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The Sound & Fury of Autumn Creatures



In an ever changing and seemingly increasingly dispassionate musical landscape, it’s refreshing to hear something (or anything at all) that can still resonate with me. A piece of music that hits hard in the gut and pierces even harder in the heart. A new sound that can somehow take you to a place you’ve never been, yet be comforting enough to make you feel at home. Truth be told, it happens less and less with every passing year. As I fast approach 30 I seem to continually gravitate further away from seeking that oh-so-important feeling and more toward trying in vain to sustain my weary soul and tired ears on what I already know and love, which is no way to live, folks. NO WAY TO LIVE.

Enter Autumn Creatures, 45 minutes north of Pueblo in Colorado Springs. A good friend and fellow music fan put their name in my ear months ago, but it wasn’t until a chance conversation with Autumn Creatures drummer Christian Andrew Gutierrez – who himself stays plenty busy in a plethora of other acts in and around Colorado Springs – was my interest piqued.

The members of Autumn Creatures, Will Gress, Alex Merrill, Christian Gutierrez, Josh Austin, Jessie Richardson, Ashley Parker and Courtney Harrell are storytellers – plain and simple. The music itself alternates between shimmery piano laden winsome and powerfully dense and ambient post hardcore, sometimes melding the two together with a masterstroke of shoegaze influenced pop. Poignant and beautiful monologues pervade throughout the groups’ music, working in tandem to create striking narratives on the human condition.

I spoke with Jessie Richardson and Alex Merrill

Autumn Creatures recently got back from a tour in Japan. How did that come about? Was the cultural dynamic similar as far as underground (punk and whatnot) subcultures go?

Alex Merrill: The Japan tour was something we started talking about last fall on our first tour. I used to live out there and I knew some friends that could book us a small tour so we decided to save up our money and go. It was an amazing time! Japan is a really awesome place with really awesome people. Im thankful we got the experience of DIY touring internationally so early on. It opened up our world a little bit.

Jessie Richardson: The cultural dynamic of Japan was so incredibly interesting. It’s something you just have to experience to fully understand. Our tour was very much ‘DIY’. We played shows with all types of bands; djent, metal core, math rock, punk and pop punk. There are so many great bands from Japan. The work ethic and the attention to detail in their culture creates a super dynamic and interesting music scene. It was inspiring, to say the least.

The spoken word pieces that start off most of the tracks on the new record are fantastic, and really pull you in. Were they always part of the plan, or something that came along as you were writing the music?

AM: Thanks! Storytelling was something we decided at the very beginning. Its a core part of the band. We’ve always written with that in mind.

JR: The music allows you to interpret and connect with the written story in a different way. Connecting people though emotions is a powerful concept.

Speaking of the new record, It’s your first full length. How did it differ from having done shorter EP’s beforehand? Was the preparation any different?

AM: Actually we consider Blue Forest an EP as well. Our previous EP was a bit shorter than this one, but it was also the first batch of songs that we had ever written and we were still in the process of learning to be a fully functioning band. We approached writing Blue Forest with a much clearer vision of what we wanted to do as band and the message we wanted to deliver.

JR: We all moved into a house to write Blue Forest. It was quite the experience.

The music of Autumn Creatures is alternately heavy yet sparse, cinematic and shimmering all at once sometimes. Do new songs start off with a riff idea that someone has, or is it more of a group effort all around?

AM: Our songwriting process has undergone quite an evolution from when we first started. Previously, we would structure out entire songs with guitars, piece them together and fill in the blanks. Now, its much more collaborative. We’re better at communicating with each other so we’ve able to talk about dynamics and how to best arrange the song. We also jam a lot more now which is something that we previously hadn’t done.

JR: Yeah, living in a house definitely helped out.

Your band has an author listed in the member section, which is something I’ve never seen before. Who are they? Do they write just the spoken word portions, or do they collaborate musically as well?

AM: As far as the written/spoken story goes, we have a friend up in Denver who has taken our ideas and penned them. Her name is Courtney and we’ve worked with her on both our albums. It also gives us a bit of 3rd party inspiration when writing music. We get to see our idea in someone else’s words and it helps us creatively.

Does the band have any big plans for 2015? Anything to promote?

AM: We have some things we’ve been talking about but nothing definite yet. There will be more to say soon hopefully.

Being in a band is a thankless job sometimes. Well most of the time. Have any of you ever hit the “that’s it, I quit music forever” wall? How do you get around it? Do you see playing music as a forever thing?

AM: I can’t say that I’ve never thought about calling it quits. For me, being in a band is stressful because of how much it can take away from other parts of my life. When the balance is off for anyone in the band we take breaks. We’re all best friends so everyone is really understanding about it. I don’t think I could ever quit for good though. Im far too in love with it.

JR: I got close just before we started writing Blue Forest. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. Weed helps. Life is hard sometimes. It’s all about finding the light in the darkness that is life.

Last question; What’s the better party food, pizza or burritos?


Good call.


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



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



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



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

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