The Jim Jims, Bottom of the City (Self-released). On Bottom of the City, the Jim Jims synthesize a number of fascinating and unusual post-punk influences into a near-perfect sound. The guitars are edgy, the beats are insistent, the production is gritty and the songwriting impeccable. This album throbs, pleads and doesn't let up even once over the course of seven short, brilliant songs. — Casciato

Kissing Party, The Hate Album (Self-released). As pretty and bitter as a sugar-dusted bitch slap, the latest full-length from Denver's indie-pop provocateurs knows how to make regret, horniness and abject desperation sound like a walk on the playground. Sure, it's delicate and catchy, but don't be fooled: This one has teeth. — Heller

Light Travels Faster, ...with friends like these, (No Dance Records). The followup to 2007's After the Black of Baca County shows a shift toward refinement. Frontman Christopher Rigel has streamlined his passion for poetic pacing and novel guitar tunings in a way that makes friends much more beholden to acts like Modest Mouse and much more admirable for its own merits. — Goldstein

Littles Paia, Dew on the Needles (Self-released). Wading into deep conceptual waters, this album is the musical equivalent of an early Thomas Pynchon novel in its ability to be enjoyed on numerous levels. On the surface, these are solidly written, trippy folk songs — but subversively suggestive titles merely hint at the riches awaiting the perceptive listener.

 Murphy

Lola Black, Plastic Dashboard Jesus (Lolablackmusic). The members of Lola Black draw upon their collective experience with admirable results on their freshman EP. The six members, who have done stints in bands like Snapstick Dynomite and the Eight Bucks Experiment, fuse homegrown hardcore and punk sounds to form something novel and promising on Jesus. — Goldstein

Mike Marchant, Outer Space and the Sea (Self-released). What started out as a pair of mellower, unreleased Widowers tracks eventually grew into Mike Marchant's debut solo album. Over the course of five sparse yet spectral acoustic-based numbers, Marchant reinforces why he's one of the area's most enchanting songwriters. — Herrera

Stephen Marcus, If the Phone Ain't Ringing (Self-released). Newcomer Stephen Marcus's debut is pure heartbreak wrapped in a blanket of loneliness. Comparisons to a young Steve Earle and John Prine only hint at the potential of this young musician from Crested Butte. Live on stage, the guy simply kills it. — Seyfarth

Kort McCumber, Ain't the Same as Before (Self-released). No other album summarized our collective emotions of frustration, discouragement and hopefulness of what 2009 was than Kort McCumber's career-best Americana effort, Ain't the Same as Before. Virtuosic musicianship, lush harmonies and truly poetic lyrics created a soundtrack to what many of us were feeling this past year. — Seyfarth

Meese, Broadcast (Atlantic Records). Meese releases an album on Atlantic Records? Who would have thought? (Oh, right, everyone.) Broadcast is Meese's first major-label release and includes those songs "Next in Line" and "Tell Me It's Over" — the ones nobody can seem to get out of their heads. — Frederick

The Mighty Eighteen Wheeler, Stimulus Package (Fist). These guys seem to get progressively heavier with each album, and they've come a long way from their days as a reverb-drenched, Stray Cats-infused rockabilly trio. On Stimulus Package, the fellas kick things up a notch, ramp up the intensity and show just how goddamned mighty they can get. — Solomon

Aakash Mittal, Videsh (Self-released). Saxophonist Aakash Mittal has grown considerably both as a musician and as a composer since the release of his debut, Possible Beginnings. Inspired by a trip to India, Videsh, his sophomore effort, is a brilliant twelve-song suite that brings Eastern Indian music together with bop, avant-garde and groove-based rock. — Solomon

Moonspeed, Flowers of the Moon (Flight Approved). As close to an indie-rock orchestra as you can get, Moonspeed builds on the foundation laid down by Bright Channel, yet offers a brighter and more hopeful landscape, layered and seemingly never-ending. Here the group builds on the skeletal songs of Jeff Suthers and blasts them into another realm. — Thomas

The Motet, Dig Deep (Self-released). Boulder's dance-party favorites the Motet continue to reinvent what the soundtrack to a good time sounds like. Exploring electronic frontiers not yet discovered by the techno crowd, the Motet unearths a whole universe of sounds, rhythms and oscillating frequencies that make it irresistible for people to dance. — Seyfarth

Motorhome, Almost Vegas (Self-released). If the Grateful Dead had spent its career chain-smoking packs of Reds, drinking whiskey and playing biker bars rather than dropping acid and indulging in esoteric jams, they would have sounded pretty close to Fort Collins hillbilly jam-rockers Motorhome. — Seyfarth

Nautical Mile, Rythym/Million Distant Memories (Self-released). What makes a brand-new band that hasn't played a bunch of shows yet worth telling others about? Easy: great songs. These photogenic pop-rockers came out of nowhere and immediately turned heads with a handful of power-pop anthems recorded at the Blasting Room that quickly garnered radio airplay. — Seyfarth

Nervesandgel, 333 (Self-released). If ambient music is, by its very nature, experimental, this marathon of an album, clocking in at three hours and thirty-three minutes, conceived of as a single track, begs comparative descriptors. Not recommended for those with a need for musical convention, this album is the sound of inner-space exploration. — Murphy

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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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