With last weekend already fading into blurry memory and next weekend just out of reach, it’s time to thank the stars it’s Tuesday. And Tuesday means it’s time once again for Steal This Track, your weekly dose of free music downloads from great Colorado musicians.
Faithful readers of Steal This Track might remember Dan Craig’s name from Oh, Starling, the duo he formed with his wife, singer-songwriter Jessica Sonner. We gave away one of their gorgeous Christmas tunes last December.
Well, we’re not above returning to the scene of a particularly beautiful crime, especially since Craig has just readied a new album for release next month. Titled “Alchemy,” the 10-track collection was recorded late last year
withat John Macy’s studio in Southeast Denver. Craig takes on guitar and vocals, while a familiar list of collaborators flesh out his simple, sincere songs: Sonner on keyboards, drummer Mike Hall (formerly of Born in the Flood and Bela Karoli), cellist Seth Donovan and mandolin playing by Geoff Burghardt.
With his natural smile and model good looks, Craig has always been an engaging performer, but the new record shows off his newly matured songwriting and rich voice. Gone is the wide-eyed innocence and cloying sweetness of years past, replaced with an easy confidence, a charismatic swagger and even moments of genuine rock. Craig’s lyrics are honest and heartfelt, but just inscrutable enough to leave a bit of mystery. This is arguably the best album in the artist’s six-release discography. For proof, look no further than the title track, “What Is This Alchemy?”
Dan Craig | What Is This Alchemy? (right click to save to your computer)
If you dig what you hear, be sure to catch Craig at the UMS next weekend, and don’t miss the official CD release party on Friday, August 20, at the Bluebird Theater. Your $10 advance ticket gets you not only a night of music from Craig, Churchill and A Mouthful of Thunder (the latest project from Stephen Till, Craig’s former bandmate in Hearts of Palm and Nathan & Stephen), but you’ll also get a FREE copy of “Alchemy.”
Speaking of new music, the Knew, a longtime Denver favorite, seems to have entered its most prolific period yet. Back in February, we gave you a taste of the band’s first full-length album, “Pulpería.” Next month, the hard rocking quartet will release a 7-inch slab of vinyl called “Before It Ends,” containing three fresh new songs. Then, in the fall, the band plans to release a collection of four more songs, with each of the members — guitarist/vocalist Jacob Hansen, bassist Tim Rynders, guitarist Tyler Breuer and drummer Patrick Bowden — contributing a composition.
Remarkably, all that quantity hasn’t affected the quality of the Knew’s output. The three songs on “Before It Ends” would have been at home on “Pulpería” and represent the continued evolution of the group’s sound, from garage blues rave-ups to hard-to-pin-down indie rock anthems. There’s still plenty of raw power to the Knew’s music, but both Hansen and Breuer wring new sounds from their instruments while Rynders and Bowden hold down the outfit’s characteristically driving rhythms. For a sample, steal “Company” today.
The Knew | Company (right click to save to your computer)
You can catch the Knew — along with over 300 other bands — at The UMS next weekend. And if you like “Company,” you can download all songs from the 7-inch FREE from the Knew’s website, and then pick up the warmer, cleaner-sounding vinyl next month.
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.