• Taylor

  • Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Monocle plays the Second Story Garage in 2013.



In a fantastic bit of news for local bands and local music in general, Boulder-based Monocle recently successfully ended a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording and production of their sophomore album.

Two things I love about this: First, Monocle is an impressive local acoustic folk outfit that features gorgeous compositions and all-star guitar riffs and — in my opinion — has one of the finest voices of the Front Range in lead singer Monica LaBonte.

Second, if you search for the campaign and look at their list of projected expenses, you see that their Kickstarter request was just for a portion of the total needed. It’s a classic “kick start,” and there’s plenty left for the band to pay for on their own. I like this because it means they really own their music. But also, in life, we tend to take best care of the things that were hard to get. There’s so much time and effort involved in producing an album, it requires constant dedication, and I think this move ensures that the band’s focus remains sharp.

Monocle doesn’t have the lengthiest history — they released their self-titled debut album in 2013 — but already, an alumnus of the band has found success with his own new group. Eric Wiggs, formerly the bass player for Monocle, earned some hardware this summer at Rockygrass’ annual competition, winning the flatpicking guitar competition and the overall band competition with his bluegrass band Masontown.

I compare it to an NFL coordinator striking out on his own after a successful season. When you hire well, you have to plan for the possibility of losing your guys to exciting opportunities. Eric and his band won this summer all on their own, but I don’t miss the point that Monocle is constantly staffed with the best musicians around.

So congratulations to Monocle, who really deserve to make more music for their fervent local audience. Keep an eye on their social feeds to stay updated about their shows and releases. And to other bands: If they can do it, you can too!


A friend asked me today why speakers are supposed to be in front of you instead of mounted on the side walls, firing at your head like headphones.

It’s a great question and ties into how humans locate sound in general. More specifically, it speaks to the illusion of stereo when it’s done correctly.

We’ve got two ears, and sounds heard in one ear will be heard in the other as well, albeit delayed in time. So anything making a sound is heard by both ears eventually, and the way that they mix together helps our brain define where the sound sources are.

Stereo works like this, with both speakers helping your brain conjure a solid image of what you’re listening to.

If your speakers are at your shoulders, you won’t get that phantom image that is a hallmark of good sound. Speakers need to be in front of you, spread out at least 6 feet apart and forming roughly an equilateral triangle with your head as the third point.

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