If you've been to the right places over the past couple of years, chances are you've caught Maria Kohler playing solo or as a collaborator in whatever projects Mike Marchant has been involved with at any given time. And if you heard her, you know that Kohler's soulful voice and presence ineffably enriched the music. With Mercuria and the Gem Stars (due at the Larimer Lounge on Thursday, August 4), Kohler has teamed up with a group of people who somehow combine countrified melodies with a spacious psychedelia and captivating pop overtones in a way that seems refreshingly original. Sure, there's a hint of Mazzy Star in the mix, as well as the more bubbly end of Throwing Muses, but the delicate and unexpectedly feisty emotional power of this band transcends easy comparisons.
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