Steal This Track: John Common, the Pretty Sure, Take to the Oars - Reverb

Steal This Track: an exclusive from John Common, plus the Pretty Sure and Take to the Oars

Steal an exclusive demo from Denver-based singer-songwriter John Common. Photo by Melanie Watson.

Steal an exclusive demo from Denver-based singer-songwriter John Common. Photo by Melanie Watson.

We know how much you like to steal music. Don’t worry; we won’t tell a soul. But to keep your ethics intact and keep you out of trouble with the RIAA, we’d like to give you the opportunity to indulge — guilt-free — today. We’ll get you started with an exclusive demo from singer-songwriter John Common. Then we’ll give you the garage raucousness of the Pretty Sure. Finally, we’ll bring it on home with the radio-friendly indie rock of Take to the Oars. Steal freely.

John Common has become a staple in the Denver music community, and lately, the rest of the world has started to catch on. His carefully constructed opuses might not play well to the indie hip, but his earnest song craft and memorable melodies have earned him fans and followers across the country. During the past year, he and his crack band — Blinding Flashes of Light — have embarked on a couple of US tours and released a couple of records. At the same time, Common managed to write more than 80 new songs in a variety of genres.

This Friday night, John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light will revisit older material at the Oriental Theater, while also debuting a huge batch of new tunes. The band will be joined by Matt Close of Achille Lauro, Scott McCormick of Boulder Acoustic Society, Ian Short of Hello Kavita, Jen Korte and many others. To get Reverb readers excited for the show, Common is letting you steal an exclusive rough demo of one of his newest songs, “You Are My Home.” Most artists aren’t willing to share works in progress, but Common wants fans to be in on the process of turning new songs like this into the band’s next album. Steal this track, then grab your ticket for the Friday night show at the Oriental for a paltry $10. Eldren and Caleb Slade will open the show. [Full disclosure: Reverb's own Eryc Eyl will be closing out the night with a dance party as his alter/altar ego DJ Savior Breath.]

Colorado garage rock outfit the Pretty Sure releases its debut album tomorrow. Photo courtesy of the band.

Colorado garage rock outfit the Pretty Sure releases its debut album tomorrow. Photo courtesy of the band.

Arlo White is another Denver music community staple. His experimental, edgy and occasionally unlistenable garage rock project, deadbubbles, inspired devoted followers and equally devoted haters during its run, but his latest project, the Pretty Sure, might be the ultimate achievement of his vision. Drawing from the classics (think Animals), dirtying it up with the second wave and third waves (think MC5 and Mudhoney) and then injecting a distinctive bluesy swagger, White and bandmates Jesse Zimmerman (guitar), Billy Beat (drums), Patrick Redman (bass) and Kim 9 (keys) spit out the kind of grinding, growling garage rock that’s left behind after an oil change.

The Pretty Sure’s debut album, “Subtle Sabotage,” will be released on April 24. To celebrate, the band just played spots on KGNU’s Kabaret and KRFC’s Live @ Lunch. The Fort Collins CD release show was Saturday at Road 34, and the Denver release will happen May 10 at the Meadowlark. If high octane and low brows get your motor running, you won’t want to miss these shows. Take “Subtle Sabotage” for a test drive right now by stealing “Hot Sass!”

Denver's Take To The Oars is poised to break out. Photo by Ron James Photography.

Denver's Take To The Oars is poised to break out. Photo by Ron James Photography.

Finally, we bring you the latest single from soon-to-be breakout act Take to the Oars. Since 2009, the quartet of Ryan Gombeski (vocals), Chris Weaver (drums), Mike Trujillo (guitar), and JP Manza (bass) has refined its sincere take on emotive indie rock into a polished and powerful product that sounds as crisp live as it does on the band’s 2011 album, “American Volume.”

A month ago, Reverb showed you the beautifully produced video for Take to the Oars’ “Bar Talk,” and now we’re happy to give you a chance to steal the song for your listening pleasure. Once you do, you’ll probably be dying to catch the quartet live. They’ll be playing this Friday at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins, or you can wait to catch them May 1 at the Hi-Dive (Denver) or May 4 at the Lazy Dog (Boulder). In the meantime, we’d recommend picking up the whole album for a mere $7.99 via Bandcamp.

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.