Steal This Track: Hearts in Space, Jon Wirtz and an exclusive download from SalesmanBy Eryc Eyl | November 1st, 2010 | 2 comments
Happy Monday, and welcome to another edition of Steal This Track, your weekly dose of great Colorado music, absolutely free. This week, we have the blissed-out pop of Hearts In Space, the jazzed-out piano explorations of Jon Wirtz and the freaked-out rock of Salesman. Get ready to rob us blind!
If you’ve followed guitarist Jordan Hubner’s work in Denver bands like Pacific Pride and Hawks of Paradise, it won’t surprise you that his latest project, Hearts In Space, plays understated, gauzy tunes that shimmer as often as they blush. With man-about-town Ezra David-Darnell sharing vocal and guitar duties with Hubner, ubiquitous drummer Johnny Lundock (of Houses, Blue Million Miles and more) and Billy Draper on bass, the quartet — whose live debut occurred just three months ago at the UMS — is poised to release its first EP.
The self-titled four-song slab is a lush, scintillating collection of swaggering, sexy shoegaze. At its best, Hearts In Space sounds like Ride when Ride sounded like the Byrds. “All These Melodies” features soft, reverb-drenched vocal melodies and gently plucked guitars that feel like a romantic walk outside the space shuttle. Meanwhile, “Diamonds in the Sun” and “Different Colors” reveal a slightly harder garage and surf sound. The variety is nice, but Hearts In Space is most successful when it sticks to music that sounds like its name, as it does on “Hearts in Harmony.” Steal it now and hear for yourself.
If that whet your appetite for more Hearts In Space, get yourself to the Larimer Lounge next Monday night, when the band will share the stage with Denver’s own Fingers of the Sun and L.A. psychedelic cowboys Spindrift. Tickets are just $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
If Hearts In Space made you feel extraterrestrial, ridiculously talented pianist Jon Wirtz will bring you back down to earth. More than two decades of experience at the ivories have finally led the Ohio native — who moved to Denver in 2003 — to his first solo album, “Sea Level.”
Though Wirtz has shown off his pop chops with acts like Matt Morris, Angie Stevens and
Though “Sea Level” reflects jazz piano greats like Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett and, of course, Thelonious Monk, it also has pop touchstones that make it accessible to even the most neophyte of jazz listeners. Wirtz’s original compositions are structured almost like pop songs, with something like verses, choruses and bridges in nearly every one of the album’s 10 tracks. Even the most improvisational passages maintain a close tie to melody that keeps the tunes from flying off the rails into jazzy oblivion. As if to underscore his commitment to bringing these worlds together, Wirtz includes a sprawling-yet-captivating take on Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” You should probably steal it right now.
“Sea Level” will be released Nov. 3 with a solo performance at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge. The show is at 7 p.m. and costs just $7. The record will also be available for download from Wirtz’s website.
As an added bonus, this week we’ve got one more track to steal. We’ve featured Salesman before in Steal This Track, and back then we sheepishly admitted that the band isn’t really based in Colorado. However, frontman Devin Fry — who now hangs his hat in Austin, Texas — maintains close ties to Colorado, having started the band in Boulder, been raised in Canon City, and frequently returning with his roving band and knife-sharpening business.
Well, tonight Salesman returns to 3 Kings Tavern to provide its creepy, dusty, acid-damaged soundtrack to Ooh La La Burlesque. If it’s anything like last time, the show is sure to be a unique treat. In honor of the band’s return to higher ground, we thought it would be a great time to offer Reverb readers an exclusive opportunity to hear one of the band’s newest tracks, “So Much Faster.” Steal it, and listen closely for the Colorado references in the lyrics.
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. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.