Whether or not they actually recognize the name, most Colorado Springs music fans are already familiar with the extraordinary work of Pueblo's LastLeaf Custom Print & Design. Mathias Valdez's handmade prints and posters for the Haunted Windchimes, the Charlie Milo Trio and the MeadowGrass Music Festival have hugely enhanced the aesthetics of our local music community. And now that community is giving back with two "Rock for Sophie" benefits to help defray the cost of weekly treatments for Mathias' 3-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed last month with childhood leukemia.
A Saturday, Nov. 24 benefit at Phil's Radiator in Pueblo will feature Awaken the Prophets, Oatie Paste, Force the Trigger, Scrotus, American Mourning, the Beast of Milwaukee and Bridges. It's an all-ages show that kicks off at 5 for a mere six bucks.
Then at the Black Sheep on Friday, Nov. 30, you can catch a second all-ages benefit featuring Inelements, Malakai, Bridges, Cull the Herd and Vital Malice. Showtime is 8:15 with a $7 cover.
This would also be a fine time to visit the shop's website at lastleafprinting.com, where you can peruse and purchase everything from national tour posters commissioned by Grace Potter to limited-edition five-color art prints of the Cramps' Lux Interior from the Dead Rockstars gallery show in Seattle. (Dave Mansfield, are you listening?)
As for the coming week, the Hopeful Heroines' Xanthe Alexis and the Windchimes' Chela Lujan will be doing a special show in the intimate confines of Shuga's next Monday. Xanthe says she'll be performing all the songs from a solo concept album she's working on about a couple during World War II. Chela will also be debuting new material during her set, and both will be joined by Heroines violinist Harriett Landrum at evening's end.
Moving into the realm of hip-hop, the ReMINDers have returned home from their 27-date tour with Brother Ali, which included two sold-out nights at First Avenue, the Minneapolis venue where Prince and The Time famously battled it out in Purple Rain.
But while the conscious rap duo are currently Colorado Springs' most widely known hip-hop ambassadors, there's good reason to remember another group that was the first to bring local hip-hop to the world at large.
The Procussions — who went from local hole-in-the-wall gigs to a Sony record deal and a national tour with A Tribe Called Quest — announced last week that they've surpassed the $10,000 mark in their Indiegogo fundraising campaign. That means they'll be recording a new album, their first in seven years, which is slated for release in March.
While the Procussions' Jason "Mr. J." Medeiros and Stro Elliot have worked on each other's solo projects in their adopted L.A., it took a few homecoming reunion shows in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire to fully rekindle their musical bond. The fundraising campaign continues for another four weeks, with donor incentives ranging from Procussions CDs and hoodies to exclusive beats from Stro that you can use for your very own hip-hop opus.
Meanwhile, another Colorado-rooted duo that's readying a new album for early 2013 release will be performing this Friday with Che Bong at the Ancient Mariner. Denver's musically and politically astute Wandering Monks will be making their first Colorado Springs appearance since the Trayvon Martin hip-hop benefit last May at the Black Sheep.
The show will feature material from Jubilee — a recent EP of thematically linked songs promoting the concept of local currency — plus unreleased tunes from the group's next full-length offering. And yes, promises emcee, lyricist and Springs ex-pat Scott "Linguistory" Eschenberg, the album will include "Courage," a song that contains one of my favorite and most oft-cited lyrics of all time: "When I'm dried up with nothing left to say / I could write some pussy-ass music like the Fray."