The Aural's Top of 2022
Is better late than never? In this case, yes. I didn’t really feel like writing a year-end list for 2022, but I realized that it really is nice to have something to look back on in future years. Sometimes we do things not because they benefit us now, but because they will benefit us later. So here’s my musical time capsule of sorts for 2022 (playlist included).
Want live music to last? Wear a mask
Some background: I’ve been trying to write this piece on Covid’s impact on the live music industry for the past six months. And if I’m being honest, I’ve probably been trying to articulate my thoughts on the matter for the past two years.
There are two reasons I’ve finally come to write and publish it now, in October of 2022. One is that I’m just over being sick—not with covid, but with a bad cold that had me in bed for two days on a beautiful fall weekend (I say this because I’ve taken multiple PCR and rapid at-home tests, which have all come back negative), and just prior to that I had a bad case of bacterial tonsilitis or strep, which took another week out of my favorite season. I’ve remembered just how much it sucks to be sick (and for two weeks at that), how much time it takes to get better, and how grateful I am for the paid sick time my full-time job grants me to do so—something many musicians who perform live simply do not have.
The second reason is current events: Animal Collective, Santigold, Car Seat Headrest, even Ringo, and many other musical acts are canceling shows and tours because of ongoing health issues, financial dilemmas and the inability to make tour worth the money, time, and risk involved. Gas prices, inflation and ongoing supply chain issues have all impacted the ability for groups to successfully tour and turn any kind of profit, whether here in the U.S. or internationally.
Today, Denver-based band Corsicana debuts their new single, “The Torchbearer,” off their yet to-be-announced upcoming album. And for now, it’s everything we need. In the short span of only three minutes and ten seconds, the song provides a much-needed musical salve, encompasses singer-songwriter Ben Pisano’s musical journey thus far, and celebrates exactly where he is in the present moment.
Words With: Forever Honey
Forever Honey is a self-described rock-and-roll band based in Brooklyn who released their second EP, “Could I Come Here Alone," on August 30, following their debut EP in the spring of 2020. But what band members Liv Price, Aida Mekonnen, Steve Vannelli and Jack McLoughlin have created and shared with the world aren't just four songs—all self-recorded, produced and engineered—but something as sweet and long-lasting as their moniker.
Thank god for UMS
It's the summer of 2022. We're 2.5 years into the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, inflation is sky-high, housing costs are astronomical, and we're all so, so very tired. All I have to say right now in response is: Thank god for UMS, the Underground Music Showcase.
Each summer in Denver, South Broadway (between about E 4th Ave and E Cedar Ave) turns into a 3-day playground for live music-loving adults. UMS runs from Friday through Sunday on a weekend in July or August, features 2 or 3 outdoor stages, as well as a wide variety of indoor and indoor/outdoor venues. There are big name acts (but not *too* big) on the bill, some local names you might recognize, and many acts you've never heard of. It's an accessible, affordable music festival for locals, by locals. And with everything that's wrong in the world these days, it's one really good thing that, at least for a weekend, makes everything feel alright.