Web Beat: Edison, ghost in the machine collective, Whitherward, lovewithme, Oscar Olson and Michael Kirkpatrick

Published on: March 13th, 2015

Yellow Scene prides itself on being hyper-local, and that includes music. We want to make sure that as many local bands, DJs, MCs, etc as possible get the press that they deserve, so Web Beat will be a weekly online column going forward. Every week, we’ll check into Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and whatever else we can find, and listen to the latest tunes from local artists. If you have hints and tips for us, email editorial@yellowscene.com.Y

“It’s very beautiful over there” were the last recorded words from Thomas Edison when he passed in 1931, and these are the words which serve as inspiration for Denver-based folk three-piece Edison’s newest single, Ghosts. Ghosts is the title track of the group’s forthcoming debut EP, due out on April 7 of this year. Edison has only published a single song, San Jose last September but members Sarah Slaton, Dustin Morris and Chris Cash (barring some other financial arrangement) have made a sizable investment in the release of the EP by enlisting a fair support cast to produce, mix, and master the album. Spoiler alert: the investment totally shows. Slaton’s voice is heavenly, framed by the soft guitar strum and vocal harmonies, accented by trumpet and mandolin, and the echo of distant bass. The Larimer Lounge plays host to the Ghosts EP release on April 7.

From front to finish Trent Reznor’s The Downward Spiral is a masterpiece, and Fort Collins-based ghost in the machine collective agrees. The project undertaken by the audio/visual collaborative group is ambitious to say the least, but it’s safe to say this Colorado-driven rendition of The Downward Spiral hits the nail on the head. Reznor is quite notably one of the most accomplished, prolific, original and visionary producers to have ever existed so it’s safe to say that any positive comparison between the master and his subjects should be well-received. The Downward Spiral isn’t just a remix, the cover tracks have been reworked from the ground up and the comparison is uncanny (in fact, it takes a fair bit of research to confirm indeed that the voice your hearing isn’t just a sample of Reznor himself). Freaking sweet, and here’s a fun fact: the whole album’s like this.

Denver-based power-folk duo Whitherward arrived fresh off the noon stage from Nashville just in time for the release their sophomore collection titled Music Monster. The title track hits hard and fast, taking familiar folk auditory queues and transforming them into a full-bodied tune which begs for listeners to hit the nearest dance floor with a favorite partner. With a percussion treatment akin to a standard rock/pop piece and a trumpet-featured showcase this track is unlike anything else in Colorado. A bass groove further works to accentuate a staunch change for the new Denver transplants by offering a stark contrast to 2014’s Stardust.

Ohlittledreamer is a showcase piece featured on lovewithme’s littledreamer ep with a blissfully washed-out sound layered over classic funk-influenced hip-hop beats. The instrumental track is flush with low fi samples and top-knotch rhythm programming which compliments the funky mash by offering a sea of sound open for all to swim. Lovewithme offers three very different, but also very similar tracks across the three-track offering with many different auditory treatments and focuses. Each song could have just as easily been the song embedded in this music showcase. With a steady release of tracks, edits, and shorts since last year lovewithme approaches his one-year anniversary with yet another great example of Colorado’s musical talent.

Even more impressive than his music is the story and the nature of how Colorado’s Oscar Olson newly-released album Gallow Bird was recorded. Olson’s full-time occupation as commercial fisherman means he’s constantly on the road. Boasting tracks recorded in “a Denver basement, Korean apartment, Alaskan boat, and a Taiwanese bathroom” Gallow Bird is a testament to the drive and love pouring from Olson’s story and indeed his life. Self-produced, self-written, self-performed, and self-financed the album showcases beautiful stories with soft guitar, synth, and a wonderful voice. Listeners may have to pack bags before listening as they are spirited away; you can taste the salt in the air and feel the sweat on Olson’s brow.

Black-Eyed Daisy is the second track from Fort Collin’s minstrel Michael Kirkpatrick’s five-song offering Honey Rider. Let the record show that steel guitar done right is a sound to behold, as Kirkpatrick demonstrates effortlessly across the entire album. Simplified song structure allows booming vocals to play showcase, and there is real variety in even the instrumental choices song-to-song, each with a wonderfully intimate sing-song quality echoing throughout. Coloradans looking for a good night out should be sure to keep their eyes open for Kirkpatrick’s live performances across the state.

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