Web Beat: Red Fox Run, Crystal Ghost, Michael O’Connor, Dreamcaster, Effulgence and Funkdozer

Published on: May 29th, 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

Denver rockers Red Fox Run have recently released their first full-length, self-titled album since 2012. While moments designed to showcase as singles might disappoint by themselves, it’s much like the true progressive artists as of late which are, by-and-large, providing a completely different experience when listening to the entire album front to finish. “Roller Coaster” is a straightforward alt-rock tune, following in the footsteps of bands like the Fray who have blazed a trail in Colorado and the rest of the US. It’s when you listen to each moment of the entire 11-song offering that the artistic vision really starts to shine through with emotional rise and fall, and a variety of expertly-treated instrumental interpretations. One-and-done listeners might not connect to this much, but follow the urge to listen to the entire piece and you won’t be disappointed.

Crystal Ghost’s “Become Who You Are” layers driving bass and percussion over Miike Snow-esque harmonic lyrical treatment which comes together into a high-tempo, low-intensity dance track. Emotional ties come in all the right places, as backing vocals help to haunt each movement and instrumental voices take turns progressing the song further and faster. All performance and production for the Denver artist is done by Elliot Baker, and all music released so far by Baker can be found online free-of-charge as of May 16. Another in a long line of steadily released single tracks doesn’t fail to showcase the musical talent which Baker brings to the table.

American blues lives on in Colorado’s Michael O’Connor’s expanding collection of Americana-meets-blues-meets-rock-meets-folk storytelling. The expertly-produced Bloodshot Vagabone kicks off with “Wilderness”, where bluesy guitar solos accentuate the classic blues and rock format and electric guitars strum softly alongside steady drum and bass. O’Connor’s had the raw recordings shipped off to Austin for master work, and there is certainly a driving Texas sound which helps boost the blues feel even more with that sort of Western motif which is so prevalent in Texan rock and the like. Eloquent storytelling provides a folk-based focus which frames and guides the classic sound home.

It’s a joyful experience stumbling across any new release from one of Denver’s newest electronic artists known as Dreamcaster. “Lucky Hit” is a single-track release following close on the heals of Dreamcaster’s Spring Training EP, which dropped last month. In true Dreamcaster style, heavy sampling from classic disco/funk/dance tunes is mashed up with classic J-Pop to produce 1970s-era throwback tunage focused solely on encouraging the shakage of one’s groove thang. It’s awesome seeing the amount of content which has followed the initial track reviewed by YS several months ago; Dreamcaster is still unknown to the masses, but the creation of a Facebook page not long ago, and the surplus of great dance music, should hopefully mean that more and more will come in contact with this special blend dance, classic pop, and everything in between.

Prayash Thapa (aka Effulgence) is matching dollar-for-dollar any sales which come from the release of “An Arrival” to the Nepalese Earthquake Relief efforts. Thapa’s worldly style is self-evident on “An Arrival” as well as all previously-released work most notably in the form of rhythmic focus given to each beautifully-crafted instrumental voice. Each instrumental part pops and eloquently accents the slow world-driven percussion as it plods through the 2:37 and in the background, softly-spoken and washed out lyrics help to complete the harmonic resonance of each guitar strum. It’s a great track for a good cause from a Boulder local, what’s not to love? Subtle electronic queues help to further accentuate the artistry with quaint pops and clicks of glitched recordings which reverberate off the walls of sound crafted by Thapa.

There has never been a more perfect band name relating to style than that of Colorado Springs-based Funkdozer. Things in Our Pockets is a fresh new release from the funk/fusion/jazz ensemble which kicks off with a bang. “Stigma” is everything good about this group, with boisterous sax solos, high-tempo funk rock, and driving bass it’s the setup the seven-track playlist needs. The dueling saxophones is all the lyrical work this track needs, and with bass accents popping head around every corner, there’s just so much going on. One thing’s for sure, this is local funk at it’s best; and with progressive aspects which follow in the footsteps of genre-greats like Jaga Jazzist there’s no way any blue-blooded, cultured listener can be bored with anything on the album.

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