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Music from the merch tables at the Underground Music Showcase 

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The new owners of Denver’s Underground Music Showcase confounded expectations last month with a festival that outshone The Denver Post, the event’s founders and longtime custodians. But something besides the Post was also noticeably absent: The ongoing decline of physical music media meant that few of the participating bands had new singles or albums on offer, although there were a few exceptions that made scouring the merch tables worthwhile.

Headliners Deerhunter brought a handful of cassettes representing the only physical incarnation for its newly released Double Dream of Spring (4AD), a 40-minute, two-part suite of largely instrumental experimental ambiance. The mood is at odds with founder Brad Cox’s brash pop and near-Hollywood sensibilities in the band’s live performances. This special album may not merit a full commercial release, but cassette-only collectibles can be fun.

The best new vinyl at the UMS came from Denver folk-jazz-gypsy hybrid The Dollhouse Thieves. On their nine-track self-titled debut (DHS Records), lead singer Niki Tredinnick adds a soulful punch backing brass and guitars suggestive of DeVotchKa and Elephant Revival.

Denver power-pop band Oxeye Daisy, meanwhile, come across as a kind of 21st-century Blondie on their self-titled album, which has made the jump from Bandcamp download to physical CD. The band’s website wryly explains that CDs are small unusual laser-read discs, and that it’s “slowly becoming more popular” to choose CDs. Poor maligned CDs.

Special mention must be made of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, the Utah duo project from Dallon Weekes of Panic at the Disco. The band has no physical media and no downloadables, but its wild July 28 afternoon set featured a cover of “Iggy Pop,” a song by Denver’s late great Hot IQs.

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