Real Cosby Launched His Music Career by Settling Down With a Family

Categories: Playlist

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Courtesy of Real Cosby
Paul Banker, aka electronic-music producer Real Cosby, is a homeowner. Not because his occasional live show and handful of EPs have made him any real money, but because he has a full-time job and a family and all the responsibilities associated with those things. While that same litany has been the downfall of so many emerging musicians, it's made Banker love music even more.

"I used to worry about shows a lot.... Now I have real problems, and shows are just fun," he says.

See also: The Denver Public Library Is Now One of the Best Places to Find Local Music

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Coors Field Is Considering a Concert Series for Next Season

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Scott Goldstein
The Baseball Project plays at Coors Field last month.
If there is a strange request that a concert promoter can make of a musician, it's a safe bet that Scott McCaughey has heard it. He co-founded the Young Fresh Fellows in 1983 and played with R.E.M. for close to twenty years. Lately, he's been on tour with the Baseball Project, an '80s-college-rock supergroup that also features Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M., Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate, and Linda Pitmon. So McCaughey has played thousands of shows, but when he was asked to swap out his hat before the Baseball Project played at Coors Field last month, that was a first.

See also: After Suffering Marijuana-Induced Psychosis, the Mad Fanatic Got High on the Denver Broncos

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Giddyup Kitty is a Bluegrass Band With Punk and Pop Pedigree

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Courtesy of Gittyup Kitty
Marni Pickens wasn't always the easy-going bluegrass picker she is today. "I'm a rocker chick," she says. "Even though I grew up in Colorado, I never listened to much country or bluegrass at all."

After moving from Colorado to New York City at eighteen years old, Pickens started playing bass in punk bands. In the twenty years she spent in the city before she moved back home, she played in a slew of projects and alongside legends like Joey Ramone and Ronnie Spector. It wasn't until she joined Giddyup Kitty that she began to really appreciate bluegrass.

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Songwriter Kate Brady's Brush With Internet Fame Left Her a Music Industry Skeptic

Categories: Playlist

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Kelsey Huffer of Poppies and Paisley Photography
Music has always come naturally to Kate Brady. "When I was little, teachers always had to tell me to stop singing in class," she says. "I mean, I never even noticed I was doing it." When she was a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, a classmate asked her to write something for her graduating class.

"It started off really morbid," Brady says of the song. But she eventually gave the lyrics an upbeat twist, and the resulting track, called "Sailing Ships," reached an audience much bigger than her school. In fact, it was featured on the front page of Reddit and then the Huffington Post. Soon after, talent agencies started calling. But Brady, now entering her junior year at the University of Colorado, is skeptical of the music establishment.

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Ancient Elk Is One of Denver's Most Unpredictable Bands

Categories: Playlist

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Tom Murphy
Founded by Anna Smith, Megan Crooks, Cody Coffey and Derrick Bozich in the summer of 2013, Ancient Elk is actually only a little over a year old. Smith and Crooks had played together before in Birds of a Feather, a kind of avant-garde band with roots in bluegrass, folk and jazz. That mixture proved fruitful when the two were developing ideas for Ancient Elk, which will play this weekend at Denver Psych Fest, but the band's sound really crystallized when Smith and Bozich started playing Velvet Underground songs together. Smith, in particular, has been a fan of the influential group since she was a child growing up in a one-room cabin in Evergreen.

See also: The Potential of Dryer Plug Studios as a Music Venue

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Big J. Beats Is an Unusual DJ: "I Wanted to Take the Computer Off the Stage"

Categories: Playlist

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Courtesy of Big J. Beats
The album art for Computer J. Fox appears to be straight out of the '80s. On it, a Patrick Nagel-style woman crouches over a soft-pink desktop computer, its clunky screen and keyboard juxtaposed with her sleek frame and Jem and the Holograms blue hair. A listen to the record reveals a continuation of the throwback theme, from synthesizer melodies to excerpts from Revenge of the Nerds and a decades-old clip of David Letterman broaching the topic of computer technology.

So, who is Computer J. Fox, exactly? "Originally, I toyed with the idea of changing my name to Computer J. Fox," says producer Justin Alvarado, who performs and records as Big J. Beats. "I had about half of the album produced, and I was playing it for people as Computer J. Fox." But explaining the album as a new persona or alter ego became tedious, so he eventually scrapped the idea and released the record earlier this summer under the Big J. Beats moniker, which he's used since before he moved from Pueblo to Denver in 2008.

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How Denver blues royalty the Hornbuckles overcame heroin addiction and estrangement

Categories: Playlist

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Courtesy of Hornbuckle
Michael Hornbuckle (left) has recently reconciled with his brother Brian
Michael Hornbuckle was twelve years old the first time he shared the stage with his father, legendary Denver bluesman Bobby Hornbuckle, and at thirteen he was playing weekends with his dad. While he was getting an education on stage, he was also schooling himself in blues guitar by listening to the likes of Luther Allison, Johnny Winter, Robert Johnson, Bukka White and three Kings: B.B., Albert and Freddie.

But around the time the younger Hornbuckle was seventeen, he says, he developed a nasty heroin addiction. "From the start, I was always on hiatus, going to fucking rehab or jail, or overdose after overdose," he says. "I was always in trouble with the law."

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How DJ Fat Trak plans to finish the work he started with the late Marcus Arrilius

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Jeremy Pape
Marcus Arrilius surrounded by the D.O.P.E. game cast and his family.

In February 5th, 2013, Denver MC Marcus "Arrilius" Hayes passed away. He left two-thirds of a trilogy of albums unfinished, and producer David "Fat Trak" Williams has spent the last year and a half putting together the pieces. Part two -- The Meditations of Marcus Arrilius -- is the first posthumous release featuring Hayes's voice, and it's now available via iTunes and elsewhere.

Williams calls Hayes a brother. It's not a title he uses lightly; in fact, Williams is an identical twin. It was his twin, Daniel, who introduced him to Hayes. "Marcus changed my life," Williams says. "He changed me from just a beat-maker to a producer."


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Tommy Metz has developed auto-mastering software to go with his new album

Categories: Playlist

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Tom Murphy
Tommy Metz works as a web developer and is unassuming and friendly. He's also one of Denver's more prolific musicians. His voice is unexpectedly powerful and brightly melodic, and it floats over his finely crafted beats. Lately, Metz has separated his work, releasing his darker, more experimental pieces under the Iuengliss moniker and issuing his more uplifting, pop-oriented material under his given name. The latest offering from Tommy Metz is Fruitions, a refreshingly coherent set of pop electronica.

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Ben Donehower concieved his band after a day spent digging a pig-roasting hole

Categories: Playlist

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Part of the cover for Traffic Cat Stick.
In his tongue-in-cheek rock-philosophy book, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group, Chain and the Gang's Ian Svenonius argues that band names must appear mystically in a musician's dream or revelation, and he offers such strategies as eating mold and running from the police until exhausted for helping to create the right mental state for that to take place. Svenonius's suggestions unexpectedly worked for Ben Donehower, who stayed up all night digging a hole in the ground in preparation for a Kalua-style pig roast that took place during a Boulder house show last summer. When Donehower finally tried to sleep, his new band name revealed itself to him. "All of a sudden, what I attribute to the soul of this pig wakes me up, and Original Sin, the band name -- and the whole concept for the band -- comes to my mind, all in about two seconds," he says. "I took it as an omen that this is what I need to do, and I woke up fully energized."

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