Free Colorado music downloads: Instant Empire, Low Gravity - Reverb

Steal This Track: Instant Empire and Low Gravity

Denver's Instant Empire is Matt Grizzell (left), Sean Connaughty, Scotty Saunders, Aaron Stone and Tim Brennan. Not pictured is Doug Chase. Photo by Joni Patterson Saunders.

Denver's Instant Empire is Matt Grizzell (left), Sean Connaughty, Scotty Saunders, Aaron Stone and Tim Brennan. Not pictured is Doug Chase. Photo by Joni Patterson Saunders.


With just a couple of Denver shows under its belt, Instant Empire is new to the local music community. However, the musical maturity on the sextet’s debut EP belies the newness of the band. The three songs on the EP deftly balance urgency and intensity with humor and humility to create an appealing, charismatic and radio-friendly brand of rock.

On Instant Empire’s self-titled release, frontman Scotty Saunders shows off his knack for witty, poignant lyrics that manage to be clever without overreaching, as well as his nimble, emotive voice (which is eerily reminiscent of ’90s indie rocker Jamie Block, but that’s neither here nor there). Saunders assembled the band through Craigslist, but you’d never know it by how tightly the players mesh. Bassist Aaron Stone and drummer Matt Grizzell (the latter formerly of Alan Alda) provide a solid rhythm section, upon which Saunders, guitarists Sean Connaughty and Tim Brennan, and keyboardist Doug Chase build intricate-yet-powerful indie pop. Steal “Marco Polo,” a song that Saunders says was inspired by a pensive walk through Cherry Creek. If you like what you hear, catch Instant Empire at the Larimer Lounge on May 28, with the Lumineers, A Mouthful of Thunder and Subterranean Safari. Tickets are just $8 in advance, or $10 at the door.

Denver's Low Gravity is: Austin Williams (left), Adam Mullins, Devin Ferguson and Jess Ellis. Photo by Austin Williams.

Denver's Low Gravity is: Austin Williams (left), Adam Mullins, Devin Ferguson and Jess Ellis. Photo by Austin Williams.


The sludgy stoner rock of Low Gravity is quite a departure from Instant Empire’s melancholy pop, but it also manages the neat trick of balancing heaviness with humor, in a genre that is often burdened by its seriousness. Lead guitarist Austin Williams, rhythm guitarist Jess Ellis, drummer Adam Mullins and bassist Devin Ferguson lay down dense, hefty grooves that plod at the speed of combat boots treading through a field of entrails. Meanwhile, with a spirit evocative of Clutch’s earlier work, Ferguson barks cartoonish lyrics that are frequently (and intentionally) laugh-out-loud funny, parodying the wanna-be epic poetry that often weighs metal down. Here are some examples. Be warned that not all of them are appropriate for the children in your life.

  • “They will worship ivory thrones/Chanting chants of groans and moans”
  • “We are the Keystone knight and King Pabst of Blue Ribbon/Join us or die”
  • “Two girls, each love pearls strewn around their slender necks/And yes, that is a thinly veiled reference to titty sex”
  • “Battles done, prizes won, knife, sword and bow/Cup of mead, pipe of weed, chilling with my ho”
  • You can steal “Porklust” above for a little, ahem, taste of Low Gravity. However, if you’re genuinely intrigued by odes to hangovers, cannibalism and Rubensesque goddesses, you’ll probably want to download Low Gravity’s self-titled EP, which you can cop for free from the band’s website. Mark your calendar for July 15, when the quartet will play 3 Kings Tavern with Il Cattivo and Austin’s Fur Kings. Tickets are a mere $6.

    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 buxom burlesque star Cora Vette as our scintillating guest. In the later hours, DJ Savior Breath (a.k.a. Reverb’s own Eryc Eyl) turns 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 for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout for stories about Denver musicians doing extraordinary things. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.