Although some dyed-in-the-wool vinyl-lovers cling to the romance of crate-digging, more and more jocks are embracing digital technology. They're also embracing Beatport. Led by lauded DJ Jonas Tempel, the site is helping to revolutionize the way DJs approach their craft. Tempel and his crew have amassed one of the most comprehensive dance-music repositories on the Web. Last year, when the site launched, it offered roughly 2,000 tracks from 72 labels; by the beginning of this year, there were 20,000 titles from more than 700 labels. From drum-and-bass to trance and everything in between, the hottest dance music is now just a click away.

Looking for the latest disc from P-Nuckle, GasHead, Lisa Bell or Drag the River -- but don't feel like scouring the bins of your nearest independent retailer? How 'bout a DVD of Xiren's live set at Red Rocks? Billie Tolles's hard-to-find Chapulteset? A hardback copy of G. Brown's Colorado Rocks! or a reissue of Lannie Garrett's Doubleback? On milehighmusicstore.com, Hapi Skratch's latest online venture, hundreds of CD titles from Colorado-based artists are just a click and a credit-card number away. You'll find everything categorized by genre -- whether it's children's music, easy listening, spoken word, self-help, hard rock, metal, punk or pop. What could be easier?

With all the energy its name implies, Kaffeine Buzz is a scattershot, ADD-fueled cornucopia of music journalism. Covering local as well as national punk, indie and hip-hop, the site features interviews, club listings, weekly show picks and CD and concert reviews. Editor Kim Owens, who also pens an impressive portion of the text, employs a solid, personable writing style that displays a deep knowledge of popular culture without sounding overbearing. Kaffeine Buzz also touches on art, fashion, cinema, even snowboarding -- but it's the great music coverage that keeps it bookmarked.

A professor at Colorado College, Scott does more than just teach about music. He also makes it in a very singular way. Rather than play the piano using the instrument's keys, he and his assistants physically pluck and manipulate its strings with the assistance of everything from guitar picks and percussion mallets to nylon fishing line and horsehair. This approach sounds absurd, but recordings of Scott's so-called bowed-piano works, including Paisajes Audibles/Sounding Landscapes, recently issued on CD by Albany Records, are consistently fascinating. Listen and learn.

The authors of this tome draw from a wealth of experience. Bliesener once drummed with ? and the Mysterians, a group remembered for the garage-rock hit "96 Tears," and went on to become a successful promoter and manager of bands such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Knopper, for his part, has written about music for newspapers such as the Boulder Daily Camera, and is currently a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone. These pedigrees inform Guide, which should give even the densest person a fighting chance to win, or at least survive, the music game.

Ironically, many creators of contemporary experimental music are too stuck in academia and orthodoxy to truly forge their own voice. But Michael Andrew Doherty, after earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy and religious studies at CSU, ditched his musical studies and began orchestrating sound according to the dictates of his own soul. The result is a string of releases and collaborations over the past few years that fuse severe minimalism with wit and humanity. His latest work, Preface: Found Score, is a prelude to numerous upcoming projects in 2005 -- including a chamber ensemble that will interpret '80s new-wave hits. "Rock Me Amadeus" as read by John Cage, anyone?

Before they appeared on Saturday Night Live and The O.C. and were lionized by damn near every music scribe in the free world, the Killers were just another out-of-town act performing at the Larimer Lounge on a Tuesday night. Although the Lounge was only a quarter full -- the band was still flying well beneath the radar, and most folks opted to catch the Strokes at the Fillmore that night -- the Las Vegas-based quartet brought the house down with its retro-tinged romp. Talk about a missed opportunity: The next time the Killers played Denver, they sold out the Fillmore, just like the Strokes.

For anyone who cuts the rug like Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis or Elaine from Seinfeld, the Colorado Prog Music Fest offered the perfect excuse to boogaloo like you just didn't care. Area musical acts committed to precision and unusual time signatures held court for an entire day of free-form anarchy. The all-ages event featured sets from the Colorado Guitar Circle, the Music Retaliation Ensemble, Patch, Pindral, Singularity and Zed. For event organizer Phillip Satterly, who also runs the Colorado Art Rock Society, it was an opportunity to celebrate an often misunderstood art form that always looks forward, strives to be new, and dissents vigorously from the current musical establishment.

In a year of exceptional local releases, DeVotchKa's How It Ends stood out like a peacock at sunrise. A dizzying feast of neo-classical strings, south-of the-border tango flirtations and punk-informed polka, the fourteen-song cycle finds Denver's most sumptuous quartet at the pinnacle of its craft. Recorded and mixed by Craig Schumacher (who has worked with Calexico, Giant Sand and Beth Orton), Ends features an overabundance of exotic tempos, textures and stylistic flourishes. Frontman Nick Urata, who augments his incurably aching vocals with smatterings of Italian, Spanish and French, leads his fellow DeVotchKans through the ultimate immigrant experience -- one where doomed romantics arrive wide-eyed in a new world, only to escape heartache through wine and song, longing for one last kiss before the curtains fall. Ay, mi corazón!

Woody Allen once said, "Don't knock masturbation -- it's sex with someone I love." In the cocksure hands of Wanker however, love means never having to say you're anything but horny and alone. Then again, damn near every song by these nostalgic, faux-Anglican glam-bangers revolves around frigid white girls, full-metal teddies, or sisters with blisters. Get a grip.

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