Music News

NPR Tiny Desk Contest: Colorado's Rossonian Featured As Runner-Up

NPR Music recently announced the winner of its second Tiny Desk Contest: singer and violinist Gaelynn Lea of Duluth, Minn.

More than 6,000 artists from around the country submitted original videos for the chance to perform at NPR headquarters in Washington. Denver's Rossonian was among those artists, and NPR Music today highlighted the band's entry as one of "10 More Tiny Desk Contest Entries We Loved."

NPR Music writes:

Rossonian's entry, "Love In A Wasteland," was unique from basically every angle. Everything about lead singer Seth Evans' pants is superlative. The band's cosmic R&B is delightfully strange. And it even managed to play behind an exceptionally tiny desk. Yet perhaps the most singular element of this entry happens off-screen and takes less than a second. They recorded at Blue Silo in Colorado near the train tracks, and you can hear a train rush past at 1:04. It's the only thing that grounds this extraterrestrial band firmly in our earthly realm.

Watch Rossonian's submission above.

NPR's article also highlights an entry filmed in southwestern Colorado. The submission from New Mexico artists Def-i And The Delbert Anderson Trio was shot in Cortez:

Read our roundup of 10 favorite Colorado Tiny Desk Contest entries -- which includes Rossonian -- and listen to OpenAir's Alisha Sweeney chat with CPR News's Ryan Warner about the many Colorado submissions in 2016.

New Colo. Music Festival Vertex Announces Inaugural Lineup

Alabama Shakes

The inaugural Vertex Festival comes to Buena Vista Aug. 5-7. Organizers today announced the initial music lineup for the outdoor event. 

Highlights include Seattle electronica duo Odesza, roots-rockers Alabama Shakes, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Houndmouth and more. 

Vertex will offer camping passes for the three-day event. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Check out the full music lineup so far:

  • Odesza
  • Alabama Shakes
  • Trey Anastasio Band
  • Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
  • Big Wild
  • Classixx
  • Dawes
  • Dopapod
  • Duke Dumont
  • Fruition
  • Graham Nash
  • Hiatus Kaiyote
  • Houndmouth
  • Jai Wolf
  • Robert DeLong
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Seven Lions
  • SunSquabi
  • The Claypool Lennon Delirium
  • The Revivalists

Read our "Recommended If You Like" feature about Alabama Shakes.

Want To Record An Album With Flobots? Here's Your Chance


(Photo: CPR / Michael Hughes)

The members of Denver hip-hop band Flobots are working on a new album of protest music, "NOENEMIES," and they want your help.

The band will host an open choir recording session Saturday at Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church in Denver. Participation is free and open to all ages. The recordings will be used on the forthcoming Flobots album.

The session will also feature members of local music groups 303 Choir and Gora Gora Orkestar. Get more details here.

Watch Flobots perform "Stand Up" in the CPR Performance Studio below.

OpenAir hosts Flobots in a performance of "Gonna Be Free." Recorded on July 15, 2015 in the CPR Performance Studio.

Watch more videos from the session.


Record Store Day Announces 2016 Releases; Over 30 Colo. Stores To Participate

Record Store Day 2016 takes place April 16. The annual music event's organizers announced this week the batch of exclusive vinyl releases that will be available in independent record stores worldwide.

Highlights include the David Bowie singles "TVC15" and "The Man Who Sold The World," Patti Smith's "Horses Live Electric Lady Studios," alt-J's "Live At Red Rocks" and more. See the full list of Record Store Day special releases. 

More than 30 record stores in Colorado will participate in this year's festivities, including Twist & Shout Records and Wax Trax in Denver, Absolute Vinyl Records & Stereo in Boulder and Independent Records in Colorado Springs.

Check out all Colorado stores participating in Record Store Day 2016.

Read about "Live At OpenAir Live At The UMS 2014," our exclusive vinyl release from Record Store Day 2015.

Watch the video for alt-J's "Left Hand Free" below.

New Denver Festival To Feature Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Courtney Barnett

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

(Photo: CPR / Daniel Mescher)

Project Pabst is a music festival that began in 2014 in Portland, Ore. It expands this year to three new cities, including Denver.

The inaugural Denver music event takes place May 21 on Larimer Street in Denver's RiNo neighborhood.

The roster includes Colorado's Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, soul man Charles Bradley, alternative veterans Violent Femmes and more. View the full lineup.

Watch videos of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Courtney Barnett performing in the CPR Performance Studio below.

Recorded in the CPR Performance Studio on Dec. 18, 2014. Watch more videos from the session.

Recorded in the CPR Performance Studio on July 1, 2014.

More videos from the session.

Gordon Gano Of Violent Femmes Praises Denver Music Ensemble, Restaurant

Gordon Gano of alternative rock band Violent Femmes moved to Colorado a few years ago. In a recent inteview with The Guardian, he showed some love for two local cultural establishments.

Gano picked Denver 's El Taco De Mexico as his current favorite restaurant, citing "the best cheese enchilada I’ve ever had." 

He also praised a recent performance of George Crumb's "Black Angels" by Denver's Playground Ensemble. "I think it’s beautifully written with all this air and space," Gano says. "It’s not an onslaught of dense madness; there’s a real intelligence to all these different sounds that are happening."

Listen to CPR's recent story on the Playground Ensemble's collaboration with composer Loretta Notareschi. The group performed the piece alongside "Black Angels." 

Watch the video for Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone" below.

Westword Music Showcase Announces 2016 Headliners

Cold War Kids

(Photo: CPR / Daniel Mescher)

The Westword Music Showcase, one of Denver's biggest summer music festivals, will take place in the city's Golden Triangle neighborhood on June 25.

Today Westword revealed this year's national acts that will perform on the event's two main stages. The list includes Dillon Francis, Matt & Kim, Cold War Kids, Brick + Mortar, HEALTH and more.

The showcase will also include dozens of Colorado acts performing at smaller venues. 

Check out CPR Performance Studio footage of some of the artists on last year's roster, including MisterWives, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Clouds & Mountains. And see our recap of the 2015 Westword Music Showcase for snapshots from the event. 

The Lumineers Are Back With New Album 'Cleopatra'

The Lumineers

(Photo: courtesy of the artist)

The Lumineers have announced the details of their long-awaited sophomore album, "Cleopatra." The follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Denver trio's 2012 debut is out April 8.

Stream the first single, "Ophelia," via the link below.

The band wrote the album in Denver and New York's Catskill Mountains last year. Singer Wesley Schultz told NPR Music: "The album is sonically pretty different from the first one. The common thread is a lot of the percussion has remained."

The Lumineers have also announced a 2016 world tour that includes a performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 7.

Read about the time The Lumineers donated their tour van to OpenAir last year.

Watch video of The Lumineers performing "Dead Sea" with the Colorado Symphony below.

Trevor Powers Says Youth Lagoon Is 'No More'

Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon.

(Photo: Matt de Jong)

Trevor Powers, the Boise, Idaho, musician behind the indie pop band Youth Lagoon, posted a message to Twitter today saying the project is finished.

Powers writes Youth Lagoon "is no more" and "this upcoming tour will be the final YL performances." The band's final show is scheduled for June 11 at London's Field Day festival.

Youth Lagoon released three albums since 2011. The most recent was last year's "Savage Hills Ballroom."

Listen to our interview with Powers from last October in which he discussed how discomfort was a motivating factor behind "Savage Hills Ballroom."

Read Powers' full statement below.


Send OpenAir Your Valentine's Day Dedications

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. This year, we want your song requests and dedications for our Valentine's weekend programming.

Tell us the name of your special song and to whom you'd like to dedicate it by sending an online request, leaving a comment our Facebook page or sending us a tweet.

We'll also be rounding up your special songs for a Spotify playlist. In the meantime, keep those requests coming in!

Watch the video for David Bowie's "Valentine's Day" below.