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Five Denver musicians everyone needs to hear


For avid music enthusiasts, the options of what to listen to seem endless and overwhelming at times. Though everyone has their particular tastes, these five local talents will satisfy even the pickiest of palates.

Photo: Korina Rojo • CU Denver Sentry

Colfax Speed Queen is one of Denver’s most notable underground rock acts. With a charming local reference in their name, the band embraces the air of after-hours debauchery associated with Colfax with fast, retro rock and throwback synths. With an overall approach to rock that harks back to the era of leather pants and teased hair, Colfax Speed Queen has the raw energy of The Stooges and the eccentric style of The Cramps; but they are far from a revival band, wooing Denver with their unique style.

The next Denver artist, Midwife, is the collaborative efforts of Madeline Johnston also known for her minimal ambient work as Sister Grotto and Tucker Theodore. Together, Johnston and Theodore create fuzzy bedroom pop that occasionally dips its toes into shoegaze. Slow and contemplative, Midwife is the perfect soundtrack for gazing across a frozen Sloan’s Lake on a gray and snowy day.

Princess Dewclaw is a no-wave, self-proclaimed “trash pop” band. With five members, the band balances elements of campy girl-pop with gothic over-tones to create a sound straight out of a b-movie horror flick. Spawning from the suburbs that surround Denver, Princess Dewclaw embraces the empty, artificial cultural wasteland that is suburbia. They have channeled the bored revulsion that stems from the artistic void of their surroundings into anthems of gutter glitter and strip malls. Certainly, Princess Dewclaw has the talent of capturing the emotions that many who grew up in the surrounding Metro area experienced.

I Hate It Here is the currently New York City-based but Denver-born chaotic, angsty solo project of Cooper Carrington. His work represents a glitchy, feedback-laden glimpse into a world of relatable frustrations and heartache. Like a strobe light blearing into the eyes of an insomniac, I Hate It Here keeps the listener transfixed and simultaneously repulsed with jarring and repetitive patterns that, over time, come together in a cohesive harmony.

The last artist, DJ Clap, is Denver’s own Teklife resident. Teklife is a record label and artist collective started by Kode9 that revolves around footwork and jungle, which are two shuffling, fast-paced electronic dance genres that tend to hover around 160 beats per minute. DJ Clap approaches the collective—which has boasted artists such as DJ Rashad—with R&B tinged vocals and a more relaxed and whimsical tone. DJ Clap certainly stands out from the traditional breakneck speed of his labelmates, representing
Denver in carving out new paths within the music world.

These five artists represent Denver in the music world and also stand out within their own local community. Like many other local talents that have set out to create something new, these artists have more than demonstrated that they deserve their city’s support. Hopefully, the continued advocacy for local music will lure those bedroom musicians out onto a stage someday.

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