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The Eight Denver Bands That Should Break Nationally — 2016 Edition

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The music business is a cruel mistress. There’s rarely rhyme or reason as to who gets the few-and-far-between big-money deals — even among worthy artists who are more than ready for a bigger spotlight. If there were justice, then the following eight talented local bands would be as adored nationally or internationally as they are here.
8. Call of the Void
Signed to Relapse Records, these sludgy, nasty metalers have every chance of grabbing hold of the ears of America’s underground heavy-music fans. Yes, the sound isn’t for everyone. They’re not going to be on mainstream radio anytime soon. But the national (and international, for that matter) metal fan base is loyal and persistent. They don’t give a rat’s crap about trends. Not a bad bunch to latch onto for the future.
7. Hydraform
Progressive hard-rock band Hydraform wants to take over the world, which it believes is dominated by hippies and dubstep. Fine. We think they could find enough like-minded listeners out there — as long as they like hard rock, too.

6. Land Lines
Any band that describes itself as “music for cats” is all right by us. Not only does Land Lines create music that felines are more than likely to lap up, but it’s contemporary and accessible enough that human music fans should jump on board as well. Land Lines have hit the bulls-eye with this incarnation: beautifully moody, orchestral music that, on a national scale, fans of Florence & the Machine would love.

5. Plastic Daggers
The duo of Keaton Kidder and Jordan Palmer have tried to find suitable bandmates to round out their raucous rock-and-roll troupe, but they’ve been left disappointed time and time again. So what do you do? Fuck it: Like Fleetwood Mac said, you can go your own way. They don’t need anybody else; as a two-piece, they’re making enough uncompromising noise to match bands with way more members. And the thing with being uncompromising is, you don’t have to compromise.

Read on for four more Denver bands that should break nationally in 2016.
4. Total Ghost
Surely it’s just a matter of exposure. The sound, a glorious combination of very contemporary electro-pop and Suicide-esque post-punk, is accessible and exciting. In Chön and Biktor (not their real names), they have a couple of visuals that you can’t tear your eyes off. And the tunes are immense enough to inspire an enormous fan base. The band splits its time between Denver and Los Angeles now, which might put them in front of some of the right eyes.
3. Wheelchair Sports Camp
They’ve already wowed Denver and, in previous years, they’ve won more than a few hearts at SXSW. In MC Kalyn Heffernan (a former Westword Mastermind award-winner), they have a supremely talented, razor-sharp rapper who genuinely has something to say. Tackling social issues like sexism and homophobia, WSC is a local gem, and it's only a matter of time before the rest of the country gets with it.
2. The Wiredogs
The Wiredogs have been the band that national touring punk bands turn to for a reliable show opener when stopping in Denver for some time now – so much so that the fans of those fancy national bands have realized how genuinely good these guys are. Snotty and full of 'tude, but with that oh-so-important sense of humor, the Wiredogs should be Alternative Press cover stars but aren’t. Yet.
1. The Yawpers
One of these days, the rest of the country just has to discover the Yawpers, right? They can’t be a beloved local secret forever. They’re touring the country this spring, so perhaps that will force them into a few heads via a few dive bars. The lineup has changed a little, and they’ve scored a deal with Bloodshot Records, home of Lydia Loveless and Murder by Death. Go get 'em, boys.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.