TVD Denver Kicks Off with Colorado’s Top
5 Bands

I’m excited and honored to represent the The Vinyl District as it opens up metaphorical shop here in Denver. Colorado has such an eclectic musical profile. It’s a mecca to electronic music culture as well as home to the world famous Red Rocks Ampitheatre, and of course you can’t properly articulate the culture of musicianship in Colorado without homage to its folk/traditional music scene, which will also be getting some of our love.

TVD Denver is your spot for reviews, interviews, giveaways, and upcoming shows around the Rocky Mountains. You can watch us for music news locally and nationally alike, with a focus on Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Morrison.

My co-editor Emily began with The Vinyl District in DC before coming to Colorado. She found me, and now we have the privilege of launching the latest addition to The Vinyl District family here in the Wild Wild West. I’m a filmmaker and former member of more over-ambitious and under-funded bands than I could count. In celebration of the new TVD Denver, my co-worker Emily and I have tag-teamed to list the Top 5 Most Successful Bands, love them or hate them, to come out of our beloved rectangle of a state.


First up from me is the gypsy punk pastiche that had it’s beginnings backing for a Denver-based burlesque show. DeVotchKa’s is a sound strongly surmised of Spanish, Latin American, and Eastern European influence with a song structure more akin to their modern indie contemporaries. Included in the list of odd things brought up on stage with DeVotchKa are the ever-popular accordian, the bouzouki—akin to the mandolin—and the theremin, which we all know as the instrument aliens play when they show up in sci fi movies. There are also fond memories of frontman Nick Urata finishing off a whole bottle of wine onstage during a secret show at CC here in Colorado Springs. They were Grammy-nominated for scoring Little Miss Sunshine and released their newest album 100 Lovers earlier this year.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band delivers pure Colorado sound. Based out of Nederland, Colorado, the band has transcended way beyond traditional bluegrass, infusing it with rock and a unique vibe all of their own. YMSB is at their best during a live performance, which I was lucky enough to experience this summer at the All Good Music Festival. It is through their live performances that they have acquired such a strong, dedicated fan following. I almost fell flat on my face a few times dancing to the tempo, but took it as a good sign of how much their rhythm had infected me. It’s just good music. Really good music. Out of all the big names to come out of Colorado, Yonder Mountain String Band is the one I can list proudly, without rolling my eyes at all. A vinyl release of their album Town by Town will be available October 14th, and I suggest you pick one up.

Pretty Lights

Raised in the circuit of American music festivals circa 2009, Pretty Lights, stage name of Fort Collins native, Derek Vincent Smith, began his first tour the following year. Taking his stage name from a Pink Floyd concert poster that read “Come see the pretty lights,” PL is a Frankensteinian amalgam of digital samples on a skeletal structure of organic percussion provided as of 2010 by Adam Deitch; because of the sample-based nature of his music, Smith offers most of his work for free with the option of a suggested donation that allows him to avoid clearing the rights for his diverse samples. If you want to become popular at music festivals, give away free music.

Apples In Stereo

Based out of Denver, Apples in Stereo represent Colorado cool with ease. Their indie rock style with psychedelic undertones reflects the sound of the band’s greatest influence, The Beach Boys. Currently, they are detracted to the UK with their sweet sound, but we hope they will come home soon. Check out their video for “Dance Floor” featuring an always good-at-looking-confused Elijah Wood.


A band that chooses to forego pride and propriety. 3OH!3 is named for the coveted Denver area code has had a polarising affect among locals. Both Emily and I have walked the halls where they majored in Engineering at CU Boulder. For anyone privy to the real personalities behind the geeks turned sort of hip-hop go-getters, 3OH!3 is obvious trolling at its finest. But for a band that knows what they are doing is a joke, they know what they are doing. At Warped Tour 2007, the guys would crack up every time someone bought one of the red jerseys from their merch table. They had been specificaly selected because they were the ugliest things in the world, and they had a bet on how many would sell. They sold out.

You’ll get to know a few regular writers and more than a few guest contributors from the various areas of music expertise. If there’s something happening in Denver that you would like to see on The Vinyl District, or if you’d like to write for Denver, email us at

From Denver with love,

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