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The Local: Aaron Noble Brown



Folk music sure has come a long way. From the earliest traditions of mountain folk crooning Bible hymns, giving way to A.P. Carter and his illustrious family lineage, to Bob Dylan ‘going electric’ at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 (to the dismay or exhilaration of those in attendance, depending on whom you ask). There are too many more brilliant artists to list here and give their due diligence to. Folk music, much like other genres, is in constant flux, but remains a quintessential American art form, akin to Blues and Jazz in that respect.

Enter Aaron Noble Brown. Where does he fit into the lexicon that is folk music? First off, his music is accessible to anyone with two ears and a beating heart. But it is not Traditional or Neo-Traditional folk music. More an amalgamation of current production value and vintage aesthetic. His sound shifts between subdued and open-chorded introspection to warm electronic-toned exuberance, while maintaining a constant sense of self and purpose. It’s full of warmth and soft intimacy, billowing out of speakers instead of blaring out of them.

PULP/  I just wanna jump into it, if that’s cool. In the liner notes for you new album, you say that some of the songs on it are about getting broken up with while in the hospital. Do you mind talking about that?

Aaron Noble Brown/ No, not at all. It happened. I was with this girl, and we were together for like, two years. And then the day I actually leave the hospital, she dumps me. I had real bad and scary ulcers in my stomach, in my esophagus, in my intestines. Basically everywhere. I was throwing up blood for a few days.

So she picks me up from the hospital, doesn’t say anything the whole ride. Then she drops me off at my house, and tells me that she can’t ‘do this’ anymore. Leaves. And we haven’t really talked since.

P/ Dang. That’s pretty messed up. But at least you got some songs out of it, huh?

ANB/ It totally sucked. There’s quite a few songs about it. If I had to give it a number, probably 80% of the last album talks about it in some way.

P/ Of course. A Health scare and a breakup. That’s two big pieces of life happening at the same time! Did she ever explain herself?

ANB/ No. Never.

P/ Are you originally from Colorado?

ANB/ No actually, my family moved here when I was a kid. But I’ve been here since about ‘95 or so.

P/ So you’re a young dude. How long have you been making music for?

ANB/ I started playing piano when I was probably eight. Guitar started at ten. And I started writing my own songs when I was probably twelve.

P/ Wow. What were those songs about?

ANB/ You know, I don’t remember what they were about, but I can tell you they were awful. (laughs).

P/ Your music seems to have some spiritually informed or perhaps ‘awoken’ qualities to it, but not explicitly songs of faith or anything like that. Is that a fair assessment?

ANB/ Maybe. I don’t know. I grew up heavily religious, which in some degree is still a part of my life somewhat. But I try to keep art and religion separated. But on on one of the songs on this new album, ‘I Am A WASP’, I do take on some of the negative parts of ideology, and then make it a play on words.

P/ What’s the scene like here for you?

ANB/ It’s what I love. It’s small, but supportive. I’ve been playing music and in bands here since I was 14. It’s just something I’ve always done. My mother was an artist and graphic designer. And I feel like it made art and expression just a natural thing to me. I grew up around it.

P/ So you weren’t always a solo artist?

ANB/ I have been for the most part. But there have been projects I work on every now and again. Like a friends’ poetry project, setting his poems to music that I produced. Just last night I was talking to another friend about scoring his short film.

P/ You ever play like the Triple Nickel of the Flux Capacitor?

ANB/ Oh yeah. For sure. I just opened up for a hardcore band a couple months ago. I played this super chill acoustic set, and then they started and they just tore it up. But it was good! And kind of funny.

P/ Were the kids into it?

ANB/ Yeah. I think so. I usually find that people who play or listen to harder bands still listen to all types of music, not just super heavy or fast stuff. I was talking to another guy in the (post-hardcore/ambient band) Comrades the other day, and we talked about Bob Dylan for like a half hour.

P/ Do you feel like you mix well with the harder or more extreme bands here in the area. Ever had any bad experiences with genre mixing?

ANB/ Sometimes it’s weird, but for the most part I think it’s been pretty good. But sometimes, a show is just a show. Which sucks sometimes. Most of the time though, if I have a bad time, it doesn’t have anything to do with the type of music they play anyway. People can be rude or unwelcoming in any genre. That’s what turns people off to me. Not the kind of music they play. you could be incredible and I wouldn’t care.

P/ Do you think Springs has been receptive to you?

ANB/ For the most part. There’s so much good stuff going on right now. It seems like a good time here in Colorado. Like I saw you did a thing on Millicent? That’s awesome to me.

P/ We sure did.

ANB/ Dude, Emily (Knurr/of Millicent) is one of my best friends! I actually mixed and mastered her demos a while back.

P/ Nice. How do you feel about Kickstarter and those kinds of services?

ANB/ I’ve used them, and they work, but I don’t think they work nearly as well for DIY music as well as they present themselves. They kind of create this idea that you can create your own label, when really all you’re doing is borrowing money from your friends. And it can create this mentality that you’re somehow famous before you’re really anything at all. The worst thing is going to a local show and one of the bands calls their friends their ‘fans’. It’s like, ‘Dude, these are just people you went to highschool with. Chill.’When you can go somewhere, where you don’t know anyone at all, and someone comes up to you and says that they like what you do, THEN you have a fan.

P/ So there were problems with Kickstarter for you?

ANB/ Not so much with Kickstarter itself. What happened was, I was part of a project that crowdfunded our tour, which felt weird.

P/ Why is that?

ANB/ Well, the group I was with was a bit weird. It was just a bad idea.We had only been playing together for a few months. We had like, a half hour set, maybe. We should’ve been a band for at least another year before going out, not playing 5 shows before we decided to go on tour. But I guess it was a good learning experience.

P/ You definitely learn a bit about trying to market yourself afterward. Do you try to market yourself a bit more, or the best you can anyway?

ANB/ Yeah, I try I suppose. But I feel that the way I make music and with the kind of music I make is better done with word of mouth, and to try and dress it up is kind of deceiving. A lot of the hipster BS stuff is, to me, trying to dress up natural music. Unless it’s something in a certain vein, like electronic music, or anything where aesthetic is a component to the music, then I’d rather just do it my way. I don’t wanna lie. A good song is just a good song, you  know? No matter what you do to it.

Aaron Noble Brown is where it’s at. Purchase his newest album ‘An Inch, A Mile’ here.


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It’s a Punky Reggae Party with Pueblo upstarts Might of Henry



via Eyeworm Photopraphy

Smooth Ska-Punk | Might of Henry

Like a jump-up jolt of electric shock to the heart, Pueblo’s Might of Henry are here to win hearts and minds with their uplifting jazz-laced ska/reggae consortium. Proudly “Recorded in multiple basements and living rooms” in Pueblo, CO, the Push for Progress E.P., while at times is a touch wanting in clarity, is no less a groove-heavy, well put together and entertaining one way ticket to Jam City, USA.

Darkwave Electronica | Cutworm

Head Trash from Denver’s Cutworm is on some next level ish. At times a touch unsettling in the ears, these seven tracks are the audio equivalent of puttin’ an escape room in a hot nightclub that you’re not sure they’ll let you out of. Dark, pulsating, and heavily distorted, these tracks are an electronic experiment in the macabre meeting the modern club banger, and I’m all in.

Wide-Open Heartland Punk | Sleep Union

Full of big hooks and undeniable sense of resolve, the four tracks on Sleep Union’s Downed in the Harbor dance delicately and defiantly between the indie-fed punk rock charm of early Rise Against and the sharp musicality and bite of Oklahoma City’s best kept punk rock secret Red City Radio, offering huge wide open songs sounding like the alternative-laced punk rock score for your new favorite movie.

Modern Alt-Rockers | The Timberline

Alternately sweet and sultry, Autopilot from Fort Collins three-piece, Timberline, is a shot in the arm of alternative-minded indie rock and modern pop-punk swagger, funneled through some seriously great songwriting and sharp production destined for bigger radio audiences and tons of airplay if they keep this up!


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

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Stand By This Man: A Talk with Andy Hamilton & the Rocky Mountain Contraband



It’s no secret to anyone listening that country music, once a proud American traditional style made up of Appalachian roots, blues, and European folk traditions, just ain’t the same. Gone are the homespun recordings and the cowboy tales. In its wake, a new version oft dubbed pop or “crossover” country has taken its place and taken over the charts, largely while eliminating many of the tenets and traditions that made this uniquely American art form what it was.

But there are still plenty of artists interested in country music as a continuation of tradition. While not technically or sonically as rudimentary as early country acts sounded, (his music has the twang and production of late 60’s and 70’s legends Merle, Waylon and Willie) Denver based Andy Hamilton and his Rocky Mountain Contraband have serious chops and a back-to-basics approach all their own. Taking sounds and cues from those AM radio crooners and American outlaws and bringing them into our modern conscience with an updated sense of humor is more than enough for me. The superb songs on their newest self-titled offering bear that out, but Andy Hamilton and Co. have something even more important. Something that’s absent in the modern era of auto-tuned artists and hick-hop charlatans masquerading as country music: real soul, undeniable musicality, and songs made with honesty and heart.

How did you get your start in country music? Was the genre something you always enjoyed, or did you come to it later in life?

Andy Hamilton (guitar/vocals): I grew up hearing country and southern gospel from my granddad; he was a southern Baptist preacher and used to have a radio show in Knoxville, TN. It always gave me some kind of sentimental feeling hearing that music, but it wasn’t ‘til I was in my 20s that I really discovered an appreciation for it. Over the years I had written a handful of country songs, never expecting to do anything with them. But then maybe five years back a good buddy of mine got cancer and when I was asked to contribute a tune for a benefit compilation, I recorded this sorta gunfighter ballad I used to play. After the comp came out I got a slew of emails from venues wanting to book us, so I figured alright, maybe it’s time to put together a country band.

Have you played any other styles before country? Do you think they’ve informed your music now?

Oh yeah, I played in rock-n-roll bands since I was a teenager. I studied classical piano and jazz guitar ‘til I was maybe 16, then I hit that point in my life when I needed the exact opposite. I found myself totally enamored by all the classic rock riffs and just couldn’t get enough. Still to this day when I hear a Zeppelin tune or some Creedence I can’t help but crank it up. Just the other day The Rolling Stones came on in my truck; that opening riff in “Brown Sugar” and I got thinking how many hundreds of times have I listened to this tune and it’s still so damn good!

I hear old country greats like Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, and the Flying Burrito Brothers in your sound; but are there any modern practitioners and musicians you take from, country or not?

There are some really amazing singers and musicians doing it right: Zephaniah Ohora is a country singer out of Brooklyn, of all places. He just released one of the best country records, hands down. My buddy turned me on to John Moreland a few years ago. John writes some of the most heartbreakingly honest songs and delivers them in such a way that you gotta have a heart of stone not to feel something.

Your music seems to take a lot from older country and western acts rather than modern ones. Do you feel you have any relationship to the modern country aesthetic or scene?

Classic country resonates with me more than anything. We like to draw from the old greats, then make it our own. I’m a huge fan of Faron Young, Roger Miller, Moe Bandy, Willie and Merle, of course. There are a handful of newer country artists who are keeping it honest; Zephaniah, as I mentioned, Amber Digby, Casey James Prestwood. I know a handful of players in the modern country scene; they’re all really great people.

How do you feel about the sound and style of modern country music?

Man, drum machines and autotune have no business in country music. I have to say this, there is a lot of music that’s churned out and mislabeled as “country”…it’s being marketed by the powers-that-be as something it’s really not. I’m not gonna name names, but I think it’s pretty apparent when some pop artist just bought a pair of boots and a new hat. Then there’s the recipe for writing modern country songs that just sounds like bros at a frat party: it’s so transparent and soulless. But some folks really like that stuff. I mean REALLY like it. It’s just not for me.

Can you tell me a bit about the Rocky Mountain Contraband? They’re an exceptional bunch of musicians. Where/when did they come into the fold?

I started this band a few years back with my good friend, Dave Barker. He’s a killer drummer and had been playing pedal steel guitar a few years. We wrote and recorded a full album, then ditched it. Playing country music is a different animal and we realized if we were gonna do this right, we had to really study the music and learn how to play our instruments. We didn’t want to come off as rock musicians “playing country.” You know? We didn’t want to fake it. Both of us play with Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels as their hired guns. That gig has opened some doors to studying under some really big names in the genre. I feel really fortunate for that opportunity and how it’s forced us to progress as musicians.

How long have you played in the Colorado scene?

In Colorado alone I’ve been playing since the late 90s. I was in a handful of rock, metal and psych rock bands. Here in Denver I had a band called Houses that was one of my favorite bands I’ve ever played in. There was some real magic there.

Do you enjoy it?

I really like playing in Colorado. People don’t come out to dance like in Austin or Nashville, but man, there’s so much opportunity to experiment with new sounds onstage and the crowds are really accepting.

Anything you’d like to see more or less of in Colorado music?

I would love to see more country players. We live in the West; this is it, man! But where are the country players? We’ve got a good collection of bands here, some are more true to classic country and some are doing their own thing. I just hope it continues to grow.

This album was recorded all over Denver in various studios. Was this happenstance or something you were actively going for?

It really came down to time and money. We did a couple tunes with our buddy, Chris Fogal at Black In Bluhm. Chris has a great ear and is fun to work with. The Christmas tunes we threw together pretty last minute, so we recorded those with our own gear at Dave’s shop. In the future I would like to spend a good week in the studio, getting sounds we like and really crafting songs.



How long did it take to come together? And how was the recording experience for this batch of songs?

All in all it was a few days. We had a couple guest musicians, so some of the instruments were tracked in Nashville, then sent back to us. The overall experience was a little disjointed. I really like to connect with the people I’m recording with as much as possible, and that proves challenging when we’re working all over the place. But everyone was super easy going through the whole deal and I think it all came together nicely.

What would you like listeners to come away with after listening to this EP?

Well, I hope listeners can hear the effort we put in and appreciate the musicianship. I would love more people to discover a love for country music. There’s so much more than the tripe what’s fed to us on the radio and sadly, much of that gets overlooked because people don’t know where to find it. But it’s out there.

Any release / show plans here in Colorado?

No release shows for this EP. We did just play a couple weeks ago and I failed to mention we had new tunes out. I’m not great with self-promotion. My plan for this year is to write, record, and release as much music as I can when I’m not out on the road. I’ll book a release show when we put out our first vinyl.

Sounds like a plan!

If you can’t wait for the vinyl from Andy Hamilton & the Rocky Mountain Contraband, head over to to nab the digital release to hold you over.

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Denver’s SPELLS are the only Rock N’ Roll Juggernaut that can save you now.



All Live Photos by: Seth McConnell. Promo Shots by: Crystal Allen

Now at an astounding mix of 14 singles, splits EPs and full length records over a paltry 5 years, Denver’s Vacation Rock crushers SPELLS (yeah, you heard me, all caps) are back on their proverbial bullshit again with their newest ripper Big Boring Meeting. From day one, SPELLS has excelled at bringing forth the kind of frenetic and feverishly revved up garage punk that makes their records and live events a high energy dance party for anyone within earshot, and Big Boring Meeting ain’t changin’ a damn thing.

All Live Photos by: Seth McConnell. Promo Shots by: Crystal Allen

Live Photo by Seth McConnell / Promo Shots via Crystal Allen

From the initial pummeling of its’ first track Deceiver, the tempo and intensity of this record is full throttle; an unstoppable amalgamation of Pop-fury and unchained melody intertwined. The EP, which clocks in at just under the 10 minute mark, is a controlled chaos of surf rock and garage punk gut punch delivered straight to the solar plexus.



But what also bears repeating is the underlying power pop-ness of it all; for all it’s rock n’ roll savagery, the music of SPELLS is just as catchy and fun as they come. With a constant driving rhythm section and call and response vocals from the entire band (and lyricism from the acerbic-laced caustic resonation of vocalist L’il Stevie Shithead) the entire band rides the line between hardcore punk and jagged pop with an unholy gusto that dares you to keep up!

Bonus Alert! Right now, SPELLS is offering their entire discography for $9.25 via their label Snappy Little Numbers and Bandcamp, which is too much killer rock n’ roll for most to handle. Don’t be scared. (

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