Here is the 2019 edition of UMS Unplugged. I cut down on bands this year but was still able to capture some amazing musicians. I started this project about three years ago and have been able to take it to a few festivals including SXSW, Austin City Limits Music Festival and Bumbershoot Music Festival. I have always loved capturing bands outside their live element and was lucky enough to capture these this year. Thank you to all the musicians who participated, let’s do it again next year! Bands or musicians interested in working please email Robert Castro at firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a chance to catch up with Underground Music Showcase artist Jackie Mendoza before this weekends festival to chat about a variety of topics including the growth of Latin music and wha it means to be a Latina artist.
Ultra5280: There has recently been a huge shift in the popularity of Latin music in the United States, what do you think attributes to the success?
Jackie: More Latin artists have been highlighted in the mainstream media and bigger artists have been collaborating with Latin artists too.
Ultra5280: What are some of the struggles you still see as a Latin artist and what obstacles have you had to overcome to be where you are at today?
Jackie: I think any POC would face similar limitations like stereotyping or lack of visibility. I’m lucky to be able to share my music with people of all cultures and I’m proud to be labeled as a Latin artist but sometimes it feels like it’s tokenized. I’ve also been criticized for singing in Spanish and for “taking advantage of the ‘Latin trend’ ”, but this wouldn’t come into question if they knew my story.
Ultra5280: Do you see the genre expanding? Why or why not?
Jackie: Yeah! It’s expanding because people from other cultures are incorporating the Spanish language and Latin sounds into their music. It’s cool to see how reggaeton has completely taken over mainstream hip-hop and pop. We also hear a lot more Spanish and even non-Spanish speaking artists are singing in Spanish too.
Ultra5280: If you could collaborate with any Latin artist past or present, who would it be and why?
Jackie: I would love to collaborate with Juana Molina. I would learn so much from her and I have a feeling we could make cool and weird music together. She’s mastered the art of looping and I make most of my music from loops and small little hooks. I think our ideas would flow and meet at unexpected points.
Ultra5280: Where do you see the shift in Latin music in the next five years?
Jackie: I think there will be an even bigger blend of Latin music with other types of genres.
Ultra5280: You recently signed to Luminelle Records, how has that impacted you and who are some of your influences?
Jackie: Signing to Luminelle felt like the official start of a new stage for my music. Now I have a full team of awesome people supporting me and helping me move forward. I’m really excited to be on a label with artists I admire and love. Anemone and Munya have become influences for me since I joined Luminelle; Munya’s songwriting and Anemone’s energy on stage.
Ultra5280: Finally what can Denver expect from Jackie Mendoza next weekend at the Underground Music Showcase?
Jackie: You can expect my silly dance moves, techno beats, a swirly-sounding electric ukulele, and lots of singing :)
We give you the exclusive premiere of the debut video and single from Queen Eider. The solo project comes from Melanie Steinway (Tyto Alba and Corsicana). Smooth layered rhythms complimented by Steinway’s usual lyrical mastery set the tone for the song while the video makes us feel comfortably creepy yet portrays the message being given.
The song's a summery musing on where I'm at in life right now. Settled into a routine, but it's unsettling. Gently coasting through an existence where I'm filled with gratitude but also occasionally slipping into a strange dark place in my head where you question everything around you.
For the song the track ended up being very collaborative actually. Both Danny and Ben (Corsicana) helped out a lot with the recording. Danny programmed the drum track, Ben played and recorded the live drums, as well as recorded vocals, guitar, and mixing. Ben and Casey (Modern Leisure) sang back-up vocals and the track is mastered by Joe Lambert. Expect more from Queen Eider in the coming months.
A placid breeze became a hurricane
Now I can’t see straight
Don’t want my mood hinged on the weather
Who’re you gonna get today?
Who knew I could sleep so much
Disillusioned and out of touch
I can’t keep feeling old
I think I’m being told
I should get out of this house
I better come around
Anxiety’s resounding, drowning
All in it’s path
I gotta gotta get back
Just a self-indulgent twenty-something
With big things to do
And if you think you’re getting lucky
I got a surprise for you
Silence comes in short supply
Modern culture’s got me mystified
Earlier this month we had a chance to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Westword Music Showcase here in Denver. The entertainment outlet has been putting on this amazing festival for years and lucky for us we have had a chance to cover a handful of them. Taking place in the Golden Triangle neighborhood of Denver, the festival went all out for this year’s lineup which featured everything from indie to electronic dance. With temperatures in the mid 90’s it was a perfect opportunity to grab a White Claw and Breck Brew Summer Pils to cool off. Festival goer’s were able to escape the heat taking refuge inside venues along Broadway to see some of the best local music bands from our area. From rockers Citra to up and coming star Bailey Elora, the lineup catered to the masses. This year Breckenridge Brewery took hold of the main sponsorship and their presence was felt as a “Breck Brew Camping” area adorned the parking lot between the main stages offering games, live art installations and a silent disco. Standout performances included main stage acts Yasi, Bishop Briggs, The Knocks, Slow Caves, Jai Wolf, and CHVRCHES. Local acts that shined included Adiel Mitchell, Los Mocochetes, CITRA, The Velveteers, Briana Straut, Corsicana, Vic N’ Narwals, as well as DJ sets by Erin Stereo and Polyphoni.
The festival itself has always been the unofficial kickoff to summer in the mile high and provides an amazing day with an amazing layout to be able to catch multiple stages. This years talent was as good as any of the previous years we have covered. Cheers and hopefully we get to celebrate the next 25 years with the Westword Music Showcase.
On a cold rainy Saturday, Denver witnessed the Gods of Summer Tour featuring Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World. Anybody growing up in the mid to late nineties got to witness two of music post grunge pioneers. The tour stopped at Levitt Pavilion this past Saturday, with rain forecasted throughout the night concert fans got lucky as the stormed only played havoc for about 20 minutes before the skies cleared and the bands belted out all the classics we have come to love. Ra Ra Riot opened up the festivities to get things started. Followed shortly by the band from Tempe, Arizona. Jim Adkins and company rallied in the rain to give us a dose of nostalgia from albums such as Bleed America, Static Prevails and Futures. Fan favorites included “The Middle”, “Sweetness” and “Pain”. The band has maintained its cult following for years now and luckily for us we have had the chance to follow them throughout their fabled careers.
As the rain stopped it was time for bay area rockers Third Eye Blind to hit the stage. Adorned in a bright yellow hoodie with matching sneakers frontman Stephan Jenkins and company opened with “Screamer”, which happens to be the name of their forthcoming album set to drop in July. Playing out like the soundtrack to any 90’s teen movie the band ripped through classics such as “Never Let You Go”, “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper”. The band managed to show its relevance with Jenkins commanding the stage, some brief audience banter about the show feeling like a basement show due to its intimate setting and lack of production lighting (weather uncertainties caused them to stay in their trailers). For some it was a show that featured two bands that had a major impact in their teenage adolescent years, while others basked in the comfort knowing that good music still exists even if they achieved popularity in the 90’s.