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  • Writer's pictureCamilla Vaitaitis

2023 Releases From Friends

I recently attended one of Annie Booth's annual Charlie Brown Christmas concerts - a must see every holiday season - and I was struck by a deep feeling of gratitude. As I was watching my friends (Annie, Marion Powers, Bailey HG, Jenna McClean, Patrick McDevitt, & Alejandro Castaño) perform, all I could think about was how incredible it is that I'm alive at this particular time, experiencing the art and musicianship of these people who will leave such a huge mark on Denver's rich musical history. As I looked to my right to see my bandmate Bart Hartman sitting next to me, the thought expanded - how lucky am I to be surrounded by a community of friends who are such incredible artists, all the time!? It's truly a blessing to know so many creative, talented people.


The following is an alphabetical list of music released by friends in 2023. I hope you can check these out, find something you love, and follow & support these artists going into the new year. To all my friends, thank you for making music and sharing it with us. If I missed you, it was definitely not on purpose - I tried my best to remember everything, but surely missed some, so send me a message and I'll add you!


You can listen to selections from most of the releases here, but please also consider purchasing (links included below).


 

Amazing Adventures - Lawyers in Love (single)

Release Date: June 26, 2023


Clever lyricism, interesting harmony, and a beautiful saxophone solo by Bart Hartman are the components that make me love this 2023 single from Amazing Adventures.









Annie Booth - Flowers of Evil

Release Date: Oct. 13, 2023


Annie Booth never fails to emotionally move me with her incredible compositions. Flowers of Evil is her most recent triumph - the musical imagination of poetry by Charles Baudelaire. Featuring an 11-piece ensemble, the listener is transported to a sonic landscape blending jazz, chamber music, improvisation, and storytelling.





Barbara - Currents (single)

Release Date: Oct. 6, 2023


I included my own band in this post because Barbara at its core is built on the friendship between myself, Anna Panella, and Bart Hartman. It's an honor to make music with my best friends, and I hope you enjoy our most recent release and video.







Bailey Hinkley Grogan - Meditations

Release Date: Jan. 12, 2023


I recently had the fortune of attending a sound-healing performance by Bailey HG, and I can't recommend her enough. If you're in need of relaxation or the perfect sounds to accompany your meditation, I highly recommend her 2023 release Meditations. Recorded at The Tank in Rangely, CO, this album is full of unique sonic landscapes that help quiet the mind.




The Burroughs - Honey Imastar

Release Date: June 2, 2023


Honey Imastar is a groovy, uplifting, danceable album from Northern-Colorado based soul band The Burroughs that tells the story of an intergalactic traveler learning to become human. My personal favorite track to jam along to is "Found My Groove."






Carmine Francis - Carmine Francis

Release Date: March 11, 2023


I've been a fan of Carmine Francis since first hearing his project Definitely Maybe at UMS a few years ago. His 2023 self-titled solo debut release is beautiful. The masterful songwriting and lyricism are only made better by the incredible arranging and production. "Tara's on the Platform" and "Clarity" were constantly on repeat for me this year.




Carrie Jennings - Good Tension

Release Date: Oct. 27, 2023


Barbara played our first public show on a bill with Carrie Jennings back in June, 2022 at the Broadway Roxy. Carrie performed a beautiful solo set and I remember being captivated by her songwriting and warm, unique voice. It's a treat to her her songs fully fleshed out with a full band on her debut EP as a solo artist.





Enmanuel Alexander - Off The Cuff - Live at Meadowlark

Release Date: Aug. 14, 2023


Enmanuel Alexander is a gem of the Denver music scene. His recurring Wednesday night series "Off The Cuff" at the Meadowlark is a gathering of some of the best, creative musical minds in Denver and has become a must-attend event. This live recording captures the vibe and energy of this series, but I still have to also recommend going to see it live for yourself.



Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band - Heads Up (single)

Release Date: Dec. 2, 2023


I highly recommend catching the Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band live whenever you can. Their sets are full of energy, improvisation, and groove. Their 2023 single "Heads Up" captures the high-quality brass band arrangements and super fun vibe.







Hannah Rodriguez - Would Be Fine (single)

Release Date: Feb. 19, 2023


"Would Be Fine" highlights Hannah Rodriguez's pure, vocal clarity atop a dreamy indie vibe. I love the melody on the choruses and lush background vocals on the second verse.








Jewel House - Live from a Basement & Where (single)

Release Date: March 17, 2023


Jewel House is known for their tight grooves, catchy hooks, and funky vibes. Their 2023 single Where is impossible not to dance along to. An impressive video created by Kirk Scully is the perfect accompaniment. Live From a Basement features the band, plus an entire big-band with arrangements by Colin Holter. Check out those sessions on YouTube.




Jonas Peterson - Evening Star

Release Date: Nov. 16, 2023


Jonas Peterson's debut release as band-leader features six funky, fusion-y tracks highlighting the band's high level of musicianship, tight pocket, and Peterson's strong compositional voice.








Matt Smiley - Binnen Buiten

Release Date: May 5, 2023


As with every release of his, Matt Smiley's 2023 release, Binnen Buiten, is an expressive, musical journey. All recorded as a chord-less trio featuring David Pope on saxophone, Dru Heller on drums (1-13), and Ron Coulter (14-26), it's fun as a listener to hear the band's constant interplay and communication.




Paulo's Flood - Holy Hours

Release Date: Feb. 23, 2023


Paulo's Flood's 2023 release is hard to categorize into any specific genre. Elements of jazz, classical, and indie music among others create unique sonic landscapes that perfectly complement the compelling, distinctive lyrics.







The Salesmen - WAR IN COLORADO!

Release Date: April 29, 2023


The Salesmen's 2023 release lyrically captures what many people are probably feeling in our hyper-productivity focused society. For example, the first track, "From Behind," repeats the line "all of this work takes all of my time" and "Commodify" comically illustrates how everything in our world is being commercialized. Their impactful, straightforward lyricism is accompanied by heavy rock and roll jams.



shadowrabbit - familiar feelings EP

Release Date: April 7, 2023


shadowrabbit's debut release is math rock at its finest. Intricate, interlocking lines glide over ever-changing time signatures and interesting chord changes. The unique grooves, musical surprises, and through-compositional style keeps me interested and never missing vocals throughout the entirely instrumental album.










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