EP Review: So Close To Midnight

I haven’t found a great electro pop group in Colorado in a while and Flashlights really hits the spot. They’ve got a five-track EP called “So Close To Midnight” on Bandcamp as a free download. These songs are exactly perfect for late-night city exploration or long drives to the ocean with your girlfriend. These guys are creating a very perfect and very specific mood. Don’t pass it up.

Flashlights has loads of great press quotes on their Bandcamp and I’m glad. They deserve lots of praise for these five tracks. They’ve also got a remix EP that’s totally worth listening to. Don’t listen to the remix EP first though. I made that mistake and now everything sounds like a remix. It’s all wonderful though, so no harm done really.

Flashlights is playing at Larimer Lounge in Denver on June 16, and I’d be sure to make it to that show if I were you. These kinds of tones and mid-tempo dance grooves are perfect for live situations.

“Ruby Sun” is my favorite song on the EP. It totally gives me that feeling of playing Outrun on a Sega Genesis while hanging out with all the babes in California. These tones are great.

Check these guys out! Listen to their music! Donate money to them if you have lots on your hands! Everyone needs encouragement, and Flashlights deserves it. I’d totally make it to that June 16 show if I were anywhere near Denver that day. Don’t miss it! 


The Magic Beans

Self-Titled Album Review

The Magic Beans tagged themselves as “ameritronica” on Bandcamp! That’s one of the most interesting tags I’ve read in a while. I can definitely see the Americana roots in their music, all though most of their sounds do seem to be organic, and so I don’t quite understand the electronic part of that combination of a word. In any case, this music is really cool! They’ve got an eight-track, free album on Bandcamp released in July 21 and simply titled, “The Magic Beans.” Check it out for a lot of really great sounds from some very obviously skilled musicians.

The story is apparently that these guys met in Four Mile Canyon and created a friendship and band for the aim of spontaneous improvisation and music greater than the sum of its parts. That’s a perfect ideal, and they’re pulling it off well! These tracks are all great summations of simply parts and excellent sounds.  They called it genre spanning and that’s totally accurate. I don’t know what I’d say if somebody asked me to describe The Magic Beans with one genre.

The Magic Beans is Scott Hachey, Chris Franklin, Josh Appelbaum, Casey Russell and Hunter Welles. You can find them on Facebook, Bandcamp, or their personal URL, MagicBeeansMusic.com. They recorded their self-titled release at Sky Trail Recording, and the beautiful quilted artwork was done by Sweet Melis. If you’re in the area, check them out! If not, turn up your speakers and take in all this great magical improvisation! 



Winter Sessions EP

Février is the name of the ambient work of Connor Etges from Boulder, Colorado, and back in March he released five really great wintry tracks in a mini-EP called “Winter Sessions EP.” It’s no longer snowy in the majority of the country, but give these songs a listen and take yourself back into the great, white, mind-freeing expanse of winter.


The first track, “Slight Mint,” is full of really interesting sounds including some windy sounds of snow-covered mountains. It’s an instrumental track with lots of great fades in and out, and it might be my favorite on the album.

“Breathe In Through The Bones” is another great one. This one spends some more time on those great swells and shimmering high frequency tones. It’s really a mood-setter, and I can clearly imagine myself sitting on top of a mountain in the Rockies with this track playing on an almost frozen iPod in my pocket. The glitches in the mid-range sounds break the song up perfectly, and everything flows flawlessly.

“Winter Sessions” closes the album up with a somewhat catchy track, complete with a persistent kick drum sound and repetitive guitar riffs. This is a good close to a solid EP.

If you live in or near Boulder, find this guy and give him some encouragement. If you don’t, then be sure to stream this songs on Bandcamp for free or download them at the price of your choice. What a deal! Be on the look out for Février, and remember these songs next winter!


After The Mountain Fire

Honesty, maturity and sincerity

After The Mountain Fire is incredible. I can’t believe that this guy is seventeen. His name is Harris Rosenblum, and he’s doing an incredible job. I’d love to ask him what kind of music he listens to because there are a ton of different influences in here, but nothing seems very direct. Honestly, that’s perfect.


“Turn My Bones” is the only song you can listen to right now from his forthcoming album, “Sleep Deprivation,” but it’s incredible. It’s catchy and intimate right from the beginning. Each verse is equally as impactful. When he starts reminiscing of younger ages, I remember that he’s only seventeen, and I’m blown away. These lyrics are more mature than people many years older can usually come up with. They feel totally honest too and that’s so ideal. After The Mountain is one of the most impressive projects I’ve come along in a long time. I can’t wait to hear the rest of “Sleep Deprivation.”

What’s even more impressive is that this kid has another album that he release almost a year ago called “Squarelled Something.” It contains 13 tracks and you can download it for free from his Bandcamp page. It’s clearly more DIY, but I think it should be. These songs are really good, and I’d totally recommend them to almost anybody.

Head over to After The Mountain Fire’s Bandcamp page and then feel bad that you’re probably older than 17 with fewer accomplishments. Franz Schubert wrote over six hundred pieces of music before he was 31, and Harris Rosenblum is well on track.


Stephanie Mabey

Songs about zombies and more

Stephanie Mabey has a song about zombies! It’s perfectly creepy. You can find it on her Bandcamp page as “The Zombie Song.” She’s totally right when she says vampires are getting too much love these days. Zombies are so much cooler. This song is pretty cool as well! Check it out! It’s totally poppy and thematically consistent!


If Stephanie Mabey were a zombie, she wouldn’t want your brain. She’d just want your heart. That’s the hook for this zombie love song, and it’s an interesting concept. Do zombies love? Do zombies feel emotions? Can they have relationships? Discover this and more through “The Zombie Song” on Stephanie Mabey’s Bandcamp page.

She’s holding a Q Chord in her picture. That’s one of the most underutilized tools in music. They can make incredible sounds incredibly easy. Kudos to you, Stephanie, for figuring that out.

She’s tagging herself as indie pop, and I’d say that’s totally accurate. This song is especially poppy, but not in a disgusting radio-pop way. She’s got a whole other album on Bandcamp as well. It’s way more serious, and I’d definitely recommend it. Zombies are great, but that’s not all Stephanie Mabey has to sing about. You can only listen to two songs from “Wake Up Dreaming” right now, but they’re both super interesting. There’s something unique in her voice that makes me want to just keep listening to the same little phrases over and over again.

Check out Stephanie Mabey’s music for songs about zombies and more! 

Woody Oliver

Sad Songs

Woody Oliver is really into sad songs. He named his four song album on Bandcamp “Sad Songs Are Good Songs”, and he straight up says that he thinks sad music is way better than happy music.

The first song on this collection is called “I Wonder”, and it’s a long bit of pondering on whether a girl for Woody exists and what she’s like. It’s pretty elaborate, but it’s a simple question. Most people wonder about that I think.

The second song is called “This Is My Reality”. It starts out with an analogy of mood to a gasoline dowsed trampoline. This song is totally sad.

“Make It Hall Love” is the next track of the four. It starts out with a great bit of happiness! This song is actually quite uplifting and hopefully. He talks about trading things in for “the fun ways” and demands that he’s going to live his life like that. I like this song! He talks about stripping people down to their hearts, and it’s not sad at all.

“You Just Say Goodbye” starts out with a cute whistling guitar duet, and then jumps right into an immediately sad song. This is a song of failed determination. He tries talks to somebody, but they leave. This songs sounds really sincere, and sincerity is what makes sad songs worth listening to. Excellent job, Woody.

You can download all four of these acoustic tracks for free on Woody Oliver’s Bandcamp page. Head on over there and check them out!

Calliope of the Future - 'Carnival of Ghosts'

A moment of restraint on an otherwise freewheeling freak-folk record.

The Foot.

The first sound on The Foot.’s “The Crowd Control EP” is one of the most annoying sounds of my childhood, the dialup internet connection sound. Then this really thick fuzz bass comes in and “The Day We Danced Around Gold” is in full swing. My annoyances are forgotten, it’s the twenty-first century, and I’ve found a great new band.

“The Day We Danced Around Gold” is incredibly dynamic. At several points it jumps from filling up my ear buds vibrating capacity to totally disappearing and leaving me listening to the people on the computers beside me. I love that. There isn’t enough dynamics in music today. The choruses on this song are huge, and the verses are sufficiently different and pull the song together really well.

There are only three songs on this EP, but they’re all really solid. That’s great. I reviewed a band once that had over twenty songs on an album, and I like some of them, but it was hard to sift through. The Foot. really seems to understand how important quality over quantity really is.

“Dark Dark Ways” is much more of a classic rock jam, but it’s just as interesting. These guitar riffs could totally show up in a popular guitar magazine one day. Songs like this are great to happen across on boring weekdays.

“A Parting Lesson” rounds the EP up with a surprisingly soft acoustic jam, proving that these guys can take on the full range of alternative music. This is probably my favorite track on the album, but I’m sure that everyone would have totally different opinions about these three. That’s what makes this powerful. There’s something for everyone.


Denver Raw Rock

Buildings is a rock band from Denver. They’re calling this “post-hardcore”, “post-rock”, “indie”, “rock”, and “noise”. Terms don’t mean anything at all! Tagging is such an inherently limiting categorization style, but it’s the only way I find out about bands. So I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Whenever I hear “post-hardcore”, I’m immediately predisposed to think of Showbread, a band that I absolutely love. So, luckily for Buildings, I sort of think they sound like Showbread. Some of these tracks are truly impressive. “Born On A Bomb” is one of my favorites. I’d call this raw rock. That bass is so perfectly gritty. Those guitars are perfectly overdriven. These vocals really do remind me of Showbread. Maybe this is what Showbread would sound like if they were all way more muscular and really scary.

“I Don’t Love My Dog Anymore” is probably the saddest song title I’ve ever heard. What could a dog do to make you not love it? Dogs are so cute and perfect. Nevertheless, this song sounds really cool. If I had a lyrics sheet, I am absolutely certain I would figure out what this song was about and be really into it.

Buildings’ album “Melt Cry Sleep” has a really creepy cover. It’s a naked woman bending over holding three spheres in a bag and slightly biting one of her hands. That’s pretty artistic. Everything is art. I hope these dudes are awesome. Their music makes me think they totally should be. I guess I’ll have to go to Denver and find out! Everything is art.