Mile High Makeout, Digging Out

I hate winter.

Yes, I know. Colorado winters are remarkably mild and sunny, and we’re blessed with the occasional 60-degree day to break up the season. But I still hate it. And I say that every year, right about this time. Like many people I know, the middle of winter sends me into a hibernation mode that makes leaving my apartment a chore, socializing a challenge and even going out to see live music somewhat unappealing. The lack of fresh air seems to bring with it a paralyzing lack of hope and an overwhelming sense of dread.

Over the past week, however, all that seems to have changed. We’re still not out of the snow-covered woods yet, but I see light at the end of the tunnel, now that spring is just a month away. Where I live, I see baby calves just trying out their new legs in pastures, and squirrels ardently assaulting each other with renewed sexual energy and abandon. These sights have become the harbingers of a season of renewed life.

You can even see the coming of spring in the music scene. I have lost count of the number of local bands who will be releasing new records over the next couple of months. Next weekend alone, I’m aware of four new CDs that will be unleashed and I can hardly wait for every one to hear them. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear some of this music ahead of time and I can’t tell you how excited I am – for the bands, for the scene and for all of us.

Denver-area musicians haven’t exactly been in hibernation, but they have largely been locked away in basements and studios and will be giving birth to their little calves shortly. I know that my esteemed colleague, Dave Herrera, has already sounded off on many of these, but I can’t resist putting my two cents in – if only to help me get through this winter funk in which I’ve been mired.

In this week’s paper, I already wrote about the amazing Bad Luck City release, which Dameon Merkl previewed for me last month. I’m humbled and delighted at how that unwieldy, curmudgeonly group has evolved over the past couple of years. Adelaide should make everyone else sit up and take notice too.

Another relatively young act, the Hollyfelds, have a stunning debut full-length currently available on CD Baby, but it will be officially unveiled over two dates next weekend – one at the sedate Meadowlark and the other at the raucous Skylark. Folks who have followed this band over the past two years will be delighted at the way in which Saratoga captures the energy and passion of the Hollyfelds.

A month or so ago, Eric Halborg graced me with an advance of the new Andrew Vastola-produced Swayback record, which will be released in April. I sincerely believe Long Gone Lads will establish the band as one of our best and could likely lead to even bigger exposure for a group that certainly deserves it.

I was honored to be part of the early listening party for the new Laylights record, also slated for an April release. Even in a preliminary mix, Auricle is a beautifully recorded set of swooning, soaring pop songs. If you liked the debut EP – which the band has taken to giving away at shows – you ain’t seen nothing yet. Tyler Hayden, Ian McCumber, Chris Martucci and Martin Baker are trying to break your heart.

Can you see why I’m so excited? And I haven’t even mentioned releases by Astrophagus, Hello Kavita and others that are going to make springtime in the Rockies a very special, makeout-filled time. For the first time in weeks, I’m actually excited to get back out there, catch these acts live and thrust my tongue down their throats – with their consent, of course. If you see a short guy at the foot of the stage, pale from weeks of sun withdrawal and grinning from ear to ear, that’ll be me. Or I’ll just stay home and watch the squirrels mate. -- Eryc Eyl