Various Artists, Hot Congress Vol. 1 (Hot Congress). The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the collective is open to creativity of all sorts and willing to share talent in any way it can. Remarkable in that there are exactly zero duds in eleven tracks, the debut comp establishes Hot Congress as a deft curator for all manner of Denver's creations. — Maletsky

Various Artists, Rocky Mountain Low: The Colorado Musical Underground of the Late 1970s (Hyperpycnal). The title of this ambitious, lavishly annotated compilation pretty much speaks for itself — but it still doesn't quite capture the years of research, dedication and love that went into it. And the music itself? Alternately raw, polished, anarchic, ridiculous, sublime and bizarre. The songs by these mostly forgotten Colorado rock pioneers should serve as a lesson — in both ethics and aesthetics — for the Denver scene of today. — Heller

Vitamins, Songs for Stem Cells (Self-released). Representing a shift into edgier musical territory, Songs for Stem Cells references darkness, fear and violent renewal. The vocals likewise reflect an uncertainty mitigated by a developed faith in the self to weather life's storms. With this album, Vitamins perfectly melds its experimental streak with its knack for emotive, vital pop songs. — Murphy

Wentworth Kersey, (O) (Plastic Sound Supply). Wentworth Kersey scored a thematic success with (O), picking up where 2008's O left off with relative ease. The soft, sinuous vocals are just as subtly suggestive, and the instrumentation seems even more sophisticated: Hints of flamenco guitar, epic carnival soundtracks and phantoms of a string section are all part of the album's appeal. — Goldstein

Whygee & Sunkenstate, Sambodextrust (Self-released) This dynamic duo takes back the slur "Sambo" and turns it into a vicious lyrical assault riddled with jabs at puffy paint-sporting MCs, unsympathetic females and pill-poppers. Production by BrikAbrak is richly orchestrated as layers of woodwinds and brass are interwoven over a solid drum foundation — smooth, captivating and damn near spiritual. — Thomas

The Widow's Bane, The Widow's Bane (Self-released). Face paint should be used sparingly in rock and roll. But if you do wear it on stage, you'd better walk the walk — and Boulder's Widow's Bane does indeed. Macabre, literate and shamelessly theatrical, there's real vision behind the group's death-folk howl. Not to mention courage — a rare commodity lately in the local scene. — Heller

Yonder Mountain String Band, The Show (Frog Pad). Yonder started 2009 with a sold-out New Year's Eve slot at the Pepsi Center, sold out Red Rocks (again) this past summer, released a total bad-ass rock-and-roll-meets-bluegrass album aptly titled The Show, and close out 2009 with a trio of sure-to-sell-out Fillmore shows. — Seyfarth

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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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