Each and every Tuesday, Reverb and Steal This Track bring you fresh Colorado music that you can HEAR. The magnanimous souls who make music at 5,280 feet above sea level are kind enough to share their songs with us — often before anyone else hears them — and we, in turn, are kind enough to share them with you.
Bop Skizzum’s last EP, “Propeller,” came out in 2005, but we haven’t heard much from the funk/soul/rock outfit since 2007, when founder Andy Guerrero turned his focus to his bill-paying gig, Flobots. Recently, however, Guerrero and collaborator Serafin Sanchez resurrected the band, with vocal assistance from the dynamic Erin Jo Harris.
The resulting music — showcased on the forthcoming “Push” EP — struts and sashays with towering confidence, classic soul and plenty of funk. The core trio and their many collaborators have unassailable chops, plenty of commercial savvy and a great sense of what it takes to get a party started. If you come to Bop Skizzum looking for cutting edge innovation or gritty realism, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, if you come to have a good time, you’ll leave with sore hips and a smile on your face.
The band is making the entire EP available as a free digital download right now, but plans to have it in the usual digital distribution channels this month. In June, if all the stars align, the official release party for “Push” will be a free block party in LoDo. Keep an eye out for details. In the meantime, steal the EP’s title track right here.
Bop Skizzum | Push (right click to save to your computer)
There’s nothing funky about Oblio’s Arrow, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The oddball country act — previously known as Oblio Duo and the Archers — just released its third LP, the ambitious, wide-ranging “Plain Old American Mess.” Filled with rollicking rockers and sad ballads, the album is the perfect soundtrack for a party — pity or regular.
The split personality of “Plain Old American Mess” comes from the group’s dueling songwriters, drummer Will Duncan and guitarist Steven Lee Lawson. The two have always played beautifully against each other, and the band they’ve assembled — Brendan Heberton on cello and mandolin, Ian Douglas Moore on bass, Bryce McPherson on lead guitar and Jason Fox on table steel guitar — flesh out the new tracks with honesty, pathos and professionalism.
At times, the record loses focus as its split personality threatens to fragment into innumerable pieces, but it suggests great things to come as Oblio’s Arrow finds its sound, its identity and its way across the high plains. For a sample of “Plain Old American Mess,” steal “See You Space Cowboy” below. Make sure you listen closely to the lyrics.
Oblio’s Arrow | See You Space Cowboy (right click to save to your computer)
Wire Faces, a Fort Collins-based trio, blends punk and art rock into an accessible pop amalgam on its self-titled debut. The band’s angular guitars and off-kilter vocal harmonies are reminiscent of DC hardcore bands like Soulside and Fugazi, but melodic and almost danceable elements smooth out the rough edges.
The relatively young band has created a complex, honest record of surprising depth and maturity that all-but-demands repeated listens. If you’re wondering what the heck we’re talking about, do yourself a favor and steal “Portable Castles” below.
After that, plan to attend the Bocumast-sponsored CD release party at the Meadowlark Bar on May 7.
Wire Faces | Portable Castles (right click to save to your computer)
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to unleash some fresh sounds on the readers of Reverb, email your tracks to Eryc Eyl for consideration.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track every Tuesday for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout every Friday.