Yonder Mountain String Band, Colorado's favorite bluegrass band, started 2022 with a bang, releasing a long-anticipated album and celebrating it with a sold-out concert at Meow Wolf. Even though the Nederland-based act had to work on Get Yourself Outside during the height of the pandemic, guitarist Adam Aijala says the musicians had never been more prepared in the band's twenty-year-long career. They took a completely new approach and pre-produced the album, knowing where every solo and arrangement would go before hitting the studio. And the practice paid off.

yondermountain.com

Denver's Stormkeep initially formed in 2017 and includes members from other well-known local acts, mainly Wayfarer and Blood Incantation, that have grown in popularity recently. But Stormkeep's 2021 full-length debut, Tales of Othertime, vaulted the five-member symphonic black-metal outfit onto the scene with a 43-minute-plus album filled with wandering wizards and cavalries of dragons. Stormkeep creates a refreshing mix of epic music that showcases familiar components, but there's still a thread of originality that keeps it sounding fresh.

stormkeep.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-othertime

Khemmis is Denver's best purveyor of modern-day doom metal. Period. While doom is what Khemmis does best, though, there are some death-metal nuggets sprinkled throughout its latest full-length, Deceiver. After parting with bassist Daniel Beiers in 2020, drummer Zach Coleman and guitarist-vocalist duo Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson show that less can be more on the new album.

khemmis.bandcamp.com/album/deceiver">khemmis.bandcamp.com/album/deceiver

On Gateway, FOANS fans experience a fourteen-track, genre-less electronic music album that runs the gamut of timbres, textures and frequencies. It's a contemplative, delicate opus of electronic music that grabs influence from lo-fi, ambient, house, techno, IDM and glitch, all held together by a signature veneer that gives congruity to the LP. Its sparse integration of organic instruments like harps, violins and guitar gives it a feel that is inexplicably human. Released on the enigmatic Los Angeles label 100% Silk, Gateway speaks to the ambiverted nature of thoughtful electronic music, where it can be experienced both on the dance floor and at home.

foans.bandcamp.com/album/gateway-2

The Velveteers are coming out of an incredible year. Currently on the North American leg of Greta van Fleet's Dreams in Gold tour, the unique rock band produced its latest album with Grammy Award-winning Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame. From "Dark Horse," a rock ballad laced with chugging, rhythmic power chords, to "What a Smile Can Hide," a synth-heavy lyrical thunderstorm of angst, the music on this album marks a return to the greatest ages of rock and roll, with a modern twist.

thevelveteers.com

While Denver rapper A Meazy had a very successful year in 2018, which included a sold-out show at the Bluebird, he soon found himself in an artistic funk that he worked his way through with Protect Your Energy. The full-length album was a project two years in the making, with a narrative arc that follows the path to self-discovery through his measured flow of contemplative lyrics. From the dreamy "Ziplock Bag" to the upbeat "Zodiac," with Rachel Bailey and Sydnie Battie, A Meazy has crafted an album that balances compelling stories while keeping you grooving to high-quality beats.

facebook.com/ameazy

Most musicians used their quarantine downtime to create new material; in the past year, we've heard dozens of albums inspired by the plight of the pandemic. One of these was the plucky, upbeat and incredibly fun Leftovers, released by local act Bolonium. After one of the member's cars burst into flames, taking all of the act's new material with it, Bolonium's members decided to resurrect the work with a little help from their friends. As a result, the eleven bouncy songs on the full-length album include collaborations with more than twenty other musical acts, including twelve from Denver.

bolonium.bandcamp.com/album/leftovers

Allison Lorenzen's Tender paints an intimate portrait of learning to heal after heartache and turning those lessons into triumph. Trained as a dancer, Lorenzen brings dynamic movement to her compositions that create lush, imagery-filled sonic landscapes. The journey throughout the record — Lorenzen's first full-length, first solo and first self-recorded album — contrasts light and dark sentiments that parallel the highs and lows of her personal and creative process. Her songs juxtapose dissonance against radiating vocals, fuzzy guitar and synth with light touches of piano. Though "tender" has many meanings and layers of sentiment, Lorenzen weaves them together seamlessly into a dense meandering of images that invites listeners to create their own connections.

allisonlorenzen.bandcamp.com/album/tender

If you love Stevie Wonder as much as the rest of the world, you'll be absolutely enamored with this funky duo, which released its eponymous EP in December 2021. Patchydensefog comprises Julius "Bad JuJu" Henderson and Dan "Stanky" Swain, and — as if you couldn't tell by their nicknames — they are full-on funk and soul. After listening to just one song, you'll know why Bad Juju and Stanky cite the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and James Brown as influences.

patchydensefog.bandcamp.com

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