Death is a constant presence in the life of In the Whale's Nate Valdez

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Ken Hamblin
Nate Valdez is good with fingers. Take, for example, his care when removing jewelry from them. First he coats a finger with wax. Then he ties a string around its base and wiggles it up slowly behind the ring it's wearing until the ring slinks off the tip at the fingernail. He calls this "the string technique," and it is the best way to get these things off a corpse without ripping the skin off with them. Despite his caution, there will still be little flakes of flesh on the table, from where the dermis layer has separated from the subcutaneous tissue because the body has been dehydrated by its owner's passing.


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Six of the most underrated songs

Categories: Nitpick Six

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Type O Negative
The world continues to burn, propelling artists such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and La Bouche to the top of the charts. Meanwhile, some of the most brilliant artists sit silently in obscurity. Sometimes people discover them years later and bring them to light through covers, or a hip-hop artist incorporates samples of an overlooked piece of brilliance and gives a slight revitalization to the track.

Whether it's a painting, a sculpture or a song, everyone can agree that it's a true tragedy when an important work of art seems to be ignored by the general populace. It's depressing. Devastatingly sad. It can almost be as difficult as
"Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity."

And with that, we are pleased to present Six of the Most Underrated Songs of All Time.


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According to the Summit Music Conference, Denver is ready for a hip-hop breakthrough

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Over the weekend, the Summit Music Conference and Showcase took over Casselman's for a day. A panel consisting of people with ties to Sirius/XM Radio, Warner Music, Atlantic Records and more discussed ways artists in Denver can help the hip-hop scene ascend to new heights. There are those in Denver who see the path to success leading them out of the Mile High, but the panel at the Summit Music Conference Saturday had a very different perception. Panelist Amber Ravenel put in place the following theme for the day: "It starts at home."More »

Bands playing this year's redesigned Root 40 Fest talk about Colfax: "It's just a magical place"

Categories: Music News

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Christopher Morgan
A photo of Colfax taken for our 2013 cover story on the street.

The members of Steele and Colfax are indebted to one of Denver's most unique stretches of road. Indeed, it only takes looking at the title of the quartet to get a sense of their local roots. The place where the band played their first rehearsals is right there in the name. The band started fusing vintage soul, Motown and Southern rock right off Colfax Avenue, one of the longest continuous streets in the world. The group came together in a distinctive part of town where, in the words of guitarist Tyler Callihan, "you've got the bottom rungs and new, fancy high-rises as well." It's only fitting then, that the band should celebrate its one-year anniversary playing the Root 40 Music Fest, an event that celebrates the history and legacy of the 21-block stretch of East Colfax Avenue between Grant and Josephine streets.


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The nine best 4/20 shows in Denver

Categories: Best Concerts

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John Gilhooley for OC Weekly. Slideshow
Why yes, Snoop Dogg does travel with a dog mascot who smokes a cartoon-sized blunt.
Colorado has been under the microscope of international media since legalizing recreational marijuana. With that recognition comes the influx of tourism; people flocking to the mile high state to try out some of the tastiest ganja the world has ever seen. But, it also means our celebration on April 20 will be the biggest and best in the country. We picked the ten best shows in the Denver/Boulder area so you can prepare your weekend festivities accordingly.

Please note the new regulations regarding medical and recreational marijuana. It is against the law to smoke inside establishments, within public view, or generally anywhere there is live music open to the general public. We do not condone breaking the law, but we may or may not have done some informal field research and found it may or may not be possible that you can sneak a toke or two at some of these venues.

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Denver has more live music venues than Austin. Does it matter?

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Various Denver shows. Photos by Ken Hamblin, Eric Gruneisen and Brandon Marshall
Governor John Hickenlooper has been insisting that Denver has more music venues than Austin since he was mayor of Denver. It's an interesting claim. But is it true?

The two cities aren't bad for comparison's sake. The population of the city of Denver is a little over 634,000 people, with 2.6 million in the metropolitan area. Austin has some 842,000 people within the city limits and 1.8 million in the metro area.

To make the case, we asked Westword clubs editor Jon Solomon, who has spent countless hours entering every single show in town into our concert calendar, to count Denver's live-music venues using the following criteria: "These are all the venues that I, someone who writes about music for a living, will frequent in an effort to see original music, be it local or via a touring act."


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How Hole shaped what I know about rock & roll and sexuality

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A page from my high school-era scrapbook.
Everyone loves "Doll Parts." At least that's the song the comes up any time I speak about Hole to a non-Hole fan. I'm not complaining. "Doll Parts" is arguably a better point of reference for the band than the other common conversation piece regarding Hole, which is the comment that Courtney Love is insane. She might be insane; I don't know. I can't really wrap my head around who she is because I've never met her. But what I can speak to what is the unmitigated effect that Hole and Live Through This -- released twenty years ago this past week -- had on me as a human being.


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STS9, Blake Shelton, Warren Haynes on sale this weekend

Categories: Mile Highlights

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Aaron Thackeray
Sound Tribe Sector 9 is returning to Red Rocks.
STS9 returns to Red Rocks for a two-night stand on Friday, September 5 and Saturday, September 6 and general admission tickets ($39.75/$45) go on sale on Friday, April 18 at 10 a.m.. A limited number of two-day passes ($50) go on sale on Wednesday, April 16 at 10 a.m. through STS9.com.

Blake Shelton brings his Ten Times Crazier Tour with the Band Perry,
Neal McCoy and Dan + Shay to the Pepsi Center on Saturday, September 27. Tickets ($29.75/$54.75) go on sale on Friday, April 18 at 10 a.m.

Gov't Mule frontman Warren Haynes teams up with the Colorado Symphony for the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration on Sunday, August 3. Tickets ($39.95-$79.50) for the program, which was curated by the Garcia family and features Garcia's original compositions, as well as classic interpretations of standards of Garcia and the Grateful Dead's shows, go on sale on Friday, April 18 at 10 a.m.

Also, Hudson Gardens unveiled its classic rock-centric line-up and tickets go on sale to members on Monday, April 21 and to the public on Monday, April 28.


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The nine worst things about Coachella 2014

Categories: Music Festivals

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Timothy Norris
Coachella's first weekend was amazing this year! Except when it wasn't. Here are the parts of the festival that rubbed us the wrong way.

Saturday Night dust storm (above)

Conditions may not have been as bad as they were during last year's Red Hot Chili Peppers set, but Saturday night's dusty conditions were still pretty awful. The winds started picking up when the sun started going down, and by dusk, the sky had turned a coffee-stain brown and festivalgoers were wiping desert residue from their eyeglasses and exposed skin. Dust gets everywhere -- in the cracks of your smartphone, for starters, and then, later, in your scalp, nose and bronchial tubes. It's a disgusting affair and a reminder to bring a handkerchief next time. -Adam Lovinus

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Paul Westerberg was visibly annoyed at Coachella

Categories: Music Festivals

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Timothy Norris
Paul Westerberg wasn't exactly thrilled to be in the Southern California desert last night. "Headed out to San Francisco, definitely not L.A.," he once sang. During his latest reunion show with The Replacements - at Coachella - he often mocked the audience, whom he quickly deemed insufficiently familiar with the band's catalog.

At one point he looked out over the crowd, asking for a "girl who has never used the word awesome," which seemed to be a dig at San Fernando Valley ladies, based a couple of hours West, who largely populated the premises.

So yeah, he was crotchety. But dammit if he didn't get away with it.

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