Colorado’s music scene has come a long way these past few years, with Denver becoming host to a wide variety of acts that continue to push the boundaries of traditional music.
Spanning genres, sounds, and philosophies, here are some of the finest groups to emerge from Colorado in recent history.
Ryan McRyhew has been releasing music under various incarnations for years, but his newest project, Thug Entrancer, feels like a culmination of sorts.
Rooted in old school electronics, Thug Entrancer takes an improvisational approach to drum ‘n’ bass, footwork, juke, house and trip-hop, building an abstract yet bumping aesthetic completely its own. With his recent signing to Oneohtrix Point Never’s Software label, Thug Entrancer stands to introduce his unique style of electronics to a whole lot more people.
The phrase “power-trio” was practically invented to describe bands like the awesomely named Tjutjuna. Like a sonic torpedo on par with the Black Dice, Tjutjuna crafts ever-building power anthems out of relentless drums, mutant guitar sounds, and electronics that groove in unexpectedly badass ways. Certainly the type of act that requires earplugs, Tjutjuna is a force of noise to be reckoned with.
Luke Thinnes’ sleepdial project has taken a variety of forms over the years. Sometimes it manifests as the soothing, provocative drones of albums like gaschamberchoir and the film score beneathglasstrees. Sometimes it’s Casio-driven cyberpunk, as with his furiously celebratory live sets. But whichever style Thinnes is taking out for a ride, he commands it all with startling grace and innovation, making his albums under the name sleepdial some of the most challenging — and rewarding — releases to come out of Denver these past few years.
You can’t really talk about Cop Circles without describing it as a kind of performance art. Luke Leavitt struts out his keytar like a computer programmer emerging out of his basement to timidly try his run at a karaoke set, and his shows will frequently devolve in surreal bouts of shouting and mumbling to himself.
The beats pouring forth from his instrument, however, are undeniable, bringing the best bits of funky pop a lá Talking Heads out with a silly, handmade quality that makes Cop Circles one of the most intriguing local projects currently working.
Burger Records have established quite a little following here in Colorado, which isn’t insanely surprising as Colorado’s always tended to attract a lot of West Coast types. And so we have ourselves a little Spanish garage-pop outfit going by the name of Pizza Time, crafting lo-fi sing-alongs that are just about impossible to have a bad time to. If being in Colorado has only made you dream of the beach, Pizza Time is here to remind you that here, we make our own party.
Sam Goldner is the former music director at CU’s Radio 1190 and continues to volunteer for the station. Email him at email@example.com.