“Above The Ashes: A Virtual Concert for Marshall Fire Relief” is a collaborative effort by businesses, media outlets and musicians to raise money for the Boulder Community Relief Fund. While there are a number of local fundraisers, we wanted to reach people who do not live near in-person fundraisers or who are not yet comfortable with live events. The Marshall fire left all of us in East Boulder County, and beyond, reeling and saddened by the number of people who lost everything. In response to this tragedy, Fox Tracks Music and The Muse Performance Space are collaborating with Dazzle, Colorado Public Radio, The Colorado Sound, KUVO Jazz, and many others to produce a recorded video fundraiser with proceeds directly supporting the victims of the Marshall Fire. Musicians filmed and recorded 2-3 songs with Fox Tracks Music at The Muse Performance Space. One of each musician’s recorded songs will be in the video that airs on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.as a YouTube Premiere
Participating artists include a wide swath of Colorado artists including The Velveteers, Trace Bundy, Break Science with Hunter Roberts, Ritmo Jazz Latino, The Still Tide, David Lawrence and the Spoonful, Julia Kirkwood, Emma Rose, The Delta Sonics, Allie Chipkin, ZiMBiRA, Expeditions feat. Pete Lewis and Clare Church of the Muse Performance Space, Chas Wetherbee and David Korevaar, Gabriel Mervine Quartet feat. Joey Porter & Dave Watts (of The Motet), Joshua Halpern, Takács Quartet, ARS Nova Singers, Boulder Bach Festival, ETHNO (Jeff Franca of Thievery Corporation) and more.
Donations will be collected through this dedicated link on The Muse Performance Space’s website with proceeds sent directly to the Boulder Community Fund at
Best of 2021 – Last year we missed doing our annual “Best Of.” This year we present it after a year of quarantine albums galore. Tours didn’t start until May but new music was flowing from the start of 2021. 2022 is already aiming to be a busy year. Here are our choices for the Best of 2021.
We’ve evolved from Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion and others of last year to a new crop of artists.
Best Label – Fire Talk Records – Home to Bnny, Mamalarky, Packs and more this boutique label is setting up to be the next Saddle Creek Records.
Secretly Group @secretlygroup, Saddle Creek Records @saddlecreek, Fire Talk Records @firetalkrecs, Don Giovanni Records @DonGiovanniRecs
Nest New Artist – “New” is always relative. Georgia Maq has been part of Camp Cope, and Isabella Manfredi was part of The Preatures. Our winner is Ashe who album Ashlyn was hard to put down this year.
Georgia Maq @goldsoundz_, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Ashe @ashemusic, Jillette Johnson @jillettejohnson, Hawxx @hawxxmusic, Noa Kirel @noakirel, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Killboy @killboy , Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd , Ydegirl @ydegirl, The Linda Lindas @the_linda_lindas, Allison Ponthier @allisonponthier, Isabella Manfredi @isabellamanfredi, Pom Pom Squad @pompomsquad
Best Local (Colorado) Artist – Local artists can often be touring or even national acts. This category was very competitive with the amount of quarantine albums that came out. Our winner is Companion who mesmerized us in the Spring. They will quickly become a national act.
Best Dance – Dance is also electronic and electro pop. Magdalena Bay & Sofi Tukker are the 800 lb gorillas in this category. Kito is our winner for surprising collaborations.
Magdalena Bay @magdalenabay, Sofi Tukker @sofitukker, Kito @kito
Best Pop – Pop like Indie is often open to interpretation. It is often what dominates at venues. Our winner is Charlotte Cardin whose Phoenix album was one of the best albums this year.
Hana Vu @hanavuuu, Lucy Dacus @lucydacus, Japanese Breakfast @jbrekkie, Baby Queen @queenofthebabies, Charlotte Cardin @charlottecardin, Jess Chalker @jess_chalker_, May-A @mayacumming, Ashe @ashemusic, Girl In Red @girlinred, Angèle @angele_vl, Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd, Nadia Vaeh @nadiavaeh, Olivia Rox @oliviarox, Number One Popstar @numberonepopstar, Bahari @bahari, Noga Erez @nogaerez, Lola Lennox @lolalennex
Best Rock – Rock is often the guitar driven beat that keeps you going. Kill Birds, who have been touring with Foo Fighters are our winner.
Royal and the Serpent @royalandtheserpent, Amyl and the Sniffers @amylandthesniffers, Mattiel @mattielworldwide , Upsahl @upsahlmusicl, Self Esteem @selfesteemselfesteem, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Nadia Sheikh @nadiasheikhmusic, Red Hook @weareredhook, Pom Pom Squad @pompomsquad
Best Indie – Indie always means both a sound but also a level of development. These are the artists at the small venues touring to survive. We have a diverse selection this year. Bnny is our winner.
Best Experimental – There is always a “flinch” moment when you saw experimental. It involves a great deal of risk as personified by our winner Fifi Rong who is working on her dual album set with one album all in English, and one all in Chinese. She is crowdfunding now.
Insect Ark @insectark, Fifi Rong @fifirong, Sasami @sasamiashworth, Irreversible Entanglements @irreversibleentanglements, Haru Nemuri @haru_nemuri
Best Hip Hop – This is the first year that FEMMUSIC has this category. There may be some arguments as to whether all these artists fit it. Coi Leray is the best newcomer in this area. Ray BLK is our winner.
Bia @bia, Tones and I @tonesandi, Doja Cat @dojacat, Sza @sza, Cardi B @iamcardib, Megan Thee Stallion @theestallion, Coi Leray @coileray, Ms Banks @msbanks, Ray BLK @rayblk, Remi Wolf @remiwolf, Tinashe @tinashenow
Best Jazz – We will admit to not hearing as much jazz this year. Laufey is the winner with original interpretations of classics.
Laufey @laufey, Nnenna Freelon @officialnnenna
Best Country – Brandi Carlile is a favorite in this category and will take home more GRAMMYs. Allison Russell wins for being new and original.
Brandi Carlile @brandicarlile, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, Yola @iamyolaofficial, CMAT @cmatbaby, Jackson & Sellers @jacksonsellersmusic, Ingrid Andress @ingridandress
Best Heavy Metal – Infected Rain is a former winner in this category. Jinjer, Halestorm & The Pretty Reckless dominate. The Velveteers are this year’s winner.
Hawxx @hawxxmusic, Edge of Paradise @edgeofparadise, Jinjer @jinjer_official, The Velveteers @thevelveteers, Infected Rain @infectedrain_official, The Pretty Reckless @theprettyreckless, Halestorm @halestormrocks
Best R & B – This category includes powerhouses like Arlo Parks and Dawn Richard. Alewya is our winner for new and original music this year.
Muni Long @munilong, India Shawn @indiashawn, Dawn Richard @dawnrichard, Alewya @alewya11, Arlo Parks @arloparks, Tkay Maidza @tkaymaidza, Danielia Cotton @danieliacotton, Saleka @saleka
Best Surprise – A “surprise” for us is that unexpected performance when it was not expected. It includes some risky performances such as LVXURI and Big Klit. S.G. Goodman is our hands down winner. We caught her as an opener and she garnered as much reaction as the headliner. She is a blunt, and emotive songwriter.
S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Kiesza @kiesza, LVXURI @mx_lvxuri, Big Klit @klitoriusmaximus
Best Comeback – This has been a surprisingly competitive category. Whether it’s the return of ABBA after a long time to Adele’s new album. The big surprise this month is Taylor Swift taking the world with the longest song. She is our winner.
Kylie Minogue @kylieminogue, Avril Lavigne @avrillavigne, Deborah Gibson @debbiegibson, Liz Phair @LizPhairOfficial, Taylor Swift @taylorswift , ABBA @ABBA, Adele @adele, Lorde @lorde
Izcalli, The Velveteers, Thundercat, Ramakhandra, Zanib, Roka Hueka, Nay Renee, N3ptune, Dafna at Westword Music Showcase
September 18, 2021
Photos by Justine Johnson
@denverwestword @izcallirock @thevelveteers @thundercat @ramakhandra @zanibwaves @rokohueka @nayyy_renee @n3ptunemusic @dafnamusic
The Velveteers, a primal rock trio from the mountains of Boulder, CO made up of singer/guitarist Demi Demitro and drummers Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig, will unveil their debut album Nightmare Daydream on October 8 via Easy Eye Sound.
Produced by Grammy Award-winning artist Dan Auerbach, the record is the long-awaited first statement from a band that formed in 2014 and has been carefully honing its sound and identity ever since. “Charmer And The Snake,” the record’s first single, is out today with an accompanying video.
Growing up in Boulder, Demitro rebelled through her guitar, practicing up to nine hours a day and neglecting schoolwork to develop a playing style that is heavy but agile, theatrical but nuanced, grounded in rock history but wholly idiosyncratic. With Pottersmith and Fig playing on a conjoined set, the band developed a reputation for their rip-roaring performances. Clips of the band’s live shows and DIY videos made it back to Auerbach, who invited them to his studio in Nashville to produce Nightmare Daydream.
“I instantly dug them,” says Auerbach. “They’re amazing live, and their videos are so creative. And they just sound so powerful. Any time you doubletrack drums on a record, it’s going to sound so heavy. Then you put that together with this baritone guitar player who is so unique, and it’s so bombastic. There’s nothing like them.”
1. Dark Horse
2. Motel #27
3. Father Of Lies
4. Bless Your Little Heart
5. Charmer And The Snake
6. Brightest Light
7. What A Smile Can Hide
9. Nightmare Daydream
10. Beauty Queens
11. Devil’s Radio
Demitro recalls writing “Charmer And The Snake” with Auerbach and recording it in the first few takes: “It was sort of a synergy moment where we all got in the room together and just started playing.” Pottersmith adds: “It’s about certain types of older guys in music scenes who think they are charming and all that but are just lizards trying to take advantage of you. They think they can manipulate you to get what they want by saying a bunch of nonsense but all the while you are aware of their true intentions and just watch as they talk themselves deep into a ditch of delusions.”
Nightmare Daydream finds The Velveteers stripping down rock and roll to its most primal elements—the riff, the rhythm, the snarl—and rebuilding it in their own image. “We don’t want to sound like a band from a different time,” says Demitro. “We want to sound like a band that’s right here right now—in this very moment.”
One of the innovative new bands to come along in the Denver scene is The Velveteers. This 2 piece is comprised of Demi & Jack Demitro. Their music is heavy rock in the vein of AC/DC and Sleigh Bells. Last year they toured the UK with Deap Vally. They are now working on their first EP. Look for them at the Denver Deluxe Festival on June 17 and at this year’s Westword Music Showcase on Saturday June 24. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/TheVelveteers & http://www.denverdeluxe.com/ & https://www.westwordshowcase.com/
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
DD: I don’t think I have a technique. It’s just kinda something I do and
every single time it’s different. The most important thing is liking
what you do, and I’m lucky because I absolutely love writing music. I
usually keep a general rule of thumb; If a song can’t move me, its not
gonna move anybody else.
FEMMUSIC: I understand you’re recording now. Will this be an EP or full
album? What has been the biggest challenge so far?
DD:It’s gonna be an EP. We can’t wait to release it. There hasn’t been
any challenges, its been smooth sailing.
FEMMUSIC: Are you using a producer for this project? How did you find them?
DD: On NYE we got to open for one of my favorite bands, Rose Hill Drive.
Daniel Sproul (guitarist of RHD) ended up really liking our set, which
was like the biggest complement ever. The next day Daniel reached out
and said he really wanted to work with us and produce us if we’d be
into it… one thing led to another. Daniel just gets us, and I think
it’s a perfect fit. I’m not really into working with producers because
I always have a pretty clear idea about what I want…But when you get
the opportunity to work with one of your biggest heroes, its a no-
FEMMUSIC: Last year you toured England with Deap Vally. How did that tour come about?
DD: We played our 3rd show ever with Deap Vally at Larimer Lounge. They
ended up digging us and reached out to do more stuff. We stayed in
touch and I sent them a couple of demos, which then led them to
inviting us on tour. When I first stared playing guitar one of the
first songs I learned was a Deap Vally song… I remember we were just
honored to open for them at Larimer Lounge let alone think they’d want
to work with us or tour. The whole experience came full circle was
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge touring the UK? What do you wish you
knew before the tour, that you learned during it?
DD: I think in general it was just scary and exciting. It was our first
tour, ever. Not to mention both of our first times leaving the USA. We
were super lucky to be surrounded by so many awesome crew members not
to mention the people are in the UK are really into heavy music too,
so every show was crazy and the audiences were great. I think one of
the biggest challenges was the time change. The first few days we were
so messed up, It really took its tole… especially when we started
playing shows. We we got back to the USA I probably slept for 5 days
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
DD: Yes. One thing I get a lot is ” Wow, I can’t believe you are a girl
and know how to play the guitar”. I think also the fact that I’m young
and a female makes people think I’m naive. Its funny to see peoples
assumptions because they are usually way off.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with?
DD: Queens of the Stone Age.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
DD : What really bothers me is when it starts becoming more about the money
than the music. We play music because its fun and that’s where our
hearts are. We will never be playing music for any other reason than
that. I know other people including myself who have been taken
advantage of by people who just want money and to screw you over…
Especially when people think you are naive cause you are young. You
just have to be really careful. The business side just depresses me,
but its an important side of being a musician that you have to be