Steal This Track

Steal This Track: Bad and an exclusive track from Strange Powers

The band currently known as Bad.
Carter James, Larissa Vienna, Aaron Long and Alex Ungerman (no longer a member) are the band currently known as Bad. Photo by Enrique Parrilla.

After a long weekend, it’s hard to believe it’s Tuesday again. And what better way to celebrate freedom than with free music? Once again, Steal This Track offers up free downloads of some of Colorado’s best and most intriguing music. This week, we have some slightly left-field selections for you: the classically-influenced emo histrionics of Bad and the circuit-bending ’80s inversions of the multifaceted Strange Powers.

Aaron Long is nothing if not exuberant. His manic communication style is matched only by his maniacal stage presence. Long’s hyperbolic enthusiasm jumped off the screen in a recent email about his new band, Bad: “Our sound, in my opinion, is completely original and is going to take the world by storm!” From anyone else, this might sound like arrogant boasting, but coming from this teenaged performer, it’s clearly just honest excitement.

As frontman for the electro-rocking Band Formerly Known As Prince, Long was a favorite of the underage set, packing all-ages venues like LIFEspot in Centennial with giggling, grimacing, good-timing dancers. This year, however, he began a new musical era with Bad. Drawing on classical, Broadway musicals, electro, Goth and metal influences, Bad — with Long on guitar, piano and soaring vocals, Carter James on thundering vocals and percussion, Larissa Vienna on vocals and bass, and, until recently, Alex Ungerman on vocals and guitar — creates pop compositions that are, as Long promised in his email, pretty darned original. The musical melange doesn’t always work, but like Long himself, there’s an honest energy and enthusiasm that demands attention, even in a drum-less, spartan track like “Kill the World.”

Stream it:
[audio:|artists=Bad|titles=Kill the World]

Steal it:
Bad | Kill the World (right click to save to your computer)

If you’re intrigued by what you hear, you can grab Bad’s debut album, released in May of this year, from Amazon. Better yet, catch Bad live on Saturday, July 17, at Moe’s Bar-B-Que and Bowl. Tickets are $8.

Strange Powers poses with a boombox and vintage hobby keyboards
Strange Powers is always the life of the party.

While you can always count on Aaron Long for high-energy theatrics, you never quite know what you’re gonna get with Strange Powers. Josh Powers combines rock, hip-hop, electro and experimental music with a love for electronics tinkering and a fascination with UFOs. Whether playing with his defunct band, the Strange Us, rapping under the name Shag One or producing dark, cosmic dance music, Powers uses clashing sounds, 8-bit aesthetics and an unapologetically nerdy intellect to challenge assumptions about music, art and, well, extraterrestrial life.

We were delighted when Strange Powers decided to share his latest track exclusively with Reverb readers, but once again, we were unprepared for what he brought us: a faithful — though decidedly darker — reinterpretation of “The Metro” by ’80s icons Berlin. Powers’ painstaking production sticks close to the source material, but his Ian Curtis vocals and intentionally uneven phrasing give the song a foreboding, post-apocalyptic air. The artist also disrupts the dance party with a blurping, monophonic synth solo in the middle and a silent psych-out before the last verse. The result is paranoid and almost frightening, but still danceable. When Hollywood decides to remake “The Hunger,” this track will be perfect for the opening scene in place of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”

Stream it:
[audio:|artists=Strange Powers|titles=The Metro]

Steal it:
Strange Powers | The Metro (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 expose your fresh sounds to 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. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet.