Big Dopes recalls the loose, lighthearted feel of 90s alternative and indie, like Built to Spill and The Glands. Lead songwriter Eddie Schmid (also of Denver dream-pop band Oxeye Daisy) uses a playful, conversational vocal style, singing through neuroses about long-distance relationships, being a houseguest, and wasting money on busted headphones. Veteran drummer Ricky Brewer lends a steady groove and harmonies, and Justin Catanzaro’s bass often takes the lead, playing energetic, melodic lines.
The band formed in 2017. After a year of gigging in the Denver area, they recorded their debut album, Crimes Against Gratitude, for a year with producer Paul Simmons (of Denver band Turvy Organ), which arrived on August 23, 2019.
The album features a slew of Denver musicians, and its shaggy camaraderie comes across distinctly in “Song of the Summer,” the album’s closer. Lela Roy—Schmid’s bandmate in Oxeye Daisy—contributed vocals and birdcalls; Ilya Litoshik of Turvy Organ chipped in acoustic guitar; and Josh Fuson, of Montropo, contributed congas.