Colorado’s Outstanding Independent Music Of 2016, According to CPR’s OpenAir

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<p>Dressy Bessy band members</p>
Photo: Dressy Bessy at OpenAir
John Hill and Tammy Ealom of Dressy Bessy visit OpenAir with their dog Daisy.

Each December, the hosts at CPR’s OpenAir compile lists of their favorite releases of the year. We asked OpenAir music director Jessi Whitten to share some of the year’s best Colorado music you might not have heard.

Here’s a rundown of some of Colorado’s best under-the-radar music of 2016.

  • Denver band SPELLS is led by singer Ben Roy, a comedian who also appears on the TruTV show “Those Who Can’t.” Watch SPELLS’ session in the CPR Performance Studio and listen to Colorado Matters’ interview with Roy’s “Those Who Can’t” castmate Adam Cayton-Holland.
  • Eros and the Eschaton, a Colorado Springs band, released the album “Weight of Matter.” Watch their recent CPR Performance Studio Session.
  • SHEL, a band consisting of four sisters from Fort Collins, released “Just Crazy Enough." Watch the group’s recent, stripped-down Performance Studio session.
  • Denver band Dressy Bessy, which formed 20 years ago, returned with its first release in eight years. Listen to OpenAir’s recent Inside Track feature on the album “Kingsized.”
  • Slim Cessna's Auto Club, which formed in Denver in the early 1990s, returned with the album "The Commandments According to SCAC." Watch their Performance Studio session from earlier this year.
  • YAWL is a group spread across two continents. Denver rapper Braden Smith works with Dot, a German producer, to create the music. Hear the YAWL track "Wild Fires," which was featured in OpenAir's winter 2016 music sample earlier.

For more year-end music recommendations, check out the best Colorado classical releases of year in our interview with CPR Classical’s Jeff Zumfelde.