We each craft our image, wearing the face we want to show or the one we cannot help but reveal. We choose our clothes, body art, and accessories. We choose people to surround ourselves with. We choose which parts of ourselves to display. We express ourselves in every action and in every word, each individual their own personal brand.
Music is an extension of human branding. Bands evolve much like people do, experimenting with different styles until they cultivate a cohesive image, reflecting their experiences and desires. Or, bands fail miserably in their development and explode like supernovas, extinguishing their light for the betterment of ears across the universe. We all grow up, and so do bands.
I’ve been observing the Colorado local scene for a few years. I’ve seen the same bands play the same shows at the same venues. I’ve watched artists be artists, generally neglecting practicalities and moving in every direction but forward. Granted, not everyone wants to move forward and the process is grueling, but I respect those who try and applaud those who succeed.
Fort Collins “synth-punk” band Slow Caves is one of the most promising bands in the local scene today, and rightly so. The band has invested whole-heartedly in its development; working with mentors like Spokesbuzz, building a strong social media presence, consistently achieving press coverage, and landing bigger and better gigs. Their website is an A&R wet dream! With the proper foundation set in the last two years, Slow Caves “growing up” is going swimmingly. In releasing their second EP at the end of this month, the band has polished its repertoire, shedding songs that no longer jive with their brand.
Slow Caves has consistently expressed an “in your face” attitude, juxtaposing offset guitars and with crooning vocals. The upcoming EP is totally charming and reveals the band’s love affair with Cali-culture; following suit with single “Desert Minded” which video premiered May 18. The track describes longing for the beach while landlocked in the mountains, as is cleverly portrayed in the video. The band considered putting out entirely new music for the 4-track EP, but instead settled on refining familiar songs the band’s live performance following has come to know them by. On par with the DIY, basement-style-recording of 2014 self-titled EP, Slow Caves tracked Desert Minded with Corey Coffman of Loveland band Gleemer in his home studio in January.
The band did not release any recorded music in 2015, taking a “gap year” like adrift high school graduates to “discover” themselves. Band members Jakob and Oliver Mueller (brothers), Jackson Lamperes and David Dugan did not sit idly, however, writing music and playing shows incessantly, reaching a pinnacle at Open Air’s Colorado Music Party on a rainy Friday eve at SXSW. The events are depicted in thier tour documentary Shredding Texas.
As it turns out, gap years work for more than confused teens. Desert Minded bears evidence of maturation with a more cohesive sound and style. The band leaves behind patchy, pubescent mustaches for burly beards with fond adoration, for the band has no intention of growing up beyond outward appearances. Though they are devoted to their success, Slow Caves has a good time, all the time. If you’ve seen them play you understand what I mean… I've heard they’ve literally broken stages.
Who is Slow Caves? In interviews, they consistently describe their sound as “James Dean-esque” or as music James Dean would listen to, and allude to imagery of high speed car chases and vintage skate videos. They love the beach and Cali punk lifestyle. They don’t make music unless it’s loud and keeps their attention. They’re throwing it back to the Beach Boys, then listening easy to Twin Peaks, Broncho, SKATERS, and Mac Demarco. And you know what? They probably eat a lot of pizza.
Like each of us, Slow Caves has crafted their image as part of growing up. With a fresh EP on the horizon, their music reflects transitioning while continuously moving forward, a phenomenon worth appreciating and admiring. Check out their metaphoric burly beards at one of their three Desert Minded release shows: May 28th (Fort Collins - Downtown Artery), May 29th (Greeley - Moxi Theatre), and June 4th (Denver - Lost Lake). Though their image isn’t solidified, one thing is certain. Slow Caves won’t be caring the term “local” for much longer.
1. 2 HRS!
3. Desert Minded
4. Son 15
Written by: Haley Midzor