Race to Neptune
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Race to Neptune

Fort Collins, CO | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Fort Collins, CO | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Race to Neptune are Either the Black Sheep of Fort Collins or It's Next Big Thing"

With a spellbing conceptual precision that blends scuzzy ‘90s grunge-rock, darkwave, and the teeth-kicking emotional thunder of punk in a manner that makes heads bang, dice tumble, and PA systems growl, Race to Neptune are one of Fort Collins’ loudest, eclectic, and ferocious rock bands.

The band made their debut in 2016 with Oh Contraire, an album that had a few moments of brazen, fiery chargings into up-tempo punk-rock, but for the most part stayed on the melodic side, using dark, midtempo, and gritty instrumentation to surround frontman Brian Maier’s personal and biting lyrics in a shadowy glow. On the Thurston Moore-reminiscent “Wanderlilly,” the guitars are loud and fiery, but immensely tasteful and bright as the band uses a catchy refrain and echoing harmonies to guide the song into a warm resonance. The song is forceful and delicate all at once; a balance the band had no issue finding on that album.

On their new EP Abandon Fashion, the band has kept the technical sensibilities of their debut intact, making use of raw, punkish energy to play their eclectic and progressive brand of rock’n’roll. Many of the songs have a raw and thundering approach that takes more after punk-rock than it does from brazen, technical, and melodic broods through the dimly lit streets of Oh Contraire. These songs aim to ignite, but not in a typical four-chord punk rock fashion. The band uses this driving energy and delivers it with an array of sonic intricacies in a way that’s more indicative of artists like Jack White, Black Sabbath, and Queens of The Stone Age rather than Subhumans or The Germs.

“I think [Abandon Fashion] is a two word statement that almost signifies that we are going to write, record, and do what we want and how we want, no matter what is cool, trendy, or ‘in fashion’,” says frontman Brian Maier.

The whole EP was cut live at Stout Studios in Fort Collins, capturing a raw and forthright energy that often can’t be found when meticulously multi-tracking or chasing the perfect take. This raw approach, balanced with the driving and aggressive nature of the songs makes Abandon Fashion a fierce, unrelenting pleasure.

“I honestly have always wanted to [record the way we did on this record] because it captures the aggressiveness and raw energy of how we actually sound that can’t be faked. I think if we recorded the first album the same way those songs would have come across just as heavy. Track by track recording is so dialed in and precise in every way from the smallest turn of an amp or pedal knob to how hard we strum or hit a drum or cymbal. This was total freedom and we recorded this just how we practice and this is how we sound live, because it is!” says frontman Brian Maier.

The opening track “Mortal Melody” features a nearly two-minute chugging intro with guitars that gradually grow more jagged, and pummelling drums that grow fiercer with each strike. The song is a garage-driven excursion that has all the thrill of driving down an empty desert highway going fifty over the speed limit. “I’ll be your creature/Can you teach me to teach/Sing to me slowly/In a motor melody,” Maier sings with a quiet growl on top of a scuzzy and aggressive bassline.

The Sonic Youth and Modest Mouse inspired “Departure” follows, a scuzzy rocker with a chanting, harmonic, and arena rock-reminiscent chorus. “Sunsets” is an older song of Maier’s that resurfaced while the band was tracking the album. With a beachy, sunburnt instrumental that feels like a long drive by the coast and lyrics about running off to California, it’s a bright and infectious song by a band that often defaults to the shadows.

The closing track “Abandon Fashion” is a return to form for the band. The entirely instrumental song opens with a fit of siren-esque picking, only to devolve into a showdown of fiery, circling guitars that get more aggressive with every note. What starts out capturing a warm sunset quickly starts to resemble a sky littered with flames, dancing down to the ground.
The album artwork for Abandon Fashion .

The album artwork for Abandon Fashion.

In more ways than one, Abandon Fashion marks a new beginning for the band. Not only is it a step into new musical territory, but the band underwent two significant lineup changes before making it. With Matt Petersen now on drums and Matt McNear on bass, the band’s sound is shifting in a different direction. Their influences are made loud and clear, and their presences melding with Maier’s technical and anthemic songwriting have led to Race of Neptune’s most invigorating record so far.

“I think it has been a pretty seamless transition,” says Petersen. “We got comfortable together really quickly. Matt just came on as bassist late February and we were in the studio the first week of April. I think that's definitely a testament to our cohesiveness. [Matt and I] both have a strong jazz background with our instruments which allows us to keep time really well while getting out of the rhythmic box bass and drums can sometimes be confined to in rock music. We are also all involved in the writing process… it’s a very cumulative sound you’re hearing.”

Race to Neptune underwent a quick evolution on Abandon Fashion, and for the better. It’s an invigorating, technical, and fun record that sets the band at the forefront of Fort Collins’ music scene. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t outliers, though. In a scene dominated by folk, EDM, and bluegrass, Race to Neptune are a shining beacon of musical progression and experimentation run through a filter of loud, raw, and eclectic rock.

“There has been a little increase in rock bands and venues in the [Fort Collins] area which is nice, but we are still the black sheep of the music scene up here. It is still very much dominated by jam bands, DJs and bluegrass, but we are trying very hard to support other local rock bands as well,” Maier says.

When the musical cohesiveness, energy, and vision of a band like Race To Neptune are all working together, maybe being the black sheep isn’t a bad thing; maybe it’s a sign that they’re at a the forefront of new sound and identity for Northern Colorado. It’s too early to say, but considering how far they’ve come as a band on only two records, anything is possible.

Abandon Fashion is out now. You can keep up with Race to Neptune here.


All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. - Bolder Beat

"Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion"

Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion
Michael Rand
August 28, 2018

Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion

BANDCAMP: https://racetoneptune.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-fashion

Palm muted ascending notes dance across a fretboard before being slashed in half by a riff weighed down by two giant bags of bricks in the first opening bars of “Mortal Melody,” track one from Abandon Fashion, the all new extended play by Colorado hard rockers Race to Neptune that is taking over the indie rock world this summer with a vengeance. The riffing of the rhythm guitar and the frustrated picking of the lead duel a bit for a couple of minutes before descending into a cymbal-saturated tizzy and unleashing the gravity of Abandon Fashion in its main verse. One is inclined to recall Pentagram, but this is decidedly not as doomy as the legendary metal crew’s work – if it is even “metal” at all.

“Departure,” the second song on Abandon Fashion, starts off with a colorful, highly textured melodic string part before unfolding into a lazy psychedelic sway that is impossible not to become utterly and completely hypnotized by. This track is much more shoegaze influenced than “Mortal Melody,” but minus the synthesizers and plastic empathy. A stunning guitar solo comes storming through about halfway through the song and we’re pummeled between the wall of sound the backend of the band is churning out and the angular girth of the lead guitar. If you love big harmonies as much as I do, it really doesn’t get better than what Race to Neptune do with this track and this entire EP as a whole; this is voluptuous, full-figured rock n’ roll for the discerning listener.
“Sunsets” kicks off the second half of Abandon Fashion with some smoky psychedelic banter between the guitar and the heavy handed drumming. It’s funny to try and imagine, but when you listen to Race to Neptune it’s almost like you’re not listening to a band of multiple musicians but instead a collection of lights combining forces to make one super powerful beam of light that is a singular entity instead of a multifaceted one. Race to Neptune come roaring through any record they make with a precision-cut intensity that is hard to breakdown, but if you’ve got an ear for music and listen closely enough, you can see that they are in fact a band and not some holy power accumulating in our stereo.

Abandon Fashion’s title track rounds out its four song playlist, and is perhaps the most haunting and ominous piece of material on the entire record. About two minutes of spine-tingling note-juggling gives way to a militaristic drum beat that only picks up more momentum as the track climbs towards the climactic peak of the extended play. Unrestricted, a wild, no holds barred style jam ensues that cycles in and out of our minds, modulating the tempo and temperature of the track before finally fading away into the ethers from which it was spawned. To summarize my experience of listening to this record would take far more space then I’m allotted as a critic, but I’ll put it very simply. Race to Neptune is making the most stimulating, thought-provoking rock music of any band in 2018, and you’d really have to be a fool not to check out the innovative content they’re producing.

Jennifer Hurtzler approved by Michael Rand - Mob Angeles

"Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion"

Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion

BANDCAMP: https://racetoneptune.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-fashion

You might not know it, but one of America’s greatest untapped music scenes is quietly tucked away in Colorado, dead center between the east and west coasts. While there have been plenty of acts that have come out of the Centennial State, few artists have ever been able to bring the Colorado musical identity with them. Undaunted by the isolation of their scene, Fort Collins’ own Race to Neptune aren’t just emerging from Colorado, they’re championing its fuzz-drenched rock n’ roll sound for all of the world to enjoy and come to appreciate in their new extended play Abandon Fashion.

Abandon Fashion is old school rock n’ roll that is heavy enough to break most millennials’ speakers but relevant and modernly stylized as to not feel dated or regenerative in the slightest. Anyone who isn’t familiar with what Colorado rock really sounds like gets a four course introduction right here, starting with the dynamic virtuosity of “Mortal Melody” and ending with the freewheeling title track. Where some scenes are born of a reimagining of another’s ethos, this is distinctly insular and removed from its closest contemporaries on the west coast and given a platform all its own in Abandon Fashion.

For being a modest four track extended play, this record has all of the sprawling design and tenacity of a full length LP, from its wandering riffs to its carefully synchronized bursts of energy. Race to Neptune are one part punk rock, one part psychedelic and another part vintage heavy metal, and if you think that the aforementioned combination can only render grungy alternative rock, the brill-influenced stoner rock of “Departure” should be enough to set you straight. There’s so much to take in with Abandon Fashion that it’s twenty or so minute running time can quickly turn into hours of repeated listening before you know it.

This EP really makes me want to see this band live, which historically has always been a good measurement of the quality of any given record regardless of length or genre. Race to Neptune has got quite the sterling reputation for their live performances, and although I wasn’t aware of their storied shows prior to hearing Abandon Fashion, I definitely could have guessed as much based on the raw power that is so organically distributed in this record. It isn’t often that you can tell that about a band from a studio recording, but very little about Race to Neptune is what you’d call “typical.”

2018 needed a really great rock record to add a little bit of vibrancy to a year that has otherwise been dominated by quaint pastoral artists and electronica-influenced DJs who have little interest in the straight instrumentation of a garage band. Race to Neptune has come through and delivered precisely what we’ve all been craving in the form of Abandon Fashion, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how well it turned out. I can’t wait to see and hear what they come up with next, no matter what enigmatic shape it takes on.

Trace Whittaker approved by Anne Hollister - The Indie Source

"Interview – Race To Neptune"

Influenced by a notion of natures, colorful sounds throughout time, the fiercely beautiful, and ambiguously poetic words and noise, Race to Neptune radiate powerfully delicate dynamics with evocative vocal melodies.

They have garnered 25+ national and international reviews of their debut record (all positive!!) and have a variety of their songs in radio rotation in North America and Europe. RtN has played classic venues in Fort Collins such as the Artery and Aggie Theater and have developed a little following after playing many shows in Denver at Herman’s Hideaway, Larimer Lounge, Lost Lake and the Bluebird District Music Festival. A new E.P. will be arriving in the near future!

Their debut album Oh Contraire “teems with lush guitar-wall effects, tasteful melodies, and head bobbing beats. The song topics are unrelated and “revolve around longing, fear, anger and disgust.” – qoutes from Jesse, Bolder Beat album review.

Race to Neptune is sincerely enigmatic in their delivery and song descriptions vary from “electric wanderlust”, “dreamy nostalgia”, and “rollicking stomp”. The inspiration behind their music travels from “90’s alternative to mid 60’s psychedelia. It is an admirable characteristic of the modern artist to exude confidently such ambidexterity while holding concurrently the roots of an original and underlying sound, and this is captured greatly throughout Oh Contraire.” – quotes from Scene Magazine album review

Armed with radio play, positive album reviews, interviews, and many shows under their belt, Race to Neptune will continue to make waves in the Colorado music scene and beyond. “I can’t wait to hear more from this band. This album has to be one of my top 10 favorites.” – Apple music review. Be sure to catch a show if you can because they are as loud and rocking as they are fun and impressive.

How would you describe your music?

If I put a label on it I think it would have to be indie/alternative/art rock.

What are you influences/ musical heroes?

We have a bunch of influences that range from the 60’s to modern day. Everything from 60’s pop and psychedelia, 70’s classic rock, 80’s post punk, indie and shoegaze, early 90’s rock, to newer indie and alternative bands.

What inspires you?

Everything can be an inspiration to write or create. Whether it be spending time alone or being around others, reading, conversations, listening to music, etc. You never know what will strike or when but you have to remember it when it does.

Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?

I prefer to write at home mainly on acoustic guitar or when we practice and something comes from nothing.

What are your future plans?

Our future plans are to keep writing, recording and releasing new music to share. As well as play some amazing shows! - Loud Stuff

"IndiePulse Interviews Race To Neptune"

They Came From Fort Collins, CO, to Conquer …

Influenced by a notion of natures, colorful sounds throughout time, the fiercely beautiful, and ambiguously poetic words and noise, Race to Neptune radiate powerfully delicate dynamics with evocative vocal melodies.

They have garnered 25+ national and international reviews of their debut record (all positive!!) and have a variety of their songs in radio rotation in North America and Europe. RtN has played classic venues in Fort Collins such as the Artery and Aggie Theater and have developed a little following after playing many shows in Denver at Herman’s Hideaway, Larimer Lounge, Lost Lake and the Bluebird District Music Festival. A new E.P. will be arriving in the near future!

Their debut album Oh Contraire “teems with lush guitar-wall effects, tasteful melodies, and head bobbing beats. The song topics are unrelated and “revolve around longing, fear, anger and disgust.” – qoutes from Jesse, Bolder Beat album review.

Race to Neptune is sincerely enigmatic in their delivery and song descriptions vary from “electric wanderlust”, “dreamy nostalgia”, and “rollicking stomp”. The inspiration behind their music travels from “90’s alternative to mid 60’s psychedelia. It is an admirable characteristic of the modern artist to exude confidently such ambidexterity while holding concurrently the roots of an original and underlying sound, and this is captured greatly throughout Oh Contraire.” – quotes from Scene Magazine album review

Armed with radio play, positive album reviews, interviews, and many shows under their belt, Race to Neptune will continue to make waves in the Colorado music scene and beyond. “I can’t wait to hear more from this band. This album has to be one of my top 10 favorites.” – Apple music review. Be sure to catch a show if you can because they are as loud and rocking as they are fun and impressive. - Indie Pulse

"Race to Neptune, Abandon Fashion (EP) | Album Review"

Fort Collins, CO indie rock band Race to Neptune impresses on their adventurous, distorted, and at times, retro-sounding EP, ‘Abandon Fashion.’

“Influenced by a notion of natures, colorful sounds throughout time, the fiercely beautiful, and ambiguously poetic words and noise, Race to Neptune radiate powerfully delicate dynamics with evocative vocal melodies.” Wow – that was a poetic excerpt from the bio of the standout, unsigned, indie rock band from Fort Collins, Colorado. In addition to being alt/indie, their music also encompasses ‘art rock.’ A foursome, the band is comprised of Brian Maier (guitar and vocals), Zach Berger (guitar), Matt McNear (bass), and Matt Peterson (drums). Among the influences of the band include The Beatles, The Cure, Jimi Hendrix, and Modest Mouse. Their various influences and “colorful sounds” and noise shine on their stellar EP, Abandon Fashion.
“Mortal Melody”

“Mortal Melody” kicks off Abandon Fashion with a bang. Race to Neptune allows the music to ‘speak for itself’ with a rhythmic, extended instrumental intro. This last for about half the duration of the song, showcasing the band’s musicianship. It also showcases a love for distorted, biting guitars, robust bass, and boisterousness in general. An excellent change of pace occurs at about the two-minute mark. This helps usher in the aggressive, gritty vocals by Brian Maier, which are supported by an ultra-driving groove and angst-laden guitars. For Maier, the accuracy of pitch is merely secondary, meant to capture the rawness suggested by the title. It’s highly effective. Also, worth noting is a rousing guitar solo. “Mortal Melody” rocks – understatement.

“Departure” doesn’t spend nearly as much time setting up. A minute shorter, following a brief, slightly mellower intro, Maier gets to work with his commanding, nuanced pipes. He’s at his best on the powerful chorus, backed by music that matches his intensity. Even if “Departure” is slightly simpler, and more straightforward compared to the opener, it remains compelling, continuing to exhibit the adventurous and ambitious of Race to Neptune.


Penultimate record “Sunsets” is the most optimistic yet, set in a sunny, major key and referencing California. The 60s, psychedelic rock influence really shine through on this particular number. The guitars carry a warmer, more optimistic tone, starkly different from the distortion of “Mortal Melody.” Meanwhile, the drums pummel, exhibiting ample intensity, while the bass remains robust, laying the roots, but also coloring with distinct countermelodic lines. This collective clearly has musicianship on their side, working extremely well as a cohesive unit. Vocally, Maier continues to shine and most of all, rock.

Enigma characterizes “Abandon Fashion,” which gives Abandon Fashion the closing record it deserves. If you need an example of an indie rock band going “H.A.M.,” well this is it. The guitars begin eerie and unsettling on this instrumental gem – there’s the sense that ‘it’s about to go down.’ The bass and drums amplify the mystery initially, with spare entrances and lines that are important to the overall success of the record. Of course, there’s resolution, and “Abandon Fashion” stabilizes with a driving groove, propelled by drums and bass, while the guitars remain locked into frightening, extraterrestrial sounds. Soon enough, even that fades, with jamming from the guitars, cool countermelodies from the bass, and a soundscape that’s incredibly spirited.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an indie rock fan, and Race to Neptune isn’t on your radar, well you need to totally ‘get on that.’ This Colorado band has plenty to offer, most of all their love for distortion and the appreciation and influence of the classic music of old. But it’s not all about the past – they have a clear idea of what their musical identity is and execute it well. Abandon Fashion (EP) = winner.

Gems: “Mortal Melody” & “Abandon Fashion” - The Musical Hype

"Race to Neptune - Abandon Fashion (EP)"

Race to Neptune - Abandon Fashion (EP)

BANDCAMP: https://racetoneptune.bandcamp.com/album/abandon-fashion

Just based on my slight background knowledge of the bands much buzzed about, juggernaut live performances, nothing led me to believe that Race to Neptune’s new extended play Abandon Fashion was going to easy-listening. But I had no idea how much audiological carnage and sheer raw power I was in for when I picked up a copy of this fantastically hard rocking new record the other day. As a music critic, it’s my job to write about music that people like to listen to, and more explicitly, the kind of musicians that people can relate to more than any others. I don’t know if people can relate to Race to Neptune, and I don’t know how many people are buying Abandon Fashion this summer. But one thing that I do know? Not only did they manage to turn out the sleeper hit recording of the summer in this EP, but they may have just saved rock n’ roll by doing so. Allow me to discuss my theory.

It’s been a hot minute since rock music was a force to be reckoned with on the charts, and no one can deny that the absence of rip-roar, chest-beating music has been sorely felt throughout the entire spectrum of pop music as a whole. You could argue that a band as talented as Race to Neptune shouldn’t be taking the DIY approach to their work that they have thus far in their careers if they really want to make bank. In that same breath, you could say that they should be selling their songs for use in commercials and major motion pictures, and maybe looking to attach themselves to a larger label conglomerate than what they’ve chosen to go with to date. And I would have to tell you that not only is that the last thing that you would ever want to do with a band that is as skilled as these guys are, it’s one of the worst things you could do for music.

Change has never been affected, in the long term, by a corporate ad campaign. Evolution in music, and everywhere, begins from the ground up. It’s not the pop goddesses and radio ready singalong stars that are shaping what tomorrow will sound like; it’s the grassroots cats like Race to Neptune. By choosing to keep their music pure and adherent to the values that have traditionally cultivated all of music’s most definitive styles of play, they’ve not only kept their integrity, but they’ve ensured the survival of their sound long after their days of touring the Front Range and beyond have gone. Abandon Fashion is a thoroughly heartfelt indie record that is as heavy as rocks and as raw as you can get without recording the band live in their stage show, and while I could tell you that their content is stellar, compelling and spellbinding in so many ways; that their passion is unmatched, their basslines so thick it would take a year to crack through them with a pickaxe; that their songwriting is unrushed and unpolished, and that very quality is what makes it feel complete and whole; I’ll leave it to you to hear for yourself. Because in the spirit of Race to Neptune’s credo, it isn’t about the journalists like me or even the band’s like them: it’s about the connection that we all feel when we listen to this music.

Mindy McCall - No Depression

"Race to Neptune drops EP"

With a subdued yet mischievous grin, “Mortal Melody” kicks off Colorado hard rockers Race to Neptune’s latest extended play Abandon Fashion with a mighty, albeit ominous, roar that doesn’t take long to reach maximum volume (and stay there, comfortably, for the duration of the record). Anyone following heavy music in the Midwest for the last couple of years has probably heard the echo of Race to Neptune’s thunderous jams. Fusing a fuzz-drenched love of old school, Palm Desert stoner rock ala Kyuss and Fu Manchu with a uniquely Rocky Mountain identity, the band is garnering a lot of attention from both critics and fans with this latest release and sharing the love with the untapped Colorado music scene that they celebrate.

A lot of critics might rush to call Race to Neptune a straight up stoner rock band, but I don’t know that the label is a fair moniker for this group to wear. As psychedelic and bass heavy as Abandon Fashion is, the content doesn’t come off particularly druggy or spacey in the way that genre standards like Welcome to Sky Valley did, and most of their songs are structured around simple narratives and chord schemes more in line with Pixies-inspired alternative rock than desert bong bosses. As a fan of both styles of music, I think that anyone who has a deep appreciation of high volume alternative rock or metallic Palm Desert stuff would have an easy time getting into Race to Neptune, but their identity isn’t limited to these scenes exclusively.

In the song “Departure,” there’s a certain point towards the end of the track where the amplifier feedback begins to take on a life of its own, as if to be its own instrument or entity sharing a piece of this band’s stardom. It reminded me a lot of Boris, but a little more direct and focused on a specific goal as opposed to shapeless and obtuse. Every song on Abandon Fashion shows off a different side of Race to Neptune, whether it be the quaking of the opening track or the post-punk indulgence of “Sunsets” (which stands out as one of the catchiest heavy rock songs I’ve listened to in years), but we never get the impression that the band is trying to look or feel a lot more diverse in aesthetics than they really are.

Real, raw and organically harvested, Abandon Fashion introduces a lot of us to a band that has the potential to ignite excitement in any diehard rock fan’s life as well as inject a little bit more adrenaline into a somewhat stagnant indie rock culture that has seen little growth – or overdrive – in the last decade. Packed full of surreal lyrics, grinding rhythms and melody in places where you would least expect to find it, this is a record that I highly recommend to anyone in search of gigantic yet non-aggressive heavy music that ascribes to no one set of rules but instead follows the beat of its own drum.

Sebastian Cole - Gas House Radio

"Interview: Race to Neptune talk latest EP"

Interview: Race to Neptune talk latest EP
Posted on July 26, 2018 by OriginalRock

Influenced by a notion of natures, colorful sounds throughout time, the fiercely beautiful, and ambiguously poetic words and noise, Race to Neptune radiate powerfully delicate dynamics with evocative vocal melodies.

They have garnered 25+ national and international reviews of their debut record and have a variety of their songs in radio rotation in North America and Europe. RtN has played classic venues in Fort Collins such as the Artery and Aggie Theater and have developed a little following after playing many shows in Denver at Herman’s Hideaway, Larimer Lounge, Lost Lake and the Bluebird District Music Festival. The band’s latest EP Abandoned Fashion has already gone down really well and was released earlier this year, you can check it out below!

We managed to catch up with the band as they talked about their latest EP and more!

So how has your latest EP gone so far with fans then?

The reception from fans has been wonderful and the reviews that we’ve gotten thus far have been super flattering. Since we’ve just been together, as a whole, for about 5 months or so it’s given us nothing but excitement and energy to carry us forward.

Tell us something about the release no one knows?

It’s all recorded live which isn’t really a secret but we did hit ‘Abandon Fashion’ in one take which was really awesome. It was the first thing we did the second day in the studio and when we finished playing it, we looked up at each other and we’re just like “well I guess we don’t need to warm up today.” It’s pretty cool when you have that as a band. That cohesion has been with us since day one of being together and it’s not going anywhere either.

If you could work with any band on a new song, who would it be and why?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Tame Impala lately, specifically the Innerspeaker album. Kevin Parker is a phenomenal musician and the fact that he does all the writing and recording for Tame Impala seizes to blow my mind- to have his input on a song would be super cool to me.

How has your latest single been received?

There wasn’t a specific single that went along with the EP but we’ve been considering ‘Abandon Fashion’ as the sound for our re-branding of Race which is significant for us as a new line-up.

Can you tell us about the meaning behind the track?

‘Abandon Fashion’ is an instrumental track and the reason we chose it to help describe Race’s new approach to creating music is because it is so different than what people heard on Oh Contraire. The drums hit hard and don’t let up throughout the entirety of the song, and if you listen to what Brian, Zach, and Matt (bass) are doing it, at times, it sounds like we have three lead guitarists which I think is amazing. The song starts off based around that melodic riff by Brian and with Zach getting those super spacey and eerie sounds out of his guitar, as Matt and I come in on bass and drums the song starts to build, fill out and completely come together. Once you think we’re full force we just keep trying to take it up a notch until rising all the way up and launching into the ending of the song where we wanted to leave the listener wanting more. It’s very comparable to how we came together with Matt and I coming on to keep Race alive and now that we’re here and together this is what you can continue to expect out of Race To Neptune- relentless rock music.

What tours do you have coming up, and what can you tell us about them?

We’re working on booking shows in our locale for right now. First show is going to be at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins, CO on 9/27 and we are in the process of booking more shows along Colorado’s Front Range..

What venue are you most looking forward to playing the most, and why?

I can’t wait for the Surfside show because it’s going to be our first show together. We’re planning to make a strong first impression in our music scene out here.

What else can we expect from you in 2018?

Live shows and another EP. We can’t wait to keep sharing our music with everyone. - Original Rock.Net

"Race To Neptune Abandon Fashion"

Race to Neptune’s new EP Abandon Fashion takes the listener up and back at the same time, a provocatively modern reflection of classic and psychedelic rock. The EP starts with Mortal Melody, introducing the piece with rhythmic, raspy chords blazing until the electric guitar slams in like a wave of fire. Steady instrumentals take over, climbing higher and higher as if you’re going to blast off. The riff heats up with a dominating bass line, giving the extended intro an organic jam session ambiance. The vocals start while you already feel in space, charged with the passionate repetition of ‘Away!’ Catchy lyrics and guitar licks will have you singing (and plucking your air guitar during the sick solo). After the first song, you’ll be ready to go anywhere with Race to Neptune.

Departure takes the listener back down a few wavelengths beginning soft and slow. It draws you in, ready to take this departure to Neptune (obviously I was going to use that pun). Raspy, grungy lyrics beckon the listener to ‘come along’, reminding you of 90’s rock, creating a comfortable element of nostalgia. The singer calls for the listener to ‘buckle in for departure,’ fierce yet comforting. The song shows the diversity of this band, yet still their ability to tie the piece into the greater theme of the album: adventurous exit of comfort space. The thematic elements course through the musical style, a sort of classic space rock with notes of grit and rapture that convey the excitement and anxiety of going somewhere new. Departure flawlessly leads into the next musical leap, Sunsets creating a dichotomy of beginnings and ends, seemingly oppositional yet sides of the same coin.

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The third track takes a softer turn with bright guitar notes dancing around the bars, climbing high before dipping low, forming the catchy melody that becomes the skeleton of Sunsets. The notes echo across the lovely space created in the indie surf rock feel. The drums start easy, cymbals ringing like island bells, reminding me of California Christmas (which is always a good thing). The Tom-Toms and bass fall in like symphonic bliss. The bass guitar compliments the melody perfectly, even forming the word ‘California’ within the rise and fall of the notes.

Forgive my utter subjectivity, but this song is my personal favorite on the EP. The lyrics tell a story, the speaker beginning in a small town with ‘nothing going down.’ I feel the words reverberate across my soul as I remember my own journey to California (almost 3 years ago) from my small town in Georgia. The chorus leaves the listener starry-eyed and thinking it’s time to head ‘on out to California’ (you should, it’s an amazing state full of artists tirelessly working to make their dreams come true – living here has changed my life in the best way possible). The guitarist soaks your ears in confidence and expectation. There’s something about music that brings out our inner resilience, like I can hear and feel the best sides of myself expanding. If you’ve ever thought of leaving your comfort zone and moving to a new place, this is the song to blast in your car.

The titular Abandon Fashion starts with a haunting stringed melody, reminding me of the twilight zone (space puns all over the place). The bass falls in slow with poly-rhythmic cymbal hits to build anticipation. Then the kick drum starts with the rhythmic guitar, building up the excitement. It’s similar to the first track in that instrumentals monopolize most of the song, showing off the chops of every musician in the band. It’s as if the band made it to California (or Neptune for symbolism’s sake), and they’re ready to melt your face with musical talent. The soundscape intensifies with peaks like star-capped mountains guided by the incredible bass line like a gravel road. The performance feels like a race down a highway, almost like Race to Neptune know they have the listener by the ears and they’re going to take you all the way past your comfort zone. Abandon fashion, forget reservations, and dance to this amazing EP while your brain races to the stars.

The Abandon Fashion EP introduces two new talented members to the band – Matt Petersen on drums, and Matt McNear on bass. Find & follow Race To Neptune on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Visit their Website for more information - Stereo Stickman

"Interview With 'Race To Neptune"

Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?

Race To Neptune has been Brian's project for a few years now, since he lived in Gunnison, CO. Eventually he moved up to Fort Collins, the lineup got an overhaul, and he met Zach at a bar where they connected over Modest Mouse and The Pixies, among other bands. They played that week and haven't parted since. That line up was together for a couple years and that's when things really started to develop. We had a lot of fun, were playing some great shows in the area, recorded a full album, but a few things came up, or went down, however you want to look at it, and before we knew it we were out a drummer and a bassist. It was kind of stagnant there for a bit but when we started searching for musicians Matt Petersen was one of the first drummers to respond to a Craigslist ad we had posted. He came over to play and we knew Race would be breathing with new life soon enough. A few months later Matt McNear responded to a bass ad, also on CL, and sure enough he was the final piece. He learned all the songs we had been working on, gave it his flavor and we were in the studio a month later recording the EP. We've been making quick progress and are really tight together, musically, so we are very excited for whatever lies ahead for us.

What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?

Matt Petersen: Before Race I had actually just moved to Fort Collins, Colorado from Arlington Heights which is a suburb of Chicago. I moved in August, went back for my kit in October, responded to Brian's CL ad by the end of the month, and we were jamming in November. There have been some other things I've explored along the way in my life, most of which fell through. Drums and music have been the only constant things in my life since I was a kid (along with my 20 year old tarantula) so I knew that if I was patient and kept working at it, the right things would happen at the right time.

Brian Maier: I honestly have always been playing and writing music while recording a lot at home. I think this has always been my chosen path since my dad started teaching me the guitar when I was about 12 years old. I taught myself how to play drums and bass so I can record full demos when I had no one else to play music with. Another avenue I have taken, without the same amount of passion as music but still up there, is art, such as painting and printmaking. If I could have a “dream job” that did not involve music it would be either as an artist or professional bass fisherman. If I was a pro fisherman I would wear a tuxedo every tournament instead of rockin the sponsor jumpsuits.

Matt McNear: I drifted around for a while trying to figure it all out. I played college football for a year at a division two school called CSU-Pueblo (a sister school of CSU) right out of high school which I ultimately ended up giving up and then moving back home where I worked at a lumberyard for quite some time. I finally at some point got wise enough to finish my schooling which was when I decided to make the move to Fort Collins and finish my degree. Music was always somewhere in the mix though for me. I played with some buddies back home for a while and I also met some guys up here in Fort Collins prior to playing with Race. Those experiences were never really ideal for me, but they taught me so many things about how to play and make music that I never would have discovered on my own. The guys I played with before Race were very talented musicians and exponentially made me a better musician. It just ultimately didn't quite work out. But I don't feel that way with these guys. This is the most excited I've ever been musically.

Tell us about your latest release and why our readers should check it out.

First of all, we're super stoked because this is our first release with Matt and Matt taking over our rhythm section. It's loud, it's melodic, it's poetic, and we really go for that "wall of sound" effect when we write. We want our music to feel full, without being over the top and having certain parts taking away from one another. There is a lot of energy and emotion in our music and we want our listeners to be able to feel that while they're listening. This was also all recorded live, minus vocals, which was such a cool experience for us. In the first three seconds of "Mortal Melody" you'll hear Zach's guitar making some echo noises before he starts playing that we opted not to cut out. I feel like that's our signature to the fact of it being a live recording. We recorded at Stout Studios in Fort Collins, CO with Darren Radach who really knows his stuff. We had all the amps lined up with the bass drum so everything projects in the same direction without interference or mic bleed. It worked because we all have a pretty solid sense of time and space when it comes to our music so we were able to hit all the songs in 3-5 takes.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

Matt Petersen: I got to see Brand New some years ago at Riot Fest in Chicago. I've been listening to them since I was in high school and Jesse Lacey has always been one of my favorite songwriters. It was just one of those shows that you left thinking "Damn, I don't know when I'll see a show like that again." Really powerful.

Brian Maier: I got to meet and talk to Deaner from Ween after one of his solo shows. It was amazing and he autographed my Mollusk record. He is one of my favorite guitarists and WEEN is one of my artists so that moment was pretty special.

Matt Mcnear: I was at SXSW a couple years ago and ended up on stage at a very intimate Wolfmother concert somehow while they were closing with "Joker And The Thief." Their energy, stage presence and just sheer intensity literally blew my mind. Hands down best concert I've been to. I went from liking to being obsessed with their music overnight.

If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

A lot of energy and a huge sound!! Possibly Matt playing drums in a sundress. I do think you can expect to be immersed in something genuine. I don't think any one of us is in this for external reasons. I think we all truly love beating the shit out of our instruments and making real noise that is full of passion and emotion. Our practices alone always feel so driven and we hope it carries over live and the audience can feel that.

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?

Matt Petersen: The Rolling Stones - because they're the fucking Stones and they're still touring!

Brian Maier: WEEN! I have seen them a couple times and love their sound and shows. They truly are keeping music an art form. I am always drawn to diversity in songwriting and sounds and they do it right while rocking out!

Matt McNear: I'd be pretty stoked if Dave Grohl called us up to play some shows with them. I kind of attribute the Foos to being one of the last remaining kind of "Classic Rock" bands. I'd love to be in that category as well.

You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

Matt Petersen: I would for sure hang out with Keith Moon. Drink some Dom Perignon, trash a hotel room, and ask him how exactly he rigged his kit to explode back in '67. I'd love to pull something off like that!

Brian Maier: If I could jam with Billy Corgan for an hour I would be ecstatic!!

Matt McNear: Geddy Lee, so I could pick his brain about the wide, beautiful, wonderful, part of the world they call Canada eh.

And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Yippee Ki Aye Motherfucker! John McClane is the reason I celebrate Christmas.

Website - racetoneptune.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RaceToNeptune/ - three songs and out

"Interviews: Race To Neptune"

In this new occassion we have had the opportunity to interview the Rock band Race To Neptune from USA. Check out the interview and this band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Brian Maier: I had a major shoulder surgery and was prescribed 12 Percocet a day for 6 weeks. Those first few days were strange and it somehow came to me around then.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Matt Peterson: I don't think we set out to necessarily fit a particular genre. When we write, we write for the song, for the art, and that makes it different every time.

Matt McNear: Rock music has always just spoken to me more than any other style. I think it's because it's capable of bringing in so many different genres and still sounding good. And the energy is just unmatchable in any other genre. I haven't seen too many bluegrass shows that end with shattered guitars or fireworks.

Brian M: I can’t exactly say we stick to one genre or try to. I think what we play still falls under indie/alt/art rock but that is so vague and we have the freedom and ability to play whatever we like.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Matt P: I responded to Brian's CL ad looking for a drummer after I had moved to Fort Collins, CO. I was stoked to find out he wasn't a 45 year old burnout with a receding hairline and a PornHub subscription.

Matt M: I personally did not. Like Matt, I responded via CL. I did come across Race to Naptunes music several months before the opportunity to join them arose however. The Oh Contraire album, which I was not personally apart of making, really peaked my interest when I first heard it long before I found out they needed a bass player. Six months ago I was just trying to see these guys in concert. Now I'm playing with them. So I think that's pretty cool coincidence.

Brian M: I did not, I miraculously met both Matt and Matt through CL. I met Zach at a local bar when he came up our table trying to sneakily steal our drinks until we started talking about music. He came over the next day and we have not stopped playing since.

4. Each band member favourite band?

Matt P: The Beatles

Matt M: Foo Fighters

Brian M: The Beatles

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Matt P: That's always a hard question but I'd say that music or art that anyone creates is a direct result of their surroundings and the why is often a more important question. One of my favorite Charles Bukowski poems is "So you want to be a writer?" It's opening lines are "If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it." He goes on to write "unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it." I think that translates to all artistic mediums. The creation and the desire to make music is something I feel like I have to do because I would go crazy not. If that's the case for anyone making art, never stop.

Matt M: jamming with others. I have a hard time just sitting down alone and coming up with something I think is cool. I think it might stem from how analytical I approach everything so I tend to be hard on myself. But when I'm jamming with others or right after I go home from say jamming with these guys for practice is usually when I crank out my best ideas. I really need to feed off of others energy to create my own. And these guys offer me plenty of that.

Brian M: Almost anything can hit a note inside you to inspire a song, whether it’s a book, a conversation, a mood, an event, etc. and of course other music. I play and write mainly on acoustic and transfer it over to electric later on because I like to establish the base. It’s nice to be able to play most of our songs on electric and unplugged.

6. Where was your last gig?

Brian M: I believe our last gig was at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver. I remember because I thought I lost my notebook I had for years with songs in it. I recently just found it and I was so thrilled!

7. Where would you like to perform?

Matt P: The Mishawaka would be so sweet. It's this really intimate outdoor venue up the Poudre Canyon in the Rocky Mountains, right along a river, and its maybe 45 minutes from where we all live.

Matt M: Ditto, on the Mish. Went to a concert there recently. Love that place. I think Washingtons in Fort Collins would be cool too though because it is brand new and looks awesome! It's also used to be an old bar before they renovated it to a venue. And I use to hang there a lot. So lots of good memories of that place.

Brian M: Red Rocks or Glastonbury

8. Whom would you like to perform with?

Matt P: I think opening for the Foo Fighters would be so fucking cool.

Matt M: Yep. Foo Fighters. Or Wolfmother.

Brian M: WEEN or Smashing Pumpkins

9. Whom not?

Matt P: Any pop-country band ever.

Matt M: Insane Clown Posse?

Brian M: Phish

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Matt P: When I started doing live shows with my first band there was definitely a little stage fright but it's nothing to sweat. The more you play the easier it gets.

Matt M: I'm always nervous. But once you get going it immediately fades and I become myself. It takes a lot of courage to want to show off an original creation in front of strangers in my opinion. But I think the most important thing is to just be absolutely prepared. Don't half ass shit ever. People notice that. And it's a snowball effect through a whole show if you are underprepared or clearly didn't express interest in putting on your best show you can put on.

Brian M: It is a little nerve racking at first, but it gets easier every time. My dad said when I was younger there is no need to be afraid because most people in the audience wish they were on stage and could do what you do.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Matt P: We all draw from so many different influences which makes gives us a unique sound. Zeppelin, The Who, Brand New, Foo Fighters, and I love underground hip hop groups like Hieroglyphics and A Tribe Called Quest.

Matt M: Boston, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Wolfmother, John Butler Trio, Foo Fighters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, to list a few of the hundred I could list.

Brian M: The Beatles, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bowie, WEEN, Modest Mouse, The Pixies, REM, The Replacements, Led Zeppelin, Elliott Smith, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Velvet Underground…and a lot of shoegaze bands.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Matt P: This hasn't happened to me but my threshold for weirdness is pretty high so I'd probably be down.

Matt M: The phone number of my band mate at the time I guess?

Brian M: I had a guy repeatedly ask me if he could touch my hair during a show.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Matt P: Coolest people in the world, I'm going to love anyone that listens to our music and supports what we're doing as this band.

Matt M: I'm yet to play a show with Race, but I will absolutely love and respect anyone who comes to see us!

Brian M: They are so wonderful and very supportive!! I couldn’t be more grateful.

14. What do you think of our site?

Matt P: You guys are publishing music for so many bands around the globe that are trying to get their name out there and into different musical communities, and that is just so rad to me.

Matt M: I'll answer this once I'm in town and not in the middle of nowhere with actual wifi.

Brian M: I think it is great and I appreciate you taking the time to feature our music and other great up and coming artists.

15. Something to add?

Matt P: Yeah- Thanks for the love guys!

Matt M: I love this fucking band. Good things are coming!

Brian M: I can not wait to get back in the studio to share more music! - Breathing the Core

"Race to Neptune – Mortal Melody (single)"

Good lord. These guys never fail to blow our doors off.

Stop what you’re doing for a second and pay attention, cuz I’m not blowing smoke. Just over a year ago, we reviewed, Oh Contraire, by Fort Collins, CO’s own, Race To Neptune. It was one damn enjoyably meaty, 90’s grunge-rock style album which we called, “…a throwback to another time when musical substance was at least ‘as important’ as lyrical substance—if not more so.” Thus, earning our #5 album of 2017.

Since then, they’ve stayed busy creating more of that “best-served-loud” music, which includes, The Phantom Deep, from this past May, as well as their latest project, Abandon Fashion—a beautiful and loud calamity—upon which resides the opening single, the raw and knee-skinning, the straight-up Nirvana-esque, Mortal Melody.

After a scathing, near two-minute intro—which treads a metal line—the track stumbles into an explosive segue, quickly morphing into something altogether different, something wildly primal and erratic, something that could’ve easily been inspired by Nirvana’s Nevermind-era catalog. Capped off with a raucously loud solo under heavy delay (beginning at the 3:41 mark), the whole thing is wildly nostalgic for any of us who remember those grungy 90’s. Give it a go or two below, then check out the rest of the EP as well. (Thank me later—I’m confident you’ll want to.)

Nirvana meets Tool…

BELOW: Listen to Race to Neptune’s single, Mortal Melody, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Race to Neptune by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music! - The Ark of Music

"Review: Race To Neptune – Abandon Fashion EP Hailing from Fort Collins in Colorado across the pond, Race To Neptune released their first piece of new material since their 2016 debut, Oh Contraire."

Race To Neptune’s first release since their debut album, came out at the start of the summer, featuring four new tracks. The indie rock band’s Abandon Fashion EP, starts off in misleading fashion.

Opening with ‘Mortal Melody’, provides a sound more like 90s grunge, not that there’s anything wrong with that, who doesn’t love a bit of dirty rock? It’s that what at first appears to be a grunge-influenced record, changes completely when the remaining songs have a more uplifting and accessible sound for all music lovers.

The band are finely tuned, with stunning melodies and invigorating hooks. ‘Departure’ is a song that would make you think Race To Neptune where from Northern England, as opposed to Colorado. With an instrumental that could pull similarities to some of Oasis’s climatic melodies and verses that would have Kasabian’s more laid back songs flash into your mind.

The title-track ‘Abandon Fashion’, closes out the EP in spectacular style with an instrumental that continues to rise and rise, choosing to end with an emphatic bang.

It’s an EP that is short but sweet, with gorgeous melodies and mixed with some intense moments. The likes of ‘Sunset’ and ‘Departure’ will be welcome additions to those summer playlists.

Abandon Fashion EP is the follow up to Race To Neptune’s 2016 debut album Oh Contraire, leaving the impression that the follow up LP is going to be worth the wait. - Jack's Media

"Abandon Fashion by Race to Neptune"

Abandon Fashion by Race to Neptune is the latest EP with their new line-up. We get four alt rock tracks with a retro nineties sound. The whole thing starts off with a bang on the track ‘Mortal Melody’ and one hell of a guitar riff to get you moving. ‘Departure’ is a mid tempo bop with a killer guitar solo. ‘Sunsets’ slows it all down and allows us to chill and daydream. Follow that up with the title track ‘Abandon Fashion’ to close it all out. It starts off slow and builds up to a full blown rock jam session where the band showcases their talents. All in all, it’s a well rounded EP with plenty of movement. Have a listen below and if you like what you hear follow, share and support! Links below - The Music Below

"Local band Race to Neptune remains hard at work"

Fort Collins-based alternative/indie rock outfit Race to Neptune released a new single, “The Phantom Deep,” in early November. This latest effort, which has garnered airplay on radio stations throughout the country and overseas, bears a distinct ‘90s-alt influence.

The song opens with gain-heavy power chords, which a cymbal part parallels on the second pass of the intro. A second guitar part thickens the distortion as the first verse begins, and remains present for the rest of the song. The vocals of guitarist/lead singer Brian Maier emulate the desperation and angst of the likes of Chris Cornell, but a cleaner, more melodic quality sits beneath the surface.

Maier acknowledges that the sound of ‘90s alt bands—he mentioned The Smashing Pumpkins specifically—has played a role in shaping Race to Neptune’s work, but he also cites a diverse array of influences, including The Beatles, The Pixies, The Cure and David Bowie, just to name a few.

Maier appreciates the creative liberties music affords, and is reluctant to dismiss even the most eclectic of influences. “I love playing music because it has limitless possibilities and the guitar is a never ending canvas,” he said.

The new single is a testament to Maier’s willingness to explore that musical canvas. With its twin guitars and its deep drum parts, “The Phantom Deep” achieves a heaviness that both builds upon and departs from the band’s debut full-length album, Oh Contraire. On that record, the vocals and the guitars sound closer to The Smashing Pumpkins than Soundgarden.

“The Phantom Deep” marks a shift in the other direction, but retains “indie” elements that complicate reductive comparisons to Cornell and others.

Race to Neptune continues to work and evolve. The band is in the midst of a lineup change; the ways in which the personnel shift will affect the sound remain to be seen.

It’s clear that Maier, for his part, embraces the ongoing evolution.

“I am a bit surprised by how many like our music since it is more eclectic and diverse from what is popular in the area we live in,” he says.

Indeed, a large percentage of today’s popular music is watered-down, formulaic and short-sighted. But our local scene has long resisted those trends. So it’s no surprise that Race to Neptune’s “eclectic and diverse” sound piques the interest of music enthusiasts in Fort Collins and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Evan Clea via Brian Maier - Scene Magazine

"Race To Neptune Oh Contraire"

Race To Neptune are a band that offer a thoroughly unique and unusual sound. The beauty of their creativity and indeed their poetic lyricism is explored in a number of different ways throughout the Oh Contraire album, and it is, probably, one of the most interesting collections of the year.

Wanderlilly is the opener, part peacefully ambient and part inescapably heavy. This is an effect the band have crafted and mastered – the gentle imagery, the soft yet gritty sound of the leading vocal, the use of melody – all of this creates a notable contrast with the thick wall of distortion and the addictive high energy of the drums. Cigars & Celebrations encapsulates this idea even further. The guitar riffs throughout the verses have a lightly reverb soaked, dreamlike appearance, something which powerfully evolves as the hook section comes in, and continues to mutate and grow as the solo loaded middle-eight crashes into action. Then you get to to enjoy the softness once again as you follow this meandering bass line along through its momentary musings.

The album is an indie rock project by all accounts, but there’s a striking amount of tenderness to it that really bares the humanness embedded in the songwriting. Threes & Fours, for example, is a beautiful song, the band’s use of lyrical imagery is sublime, and the soundscape created around it makes for the perfect bit of escapism. There’s a hint of familiarity to the music, a touch of influence, as always. On occasion the sound drew comparisons with Goo Goo Dolls, later Starsailor, Smashing Pumpkins, even Brand New at times. But as mentioned at the start, the band are massively unique for the most part, and these comparisons simply offer a warm sense of nostalgia for those who fear the unknown or have, for one reason or another, lost faith in modern music.

Bulletful Of Piss is a dark and enchanted bit of weighted rock music, though after the initial introduction, the music opens up into something much more calming and affectionate. The switch between moods is fascinating, a further example of the clever and unpredictable songwriting and composition that Race To Neptune are all about.

Iron Satire is a beautiful song and a personal favourite from the project. Something about the perfect meeting of guitars and melodies and passion – it gets to you, it gets into your head, it allows you to escape from yourself for a while but it also provokes thought. The way the music develops throughout is as captivating as ever; the emotion and grit that comes through in the final instrumental section is all kinds of wonderful.

Following this, Constant Collapse – in a way, the exact opposite of its predecessor. The overwhelming power and chaos of the introduction falls away in this sudden and haunting manner, to leave you surrounded by a single riff and a single melody line, with these intriguing lyrics that linger in your mind after listening. The softness is replaced intermittently by a manic wall of energy. The grunge element of the band’s sound is strong here, well placed within the collection, a striking alternative angle. Blue Skies So Burned further highlights the strength of thoughtful arrangement and proceeds to mellow you out a little after the hard hit of the previous track.

Bayou Brew comes as a completely unforeseen moment within the album, though by now you sort of expect the unexpected from Race To Neptune. This infectious country rock riff pours out, as does this high powered, fast paced array of lyricism. It’s a track that bares listening to on repeat whenever your energy levels are flagging. Then things come to an end with the charming and characterful Waterspout, another completely fresh melody and a slight snippet of joyfulness to leave you grateful for having had the whole experience. A brilliant album, packed full of great songs, great musicianship, and unwavering individuality.

Download the album via Bandcamp. Find and follow Race To Neptune on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Visit their Website for more information. - Stereo Stickman

"Album Review: Race To Neptune – Oh Contraire"

Oh Contraire is the first full-length release from Fort Collins rock band, Race to Neptune. Formed in 2012, the band has been a staple of the Fort Collins rock scene and now, with the release of their new album, they have a solid body of work to show for. The band has an overarching sound of 90’s alternative but they pull from a multitude of different influences that span a 30 year range, from the 60’s to late 90’s. What’s impressive about this album is the band’s ability to go from “in your face” riffs, to soft ballads, to even country while still staying true to their sound.

A couple of tracks that stand out on the album are “Iron Satire”, “Constant Collapse”, and “The Bayou Brew”. “Iron Satire” is the ballad of the album that perfectly encapsulates nostalgia. The song really showcases guitarist and vocalist’s Brian Maier voice as well as his lyrics that nicely complement his songwriting. On the other end of the spectrum, “Constant Collapse” is the banger of the album. While channeling the likes of bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Tool, the bands delivers an electric performance as playing heavy is something that this band seems to do really well. The appropriately named track “The Bayou Brew” is the most upbeat song of the album and is sure to get even the most heavily intoxicated patrons at the bar on their feet. The band combines their rock sound with some electric, stomp your feet, backwoods country for a highly lively combination.

Oh Contraire is a solid, full-length release that features the band’s wide range of influences. If you’re a fan of 90’s alternative, you will certainly dig this album. - Bandwagon Magazine

"Race to Neptune – Oh Contraire"

Race to Neptune is a band prone to versatility and impossible to nail down. Their latest release, Oh Contraire, underlines their extensive ambiguity, putting forth a sound that calls to mind everything from Pinback and Cage the Elephant to late ‘90s alternative and mid ‘60s psychedelia. It is an admirable characteristic of the modern artist to exude confidently such ambidexterity while holding concurrently the roots of an original and underlying sound, and this is captured greatly throughout Oh Contraire. We are hit progressively with the electric wanderlust of “Wanderlily,” the dreamy nostalgia of “Iron Satire,” and the rollicking stomp of “The Bayou Brew.” This is certainly a full and impressive work from the Fort Collins-based Race to Neptune. - Scene Magazine

"Album Review: Race to Neptune's "Oh Contraire""

Imagine: The alarm clock goes off. You and your closest friends begin to stir. There is a faint light coming in through the curtains; a welcome reminder that today, you and your friends are about to set out on the summer road trip you’ve been planning for months. The sun will be up in less than an hour, and a quick glance at the sky confirms it’s likely to be an extra beautiful day. Everyone is ready. The last of your supplies are moved into the already packed car with a fervent haste. You get in the driver's seat as everyone is buckling up. Last minute checklist: Wallet? Phone? Keys? Check, check, and check. Clothes? Gear? Beer? Check, check, and check. Coffee? Double-check. And most importantly, an album to start the adventure off right?


Oh Contraire, is the 9-track debut LP from the Fort Collins-based rock band Race to Neptune. It is sonically pleasing, playful, and refreshing. It teems with lush guitar-wall effects, tasteful melodies, and head-bobbing beats. The Colorado four-piece, comprised of Brian Maier (vox/guitar), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vox, guitar), and Zach Berger (guitar), have managed to squeeze as much luscious guitar tone as possible into some of these tracks. Nothing in the mix sounds too loud or too quiet. In fact, the whole album is evidence of some pretty nice production, which justifies a shout-out to the team at The Spot Studios, where it was recorded. The record is enjoyable to listen to, and has some genuine replayability. I caught myself grooving to RTN’s music each time I listened to it.

Most of the vocal melodies on the LP are fetching and evocative. The topics of the songs are fairly unrelated, but revolve around feelings of longing, fear, anger, and disgust; classic staples for this style of rock, which I would call shoegaze, dream-pop, indie/alt-rock. I tend to shy from labels; they usually say more about my experiences than what the band might actually sound like to you, but I gotta say something. In any case, I’m pretty sure that anyone with a solid appreciation of alternative rock music will enjoy Oh Contraire.

The opening track, “Wanderlilly”, is definitely my favorite track on the album. The succinct lyrics tell of a brief connection that is both sad and beautiful, and the song just rocks. Not far behind is the last track, “Waterspout”, which I love for its varied, yet balanced musicianship.

Despite my endorsement, I do have one critique. The eighth track, “The Bayou Brew”, is a southern rock track that is too far a stylistic departure from the alt-rock sound of the rest of the record. Still, overall Oh Contraire is a strong debut.

In its entirety, Oh Contraire is a good rock album worth your listen. So whether it be for your next road trip, or whatever adventure you embark upon this summer, choose Race to Neptune’s Oh Contraire to come along for the ride. Keep up with the band on their Facebook and Reverbnation pages. Like you, I hope to catch them live soon.

Recommended If You Like: The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Nirvana - BolderBeat

"Race to Neptune - 'Wanderlilly'"

Race to Neptune is an alt-art rock band out of Fort Collins, Colorado featuring Brian Maier on guitar and vocals; Zach Berger on lead guitar; Vanessa Freese on drums and Ken Cavanaugh on bass. The band creates a new, refined yet powerful sound with detailed guitar work, carefully placed distortion, poetic lyrics and stomping rhythms. They draw their main influences from 80’s/90’s alt-rock and 60’s psychedelic rock. Their single, “Wanderlilly” off their album 'Oh Contraire' is entrancing.

"Wanderlilly" kicks off with an engaging and unusual 6-bar intro (8 beats to the phrase) comprised of a minimalist repeating guitar line accompanied by pounding drums; as the song build towards the first first, the guitar lines develop, adding counterpoint and layers. Brian Maier enters on lead vocals with pristine clarity and a soft timbre. The vocal melody slightly mimics the guitar line, leading into the chorus where the guitar and vocals join in unison. Giving thoughtful attention to every artistic detail and nuance of composition is what defines Race to Neptune. With each verse and chorus that passes the instrumental arrangement gets more complex producing a heart pounding and intense musical experience. By the end of the song the band is fully rocking out with heavy distortion and textures.

"Wanderlilly” has a basic verse-chorus format (ABABAB) which works well for the recurring verses and the two line simple chorus. It is a poetic song with lyrics that are haunting and graceful, ghost-like. In the first verse he sings, “Lady Wanderlilly/Come on over to me now/She moves so gracefully/In my ear she whispered softly,” leading into the chorus “I've seen angels/I've seen angels.” With each verse, the story develops; at first a soft whisper and a consuming silence then a history of emotional scars is revealed, "She has so many stories. It's better to listen carefully." The stark quality of the lyrics works well with the intensity of the musical landscape.

By the time you finish listening to Race to Neptune's "Wanderlilly" you are left with that "wow" feeling that comes from hearing music that is truly unique, filled with captivating detail and artistry. “Wanderlilly” is just one of many great tunes off 'Oh Contraire.' For more information on the band and to purchase their music, visit them on Bandcamp. - indie-spoonful

"Race to Neptune Bring The 90’s Sound With New Album"

I’ve always been one to enjoy a fresh, new wave of Alternative energy, and am no stranger to an upbeat and electrifying tempo. That’s why after hearing the new sounds from Colorado based Alternative group Race to Neptune, I instantly felt my mood lifting and my feet start tapping.

The new 9 track album is titled Oh Contraire. The opening track “Wanderlilly” sets the tone with a mass of classic alternative influences coming together into one complete sound. The pretty melodies of the intro seem to ease the mind but as the song progresses we see the power and angst come in to complete the 90’s alt-rock vibe.

There is an easy, almost ballad type feel to “Iron Satire”. The interesting tones blend well with the elegant guitar. It could not be held back long though as the guitar solo wakes everyone in the room up with its dynamic power. Race To Neptune has a way of taking the listener on a complete journey within one track.

“Constant Collapse,” is a little different with a progressive tempo reminiscent of bands like Tool and even Dream Theater a little. The bass stands out here creating a pattern that drives the creep of the song. Steady drums pound out the beat to keep the listener in the bands pocket. The “Never Ever Ever Ever” background vocal will also repeating in my head and dark dreams.

For some more diversity Race To Neptune turns to “Bayou Brew”. There is some deep south blues influence here meshed interestingly with an angsty rock sound that speeds it up and turns the song on its head. The vocals are truly impressive as well belted out with a pitter patter pace of blues aggression.

There seems to be something for everyone here if you’re up for a bit of 90’s nostalgia. There’s a lot of fun indulging in each of the nine tracks, and you’ll be left satisfied with your daily dose of classic alt-rock sounds with just one complete album listen.

Check out Race to Neptune and their new album Oh Contraire now. You will not be disappointed. - indie band guru

"Race To Neptune – Oh Contraire"

Wanderlilly is the first track off of Fort Collins act Race To Neptune’s Oh Contraire. The track is a bold statement, creating something wholly unique in an era of musical conformity. Passionate vocals, a ropy bass line, and a frantic pace ensure that listeners are firmly planted at the edges of their seats.

Cigars and Celebrations keeps the tempo quick and the tension palpable. The skillful uniting of 311, Rush, The Offspring and Muse by Race To Neptune is nothing less than magnificent. The band knows their instruments; every note that issues forth during Oh Contraire’s run time is perfect. Bulletful of Piss is an expansive track that twinkles before going intense with a brief drum interlude. Hints of Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and The Anniversary can all be heard here. Blue Skies So Burned is bar-none the strongest expression on this albums. The fuzzy guitars, insistent vocals, and intricate bass line coupled with a desire to rapidly shift through sounds and styles transforms a three-minute track into something that reverberates long after the final note has played. Waterspout is the final song on Oh Contraire, looking back to the days of post-grunge rock for inspiration. The dynamic enacted between the vocals and the instrumentation pushes each to an entirely higher plateau than either could reach on their own.

One of the strongest parts of Oh Contraire has to be the production. The tracks allow each element to shine alone or in tandem with other parts of the band. It is this immaculate sound that separates this disc from the hundreds of other titles we receive each year; give it a spin on Race To Neptune’s Bandcamp. - Neu Futur

"Brilliant Shit - Race To Neptune, “Wanderlily”"

Race To Neptune is a Fort Collins, Colorado, 4-piece with stories to tell and the right tools at their disposal. Equal parts Brian Maier (guitar, vox), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vox), and Zach Berger (guitar), this outfit is full of powerful storytelling, and soaring guitar solos.

Lifted from an interview with AXS, we felt this was a great introduction to the group:

“AXS: What brought Race to Neptune together?
Zach: Beer.
Brian: Vanessa and I had a mutual friend that introduced us. I met her at a house party and she asked me how I expected to get laid wearing the shirt that I had on.
Ken: I came over for a birthday party that was at Brian’s house. They were jamming without a bass player and I asked if they needed one. For our second practice I bought a bass guitar.
Zach: I was trying to steal Brian’s girlfriend’s drinks at the bar. So basically, yes, beer brought us together.”

“Wanderlily” is the first track off Race To Neptune’s Oh Contraire, where the album name is a play on words — replacing “Au” with “Oh” insinuating that the band’s sound is uniquely “on the contrary” to most modern music.

“Wanderlily” immediately cuts to the truth of Race To Neptune. Oh Contraire is a treasure chest of gritty distortion and meaningful lyrics. Soaring guitar solos, and the cutting, dynamic vocals of the group are nearly unforgettable.

The rage, the passion, and the unbelievable reality that Race To Neptune is better sounding than this, live on stage is another level of awe. Often, with so much detail thrown into the formula for Oh Contraire, one would think it could be lost on listeners in any other context — yet, they command attentiveness through their simple independence.

Cohesion must be at an all-time high, fruitfully capturing the intensity, grit and thoughtful insights distributed through their latest release. A very clean, no bullshit, 5/5. - Impose Magazine

"Race to Neptune – Oh Contraire"

In a cultural sea of electronic music which seems to be growing exponentially, indie alt-rockers, Race To Neptune, seem to have found a recipe that has gained them a fair amount of traction in their local scene(s) of Denver & Fort Collins, Colorado. They’ve done this performing the old fashioned way: with instruments.

Now, while we at The Ark of Music are enormous fans of great electro-based music, it’s nothing less than refreshing and inspiring to witness a group of young people who’ve put in the time and have really gotten to know their instrument(s) of choice. Because, let’s be honest, you just can’t inject heart and soul into a computer.

The current/final iteration of the group, consisting of: Brian Maier (guitar, vocals), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vocals), and Zach Berger (guitar), have been together since 2014, which has been just long enough to record and release their debut album, Oh Contraire, a fuzzed-up, semi-psychedelic, retro-grunge thing that absolutely never fails to entertain.

Here’s what we dug most…

Casting the door out of the way, the album opens with Wanderlilly, which sounds like something that could have come off of Smashing Pumpkins’ 1991 debut, Gish. Light, ambient electric notes slam into the undertow of deep and distorted chords of this quick-hitting, three-minute number, which hangs around just long enough to let you know—quickly—that Neptune is for real. Kids, pay attention, this is how you open a grunge album in the second decade of a new millennium which finds itself obsessed with instrument-less music.

Our Favorite Track:
Honestly, I can hear a 90’s era Smashing Pumpkins influence on every track on this record, non more prevalent, however, than on, Iron Satire, a thrilling and rich, grungy trip lasting over five minutes. This is music that took time to make. It required focus and attention to both detail and intention. Be sure to check out the Corgan-esque solo that happens at 2:21. It’s a chilling thing of beauty. Bravo.

The progressive, Constant Collapse, with its ragged, abstract melody, lo-fi-esque vocals, and contrasting intensity are immediately reminiscent of Tool.

Right about this time, you “think” you know who Race To Neptune is. You “think” you know what they’re about. Laughable!!! Out of no where comes the wicked, blues shredder, Bayou Brew, a 12-bar romp that will catch you off guard in the best of ways. Are you kidding me!!!

While lyrically creative, and vocally wonderful, more than anything, Oh Contraire‘s tendacy to shut the mics off, and constantly take listeners on one epic, instrumental trip after another, riding wave after wave of celestial distortion—is what makes the record awesome. What I’m trying to say is that these four just f*#@ing rock. In fact, the entire project is a throwback to another time when musical substance was at least “as important” as lyrical substance—if not more so. This is a collection to which one can get lost in the sound and the magic of musical connection.

Whose lovechild…?
Travel back to the mid 90’s and imagine Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins jamming with Ed Roland and Collective Soul. Then, add a twist of Maynard James Keenan of Tool. (Can you imagine such a thing?)

BELOW, you can listen to Race to Neptune’s album, Oh Contraire, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Race to Neptune by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music! - The Ark of Music

"Race to Neptune Stunning Debut"

From Fort Collins, Colorado comes Race to Neptune. They shape layers of post punk with hints of psychedelia into RACE TO NEPTUNE CVRwhat they call their own.

“Wanderlilly” is crazy catchy, emotionally nuanced, and when Brian Maier declares, “I see angels,” I believe him. “Threes and Fours" is angst filled and troubled, but always seeking. The song shows how wonderfully the band balances light and darkness throughout this disc.

“Blue Sky Burned” offers airy guitars coupled with a driving beat to push the song, before relenting to overblown squalls of frenetic lead work. Intense and iridescent, the song feels like personal torment.

“Bayou Brew” is a great two-hand on the snare race to beat the clock. This is Johnny Cash filtered through the Clash. This could be used for pretty much every chase sequence on Sons of Anarchy.

Whether working through a quiet passage or pushing through a raucous number, Race To Neptune bring a sense of urgency to all they do. - Indie Music

"Get to know a Colorado band: Race to Neptune"

In discussing their music, Fort Collins-based Race to Neptune’s members had some interesting descriptions to share with AXS. “We draw from classic rock and space rock. We have a new sound that comes from a blend of many sounds - specifically The Pixies and The Smashing Pumpkins,” bass player and vocalist Ken Cavanaugh stated. Founding member, guitar player, and vocalist Brian Maier responded, “Canadian surf rock because a lot of Canadians like to surf,” followed quickly by Cavanaugh asserting, “So like Neil Young before he became Neil Young.” Playing tomorrow evening at Lion’s Lair in Denver, learn more about Race to Neptune in this exclusive interview.

AXS: Are you Colorado natives? If not, where is everyone originally from?
Brian Maier (guitar, vocals): Chicago.
Vanessa Freese (drums): Ashland, Nebraska.
Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vocals): Port Saint Lucy, Florida.
Zach Berger (guitar): Canyon City, Colorado.

AXS: What brought Race to Neptune together?
Zach: Beer.
Brian: Vanessa and I had a mutual friend that introduced us. I met her at a house party and she asked me how I expected to get laid wearing the shirt that I had on.
Ken: I came over for a birthday party that was at Brian’s house. They were jamming without a bass player and I asked if they needed one. For our second practice I bought a bass guitar.
Zach: I was trying to steal Brian’s girlfriend’s drinks at the bar. So basically, yes, beer brought us together.

AXS: How long has Race to Neptune been together? What have you learned during that time?
Brian: Vanessa and I have known each other for a little over two and half years. Ken for two years, and Zach for about a year. Not to eat Taco Bell before a show.
Zach: Or hot dogs. Zach is the best guitar player in the world.
Ken: No, but seriously, we have learned each other’s tendencies and music styles. And not just that but we know them but how to blend them.

AXS: Have any Colorado musicians inspired Race to Neptune?
Zach: Big Head Todd and the Monsters and The Hot IQs. And a guy named Max that plays with a Denver band called Burgenoil.
Ken: A Denver band that played with us at the Lost Lake Lounge named Freaky North.
Vanessa: The Motet.
Ken: Not that we have necessarily used anything from those bands in our music, but we want to give a shout out to them.

AXS: What projects are Race to Neptune currently working on?
Brian: Trying to finish our album at the Spot Studios located in Lakewood.
Vanessa: We’ve already spent two weekends there and recorded four songs and hope to finish it in September.

AXS: What else is Race to Neptune involved in locally, either as individuals or as a group?
Zach: Teaching and coaching.
Vanessa: I am a balla ass chef.
Brian: I’m a part time bad ass fisherman!

AXS: Does Race to Neptune have a goal in mind for the sound the band produces? Are there certain influences or themes the band tries to inject into its own music?
Brian: Writing great songs.
Zach: Wonder Woman on her period.
Ken: We draw from classic rock and space rock. We have a new sound that comes from a blend of many sounds - specifically The Pixies and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Brian: Canadian surf rock because a lot of Canadians like to surf.
Ken: Oh did you say Canadian surf rock? So like Neil Young before he became Neil Young.

AXS: For someone who has never seen or heard Race to Neptune, what would you tell them to entice them to watch your set?
Vanessa: A sexy ass drummer!
Brian: We’ll buy you a beer!
Vanessa: We’ll put you on the VIP list.
Zach: If you like something that’s loud and out of left field, new and different but rooted in rock.
Brian: No one sounds like us, we have a really unique sound for the area. A guy came up to us after one of our shows here in Fort Collins and said he hears a lot of bluegrass bands at the same venue and it was really refreshing to hear someone step on a distortion pedal.
Ken: Indeed.

AXS: What would your ideal live show look like? Where would it take place? Any particular time of year? Would a specific band/musician share the bill with or open for Race to Neptune?

Race to Neptune: Red Rocks! Playing with Modest Mouse would be amazing.
Brian: A Ween reunion, at Red Rocks. There would be lightning with no rain, perhaps on a cool fall night.
Vanessa: Honestly any really bad ass festival would be awesome.
Zach: I would love to open for or collaborate with Prince. Or the Hawksley Workman.
Brian: Or if REM would reunite.
Ken: A great show could come in a lot of different shapes, and it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a huge show. A thousand people would be incredible, just as long as the crowd is in to it. The most important goal that we have is to reach new people.
Zach: Yeah, The Whiskey here in Fort Collins was great because the crowd was really into it and having fun. That’s the best part about playing music.

AXS: What shows are you looking forward to over the next few months?
Vanessa: Austin City Limits

AXS: What do you enjoy most about Colorado’s music scene, and why?
Race to Neptune: Diversity.
Vanessa: Denver is more accepting of our sound than anywhere else that we’ve played.
Zach: The Whiskey was our best show that we’ve played in Fort Collins by far. It’s a great establishment and the Friday night crowd was amazing!
Ken: I love that everything is within driving distance. Whether it be a college town, downtown Denver, or a remote resort. We played a show at the Wilderness 50th anniversary in the Flat Tops. It was so deep into the mountains and a truly incredible experience for all of us.
Zach: If everything were pigeon-holed into a specific sound it wouldn’t be the same. - AXS

"Race to Neptune – ‘Oh Contraire’"

Sounding like a long-lost late 80s darkwave band, Race to Neptune’s “Oh Contraire” is an absolute blast. Volume is a must for these are songs that deserve to be felt and heard. Best taken in a single sitting Race to Neptune conjures up images of Sonic Youth at the peak of their wonders. Quite beautiful the use of distortion, feedback, and hypnotic repetition results in something that feels vital, feels real. By choosing such a path Race to Neptune paint a world that revels in a blurred sort of beauty.


Things begin with the prickly work of “Wanderlilly”. Imbued with a true sense of purpose the multi-layered approach taps into an unbridled sense of joy. Easily the highlight of the album is the ambitious sprawl of “Cigars and Celebrations”. Energy pours out of the piece as it drives forth with great purpose. Dreamy guitar swirls radiate on the amazingly named “Bulletful of Piss”. Despite the name, the way the song unfurls is rather blissful in scope showing off their ability to tie together solos with serene soundscapes. Offering a fully realized heavy sound is the inviting rhythm of “Iron Satire”. Taking on a slightly summery vibe is the mellowed “Blue Skies So Burned”. Downright crazed is the manic work of “Bayou Brew”. Closing the album off on a high note is the gritty work of “Waterspout”.


“Oh Contraire” is a powerful brilliant work showing off Race to Neptune’s deft skill. - Skope Magazine

"Local Spotlight: Race to Neptune dominates Fort Collins’ indie-rock scene"

Bands are often compartmentalized into narrow genres, leaving people to say “They’re a rock band!” or “They’re a metal band!” Most of the time, this sorting is accurate and genuinely reflects the core of the band’s sound. However, some bands stretch the limits of this core, drawing from other sounds to create something unique and invigorating that the listener may have never heard before. Race to Neptune is one of these bands.
Race to Neptune is comprised of Brian Maier (guitar, vocals), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vocals) and Zach Berger (guitar).
(Photo courtesy of Tessa Abigail)

Based in Fort Collins, Race to Neptune is an indie-rock band at their core, but what makes them unique is their ability to meld multiple different styles and influences into something wavering and adventurous, but it is also grounded in rock music.

Their debut album “Oh Contraire” released in 2016 manages to maintain the dark, evocative sounds of alternative rock like The Cure, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd and even notes of 60s garage and psychedelic rock like The Sonics, 13th Floor Elevators and Jimi Hendrix, but throughout all nine tracks, each song has something that diversifies itself from the one after it.

“There’s a good variety on ‘Oh Contraire,'”said lead singer/guitarist Brian Maier. “Two of (the songs) don’t sound the same.”

From the flickering, anthemic darkwave of “Wanderlily,” the aggressive punk-rock on “Cigars and Celebrations” to the squirrelly, country-driven “Bayou Brew,” the album’s variety and eclectic delivery is hard to ignore.

“I think the song “Iron Satire” changes things up,” Maier said. “People seem to talk about that one. It’s a longer, slower ballad, and it has that fuzzed out solo and crazy vocals in the middle of it. My mom told me it sounded like two gremlins talking to each other, and I should take it off.”
(Photo courtesy of Evan Olea)

The band’s sonic diversity could be attributed to the varying styles and tastes of all four members.

“We all come from different musical backgrounds, but we all can agree on a sound,” Maier said. “It’s a nice Venn Diagram that we have where we all meet in the middle.”

Race to Neptune isn’t all about making noise, though. Maier’s poetic, sentimental lyrics give their songs a deep emotional core that makes itself clear underneath the band’s fuzzed-out walls of guitars and thundering, precise percussion from drummer Vanessa Freese. While lyrics often come secondary for bands that reach similar decibels, they’re an integral part of a Race to Neptune song, due in part to Maier’s powerful, wavering vocals.

“Lyrics are very important to me,” Maier said. “They can make or break a song. It doesn’t matter what you say, but how you say it.”

Race to Neptune is part of a small alternative rock scene in Fort Collins. Local music itself is alive and well, but rock music doesn’t have a bold presence in the town, making loud rock bands—although far and few—a serious asset in the scene.

“There’s a small and growing group of people in Fort Collins who know who we are and what we’re doing, but when I walk past the Aggie, it’s mostly just jam bands or bluegrass,” Maier said. “You don’t see a lot of rock bands coming through. It’s harder for us—kind of demoralizing in a way—but that’s just the scene up here. We played at the Swing Station last year, and this older guy came up and told us how nice it was to see someone step on a distortion pedal for once.”

Despite not feeling completely at home musically in Fort Collins, the band has no plans of relocating anytime soon and instead want to be part the strong yet small group of rock bands in the area. Just last month, they were signed by a publicist who aims to take the band to higher places without them having to relocate to a city with a more active rock scene like Denver.

The band is in touch with this modern approach in other ways. Last month, they started working on two new songs at Spot Studios in Lakewood, Colorado, the same studio where they recorded their debut album “Oh Contraire,” but they’re not planning the songs in the scheme of sophomore full-length. Instead, they’re planning to release them on their own as singles over the next couple months.

“Based on the general public interest in records, listening to an album all the way through is falling by the wayside,” Maier said. “I think just recording songs here and there, releasing songs when we can and releasing small EPs is a direction worth going in.”

Maier also understands that the landscape of rock music as a whole is changing, often times favoring synthetic recording and production over the callous spontaneity and raw authenticity—whether it’s pretty or ugly— that made it so invigorating in the first place. The latter is something that Race to Neptune is fighting to keep around through their loud, raw and sincere sound.

“I can’t handle (a lot of modern rock),” Maier said. “I think a lot of people can’t because the voices are so processed and auto-tuned, and the guitars sound fake. Everything sounds cut-and-pasted and put together, versus getting a live track and actually knowing how to play your instrument.”

Race to Neptune may not completely fit into the local music scene, but they’re still here, making music and carving out a place for themselves despite stylistic adversity. As long as they’re around, the callous, roaring spirit of rock music is alive and well in Fort Collins.

For more information or to hear their music, visit Race to Neptune’s official website, Facebook, Bandcamp or Spotify.

Collegian reporter Brody Coronelli can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @brodycoronelli. - The Collegian

"Race To Neptune – Oh Contraire"

Race To Neptune – Oh Contraire – Album Review

Long before I even got into this review-writing racket, I was convinced beyond doubt that you could in fact, judge music by its cover and have your assumptions confirmed 99% of the time. I’m not saying that a record, tape or cd needed to have the most amazing picture…I’m just saying when it came to purchasing music from an artist or band I didn’t know yet, that those album-covers were often the beacon I could hone in on to see if there was any insight on whether or not the band was just making another album, or attempting something perhaps more artistic, more rewarding.

I still believe that. The internet might have made it harder to scrutinize each and every cover…it might have made it so that the fabulousness of the era of liner-notes has all but disappeared…but I still believe that bands that have a vision take the time to get everything from the music to the art to become as enticing as possible – just like Race To Neptune has here with their new album Oh Contraire. You don’t end up with a rad album-cover like that by accident – that’s what I’m saying; you can tell this is going to be an experience…that Race To Neptune more than likely has something here over the course of nine-songs that’s going to be different from the rest.

Now…you could TRY to tell me that I’m wrong about ALL of this…you could. Or you could dig further like I did and find that Race To Neptune proudly includes innovative alternative/indie names in music within their influences on social-media like The Cure, Modest Mouse, The Pixies, Built To Spill, Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr., Explosions In The Sky and many more examples that ALSO have not happened to be listed by accident. When a band is really putting the effort in…all the bases are covered and all the clues are out there for public consumption.

Essentially…what I’m saying…is that on my own personal radar, the signal was coming through loud & clear that there was bound to be something special in the music of Race To Neptune long before I even pushed play on Oh Contraire.

And I’m proud to say that they sure didn’t let me down with that assumption. As far as I can tell – they’ve been around since 2012 but this is their official debut record. I think in some ways as the album progresses through its nine songs you’ll get that feeling that Race To Neptune is looking to get it all out at once – but I also have no doubt that you’ll find what you hear as impressive as I did. With an indie set of tones from the guitars and drum-rhythms to start the record, “Wanderlilly” provides a sweetened alternative energy and hints at the strong ideas that Race To Neptune is capable of creating. I love the way this song evolved and thought it was a tremendous start and first impression – “Wanderlilly” morphs into a more space-rock laden atmosphere throughout the bulk of its middle and finds its most impressive gears. Vocals upfront sound like a solid match…I dig the backing vocals and the bass stood out immediately on the first track in all the right ways – a trend that immediately continues on “Cigars And Celebrations.”

So…okay…first of all…this entire track is…hmm…beyond genius? What’s the word for that? It’s really, really damn good…”Cigars And Celebrations” is pretty much everything I want to hear, all day long. So much I want to say about this song…I could write an essay here. Basically, it boils down to the fact that they’ve found a way to successfully update the early sound of The Cure perfectly here and combines it with truly powerful dynamics and a progressive structure that takes it all to the next-level entirely. And ALRIGHT bass-man…you got me…time to look this dude up and get credit to where credit is due…Ken Cavanaugh – sir, YOU are a name I will absolutely remember. What’s being laid down on “Cigars And Celebrations” is an award worthy performance on the bass, that’s what that is right there…I know one when I hear one and you can’t fool me with all that awesomeness. I will say this however…as good as the bass may be in this song – it’s truly a highlight for the entire band and they kick this song into gear so impressively that shout-outs indeed should be made to the full lineup with Vanessa Freese killing it on the drums and Brian Maier & Zach Berger providing the radness on the guitars. “Cigars And Celebrations” already has ALL this working for them…the captivating pull of this song begins immediately but BUCKLE-UP because this ride seriously gets WILD. The chorus of this song is one of the most powerful and enormous, perfect & simple explosions of energy that I’ve heard in the past couple years…every time it kicked-in I loved it more. And then as if on cue – when the verse would come back around, I loved THAT even more…no matter what part was playing, it was my favorite part of the moment – and you gotta love a song that brings that kind of A-game! “Cigars And Celebrations” even makes an impressive amount of time for solos and instrumentation – and better yet, it’s ENTERTAINING! We’re not just talking your average wind’n’grind solos here – we’re talking innovative, creative ideas that make for a stunning moment in time on this track and a truly fantastic way to make the entire song move in unique directions that really work well to display their talent. Have I said enough about this song? I think you get the point by now – I absolutely LOVE this song.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to dig a song that much and not end up having a tougher time accepting whatever comes next…but that being said, I think that Race To Neptune did a great job by adding “Elysian Fields” as the third track on the record. It’s a strong song without a doubt…perhaps in fact one of the most focused by the band on the completeness of its ambitions and ideas – and I felt like it ended up holding its own solidly. I like that this band really seems to be one of equal-caliber, balanced-strength shared between as players and how it all adds-up for them in the extraordinary ideas they have. Like “Wanderlilly” at the beginning of the record – “Elysian Fields” also kind of reminds me of the band Feeder from the UK with its influx of imagination and branching-off from pop-rock melodies with a more alt-indie approach. Quality writing keeps the record flowing in the right direction and into a very strong middle coming up just around the corner…

The song you’ll love that you’re probably not expecting to is “Bulletful Of Piss.” I mean…c’mon people – if you’re a fan of the guitars, bass, drum combo and the extraordinary textures that made a band like Smashing Pumpkins amazing to listen to – you will LOVE this song and how it’s stripped right out of the Siamese Dream era. Sweeter in the vocal-department and more indie towards something like Death Cab For Cutie’s early material or more recently on our own pages, last year’s best-new sound The Quality Of Mercury. Credit to production here…because this is absolutely nailed as tight as it gets. The bass comes through impressively thick, the guitars sound spaced-out, tripped-out and incredibly versatile…and every once in a while, Race To Neptune is actually even kind enough to let Vanessa grab a sip of water or hit of oxygen! She’s gotta be quick to do it mind you…they keep her amazingly busy back there and a large portion of credit goes to her for keeping the drums vibrantly entertaining throughout this entire record. My favorite drummers have similar styles…certainly capable of keeping the beat, but also brilliant in the way that they contribute to a band’s sound & songwriting – and I really think that Race To Neptune has found that insightful kind of player in Vanessa. The switch into instrumentation and that Siamese Dream-influenced style/sound takes complete hold of this band as they hit the middle of “Bulletful Of Piss,” ride it to the end of the tune and enter an even finer-example of crafting this sound into their own perfectly on “Iron Satire.”

Twice on this record, Race To Neptune has lowered my jaw to the ground in absolute amazement with what they’ve written and how they’ve performed it. Early on with “Cigars And Celebrations” and again, right in the middle of the record with “Iron Satire” – choosing between which I love more would be my own version of Sophie’s Choice and I’m not willing to make it…I think both these moments on the record are absolutely extraordinary. I’ll put it to you as best I can…I was really enjoying myself up to the 2:20-mark of this song…things were chilled-out, I was digging the sweet sway of the vibe in the vocal-melody and gentle, inviting flow “Iron Satire” – and then they went and done hit the switch into immaculate brilliance once more, pumping a full-on second-life into this track. Words don’t cover it people – that’s a memorable moment in time right there is what that is – the middle of “Iron Satire” is one of the most massive highlights on the entire album and a fine example of this band’s most stunning instrumentation.

Oh Contraire continues on its impressive streak of creativity and imaginative music with “Constant Collapse,” which brings in some seriously looming drama and menace to the sound in the verse. The chorus on this one has a bizarre effect on the listening experience in the sense that you can feel it coming, yet it still has enough force for you to still feel the shock in the switch. Perhaps a bit edgier on “Constant Collapse” – it gets pretty wild overall throughout its entire structure, blending alternative sounds like a bent combination of Primus something more like L7; definitely a massive-grunge influence on the sound of what we hear but written in a much more progressive-style than you’d expect from the genre. The sound of the drums on this song are 100% amazing to listen to…they’re like thunder in the opening, making for a really menacing texture & atmosphere to lead us into this tune. Excellent ideas on the guitars…it’s a darkly artistic tune that shows a lot of care in its crafting. “Constant Collapse” makes for an interesting shift in the direction & style of Race To Neptune and pulls out some tricks that I felt like we hadn’t heard from them up to this point on the record, proof that they’re a band capable of expressing themselves in many, many forms. They continue to display further uniqueness in “Blue Skies So Burned” which has a seriously highlight-worthy chorus and instrumentation working in its favor. Verse…I was more tossed up on that…it works fine – but there’s no doubt about the amount of punch that the chorus on “Blue Skies So Burned” brings out in this song. Great pacing leads the way to a dynamic & versatile structure that ranges from a gentle-sweetness to edgy-distortion & psychedelic solos…the middle of “Blue Skies So Burned” was what really did it for me – instrumentation & musicianship reign supreme from extreme-to-extreme in the transitions of this song. Extra-credit to the fantastic harmonies on “Blue Skies So Burned” as well though…I thought they nailed the sound here in the mix on those and brought out the contrasting beauty in the vocals strongly through those as well.

If anything…I’d argue that the results do get a bit more mixed after “Iron Satire” as far as the focus/cohesiveness of the record is concerned. After that midway-point of the record, Race To Neptune seems more bent on displaying a range of capabilities and styles as opposed to really locking into the grooves they had found at the beginning of the record. Like I’ve been saying a lot in the past-while – I think it ends up being a good thing for a band at the start of their career to do this…even though it might not always make for the most complete/cohesive sounding records, it does open the door to endless possibilities later on by mixing up the style/sound early-on like this. Right now Race To Neptune is still testing the waters…but make no mistake, they certainly know how to swim in any current. I might not fully dig on a track like “Bayou Brew” personally – but I’ve got absolutely zero qualms about the way they play it or the way it’s written. If I was to pick one of the nine to pull out of the album’s lineup though…well…that’s also no question for me, “Bayou Brew” might have been waiting for another opportunity later on down the line. SICK guitars in this cut you can’t help but admire for their energy, skill, precision & style. Do I think they’ve got one of the songs they would absolutely love to play live right here on the record? Yes. Yes I do. And it’s in that sense that I understand its inclusion. Like I said at the beginning somewhere…Race To Neptune has more than likely thrown in a couple highlights from their past five-years of ideas into the mix here – and I have no doubt that a song like “Bayou Brew” is the kind of song that would seriously fire-up a crowd. Proven success from the stage usually equates to a must-include cut on a record…but…with the boldly-different direction that “Bayou Brew” takes in comparison to literally/audibly every other track on the record…I might have held off on including this one in this particular set.

“Waterspout” ends this record on a justifiable high-note, shifting back into a chilled-out, dreamy, space-rock’n’rhythm tune for their final track. Race To Neptune’s got themselves some Chili Peppers-esque slow-funk/rock working in their favor at the core of this cut. Smart ideas fill the atmosphere and sound on “Waterspout” as the guitar-melodies drift us in & out hypnotically into the bass-grooves. Much more akin to the style & sound of what we heard at the beginning of the album, things come around full-circle here at the end on “Waterspout.” Excellent guitar melodies and tones on this cut, as well as some of my favorite ideas & execution in the vocal-department as well – it all adds up to a seriously satisfying ending to this record and solid rebound out of the bayou and back into the uniqueness of Race To Neptune’s alt/indie style. A great reminder of the stunning sounds and ideas that this band of four are capable of creating – I think when Race To Neptune continues to focus-in and hone-in on their strengths, they come out with really bold, confident execution and vibrant ideas like they’ve ended with on “Waterspout.” Without a doubt though – I’ve got a lot of confidence surrounding everything I’ve heard from Race To Neptune on Oh Contraire and found every reason to believe that this band could really go on to find great success in their future.

Find out more about Race To Neptune and support them at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/RaceToNeptune - Sleeping Bag Studios

"Race to Neptune – Oh Contraire"

Sounding like a long-lost late 80s darkwave band, Race to Neptune’s “Oh Contraire” is an absolute blast. Volume is a must for these are songs that deserve to be felt and heard. Best taken in a single sitting Race to Neptune conjures up images of Sonic Youth at the peak of their wonders. Quite beautiful the use of distortion, feedback, and hypnotic repetition results in something that feels vital, feels real. By choosing such a path Race to Neptune paint a world that revels in a blurred sort of beauty.

Things begin with the prickly work of “Wanderlilly”. Imbued with a true sense of purpose the multi-layered approach taps into an unbridled sense of joy. Easily the highlight of the album is the ambitious sprawl of “Cigars and Celebrations”. Energy pours out of the piece as it drives forth with great purpose. Dreamy guitar swirls radiate on the amazingly named “Bulletful of Piss”. Despite the name, the way the song unfurls is rather blissful in scope showing off their ability to tie together solos with serene soundscapes. Offering a fully realized heavy sound is the inviting rhythm of “Iron Satire”. Taking on a slightly summery vibe is the mellowed “Blue Skies So Burned”. Downright crazed is the manic work of “Bayou Brew”. Closing the album off on a high note is the gritty work of “Waterspout”.

“Oh Contraire” is a powerful brilliant work showing off Race to Neptune’s deft skill. - Beach Sloth


All of the action of late seems to happening due North of where we are in Albuquerque. Clearly when a State legalizes the use of recreational marijuana fin and exciting things happen. RACE TO NEPTUNE is not the first band from the Centennial State that we've profiled since the new year began which gives us reason to believe that there is something other than pot smoking going on just North of us. Of course our fondness for the band is due to the release of their gritty debut opus OH CONTRAIRE and coming from folk who favor big riffs, interesting chord changes and rhythms that change at a moments notice, we can safely say this is one of our favorite releases in this turbulent new year. It's hard to believe that this is only a debut and that speaks volumes of the musicality of this band. Whether they are re-living the alternative rock guitar glory days of bands like SMASHING PUMPKINS (IRON SATIRE), riding the killer wave of a surf rock riff (CONSTANT COLLAPSE) or kicking out the sort of souped up reggae-fied jams that made THE POLICE famous (CIGARS AND CELEBRATIONS), this band has it all covered. - Rock Wired


Oh Contraire - L.P.

The Phantom Deep (single)

Abandon Fashion - E.P.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Influenced by a notion of natures, colorful sounds throughout time, the fiercely beautiful, and ambiguously poetic words and noise, Race to Neptune radiate powerfully delicate dynamics with evocative vocal melodies.

Their debut album Oh Contraire "teems with lush guitar-wall effects, tasteful melodies, and head bobbing beats. The Colorado four piece, comprised of Brian Maier (vox, guitar), Vanessa Freese (drums), Ken Cavanaugh (bass, vox, guitar) and Zach Berger (guitar) have managed to squeeze as much luscious guitar tone as possible into some of these tracks." The song topics are unrelated and "revolve around longing, fear, anger and disgust." - qoutes from Jesse, Bolder Beat album review.

Race to Neptune is sincerely enigmatic in their delivery and song descriptions vary from "electric wanderlust", "dreamy nostalgia", and "rollicking stomp". The inspiration behind their music travels from "90's alternative to mid 60's psychedelia. It is an admirable characteristic of the modern artist to exude confidently such ambidexterity while holding concurrently the roots of an original and underlying sound, and this is captured greatly throughout Oh Contraire." - quotes from Scene Magazine album review

Armed with radio play, positive album reviews, interviews, and many shows under their belt, Race to Neptune will continue to make waves in the Colorado music scene and beyond. "I can't wait to hear more from this band. This album has to be one of my top 10 favorites." - Apple music review. Be sure to catch a show if you can because they are as loud and rocking as they are fun and impressive.

Band Members