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click to enlarge CJ Hackett’s new Prefab Soul project eases the anxieties of these troubled times. - CYNTHIA VERZWYVELT
  • Cynthia Verzwyvelt
  • CJ Hackett’s new Prefab Soul project eases the anxieties of these troubled times.

Ah, it’s the occasion you live for as a journalist: when events are occurring, leading to situations! Yes, indeed, we have some events coming up. Stargazers Theatre is joining forces with UCHealth Park this weekend for an outdoor concert mini-series, which offers a (still safely socially distanced) chance to get outside and experience a bit of live music. On Friday, July 17, the long-running and respected Martini Shot will take the stage and perform to selected sections of stadium seating and an array of spaced-out “concert pods” laid out across the outfield. On Saturday, July 18, attendees can catch an evening of jazz, R&B and funk courtesy of Dotsero and Tony Exum, Jr. (performing with his full band).

If you’re still skittish about going out, both shows will also be streamed via stargazerslive.com; information and tickets, both virtual and physical, are available there. Also on the horizon at Stargazers, via both livestream and limited in-person seating, is a July 24 tribute to the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from KJ Braithwaite, Joe Uveges and Jim Sokol — aka the BUS Band — and a July 31 performance by bluegrass quartet The Red Mountain Boys, which features Jon Murphy, Lewis Mock, Jeff Daugherty and Alan Thomas Begley.
click to enlarge CJ Hackett shows skill in a new album.
  • CJ Hackett shows skill in a new album.
Likewise, on Saturday, July 25, Sunshine Studios is hosting the second annual Disgruntled Vet Fest, a fund-raiser to spread awareness of veteran homelessness and suicide. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the DV Farm and 22 Until None, and performances come courtesy of Sailor Jerri, Something Like Yesterday, The Becker Band and Big Papi & The Trashcan.

Elsewhere, the excellent new local music continues to stack up for everyone’s early summer enjoyment. One such welcome transmission is the new EP Outside Dreamland from Prefab Soul, a new project from CJ Hackett, who will be familiar to many locals for fronting indie-rock standouts A Bad Night for a Hero and his solo work as The Yeti.

I’ve long considered Hackett to be one of Colorado Springs’ absolute premiere songwriting talents, and I know a significant number of local musicians are in agreement with me. Hackett’s new Prefab Soul material is yet more proof of what a skilled composer he is, trading his usual guitar-based songwriting for dreamy, spacey, vaporwave-inspired electronic music — all the while retaining the clever arrangements and engaging harmonic ear that runs through all of his work thus far.
click to enlarge Dotsero performs live (yes, live!) July 18.
  • Dotsero performs live (yes, live!) July 18.

If you’re finding yourself anxious at the state of the world, tracks such as “Jettison,” “Dreamland Cruise” and “Husk” are an aural balm, while the lo-fi retro-futurism of “Krunch” and “Interstellar Hopscotch” makes for bright, cheery trips beyond the Earth’s exosphere. Outside Dreamland is available on Prefab Soul’s Bandcamp page, and also streamable on YouTube.

(And if, for some reason, you haven’t yet listened to A Bad Night for a Hero’s outstanding 2018 LP On the Balcony or The Yeti’s Sugarpeas, from the same year... well, what are you waiting for? You’re only making your life sadder each moment you put off listening to them.)

Elsewhere, to further round out your playlist, hip-hop collective 8Grand, which features emcee G-Stylez and producer D.R.K., also recently dropped a pair of new singles. “Chill,” which is an appropriately smooth and fluid slice of soulful R&B, features a guest appearance from Fresh Breath Committee’s Paul Jr., while the group gets grittier on street-level storytelling in “8000 Proof.”

Stacked alongside the group’s similarly strong single “zRO,” these tracks indicate that G-Stylez and D.R.K. are clearly operating from an inspired place of late, and it appears that 8Grand’s upcoming LP The Ocho will be well worth the wait.

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