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We'll get to our breaking news — namely, the first-ever Indy Music Awards & Festival — in just a moment. But first I need to ask, did you miss me?

Because, you know, I sure missed you. Unless of course I happened to run into you at one of the seven shows I was fortunate enough to catch during my semi-staycation.

So let's get up to speed (R.I.P., Ryan Dunn) with a quick recap, beginning with Fitz & the Tantrums, the L.A. funk/soul/pop band whose June 4 Black Sheep show we previewed in a cover story earlier this month: Great performance, frenzied crowd, souled-out cover version of the Raconteurs' "Steady as She Goes," no disappointments at all. In fact, F&TT heated up the packed club so much that Fitz ended up ditching his sweat-drenched suit jacket, something he says he's never had to do onstage in three years of touring.

Also undeniably energetic was the previous night's Triple Nickel Tavern performance by former Groovie Ghoulies frontman Kepi, who brought up the Springs' own Dave Mansfield to join his band for a couple of old punk classics.

The following week, Mansfield and his L.A.M.F's turned the Zodiac into their own New-Wave-punk-dance party, the occasion being the release of their sweet debut single ("Joan Your Jett" b/w "I Wanna Be on Sire"), which, in true punk-rock tradition, comes with five commemorative L.A.M.F buttons.

Speaking of which, it's nice to see that our recent interview with Mansfield got picked up by Drug Policy Central (, a newsbot that promises "the very latest breaking drug news from around the world ... You just can't get more recent breaking drug news, anywhere."

The site helpfully highlights the keywords that led to the L.A.M.F's article making the cut: "Hooked" (from the headline "Hooked on a feeling"), "damaged" (a reference to Dave's vocal-cord troubles) "Suicide" (the pioneering electro-punk band), "sniffing glue" (from Dave's lyrics), "killer" (as in the New York Dolls' "Lipstick Killer"), plus "hurts" and "wine" (these last two from links to other Indy music stories). Now I'm guessing the Indy's medical marijuana coverage gets busted by drug-bots all the time, but for me, this was pretty special.

As was jazzman Ricky Sweum's farewell show at the City Auditorium Café, to say nothing of the folksy Burn the Maps' set at Acacia Park, which was part of the free Saturday evening concert series curated by Lauren and Brett Andrus of Modbo fame. And then there was the relatively unknown Briffaut at Lofty's this past Saturday and Charlie Brown & the Great Gospel at Zodiac on Sunday, both of whom I'll write more about next week.

All of which brings us back around to the Indy Music Awards, easily the best thing to happen to Colorado Springs since, um, OneRepublic. You'll find the ballot and full details here. And you should definitely plan that vacation carefully so you don't miss out on the massive multi-stage awards fest we'll be holding in and around Stargazers Theatre on Sept. 8. More on that next week, as well.

And finally, this coming Saturday, check out Ken Walker, who will be among the DJs playing Agents of Sound's monthly "Soul" event at Brewer's Republic. We were really impressed by the cool, obscurity-laden SoundCloud mix that Walker sent us back around the time of our Flying Lotus interview. (Yes, FlyLo was in his mix, along with a ton of stuff I'd never heard before.) Anyway, he's slotted in as the night's second DJ and claims he'll be going on around 8:30, which seems impossible. Still, better safe than sorry, right?

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