Welcome to our monthly series on new Colorado music. Every month, we highlight five local musicians, five local music videos and five local songs. Go here to check out previous entries to the series. Are you a Denver artist with fresh music you would like us to check out? Send to [email protected] for consideration.
The start of the new year is a popular time to set new goals and proudly proclaim your new year’s resolutions. While many of those resolutions go unfulfilled as January turns to February and eventually into the summer months where they’re long forgotten, here at 303 Magazine’s music desk, there are a couple of resolutions we know we can stick to — keeping our eye on the up and coming acts in the local music scene and helping them tell the stories behind their music. To get started, this month’s roundup of local music includes plenty of artists you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2022.
Five Up and Coming Local Acts
Listen if you like SALES
Juan Fernandez is a Denver native through and through. The Mexican American artist draws on his own life here in the Mile High for inspiration for his songs, which are marked by lo-fi bedroom pop beats and deeply personal lyrics.
Listen if you like Nora Jones
Bright beats and uplifting vocals are a distinctive mark of local singer-songwriter Haley Harkin’s music. Her soft vocals lend an intimacy to her music, drawing you closer and closer until you’re nestled among the carefully curated tracks in her discography.
Listen if you like Jermih
Quietly flying under the radar in the local scene, Shane Franklin has been amassing quite the resume as SF1. The hip-hop artist boasts a music education from the Berkley College of Music and following the release of his 2012 album, SF1 has steadily released singles and EPs.
Listen if you like Modest Mouse
Steve Faceman and Til Willis have turned their side project, Solohawk, into a musical tour de force. With Faceman based in Denver and Willis in Kansas, the duo remains tight despite being separated by state lines.
Listen if you like Colleen
Formerly a member of local bluegrass group Part & Parcel, Brandon Jay shines as ïnski. His debut EP as ïnski doubles as his debut as a solo artist, in which he showcases artful storytelling through his lyrics.
Five New Local Songs
N3ptune – “WEDLOCK”
Listen if you like Adam Lambert
“WEDLOCK” is the explosively attention-grabbing opener to N3ptune’s debut album, RENAISSANCE. N3ptune’s introduction begins with a bang on “WEDLOCK,” then continues without disappointment throughout the rest of the album.
Reno Divorce – “King of the World”
Listen if you like MxPx
The second and final single release of 2021 from Reno Divorce, “King of the World” is an unrelenting, fast-paced track from the local punk outfit.
Micki Balder – “Till I See You Again”
Listen if you like Indigo Girls
Micki Balder’s recent release, a six-track EP titled A Feeling I Once Knew, captures feelings of longing and nostalgia. On the EP’s second track, “Till I See You Again,” the gentle orchestration of the instrumentals sets the scene for Balder’s intimate lyrics.
moodlighting – “Friends like these”
Listen if you like Beach House
The first official single to be released on Spotify from Denver up-and-comers moodlighting, “Friends like these” is an upbeat track about the difficulty of navigating social cues. The soft vocals float over the guitar-driven instrumentals, carrying catchy lyrics that invite you to sing along.
Magpie the Band – “Jubilee”
Listen if you like Kimya Dawson
“Jubliee” is the penultimate track on Magpie the Band’s debut album, Under the Maple Tree. Combining Celtic and bluegrass roots, Magpie the Band has a distinct sound that speaks to their folk and Americana influence.
Five New Local Music Videos
The Burroughs – “Made for Love”
Listen if you like Sting
A live recording of The Burroughs’ performance with The Greeley Philharmonic, the latest music video for “Made for Love” is something special. The sweeping orchestration of the Philharmonic creates a sense of grandeur for the song.
Cous – “Hazy Daisies”
Listen if you like Joni Mitchell
We may still be in the midst of winter, but Cous’ latest music video for “Hazy Daisies” is full of sunny visuals that feel stuck in a perpetually warm summer afternoon.
Moon Walker – “The Hollywood Machine”
Listen if you like The Struts
Brashly dressed in furs and shades, Moon Walker flaunts extravagance as they sip champagne in the music video for “The Hollywood Machine.” Amidst the garish display of opulence, the song’s lyrics chastize a svengali lack of humanity, forcing the listener to think critically.
One Flew West – “The Blur”
Listen if you like We The Kings
“The Blur” is a simple video that showcases local band One Flew West doing what they do best. Displaying the band behind stained shop windows in an empty space, the band is briefly obscured by flashing lights and the shifting camera perspective before taking focus once again.
Stray the Course – “Apology Tour of the Morning”
Listen if you like Dropkick Murphys
A 2021 release from Stray the Course, the music video for “Apology Tour of the Morning” brightly displays the lyrics to the song in entertaining animation.