Brandon and Collin Bordeaux have been making music together since they were kids. The two brothers, better known in local hip-hop circles as H*Wood and Kid Vegas, respectively, act as each other's business partner, musical critic, marketing director and confidant. Brandon, who's returned home after four years in Los Angeles, is celebrating the release of his new album, First Light. It's the first release for the Denver native since he left Darkchild Records, the imprint run by his former manager, Rodney Jerkins. From the sounds of the album's genre-bending tracks, which infuse EDM with soul and hip-hop, H*Wood has clearly grown since the days of "Could It Be You (Punk Rock Chick)."
He burst onto the scene with that single a couple of years ago, and at the time, many would have filed his music under "pop." But he thinks it's more complex than that. "I'm not really pop," he says. "I've always been fascinated with EDM, and over the last few years, I have learned far more about it. Also, just taking time to study live music, which I love."
The difference "has shown through in this album," says H*Wood, who worked closely with OneRepublic's Eddie Fisher on the project, which features guest spots from Kid Vegas, L-peez and Amanda Hawkins (aka Jane Doed), among others. The record's first single, the dubstep-inflected "W.O.R.K.," has already been released, and will be followed by "Gone," an upbeat cut that will sound familiar to fans of H*Wood's style.
H*Wood CD release featuring Eddie Fisher of OneRepublic, with Kid Vegas, Amanda Hawkins, L-peez and DJ Five8, 8 p.m. Friday, November 23, Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, $10-$12, 866-468-7621.
Kid Vegas, meanwhile, has been steadily building his own momentum since releasing "Go Get It Girl" last year. He's released a slew of videos on YouTube for songs like "Twerk Team" and "Tuna Roll," and had some choice opening slots for acts like 2 Chainz. Vegas says his latest release, "Running," represents his best work to date. "With all the previous material, I was just having fun with it," he notes. "But this record is really my favorite, because I like to make those songs that are lyrical, too." Vegas dropped his The Resume mixtape last year; the project featured production by injured Broncos running back Mario Fanning. Vegas plans to re-package it for re-release with the addition of a few more songs.
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But even as their stature begins to increase, neither of the Bordeaux brothers are looking to sign with a label, opting instead for the independent route. "The days of old A&R label deals are dead," H*Wood declares. "We are building a lifestyle brand and just try to keep the music organic and be involved with all aspects of the music. We just continue to work hard and make music for the people."