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The Best New Music Released in February

Denver progressive-metal band AS WE RISE started the year with a new single.
Denver progressive-metal band AS WE RISE started the year with a new single. Courtesy AS WE RISE
February is the shortest month on the calendar, but that didn’t stop local bands from taking advantage of those 28 days to put out some killer new music. Fort Collins punk rockers released a much-anticipated album, while a doom-metal power trio announced its presence with the first record in a three-album trilogy. Hip-hop-infused reggae, pop punk and something called “gunk” also popped up.

In case you were caught under Cupid’s spell this month, here’s a roundup of recent releases from Colorado musicians:
Progressive metal may not be the sexiest subgenre, but when a local band such as AS WE RISE unleashes a banger like “Wasteland,” it’s hard not to take notice, even for those unfamiliar with the complexities of the style. Fronted by vocalist Hanna Wilder, the band preaches a message of empowerment while addressing weighty topics that are rarely discussed in metal, including domestic abuse, depression and isolation. “Wasteland” is about the "dystopian landscape we've all been forced to navigate the last few years," the band says. The promo video for the single has already reached over 100,000 views online. As Wilder warns: “Get inside — the plague is coming.”
Losing Ground
“Without Me”
Sticking with the proggy theme, Losing Ground is doing its thing in the metalcore realm. With a debut album in the works for a to-be-determined release date later this year, the Denver band released its first single, “Without Me." Having sold out a show at Lost Lake in January, Losing Ground seems to only be gaining ground as a newcomer to the scene. Mixing sounds from the new wave of American heavy metal (think Lamb of God, mostly) and more amorphous influences from Opeth and Mastodon, the four-piece moves effortlessly from sweeping guitars to brutal breakdowns.
Better Weather
“Too Close for Comfort”
Digging a little deeper into the diverse Denver scene, we find Better Weather — a jazzy indie band formed by six University of Denver music students. Given such an education, the six-piece combines “fresh ear-catching melodies, grooving drum and bass, lush vocal harmonies, contemplative and poetic lyrics, and a wall-of-sound production style featuring a French horn, to craft their sound,” according to the band’s bio. Songwriter Skyler McCoy also serves as producer and recording/mixing engineer. "Too Close for Comfort" is the first taste of Better Weather’s affinity for combining classical and pop music, which will be on full display later this year as part of the band’s debut album (release date TBD).
“Picture This”
Ghost.Wav, a Denver rock-influenced reggae band, released its first single of the new year, "Picture This," on February 10. The song is “about realizing the nature of our own ego and the limits that it puts on how fully authentically we realize life,” the band says of its third official offering. Hip-hop is a big part of Ghost.Wav’s sound, similar to what Michael Franti does with Spearhead. According to the band's mission statement, right now it's “focused on constantly writing and releasing music" and “aims to capture an audience with a message of growth and understanding.”
Cryptic Witch
Cryptic Witch, a Denver stoner doom trio, seemingly came out of nowhere within the past year, but already has announced plans for a trilogy of releases, starting with Summoning, which came out February 14. Guitarist and vocalist Tommy Murello, bassist Eli Klopatek and drummer Conor Amanatullah poured their love of 1990s desert rock and stoner metal into the Cryptic Witch debut. It sounds like Sleep collaborating with Kyuss, or Corrosion of Conformity playing Electric Wizard. If that’s your style, then prepare to start your Cryptic Witch journey with Summoning.
Plasma Canvas
Fort Collins punk band Plasma Canvas has been a local favorite for the better part of a decade. The group’s new record, which was officially released February 17, only solidifies that standing and will continue to grow its fan base. The vocals of Plasma Canvas singer and guitarist Adrienne Rae Ash are gravelly and raw, and serve as a perfect companion for the riffs on the latest album, which includes catchy tunes such as “Blistered World” and “Election Year Relapse.” DUSK is sixty minutes of emo-influenced punk that’s perfect for this melancholic time of year.
The Losers Club
“Going Nowhere”
Pop-punk duo The Losers Club likes to keep things relatively lighthearted and upbeat, but the band’s new single, “Going Nowhere,” featuring AmaniDrums, strikes a more serious tone lyrically, complete with a stripped-down breakdown and chorus near the end. The song, which dropped on February 24, is the first off a new EP that’s coming later this year (release date TBD). Guitarist Cass Braido and bassist Tristin Pounders have credited Blink-182 and Green Day with influencing their sound and the band’s direction, so it’s not necessarily a surprise that the Losers Club’s expanding catalogue also includes some introspective material.
“Wild Ones”
Denver “gunk” trio Flak has created a new subgenre by mixing punk, grunge and hardcore elements. “Wild Ones,” the band’s February 25 release, has more of a metallic hardcore edge than anything Flak has done before, which is a sound that lead singer and guitarist Dante DeLaurier has wanted to explore more recently. The group has focused on releasing a handful of singles rather than an EP or LP, in hopes of building some initial buzz locally. Inspired by grimier grunge bands like Melvins, Flak is one to keep an eye on.

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