The best DIY shows in Denver in December

FRI | ALPHABETS at RHINOCEROPOLIS | 12/13/13 When Colin Ward was thirteen years old, he was already making an impression on older members of the underground music community in Denver with his project Pocket Dove. With Nick Peelor, Ward formed the experimental indie-pop band Tudaloos and made music that seemed larger than life with the raw energy both he and Peelor poured into their performances. But his longest-running concern has been his current solo project, the frenetic experimental electronic band Alphabets. While at one time a veritable volcano of productivity and creativity, in recent years Ward has reined that in a bit and developed his expansive output into a more focused affair.

See also: All upcoming concerts in our constantly updated concert calendar

THURS | PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AGGRESSION at 7TH CIRCLE | 12/6/13 This five-piece technical-metal band from Denver may have been influenced by the better end of "nü metal" and latter-day thrash, but its lyrics are informed by a sharp political and social critique. Adopting stage names like James Aggression, Rage, Dashing, Kenny Daggers and Mattitude, and joking about being influenced by Randy Newman, Public Display of Aggression clearly appreciates that having a sense of humor in music is sometimes essential, lest you come off a bit pretentious, especially when your music is overtly political. Currently in the process of getting its recent recordings mastered, Public Display of Aggression should have its new release available in the new year.

SAT | OLASSA at RHINOCEROPOLIS | 12/7/13 Anyone that has been paying attention for the last several years knows about the burgeoning music scene in Lawrence, Kansas. Olassa comes from that scene, which includes notable acts like Ssion and Scammers. The band sounds like a straightforward alt-country act with some stylistic flourishes borrowed from the Moldy Peaches, led by singer Allison Olassa's evocative quaver. But these are no shrinking violets here, and guitarist Cain Robertson is known to jump around at their shows, swept up in the emotional peaks inherent in the songwriting.

SAT | THE BIPEDAL APPROACH at 7TH CIRCLE | 12/7/13 The joke used to be that it was easy to be in a post-rock band if you had a delay pedal and a slightly twangy guitar like a Telecaster and knew how to play slowly, making subtle builds. The Bipedal Approach doesn't fit that model at all. The outfit's players have chops that are impressive, and the sparkling guitar is augmented in textured, expressive and urgent percussion and piano work. Capable of energetic intensity, the Bipedal Approach is also deft at creating introspective atmospheres with real sonic depth and heft. It would be tempting to compare these guys to another post-rock band, but this group has probably consciously not tried to make music in someone else's mold.

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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.

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