Coronavirus closures forced the Fort Collin indie rockers in safekeeper to cancel their spring and summer tour, but they're still dropping new music for people stranded at home to enjoy.
bummer beach bonanza, their latest EP, resurrects the sounds of early Modest Mouse and Pavement, along with contemporary guitar-driven bands like Parquet Courts, in a gloomy, blistering five-track homage to the loneliness of the Pacific Northwest.
Safekeeper is driven by guitarist/bandleader Zach Visconti, guitarist/bassist Ben Ward, drummer Matt Costa and a rotating cast of their friends. Recorded over the last year in Visconti’s house in Fort Collins as a followup to the groups 2018 EP, On Sludge Summit, bummer beach bonanza is a noticeable step forward for the band. While On Sludge Summit had the gloom cranked a bit higher, bummer beach bonanza has a carelessness to it that makes it fun and intriguing.
“The last EP was much more piecemeal," says Visconti. "This one we actually played together, and it gave us a much more raw but put together feel. It’s a little cleaner, but we were able to play with the weird tempo stuff that we do a little more. It was also fun experimenting with the public-domain spoken-word stuff.”
As somber as it can be, particularly on “mountain gods” and “lonely buildings,” this eighteen-minute EP also has plenty of party vibes. Sprinkled throughout are noises of people hanging out; the title track even has the sound of a beer can being popped open. Along with the lyrics, “Let’s go down to bummer beach and see how disappointing everything can be,” these party vibes are a good representation of the feeling in the Colorado music scene right now.
The video is about a worker in an industrial wasteland being consumed by sludge. Ward expertly uses superimposed images of Commerce City over images of an industrial site. The result is a sludgy and well-crafted video that feels a little too real in the current state of the world.
Listen to safekeeper and more favorites from Westword writers on our Westword Staff Picks playlist.