Stelth Ulvang somehow finds time to balance a solo music career with his demanding schedule as a member of Denver band The Lumineers. The Fort Collins native, who plays dozens of instruments, has released three records so far this year, the most recent of which is his solo sophomore LP, "American Boredom." Ulvang wrote and recorded the album over the course of three years during breaks from Lumineers tours. Ulvang and his band stopped into the CPR Performance Studio last week. He played four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the political themes on "American Boredom," recording an EP in South Africa and opening for U2 with the Lumineers last year.
Moaning released its self-titled debut album last month on the renowned Sub Pop record label. The Los Angeles trio writes bass-driven rock songs that recall classic post-punk albums from Gang of Four and Joy Division mixed with influences from the California indie scene. The band recently performed at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, and Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. Moaning stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs from its debut. The members also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about playing together since high school, their connection to the distinguished Los Angeles D.I.Y. venue The Smell and the various meanings behind their band name.
There aren't any bands quite like The Milk Blossoms. The Denver trio combines ukulele, beatboxing and keys for a unique experimental pop sound. The band just released the new album "Dry Heave The Heavenly," which was recorded in part at Denver music nonprofit Youth On Record. The Milk Blossoms first played in the CPR Performance Studio in 2015, and we were pleased to welcome them back earlier this week. The band members played three songs from the new record and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about confronting mental health issues like depression and anxiety through music, why they recorded the album live to tape and the raw energy they bring to their concerts.
Straight White Teeth is the synth-pop solo project of Patrick McGuire, formerly of Denver indie rock band Flashbulb Fires. This week McGuire announced the follow-up to 2015's "Medicine Sword" EP. He'll release the record "Physical Truth" one song at a time over the course of 2018. McGuire brought Straight White Teeth into the CPR Performance Studio this month. He played three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about composing music for film, the differences between performing with a full band and as a solo act, and how a recent bicycle accident affected his songwriting.
Dragondeer released its debut album, "If You Got The Blues," last week. The Denver quartet has long been one of our favorite local bands for its lively blend of blues and psychedelic rock music. We welcomed them back into the CPR Performance Studio for the third time shortly before the record's release. The members of Dragondeer played three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about writing music in the bathtub, how "If You Got The Blues" documents the last four years of their lives and incorporating reggae themes into their music.
Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir is one of eight Colorado acts performing at this year's South By Southwest music showcase in Austin, Texas. The Denver Americana-rock quintet formed in 2013 -- the same year it first played in the CPR Performance Studio. Last week the band released its debut album, "Long Way Home," before heading down to perform at SXSW. Brown and his band returned to CPR's OpenAir to share three songs from the new LP. Brown also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how listening to albums from start to finish as a teenager influences his songwriting and how the band will open for country musician Keith Urban at SXSW this week.
Neyla Pekarek has been the cellist for Denver folk-rock group The Lumineers since 2010. Despite that band's demanding touring schedule, the Colorado native found time to write and record the original folk opera "Rattlesnake," which she'll release as an album later this year. It's based on the life of Northern Colorado pioneer "Rattlesnake" Kate McHale, who in 1925 allegedly killed 140 snakes to save her life and that of her three-year-old son. Pekarek and her band visited the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs from "Rattlesnake." She also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how she discovered the story of Rattlesnake Kate as a student at the University of Northern Colorado, recording the album with M. Ward in Portland, Ore., and going on tour with U2 last year.
Denver keyboardists Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher released their debut EP as Retrofette in 2016. They've since expanded the band's futuristic pop sound by adding two more members. The quartet's multiple-synthesizer attack has won over plenty of Colorado music fans: Westword readers named the quartet "Best Pop Act" of 2017. Retrofette visited the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs. The members also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about meeting as saxophone students at the University of Denver, their reputation for high-spirited live shows and getting fellow Colorado musicians to remix songs from "I Don't Mind."
Jessica Lea Mayfield released her fourth album, "Sorry Is Gone," last fall. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter continues to push her music toward an alternative rock sound while maintaining the country influences of her early work. It's also a deeply personal record for Mayfield, who addresses her experience as a domestic violence survivor on several of the album's tracks. Mayfield, who previously visited CPR's OpenAir in 2014, returned to the CPR Performance Studio to play three stripped-down versions of songs from "Sorry Is Gone." She also spoke with Bruce Trujillo about viewing her lyrics as a conversation with herself, her decision to be candid about her experience with domestic violence and how her music has gotten heavier in recent years.
Last Of The Easy Riders released their new LP "Unto The Earth" with a concert last Saturday at Hi-Dive. The members of the Denver band met through Craigslist and bonded over a love for classic country-rock. They blend that genre with modern psychedelic rock influences on songs like "It Won't Be Long" -- which is featured on our latest Colorado Music Sampler. Last Of The Easy Riders stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play some songs from the new record. The members also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about their collaborative songwriting process and the significance of their band name.