Best of Denver

The 31 Best Colorado Albums of 2014

Page 4 of 5

Homebody, Homebody EP (Self-released) Not long after their much-lauded project School Knights dissolved last year, Michael Stein and Morris Kolontyrsky took up with drummer Carson Pelo as Homebody, a poppy, smart, double-guitar-driven outfit. With layered vocals that sound pleasantly dissonant, songs like "Embroidery" and "Keeping Home" flow deliberately away from typical garage-rock tendencies and into more thoughtful and thorough territory. The EP is short but packed with detailed guitar work and lots of cymbals. Luckily, there's more to come from Homebody in 2015, as the trio just finished recording its first full-length. -- Davies

Itchy-O, Burn the Navigator (Alternative Tentacles) It's difficult to imagine how anyone could capture the music of the live Itchy-O experience with any clarity and coherence, but local recording legend Bob Ferbrache has outdone himself on Burn the Navigator. Ferbrache distilled the essence of the thirty-plus-member band for a compelling listening experience that's equal to that of a live performance. This record is also proof of Itchy-O's worth as an experimental band and not just a performance spectacle. The disturbingly gritty "The Merkabah" is especially well rendered in all its terrifying and visceral glory. -- Murphy

Low Tax, Demo II (Crippled Sound Records) The men and woman of Low Tax exist in a very different Denver from the ever-sunny, microbrewing snowboard party that this town likes to see itself as. Their Denver is one of grimy warehouses, degrading manual labor, overstuffed and run-down communal living conditions and petty criminality. The loathing and malaise of our city's forgotten class are painfully evident in Demo II; the music is ugly, harsh, mean and violent. It is completely unaware of and uninterested in its own place in this world, and thus the most honest thing you're likely to hear this year. -- Masters

M. Sage, A Singular Continent (Patient Sounds) These recordings have what some might consider imperfections all across them. The effect is similar to the types of textures employed in the films of Stan Brakhage. The melodic vistas and swelling, drifting atmospheres have an inherent beauty, and the layers of audio dust mixed convey a sense of extended nostalgia. It's like a musical equivalent of the Colorado landscape, urban and rural, and how it has changed in the last decade and a half. -- Murphy

Miss America By Wheary, All Is Not Lost (Self-released) All Is Not Lost, the debut EP from Miss America By Wheary, is drenched in mystery. At times subtle, at others all-consuming, this album is the sounds of the complex, contradictory and inexplicable feelings of the heart. It's delicate and detailed, and every listen provides more insight. When we heard that Joe Pope and Nathaniel Rateliff we're working on something, we knew it was going to be impressive, but we aren't sure we were expecting this. It's quiet and personal, the kind of music that plays while hushed conversations happen over whiskey. While people sit up alone at night contemplating little, life changing decisions. Really, though, it's just gorgeous to listen to. -- Jones

Montoneros, If You Think You're in the Wrong Place, You're Probably Here (Self-released) Montoneros debut album, If You Think You're in the Wrong Place, You're Probably Here, is a wild ride through ten tracks of space-rock-tinged indie pop with an emo bent. The record showcases the dual personalities of frontman Gaston Leone, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but raised in Denver. The spanish lyrics of "Como Yo" seem to capture Leone's longing for people who, roughly translated, feel just like him. Meanwhile, the ethereal groove and riffed-out bridge of that track convey a strange sense of wanderlust, which likely comes from having two very different homes. On a more universal level, this album is a must-listen for any confused twenty-something living in this uncertain world. -- Gassman

Pizza Time, U Wanna Pizza Me? (Burger Records) Pizza Time is a band made up of a rotating cast, but the project's heart, soul and songwriting lie with David Castillo. Throughout U Wanna Pizza Me?, Castillo's partying-pizza-dude persona deals with everything from heartache ("Lagrimas (Otra Vez)" and "Sleep Less") to being afflicted with "Creepy Crawlies." Castillo's jangly garage-pop style is defined by his bilingual lyrics, as songs in both English and Spanish blend seamlessly to create music worthy of popping into the tape deck and bumping while cruising by your high-school ex-girlfriend's house just one more time. -- Davies

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.