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Denver Syntax Magazine Write-Up!!!

It is axiomatic that the virtues we possess as children fade as we age. It is also axiomatic that those precious modes of living that we all possessed as kids are virtuous.

For centuries artists and thinkers alike have sought to unlearn what they’ve learned as adults in an attempt to relearn what they knew as children. And if you listen to the Young Coyotes, you will find a little bit of this present in their approach, their interactions and especially their sound.

The Young Coyotes sound like cavemen on acid. Er, not really. Actually, not even close. But engage them in conversation and, depending on the day, this is one answer you may hear. Said, of course, with a sly, childish laugh.

In all reality Adam Halferty (drums, vocals) and Zach Tipton (guitar, vocals) are a bit more serious about their music than some of their descriptions may lead you to believe. Building on the cavemen analogy, Tipton will describe their sound as being more tribal – mostly on account of the percussive elements that pervade their entire sound. From their diverse drum arrangements, to the xylophone and even Tipton’s guitar and vocals – the Coyotes have a heartbeat that is undeniable. And powerful.

These Coyotes will drop your jaw. Young or old. No other band in town right now has such a pronounced penchant and aptitude for employing so many movements, so eloquently, into one song. These Coyotes are wild but keep you guessing in the most charming and sophisticated of musical ways – in ways that speak of supreme refinement and ability. These Coyotes do not discriminate on landscapes where they roam: they float neatly from the mountainous caves of “When I Was in the Fire” to the soulful Harlem streets of “Rooftops”.

And now, only months into this new project and the Young Coyotes already have a booking agency, one for U.S. shows and another for International gigs. By the end of the year, their first full length will be complete (the track on this page is from that collection, and it this sample is unmastered). All this and the band isn’t even a year old.

While on tour with their previous bands, (Tipton with Moros Eros from Georgia; and Halferty with the Denver act The Axe That Chopped The Cherry Tree) the pair bonded. After the tour, each act disbanded and Tipton drove from Georgia to unite with Halferty (who also drums for Chain Gang of 1974), with the idea of a creating a new musical project. Just what, exactly, they were going to create was a matter of mystery.

Much like their arrangements, Tipton’s personal belongings were and still are, scarce. After their previous projects dissembled, Halferty and Tipton set-out to create an act that that could tour in a small car. When the Coyotes first began, Halfterty was using a suitcase a kick drum.

I believe that something about these boys spells: vagabond.

Are you sometimes presented with a vignette of some small act that you performed as a child and are struck with the overwhelming sensation of pleasure and perfection? To approach this in a more-simplistic manner: what was so magical about building mansions out of cardboard boxes, or playing with matchbox cars for hours on end?

Well, the Young Coyotes are moving backwards to those kinds of spaces, toward those kinds of answers. Or, they’re trying to anyway. If anything, their music does bear the fruit of retaining an adult version of childhood curiosity. In most instances, the Coyotes’ music flutters between the beautiful xylophone-induced vocal harmonies reminiscent of cradle songs and the scream of a thesis born from a lifetime of insomnia and bad dreams.

In all, the Coyotes songwriting process is hitting on this idea of childhood simplicity. They write quickly and they write often. Songs come with a rapidity that has had the three Coyotes (with the inclusion of Matt Wilcox on xylophone and drums) shaking their heads in delight.

Charles Bukowski talked about writing work that came screaming out of you, with little effort and a noted simplicity (“so you want to be a writer?”). If you’re producing work, Bukowski said, that comes out of you as though it had no choice – you’re probably doing the right thing. To extend the crayon picture, it’s as though you were a child with a drawer full of markers and a cardboard box that was about to become the largest mansion the world has ever seen. It is within this space where the Coyotes have struck it rich. But there are other caches of treasure littered all around their musical landscape.

It seems that the Coyotes songs have come like a case of insomnia – without warning. In talking about their songs, Tipton and Halferty rattle off several influences: creepy dreams, awkward silence, nostalgia. And certainly, somewhere in there, they are influenced by their diverging ideologies that, somehow, they leave off the table when there’s music between them. Music, for each of these complicated boys has been a refuge of sorts; a place to put that nervous energy and all those strange ideas and far-fetched dreams. And if the music isn’t that place, then they have found a rare safe haven in each other.

In-person, Tipton and Halferty possess the grace of authenticity and this new musical product is an example of that weight. Often, Tipton sings from his toes – bellowing beyond the microphone. Other times, he revolves around the microphone in some unconscious laundry-spin. Halferty, in sustaining the bands’ ever-changing beats, has no time to comb his hair behind the drums. Rightfully so, when you play this kind of honest, up-tempo, fierce and complicated work – there is very little time to look cool.

But in reality, the Young Coyotes are producing some of the coolest music in the Queen City these days. I can’t remember the last time that there was such a quick and pronounced buzz as there has been with a band in town, as there is with Coyotes. Look for the band’s upcoming full-length, which is – at this point – being eagerly anticipated by many. But really, you need get out to a show and see this unorthodox and beautiful caveman experiment thriving and turning whole rooms on their heads by going to their Myspace page: www.myspace.com/youngcoyotes.

This is certainly that kind of band in Denver where you most certainly will have the pleasure of saying, “I knew them when…”

By Jonathan Bitz



westword show review

Young Coyotes were definitely tighter than the recordings I'd heard online. A three-piece ensemble with two percussionists (one playing the bells) and a guitarist who did lead vocals, Coyotes’ set began with “When I Was in the Fire.” Before they started, the lead singer told us he was nervous. But it didn’t show, beyond the otherwise normal quaver to his singing. The dual rhythms created a compelling flow of sound, and it seemed to me as though there was some intentional distortion on the vocals in various songs. We were told that “A Thousand Masks” was an old song, but admitted that the band was really only around four months old, so how old could it be?

The band closed with “Momentary Drowning.” I was struck by how, yes, the songs were clearly tightly structured, but each member had enough leeway within that structure to move and change things ever so slightly so the performances were less likely to become stale for the band -- and its audience.

by tom murphy

thanks, tom!


colorado music buzz. buzz. buzz.

Young Coyotes
by Heather Browne
There's a propulsive, raw, melodic sound coming from the streets of Denver these days from one band of Young Coyotes. This trio is only a few months into their existence as a musical entity, but are making addictively good indie-pop music in the vein of the Shins or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, with some hints of Arcade Fire. The Young Coyotes make blood pulse hot, with their chiming harmonic guitar tones, thumping percussion and strong shout-out-loud vocals. After turning in one of the strongest performances of the Denver Post's Underground Music Showcase in early August, a steady buzz has been building behind this band of fresh-faced twenty-somethings. Earlier this year, frontman Zach Tipton moved back to Denver from Georgia after the demise of his other band, Moros Eros. Zach had toured with percussionist Adam Halfterty while Adam was in his previous band The Axe That Chopped The Cherry Tree, and the two knew they shared a strong musical affinity. After adding percussionist/glockenspieler Matt Wilcox to the lineup, the Young Coyotes were born - and have been turning out songs that stick in your head and ebb with authenticity ever since. In addition to shows during the DNC and all through the closing of summer, you can catch their hotly-tipped set at the Monolith Festival VIP opening party on September 12. A listen through their demos on MySpace (album forthcoming) just might be the best thing about your day today: "Momentary Drowning" is ready to soundtrack an entire summer's worth of campfires and dives off the pier, while "When I Was In The Fire" rewards your patience when it explodes into a cascade of radiantly shimmering harmonies and urgent sentiments in the last seconds of the song. Young Coyotes play earnestly and with joyful ambition, and that's something that will always be worth hearing.