I could write hundreds of these local playlists, and I still would not have talked about all the incredible music coming out of Colorado right now. It never fails to amaze me.
With finals week around the corner, it’s important to find some joy in life as well. Hopefully these local tunes can help you survive and remind you Colorado isn’t that bad of a place to be — even if you fail all your exams and owe Colorado State University tens of thousands of dollars.
‘pink eye (prehistoric)’ by Rose Variety
This song puts the biggest smile on my face the second it starts. While some may complain about not being able to hear the lyrics very well, it tickles my brain in all the right ways. It makes me feel like I am inside a cassette player, spinning around the tape as the repetitive beat continues and a story is told.
Rose Variety has always had a unique and recognizable sound, but their latest album, “living alone with yourself in your head for a year and a half,” really shows how they have grown as artists. The mixing and mastering styles have changed and a more psychedelic and experimental atmosphere of sound is being created.
‘Abelia’ by shadow work
Based out of Denver, shadow work is an art-rock trio that has completely blown my mind. Each piece of this trio is incredibly talented, and their new single, “Abelia,” showcases it perfectly.
Vocalist and guitarist Rafael Nava has the voice of an actual angel; the climaxes of this song are lifted by his floating vocal lines filled with soul and emotion. The song is driven by the precision of drummer Ben Zickau and the moving melodic bass lines of bassist and backing vocalist Joseph Szlanic.
Each part is complex, with pieces of distortion sprinkled in perfectly. Even the silence in this song feels intentional, allowing for a dynamic range and a song that keeps you intrigued.
‘Charmer And The Snake’ by The Velveteers
The Velveteers’ newest album, “Nightmare Daydream,” is a masterpiece of reverb-heavy rock ‘n’ roll that will shake every bone in your body. The Velveteers recorded this album in Nashville with Grammy-winning Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, a collaboration that took The Velveteers’ music to a whole new level.
According to The Velveteers’ website, “Charmer And The Snake” is about the creepy older men in the music scene who try to manipulate others to get what they want and seeing through their lies. The lyrics in combination with the heavy rock instrumentals create a feeling of anger turned into empowerment.
‘Lit Cigarette’ by DEBR4H
After seeing DEBR4H play a cover set as Madonna, I just had to dive into their original music, and it did not disappoint. DEBR4H has the power to teleport listeners into a world of bright-colored, ’80s-inspired synth-pop.
The repeating synth lines in “Lit Cigarette” are perfectly catchy, with enough other parts layered over each other to create a complex sound that keeps your interest while still using very repetitive lines. I am a big fan of the transition into the end when the bass comes in and the song seems to effortlessly spiral into the ending.
‘Whatever I gotta do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯’ by CAGEMATES
This song will have you crying in the club — or skatepark? You will be sad and also head banging. The contrast between the acoustic and electric guitars gives this song a perfect amount of rising and falling, crying and screaming.
The softness of the vocal parts also contrasts the distorted, heavy instrumentals, particularly having peaceful moments of layered vocals right before instrumental breakdowns and the classic epic guitar solos that sound like they belong in Guitar Hero.
‘the moon is a lesbian 2’ by Hotel WiFi
As a fan of the original “The Moon Is a Lesbian” by Hotel WiFi, I almost feel the need to throw a party to celebrate the remake of this incredible song. I also cried a bit.
The added instrumentals to this song take it to a whole new level, creating an atmosphere of calming sound as a story is told. The keys in particular embellish the song perfectly in addition to the layering of vocals that makes the lyrics even more powerful.
Check out the playlist on Spotify here.
Reach Maddy Erskine at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maddyerskine_.