Well, it’s back to work after a long weekend of gluttony and sloth. Hopefully, we can make the transition back to the daily grind a little easier with Steal This Track, your weekly chance to indulge another deadly sin, avarice, by swiping great Colorado music. This week, you can make off with the dusty indie folk of the Changing Colors, the street-smart hip-hop of Haven the Great and some clever kids’ music from the Que Pastas. Don’t worry — no penance is required for this one. Just right click and enjoy.
The Changing Colors revolve around twin brothers Conor and Ian Bourgal, who perform haunting, heartfelt songs of love and longing. On their debut album, “Ghost of Red Mountain,” the Bourgals take the notion of haunting a step further. The record — released by Pueblo’s Blank Tape Records — takes its inspiration from Emma Crawford, one of the most famous residents of tiny Manitou Springs, Colorado. Local lore has it that — sometime around the turn of the last century — Ms. Crawford’s coffin was washed out of its resting place on Red Mountain and floated right down Main Street.
The story of a dead pioneer woman floating through the streets of a mountain town fits perfectly with the spare, roomy Americana of the Changing Colors. With simple instrumentation, whiskey-roughened vocals and a sense that things could go very wrong at any moment, the brothers Bourgal tell stories and create atmospheres that will have you seeing ghosts.
The Changing Colors will perform at the Larimer Lounge this Thursday, Dec. 2, along with Jonny Woodrose and the Broken-Hearted Woodpeckers. Tickets are just $8. We’d like to get you warmed up for the show today by encouraging you to steal “That’s What My Love Is For.”
From the Colorado mountain folk music of the Changing Colors, we now take you to the Colorado urban hip-hop of Haven the Great. Part of the Jewell Tyme Music family that includes Karma, 800 the Jewell, Myrical Child and Haven’s cousin, King F.O.E., Haven (whom the IRS knows as Roy Wayne Watley, Jr.) has been rapping in the Denver area for nearly eight years. “King Kong,” however, is the emcee’s first proper album.
“King Kong” is 18 tracks of Haven’s signature delivery — which alternates between baby-making flow and cool-hearted menace — beats by S.O. (a.k.a. Savier of Thunderstorm Entertainment) and guest spots from Karma, F.O.E., Dismantle from High Durt and soulful vocalist Allison Wright. Thanks to a lack of silly filler skits and a coherent sound, “King Kong” hangs together as one of the more coherent local hip-hop releases in recent memory. The record will see its official release at the Old Curtis Street Bar on Dec 9, but you can get a sneak preview today by stealing “I Am Hip-Hop,” produced by 800 the Jewell.
It wouldn’t be Steal This Track if we didn’t throw you a curve ball once in a while, so after the rhymes of Haven the Great, we’re proud to bring you a Steal This Track first — Denver-made children’s music. You might recognize Gene Davis’s name from his gigs with alt-country outfit Weird Turn Prose or from his day job as a staff writer for the Denver Daily News, but neither of those things prepare you for the 26-year-old singer-songwriter’s new kid-friendly project, the Que Pastas.
Indie rockers taking on children’s music is nothing new — just check They Might Be Giants’ kids’ albums, the Terrible Twos (children’s music by Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids) or the “See You on the Moon” compilation, which featured Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, Rosie Thomas and other hip scenesters appealing to the grade-school set. However, the Que Pastas is the first such Denver-based act this writer is aware of. On the outfit’s self-titled, four-song EP, Davis enlists help from Ryan Ellwood of Face Man, Era from the Tanukis and a handful of others to flesh out his cleverly written, melodically driven songs. The result isn’t just good kids’ music, but good pop music for people of all ages. The Que Pastas will soon be making the EP available via their website, but you can hear it first by stealing “In the Sea” right now.
P.S. You can catch Weird Turn Prose and the Tanukis opening for Pineross at the Walnut Room on Thursday, Dec 9. Find out more at the Walnut Room’s website.
P.P.S. If you like Steal This Track, you’re gonna love Reverb’s Steal This Track night at the Hi-Dive. Starting Dec 30, we’ll be taking over the South Broadway indie rock institution with special guests, giveaways, drink specials and more. In the later hours, DJ Savior Breath (a.k.a. Reverb’s own Eryc Eyl) will turn the shindig into a pants-dropping dance party. And just like Steal This Track, it’s absolutely free. You won’t want to miss it.
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 Monday 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.