Connect with us

Music

Onward through the Fog: meet the Spirettes

Published

on

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

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Arts & Culture

Acoustic heartbreak in the Colorado San Juans with John Statz

Published

on

John Statz by Veronica Holyfield

Songs about heartbreak should resinate. And with John Statz they do. They’re equally soft and striking.

His new full-length album “Darkness on the San Juans,” available May 11, takes an acoustic turn from his other recent work. Then, he had full bands in studios. With this project, he gathered a few friends in his living room to record.

Like heartbreak itself, the album is more personal, more raw and more intimate. The Wisconsin native who now calls Denver home said he hasn’t done something quite as stripped down in a while, and when it came to get back into songwriting after the release of his last album last summer, there was also a reason to write.

It was the aftermath of a breakup.

“We retrace our steps. We look at what we thought we knew. We ultimately discover and face the truth under the stories we told ourselves along the way,” he says of the album.

In addition to the post-love songs, the album features a few songs Statz previously worked on but didn’t have a place on an album, and songs that are meant to be more acoustic. “Presidential Valet” is the story of Armistead, President John Tyler’s valet, or slave, who died alongside seven others in an explosion after Tyler and members of cabinet were watching the firing of the “peacemaker” in 1844.

So, this album is about heartbreak. Did that change how you wrote or approached the album at all?

Yeah. It just kind of comes out more — I don’t know — when you’re writing about heartbreak it’s just seems like the easiest type of writing. It’s just pouring out of you. You don’t have to come up with a concept or a story or any of that.

In the bio you released ahead of this album, it references a pretty famous Ernest Hemingway quotation: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Maybe as a writer I hear about this all of the time, but there’s definitely a writing style associated with Hemingway — to write very concise and clear. Did you take any of that with you into the songwriting or was it all about the emotion?

You know, it was the emotion part. I didn’t think about that, but the songs are fairly concise and short. So I appreciate that might also be relevant there even though I didn’t intend that.

The title of this album is “Darkness on the San Juans.” Explain that a little bit.

It’s a line in the song “Highways.” Geographical references are all over my songwriting. On every album I’ve ever written. So it’s a song about driving places with someone and either ending up back at those places later and having other memories being their previously. The San Juans was one of those locations that was important.

Why do you think you end up writing about places so much?

I mean, an obvious answer is that I spend a lot of time driving around to gigs, and I’ve been a lot of places because of that. And just for fun. I love roadtripping around Colorado, and camping and that sort of thing. So it’s not a planned thing. I’m living and breathing this lifestyle from A to B to C and that infiltrates the writing. But also, it’s a convenient rhyming scheme. Sometimes it can be hard to find a word, but there’s usually a city that will fill in.

How long did it take you to finish this album, being that the concept is fairly raw?

It all happened pretty fast. The two non-heartbreak songs, “Presidential Valet” and “Old Men Drinking Seagrem’s,” were older. They’re social commentary tunes. But I just hadn’t recorded them to yet and I was waiting for an acoustic album to do that. I started writing in the summer. I decided in December to record them. I called my friend Nate, flew him out in January. And we recorded it in three days in my living room.

Had you recorded like that before?

It’s been a while, but yeah. My first couple albums that I made when I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, were like that: recorded at home and more stripped down with the production and just making use of what we had. The last three albums were full bands or went to a really professional studio. This is how I made records way back.

Why did you decide to do it this way?

The songs mostly had an acoustic feel, and I sing in my living room a lot. I have this open, high ceiling. So I play my guitar and sing in my living room a lot. I think it sounds cool in there. I thought we could make a cool recording there. I liked the idea of making this intimate album in my home. It was a comfortable, cozy way to make an album.

So everything about this album seems more intimate that what you’ve done in the last few years.
Yeah. Definitely. Everything is. There’s only four musicians on this album, and one of those is my roommate who did knee slaps.

I also noticed on the album credits was an oatmeal container.

So I bought a plastic egg shaker because I thought I maybe wanted to some percussion. But it just didn’t sound that cool. I was like, well we have oatmeal around the house. There wasn’t much left in one container and so we shook it and it was a way better shaker sound, you know?

The inspiration for these songs were the feelings that linger after a break-up. Was there a cut-off point there since emotions always evolve, especially in these instances?

It’s a process. A relationship ends and we all go through the phases. Months go by and you change how you feel. The me that wrote those songs and recorded them months back is a different person. I’ve evolved in the process.

Did you have to simmer to write these songs or was it immediate?

I wrote the first song like a month after. I was trying to write again because I write in cycles. I had just put out an album at the beginning of last summer and when I’m in album release mode I’m not writing as much. But when that’s over I want to write. This time I wanted to write again and I had a fresh reason. I find it a little uncontrollable. I’ve never not written about any breakup I’ve ever had. It’s just part of the territory of being writer. I haven’t written anymore since I wrote those. I’m in album-release mode. I think I decided I’m done with these songs on this album. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to get it out. This part of my life is completed and now I will write a bunch of songs about U.S. presidents or something like that.

I noticed on your social media you like presidential biographies.

Yeah, I do. My friend Jeffrey Foucault is a songwriter and he gave me a LBJ biography. I really liked it, so I thought I’d give George Washington a try and I just kept going.

How many are you up to?

I’m almost done with Grant, so 18.

So far do you have a favorite based off of biographies?

Grant has been really interesting. Lincoln was fascinating. Martin Van Buren. Great sideburns.

Back to the album. Do you think the listener can hear an evolution throughout the album?

Yeah, those songs were written at different times, so probably. I’d say it’s a snapshot of what somebody goes through, or at least what I went through. But I think what most of us go through after a breakup.I just think most people have been through it so I hope they can identify.

I just think most people have been through it so I hope they can identify.

You can purchase Darkness in the San Juans at johnstatz.com. 

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Soul mates: An interview with Colorado’s in/Planes

Published

on

I feel the need to take a quick second to clear something up—I watched the band in/PLANES get married. Not for this article, mind you; the ceremony was years ago. I have been friends with musical and otherwise soulmates Inaiah Lujan and Desirae Garcia for over a decade at this point (due in no small part I’m sure to our mutual enthusiasm and passion for local music). As a result, I have had the opportunity to bear witness as not only their music but also relationship has burst and bloomed into multiple amazing endeavors. Whether it was their passionate and spirited take on Dustbowl-era Americana as members of folk revivalists the Haunted Windchimes or the wonderfully intimate lo-fi solo albums the both of them have released over the years, these two have a continually impressive musical output and a charm that I have always been excited to delve into. Hell, they even played in my basement once upon a time.

But none of them have struck me quite the same way as in/PLANES has. “Radio Wave,” their first full-length offering via Denver indie record label GROUPHUG, is something altogether different; something wondrously unique. It could be their voices. THOSE voices—honeyed and harmonious—especially whilst entwined in the duets that frequent the songs of in/PLANES. It could be the melodies they create—a riding-high blend of 50’s sha-la-la doo-wop, 60’s sunshine pop and indie-birthed soul—that feels distinctly pop without the trappings of sounding glossy or over-produced. Where tons of modern indie acts are ready to make a loud racket, in/PLANES instead opts to let the grooves play out sparsely and intimately, with inviting musicianship and vocal performances that envelop the space surrounding them. Whether live in concert or in the car, the music of in/PLANES holds on tightly and never lets go.

PULP: It’s weird trying to formally interview you guys; being friends makes it weird to ask you questions in a regular way.

Inaiah Lujan (guitar/vocals): That’s okay.

Desirae Garcia (bass guitar/vocals): We’ll be semi-formal.

IL: Business casual. (laughs)

I did do some research though, and I realized that in/PLANES has been around for longer than I remembered. But this new album is your first full length?

IL: Yeah. This is our first formal release that isn’t an EP. And also first physical release. There is some intention with that. You know that we are champions of analog stuff; Cassette tapes are my first love; I grew up making mixtapes. And CD’s have always felt pointless to me, but for so long we played the game because you used to HAVE to have CD’s on the merch table. But this band has been pretty vocal about our disdain for CD’s; “Radio Wave” is only going to be available on cassette. You’ll get a digital download with purchase of the tape.

Speaking of which, what does the name “Radio Wave” mean in regard to the band?

DG: It’s a line from the song “Why Didn’t You,” a song that is actually not on the record. (laughs). But it’s the very first in/PLANES song we ever wrote. We wrote that song, and it felt like it was part of a totally different project; it felt different than anything we were doing. So maybe it’s a nod to the beginning of the project. We like to think of the song as kind of a breadcrumb to where we are at now.

IL: The benefit of this band is getting to take our time with things; to be more intentional. So now we have been releasing stuff retroactively. The EP we released just last month is stuff we had recorded from our apartment; “Radio Wave” is stuff we put together with Adam Hawkins from Right Heel Music and our drummer Carl Sorensen, and we already have another album in the works.

For me, it also has dual meaning; in/PLANES seems to always create this kind of duality. “Radio Wave” also musically reminds me of when people were only listening to the radio. It kind of plays to idea of this vintage-pop genre we’re kind of going with.

DG: That’s also the music that this record is really inspired by.

IL: The EP feels like kind of a sampler or mixtape for what we’re all about, but this full length is more focused; a little more of that classic pop sound. It’s a fitting title for sure.

DG: Also it’s 1,000,000% love songs; which is bad and good. (laughs)

When you wrote “Why Didn’t You,” did it feel like a song intentionally for a new project?

IL: I think it just presented itself that way; I had been toying around with some chords, and I had been trying to write a song and I didn’t know where to start with melody or lyrics, so I had Desi help me out and it came together really quickly.

In doing so, we realized that we hadn’t collaborated in that way with just the two of us since the beginning of the Haunted Windchimes. At that point, the ‘Chimes had already become four contributing songwriters and had developed a strong formula; in that way it felt like not exactly a departure, but something new that we could try and explore on our own.

DG: It came out really naturally and organically. And it didn’t fit anywhere, either with the ‘Chimes songs or solo songs.

Do you feel like fans of the ‘Chimes and your solo efforts are following you down this path?

IL: I think so. We are all taking a break with the ‘Chimes for now, but we haven’t officially announced that to our fans, so sometimes we’ll get messages asking where we’ve been and why haven’t they heard any news about the band. So maybe some people are a little resistant to it. I don’t know.

DG: It sounds different enough so that some people aren’t going to be into it, which is okay. The other day, someone left a comment on the Windchimes Facebook page asking about us, and another person commented back saying “you should check out in/PLANES and (Haunted Windchimes member Mike Clark’s) the River Arkansas” and the first person commented back “We just like ‘Chimes’ style music,” which is okay! You don’t have to follow us everywhere.

IL: The great thing about being an artist and a musician is the ability to shift gears and follow rabbits down different holes. And with in/PLANES, we’re already trying to get out of our own box and comfort zone. But the common thread that ties it all is that we write all of the songs together, and we wear our influences on our sleeves.

So if you had to explain what you think in/PLANES sounds like, what would you say?

DG: That is my least favorite question, because it’s so hard to explain. The shortcut i usually go for is throwback, vintage pop with some rock tendencies. And if they’re listening after that, then I’ll just keep talking until they walk away, because it’s so difficult to answer.

But like to go with vintage-pop, because if someone says rock & roll, I don’t feel attached to that. We write pop music; all the formulas, the lack of formulas…

IL: It does feel like something you would turn on the radio and hear in the 50’ or 60’s to me, but our modern influences still sneak in; we’re both big fans of hip-hop and country music, and it all gets in one way or another.

DG: Digital drums are where we lose a lot of people. They’re like “WHAT? Is that a digital drum?” And I’m like, “Yup, it is.” (laughs) It’s those 808 beats.

The electronics are really subtle in your songs though.

IL: I think so too. I think we just want to be able to write a song without putting it in a box, you know? But at the same time, making sure to trim all of the fat; which may be contradictory.

We’re not trying to write complex songs. I don’t like to have any rules, but I do like to set limitations on myself; almost like limiting your color pallette if you’re a painter.

DG: Not to be pigeonholed, but also maintain some cohesion. Present yourself in a way people can understand. I don’t like to tell people what genre of music we are, but it is helpful for us; it makes us more focused.

IL: Knowing where the line or limitation is and knowing how far we can push it over causes a tension we like to work under. It’s good tension.

DG: You can’t put me in a box—only I can put me in a box!

“Radio Wave” from in/PLANES is out 5/3 on cassette via GROUPHUG records, with a slew of release shows and a digital release to come soon thereafter. For full dates and info, head to inPlanes.com

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

Music

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

Published

on

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!

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

Trending