Beat Diet: Pretty Lights

Although a few established acts have dabbled in the free download game—Radiohead and NIN are obvious examples—Pretty Lights' Derek Vincent Smith built his entire career that way--from the ground up. The Fort Collins-based producer is practically in a league of his own. Name one other artist who hasn't made a single penny on recorded music and is now capable of packing Red Rocks--a feat Smith is reprising this Saturday. It is a trajectory that many will inevitably imitate. Girl Talk might his only near-peer--business model-wise--but unless Crickets Chirping is the alias of a band not yet on my radar, the answer is clear.

Aural Pleasure: Janelle Monáe

Metropolis is in trouble. A secret society known as The Great Divide is using time travel to suppress freedom and love among its citizens. Thankfully, heroic ArchAndroid Cindi Mayweather is here to save the day. If this all sounds like the plot of a science fiction flick, that's because it's inspired by the godfather of science fiction flicks, Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Rad Radar: Ratatat

Ratatat first appeared on my “rad radar” when they opened a Faint show at The Ogden a few years ago. Opening acts can be hit-or-miss sometimes, but I retrospectively regret arriving late that particular night. The NYC-based instrumental act quickly became a hit with hipsters and even hip hippies via festival bookings including Bonnaroo. Widespread appreciation of the duo was overdue, though, until doing bootleg hip hop remixes on the sly side project tip finally culminated in cutting tracks “Alive” and MGMT co-production “Soundtrack to my Life” with Kanye protege Kid Cudi.

Aural Pleasure: Broken Bells

Broken Bells, a collaboration between Shins' singer James Mercer and aural harlot Danger Mouse, breaks its Mile High cherry tonight at The Gothic Theatre. Best known as one half of Gnarls Barkley, DM—born Brian Burton--is easily one of the most sought-after producers in the game. The left field is his field of expertise, though, as evidenced by his track record: Beck, The Black Keys, Gorillaz, Sparklehorse and Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up masterpiece The Grey Album.

Triple Threat: Lea Luna

Playing with words is in Lea Luna's blood. Little is known about the Denver DJ/songwriter's biological father—she was conceived in a Manhattan sperm bank—except that he was a graduate student in the writing department at Yale. And apparently hard up for cash. Although her mother just recently revealed this, Luna's been putting pen to paper for as long as she can remember.

Talking Points: Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins has got more stories than Grandpa Simpson. Not only that, whereas Simpson seems permanently cursed with verbal diarrhea, people all over the planet eagerly part with greenbacks to hear the ex-Black Flag frontman yak. Rollins' Frequent Flyer Tour rolls into The Boulder Theater this Tuesday.

303′s Master Mix: DJ Mu$a

Mu$a is a master of aural kung fu. Two full decades behind the decks tend to facilitate that kind of skill level. Fittingly, Bruce Lee is one of his biggest influences. Lee once advised “Be like water making its way through cracks”; Mu$a follows Lee's counsel to a tee, perpetually filling the specific needs of each dance-floor he encounters. Versatility enables him to play everything from hip hop to dubstep, but also makes him difficult to pigeonhole.

Aural Pleasure: Tipper

Dave Tipper is a mad scientist of the aural persuasion. Certain tracks of his actually sound like the audio equivalent of chemistry experiments, with bass that bubbles up and gurgles inside the container that is your ear canal. Tipper is a laptop chap for sure and not necessarily the most animated performer in the world to witness live, but standing idly by while watching a DJ mix really isn’t the point. Tripping out to his digital trickery is. If your eyes are jonesing for a spectacle, check out a DMC event or even DJ Swamp's pyromaniac @$$. If your body desires instead to get lost on the dance floor for an hour or four, then find yourself at Evolution of Sound 3 featuring Tipper and a small grip of supporting acts.
article placeholder

Aural Pleasure: Lukos (& Yoga) @ DAM

Tonight, April 30, Gabe Ratliff AKA Lukos will soundtrack a yoga class at The Denver Art Museum. Satori-C will be on hand to tag team. Given that “satori” is a Japanese Buddhist term for “enlightenment”, it seems fitting. And marrying an ancient discipline like yoga with a modern musical genre like electronica seems appropriate for such a cutting-edge art museum.

Aural Pleasure: VibeSquad

Whoever said white men can't crunk? Eerie-based Aaron Holstein is a walking argument to the contrary. Better known as VibeSquad, Holstein has been not-so-quietly churning out crunkadelic, bass-heavy beats in his hole-in-the-wall home studio for over a decade now. The VibeSquad sound is catching on too. Ever since laptop artists like Bassnectar and The Glitch Mob invaded Jamlandia after-hours events, more and more opportunities have been popping up for similarly inspired producers to follow suit. 303 Magazine recently rendezvoused with Holstein for a cup of virtual Yerba Mate.