Cocordion has always lived between places. The Colorado Springs-based indie-ock band – which is releasing its first full-length album, Expectations, on Friday, November 3, at the Denver Bicycle Cafe – is conflicted between building a music scene in the Springs and adding constructively to an already thriving culture in the Denver metro area. But for an act comprising, in part, two brothers who are comfortable with not only the rural space between cities but also musical genres, the tension is an indication of health and growth.
Expectations oscillates between somber and reflective to dissonant and distorted. An initial listen wouldn’t reveal the band’s roots being caught between rural and urban Colorado, but the quiet and loneliness of the high prairie can easily be heard in many of the album’s eight tracks, says Cocordion brainchild, guitarist and vocalist Mitch Macura.
“For me, it’s all just loneliness – being okay with being alone until infinity,” Mitch says. Even so, he’s been stuck with his brother and Cocordion drummer Mason Macura for most of his life. The two grew up on a 350-acre ranch in Penrose, about thirty minutes northwest of Pueblo, that was homesteaded by their great-great grandfather.
"We were kind of in between Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Florence," Mason says.
Growing up, the two were surrounded by rural culture: Their family participated regularly in rodeos and ran a country diner, the Juniper Valley Ranch Dining Room, that was built in 1956 to accommodate commuting workers to the various prisons that sprang up around Cañon City.
“That restaurant has literally had the same menu for 66 years,” says Mason. “Everything is the same, down to the outfits: long denim skirts and button-up floral or plaid shirts — Western shit like pearl snaps and blue jeans. You can only get two things: fried chicken or baked ham. And then everything else is served banquet style.”
The two rode the bus an hour both ways to school in Florence, and their nearest friends were over two miles away. And while their family embraced rural living, the brothers were drawn to more urban interests — like skateboarding, metal and pop-punk music — and began making music of their own.
“But we really hated each other,” says Mitch, while Mason laughs. “A lot of the time, we would argue and end mid-practice.”
Their relationship improved when Mitch went off to school at CU Boulder – so much so, in fact, that Mason moved in with him for his senior year, even though he didn’t go to the university. Around then, Mitch began writing and producing songs under the name Cocordion, and released the band’s first EP – definitively low-fi indie rock – in November 2014.
After school, Mitch again found himself caught in between things: this time, living in an semi-abandoned house in Colorado Springs that became available when an acquaintance of his father’s was caught watching pornography and left by his wife.
Mason explains that the owner could never quite decide what to do with the house and left it half-renovated, with a fridge and oven that were filled with molding food and graffiti on the wall that read “BAD DADDY.”
It was in that house that Mitch self-wrote and produced Cocordion’s second EP, COS(home=Audio); he later toured the songs with Mason playing drums.
The brothers have recently returned from a fifteen-date Midwest tour with bassist Thom Spano and are living together in a beautiful home in Colorado Springs that overlooks the city and the Front Range, including Pikes Peak. The home is owned by a prominent local photographer and is filled with his portraits, most of which are nudes. The band’s music equipment is in the basement, where the musicians self-recorded and produced Expectations.
Mitch explains that with Expectations he wanted to strike that fine line between rough-around-the-edges, unpretentious recording and studio quality. “It’s pretty fucking DIY, and hopefully some of that sincerity bleeds through along with some of the really polished components,” he says. “It feels good.”
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However, the brothers seem conflicted about their relationships with both their home base of Colorado Springs and Denver, which has a more thriving music scene. They quickly affirm both that they are more interested in being considered a “Denver band” and agree on the importance of helping to build an indie music scene in Colorado Springs.
“There are challenges to both,” says Mitch. “That’s what we were going for, and I think that we will just become better at achieving those things.”
You can buy a digital version of Cocordion's Expectations on Bandcamp.
Cocordion, with Copyleft and Ancient Elk, 8 p.m. Friday, November 3, Denver Bicycle Cafe, 1308 East 17th Avenue, Denver, free, 720-446-8029. Cocordion will also play at Lost Lake Lounge on November 6 and the hi-dive on November 14.