The measure of a great promoter is simple: Do they bring in killer talent that you otherwise wouldn't see? When it comes to Sub.Mission, the answer is unequivocally yes. Now in its third year, this outfit is largely responsible for the dubstep scene in Denver. Sub.Mission has brought in names like Caspa, Skream and Shackleton, exposing longtime bass heads and new fans alike to some of the world's top practitioners of dubstep's wobbly future breaks and bass madness. Something tells us that both Sub.Mission and the dubstep sound are just getting started.

Dalton Lawrence Rasmussen should be given a key to the city for this detailed and encyclopedic compendium of Colorado underground music of the late '70s. Tracking down the songs and having them remastered took Rasmussen years, but all his effort paid off. The availability of Rocky Mountain Low on vinyl salutes an era when you could listen to these songs only in that format, and the companion booklet, with photographs, fliers and contemporary accounts of the scene, is an invaluable resource for anyone curious about a largely lost history of the counterculture in Denver and beyond.

From the instant you hear Summer, Houses sounds familiar. Maybe that's enough, and you'll be whoa-oh-ing in seconds. And even if you're skeptical of this level of warmth, of retro pop music this golden, there's no resisting the second of the band's three seasonal EPs. Andy Hamilton hits the perfect balance in these songs: They're generous without being naive, sweet but not sickly. And the band playing them is stacked seven deep with very, very good musicians who would rather be here than anywhere else.

Since its name suggests motion and lethal grace, it shouldn't be surprising that this band — which includes former members of Monofog, Red Cloud and Space Team Electra — would make music to match. Arch lyrics accompanying dynamic polyrhythms and hazily incandescent atmospheres combine in vibrantly fluid songs that are a marvel in blended contradictions. Frontwoman Hayley Helmericks cuts a figure both savage and sensitive while shifting between darkly melodic singing and forcefully declarative statements. Don't be surprised if this Snake stretches far from Denver over the course of the year: The act's talent more than measures up to its ambition.

Many bands do shows where they cover famous acts. But Denver Does Denver featured local bands covering the songs of other local bands. Across two venues and over several hours, you could hear Mike Marchant covering "Sleepy Shoes," by the Pseudo Dates, Pictureplane covering "Punk Bitch," by 3OH!3, Married in Berdichev covering Milton Melvin Croissant III and vice versa, and Safe Boating Is No Accident covering Pictureplane. Were the performances note for note? No, but that wasn't the point. Instead, the goal was to have peers of each band give new interpretations to great songs in a display of true community spirit.

Meadowlark
Jon Solomon

With a rotating cast of noteworthy curators, Tuesday night's open stage at the Meadowlark has seen its fair share of subpar or nascent talent. More often than not, though, you'll catch a diamond in the rough or an established musician testing out new material on a crowd that's far above coffeehouse class. This is one of the few outlets where an act's draw doesn't matter — only its courage.

Boulder Outlook Hotel

Dubbed "Boulder's Home of the Blues," Blues & Greens Restaurant (which was formerly Skinny Jay's Pizza) really qualifies as Colorado's Home of the Blues. One of the few spots on the Front Range dedicated primarily to the blues, Blues & Greens takes that dedication seriously. Almost every night of the week, it brings in fine local talent like the Delta Sonics, Lionel Young and the Informants, or nationally recognized acts such as John Nemeth, Bob Margolin, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Tommy Castro. And on Sundays and Tuesdays, B&G hosts blues jams during which players can sharpen their skills.

Carioca Cafe (Bar Bar)
Molly Martin

It's fascinating to watch how the clientele at the Carioca Cafe, better known as Bar Bar, changes over the course of a day (and three happy hours) — especially when this classic dive, one of the last left downtown, brings in live music. Get there a few hours before a gig and you'll find some of Denver's finest barflies, a few of which might have been there since the doors opened that morning. As the hour gets later, an assortment of hipsters, punks and rockers mixes in with those barflies, the music gets loud, and the next thing you know, you're in a veritable drinker's nirvana. Dive, he said.

Amy Adams, Castle Rock's finest export, has already received considerable critical acclaim, netting Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for roles in Junebug, Doubt and Enchanted. In 2009's Sunshine Cleaning, though, she showed that she could carry a film single-handedly. The film, about a single mother who starts her own crime-scene clean-up business, was too quirky for its own good, never seemed to settle on a tone and left plot threads hanging all over the place. But Adams's charm, screen presence and ability to sell every line saved the film from itself. She was simultaneously so believable and engaging, it hardly mattered what was going on around her.

Ken Arkind and Panama Soweto dropkick the notion that you can't make a living as a poet. You just have to be a really good poet. Arkind and Soweto, who have ruled Denver's slam scene for years, are both National Poetry Slam champions, a credential that brings calls from universities, clubs and venues. As the Dynamic Duo, this two-man team travels the country performing feats of literature (a word they coined, "gnuck," was recently added to the Urban Dictionary) and inspiring the next generation of slammers. When they're not on tour, the pair stays busy in D-town, leading poetry workshops and classes for Denver youth. That's definitely not gnuck.

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