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Boulder Acoustic Society, Punchline (Self-released). The Boulder Acoustic Society's virtuosity doesn't dampen its energy. Even with the tightly controlled violin lines of Kailin Yong and the exacting accordion riffs of Scott McCormick, Punchline retains a from-the-hip feel, an energetic and contagious spontaneity that marks tunes like "We Tried." — Goldstein

Burn Heavy/Kingdom of Magic, Burn Heavy/Kingdom of Magic split (Self-released). Flip a coin to see which side of this split LP you'll listen to first; either way, you win. Burn Heavy unloads apocalyptic doom metal with an edge of experimental noise, while Kingdom of Magic goes for the throat with a slow-motion, stoned-as-shit rock attack. — Heller

Candy Claws, In the Dream of the Sea Life (Indiecater Records). Candy Claws was going for the sound of the ocean and absolutely nailed it — not the bronze shores, but the whole vast expanse. This thing sounds like shimmering sun hitting the endless water, along with the whoosh of the ebbing tide and the infinite distortion of the untamable deep. It's an amazing record. — Maletsky

Crack Magic, Crack Magic (Self-released). Coming from someone who witnesses crack magic on a nightly basis in the alley below his Capitol Hill apartment, let me say this: Crack Magic is the real thing. This is to punk rock what punk rock was to Fleetwood Mac. In other words, a revolution, a revelation and a total fucking pants-wetting mess. In, you know, a good way. — Heller

The Culhanes, No Part of Nothin' (Self-released). The Longmont-based, alt-country Culhanes might have borrowed their name from the Culhane family on the redneck variety show Hee-Haw, but they embrace some of that show's cheekiness, too. While delving into tried-and-true country clichés of drinking and longing, the band also injects some rock into the mix. — Solomon

Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Things People Do (Danielle Ate the Sandwich). Danielle Anderson does a lot with only four ukulele strings. Her basic song structures and stark instrumentation may be simple on the surface, but combined with her coolly suggestive voice, they paint complex and rich musical pictures. — Goldstein

Deadbubbles, Frienemies (Hypnotic Turtle Records). Throughout Frienemies, Broomfield-based Deadbubbles roars out of the garage with supercharged rock fueled with the swagger of '70s punk like the Dead Boys and the Stooges. Hell, these lo-fi sonic producers even made an album that sounds like it was made three decades ago, and that's about as rock-solid as it comes. — Solomon

The Don'ts and Be Carefuls, Risk Assessment (Self-released). Bucking expectations of dance punk's spent possibilities, the Don'ts rediscovered the genre's soul and breathed life back into it with exuberance and inventiveness. Essentially a collection of incredibly urgent and earnest pop songs with an edge, this EP is proof that rock music played with unself-conscious abandon is never boring. Tom Murphy

Dualistics, Dualistics (Self-released). After several earnest yet ultimately underwhelming attempts to gain traction, Dualistics finally found its swagger on this recording, thanks to a strong batch of guitar-driven modern rockers that could easily inspire approving nods from fans of acts like the Foo Fighters. — Herrera

Emmitt-Nershi Band, New Country Blues (Sci-Fidelity). If you like your salmon with a little cheese and a side of grass, look no further than Emmitt-Nershi's recent platter. Drew Emmitt (of Leftover Salmon) and Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident) circle a red-hot posse of pickers for a sizzling acoustic romp that skitters from bluegrass to Latin jazz and beyond. — Nick Hutchinson

Espirit De Corps, Under Constant Influence (Self-released). Chris Gardner is pissed. Over a foundation that can best be described as "dance-core," the vocalist screams rigidly about a series of broken promises and failed relationships. With gang vocals that could put Bang Camaro to shame, the outfit is shouting loud enough for many to hear its plight. — Thomas

Everything Absent or Distorted (a love story), The Lucky One (Self-released). The insanely captivating live spectacle that was Everything Absent or Distorted never translated to record better than on this, its parting gift. The thing practically bleeds and shouts and cries and laughs and self-destructs its way out of your speakers. "Monday morning: Give us our razors. Feel like dying, but we'll just shave and go on." Holy crap. —Maletsky

Extra Kool, Creature From the Whack Lagoon (Self-released). A fearless display of raw emotion and pain as much as an album, Whack shows Kool laying his tortured soul bare with searing honesty and creativity. No false fronts or manufactured power are on display on any of these songs — just harrowing, dark poetry written as testaments to strength through sensitivity. — Murphy

Fell, A Farewell to Echoes (Vacant Songs). This album is all kinds of awesome, emphasis on the awe. It's huge, cavernous vocals and mighty guitar lines. The tracks use every second of their five- and six-minute run times to envelop you. Incoherent Lullabies got more attention, but this one will straight lift you out of your tracks. — Maletsky

Fred Hess Big Band, Hold On (Dazzle Records). While tenor saxophonist and composer Fred Hess has released more than a dozen albums in the last seventeen years, Hold On is his first big-band record as a leader. The album showcases Hess's compositional skills with a number of straightahead, modern big-band tunes as well as a few angular ones. — Solomon

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3 comments
jeanie straub
jeanie straub

I think this is a great list and I LOVE the fact that you guys have made Moovers and Shakers a Westword tradition. Regarding the other guy's comment: You may be sleeping with some people in some bands, but you're still awesome.

DenverScener
DenverScener

All of these bands suck. All of these records suck and all of your journalists are sleeping with all of these bands. Listen to some real music. Check me out at www.myspace.com/curtisnewart

Why don't you guys open up your ears, all these bands are shit.

Sincerely,

DenverScener - Curtis Newart

Curtis Newart
Curtis Newart

the above post by DenverScener was NOT made by me but by a poser. peace, Curtis Newart

 

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