By Scott LaBarbera
Ned Garthe Explosion
I was first introduced to Ned Garthe Explosion by Aaron Collins when I booked his band (A. Tom Collins) to play New Year’s Eve a few years back. Aaron insisted that NGE open the show and I hesitantly agreed. They absolutely crushed it and ever since then they have been one of my favorite Denver bands to see live. Though a great live band can often be a disappointment in the studio—thankfully is not the case with NGE’s third album, “Flashlight Tan.” The opening track, “Smooth Escalator,” pulls you in with Ty Breuer’s funky bass lines, and the complex psychedelia of the title track immediately became one of my favorite songs of the year. In between, the record is filled with metal, punk, and power pop tracks, many of which reminded me of a more listener-friendly “Eagles of Death Metal.” Frontman Ned Garthe may not have the best voice in rock n’ roll, but he uses it with absolute perfection; and being surrounded by an all-star cast of musicians helped make this easily one of my favorite records of 2016.