire Heywood is a smoky-voiced poet turned songwriter.

After playing solo sets for small listening audiences alongside poets, comedians, and writers for several years, Heywood released an EP titled "The Wind, It Howls" in March 2019. 

In 2020, Heywood released "Python," recorded and mixed at the home studio of bandmate/producer Michael Sandoval. The single sees Heywood take on new roles as a rhythm guitarist and co-producer. Two additional singles followed: "Letter Day," and "I won't resign my love for that old dream." 
Heywood has been featured by CPR News, 105.5 The Colorado Sound, KTCL 93.3, Indie 102.3, Culture Magazine, Out Front Colorado, and Two Story Melody.

Her next release is a single titled “Crushed Lemons,” out July 2021. 

Musicians That Inspire: Lucinda Williams, Heartless Bastards, Sharon Van Etten. 

Did lockdown shape you as a musician over this past year? If so how: Before lockdown I was accepting all the opportunities, playing live constantly, balancing a lot of moving parts that involved me being engaged with the external world. Taking an unexpected 12 months off from live shows involved freaking out for about 6 months, then eventually coming back to the quieter internal part of my process that involves being alone with your self and work, revising, and allowing curiosity to lead. I’m not sure if it shaped me as a musician so much as led me back to the reasons I got started writing songs in the first place, before I had shared that part of myself with anyone. 

Website: www.claireheywood.com
Get Social:
Instagram


Destino

Photo: Iris Delaney

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2015

Latest Release: When The World Was Ending, Wide Eyed Entertainment, Jan. 15, 2021

Pronouns: they/them

About: Queer Experimental Pop Artist, Destino, creates unique futuristic soundscapes with the use of synthesizers, modulated percussion/vocals, and fun beats. Destino delivers a one-of-a-kind, queer, pop experience.

Musicians That Inspire: Charli XCX for sure is one of my favorites to listen to. I grew up wanting to be Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. I remember my mom driving my sister and I to school in the mornings and we would all be singing along to Selena Quintanilla. I like to vibe out to some Troye Sivan.

Honorable mentions that have a special place in my heart would be Dorian Electra, Kim Petras, Mood Killer, Sophie, the PC Music Label, basically anyone queer or queer adjacent. Music you'd hear in the gay club, music that makes you wanna dance, I just live for a good gay song. If it's branded as hyperpop or glitchcore I will immediately listen and enjoy xoxo <3

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: I definitely feel like lockdown has shaped me as a musician, In more ways than one. Before the pandemic I enjoyed attending many social gatherings and events that had an emphasis towards the queer community or music community, and not being able to go to the settings that inspired me, forced me to create new routines and muses in my creative and personal life. It's been a hard adjustment mentally, emotionally, and creatively. Having lost out on some creative and performance income has set me back in being able to execute some of my own projects as well. But I'm eager for future social gatherings and putting on some of my own fun shows and events when the time is right.

Website: www.destinomakesmusic.com

Get Social:
Instagram, Twitter


Grace DeVine

Photo: Sara Grossman

Hometown: Miami, FL now Denver

Formed: Spiritually, early 2019. Physically, August 2020 with the release of my first single, "Magic."

Latest Release: "Stargazing" (Single), Self-Release, May 28, 2021

Pronouns: she/her

About: Grace DeVine is a Denver based singer-songwriter and producer. Born under a full-moon on an early December evening, she began writing songs at the young age of 13, and has since continued to write into adult-hood in addition to producing her own music.

The sound of Grace DeVine is art-pop, created in the cosmos. Inspired by the moon, stars, and spirituality, Grace DeVine embodies elements across genres and time periods to create a sonically super-natural brand of pop music. 

Her new single, “Stargazing,” is a summertime, cosmic car ride, come to life.

Musicians That Inspire: Songwriting-wise, I've always been inspired by Stevie Nicks (who isn't, am I right?). Bella Donna, in specific, just opened my eyes to the art of tone and message when telling a story in a song. I also love Maggie Rogers. Her album, "Heard It In a Past Life" found me just as I was embarking on a transformational chapter; I feel like each song on that album takes turns being the soundtrack to my life for certain moments in time. As for producing music, and just generally making music, a few names off the top of my head are Janelle Monae, Lorde, Blondie, DRAMA... Here's a crisp 20 song inspo-playlist I have featured on my Spotify profile!

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how:
Oh yeah. Being forced to spend time with myself like that was terrifying and beautiful. I tried to use it to explore my multi-dimensional creative assets. I painted a ton, wrote poetry and journaled non-stop, sometimes paired the pieces of my paint and poetry, but my most cherished creation from quarantine was my 3-song EP, "Love Letters to the Moon". I know not everyone had the same experience over quarantine, and while it still sucked, I feel incredibly lucky to have lived through the time like I did. 

Get Social: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Soundcloud


John Grant

Photo: Hörður Sveinsson

Hometown: Was born in Buchanan, Michigan, then moved to Denver

Formed: My career as John Grant started in 2008 when I moved from NYC to Denton, Tx to record my first solo record with Midlake.

Latest Release: Boy From Michigan, Bella Union, Jun. 25, 2021

Pronouns: he/him

About: John Grant arrived at the studio to begin recording his fifth solo record,  Boy from Michigan, on March 1, 2020. “So, basically right at the beginning of the pandemic nightmare and all throughout the Presidential campaign,” he says.

"Boy from Michigan"  sets out its stall early in order to fan his lyrical deck wider. The record’s impressive reach builds toward conclusions, where once recriminations and questions lived. Grant knows America well enough to document it in microscopic, painterly detail. The brittle intensity of the early life experiences of a middle-aged man twist stealthily into a broad metaphor for the state of the nation. A John Grant album always feels like vignettes divined from a tart book of poetry.  "Boy from Michigan"  is the author’s shaggy-dog story, a novelistic approach where songs are more like chapters in a leatherbound book bought from a favourite thrift store. “I guess I’m just thinking about where I came from,” he notes, “and what I went into.” 

“These songs are about taking responsibility,” says John Grant. “On every one of my records I talk about a cruel truth of the world, that whatever happens to you in your first eighteen years, if you don’t go out and thrive and succeed, people say ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ It doesn’t matter what was done to you or how bad it was. You are responsible now for getting over it, having a life and figuring out how to thrive. And of course that’s the only way it can be.” 

Musicians That Inspire: There are too many to count - ABBA, all 70s AOR, Cabaret Voltaire, DEVO, Chris & Cosey, Talk Talk, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Eurythmics, The Cure, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, R.E.M., Bauhaus, The Cars, Kate Bush, Throwing Muses, Pet Shop Boys, Visage, Yello.

Do you feel like 2020 has shaped you as a musician? If so, how: I don't feel it has shaped me as a musician. Although I have to say, the 2020 election definitely had an effect on the content of my current album. The pandemic less so, but again, it was because of the pandemic that I was able to spend as much time as I did preparing the new record.

Website: https://johngrantmusic.com/

Get Social: FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTubeSpotifyApple Music


Joseph Lamar

Hometown: Colorado Springs

About: Joseph Lamar is a creator + singer + songwriter + producer + storyteller + more. Joseph is a Hebrew name. It means "he will add." "Add" as in Contribution. Creation. Synthesis. Integration. Synergy. UNITY. Through his dynamic work he unites the cerebral and the visceral, the secular and the spiritual, the micro and the macro. He's creating a multiverse, one album at a time.  

Latest Release: S.I.N. [Act I], Self-Released, 2020

Pronouns: he/him

Band Website:https://www.josephlamar.com

Get Social:InstagramFacebookTwitter


Kitty Crimes

Photo: Eirinn Lou Riggs

Hometown: DENVER CO, always

Formed: 2011

Latest Release: HILUX, Shack Man Records, 2021

Pronouns: she/they

About: Kitty Crimes is an ever evolving mix of rap and alt-emo gay country R&B, intended as a mouthpiece for their coming of age anthems, exploring themes of heartbreak, main charactering with a god complex and self-awareness. As a performer, Kitty Crimes is energized and chaotic, while as a songwriter, comes forward as introspective and somewhat explicit. Kitty Crimes is also a mixing engineer and produces all beats featured on their latest release HILUX, which is named after an iconically gay pickup truck they finally acquired upon the writing of this album.

Musicians That Inspire: Rick Rubin, Frank Ocean, Lil Peep, Griffith James

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Absolutely, absolutely. Not only in terms of growth and development as a person, though there was a great deal of time in much-needed isolation working on concepts like discipline and mindfulness. But as a mixing engineer, I'd like to say that I stepped into my own greatly. I had been sitting on these songs for a quick second (try 3 years), but I always knew that the mixes were not where they were supposed to be. This year trained my ear in a way that previously hasn't happened.

Band Website: www.kittycrimes.com

Streetwear Website: https://www.kittycrimes.com/streetwear

Get Social:
Instagram, Spotify, TikTok, YouTube


LVDY

LVDYWalker Leigh Photography
Photo: Walker Howard

Hometown: Denver, CO (altho Kat grew up in Portland)

Formed: Summer of 2018

Latest Release: LVDY, Self-Released, Apr. 16, 2021

Pronouns: she/her

About: LVDY (pronounced LADY) is a Colorado-based indie-folk duo comprised of Kathleen Hooper and Aubrey Mable. Their uplifting sound and intimate storytelling is a delightful recipe of singer-songwriter, indie-folk, with powerful melodies and harmonies that speak to the senses. Their ethereal harmonies, musical warmth and meaningful lyrics find inspiration in the beauty of the outdoors as they draw influence from artists like Maggie Rogers, Rising Appalachia, Joseph and Sara Bareilles. 

LVDY has supported incredible acts like LÉON, Joseph, and Morgan Saint and has traveled the world sharing their music. Their dedicated fans, known as the LVDYMOB helped support a successful Kickstarter campaign, allowing them to create their debut album, dropping April 16th, 2021.

Musicians That Inspire: We love Maggie Rogers' authentic ability to share exactly what's on her mind and pull us in with her gorgeous harmonies and unique production. We have fallen in love with the sister trio, Joseph, whose lyrics and building of songs teach us so much as musicians. We're huge fans of Joy Oladokun with her powerful messages and simple, beautiful production.

Do you feel like 2020 has shaped you as a musician? If so, how: While the pandemic separated us, 2020 offered us a chance to slow down. We went from living together to living 7 hours apart, with new parts of our lives taking shape. We finished our debut album virtually and found creative ways to share our music live through "Front Yard Tours" and livestreams. New music is flowing, with ongoing inspiration amidst the chaos and massive shifts we've faced as individuals and as a duo. We're eagerly looking forward to the world of live music coming back, as we believe music is medicine. We hope our songs can offer a sense of connection and truth as our world continues to grow and heal.

Website: www.lvdymusic.com

Get Social: SpotifyLinktreeInstagramFacebookYouTubeTwitterSoundcloud


N3ptune

Photo: Talitha Jane

Hometown: Denver

Formed: 2016

Latest Release: 𝔓𝔥𝔞𝔯𝔞𝔬𝔥 / Self-Released / 2020

Pronouns: he/him

About: Influenced by artists like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, N3PTUNE is constantly innovating and evolving. He classifies his music as “Experimental-Pop” for the experimental and genre bending nature of his music. N3PTUNE is best known for his R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop and Electronic sound and his involvement in the community. Born and raised in Denver, CO, N3PTUNE is a singer/songwriter, dancer, producer, model, actor & director. 

Musicians That Inspire: Beyoncé, Prince, Lady Gaga, Little Richard, Jay Z, Kanye West, The Clark Sisters, Big Momma Thornton, etc.

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: It’s certainly has! I’ve become more meticulous and detailed with my work. I don’t settle and I’ll do what it takes to support the music’s higher purpose. Being locked in forced me to strip back, and be even more raw & honest in my music. I’m not really singing poetry, so much as I am just singing my thoughts. It’s become a priority to constantly hone in on my craft and continue perfect what I do until the day I die.

Website: Artistecard.com/n3ptune

Get Social: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok 


Wheelchair Sports Camp

Photo: Yussel Estrada

Hometown: Denver, CO

Formed: 2010

Latest Release:
"YESS i'm a MESS" (Single), Self-Released, 2021

Pronouns: she/her

About:
"If there were ever a moment for a queer, disabled rapper with a love for pot, jokes, and revolution to be a star, the moment is now" - Village Voice

Combining humor, playfulness, radical political perspectives, compassion and undeniable musical chops, Wheelchair Sports Camp is Denver's biggest smallest band. Fronted by the wheelchair using, rap heavy, beat-making, freedom fighting producer, educator, foul mouthed, queer rebel rouser Kalyn, the band is a combination of live and electronic instruments with a more noisey, jazzy, experimental, combination to the traditional hip-hop group. Raised by the DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit of experimental independence, the band has since relied on interdependence in order to stretch into theatre, performance art, public television, politics, prison tours, permanent installations, and more to come.  

Kalyn led Denver's first disabled, queer, artist campaign for the mayor seat 2019 . The tiny happy mayor has been advocating for herself and other marginalized communities through music, direct action, education and art since ever.  Commonly known for fighting for access human rights, and calling out those in power who protect capital interests over the future - Kalyn makes herself heard with a very loud and distinct high pitched sense of humor.  

The band has been featured on the cover of the Village Voice as well as in SPIN Magazine, Huffington Post, High Times Magazine and more. 

"You can't really pin Kalyn's beats and collaborators to a specific era or subgenre of hip-hop, and she always switches up her configuration and presentation and methodology while making the music happen in consistently fascinating ways." - Tom Murphy from the Westword

The band unknowingly started summer of 1997 when Kalyn moved back from California to her hometown and was invited to attend and corrupt the 14th annual week-long Colorado Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp.  The band tours the states and beyond from their home in Denver.

Website: https://wheelchairsportscamp.co

Get Social: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook


Yvie Oddly

Photo: Voss Events

Hometown: Denver, CO

Formed: 2020

Latest Release: Drag Trap, Voss Music, 2020

Pronouns: He/Him out of drag, Her/She when in drag

About: This (r)evolutionary queen likes to push the boundaries of drag and is known for outrageous and unconventional looks – which can range from a pretty lady to terrifying alien creatures – and her signature loud cackle. Her flexibility, strength and long limbs make for entertaining and energetic performances, always willing to give the audience something they haven’t seen before.

Website:
https://oddlyyvie.com/

Get Social:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter


ZEMBU

Processed with VSCO with v5 preset
Photo: Micheyela

Hometown: Seattle, WA and living in Fort Collins, CO

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: “Mixed”, Self-Release, January 2021

Pronouns: she/her

About: ZEMBU is an indie-pop electronic producer and artist based out of Colorado. She combines ethereal, warm production with layers of soulful vocals and reflective lyricism centered around the intersection of her identities, mental health, and social issues. With over 1 million streams across Spotify Editorial playlists, ZEMBU has been featured in Nylon Magazine and named one of the “19 Denver Musicians to Watch in 2021” by 303 Magazine. Atwood Magazine calls ZEMBU’s 2020 debut EP Recall a “dazzling, iconic work of art” and an “utter masterpiece.”

Musicians That Inspire: Florence + The Machine, Stevie Wonder, Sylvan Esso, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Maribou State, Kelsey Lu, Bon Iver, Bonobo

Do you feel like lockdown has shaped you as a musician/band? If so, how: Definitely. I have been reconnecting with my racial and cultural identities during lockdown which has deeply impacted my music and songwriting. I have used this time to integrate my identities and values into the music I make, the environments I enter, and the people I collaborate with. This has led to prioritizing finding communities and experiences that feel aligned with who I am. For the first time, I am collaborating with Japanese artists, Queer artists, and other artists who share different pieces of my identities. I’ve realized the art I want to create is actually within these communities and parts of myself.

Website: www.zembumusic.com

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Spotify


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!