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If you build it they may come: a talk with Martyr Thompson

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In the “new” musical landscape, viral views, likes and clicks all too often define an artist’s popularity and visibility. It’s easier and also harder than ever to get your music out to the world. But we often forget a crucially important tenet as a result; the local community. Sure, it’s easy in larger cities to reach more people at a show, but in smaller scenes like our own, if you can’t get the local community to gas you up, it can feel like you’re putting in double the work for half the results.

Martyr Thompson understands this better than most. For nearly a decade and running, this Pueblo-bred lyricist and musician has churned out consistently adept and challenging hip hop music, rife with whip smart wit, an iron tongue and undeniable heart. He’s got the potential and the work ethic, but how do you get the people behind you?


PULP: How long have you been an emcee for?

Martyr Thompson: I’m twenty seven now. I started when I was eleven, so like sixteen years.

That’s so young! Who did you look up to at such a young age?

I watched How High in the fifth grade and then heard soundtrack to it. Straight up; It was just like man this is cool; Redman and Method Man were in this movie acting and now they wrote a whole album for it too. I had a friend that I was close with and was like “Let’s try it out”. So I just kind of started writing really profane raps. They were so bad. My fifth grade found them in my desk and called my parents! (laughs)

Do you feel like you took it seriously right away?

No, definitely not; not until I was probably seventeen. But up until that point, I would have cousins and other family members that would be like “yo freestyle something” when I was younger. So I got to sharpen those skills a bit; but it wasn’t until like I was probably older and I rapped at Central’s rally for the Bell Game. That was the first time I thought “I could do this. this is something I want to pursue”; not just like a pastime, but make something out of it, because I just got a lot of props from people that had heard it.

How’s the hip hop scene right now? Do you like being Pueblo based?

Yeah, to a certain extent. I love it here; a lot of talented people. Still though, I feel like Pueblo and myself included could do a lot better when it comes to putting different hip hop events together. It seems like it’s more of a show right now and less of a community thing; I feel like that’s the kind of the responsibility I feel hip hop has as an art form and as a culture is to be a voice within its community. That’s my hope for it is this to become something more than just shows at local bars. Grow something together and try to change the narrative that all hip hop heads are just drug dealers and bangers.

Do you feel like it’s the responsibility of the artists to try to change the narrative?

I think so. A lot of us here in the scene, and I say this as a general statement, know people that have a negative perception that hip hop is just drugs and violence. This is how some people look at it, because most of the content that being produced is content that talks about those things. It’s not it’s not bad to rap about smoking weed or drinking, but if if you don’t realize that those things actually affect people’s lives and you just settle for making content because it’s popular and profitable rather than being impactful and influential, we all suffer.

But we can change the narrative. Yeah, some of us do smoke weed, some of us do drink and some of us are hustlers; But some of us are fathers, too. We care about the children. Some of us smoke weed because we have stress and anxiety, you know?

What would you like to see more of here in Pueblo?

I would love to see a of rebuilding of the hip hop community. Not just rappers and producers, but bringing the elements back into a and making it more accessible to the youth. Building up of younger MC’s. I feel like it’s important of whatever culture you’re involved and you have to be pretty invested in it if you want what you say matter. To put out the best content you can and have it say something important.

Do you feel like it’s more rewarding that way?

It definitely is. It’s way more rewarding that way. I want it to be more of an experience with the people that are fans of the music and are fans of what I’m doing; have it feel a little bit more personal, so that when I do interact with them that it’s on a different level and deeper.

So you want it to be more than just entertainment?

Yeah, definitely. Way more than entertainment. We can do so much more to actually get the community involved and make them feel like they’re part of something rather than just a spectator.


Indigo from Martyr Thompson is available at fullcirclemusicgroup.bandcamp.com. For news and info on the upcoming Keeping it Together mix, head to www.facebook.com/martyrisdead

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CO Indie-Punkers False Report strike gold again with new EP

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We first brought False Report to our readers early last year, and their Collapse EP, in all it’s indie-pop punk glory, is still an office favorite. We also don’t usually repeat an artist so soon, but what a difference a year makes! In the ensuing mess that consumed 2017, the four young men that comprise Colorado-based False Report have come out better than ever, shaping and redefining their musical parameters on their newest offering Your Addiction Sleeps Tonight.

The album is kicked off proper from the get-go. Submerged is a strong, commanding lead-off; gritty boyish ache personified with guitars and a pummeling and groove-laden rhythm section that gives space and opportunity for frontman Alan Andrews dashboard confessionals; he sings and screams convincingly right through you, his truths and misdeeds laid bare for the world to pick over.

The record thunders on, with album midpoints Thrown Away and Balcony right in step lyrically and musically. But by track 4, the fantastic Clear My Name, something snaps into place and becomes crystal clear; False Report are embracing the Pop in Pop-Punk more than before; the guitars are still as sharp and biting as ever, the rhythm section still bludgeons, but the songwriting and crafting of the band as a whole has taken an adventurous and well thought out turn upwards to indie-pop heaven. By the album’s high gear closer, Lost Again, the transformation and subtle differences in sound make total sense, the band rebirthed aglow in a not drastically different, but nevertheless excitingly new sound that I sincerely hope continues to push forward with.


False Report releases YAST with a few shows around Colorado. Dates and info @ facebook.com/falsereportband

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Onward through the Fog: meet the Spirettes

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You can’t appreciate the light without the dark, and the newest rays of musical light illuminating from Colorado Springs indie rockers Spirettes (pronounced Spirits) are as powerful and engrossing as a tower of 1,000 watt LEDs, while remaining undeniably and defiantly dark. Spirettes are a fascinating study in contrasts: this 5 song release is equal parts guitar-grit and heavy hypnotism, awash in powerful reverb-drenched harmonies and thunderous rhythms that ebb and flow with an indelible energy and sense of urgency that crash into your ears like a growing ocean tide, pulling you deeper and deeper under with its leaden glory. They are a hazy masterstroke of indie swell and feminine guitar rock ferocity. They are the audio equivalent to diving to the very bottom and finding a light you never knew existed. They are the fabulous Spirettes.


Your new EP is really fantastic; How long did it take to come together?

Kate Perdoni (guitar/vocals): We recorded the last days of August. It was an impromptu recording.

Kellie Palmblad (bass/vocals): We are really excited. It was recorded with a good friend of mine named Andy Jones who used to live here in Colorado. He moved to Denton Texas several years ago, and reached out to me out of nowhere when we posted that we had a new project forming  and said “totally keep me posted on this I would love to do the production. let me know if you want to record.”

Perdoni: Which we before we had even practiced. (laughs)

Palmblad: He said he was a fan of everything we had done in the past and other bands. We knew the atmosphere we wanted to create with our album, so he drove up to visit family and we knocked it out in a weekend.

Was it a lot of pressure to have someone wanting to record the band before you’d ever played together?

Perdoni: The really intimidating thing for me was that I had never let anyone record me before.  I’ve always engineered my own projects, so I was nervous about that.  But I could have not had a better experience working with Andy. It was seamless and amazing to let someone else take the helm.

Palmblad: It was magical. I enjoyed watching the decisions he made and learning from him.  he had great ideas. It was really fun and we geeked out on a guitar pedals and where to place mics and all of the technical stuff.

Perdoni: We had the same sound aesthetic, all of us; and it was like he stepped in with a magic wand to fuse it and gel it all together. It didn’t feel rushed or anything.

Palmblad: With the band, my goal is that there are 3 creative beautiful women that have great ideas, and my job is to support that and bring what I have to the table, but also know when to get out of the way; to get an honest snapshot of our creativity and vision.

Was it an intentional focus to have an all-female band?

Perdoni:  yes absolutely.

Palmblad: yes.

Any particular reason?

Palmblad: I wanted to start a female project, I wanted to do it with integrity, and we’ll hit it really hard.

I was traveling to Denver to see Courtney Barnett the night of the election;  and it was a very surreal experience; watching what was happening politically in the world at that moment and also having the experience of one of the most phenomenal shows I have ever been to. I know so many talented women; we should probably talk at some point about getting together and playing. It was quite a moment, and it made an impression on me. It felt like somewhere inside of me spiritually said now is the time to do that.

Perdoni: Kellie had actually texted me that same night and said it was time.The next day there was a group message sent and it all went from there.

It seems like the election of 2016 has galvanized a lot of different people. People understand that everything we do is political, even creating art.  What do you want this new EP to show the public politically?

Perdoni: It starts personally with personal politics for me; my constitution and force.  And music is such a pure avenue for that expression.

Palmblad: I think the recording actually really solidified that idea, actually. From the first moment we said we don’t know for sure what this is supposed to sound like, but we know all of our anger comes out so sad and angry sometimes. But the more I wrote the more it was bloody and heartfelt; it wasn’t coming out like riot girl music necessarily.

When we started, I didn’t want to start by saying the music had to sound a certain way.  I wanted it to be a product of where we were and what we wanted to bring to it. Even now I catch myself when I’m starting to impose a sound or structure I remember that my job is to sometimes just step back and let it come through instead.

Perdoni: It’s dark, and it’s mysterious. It exists in a different place; almost in a warm humid room to me.

To me it feels David Lynchian.

Palmblad: Yes, definitely. It’s manifesting all the b******* that we’ve been through in our lives and the changes that we’ve had to go through in response to the b*******. It’s the perfect time culturally to offer ourselves in that realm as Who We Are; this is our experience.

Perdoni: So many of the themes of this album are themes of death and rebirth;  phoenixes and Rising Up From the Ashes.  we had to crawl and fight and cry and kill for this. Well, maybe not kill though. (laughs)

Palmblad: Somewhere along the way with the recording, it started to have a very old style rock and roll feeling;  like the classic girl bands.  I kind of was brought back to the Shangri-las and The Ronettes. It’s kind of like that musically, but on acid.

I read recently that Colorado Springs is the one of the new “it” cities in America;  how do you feel about that as a band?

Palmblad: I’m a native to Colorado Springs. I feel like if you stick around long enough,  good things will happen eventually.  It’s nice To be recognized for the great things I’ve seen here. I’ve always believed in this city and where it exists amongst cultures and amongst the mountains. The nature here is always going to produce some really interesting extremes;  the clash of cultures that are here even though it might feel so of oppressive to have mega churches and the military here, to me it’s always been a breeding ground of innovation. We may not have a traditional way of pursuing music here in the springs, but we still make it. We make it what we want it to be.

Perdoni: My perspective is a bit different. I’m not a native here, and I’ve only lived here for 4 years, but I have so much respect for people who grew up here and stuck around. Nothing pisses me off more than the negative connotations and perceptions of Colorado Springs. Rather than focus on the negative or perceived negative elements let’s put as much energy as we would bitching and complaining about everything and instead of harness that energy into something amazing that we want to see. That’s been my ethos since I’ve been here.

Well for what it’s worth, I’ve never seen a more caring and sincere scene than the one you have here in the Springs. Everyone here I’ve met is very passionate and supportive it seems.

Perdoni: Yeah, we really care for each other.

Palmblad: It’s interesting watching the scene develop; now I go to shows end venues where you would expect to see the same core group of people you often see, and there is tons of new faces all the time. There’s a nice feeling from some of the older scene people that “whew, the back up troops have come.”

Perdoni: Yes! I feel just like in the past few years that a lot of the young people who came here for college are staying here; they’re being retained because of the community and culture that is being created. And they are contributing so much to the sustainability of the arts scene.

If you had to describe Spirettes to someone what would you say?

Palmblad: a dark twist on classic girl groups; that’s what it’s sounding like to me the more I hear it.

Perdoni:  An unwieldy wildness! (laughs)

What do you want people to come away with after listening to the record?

Perdoni: I want people to feel really inspired to create their own world. And to feel supported;  to feel everything that we feel when we were making music together; alive, thrilled, expressed, all of the things that until recently not just women but all different types of people were told they were not allowed to express. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can be honest. I want people to feel true to themselves.

Palmblad: It’s bittersweet and also powerful. It’s okay to feel a little bit of nostalgia when you hear it;  it’s okay if you catch the references. But if you can experience the songs and tell us what you hear when they listen to us, we’d love to hear it, too.


The self titled debut from Spirettes is available at spirettes.bandcamp.com. Upcoming live dates and more at facebook.com/spirettesmusic

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Boulder indie-rocker Eric Dorr’s debut EP shines bright from the get-go

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The indie music camp has sure seen quite the split over the years, with the early college-rock station inspired purists of yesteryear often scoffing at the larger influences that pop and electronic music have had on the genre within recent years, going so far as to call the genres original intentions “dead.” Which, my friends, is dumb as hell. Sure, we all love our Superchunks and our Dinosaur’s Jr, but to call an entire genre dead is to negate the existence and unyieldingly diverse essence of a new batch of DIY artists.

 

 

To do so would also discount Boulder songwriter Eric Dorr, which is something I will not stand for. On his sublime Dream Routine EP, Eric has managed to exude a work that combines the recognizable mishmashes of so-called “original” indie tenets of singer-songwriter espousal and heart and weave them delicately with an undeniable feel-good brash-pop fabric and subtle electronic flourish, with songs like album midpoint track Leaves veering into electronic territory (albeit with heart and songwriting chops firmly intact) and album closer Next to Me echoing the undeniable good vibes of Jimmy Buffettalbeit updated for the youngins but still taking listeners to Margaritaville regardless. The resulting album is full of sweetly tangible indie rock that goes down smooth.

 

 


 

Eric Dorr’s Dream Routine is available for digital and physical purchase now via Bandcamp. For show dates and more, head to Dorr’s Facebook page.

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