The Colorado music scene is positively crawling with folk, bluegrass and jam bands. Some of them are quite good, but that environment makes it hard to foster other stuff.
The Lumineers were a Colorado success story, and maybe the most well-known one in recent years, but there's a ton of other stuff to hear. Boulder and Denver are sending electronic and hip-hop acts out to the coasts to show them we can keep up. Meanwhile, rock bands are making waves at home and in smaller national markets. Some of the bands are just emerging with tons of potential.
They're all worth watching.
These guys have come a long way in just a few years to become one of Denver's biggest nationally-touring acts. The alt-hip-hop group signed with Hopeless Records, delaying the release of their next album, and it seems like they've been hopping around to some of the country's bigger stages non-stop.
This Boulder-based band, made up of Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken, incorporates live instrumentation in their electronic music, with Lalli on sax and Salken on the drums. They made a huge impression on the local scene long ago, and the past few years, they brought their national game hard with a stunning number of festivals and major venue gigs.
Everything BLKHRTS has churned out of the studio so far has sounded great, but this band needs to be experienced live. The trio of MCs had a well-attended, unstoppably high-energy show at the Underground Music Showcase this year. The music, in their words, is about "Sex, Drugs, Violence, Money, Death and LOVE."
Call of the Void
Metal is scarce around here, but Call of the Void has become the best there is. The Boulder band earned a spot in an official South by Southwest showcase this past March and got the attention of Pitchfork for a couple album reviews. They're burning up and deserve a bigger hometown audience.
It feels like only a matter of time before Denver's synthy indie rockers The Epilogues really blow up. Their latest, Cinematics, was strong enough to send them on a nationwide tour, playing some impressive rooms. Stay tuned for even bigger things.
In The Whale
In The Whale, the Denver-via-Greely duo of Nate Valdez and Eric Riley, will rock your face off. You can gobble up the older Cake EP on their Bandcamp page, along with the newer three-track EP, Eric. It's balls-to-the-wall rock with no apologies, and that's going make something of this brand new band soon. Look out for the next EP, Nate.
South of France
Luckily, you don't actually have to go to the South of France to find some indie pop, though it might feel like it sometimes. South of France is making sweet tunes right here in Boulder. They mostly play shows in Denver, but it's well worth the drive to go check them out in person. Check out their debut, Another Boring Sunrise, and stay tuned for the follow-up.
The Yawpers have settled in as a mainstay on the Front Range and they keep up steady touring outside of Colorado. The alt-country trio has two albums and an EP of covers behind them, and new original LP in the works. The new material promises to be more influenced by metal and psych rock.