Best New Denver Bands — 2016 Edition

Every year, Denver delivers up worthy new bands in various genres, or non-genres, and this past year has been especially rich in that regard. In a future list, perhaps we can include artists like Born Dumb, Herse, Jimmy V, Julien, Bag, Total Goth, Silver Face, eHpH, Never Kenezzard and PterrorFractyl, among others, but for now, here is a list, in alphabetical order, of twelve of the best bands to have emerged onto the Denver underground scene in this past year.

12. Bahnseye

Zach Bahn is still in high school, but is somehow making sophisticated and creative EDM. Although he uses the usual production methods, he also incorporates his interest in percussion through the live use of xylophones, setting him apart from merely headphone-wearing, space-bar-pressing DJs.

11. Big City Drugs

Singer Bobby Crane, bassist Cory Helie, guitarist Kevin O'Brien and drummer Sam Tallent are all comedians by trade. But Big City Drugs is the kind of band that reminds you that there's more to punk than just worshipping some past sound. This band has the kind of attitude, energy and creativity worthy of its influences.

10. Cloak of Organs

Someone is calling this group a “death rock” band, and that's probably the closest, all-encompassing way to give you some idea of what Cloak of Organs sounds like. The pedigree of the band alone will garner some attention: Chuck French and Neil Keener of Planes Mistaken for Stars and Woven Hand, Andrew Warner of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Red Cloud, former Red Cloud guitarist and Hugo Award-winning author Jason Heller, and Jennie Mather of the Nervous. But to the group's credit, it's not resting on those laurels, and its moody, commanding, dynamic music will make a name for itself.

9. False Cathedrals
The metallically tinged post-hardcore of False Cathedrals finds former members of Humble Ary and To Be Eaten breaking down the barriers between grind and melodic hardcore in glorious fashion.

8. Ghoulfriend

Trey Tafoya can often be found playing drums in déCollage, but his guitar-and-drums duo Ghoulfriend truly takes the guitar beyond its conventional uses — not just with processed sound, but in the way Tafoya deconstructs methods of playing the instrument and infuses it with a theatrical live performance.

7. Jane Doe

Jane Doe makes the kind of post-punk that was more or less started by the Birthday Party — dark, harrowing and emotionally explosive. Vocalist Becca Mhalek last fronted a band nearly ten years ago — the noise-rock outfit MVP — but mostly she's known as a kind of prodigy as a free-jazz, hard-bop saxophonist. Drummer Sara Miller and bassist Harmony Fredere last played together in experimental punk band Dangerous Nonsense. But with this project, all three — along with their guitarist Jesse — may have formed their best project to date.

Read on for six more of Denver's best new bands.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.