DeVotchKa, Live With the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Cicero Recordings). DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata clearly has a knack for writing sprawling and cinematic music, as evidenced on last year's 100 Lovers. But hearing songs from that album and others performed with the Colorado Symphony adds to the splendor of it all. Backed by lush symphonic instrumentation, DeVotchKa's music sounds all the more majestic. — Solomon

Dyad, Cyberia (Self-released). Like a Giorgio Moroder record made in the age of Ableton, Cyberia is much more than the result of a modern band appropriating analog synth sounds to evoke an '80s vibe. What you get here is a set of well-composed experimental electronic compositions informed by both Kraftwerkian motorik beats and IDM. — Murphy

Ending People, Fill Your Lungs (Cash Cow Production). Given the pedigree of the people involved here, it's hardly surprising that the music created by Ending People is completely captivating. But even if the names were unfamiliar, the driving, synth-based songs on Fill Your Lungs, propelled by pulsing bass lines, shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars and the entrancing vocals of Erin Roberts, would immediately draw you in. — Herrera

Epilogues, Cinematics (Greater Than Collective). A long time coming, the eagerly anticipated Cinematics lives up to its name with a widescreen, multi-dimensional brand of alt-rock that seems to be the veritable offspring of Muse. It cribs from that act's sprawling anthemic tendencies while tapping into the claustrophobic isolation of its de facto muse, Radiohead. Exceedingly well done and definitely worth repeated listens. — Herrera

Epoch When, GRIM (Self-released). Epoch When has time to grow, and that's what makes him so exciting. He's already developed his own sound, and on GRIM, he proves that he also has serious songwriting abilities. The album has a vulnerability that most rappers won't go near, plus progressive production that goes to exciting places. — Hubbell

Fingers of the Sun, Sleepy (Hot Congress). While not quite as memorable as Fingers of the Sun's debut effort last year, this EP still delivers some infectious short gems from one of Denver's best songwriting duos — along with the courageous (if ill-conceived) 27-minute "Careful With Those Sleeping Pills, Percy." With a tranquil, under-the-sea psychedelia, this narcoleptic concept album is sure to deliver the dreams of tangerine trees and marmalade skies from which it took its inspiration. — Hesse

Flobots, The Circle in the Square (Shanacie). Many folks counted Flobots out after the act parted ways with Universal. But those people underestimated the group's resolve: Flobots regrouped, recommitted and returned with a new vigor. While the outfit may never again realize the acclaim it once had, Circle in the Square finds Flobots thriving artistically and continuing to make layered, expressive, intelligent music. — Herrera

Fred Hess Big Band, Speak (Alison Records). Similar to previous outings by Fred Hess and his big band, Speak borrows from the '50s while looking toward the future with its intricate arrangements. Hess and the band, which includes some fine local talent alongside New York-based drummer Matt Wilson and trombonist John Fedchock, have outdone themselves on this one. A superb effort throughout. — Solomon

Glass Delirium, Diamond Lullabies (Self-released). Glass Delirium's Diamond Lullabies is the kind of album that takes a genre of music and pushes it far beyond its usual boundaries. Crisp yet expansive melodies and tastefully creative guitar work help elevate this sonically rich, imaginative metal record. — Murphy

Goer, Like Minds EP (Self-released). The second of four Goer EPs released in 2012, Like Minds is an electronics-infused post-rock jamboree sure to resonate with fans of Radiohead (Kid A or later) and similar acts, comprising a pleasing blend of bright, plucky guitar lines with synthetic washes, heavy reverb and richly layered percussion. Opener "Gold Stars & Stickers" sets a tone and quality that are maintained throughout the record. — Rodgers

Greencarpetedstairs, Greencarpetedstairs (Fake Four). Neil Ewing's knack for taking the weird and making it accessible is brought strongly to bear on this album. A fully realized fusion of noise and hip-hop, Greencarpetedstairs has a cool and haunting undertone moving through it that contrasts with the sultry, uptempo elements of each song. — Murphy

Grizz, CrazyWorld (Whiskey Baptist Music). Grizz is raw and has an attitude, but he's deep, too, and can speak volumes in a minute. Plus his flow is rock-solid on CrazyWorld. The album's production comes from several sources, but it's well chosen and cohesive, and Grizz demonstrates his talent for beatmaking. — Hubbell

GRiZ, Mad Liberation (Self-released). Fresh to Colorado soil, GRiZ showcases the musical diversity that a modern producer must face head-on these days. On Mad Liberation, he tackles the challenge deftly, with monstrous bass drops and complex drum lines interspersed between glorious melodies and revived hip-hop samples. — Britt Chester

The Gromet, Barren (Self-released). Continually improving with each release, the Gromet is at its absolute best on Barren. With memorable melodies and pleasing harmonies bolstering sturdy arrangements and instrumentation, the outfit gives a nod to both the Grateful Dead and the Band — but in a compelling way that's completely worthy of the comparison. — Herrera

Holophrase, Horizons of Expectation (Self-released). Like a nightmare unfolding, Horizons of Expectation contains a sense of menace delivered with oddly organic precision. But the disorienting rhythms are festooned with sharp, often alien sounds that keep you coming back to these songs as though they were some kind of tantalizing mystery to be solved. This record is like a long-lost H.P. Lovecraft story made into music. — Murphy

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Peace Family, hope to see you Today at SLAM NUBA - FREE FOOD. EAT EARLY -5:PM-10:PM @ the Crossroads Theater (2590 Washington Street 80205 DEN.) for a 80's Hip Hop Theme celebration - live performance, bboy (cash prize) battle, martial arts demo and vegan food demo and potluck! ["Soul Food Junkies"] film screening. Brought by Going Green Living Bling & Moyo Nguvu. Free event & Family Friendly! 5:pm to 10:pm.


love this year's list.   i would find it hard to leave out jon boland's "lightning in the wires" and john statz's "old old fashioned"   two of colorado's best americana releases this year.  add those two and you have an extensive local music shopping list that kicks any other music scenes ass for sure!!  

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