The Importance of Discovering New Bands

Future Single Mom is among the many new bands in Denver worth checking out.EXPAND
Future Single Mom is among the many new bands in Denver worth checking out.
Tom Murphy

There's a better way to enjoy music than getting into a narrow range of music in your teens through your mid-twenties and checking out, figuring nothing new has anything to offer you. Even those bands you get into during those years likely came from somewhere and had a stage of development before you heard about them. And some musicians do their most interesting work while they're still trying to figure out what they're doing.

In a city like Denver, where several artists in a broad spectrum of musical styles exist, you have a unique opportunity to witness that arc of development and get into something significant, whether or not anyone right now recognizes it as such. The old chestnut attributed to Brian Eno about the Velvet Underground selling only about a thousand albums while it was still around but that everyone that bought those albums started a band still resonates. How many people missed out on a band like Big Black because they were too jaded or, in a community sense, too politically against it to see it as something important or even worthwhile? Mass dismissing a band as “local” or “not professional” is a good way to miss out on something good until it's safe to like because it has received a stamp of approval from elsewhere.

Future Single Mom is not your band if you are expecting a conventional sense of professional musicianship. Drummer Bennett Kennedy is the most seasoned member of the band, having played in grindcore bands and the like over the last near decade. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Kathryn Taylor has a YouTube channel in which she shared numerous songs she wrote on guitar and sang while living in Fort Collins. But she also performed in noise projects in Denver, including Sex Therapy and the more atmospheric Crab Lab. Bassist/vocalist Shira Roth played open mics, but her bass playing is largely self-taught. Guitarist Maureen Baynes is also self-taught, mostly inspired by the sounds she could make with the guitar when she experimented with what the instrument could do, crafting a style of her own.

One might call FSM punk, and it is. Taylor's eruptive vocal style and use of samples is transcendently disorienting and invigorating. Roth's fiery and confrontational singing is terrifying and electrifying at once. Baynes' outsider guitar style is subtle but a perfect companion to the rest of the band. Its sounds and rhythms open up something inside of you, a place where, if only for the length of a song, you feel like you can feel the same anger and sense of liberation that comes from music that articulates those things in an accessible, immediate and unpredictable way.

If FSM were playing by the “pro” world of musical rules, the band would have channeled its efforts down established paths and modes of expression. Instead, the band has been honing an already strong set of musical instincts at smaller clubs and DIY spaces like Club Scum, where the band rehearses, and Rhinoceropolis. “If you're younger and you want to play music but you feel kind of weird about it, it's more welcoming to all kinds of music,” offers Taylor about the influence of DIY spaces. “Whereas certain bars often turn you away.”

“People are a lot more open to be excited and talk about what's going on,” adds Kennedy about Club Scum and other DIY spaces. “Whereas at a bar the main draw isn't necessarily the band. Here it's more of a genuine interest in music.”

Recipient of the Best of Westword 2015 Award for Best New Band, Future Single Mom can be caught at City Hall’s main stage for its 3:40 slot, a rare and not to be missed opportunity to catch the band outside its usual stomping grounds.


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