11 Denver Bands You’ve Never Heard Of (unless you live in Denver)

A. Tom Collins
The sweaty brilliance of A. Tom Collins

A commenter on my recent post  Hey Kids, Grow a Pair: How Music Blogs Neutered Indie Rock asked me to share what’s going on in the Denver music scene people should know about.  So I have composed a small list.  Keep in mind, this list is by no means comprehensive, it’s just a small sampling of the bands I think are doing something interesting right now.  I’ve chosen only to include bands who are currently living and working in Denver and not bands from Denver that no longer live here like Gauntlet Hair or Woodsman (as much as I may like them).

Also worth noting are two band collectives/small labels that have grown in the last couple of years.  Holy Underground a collective and label that started out with primarily electronic acts, but has branched out into rock and indie.  And Hot Congress, an artist run and owned label, collective, blog, and promotions group. Tyler featured their free download-able sampler last week  in this post.

Now, in no particular order:

1. Emerald Siam is the newest project from Kurt Ottaway, a veritable legend in the Denver scene going back to his band Twice Wilted in the early 90’s.  They don’t have solid recordings put together yet, but they are one to watch.  Here’s a song from his most recently departed project the Overcasters.

2. Thee Dang Dangs are psych rock with a surf guitar and vocals drenched in reverb.  And their tunes are pretty catchy.

3. Force Publique are part of the emerging dark wave movement.  Their songs are hypnotic and atmospheric.  They are some of the youngest members of our scene and are doing some really creative work.

4. A. Tom Collins is fronted by one of the most distinctive personalities in the city, Aaron Collins.  His previous band Machine Gun Blues was a raucous rock band who’s shows inevitably resulted in a sweaty mosh-pit and Collins in his underwear.  A. Tom Collins is a bit more nuanced than MGB with influences like New Orleans jazz, 60’s soul, and Tom Waits, but the live shows are no less exciting.

5. Hearts in Space are a somewhat dreamy psych-rock band.  They are slated to play this year’s Austin Psych Fest, April 25-28.

6. Ending People hail from a pedigree of several well known Denver bands including Porlolo. They are reminiscent of 80’s new wave with haunting female vocals.  They are hypnotizing to see live.

7. Glass Homes – full disclosure, this is my keyboard player’s other band.  But in a town as small as Denver, everyone plays in everyone else’s band.  And they’re great.

9. Accordion Crimes are a lo-fi minimalist noise post-punk trio.  They use distortion on everything, including vocals and they have been a personal favorite of mine for several years now.

10. Snake Rattle Rattle Snake – If you live in Denver, these guys need no introduction.  They’re kind of a big deal here.  A little bit Siouxsie Sioux with a dark dance beat.

11. Violent Summer – You may consider it shameless self promotion to put my own band on this list, but it has been suggested by some commenters on said previous post that I should “shut the hell up and get my own band.”  I’m paraphrasing.  So I wanted to let it be known I’ve been doing that very thing for many years now.  Violent Summer is a new project with recordings still under construction, but it was born from the ashes of a previous band Le Divorce.  So here is a Le Divorce track you can check out in the meantime.

About Kitty Vincent

Kitty Vincent has been playing music for over a decade. She is the singer/guitar player in Violent Summer and the founder of former Denver band, Le Divorce. She worked at the original Denver Wax Trax Records in the early 2000's and has been an avid record collector and music snob ever since. If there's one thing you can count on, it's that Kitty Vincent hates your band.

5 thoughts on “11 Denver Bands You’ve Never Heard Of (unless you live in Denver)

  1. One of the great things about Denver is that there are another 10 or 20 or 50 deserving bands. I would’ve picked 10 different acts, and I like all those you listed.

    1. I completely agree with you Ian. There are at least 50 more bands just as deserving of recognition. I’d love to hear the list you would’ve made, and thanks for reading.

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