The Velvet Teen
After achieving art-pop perfection with 2002's Out of the Fierce Parade -- a shimmering, Chris Walla-produced masterwork that combined guitar-rock punch and OK Computer-era keening -- the Velvet Teen shocked fans and critics by forsaking guitars altogether and getting all cryptic and political on its 2004 piano-driven opus, Elysium. Fortunately, the sprawling and unwieldy album retains enough hooks and hummable melodies to keep it from becoming completely intimidating. Even better, frontman Judah Nagler, bassist Josh Staples and drummer Chris Dietz -- who replaced original drummer Logan Whitehurst -- still put on the captivating, impassioned live shows they're known for. Last time the trio played Denver, Nagler refused to let a nagging head cold dampen his emotional performance or prevent him from flawlessly hitting his soaring falsetto notes. In 2006 the Teen will release a three-song EP and a new full-length. Whether the band will stick to the guitar-less format remains to be seen, but expect plenty of gorgeous melodies, lyrical wit and unguarded ecstasy this Tuesday at the Marquis.
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