Steal This Track: Monocle and Turner JacksonBy Eryc Eyl | March 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
After last week’s barrage of free local music (if you missed it, check out tracks from the Swayback, Eldren, the Foot., Catch Bees, Poet’s Row and the Baltic by clicking here and here), you might think Steal This Track would have to hibernate for a while. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, we bring you fresh new tracks from Boulder folkie outfit Monocle and hip-hop dynamo Turner Jackson. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.
Monocle’s lineup of guitar, bass, drums, fiddle, mandolin and pretty voices certainly isn’t the first of its kind to emerge from Boulder, Colo. The ensemble of Monica Whittington, Bill Huston, Josh Moore and Eric Wiggs makes folk pop with a touch of bluegrass that goes down as easily as a bloody mary at brunch on the Pearl Street Mall. It’s the kind of easy-going mountain music that northern Colorado cranks out with surprising prolificacy.
What distinguishes Monocle from the barefoot legions, however, is the foundation of Whittington’s songs. Written with honesty, enthusiasm and sincerity, the Colorado Springs native’s lyrics ring true and rarely lapse into cliche, while the melodies are crisp and memorable. The songs are familiar enough to be accessible, but original enough to say something new. Steal “Can’t Get By,” a solo tune by Whittington, to hear for yourself, then catch the band at one of its many upcoming shows in Boulder County or up in the hills.
Next, we turn our attention to the creative hip-hop juggernaut that is Turner Jackson. Though Mr. Jackson has been bumping around as a cultivator of and participant in Denver’s hip-hop community for years, his newest album, “Star Destroyer,” showcases an ambitious artist achieving much more than he has before. Produced by Big J. Beats (of Pueblo-via-Denver hip-hop duo 1984), the record is full of dense beats that are funky, soulful, noisy, spacey and surprisingly slow. Jackson’s flow — also slowed down from his previous pace — is confident, articulate and passionate. The young artist puts personal, vulnerable content (think Rhymesayers) into an old school delivery that, when combined with Big J’s crafty production, makes for a highly engaging, truly musical and just plain listenable record.
You can grab the whole album for free here, or steal the autobiographical “Jackson” below for just a taste. Then catch Jackson — a dynamic, charismatic performer with stage craft beyond his years — at the Larimer Lounge on Thursday with Whygee (who will also be releasing his new album), Gypdahip, BrikABrak, Bigwheel Electrosoul and more as they try to raise money to pay for their South By Southwest adventures. It’s a heck of a lineup for a mere $8.
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.