Despite what some may think, there's more to local music than emo singers who meticulously iron their hair before applying their makeup, and burly cover bands who believe that music died with either Jerry Garcia or the Eagles. (Oh wait, they're not dead yet.) In truth, there are a good number of artists here in town who play original music that's actually original. So here's a handful to get you started.
Black Pegasus (myspace.com/blackpegasus). Although he tours extensively, Robert Houston II — aka Black P, the Black Mexican, et al — has yet to put Colorado rap on the national map, but it's not for lack of talent or trying. A military brat and battle-rap champ, he delivers down-to-earth rhymes that offer a reality-based respite from the gangsta lien that still encumbers so much of mainstream hip-hop.
El Toro de la Muerte (bullofdeath.com). El Toro may have won Nosh's 2008 "Tejon, Tunes and Tapas" competition, but it's still as far from your typical battle of the bands winner as you can get. Imagine if Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell could sing better and pulled together a rock band full of art students and ex-carnies, and you're part of the way there.
Grass It Up (grassitup.com). Even though the Indy's David Jeffrey is in the band, Grass It Up is pretty much Colorado Springs' most popular bluegrass group. It's also been known to do a cover of "Gin and Juice," which is just weird.
Haunted Windchimes (myspace.com/thehauntedwindchimes). With gorgeous harmonies, striking originals and an encyclopedic knowledge of music older than the three of them combined, Haunted Windchimes are Pueblo's finest export. Plus, they play tons of shows up this way, so you've got no excuse.
Hayman Fire (myspace.com/thehaymanfire). Loud-fast rules, as does loud-slow, when metalcore merchants Hayman Fire take the stage. Heads bang, guitars shred, blood flows. (OK, maybe no blood.) Their vocals seem to be slipping further into the sub-guttural range, but they can still crank out the rawk anthems.
Jack Trades (myspace.com/thejacktrades). White Stripes instrumentation in service of a rockin', stompin', hollerin' good time. Mike Clark and Todd Bruington are a little bit country, a little bit punk and a whole helluva lotta blues.
John-Alex Mason (johnalexmason.com). Whether playing with a band or doing his one-man-drum-and-cigar-box-guitar gigs, you would be hard-pressed to find a better down-home blues player in the Springs.
Nicotine Fits (myspace.com/thenicotinefits). At Nicotine Fits shows, you'll likely see Stooges and MC5 T-shirts onstage and in the crowd, which is pretty much all you need to know. Except for the fact that they do it exceptionally well.
Sanguine Addiction (sanguineaddiction.com). Today's SAT question: Sacramento is to the Deftones as Colorado Springs is to: (a) George Whitesell & His All Stars, (b) the Pinecreek Shitkickers or (c) Sanguine Addiction. If you answered c, you are correct. You may even be one of the fans who voted them Best Local Original Band in our last two readers' polls. In any event, do not turn this page until you are told to do so ...