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Denver’s Best Punk Bands | Westword

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For several decades, Denver has prided itself on a thriving and rambling punk scene. Even though the condos crush the character of the city, the kids (and a few older musicians too) have formed groups to explode authority, build community, and spread irreverent music. While there are so many great punks in town that we’d get carpal tunnel syndrome trying to list them all, we thought we’d highlight thirteen that aren’t zero. Here they are:

Husbands the great

Husbands the great

Sinister star

Husbands the great
Gay zombie punk Maris the Great spends his summers interviewing and subsequently “murdering” other bands, then posting the results on his unsafe website for the job. He was kicked out of Denver Pride training. His band, Maris the Great and the Fagots of Death, writes and performs songs that would also get you kicked out of any box space if you hit play. Maris’ voice is reminiscent of the frontman of Fang Sammytown on “Berkley Heathen Scum”. Last year, Maris celebrated her twentieth anniversary of gang homicide after taking a few years off work.

Cheap perfume

Cheap perfume

Brandon marshall

Cheap perfume
Cheap Perfume features dual lead vocals on instrumentals that sound fiercely even on laptop speakers. It is the music that inspires the dive on stage through the kitchen table. With catchy song titles like “Slut Game Strong” and “Goddess Gangbang”, the quartet tackles serious topics like sexism, fascism, false feminism and sexual assault. So far, the band has released two full albums, and you can get your own “It’s OK to Punch Nazis” hoodie on the Cheap Perfume Bandcamp page. The band members also wrote a song on the subject, and for that we thank them.

Record thievesDEVELOP

Record thieves

Anarcho punk

Record thieves
Record Thieves is kind of a supergroup. Drummer Jim Wilcox is from Mesa, Arizona, punk band Authority Zero and vocalist Mike Waterhouse lead the Denver punk band Boldtype. (The other members are from the Denver band Allout Helter.) Wilcox and Waterhouse met via social media and eventually formed the band after talking about music at a Denver bar. The result is a sound that fuses melodic hardcore with pop punk. The group finally hosted a recording release party on July 17th for their twelve-track debut, Wasting time, which was released last year.

Sisters of BrixtonDEVELOP

Sisters of Brixton

Dustin Room

Sisters of Brixton
No best-of list would be complete without a cover band, because why not? The Nuns of Brixton are called “the only Clash cover band that matters.” Whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter, as they’re probably the only Clash cover band whose members have nun habits on stage. Joe Strummer sadly stepped off that deadly reel, but that’s no reason you can’t take a walk on “London Calling” live on a Saturday night in Denver.

Mazlows

Mazlows
Members of the pop-punk quartet the Mazlows have performed together for years, starting the band in 2017 after they all met in Lakewood, again. Last year they released the integral Community locker. The sound of the Mazlows evokes late 90s and early 2000s pop punk and includes catchy, hook-laden hymns about girls coming or going and the limp of her hometown. The outfit nods to bands like Blink-182 but makes pop punk its own.

the wolf cubsDEVELOP

the wolf cubs

the wolf cubs

the wolf cubs
OK, two groups of covers. The Man Cubs, made up of members of Compass & Cavern and Creature Canopy, play exclusively Disney covers, but with a pop-punk twist. The act mostly sticks to today’s Disney songs, as some of the early things haven’t aged too well. We look at you, the crows come home Dumbo and Siamese cats in the Lady and the Tramp.

Five Iron FrenzyDEVELOP

Five Iron Frenzy

Melinda DiMaruo

Five Iron Frenzy
Five Iron Frenzy plays ska punk with Christian themes and socially responsible lyrics. The group, founded in 1995, has succeeded in building a strong fan base in the Christian and secular world. Its individual members have performed in more groups than can be listed here. The FIF broke up in 2003 but reformed in 2011. The band members don’t always stick to straight ska or ska punk, and their 2020 album, Until it falls apart, covers several genres.

Reno divorce
Reno Divorce is one of Denver’s oldest punk bands and has its origins in the former stamping site of frontman Brent Loveday in Florida. The band’s rock and roll brand is inspired by Orange County punk with a bit of rockabilly twang and swagger for good measure. The band have a live double album recorded in Germany which will be released later this summer. Loveday also plays acoustic music with his side effort Brent Loveday & the Dirty Dollars.

Red dart
Red Stinger plays melodic hardcore tinged with metal, both political and humorous. Frontman Timmy Stinger wrote quite a punk-rock opera while locked inside during the pandemic, which the band performed live at least once this year. (He also wrote a full hip-hop album and two dance musicals during the same period.) Stinger compared the punk record to a Christmas Nativity play, albeit with song titles like “Jizz Mustache”. King Rat’s Luke Schmaltz recounts the case.

Luke Schmaltz at the Bannock Street garage.

Luke Schmaltz at the Bannock Street garage.

Luc Schmaltz

Luc Schmaltz
Speaking of Luke Schmaltz, who led the legendary Denver punk band King Rat for years: he currently performs his original songs solo with an acoustic guitar. They are loud, profane, and would likely get someone arrested for disorderly conduct if performed like a street musician around the corner. Catch him in a bar where he is safe. Schmaltz also recently published a book. It’s called The Belcher.

The land invasion

The land invasion

Danielle Lirette

The land invasion
The Pitch Invasion plays good ol ‘hardcore punk that’s thrash like hell and wouldn’t feel out of place in a skateboard video. The band also made the list just for the virtue of having a kitten holding a gun to its head on an album cover for the well titled 2014 Full Russian roulette. The song “Night Stalker”, which opens with a hijacked sample from the Everly Brothers, is a bit odd, though.

Subtraction of joy

Subtraction of joy

Tom murphy

Subtraction of joy
Joy Subtraction is a name that follows in the tradition of Jon Cougar Concentration Camp and REO Speedealer, and the noose t-shirts the group is selling online seem like a rather tasteless blow to Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, who hanged himself in his kitchen. But it’s punk rock for you. Joy Subtraction says she always subjects people to her live show. Maybe you will get lucky and they will play “On our first date our bodies went from awake to awkward after a failed attempt at sex congress (there was no second date). you).

Vanilla milkshakesDEVELOP

Vanilla milkshakes

Vanilla milkshakes

Vanilla milkshakes
Leader David McGhee once told me that I “look like Dane Cook, if Dane Cook didn’t walk.” I almost said, “Fuck you, man,” but I couldn’t help but laugh. That kind of sums up Vanilla Milkshakes. The group is offbeat, no doubt odd, but you’ll probably have a good-humored laugh once you’ve dealt with things for a while. McGhee will argue that the act is indie rock, not punk, just for the sake of arguing, but the truth is, it’s just too weird not to be punk rock. And it’s a good thing.

What are your favorite Denver punk bands? Let us know at [email protected]

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