Free music: Bonnie and the Beard, Flashlights, Force Publique - Reverb

Steal This Track: Bonnie and the Beard, Flashlights and Force Publique

Alex Ferreira, Megan Fong and Tony LoVerde are Bonnie and the Beard.

Alex Ferreira, Megan Fong and Tony LoVerde are Bonnie and the Beard.

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for another edition of Steal This Track, the weekly moment when we at Reverb turn a blind eye to your lawless ways, allowing you to burgle fresh new songs from some of Colorado’s hottest artists. This week, we have bluesy Americana from Bonnie and the Beard, soulful synth-pop from Flashlights and nouveau dark wave from Force Publique. Go ahead and steal. We won’t tell.

The story of Bonnie and the Beard’s self-titled debut album is one of love and loss. The duo of Megan Fong (a.k.a. Bonnie) and Tony LoVerde (a.k.a. the Beard, formerly of raucous Denver Americana the Rooster Brothers) didn’t originally set out to make an album — they wanted to take a road trip. But when a car accident last February cut short their plans for a nomadic desert journey, the couple turned their energies toward music. Drawing upon memories of past adventures, the couple united with Brazilian drummer Alex Ferreira and began to shape the album.

While a variety of styles pepper “Bonnie and the Beard,” the record’s 11 tracks are united by Fong’s powerfully throaty vocals — part Janis Joplin, part Ani DiFranco — and by the band’s loose, jangly approach to the carpet bag blues. The dusty charm of LoVerde’s slightly thinner vocals provides an excellent foil for Fong’s puissant pipes. Though the record occasionally suffers from a sameness of sound and mood, unique instrumentation, heartfelt delivery and evocative lyrics keep things moving. Steal “Early Morning Request” to hear it for yourself, then make your way out to 3 Kings Tavern on Feb 25 to pick up a copy of the album for yourself. SlakJaw, Woodrose and Disaster Canyon open the show.

cover art for the Flashlights and Force Publique split cassette by Buckingham Pie Group

Cover art for the Flashlights and Force Publique split cassette by Buckingham Pie Group


Speaking of new releases this week, on Feb 23 at the Larimer Lounge, the Buckingham Pie Group will debut the first in its split cassette series. The tape-only label — started by Tim Weilert of the Something Like Sound music blog — plans to release a number of cassettes featuring local bands over the next several months. The cassettes are limited to a run of 100 and include digital downloads to increase their utility (raise your hand if you have a tape deck that works). To inaugurate the series, Weilert has chosen two relatively new Denver bands — Flashlights and Force Publique. Both bands will open for MillionYoung.

Flashlights comprises vocalist Ethan Converse and multi-instrumentalist producer Sam Martin (brother of Speaker Snacks‘ Jake Martin, Lil’ Slugger‘s Ben Martin and Ben’s bandmate in King Mob. You can read all about them in this week’s Talk Talk, but for now, go ahead and steal “New Hampshire,” a track that will also appear on Flashlights’ forthcoming second EP (mastered by Tjutjuna‘s Brian Marcus).

The flip side of the Buckingham Pie Group split cassette is another duo, Force Publique. Consisting of Cassie McNeil and James Wayne, the outfit makes dark, danceable pop that flirts with territory previously marked by Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but injects it with a healthy dose of distortion and a decidedly 21st-century romantic paranoia. McNeil’s vocals strike a balance between sensuality and cold unattainability, while the melodies and beats are ominously mechanical, in a manner that is more rusty steam punk dystopia than sparkling digital daydream. The pair began releasing music just last month, posting “Still Falls Apart” for free download, and intends to continue offering one track every month throughout 2011. Pay a visit to the Force Publique website to pilfer a bunch of tracks, but grab “Tarnished” here from Steal This Track. Then get on out to the MillionYoung show to pick up your very own limited edition cassette of Flashlights and Force Publique.

If you like Steal This Track, you’re gonna love Steal This Track: a Reverb Dance Party at the Hi-Dive. We’re taking over the South Broadway indie rock institution on the last Thursday of every month with special guests, giveaways, drink specials and more. This month, we’re thrilled to welcome guest DJs Matt Close (Achille Lauro), Andrew Novick (Warlock Pinchers, Get Your Going), John Common and Jess DeNicola (John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light), and KUSA entertainment anchor Kirk Montgomery. 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 — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — 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.