4

Sunny Vibes Meet Psych Rock in Ploom's Latest Single

Denver-based psych-rock band Ploom.EXPAND
Denver-based psych-rock band Ploom.
Ploom
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

For nearly a decade, Denver has seen a steady rise of psych-rock groups, but most haven't exactly pushed the genre in new directions. Yet Ploom, one of the newest arrivals on the scene, is doing just that.

The five-piece offered a highly structured yet unpredictable take on the trippy genre on its first EP, Ploom, in 2020, and continues in that direction on its upcoming release, "Ocean," breaking the psych-rock mold even further with a more upbeat sound. 

"I think sometimes casual listeners will look at the psych-rock genre as guarded by these rules of seriousness and introspection," says bass player Anthony Cistone, "where I think we bring a lot of the fun elements out of it while staying true to the authentic points of the genre."

Comprising Cistone, guitar player Matt McKenzie, vocalist and keyboard player Ben Bertsch and twins Andrew and Dave O'Donnell on guitar and drums, Ploom prides itself on its commitment to a DIY ethos and the way it handles all production in-house before sending out its product for mastering.

"Ocean," the latest result of that process, pulls from a number of inspirations, from population overcrowding to climate change to COVID's effects on society. After the pandemic hit, Bertsch says, he found himself spending a lot of time driving on highways that "were a little post-apocalyptic" — the roads were empty because of COVID, and ash filled the air because of the ongoing wildfires. The song recaptures the feeling of being in that environment.

The cover for the single "Ocean."
The cover for the single "Ocean."
Ploom

"It's primarily about not having control over your surroundings," Bertsch says. The band adds that Ploom's debut EP had its own connection to the pandemic, though it was an unintentional one. That EP was released March 6 last year, just eleven days before the governor ordered most Colorado businesses to shut their doors temporarily because of the pandemic — throwing a wrench into Ploom's plans to use the record to build a bigger fan base and book more shows.

But despite that bad timing, the group's following has been growing.

"The bittersweet surprise of last year is that it forced us to get creative with how we could reach our fans," Andrew O'Donnell says. "We did start shifting to these outdoor sites, and we found that people were really receptive to it. It was a lot easier to get people than we thought — we actually had to start capping it. We were encouraged that there's this appetite in the scene for this DIY movement."

In that spirit, Ploom is joining with five other psych-rock bands to put on Psychs Peak, a camping music festival on national forest land. The festival takes place June 19, with limited space available; for more information, McKenzie encourages people to DM Ploom on Instagram at @ploommusic.

Ploom's also gearing up to release its next single this June along with a music video "featuring a homicidal Yeti on a motorcycle," McKenzie says, and a second EP later this summer — which listeners can expect to build on the band's vision.

"We try to make songs people can connect with emotionally," McKenzie concludes. "To take people on a trip without being aimless."

"Ocean" will be available on major channels on April 30. To keep up with Ploom or learn more about the Psychs Peak festival, follow Ploom on Instagram, @ploommusic.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.