The Local 303: Colorado artists we’re featuring for May 2023
The lineup this month is another eclectic mix of talent from around the state!
Expect to hear new music from hip-hop artist DNA Picasso who's new album The Color Blü was just voted "Best New Album" by Denver Westword. We also have indie rock stalwarts Instant Empire who have been releasing music for 12 years. On the newer side, alternative-punk band HRZN join the Local 303 as well as indie-psych band Sour Magic.
Throw it back to the golden days of rock 'n roll with Denver's Love Gang with some music off of their debut and the latest singles from singer/songwriter Adrienne O. Get to know lo-fi indie pop music by Keddjra, bedroom pop from Monument's Mayor Grey, and infectious electro pop from SODAPOP.
New projects have emerged like the trio Body, made up of members from bands Don Chicharrón and Ned Garthe Explosion. Carmine Francis who has been involved in former local bands like Scatter Gather debuts his first solo work this month too.
Last, KILTRO. The Denver favorites have their long-awaited sophomore record UNDERBELLY out on June 2nd, so you will get a preview throughout May of some of their favorite cuts from the upcoming release.
Join us at the end of the month here in Denver for our Local 303 Meetup. The event gives space to celebrate Colorado musicians and music fans from our community with our Music Meeting that previews new local music you can vote on, giveaways, and there will be a very special performance from Sour Magic.
The Local 303 Meetup is at a new location this month, Skylark Lounge, on Monday May 22nd from 6:30-9 p.m. and is open to the public, 21+ and no tickets required. Skylark Lounge is located at 140 S Broadway in Denver.
Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music.
Meet May's Picks:
Colorado Home: Wheat Ridge
Latest Release: "You Don't Want My Love" (Single), Nov. 11, 2022, Self-Released
About: Adrienne O has a problem: she’s going to die… eventually.
Life’s shortness and unpredictability always been her obsession. The ticking clock is why she left her computer programming job… why she tried to become a professional waterskier... why she left an IT career to become a full-time musician... why she’s more interested in cheap travel than expensive things... and why she could never work for someone else again.
It’s even why she created her music school - Performance High Voice and Music Studio - named after the “high” she gets from playing gigs. She and her 15 teachers - including Justin Leighton Long, co-writer, guitarist, and producer in the band - help artists become who they dream of being.
After a 5-year hiatus, her band’s 2022 renaissance departs from its previous 80’s-influenced synthpop sound and moves toward a more aggressive, careless, guitar- and drum-driven energy inspired by Metric, Muse and Gin Wigmore.
Whether it’s gratitude for being here, anger at those who screw it up for us, or joy at the luck of being here at all, Adrienne’s songs are about life, death, and how we use the short time in between.
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: We're looking forward to doing our first show in five years! We'll be at the Hard Rock Cafe on June 30. We're also going to be releasing more music. We have a lot of songs in the works, from short meme-type songs (which we call "potato chip songs", because you can't listen just once) to a cinematic piece I've been returning to for years, which I'm hoping I have finally cracked.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: When the pandemic was making us all doubt our purpose on the earth, our old band, Ned Garthe Explosion, found it incredibly difficult to get together for both obvious reasons and the reason that everyone but Veronica had a baby within one week of another. Nothing weird, we promise. Ned, Stuart, and Veronica starting meeting up during the summer of 2021, and challenged by the fact that there were only 3 of us, started experimenting with synthesizers… Body was born from songs that we co-wrote while messing around in our practice space. Our motto was, “no rules, no genre”. And then we got more synthesizers. And more amps. And now we are more machine than man.
Latest Release: We released "Don't Fight the Night" / "Spill It" on April 1, and "Bad Vibes" / "Closer" on Valentine’s Day. Both are self-released, produced and mastered by Stuart. You can find them on Spotify, bandcamp, and Soundcloud.
Pronouns: Veronica Beer - She/ Her - Keys/Vocals, Stuart Confer - He/Him - Drums/Keys/Vocals, Ned Garthe - He/Him - Bass/Keys/Vocals
About: We are Ned, Stuart, and Veronica, 3 weirdos who used the breakdown of society during the pandemic to redefine our relationships to music, performance, and the creative process. We draw from a wide range of inspiration to create songs that make us move. We want to have fun, to be true to ourselves, and to create something authentic. We are Body!
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: Keep putting out new music. We have a lofty goal to release 2 songs a month(ish) for the rest of the year. We joke that after we release enough singles we’ll release a “greatest hits” album. Keep playing shows. We have a bunch of shows coming up this spring and summer, including 6/3 at Bobcat club with Death Rail and Same Dude, and a few local and near-local festivals. We want to stay true to our original motto and not set too many rules for ourselves while continuing to explore and evolve based on our interests and inspiration.
Get Social: Spotify, Instagram
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: Self Titled album, 3/11/23, Self-Released
About: There has been a slow burn for me to work as a solo artist over the past few years and it manifested when I was working as a producer and engineer out of my old studio space on Colfax. I had been working out some songs on the piano there and started bringing in musicians from other projects to help me fully realize the material. It was sort of a ‘oh I have this space and all of these resources, let’s have fun and embrace the studio process’. This resulted in my first EP that came out this past March. I feel very privileged to have gotten to work with everyone involved, it was sort of my Denver dream team.
Since then I’ve gotten a live band going with me on piano and singing. It’s been really great working with everyone who is in the band. They are all such talented musicians and each bring their own unique energy to the group. We’ve already started working some new material that has a life of it’s own and I’m excited to see where this will go.
What does the band have planned for spring and summer: I am relocating to NYC this June. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m feeling very ready to fully embrace music there, it feels like a new chapter and I’m really open to whatever comes into my orbit. Beyond that things have been feeling really good with the band here and I’m hoping we will get some time to track a few tunes before I leave this June.
Get Social: Instagram, Streaming
Colorado Home: Aurora
Formed: I started making music in 2017 professionally
Latest Release: The Colour Blü which was released March 2nd
About: Inspired by the art of Pablo Picasso, Devin Arnold emerges as, “DNA Picasso,” an articulate, versatile and creative rapper based out of Denver, Colorado. DNA Picasso's journey began in New York and continued in Southern California after being adopted with his twin brother. He got his early start in music as a drummer in middle school, which led to him writing music and freestyling by high school. Early on, DNA drew inspiration from 90’s R&B but his true passion for music developed when he discovered hip-hop artists like Lil Wayne, T.I and Kanye West. Picasso entered the music industry as club promoter by connecting with talent buyers, venue owners and curating vibes for the city. He believes in embracing your struggles, and using them as fuel to find your way in the world by distancing yourself from any self-doubt and fear. Known for his high quality music videos, and his chameleon-like ability to float between genres, DNA Picasso continues to make a name for himself in the music industry. His latest project, The Colour Blü is out now on all streaming platforms.
May 6th - Denver University's "Back To College Fest"
May 27th - DNA Picasso LIVE @ The Black Buzzard (first 2023 headline)
Unofficially I'm booked for a big music festival in Denver, I can't say which one just yet.
Get Social: All social media platforms @dnapicasso
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: Single, "Wonderland", release date 4/28. The song is self-produced, vocals were recorded at Doghouse Studios in Lafayette, and the song was mastered by The Blasting Room in Fort Collins.
Pronouns: Morgan: She/They; Brandon, Julian, Craig, Patrick: He/Him
About: Formed just before the world took a turn in 2020, co-founders Morgan Elizabeth and Julian Argabrite formed the alternative-punk band HRZN to connect with others during a period that seemed impossible. The Denver based duo was joined by members Craig Pappas, Brandon Lee and Patrick Pinawin with the goal of making music that’s relatable, connecting and enjoyable no matter who you are. The tight knit group of goofs touch upon some hefty topics in their repertoire, while opening discussions around mental health, representing the underrepresented and fostering a community of acceptance. The band's name nods to a layer of positivity, a message they are looking to spread, showing that there will always be something brighter on the horizon.
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: We have two singles coming out, one on April 28th, another in May, and we'll be going on tour May 25th - June 4th!
Get Social: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: Standing Eight Count, released March 31, 2023 (self-released)
About: Chroniclers of the human condition since 2011. Indie rock.
When the pandemic hit, the band started writing songs. Lots of them. During the early days of the pandemic, writing these songs gave the band an outlet to grapple with universal issues which were hitting close to home: death, aging, a slow disintegration of hopes and dreams, reflecting on the past and the future that stands in its wake.
Over the past few years the band had been hit with a seemingly endless number of personal issues: the death of parents & friends, health issues, long days and nights in and out of hospitals, lost jobs, lost paths, and an incalculable sense of isolation. The weight of these items seemed to naturally coalesce into the songs we were writing.
The result is Instant Empire’s fourth full-length LP, titled Standing Eight Count. Musically and thematically, the new album is expansive. The canvas Instant Empire was working on had been broadened. An undercurrent of deep personal struggle permeates these songs. Broken and battered characters, on the ropes, but still standing, still fighting the good fight … This theme is woven in and out of the 11 songs that make up the album. Ultimately the album aims to be a partner for these strange and difficult times. We hope you find something in it.
Over the years the band has garnered comparisons to a number of indie rock’s finest, including: The National, Bright Eyes, The Hold Steady, Death Cab and Manchester Orchestra.
The band's discography to-date includes: Standing Eight Count (LP; 2023), Cathedrals (LP; 2019), Last of the Lovers (LP; 2017), Lamplight Lost (LP; 2015), Keep Up! (EP; 2013), Heavy Hollow (EP; 2012), Instant Empire (EP; 2011)
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: Hopefully play a few festivals, and we're open to playing any shows that come our way.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: I've been writing and creating music my whole life but started taking it seriously the past 2 years.
Latest Release: how my friends must worry, Feb. 3, 2023, Self-Released
About: Keddjra is a bedroom indie artist from Denver, whose unique vibe and process have garnered her recognition both locally and online. She records almost all of her music using her smartphone, weaving elements of pop, indie, folk, and grunge to create a fresh, distinct sound. Keddjra's music is deeply personal, and her raw lyrics often deal with themes of love, loss, and self-discovery. The instrumentation in her music ranges from dry and simplistic to stacked synthesizers, distorted ukulele, and heavy metal drums. Along with a dedicated community of local musicians, Keddjra has attracted a following through regular live performances and the release of her debut album, how my friends must worry. Her willingness to take risks and experiment paired with her honest and vulnerable lyrics make her a good listen for music fans across many genres.
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: Keddjra has recently put together a live band and plans to start playing shows in summer 2023. In the meantime, you can catch her playing at coffee shops and bars doing a blend of covers and originals.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok
Colorado Home: DENVER
Latest Release: UNDERBELLY, Jun. 2, 2023
About: Years ago, Chilean-American singer/songwriter Chris Bowers Castillo moved to the port city of Valparaíso and became a walking tour guide. “I would dress up as Wally and give tours to families and kids,” he remembers with a laugh. “It was great, because I got to know the city incredibly well. I’d walk for hours, then spend the rest of the day partying and drinking, probably way too much. But I also wrote lots of new songs.”
Back in Denver, Chris looked for a moniker that reflected the evocative and subtly rebellious musical concepts percolating in his head, and settled on kiltro a word used in Chile for stray dogs or mutts. He then teamed up with bassist Will Parkhill and drummer Michael Devincenzi, later inviting Fez García to join the band as an additional percussionist on Kiltro’s live gigs.
“I wanted to do a project mixing different styles and aesthetics,” he says. “Valparaíso is my favorite city in the world and will always influence my music. There were street dogs everywhere, and I’m a mutt myself.” Titled Underbelly, Kiltro’s sophomore album crystallizes those dreams and experiences into a post-rock manifesto of dazzling beauty. Its songs combine touches of shoegaze, ambient and neo-psychedelia with the soulful transcendence of South American folk – the purity of stringed instruments, supple syncopated percussion and elusive melodies that define the works of Latin American legends such as Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara and Atahualpa Yupanqui.
From the propulsive, chant-like groove of “Guanaco” to the art-pop panache of “All the Time in the World,” Underbelly is the kind of record that invites you to quiet down and listen, savoring every single detail. The album reaches an emotional pinnacle during its second half, when the majestic lament of “Softy” – seeped in exquisite cushions of reverb – segues into
the hypnotic reverie of “Kerosene.” It also signals a new chapter in the fusion of Latin roots with mainstream rock, anchoring its sonic quest on a rare commodity: inspired songwriting.
“So much of this album is defined by the conditions that made it,” says Chris. “Our debut – 2019’s Creatures of Habit – has a social, almost communal feel to it, because we played it live time after time before recording. In a way, the songs were troubleshooted in the presence of an audience, then honed in the studio. Underbelly, on the other hand, was made in quarantine. It was just us obsessing in the studio, and we ended up following whatever thread seemed most interesting at the time, which made for an album that is more experimental and creative.”
“We’re trying to make sense of the process as we experience it,” adds Will, who returned to Denver and became part of Kiltro after a few years living abroad. “The way we make music, we’re definitely not interested in dropping singles. Something that Chris and I have in common is our interest in capturing ambient textures that evoke a sense of place. When we first played music together – years before Kiltro – we got microphones and tried to record the sound of water running down a bathtub. It didn’t work out then, but we revisited the same concept on this album.”
Quarantine isolation allowed Kiltro to obsess over every single loop and melodic turn. Now that the band is ready to tour again, presenting the songs in a live setting poses a beautiful challenge. “We were mixing the album when the question came up: how the hell are we going to do this live?,” says Chris. “Live shows are a real important component of what we do – in a way, it’s the very reason of why we make music. There will be four of us onstage, and I do a lot of live looping. We have two drummers, which helps a lot when you consider the percussive element of this album. I’ve learned that we don’t have to favor a maximalist approach. People connect with melody and the concept. As long as the harmonic elements carry the
emotional message across, you can take the songs into many possible directions.”
For now, the release of Underbelly marks a bold step forward in Kiltro’s extraordinary musical journey. “When we first started the band, I was playing folk songs – focusing on my interior spaces and finding catharsis through melody,” says Chris. “I’ve always been attracted to music that is melancholy and personal. Then we added the rhythmic component, and I realized that having a bit of noise and chaos can add emotional depth. Underbelly reflects everything that happens inside your soul when the world stops on its tracks.” “We tried a lot of new things on this record,” agrees Will. “We were living through unprecedented times and coming to terms with all of it. The album is a reflection of that. At the end of the day, we wanted to create the kind of music that we didn’t hear anywhere else."
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: NEW ALBUM OUT JUNE 2FULL US TOURING STARTING IN JUNE - SEPTEMBERPLAYING VORTEX FESTIVAL IN DEVNER AUGUST 25THMERCURY CAFE ALBUM RELEASE PARTY JUNE 1 - RSVP AT KILTROMUSIC.COM
Get Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: Meanstreak released Jan. 27th, 2023 via Heavy Psych Sounds Records
About: Love Gang is a rock ’n roll band based out of Denver, Colorado. Formed in 2015, Love Gang is a throwback to the golden days of rock ’n roll when the amps were loud, the hair was long and the drugs were cheap. Influenced by the obscure and underground rock of the 70s, they manage to keep their sound classic and true while also creating original, compelling songs that don’t grow tired or sound as if you’ve heard it all before. Love Gang likes to play fast, high energy songs full of driving blues boogie, wailing psychedelic guitar solos and crunchy hammond organ.
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: We are very excited for this summer as we are currently booking a European tour with our Euro label, Heavy Psych Sounds Records, that are based out of Rome, Italy. We are confirmed for the Sonic Blast Festival that takes place August 9-12th in Portugal, playing along with the likes of The Black Angels, OFF!, Kadavar, Earthless, Danava, and Hällas among many others.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook
Colorado Home: Monument
Formed: 2022! I'm fresh out the oven.
Latest Release: My most recent release was "Comfort Me (Pretty Please)", a single released on Oct. 21, 2022!
About: Mayor Grey is an indie pop artist that makes music for those that drive with the windows down. Grey puts the performance aspect of songwriting at the forefront. Seeing music as a conversation between the performer and audience, Mayor Grey always brings a fun atmosphere with his catchy melodies, memorable live shows, and explorative lyrics.
What Does Your Project Have Planned For Spring And Summer: I'm finishing up the biggest project I've done to date! It starts with a single titled "Kitchen Sink" releasing soon. Stay tuned for it!
Get Social: Instagram
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: Retrogaze, self-released EP. Its most recent iteration came out Mar. 11, 2023, but I'm actually continuously adding songs to it. So there are 3 songs on Retrogaze now and I'm adding another every couple months.
About: After college I spent two years traveling the world, writing songs, and trying to live as frugally as possible. I stayed long term in Thailand and Serbia, where the people I met and the experiences I had really shaped my vision for this project. By the time I got back to the States I had a filled up passport, a hundred songs, and roughly -$14 in my bank account. That’s around when I started releasing music as SODAPOP. The sound is a fizzly blend of dreamy bedroom pop and disco. Sounds like: Dayglow, The 1975, The Strokes, Clairo, boy pablo, COIN, L’Impératrice.
From there it’s been just a series of worldwide smashes, hit after hit. The NY Times wrote “wow he is rly good best music we’ve heard.” Drake keeps hitting me up asking for a feature but I’m trying to keep it low key. I actually let Bieber on a song but just had him on shaker. I like to keep it low key like that. I shoot hoops with Adam Sandler sometimes. That’s not related I guess but still pretty cool. He’s trying to put me in movies (”with a face like that, you should be in movies bro” -adam), but I’m like bro I’m keeping it low key over here. That’s sort of my life though at this point. Rubbing elbows with celebs, trying to navigate being the most sought after artist in the industry. I’m staying humble though, I’m low key the most humble person. Probably the most low key as well.
-Kane Nania (aka SODAPOP)
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: The latest version of my EP Retrogaze came out March 11, but I'm continuously adding songs to it. There are 3 songs on the EP now and I'm adding another song every month or two as I finish them. In the coming months I should have a few more out. The title 'Retrogaze' is a word I made up, based on 'retrograde' and gazing into the past and the feeling of going backwards and nostalgia. Been doing a lot of it lately. Catch me on ig/tiktok making live loop vids or bein goofy.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: We started in the fall of 2021 and we were fully formed by spring 2022 when our singer Kyle joined.
Latest Release: We self-released our 3rd single "High Tide" on Mar. 10, 2023
Pronouns: he/him and he/they
About: Sour Magic is a five-piece band from Denver, CO known for their unique blend of indie and psychedelic rock and energetic live performances.
Formed in 2021 and comprised of musicians from different cities, their diverse perspectives come together to tap into the supernatural to create infectious grooves that transport listeners to far-flung locations.
In 2022, Sour Magic released their debut single, “Indigo” which quickly gained traction in both the Denver music scene and on streaming services. The band has since become a staple at popular local venues and music festivals across the state and has been featured on numerous Colorado radio stations and magazines.
Sour Magic are known for their high-energy live shows, where they invite the audience to join them on a sonic journey through melodic psychedelic landscapes. The band is currently working on their first full-length album, set to be released summer 2023.
What Does The Band Have Planned For Spring And Summer: Sour Magic has been busy brewing up a summer full of music! We recently helped produce and distribute a local Colorado compilation vinyl called "High Plains Psych Exchange Volume 1" for Record Store Day. All proceeds from the vinyl are going to Colorado mental health charities. It will also be available digitally, name your own price, for Band Camp Friday on 5/5. We’re really proud of the work we put in on this project with our friends in the scene and hope you’ll support Colorado music & mental health!
In May, we'll be playing our first show at the Hi-Dive with Spooky Mansions, as well as in Arvada's Second Saturdays. In July, we'll be playing at Psychs Peak, a two-day camping festival in Cañon City. And in August, we'll be heading to Fort Collins for Endless Fest. We're also hoping to play UMS this year!
Later this summer, we'll finally be releasing our debut album, "Forbidden Fruit." We've been working on this album for over a year, and we can't wait to share it with you. We're planning on hitting the ground running by playing lots of awesome events and festivals around Colorado before we get back in the studio for album #2.
We hope to see you at a show!
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Spotify
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