High Plains Underground Archive

It's Not Too Late to Discover The Czars: One of Denver's Greatest Bands

The Czars were one of the more popular bands from Denver in the 1990s and early 2000s. Theirs was a style of music could never be limited. It wasn't dream pop or shoegaze or slowcore. It wasn't even really just moody post-punk. It was all of that, and its dynamic songs could whisper and roar with rich, emotionally-charged atmospheres. Running from 1994 to 2004, The Czars released a handful of albums, most of which came out on Bella Union, the UK-based label run by Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins. Though the band had successful tours in Europe and some short stints across America, and despite the strength of its music, it didn't catch on in the same way as Sixteen Horsepower or the Apples in Stereo.

On December 1, 2014, Bella Union released the digital version of The Best of The Czars with a physical release to follow. Though it mostly covers only the period represented by the presence of guitar phenom Roger Green, from the 2001 album The Ugly People Vs The Beautiful People to the 2004 swan song Goodbye, it is arguably the band's finest era.

See also: Seven of Denver's Most Underrated 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.