I’m back from Austin, sunburned, exhausted and content. While I was down there, I spent some time scouting out the best bands, and I was not disappointed. Pharmakon, Noname, Palm, and Supermoon all played great sets for the “official” SXSW music festival, but some of the most compelling acts I caught all week played tiny house shows, smoky dive bars and awkward pool parties. These shows reaffirmed my belief that local, independent music is thoroughly where it’s at. This week, I’m writing about some of Colorado’s freshest bands, the kids out there hustling for their dream in our fair state. Needless to say, you should check out these groups pronto.
Boulder sweethearts Xenon Superstar put out their tape “Dreams Are For Babies” on March 20. If you haven’t had a chance to catch them live, they sound like a perfect mix of Frankie Cosmos and Beat Happening: charming, gentle and powerful. Michelle Cibel is the brains behind the operation, sliding beautifully innocent melodies over the groups dreamy soundscape. They’ve been playing shows for about six months at this point, with every show better than the last. If you have a heart, Xenon Superstar’s gonna steal it. We’re spinning “Dreams Are For Babies” hot on Radio 1190, so get hip to Xenon this week.
Although you might know Evan Kallas from bands like Wrinkle or justinedrugs, you’ll hear a different sound on “Share” from Ovaltine. If you’re into Duster, Guided By Voices or Modest Mouse b-sides, you’ll be stoked to know that something just as good is in your neighborhood. “Share” pairs Kallas’ knack for songwriting with a cohesive sound design that’s sure to be easy on the ears. Every time I’ve seen Ovaltine play has been an ultra-rad experience. The songs are almost uncomfortably personal; Ovaltine’s shows are simultaneously full of energy and really low-key. I’m not sure how they do it. You’ll have to hear “Share” to understand. It’s one of my favorite new releases.
Although not entirely new, the tag-team punch of BODY MEAT‘s records “Several Heads” and “BODY MEAT (tour tape)” are a good indication of how special this local band is. Chris Taylor composes all of BODY MEAT’s songs alone, slathering on layers of guitar, bass, drums and chorus-tinged vocals. The sound is manic: expect crazy effects, polyrhythmic grooves and a vibe I guarantee you haven’t quite heard before. All of the recordings are a solo effort, but BODY MEAT’s live show features some of Denver’s best musicians. The last time I saw them, Luke Thinnes, Max Hipp and Michael Stein joined Taylor for a super-tight set supporting Palm. They’re heading east on tour this week, but while they’re gone, be sure to listen up on their music.
You can catch these three bands this week on Radio 1190. As always, 98.9 FM in Boulder and 1190 AM in Denver.
Jarocki is Radio 1190’s music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story appeared with an incorrect band name in the headline. We messed up. The facepalming was loud and painful. Apologies to BODY MEAT.