The Ten Best Duets in Pop History

Categories: Lists

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From the Icon: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell artwork.
The great duet duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
The duet is often maligned. What should be a simple yet effective songwriting tool has been ruined by years of cheesy celebrity cameos, lackluster songwriting and poor musical pairings. But there are also a few gleaming gems out there. Here are our favorite duets in history. Let use know about your favorites in the comments!

See also: The Ten Worst Duets in Pop History

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Five Things You Should Know About Belly Up Aspen

Categories: Lists

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Soren McCarty
Belly Up Aspen was packed during this Pretty Lights show a few years ago.
Belly Up Aspen, an intimate venue hidden in the mountains, turns ten this week. The space has hosted some unforgettable shows in that time (including sets by the Jane's Addiction, home state hero Pretty Lights, the Wu-Tang Clan, B.B. King and more), and the owners have plans to keep the momentum going. They'll mark the anniversary this week with a full slate of shows, including headlining sets from Kaskade, Skrillex, Chromeo and Wiz Khalifa. "We cant do it without the local community and we cant do it without the acts," says the venue's founder Michael Goldberg. "As much as we want to make this a celebration, it's really a thank you."

We talked to Goldberg and came up with five things you should know about the space as it enters its second decade. "There's still a lot of work to be done," he says of the anniversary. "We're just getting started."

See also: Three Colorado Venues Make Rolling Stone's List of the Twenty Best Rock Clubs in America

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The Ten Worst Duets in Pop History

Categories: Lists

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From the "Whatupwitu" video.
This is what a bad duet looks like.
In music, duets are supposed to be simple: take a composition, divvy it up between two performers and prepare to be wowed. Recently, though, the duet has been put through the ringer by washed-up pop stars hacking it up alongside other celebrity singers, searching for a hit. With apologies to several great musical pairings, the duet has often become a gimmick. For proof we offer this: The ten worst duets ever. Let us know about your least favorite duets in the comments.

See also: The 50 Worst Rap Lyrics: The Complete List

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The Best Music of the Year, According to Colorado Writers' Pazz + Jop Ballots

Categories: Lists

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The cover of this year's Pazz + Jop issue
The final word on 2014 music, the Village Voice's annual Pazz + Jop poll, is out. As has been the case for the last forty-plus years, hundreds of critics across the country submitted their favorite albums and singles of the year, and the picks are compiled into the most comprehensive list of the year's critically-loved music.

This year D'Angelo and Run The Jewels took the top spots, and Westword's own Kiernan Maletsky wrote an essay on the pair of winners. But the individual votes are at least as interesting as the aggregated ones. We've highlighted the ballots of several of the Colorado music writers and journalists who voted this year.

See also: Twenty Predictions for Denver Music in 2015

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The Ten Most Underrated Drummers in the History of Rock

Categories: Commentary, Lists

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Jean Fortunet/wikimedia commons
Yes, one of the most famous drummers ever is also one of the most underrated.
With all the real injustice on the streets -- and in the courtrooms -- of America currently, you might consider it trivial to examine ten drummers who deserve more credit and attention than they've received. And you'd be right. But music is, if nothing else, a way to make sense of this wicked world through pure release; ostensibly, music geekdom -- enjoying and dissecting -- is a meaningful part of that release.

See also: The Ten Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock

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Twenty Predictions for Denver Music in 2015

Categories: Lists

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Ken Hamblin
More good times await this year.
2014 was an excellent year for Colorado music -- several excellent new venues opened, our state's bands released more worthy albums than anyone could keep track of and fans turned out in droves to the hundreds of thousands of shows. 2015 promises more of the same on those fronts, but we do have a few guesses for how the landscape might change this year. All of these are definitely, certainly, probably going to happen or we'll give you your money back. Leave your own predictions in the comments!

See also: The 31 Best Colorado Albums of 2014

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The Six Best Music Venues for Beer Drinkers in Denver

Categories: Lists

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Brandon Marshall
We found some places with more than PBR tall-boys
There's no shortage of places to listen to live music here in Denver. But when you are out with friends on a Friday night, you might want something nice to drink as well. While whiskey and Coors are always an adequate pairing, you can do better. When in your in the mood for a quality brew to go with some quality sounds, check out one of these six places.

We've listed some current offerings to give you an idea of what to expect, but selections will rotate regularly. Also, note that this is a highly scientific analysis based on our own drinking habits, advice from fellow music fans, and various whims. Still, these aren't the only bars with both live music and solid beer choices. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments

See also: The Five Coziest Music Venues in Denver

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The Five Coziest Music Venues in Denver

Categories: Lists

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Ken Hamblin
DJ Lowkey knows where you can hang out when the mercury drops.
The negative temperatures and piles of snow last week were a pretty solid indication that winter has arrived in Denver. While every day of winter here doesn't involve bone-chilling cold, plenty do, and it gets old, fast. Suddenly, concert calendars look a little bare and the idea of leaving your couch and trekking outside seems more and more far-fetched. It's more than understandable if you never want to leave your bed all winter, but if you start to miss interacting with other humans and listening to live music, that can be arranged thanks to these five venues that will keep you warm and entertained this winter.

See also: Denver's Ten Best Small Venues

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Ten Musical Projects Ikey Owens Made Great

Categories: Lists

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David James Swanson
Ikey Owens on October 11 in Mexico City, performing with Jack White. More photos here.
When Isaiah "Ikey" Owens passed away last week, the musician and producer left behind a massive legacy. Most recently the Long Beach, California native was on tour playing keyboards and piano with Jack White -- but he was also a member and founder of Free Moral Agents and was known for his role in seminal rock group the Mars Volta. Beyond his big time projects, Owens had also produced and played on dozens of records in his career, including maintaining a strong Denver connection that had him producing and playing on Rubedo's first two records, as well as being an active member of the band (Owens and Rubedo also formed Double Ply Translucent Caterpillar, a group that featured a rotating cast of musicians and most notably played at the Denver Art Museum for Nick Cave's Soundsuit performance last year.) He had also worked on Holophrase's 2012 album and had just finished up tracks for Wheelchair Sport Camp's forthcoming record, as well as a gear collaboration with local pedal makers Mantic Conceptual.

But still, there was so much more -- Owens had been an integral part of the third wave ska revival in the '90s, worked with hip-hop, noise and R&B artists, toured the world with pivotal rock acts, all while continuing to play with and produce up-and-coming bands. His resume is pages long, but we've compiled just ten of the pieces of music you may not know Ikey Owens contributed to for your listening pleasure.

See also: Denver Musicians Pay Tribute to Ikey Owens: "His Voice Screamed Through the Keyboard"

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Denver's Ten Best Small Venues

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Brandon Marshall for Westword.
Devotcha did a three-night run for Valentine's Day at the Mercury Cafe in 2013.
It's no secret that Denver is blessed with an overwhelming amount of music venues, places boasting calendars packed full of local and national acts every night of the week. We wanted to highlight some of the best of the little guys -- venues that can hold crowds under 500 people. There are some old favorites on this list, untouched and in their original, mildly sketchy glory. But there are also some venerable spots that have had recent makeovers for the good, plus some brand new locations just waiting to be discovered. Dive in and see if there's a venue in Denver you've never been to yet and then get out there and see some music. Stay tuned for more lists looking at Denver's bigger venues, bar rooms and D.I.Y. spaces.

See also: Denver Has More Live Music Venues Than Austin. Does It Matter?

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