Best Punk Album 2023 | Your Life and Nothing ElseFAIM | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Courtesy FAIM

Catch FAIM while you can: Denver's most righteous hardcore punk band has announced that 2023 will be its last as a formal group. But the March release of new record Your Life and Nothing Else is evidence that FAIM isn't going quietly into the cold, post-punk rock night. Instead, the band approached this swan song with an anything-goes attitude and churned out the most diverse album of its short yet storied six-year run, proving that it isn't afraid to mix in screamo, shoegaze or crust elements. Listen, then make sure to see FAIM before it's too late.
Morgan Elizabeth

Bury Mia isn't just Denver's best active pop-punk band right now; it's also one of the oldest. The four-piece has been paying homage to genre forefathers like Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday for the better part of a decade, after starting at a time when this type of music was neither popular nor trendy. But Bury Mia — which currently consists of guitarists Justin O'Neal and Stevan Alt, bassist Devin Martinez and drummer Marcus Allen-Hille — stayed the course and ultimately became flag-bearers for the unlikely local pop-punk resurgence. After last year's Somewhere Between Where We Are and Where We've Been (the hammer-smashed teal Game Boy on the cover couldn't be more early 2000s), the boys are back with new music in 2023, including the single "We've Been Trying to Reach You About Your Car's Extended Warranty." Bust out your studded Hot Topic belts and keep an eye out for Bury Mia.
Courtesy Primitive Man

Primitive Man is an elder in the Denver metal scene; before even forming the popular three-piece ten years ago, lead singer and guitarist Ethan Lee McCarthy booked numerous shows and was responsible for bringing many underground acts to the city. Over the past decade, the band has slowly built a loyal following with a brand of doom that's so scathing, it can be frightening to hear at first — offering a mix of grindcore and harsh noise that seemingly exists solely to pierce fragile eardrums and cave in faces. McCarthy is clearly processing some shit when he steps up to the mic and screams until his throat bleeds, but that's a good thing for both the band and local metal fans. Primitive Man just released a collaboration with Full of Hell titled Suffocating Hallucination. 'Nuff said.
Courtesy Necropanther

Necropanther has been an active metal band since forming in 2014 with Haakon Sjogren (drums), Marcus Corich (bass), Joe Johnson (guitar) and Paul Anop (guitar/vocals), playing a high-speed technical death metal that's been refined and perfected over the years behind the dual-guitar attack of Johnson and Anop. The band's latest release, Betrayal, captures the four-piece at its peak in a performance that's equal parts fast, heavy and melodic, with pieces of blackened thrash peppered throughout. The razor-sharp production gives the music a clarity that allows the musicianship of all four members to shine, from soaring guitar solos to blast beats. With standout songs like "One and Only" and "If You Can Count," Betrayal is relentless from start to finish.

Best Celebrity Guitar in a Dentist's Office

Nikki Sixx's bass

Dr. Michael Diorio, Denver dentist extraordinaire, is also a music junkie who goes by the handle "Rock Doc." In another incarnation, he's a photographer who's shot countless local and national bands, even working a few shows at Red Rocks over the past 25 years. In July 2022, Diorio was part of a meet-and-greet at a Mötley Crüe concert in Kansas City, where he met bassist Nikki Sixx and acquired the bass that Sixx played on 1985's "Home Sweet Home." Now the Sixx-signed bass adorns a wall in Diorio's office, where patients (and curious visitors) can pose with it or play it, inspiring them to post their own photos and musical memories on his Instagram page. The guitar has also led a double life as a "therapy instrument" for patients at Craig Hospital, where Diorio has been a dental consultant for nearly three decades. To see what stories this amazing ax has spun, follow the good doc on Instagram.

If you're tired of radio with the same old songs and the interminable advertising that interrupts them, give Indie 102.3 a shot. It's public radio, listener-supported and admirably devoted to playing lesser-heard "adult-album-alternative" music, with special attention paid to homegrown Colorado acts. While listening, you'll find yourself less likely to utter a scowling "What the fuck is this?" and much more likely to signify eyebrow-arching approval while saying, "Hey, what the fuck is this?"

Denver listeners still turn to the radio for new music, and when they tune in, it's often to the trusted voice of KTCL 93.3's Nerf. The curly-haired pride of Littleton High School, Nerf takes to the airwaves every weekday from 3 to 7 p.m., when he's a whiz at finding great bands at the beginning of their careers and making them famous over and over again. Under his leadership as KTCL's program director, the station has set every rating record in alternative radio; when he's away from the microphone, he plans live concert events for the station, including must-see shows like Channel 93.3's Big Gig, Keggs & Eggs and Hometown for the Holidays, which have become scene staples. But the proudest of all his promotions is 303 Day: Every year, Nerf pushes March 3 not as a radio promotion, but as a celebration of Colorado in general. And he's one of the best things about this state.

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