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Meet 100(ish) of Denver's best bands: Part three

Clockwise from top: Rowdy Shadehouse, Koo Qua (photo by Derek Nez) and Pizza Time (photo by Eryck Nid)
Clockwise from top: Rowdy Shadehouse, Koo Qua (photo by Derek Nez) and Pizza Time (photo by Eryck Nid)

Your new favorite band is from Denver -- you just have to find it! No small task in a city with thousands of artists and hundreds of venues, we know -- but you can start this weekend at the Westword Music Showcase. More than 140 of our favorite local artists will play sixteen stages around the Golden Triangle neighborhood, and we'll tie the whole thing together with an outdoor main stage featuring a few party-starting out-of-towners, including Diplo and 2 Chainz.

This is our twentieth year putting on the Showcase, and it's a great place to find those new favorites. But it's also just one part of our ongoing effort to introduce you to the best of this city's music. All of the local bands playing the Showcase are also nominees for Westword Music Awards. That list is even more daunting, featuring over 300 bands and artists selected by our expansive nominating committee as the finest Denver has to offer. You can see the full list of nominees and vote for your favorites here.

See also: Meet 100(ish) of Denver's best bands: Part one and part two

That list is organized by genre. You can find other introductions elsewhere in this section, including a playlist featuring many of the bands and some advice they have for newcomers to the scene. There will be more this week, including this series, where you'll find over 100 Westword Music Award nominees (those who filled out our survey) in alphabetical order. You can watch a video of each artist in action and read the one thing he/she/they hope you know about the project. If you're interested in what you see or hear, you can click on the name of any artist to go to a website, facebook or bandcamp page where you'll find information on buying music and upcoming shows.

No matter what kind of music you like, there are bands and artists making it right here in Denver. They've got that guitar tone that just sounds right to you, and harmonies that fill your head so perfectly, they must have been built specifically for you.

Khemmis

Westword Music Award Category: Metal

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We try to make music that is more than just 'heavy,' whatever that word means in today's music world. Sure, we have a wall of amps and loud, fuzzed-out guitars, but we're really just a rock 'n' roll band who tries to write memorable songs, instead of just stringing together a series of unrelated riffs."

-- Ben Hutcherson

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Kissing Party

Westword Music Award Category: Pop - Indie

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We won't change."

-- Gregg Dolan

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Koo Qua

Westword Music Award Category: Hip Hop - MC (Female)

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"(It's) highly energetic, with positive representation."

-- Niquasia Waddles (a.k.a. Koo Qua)

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Lil' Thunder

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Alternative

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Marie is the only female in the band, but 3 out of 4 members have PMS."

-- Dan Fox

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Lotus Drops

Westword Music Award Category: DJ - EDM

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Lotus Drops isn't just pushing buttons, she's creating a sonic environment for your ultimate dance floor experience."

-- Anastasia Culbert

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Low Gravity

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Heavy

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"How hard we really work on writing our material. We seem like we're just goofing off but we really out a lot into our craft."

--Jess Ellis

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Magic Cyclops

Westword Music Award Category: Avant-garde/eclectic

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"I am actually shorter in person."

-- Scott Fuller (a.k.a Magic Cyclops)

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Man Mantis

Westword Music Award Category: Electronic

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"I actually think I get the best reception from people who don't know what to expect. There's a lot of stereotypes about electronic music that create a certain expectation in the listener and they end up weighing your work against that expectation. After my most fun sets I usually get someone coming up to me and saying something like, 'That was great, I had no idea.'"

-- Mitchell Pond

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Marty Jones & the Great Unknowns

Westword Music Award Category: Country

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"I wish folks knew how much fun we deliver. An hour of watching us play makes one much happier and better informed about the healing power of beer and hillbilly music."

-- Marty Jones

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Megan Burtt

Westword Music Award Category: Singer-Songwriter

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"New album The Bargain will be released in early 2015."

-- Megan Burtt

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MF Ruckus

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Heavy

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We don't party."

-- Aaron Howell

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Mosey West

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Traditional

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Our third EP, Bermuda, was released on January 7, 2014."

-- Adam Brown

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Muscle Beach

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Heavy

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Beer."

-- Justin Sanderson

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Native Daughters

Westword Music Award Category: Metal

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Bring ear plugs and remember to have fun, ya dummy. Also, smoking the pot doesn't hurt when we're doing the thing."

-- Justin Hackl

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New Ben Franklins

Westword Music Award Category: Country

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We would love people to know that New Ben Franklins has a 22-year track record of not sounding like anything else in Denver. We draw influences from so many places and wish folks could hear our songs, because we are sure that they would love at least some of them."

-- David DeVoe

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Pan Astral

Westword Music Award Category: Electronic

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Pan Astral is not the new space traveling airline. Pan Astral is a band of four professional artists who lovingly and painstakingly write their own music, produce their own albums, make large paintings and collages for their album art, and project homemade moving images onto themselves and their hand made, giant triangle screen in front of which they perform."

-- Gabriel Otto

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Pizza Time

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Garage punk

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We don't sing about pizza."

-- David Castillo

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Planes!

Westword Music Award Category: Hip Hop - Group

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Musically we're diverse and, lyrics ... cutting edge."

-- Lennex Dublyn

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Plume Varia

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Psych/Ambient

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"That, like most local, independent bands, we do this not for attention or income but rather just for the love of the music and stage; and that it is the simple acts of support, such as going to a show or letting us know what you thought of a song or performance, that really fuels the fire to keep us (and pretty much all local bands) going."

-- Shon Cobbs

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Potcheen

Westword Music Award Category: World

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Potcheen is the only touring, high-energy band from Colorado that fuses world-style musics, that are predominately Celtic in origin but include ska, bluegrass, americana, punk, pirate, zydeco, rock and more."

-- Christian Blochinger

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Reason the Citizen

Westword Music Award Category: Hip-hop - MC (Male)

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"My music is unlike what your favorite radio station plays. I strive for authenticity and honesty in my records, and it reflects in my unorthodox stage performances. If you want 'cookie cutter' rap music, look elsewhere."

-- Richard John Martinelli

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Reverb and the Verse

Westword Music Award Category: Hip-hop - Band

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We take only the best and healthiest parts of hip-hop, electronic, and dance music, smash them all together, et voilĂ , a main course."

-- Jahi Simbai

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Badlands live at the Fox from Rocktin Grove on Vimeo.

Rocktin Grove

Westword Music Award Category: Americana

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We are seven diverse instruments and are consistently told we sound like one driving sound."

-- Wilson Harwood

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Rowdy Shadehouse

Westword Music Award Category: Funk/Soul/R&B

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We are here to have a great time. If you come to our show, expect debauchery in the funnest way you can."

-- Ryan Chipps

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Rubedo

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Progressive

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"It's just a ride. Funny how it works."

-- Kyle Gray

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Safe Boating is No Accident

Westword Music Award Category: Rock - Alternative

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"We're deeply committed to pop songs, rock and roll music, and absurdity."

-- Leighton Peterson

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Samples

Westword Music Award Category: DJ - EDM

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"Samples is a high energy glitch-hop and dubstep producer who plays original music and remixes of rock 'n' roll that will bring out nostalgia."

-- Ben Samples

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Sawmill Joe

Westword Music Award Category: Singer-Songwriter

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"It's not a schtick."

-- Lief Sjostrom

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Shining Wires

Westword Music Award Category: Punk

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"In our 30's, the three of us set out to start the three-piece pop-punk band that we never started in the '90's. We have all spent years touring, sacrificing and taking risks with music and other bands. We wanted to start something simple and fun with no strings attached."

-- Casey Yunko

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Sister Grotto

Westword Music Award Category: Electronic - Experimental

What's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project?

"I make loops using delayed piano, voice, and homemade sound objects. I am interested in making soundscapes rather than stand-alone songs."

-- Madeline Johnston

And here's a bunch more information about the Westword Music Showcase:

-The 36 best songs you might hear on the main stage at this year's Westword Music Showcase

-The 2014 Westword Music Awards nominees

-The people of Westword Music Showcase 2013

-Ticket page for this year's Showcase