The Class of 2009

Highlighting the most captivating music of the coming year

Remember a few months ago, when I wondered whether our scene had peaked or if we were just experiencing a temporary lull? Turns out it was the latter, as evidenced by this fresh crop of new talent.

Who: Houses

What: Led by Andy Hamilton and featuring Widowers' Mike Marchant and Matthew Till of Hearts of Palm, Houses' ornate brand of spiraling psych pop is instantly entrancing. (myspace.com/housestheband)

Where: Friday, January 30, Lion's Lair

Who: Eleanor

What: Building from a strong foundation of charming, understated chamber folk underscored by glitchy rhythms, Eleanor has crafted the soundtrack of urban daydreams and reflections. (myspace.com/eleanortravels)

Where: Saturday, January 17, hi-dive

Who: Saints

What: This act, formed by brothers Rob and Lewi Gault soon after they moved here from Scotland, is currently working its way into the scene from the outer reaches. The strength of Saints' vibrant, earnest Brit pop should ensure that it's a short trip. (myspace.com/saintstheband)

Where: Wednesday, January 28, Herman's Hideaway

Who: Speakeasy, Tiger

What: Formerly known as Girl Named Kyle, this rechristened outfit, led by the commanding voice of Kyle Simmons, ditched the acoustic rock of its past life for a livelier take on indie pop purveyed by acts like the Hush Sound. Look for a three-song EP recorded by Hot IQs' Bryan Feuchtinger. (myspace.com/speakeasytiger)

Where: Saturday, January 31, Walnut Room

Who: Hearts Like Lions

What: Formed from remnants of Me Llamo Rosa and Lenore, Hearts Like Lions has quietly yet steadily cultivated its stylized, backwards-glancing modern rock over the past year. With a five-song EP under its belt and another on the way, this act is poised to move to the next level. (myspace.com/heartslikelions)

Where: Wednesday, January 21, Marquis Theater

Who: Wakely

What: From Tickle Me Pink to the Heyday, Fort Collins has had a lock on tightly crafted, guitar-driven power pop for the past few years. But as evidenced by the giant, polished choruses and flawless harmonies of Wakely, which released its debut last spring, Colorado Springs, our affable neighbor to the south, is clearly no slouch in this regard. (myspace.com/wakelymusic)

Where: The band is taking time off to record a new record.

Who: Defeat the Lie

What: This quintet, which features current and former members of Valiomierda, the Quiet Room and Spools of Dark Thread, just finished its three-song demo with Dave Otero. If the resulting trio of songs — as punishing as they are melodic — is any indication, another titan of mainstream metal has arrived in the Mile High. (myspace.com/defeatthelie)

Where: Saturday, January 24, Herman's Hideaway

Who: Spare the Legion

What: Like Spools of Dark Thread and Enemy Reign before it, Spare the Legion emerged on the scene fully formed, with an unrelenting, bone-crushing sound that nods to In Flames and Killswitch Engage. (myspace.com/sparethelegion)

Where: Saturday, January 24, Gothic Theatre

You should already be well acquainted with Young Coyotes, the Natural Selection, Magic Mice, Overcasters, Taun Taun, Enemy Reign, Moonspeed, the Fire Drills, Dust on the Breakers and Popwreck, newer acts that were all fairly active last year — but if you're not, google them now, and stop by the Backbeat blog (blogs.westword.com/backbeat) for a few more picks.

 
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