photo by Daniel DiMarchi

Big Dopes recalls the loose, lighthearted feel of 90s alternative and indie, like Built to Spill and The Glands, with evocative lyrics inspired by 70s songwriters like Paul Simon and Lou Reed

Lead songwriter Eddie Schmid (also of Denver dream-pop band Oxeye Daisy) uses a playful, conversational vocal style to sing through neuroses about long-distance relationships, being a houseguest, and wasting money on shitty headphones. Veteran drummer Ricky Brewer lends a steady groove and harmonies, and Justin Catanzaro’s bass often takes the lead, playing energetic, melodic lines. Paul Simmons joined the band as a fourth member in 2019, playing guitar, synth, and violin.

In August 2019, the band released its debut album, Crimes Against Gratitude, produced by Simmons. The 10-song LP features contributions from a slew of Denver musicians. That shaggy camaraderie comes across distinctly in “Song of the Summer,” the album’s closer and first single. Lela Roy of Oxeye Daisy contributed vocals and birdcalls, Ilya Litoshik of Turvy Organ chipped in acoustic guitar, and Josh Fuson of Montropo played congas.