Music Preview: This Week In the Boulder-Denver Area

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Check out the artists that are performing at Colorado venues this week:

Get In Touch With Your Spiritual Side: Emancipator Ensemble

Portland, Oregon-based electronic producer Doug Appling adds a twist to his mostly electronic sound by layering it with violin instrumentation. Appling has been playing music since he was four and producing for 11 years, unearthing his distinct sound with inspiration from almost everything non-musical, and then channeling it into his music. The artist solidified himself as a self-starter by establishing his own record label, Loci Records, and launching his first album from that label. The name ‘Emancipator’ sparked Appling’s interest because of its meaning: “to set free.” For Appling, this signified his ability to set himself free through music. Appling’s musical process is a form of meditation for him, and continues to help him create his appealing, soul-lifting sound.

Emancipator Ensemble performs at the Boulder Theater on Friday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. with openers Chrome Sparks and Cloudchord.

Music That Tells A Story: Talib Kweli

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Talib Kweli uses music as more than simply a medium of entertainment; Kweli’s art is a forum for him to speak up about politics and the ever-present problems plaguing society. Kweli’s realization that he has something important to say helped his music gain popularity, creating music that resonates with people and gets them thinking about the world around them. Throughout his career, Talib Kweli collaborated with Kanye West and Madlib, in addition to recently releasing a music video with 9th Wonder entitled “Pay Ya Dues”.  Kweli’s last album, P.O.C. Live, incorporates in the idea that it is necessary for hip-hop to be universal, representing a variety of people, while also sending an important message. Kweli’s strong association with grassroots activism is based off of his belief that “the community you come out of you should give back to.” Bringing to light this mentality, Kweli’s song and music video “State of Grace” uses captivating visuals and lyrics to draw attention to womanhood and the difficulties women of color face in society.

Talib Kweli performs at the Ogden Theater on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. with openers Pharoahe Monch, 9th Wonder, Rapsody, Trayce Chapman, and DJ Cavern.

Soothing Sounds: Bryson Tiller

Triple-threat singer, songwriter, and rapper Bryson Tiller mixes trap and hip-hop music with alternative R&B, resulting in his trademark smooth soul-searing sound. Despite his unassuming Louisville, Kentucky roots, Tiller manages to shake up the R&B/hip-hop world in a whole new way. Growing up listening to 112, Dru Hill, Chris Brown and Omarion, Tiller discovered a place in the world for his shy, introverted personality by expressing his feelings through his music. Tiller’s first ever recordings were done in a makeshift studio of a friend, making music out of whatever he could. Tiller’s humble beginnings and hard work started his career and elevated him to his current, chart-topping status in the music industry.

Bryson Tiller performs at the Ogden Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. with opener They.

Spunky Pop Rock: Grace Potter

Grace Potters solo debut album Midnight, released by Hollywood Records in August 2015, symbolized a shift in her musical endeavors, saying goodbye to her band days and warmly welcoming a solo career. In this 12-track album, Potter takes a much more open approach to songwriting. She chooses not to hide behind metaphors and other people’s stories, but to expose her true self to the world.  Hell-bent on making records that are unexpected, Potter chose to shift her sound from a predominantly rock tones to pop. For Potter, music is a form of conversation between her and the fans. She views it as a connection between the music maker and the consumer. Midnight starts off with “Hot to the Touch,” a song that showcases her raspy, bluesy rock voice, stretching to high notes and low ones without strain. As the album progresses, Potter shows off her various musical personas, capping off the album with an intimate, passion-filled melody surging with a spectrum of emotions. Her sound is best described as a beautiful blend of pop, rock, and blues.

Grace Potter performs at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. with opener Eliza Hardy Jones.

Noelle Coultrip

Noelle is a Journalism major at CU. Her interests include punk rock music, horror films, and the outdoors. Her passion for writing lies in entertainment, music, and stories that connect to the compassion and humanity in all of us.

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