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Distance makes the sound grow stronger: Colorado’s Amzyr plays the long-distance band game

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Long distance relationships are hard. Timing is off, schedules are different, communication is difficult, and if the relationship happens to be a band that is in its early stages, regular practices are nearly impossible. But Colorado-based folk-alternative group Amzyr is doing it with full force.

The trio released their first EP, self titled, in July, but vocalists Sara Morales and Nick Williamson, who also plays guitar and mandolin, along with drummer Isaac Encinias have been playing music together off and on since 2009.

Basically, they’re formally jamming now. When they all happen to be in the same spot.

The three all have roots in Pueblo. Williamson and Encinias met when they were young. They started playing together, but nothing ever developed from it. When high school rolled around Encinias moved to Denver, but Morales, through her brother, met Williamson. They started playing and writing, and as they say, the rest is history.

Well, kind of. Eventually, Williamson moved to Fort Collins leaving the potential for a band slim, but somehow the opposite happened.

“In Fort Collins Nick stumbled upon the Blasting Room and booked recording dates

for the band,” Encinias said.

Encinias got involved when the band needed drum tracks, and it works even though they’re all living in different cities. Besides, he said, the recording studio is always booked so that wouldn’t have changed much even if they were all in the same place.

The Blasting Room has an impressive client list with bigger names like Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake, Puddle of Mudd and Rise Against.

Williamson said he and the band had looked at a couple of other studios, but weren’t exactly impressed. Even though all three didn’t have any experience in a studio, they figured they had to do it right the first time.

“At first, I think we were all pretty nervous,” Williamson said. “Because we realized that this was the true opportunity to show everybody our talent and what we have to offer to the music world. Once we got into the studio all the nerves died down.”

The other two agree. They don’t really cite their distance as an obstacle either.

“I think we all flow well enough together that even though we didn’t have a lot of time to practice or record it still ended up going very well,” Morales added.

The three all name different musical influences, The Beatles, John Mayer, Of Monsters and Men and the Lumineers, but they have been able to really narrow the band’s sound to something specific. Folk-alternative.

It’s other artists they find influence from, such as the Fray and Ed Sheeran, that can really be heard in Amzyr’s music.

It’s upbeat acoustic sounds with alternative flair and just enough pop that could put them on the radio.

In the local music scene, it seems the average progression of a band is opposite of what Amzyr is doing, and that might be why the three are so refreshing. Not only do they sound effortless, they are effortless because they’re forced to be.

They don’t play local shows. The distance doesn’t allow it. They practice when they can, and the timing for recording just happened to line up right.

Even so, the band hopes to start touring with the newly recorded material and submit the EP to record labels.

Sure, it won’t be easy, the group says. Breaking into the professional music world never is, but the three are positive that if they’ve gotten this far, they can keep on going.

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CO Springs emcee Che Bong goes outer limits on new psychedelic full length

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Electro-Soul Hip Hop | Che Bong – From the dusty ‘Amen break’ heavy loop-gone-psychedelic of album opener Telescope to the lo-fi space rockin’ of album ender The Paradox of Time, CS emcee Che Bong (of Bullhead*ded) has really outdone himself and the genre itself on Telescope to the Heavens. With an album full of immersive and challenging-yet-chill hip hop musicality that owes just as much to free jazz and psychedelic rock as it does to hip hop and neo-soul, Che is on some next level stuff.  Get. On. It.


90’s inspired Alt-Punk | Hooper – “No Monument” from Denver Rock City punkers Hooper does a couple things very well; it provides stellar songwriting and momentum building, gives a healthy shot in the arm of indie-slathered 90s era punk rock, and in doing both provides a direct line to the sonic and perhaps more importantly workhorse aesthetic of the nascent indie punk heyday of the 90s. Trip out on that, holmes!


Blackened Sludge-Punks | Worry – The newest EP from Colorado Springs heavies Worry is not for the faint of heart, smashing heads on the punk rock with a bludgeoning mix of seething sludge metal and intrinsically intense hardcore know-how. Monolithic and absolutely monstrous, the seven raw cuts on A Celebration of Suffering are gloriously bleak, blackened and smolder with an actual extremity that most other “extreme” bands often lack.


Slow Burn Indie Rock | Wrinkle – Mind melding and photosynthesizing the big hook power-pop of early Weezer and the Rentals with the wide-eyed indie bend of Neva Dinova and Cursive, Denver’s indie rock supergroup of sorts Wrinkle are a slackers fever dream; a haze of unaffected yet disaffected indie-fed pop rock that first and foremost rules and that is more commercially viable than them nor I would care to admit on their newest offering A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies.


All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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Raw Rock & Roll and dark Blues collide with Denver’s the Velveteers

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At only six tracks long, this brand new self-titled EP via Denver’s the Velveteers (Recorded on warm analog tape at Silo Sound Studios in Denver) is a half-hour long magic spell; a concoction of twisted psychedelic undercurrent and blues-rock guitar histrionics draped in the smoky and arresting vocals of one Demi Demitro. Demi, along with co-founder and multi-instrumentalist John Demitro, conjure the kind of gnarled, foot-stomping rhythms and riffs that have dual citizenship between the acid-laced Led Zeppelin 70’s arena-rock heyday and the modern fuzz drenched, psychedelic revival of now.

Musically, this 2 piece makes quite the racket. Raw rock and roll power and deep, dark blues mystique collide head on. If you want a band that can riff, look no further! You may snap your neck clean off from all the head nodding you’ll involuntarily be doing. Like a confession to the dark lord himself, the Velveteers pen the kind of dirty rock and roll diddies that are a conduit for the heathen in all of us. With lyrical gems like “You know just what your doing to me / but heaven knows what’s up your sleeves” (off of the sublime album midpoint “Bloody Little Secrets”), Velveteers delve into the dark and macabre underbelly of the mind and bring back blues-laced musical treasures for the world to behold. We should be so lucky.


“The Velveteers” is streaming (and for sale hint hint) via Bandcamp now. Live dates and more info on Facebook.

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Building up with Pueblo’s Beyond Bridges

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Reggae is a largely misunderstood musical genre; not only was it not invented solely by Bob Marley in the mid 70’s (who himself had even deeper musical roots with the Wailing Wailers in the early 60’s) like too many think, but it also encompasses an ever-growing and changing past, present and future, including entirely new groups of evolutionary musicians finding new ways to carry the island rhythms forward.

Forging driving and endearing music with reggae at the center, Pueblo’s own Beyond Bridges is at the forefront of such endeavors. Much more than your average reggae act, the band also harnesses elements of heavy So-Cal surf rock and alternative music, at times exploding with overdriven,intertwined and complex soloing a la metal gods Iron Maiden and monster stadium rock choruses. While the juxtaposition on paper seems odd, this quartet navigates such choppy and uncertain waters with ease, heavy riff-laden rock eased up with soothing dubbed-out reggae refrain.

All of this has come to a head with “On My Mind,” the first EP from Beyond Bridges; 5 songs from a formidable band of brothers who are here to have a good time and help you do the same.


John Bueno (PULP): I’m a few listens in to your new EP, and I gotta say, I’m a bit surprised something like this is coming out of Pueblo. Not in a bad way though; it’s just it isn’t something we usually have here.

Adrian Hernandez (bass/vocals): We’re all from here. So we get it. And we all know that there’s a stigma about anything coming out from here. But we’d like to think we can break through that.

Tony Garcia (guitar): I feel like there’s a new generation here; and they’re interested in progressing. It’s not “Pueblo can’t do this” anymore; now it’s more like “Pueblo SHOULD do this.” Kind of go beyond what we are comfortable with.

Speaking of going beyond, does the name Beyond Bridges represent that idea?

TG: Actually, when Kai (Furuto; multi instrumentalist and vocalist of Beyond Bridges) and I started this as a duo act, we would always write songs that would end up having this complex bridge part that would kind of veer off into solos and stuff. So we were looking for something involving bridges. We wanted to call it Bed Bath and Beyond Bridges. (laughs)

AH: It was too hard to license the logo. (laughs)

Your new EP was recorded and produced with Lastleaf Audio here in town; is this your first?

AH: Yes it is.

How was the making of it?

AH: Well, it was my first complete thing, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. But we tried to go into a studio once early on, and maybe it was too early; but working with Matt (Herrera/ Lastleaf engineer) was a totally different experience; much more comfortable this time.

Some producers have a tendency to be a little too hands on or assertive when working with bands; it may sound soft, but most musicians are sensitive. Especially when it comes to something they’ve created. It was great having Matt, because he’s not the type to push you into what he wants you to do; he lets you guide yourself to the best sound and arrangement.

Kyle Spinuzzi (drums): We did drums the first day, and it was super easy. Matt is so great to work with. His place was comfortable to produce in and I went in confident. Plus it’s nice to do this in our hometown; not everyone gets that opportunity.

TG: It was really interesting for me. I do and run sound a lot, but it’s a totally different thing from raw live sound to the mixing and mastering stage; I knew what our sound was and what we could do, but it was really cool to turn that into an end result. It was a learning process the whole way.

I like that Matt didn’t autotune a thing, either. There’s very little correction on anything. We got a raw sound from him. There were a lot of takes involved to do that, though.

AH: Mostly because I was moving my feet while recording.

TG: But Matt wanted that to be us, in our raw stage, maybe with a little more sparkle. Moving forward,  I’ll take all of this in for our next recording as a guide for sure.

That’s a definite plus to do all the recording and mastering in town. Way easier I would think. You don’t have to rush it.

TG: We did it over the holidays, right when everyone was already busy.

AH: Oh yeah; the time span was over like 4 months or so. There was no big rush with Matt; he was never standing over us looking at his watch saying “you got a half hour” or anything like that. We were able to go over every song layer by layer, instrument by instrument, until we felt great about all of it. We were able to stay in a creative mindset that way.

It was also done like, 2 blocks from my childhood home. Which is pretty cool. (laughs)

AH: Also Kai, who is not here, is a big part of the sound too. He plays a bit of everything on the record, helped write the songs. He is our firecracker!

When it comes out, what do you hope listeners come away with from the after hearing it?

TG: Our music comes from a lot of different places; we aren’t gonna stick to a single musical genre. We like to use different genres like spices, you know? We’re not strictly a reggae band. We’ll use reggae as a spice, ska as a spice, rock and alternative as a spice; but the end product is a natural recording of who we are as a unit. The exact tones from that album are the same ones coming from my guitar; Adrian’s voice is pure and clean and beautiful. Kyle’s drumming is to a click. (laughs)

AH: There’s always some vulnerability to releasing something that you’ve worked on, you know? That’s another plus for working with Matt. I was talking to my dad today and I told him that good or bad, it’s gonna be out there; and it’s good to know that during the process of making the album the person you’re doing it with is making everyone comfortable with your creativity. You need to be wholehearted for it to come out organically.

Do you feel like Colorado is warm to you as a band?

AH: I think we are lucky to be from here; and Pueblo is lucky to be here right now. The reggae scene is absolutely flourishing right now, which is probably in no small part to the marijuana industry. But that’s another story. But that niche audience lives in Colorado; we’re able to be who we are as a band and still have these great opportunities, which is not something a lot of people get to say. We are able to fit in with bands all over the reggae spectrum because we don’t just stick to a sound; we like to just write songs, however they come out as individual creations.

So Colorado is a good home base then?

TG: Colorado is my base for sure. I am always down for it. I love it here.

AH: Absolutely. I think this is the most beautiful state in the country; I may have only been to like 12 other states, so I’m no almanac (laughs). But I feel proud and extremely lucky to be here, especially as a musician. This may be silly to some, but the idea that one day I might get to play at Red Rocks (Amphitheatre) is a huge driving force and motivation to keep doing what we’re doing.

That’s quite the goal!

AH: Baby steps, man.

Anything you’d like to see done differently here in the area as far as the music scene goes?

TG: It would be nice if Pueblo helped build its’ music scene. There aren’t too many live music venues here, but maybe the culture just isn’t quite there yet.

AH: I think it would be in Pueblo’s best interest to grab hold onto the artists we already have here. We could have a renaissance of sorts! It’s something we’ve talked about probably since I was a kid, but harnessing that artist energy from the area and giving more avenues to come out would do a lot, especially in this downtown area. But as is, I love this town right now too. It doesn’t get enough love or credit. We just wanna show people part of the arts that have always been here.

As a band, you maintain a pretty consistent live schedule, though. Any plans on taking it on the road more?

TG: Definitely. We’d like to create more small tours with bands that come through. Over the last year and half or so, we’ve had the chance to watch and learn from so many different bands. We get to see bands from all spectrums, and we would just to learn more from other groups and follow their lead a bit. Right now, we’re a great 30 minute band; but to put on a full 90 minute headlining set is a whole different beast. We want to learn under these smaller bands and create something special.


“On My Mind” from Beyond Bridges is available for pre-order now on iTunes, with a full release March 16th. For this and more, head to beyondbridgesmusic.com

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