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Well, this sucks. For more than 25 years, the Music Exchange has been a much-needed alternative to big-box outlets like Guitar Center as well as all those pawn shops who serve as middlemen between you and the junkie next door. But that era is coming to an end as the downtown guitar shop prepares to close its doors this month.

"I think it had a good run," says Chuck Snow, one of the local musicians who's spent time on both sides of the shop's counter, "but obviously it's sad to lose another local store. Especially one that dealt with funky old used gear and was staffed by actual performing musicians, not kids in training for their next job at McDonald's."

The Music Exchange will be open through Feb. 18, so you've still got a week or so to take advantage of their expertise, find a deal, and pay your respects.

OK, time for some good news: The Ingrates are returning to the stage, and in a big way, with five area shows over the next month. Catch the local thrash-punk faves on Saturday at Phil's Radiator down in Pueblo for what will be their first gig since the untimely passing of bassist Mason Fritz in November.

Then it's back up here for a Feb. 25 Union Station show, followed by a Zodiac date on March 9. (Or, if you're up in Denver, you can catch them at Lion's Lair on Feb. 24 and the Climax Lounge on March 3.) And don't forget to pick up your copy of their incendiary debut CD, Thank You Very Little, so you can flail around in the comfort of your own home.

Speaking of CDs, you can also skank along to the rock, ska and punk stylings of Murder Hat as the band celebrates its first full-length release — the lucky 13-track These Are the Days — this Friday at Zodiac.

Then on Tuesday, the same venue plays host to the "Brian Parton Hearts U Valentine's Show," during which the rockabilly virtuoso promises to throw rose petals at the audience. Brian will play from 6 to 8, after which Johnny Coffin takes over for his weekly industrial-goth Worship event. Because after all, nothing quite says Valentine's Day like an evening of Eddie Cochran and Einstürzende Neubauten.

Or, if you prefer to celebrate a holiday that's a little less couples-oriented, you can get a head start on Mardi Gras on Wednesday at Front Range Barbeque, where members of Tribe and Grass It Up will join forces as ZydoGrass.

And finally, did you know that Thursday, Feb. 9 is the 34th anniversary of KILO 94.3? Or that the station totally swept the Arbitron ratings last month, finishing first in nearly every major demographic? VP Lou Mellini attributes the station's ongoing success to its local DJs, a rarity with syndicated programming increasingly dominating both ends of the metaphorical radio dial. "Basically, they're live 24-7," he says, while noting that the nationally influential station's track record includes breaking bands like Creed.

Asked if there's any way they could just take Creed back, Mellini points to the bright side: "When you call and you want to bitch about how you're throwing up from hearing Creed, the person that answers the phone will be the jock, and they may record you and put you on the air."

Hey, it's something.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com; follow our updates at tinyurl.com/indyreverb.

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