Steal This Track: El Toro De La Muerte - Reverb

Steal This Track: El Toro de la Muerte

Mike Nipp (lef), Jeff Fuller, Jay Schwan and Ryan Spradlin are El Toro de la Muerte. Photo courtesy of the band.

Mike Nipp (lef), Jeff Fuller, Jay Schwan and Ryan Spradlin are El Toro de la Muerte. Photo courtesy of the band.

In a world where the perfect pop record can be made in your living room — given the right equipment, sufficient talent and all the time in the world — it’s easy to lose track of the immediacy and spontaneity that make rock and roll so visceral and exciting. Fortunately, Colorado Springs-based El Toro de la Muerte hasn’t lost track. On the forthcoming EP, “Dancer These Days,” the veteran rockers prove that art-rock can still rock.

While El Toro de la Muerte has won both fans and awards aplenty in Colorado Springs since its 2004 inception, the band remains relatively unknown in Denver. “Dancer These Days” should change all that. Drawing on power pop and ’90s alt rock, the record’s seven solid tracks suggest influences as diverse as the Police, Pavement and the Shins, with the kind of expert musicianship that allows the seasoned quartet to pull it all off. Above all, though, “Dance These Days” has the kind of urgency and playfulness that comes from a band that knows its game.

“We wrote this ep and recorded it as fast as possible,” says Ryan Spradlin, guitarist and vocalist for the band. “In the past we have felt like we overplayed and overworked songs before recording them and the recordings would suffer from sounding a little uninspired. This time, we tried to keep everything really straightforward and light.”

Our favorite songs off the EP — to be released October 1 — include “God Alone,” “Dancer” and “Like a Ghost,” but “The Chattering of Rats” showcases everything we love about this band. Ryan Spradlin and Jeff Fuller’s guitar and vocal work propel the song with a delicate balance of mastery and humility (not to mention some killer organ), while Jay Schwan’s hyperkinetic drumming and Mike Nipp’s minimalist bass work provide the song’s unassuming and unassailable backbone.

On the strength of the tunes collected on “Dancer These Days,” El Toro de la Muerte plans to play a lot more shows in the coming months, including several in the Denver area. If you don’t know them now, you will know them soon enough. As an introduction, steal “The Chattering of Rats.” You can tell your friends you heard them first.

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.

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