The best concerts in Denver this week

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MONDAY | ANIMAL COLLECTIVE at OGDEN THEATRE | 9/9/13 Animal Collective's unconventional rhythms and effervescent guitar sound can be heard in the music of countless indie acts that sprang up after the band formed in 2000. The band's latest record, 2012's Centipede Hz, is hailed as a return to form, further cementing the band's reputation for being able to seamlessly combine disparate musical forms, Western-based or otherwise.

See also: Animal Collective's Panda Bear on playing drums again and the influence of Aphex Twin

THURSDAY | CODY CHESNUTT at HI-DIVE | 9/12/13 When funk-soul commander Cody ChesnuTT was asked about his metal helmet, he shared the larger raison d'être inside the small story of his trademark accessory: "I'm really trying to fight to keep the soul alive." That fight's not going anywhere, and neither is ChesnuTT, though fans were worried for a while. After releasing his low-budget, high-impact, 36-song debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, in 2002, ChesnuTT took more than eight years to produce a follow-up. On that second release, last year's Landing on a Hundred, he channeled both ambition and oddity to create a captivating, if potentially alienating, blend of God, gospel and guts. Perhaps it's a holy war that ChesnuTT's waging. Perhaps he's fighting his own demons. Whatever the case, it's rewarding to witness him entering into battle armed with smooth croons, soulful lyrics and DIY idiosyncrasy.

TUESDAY | WASHED OUT at FOX THEATRE | 9/10/13 The modern tale of Washed Out's fame isn't an uncommon one: Musician makes bedroom tracks and nonchalantly posts them online, the blog world picks up on the idea, and the rest is music-festival-circuit history. But when Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) began creating his down-tempo, lo-fi synth brilliance within the confines of his parents' rural Georgia home a few years ago, it was just one of many musical incarnations he'd been working on. Greene braved the hype, producing a handful of EPs released in digital and limited-edition physical form before being signed to the famed Sub Pop label. Washed Out's first full-length bore an uncanny sonic resemblance to the work of friend and fellow chill waver Toro Y Moi, but with a glittering and slowed aesthetic all its own.

MONDAY | RA RA RIOT at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 9/9/13 Nothing about this Syracuse-based band is particularly riotous; in fact, it uses classical instrumentation in its songwriting. What's more, those instruments never seem like a fashionable affectation. When you hear Ra Ra Riot's winsome, gently affecting pop songs, you get the feeling that everyone in the band was in on the act of creation and that they spent time learning to play and write together and developed their style as a group instead of being in a hurry to impress anyone else.

Continue on for more and visit our Denver concert calendar for all of this week's shows

MONDAY | YOUTH LAGOON at FOX THEATRE | 9/9/13 After Youth Lagoon gained steam online, Trevor Powers landed a record deal at the venerable Fat Possum Records, at which point he dropped out of college and quit his job to pursue music full-time. His album, The Year of Hibernation, captures desolation in its purest sonic form: Many of the songs are about people and days long gone, and even though Powers is only in his early twenties, he sings about being nine and seventeen in two separate songs, focusing on these anecdotes as though he were analyzing key moments in a life that's almost over. Even when he's not being so specific about the past, the reverberations seem to linger in his lyrics, bolstered by his fragile, far-off vocals, a careful, melodic pitter-patter of washed-out synths and unfinished, hollow-sounding production.

FRIDAY | MURDER BY DEATH at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 9/13/13 Before the "indie folk" thing became a going concern, this band from Bloomington, Indiana, perfected that sound and made its name touring the American underground music circuit of DIY spaces and punk houses from early on. The group didn't really gain exposure outside of that world until close to the middle part of the last decade with the release of its 2006 album, In Bocca al Lupo, produced by J. Robbins. While the world caught up to its sound a bit, Murder By Death is one of the few bands that its earlier punk audience still seems to think of fondly, a sure sign it's still on the right track.

MONDAY | VALIENT THOR at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 9/9/13 Valient Thorr is from North Carolina by way of outer space (the players have constructed an amusingly overcooked personal cosmology involving a time machine, Venusian babies and Walt Disney), with each member taking the surname "Thorr" for reasons that have more to do with sensibility than sense. Sonically, meanwhile, the group exists in the twilight zone where modern rock and old-school metal overlap. Take "Parable of Daedalus," which juxtaposes overamped lyrics such as "Don't you fly too high!/'Cuz it's a long way down!" with crazed boogie riffs that seem to be fueled by moonshine. A lot of the music comes across as a goof, albeit a very entertaining one.

Continue on for more and visit our Denver concert calendar for all of this week's shows

THURSDAY | VITAL REMAINS at MARQUIS THEATER | 9/12/13 Vital Remains, from Providence, Rhode Island, has been around for more than twenty years. As pioneers of death metal, these guys aren't often among the first to be named by fans of the genre. However, the band's signature mixture of melodic yet punishing music blurs the line between death and black metal. From the beginning, Remains was vehemently anti-religion because of how it has been used as a means of warping minds and serving as a pretext for violence. In 2001, Deicide's Glen Benton joined Vital Remains for two albums, including the appropriately titled Dechristianize with its gleefully blasphemous lyrical content. The rapid-fire jackhammer kick drum and Paganini-esque guitar work can be off-putting, but there's no denying this group's sense of liberating outrage and seething intensity.

THURSDAY | PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND at BOULDER THEATER The Preservation Hall Jazz Band got its start at the legendary New Orleans venue that it's named after over five decades ago. The group has gone through many line-up changes over the last fifty years with some of the group's elders passing the torch to younger members, including its current director, Ben Jaffe (son of founders Allan and Sandra), who took over management a decade ago. The act continues to revere and preserve traditional New Orleans-style jazz.

FRIDAY | AFROJACK at OGDEN THEATRE | 9/13/13 Afrojack made headlines and caught some flack for allegedly producing music for his then girlfriend Paris Hilton, who was being booked all over the world as a DJ. Sensationalism aside, the guy creates some big room bangers that make an entire crowd go crazy, and he crushes with his production, both of which have earned him worldwide fame in the EDM world.

See also: - The ten biggest concert buzzkills - The fifty best rap lyrics of all time - The ten geekiest metal bands of all time

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