Class of 2008

Here are the other six artists worth keeping an eye on this year.

I've always promised myself that I'll quit this gig — or at least seriously re-evaluate things — the minute I feel myself becoming jaded. After nearly five years of covering the same beat and sorting through band after band, day after day, I figure it's bound to happen at some point. But it's hard to burn out when I come across artists like the ones I wrote about in Beatdown last week, or these next six.

Iuengliss (www.myspace.com/iuengliss) isn't the most captivating live performer. In fact, when I caught him last month at the Oriental, I actually nodded off during his set. But that's more a testament to the sure dreaminess of the music — glitchy IDM in the realm of Squarepusher, Aphex Twin or Autechre, infused with the ethereal cherubic vocals of Sigur Rós — than an indictment of his stage presence. After all, short of lighting himself on fire or something, a guy hovering over a laptop and crooning intermittently can only be so riveting to watch. But any lack there disappears once you listen to the music.

If this column were a mix tape, fellow dream merchants The Titan Courageous (www.myspace.com/thetitancourageous) would make a perfect segue. Built around David Peacock's immaculate tenor — which, when he really opens up, gives Cedric Bixler-Zavala's golden throat a run — Titan shapes its sprawling compositions into monolithic moments of arena-rock grandeur. A would-be freelancer turned me on to these guys with a pitch so earnest that I would have been remiss not to lend an ear. "When I listen to them," he wrote, "I hear power. I hear the power to change people." Indeed.

I hear power in Spools of Dark Thread (www.myspace.com/arousetoanger) — the power to rock your face off. While grizzled, unwavering metal purists may recoil, those who prefer their mayhem smothered in melody will grin wider than Giants fans on Super Sunday when they tap into the Spools' ultra-melodic hard rock. Distrurbed and Killswitch Engage get you off? Meet your new volume dealer.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the music of b.Sous (www.myspace.com/bsousmusic). The brainchild of fashionista Brandi Shigley, backed by resident Hate Fuckers Jon DeStefano and Brian Hendrick, b.Sous is a guileless, minimalist pop excursion that sounds positively homemade and adorable. Equally alluring is the unexpected incongruity of HFT's principal hucksters deliberately muting their trademark hooliganism on songs such as the aptly titled "Cuteness Overload."

There's nothing cute about Rehab Hymn (www.myspace.com/rehabhymn). An MC with an authoritative bark worthy of the Rhymesayers crew, Rehab relocated to Denver last fall. He stepped into a scene already bursting with talent, but armed with an intelligent flow and a clean, forceful cadence, Rehab has a style that fits right in. He has two releases under his belt — a solo effort titled Expression of Sickness and Blackout Sands, a collab with Milwaukee's Adrift and the LMNtlyst — and is currently working on another solo outing.

Jessica Sonner (www.myspace.com/jessicasonner) is another newcomer to the scene — new to the scene, but not new to Colorado. Raised in Denver, she earned a degree in music in Indiana, then headed to Chicago and did some modeling before kick-starting her music career. After releasing her first disc (which was lauded by the Chi-town press), she moved back to Denver and has now taken her home town by storm.

I checked out Sonner at the behest of my friend Suzanne, who gave me the hard sell. It's not hard to see why Sonner's already been embraced by Angie Stevens and landed an opening slot for Colbie Caillat next week. With a sultry voice somewhere between Caillat and Ingrid Michaelson, Sonner looks like a lock for Denver's next big mainstream breakout. Unfortunately, if you don't catch her at the Fillmore next Tuesday, February 12, you'll only have one other chance — on Friday, February 22, at the Oriental. Because after that, Sonner will on the road until at least May.

I'll be keeping an eye on these artists and a host of others, including Only Thunder, Breathe Carolina, Kill Paradise, A Novel Form, Jen Korte and the Loss, Blue Light, Tim Pourbaix, Alan Alda, Overcasters and Greg Baerns.

 
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