The Local 303: Colorado artists we’re featuring for April 2022
Our mission is to play homegrown music every hour on air and The Local 303 is the spot to discover the best new music from around the state. This month we feature artists not only based in the Mile High City, but from up north in Fort Collins, down south in Colorado Springs, and Idaho Springs up in the high country. Who's on this list? Read more to find out!
Equal parts soul and rock, Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds just put out their first new album in nine years! Denver mainstay folk rock acts King Cardinal and Many Mountains also join in with some of their newest music. Bringing his folky twang is Snake Cessna on his new solo album, and yes, he is the son of alternative-country royalty Slim Cessna.
There's some exciting indie rock bands to get on your radar this month like Juanners, The Nova Kicks, The Sickly Hecks, and Tiny Tomboy. As well as shoegaze from Moodlighting.
Genre bending trio The Original iLLs just put out their sophomore album and we also get ready for the return of Pleasure Prince with their dreamy synth pop. Electro pop singer Alyssa Robi rounds out this month's lineup.
These past few years have shown us that Colorado still has a thriving music scene even during the time of Coronavirus and that said, we are excited to be back in the same room as you! So BIG news: the Local 303 Meetup will return live and in person on Monday April 25th at 6:30-9:00p at Larimer Lounge! Details include a live performance from Pleasure Prince! Admission is free and this event is all ages, so get ready to come out of your caves and mingle with some of your favorite Colorado bands and radio hosts!
Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music.
Meet April's picks:
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.
Latest Release: "Soul Ties" - 2022
About: My name is Alyssa Robi. I’m a singer and songwriter currently based in Denver. I was born in Long Island, New York and found my love for singing at a very young age. I’ve been writing songs since I was 8 and since then it's always been the way I process my emotions. In the basement of my friend’s parent’s house, my two buddies helped me produce my first released song called "Shot #6" when I was 17. Since then, I’ve done a few collaborations with different artists including EDM artist Catas and released, “10 Million Thoughts” and “Don’t Care What You Do” in 2020. Most recently, I got the opportunity to work with two producers in LA (Kyle Patrick and Will Snyder) and they helped me create three songs that I am so proud of. “Soul Ties” is the first of the three I wrote following a messy heartbreak and I can’t wait to share the other two with the world.
Musicians That Inspire: Tove Lo, Melanie Martinez, Jessie Reyez, and Julia Michaels
What's next for the band in 2022: I have a couple more upcoming releases. I am currently working on the music videos for my next two singles. I have hundreds of other songs written that I’m working on as well to build an EP in the near future.
Get Social Instagram, Twitter, TikTok
Hometown: Denver, CO
Formed: My collaboration with Brian Buck started in 2020, although personally I was formed in 1991
Latest Release: Lucky Rider, Self-Release, Dec. 7, 2021
About: "Based in Denver, CO, George currently performs with a full band in support of his second full length ‘solo’ album, Lucky Rider. He also fronts the band Snakes and contributes bass to Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Former projects include: The Sterling Sisters (Baltimore, MD). Some notable acts George has shared the stage with: Iceage, Marissa Nadler, Norman Westburg (SWANS), Michael Hurley, Kid Congo Powers, Mdou Moctar, Munly & The Lupercalians, and Micah Nelson.
Musicians That Inspire: Rowland S. Howard, Timber Timbre, Lee Hazlewood, Roger Miller, Roy Orbison, Munly J. Munly
What's next for the band in 2022: We're working to get some tours together towards the fall, and ideally getting more writing/recording done.
Get Social: Instagram for George Cessna, Brian Buck, SNAKES
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: "Love or Lust" (Single), Self-Release, Feb. 11, 2022
About: Juan Fernandez, known in the Colorado DIY music scene as Juanners, is an indie pop/indie bedroom musician born and bred in Denver. He is intimately involved in the Denver music scene and the greater Denver Metro Area locals. His music follows his journey through his own life, frequently covering topics of love and love lost, existentialism, and nostalgia for a much simpler childhood.
Juanners’ life growing up Mexican American in the Mile High City informs his outlook on the world. Juan finds his music as a mental release, a way to hold his attention without destroying his morale; He harmonizes his pain, invokes his insecurities, and strives to make music that is therapy for himself, first and foremost.
Musicians That Inspire: Mac Demarco, Daft Punk, Joyce Manor, the Denver Music Scene.
What's next for the band in 2022: I want to play more shows in 2022 and catch up for all the missed ones due to the pandemic.
Get Social: Twitter, Instagram
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: "Runaway" (Single), Self-Released, Mar. 2, 2022
About: Hailed by Marquee Magazine for their "excellently crafted Americana" and Westword for their "raw, gut-wrenching emotion," Denver's King Cardinal push raw roots rock into lush, sonically daring territory with hints of cosmic country and delicate folk. Building off the success of two acclaimed EPs as well as dates with Ben Sollee, Sam Outlaw, and Darlingside (in addition to a performance at the iconic Telluride Bluegrass Festival), the band released their debut album, 'Great Lakes,' which was recorded over seven days at Texas' famed Sonic Ranch studio with GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Ted Young (Israel Nash, Banditos).
Musicians That Inspire: Bon Iver, The Band, Alex G, Hiss Golden Messenger
What's next for the band in 2022: In 2022 we'll be releasing 5 singles (including "Runaway"). Our next release will be a cover of John Hartford’s “In Tall Buildings” out on April 27th.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook
Hometown: KR (SLC, UT) & Dustin (Las Vegas, NV) though we've called Colorado home since we moved here in 2010
Latest Release: Endless Time, Self-Released, Jan. 1, 2021
Pronouns: KR - She/Her, Dustin - He/Him
About: KR Nelson and Dustin Moran bring a genre-bending sound to folk-rock through their unique song arrangements and writing styles. From Gillian Welch to The Rolling Stones, the range of musical influences trickles through their music to create something fresh yet familiar. A kaleidoscope of sound, songs are interlaced with vocal harmonies and leads that alternate between the two songwriters. Each with perspectives on the relationships we have with ourselves and with others - bringing truths to the table, facing who we are, and the constant state of becoming. Dustin adds textured and ambient electric guitar, often improvising with jazzy temperance, over KR’s rhythmic acoustic; their sound transcends ordinary genre limitations. Supported by the sonic landscape they create, you’ll be on a journey with Many Mountains.
Musicians That Inspire: We each listen to a broad range of musical styles and each of them contributes to what inspires our music, from singer-songwriters to instrumentalists. KR grew up listening to a lot of the country/folk singer-songwriters and popular music of the '50s, '60s, and '70s eras. Dustin grew up listening to classic rock'n'roll and was often brought along to concerts his father attended, in his hometown of New Orleans, or while traveling. All of which has informed our songwriting styles, but we're always listening to something different. Whether it's Herbie Mann, Bill Frisell, Laraaji, Daniel Lanois, or songwriters like Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Jonathan Wilson, Bob Dylan, and so many more who are inspiring to us.
What's next for the band in 2022: Performing and Creating. We absolutely love playing live and are so grateful we have the opportunities to do so and will continue to this year. We have new songs that will be recorded and released as an EP, or maybe we'll release them individually as singles. We are excited about what's to come and looking forward to it!
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Spotify
Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
Latest Release: Moon Rock, Mar. 11, 2022
Pronouns: Mike Clark: He/himBen Gallagher: He/him Robin Chestnut: He/him
About: Mike Clark is a singer-songwriter living in Pueblo, Colorado. In 2013 to great acclaim he released the Soul and Rock and Roll album, Round and Round under the name Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds, and took off playing live concerts across the Colorado front range. Now nearly ten years later is back with a highly anticipated follow-up album, Moon Rock set to drop March 11th, 2022. From a slow-burning croon to a hot screaming sweaty mess, Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds are ready to get you moving.
Musicians That Inspire: Clark draws his inspiration from Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Parliament, and many of the early rock and rolls singers of the 1950's such as Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Roy Orbison.
What's next for the band in 2022: Clark spent much of March out on a west coast tour from Colorado to California that culminated with a Jam in the Van session in Los Angeles.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Hometown: Denver, CO
Formed: officially in 2021
Latest Release: Boy wonder, Self-Release, Apr. 1, 2022
About: Moodlighting is a twee-pop-shoegaze band founded by Denver couple Alex and Sophie. We tried to start the band in early 2020 with a craigslist ad and a handful of shoegaze songs that Alex had written for his solo project, but it didn't really come together. A few months later, our friend sent us an album by Nice Try and it sparked our desire to pursue a particular sound: upbeat, catchy songs drenched in fuzz and distortion with light, almost timid vocals. We started writing songs during quarantine and pretty quickly ended up with an album's worth.
We took the band live mid-2021 by returning to craigslist and facebook to add recent Nashville transplants Hawley and Kyle as well as Stephen ("Shoegaze Steve"), a man of many bands and playlists. Hitting the stage changed the energy of the project, bringing in more clean jangle and driving distortion in equal parts. We've since played with touring bands like Ratboys, Wild Pink, and Lesser Care, as well as beloved locals like Mainland Break, Old Soul Dies Young, and Lowfaith.
Musicians That Inspire: So many! To name a few: Alvvays, mbv, Slowdive, DIIV, Lush, Sonic Youth, Vivian Girls, Nice Try, Turvy Organ, Slow Caves, Style Animal
What's next for the band in 2022: Moodlighting plans to keep it going in 2022 most notably with a May album release party at the Hi-Dive and additional shows including a 4/20 date with Texas 'gazers Blushing. We just released our debut album, "Boy wonder," on April 1st (no joke) and have started working on our second LP.
Get Social: Instagram, Bandcamp
The Nova Kicks
Hometown: Thornton, CO
Formed: Summer 2015
Latest Release: "Better than you could believe" (Single), Self-Release, Oct. 22, 2021
Pronouns: Luis (Lu) Prado: He/himEnrique Sandoval: He/himAnnie Kelly: She/herBrandon Fierro: He/him
About: Colorado raucous band 'The Nova Kicks'bring a destructive sound wave of distorted grooves and soul in the shape of a high-energy performance. Writing personal to impersonal songs that bring awareness to the beauty and tragedy of the human experience. The band holds close to their influences in rock and roll and punk music but destroy the notion that their sound should stick to one genre. Strong believers that influence is meant to expand on an idea and not recreate it. We do just that.
Musicians That Inspire: Dinosaur Jr., The Hives, Bikini Kill, The Replacements, The Mars Volta
What's next for the band in 2022: We are working on our first full length album. It will be a culmination of songs written during the pandemic and a few familiar tunes from past performances. Album name and release date TBA.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube
The Original iLLs
Hometown: Denver, CO
Latest Release: Juanita 2022 Album
Pronouns: Benito & Emiliano-He/Him/His; Lady Los-She/Her/Her/They/Them
About: The Original iLLs are... Two Denver brothers with a strong blues lineage joined forces with Denver singer Lady Los to create a genre-bending trio. Creating intoxicating sounds spanning from Dance beats to Rockin' Soul treats...
Musicians That Inspire: Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Stone Temple Pilots, Thundercat, Queens of the Stone Age, Junior Kimbrough, Albert King
What's next for the band in 2022: We are focusing on recording our 3rd studio album and throwing live shows around the city and state.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok
Hometown: Idaho Springs, CO
Formed: The two of us have been playing music together for nearly a decade. Pleasure Prince was formed while we were living in Harlem in New York City in 2014. We wrote the songs for our EP, Entry there, and then recorded them in our studio when we moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2016. After the release of “Entry” in 2018, we began writing all of the songs featured on our debut album and recorded demos. We returned to Colorado in 2020 to build our new professional recording studio, “The Mine," which is where we recorded, engineered, and produced Numbers.
Latest Release: Our debut album, “Numbers” releases April 22nd, 2022!! The singles “Bot Pop,” “Patterns,” and “A Holiday” are out now!
Pronouns: Will Duncan (he/him) & Lilly Scott (she/her)
About: Surfacing from the depths of the Rocky Mountains, Pleasure Prince stands alone as a truly new and unique sound. The duo have crafted a cinematic essence of steamy, passionate, synth-pop. AXS Los Angeles reviewed their latest singles saying, “Scott and Duncan beam their love up to a place where experimental and pop music come together in perfect harmony.” Brooklyn blog The Deli Mag, noted their vocals “echo the sweetness and retro-futuristic sci-fi edge of the much beloved Broadcast.” Blending electronica and psychedelic influences, Pleasure Prince is an emerging band that deserves more attention.
Both talented multi-instrumentalists and producers, William Duncan and Lilly Scott compose each song themselves in their Colorado Mountain recording studio, “The Mine.” They released their first two singles, "No Work Today" and "You Look Good To Me” in 2017, receiving national press with only internet releases. In 2018, they released their debut EP, “Entry,” recorded in Brooklyn.
New York City blog, ‘Audiofemme’ premiered their 2018 ”ENTRY EP” saying, “In the not-so-distant future, when the earth is covered in red sand dunes and everyone is finally wearing floor length metal space dresses, humans will need some sick jams to make love to. Brooklyn’s own Pleasure Prince is eager to provide the musical backdrop.”
Pleasure Prince has been hard at work in the studio since the release of “Entry”, recording their debut full-length record, “Numbers” - set to release April 22nd, 2022.
The first two singles, “Bot Pop” and “Patterns” were released fall 2021, and are available to stream on all platforms. The next single, “A Holiday” released March 11th, 2022.
Musicians That Inspire: We are constantly pulling inspiration from so many different genres and eras of music. Our constant influences are Broadcast, Prince, Radiohead, Can, Tom Waits, Kraftwerk, Billie Holiday, Brian Eno, and Julee Cruise. Some newer artists that are really making us think differently are L’Imperatrice, Kit Sebastian, Rosalia, Porches, El Michels Affair, Mr. Twin Sister, and Tinariwen. We also love strange electronic instrumental records from the 60’s & 70’s, middle-eastern prog, krautrock, and French new wave.
What's next for the band in 2022: Our debut album release show is Saturday, April 23rd at the Bobcat Club/Skylark Lounge! We are excited to spend this year promoting “Numbers", touring, and performing as much as possible! We will also be releasing videos for each song on the album, creating a movie-like story for listeners. Our dream is to tour internationally and spend every day performing for you!
Get Social: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud
The Sickly Hecks
Hometown: Denver and Fort Collins, CO
Latest Release: Try and Fail, Heck Records, Jan. 8, 2021
Pronouns: he/him, they/them
About: The Sickly Hecks, an alternative rock band made up of singer/guitarist Raymond Suny, drummer Steven Hartman, guitarist Zach Visconti, and bassist Oliver Mueller released their full-length album Try and Fail on January 8, 2021 after three EPs and a pair of singles. Birthed from the basement-recordings of singer-guitarist Raymond Suny, The Sickly Hecks cut their teeth playing DIY shows and gained a reputation for their energetic live performances.
“The Sickly Hecks turn out a couple of fried amps worth of distortion laced with hopeless stoner/loner incantations sung through melodies in the selfish, mostly monosyllabic vocabulary of rock ’n’ roll. The production value is raw, using tricks borrowed from Sonic Youth, Wavves, the Wipers, and early-era Bright Eyes. The vocal hooks are layered over an onslaught of feedback and distortion, as shimmering guitars dance into carbonated choruses that feel, at times, almost anthemic, revealing the back-to-basics pop songs that were always underneath. The songs stumble their way from stoned, lazy beauty to speed-freak noise, to almost-bouncy pop - and there’s a heart-on-sleeve vulnerability that feels more insular, self-contained and unsettling, as if the party boys locked themselves away in the bedroom and the results are better than good,” says Jimmy Conway of Drop-Off Productions. "Try and Fail boasts a unique barrage of sound as the band used its time away from playing shows to develop their sound. The album showcases the band’s songwriting talents which communicate a range of sound and emotion while maintaining a distinctive character and cohesiveness throughout."
Musicians That Inspire: Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, the Cure, Joy Division
What's next for the band in 2022: Due to live performances being somewhat limited because of the pandemic, the Sickly Hecks have been concentrating much of their efforts on writing new material, recording demos, and developing their sound. The band will be releasing a music video in late spring with plans to release another in the summer. The Sickly Hecks are also planning summer West Coast and Midwest tours.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify
Hometown: New York, NY, but we all met in Colorado Springs, CO
Latest Release: We released our debut album, Sunburn, on February 25, 2022
About: Tiny Tomboy combines distorted guitar with dreamy textures and witty lyrics. Formed at Colorado College in 2019, the indie rockers amassed a cult following and are known for breaking floors and bursting eardrums at their wildly fun shows. In February of 2022, they released their debut album, Sunburn, to a warm reception by fans and critics alike. According to a review in 303 Magazine, “The indie darlings created an album primed to hypnotize listeners with its meticulous musicality and lustful harmonies.”
Musicians That Inspire: Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Palehound, Mitski
What's next for the band in 2022: We are planning to venture outside of Colorado Springs and play some shows in other parts of Colorado and the country. However, we will still make sure to play plenty of crazy house shows in our neighborhood.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
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!