Colorado's booming music scene is full of artists stepping out in the national spotlight — and in some cases, the international stage.
Notably, The Fray (Denver, formed in 2002), remains a huge name in music, and in recent years, The Lumineers (now based in Denver, formed in New Jersey in 2005) have grown out of the local market. With such a diverse selection of sound in this state — including electronic act Pretty Lights (Fort Collins, formed in 2004) — new artists have the potential to grow bigger than the Colorado market.
Below are four local bands that I believe show quite a bit of potential.
First, hailing from Castle Rock just south of Denver, is the band Medic. Medic has the opportunity to be the next biggest thing from the small town since actress Amy Adams, who grew up in Douglas County. What I like about the sound is its poppy and upbeat, yet piano-driven rock sound. Medic has the potential of infiltrating the pop-music charts, akin to OneRepublic (Colorado Springs, formed in 2002) or Coldplay.
For years, I have been an advocate of Denver's The Photo Atlas. After minor success outside of Colorado, I think that 2015 is the band's year, as its releases tend to get better with age.The band's edgy-rock sound is reminiscent of Royal Blood, but also upbeat, unique and along the lines of dance-punk, like Bloc Party.
Then there's The Centennial, a Denver-based band with deep roots in the Colorado scene. Originating from one of my all-time favorite projects, Meese (Denver, disbanded in 2010), The Centennial has veered from its Meese roots to a vastly different sound. Meese way a very flashy, piano-driven rock band (think Motion City Soundtrack or Something Corporate), while The Centennial is more alternative , with a spacey-electronic sound, mixed with a bright and poppy feel — similar to Warpain and Beach House, as well as The 1975 at times.
Finally, I am really sold on Nathaniel Rateliff's latest soul project, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Denver's Rateliff has seen indie success both nationally and internationally with his prior solo acoustic-driven singer/songwriter vibe, but his latest project has the potential to catch on with a more diverse crowd. Alongside The Night Sweats, he produces a vibrant sound with an old-time rock feel, almost like The Beatles. I had the pleasure of seeing the band live at Rateliff's holiday show at Denver's Ogden Theatre in December and was impressed with some new material I heard. With elements of old-time soul and a sound that can be compared to Alabama Shakes, I think this project has what it takes to be huge.
Caleb Dennis' "The Scene" runs in the Colorado Daily every Thursday. Twitter.com/TheWriterCalebD.