DU DNA in the Denver music scene

For many music lovers and performers, the coronavirus pandemic was a major shock. Tours were canceled and tickets were refunded, bands went on hiatus or called it quits and countless venues shut their doors. For a long time, it felt like Denver’s vibrant music scene might never recover.

But the University’s resilient community of musicians kept on practicing, writing and getting ready for the minute that it was safe to put on a show. And since that day came, they’ve been pushing boundaries, exploring new musical genres and, crucially, getting back up on the stage as much as they can.

No matter what genre you’re a fan of, DU students and alumni are making music that’s sure to get your feet moving. Here are four of the bands emerging from the University’s music scene.


Antibroth is (left to right) Dan Switalski, Hayden Bosch and Jeremy Mock. Photo by Connor Mokrzycki

Antibroth—originally named Broth—came into existence in 2019, during Jeremy Mock’s first year on campus. The senior, who studies classical guitar and recording and production at the Lamont School of Music, says a freshman year jam session sparked an interest in forming a punk band. He was joined by fellow Lamont students Dan Switalski on bass and, a year later, Hayden Bosch on drums.

During the trio’s sophomore year, they took advantage of remote classes and a nearly empty campus. With most classes meeting remotely, the Lamont recording studio was wide open, and Antibroth spent countless hours practicing and recording their first songs—and used that experience to assist several other student bands in their recording sessions. Like most musicians, the members of Antibroth have countless side projects, including the band bloodsports, with Mock on guitar, Bosch on drums and Switalski working with Mock on mixing and mastering. Their self-titled EP came out in 2023.

Since their first show in a packed one-bedroom apartment off campus in 2019, Antibroth has gone on to release an EP, a handful of singles and in 2022, their self-titled debut album. Over time, Mock says, the band’s sound has evolved. “It’s shifted from a punk band to a sort of prog-art band. It’s definitely gotten a lot more ‘sophisticated,’” he says. And it shows. The combination of Mock’s intricate guitar riffs, Switalski’s driving bass lines and Bosch’s pounding drums are a bold exploration of the trio’s songwriting skills and musical acumen.

Their punk rock prowess and commitment to their craft helped them piece together their first interstate tour in the spring of 2023 and an upcoming cross-country tour in June. Their plans for the future, Mock says, are simple: “We’re just trying to make art that we’re really proud of and tour it and play out as much as we can.”

“Blue Jacket” by Antibroth

“Commodify the Cow” by Antibroth

Listen to Antibroth’s music on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp and check out their Instagram (@antibrothband) to learn more.

Anika Erickson

Before she came to DU, Anika Erickson did an eight-year stint with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, where she had opportunities to sing with the LA Opera, LA Phil and the LA Master Chorale. Music, Erickson says, runs in the family. “My dad is a music producer and arranger and composer, engineer and all those things. Growing up, whenever he needed kids on his recording, he’d be like, ‘Yo, Anika,’” says the sophomore, who is majoring in recording and production with an emphasis in jazz voice.

Since Erickson arrived on campus, she’s been putting her singing voice to use, playing countless house shows and venues around Denver. Erickson sings in her own band, which currently consists of DU students Ryan Melnick on guitar, Leith Mcleod on bass and Jack Billeaud on drums. Their music doesn’t fall neatly into a single genre, with Erickson pulling from a wide variety of musical inspirations, styles and sonic textures to synthesize her own form of pop music.

“It’s definitely all over the place. I consider myself a songwriter more than anything else, but I wanted to come to DU for music production because I felt like it was something I didn’t know tons about,” Erickson says. “I wanted to be able to be a one woman show—write the songs, produce them and play all the instruments.”

Throughout her time at DU, Erickson has been collaborating with fellow musicians and performing in a range of musical acts, including Funkmont (Lamont’s rhythm and blues ensemble), the Abbott Ensemble and the Classical Guitar Ensemble, with Antibroth’s Jeremy Mock, to name a few.

After releasing more than a dozen singles, Erickson’s debut album, “Frog House,” comes out on April 29. You can catch Anika Erickson and her band at Lost Lake Lounge on May 21, 2023. Watch the music video for “Oyster” by Anika Erickson, which was shot, edited and produced by students in the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies.

Watch the music video for “Oyster” by Anika Erickson, which was shot, edited and produced by students in Media, Film and Journalism Studies.

“Oyster” by Anika Erickson

Anika Erickson’s music is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and more. Follow Erickson on Instagram and TikTok (@fancysnowpeas) and check out her website to learn more.


Blankslate is (left to right) Rylee Dunn (BA ’20), Em Troughton (BA ’21) and Tess Condron (BA ’21). Photo by Julia VonDrelle

Blankslate formed in 2018, when vocalist Em Troughton (BA ’21), drummer Tess Condron (BA ’21) and guitarist Rylee Dunn (BA ’20) transferred to DU and found themselves in the Transfer Living Community.

The trio claimed a mostly empty closet in the basement as their practice space, setting up their instruments and adorning the cramped room with lights, posters and carpets. “We ended up making it cozy,” says Condron. While a storage closet in the basement of a dorm might not sound like the optimal location for band practice, Dunn says the spatial restrictions allowed Blankslate to thrive.

“We made it work. And honestly, it was kind of great. It was tiny and confined, but it makes you work within that space, and you get really close,” she says. “We became really close friends by sharing that proximity, we became really well acquainted musically—you can’t help it when you’re being blasted by everyone’s instrument or voice.” And, Troughton adds, “To be fair, our noise was not unparalleled. The ruckus in that house, generally speaking, was extensive.”

From those basement practice sessions, Blankslate started crafting their first songs, before playing at open mic nights, gigs at Snarf’s, Battle of the Bands at Illegal Pete’s and a show at a sorority’s charity event. In 2020, Blankslate released their first EP, “{thursday},” which they followed up with their debut album, “Summer on a Salt Flat,” in 2022.

In the two years between releases, the trio graduated, started new jobs and took a break from writing music. But they never stopped playing, practicing their songs and rehashing old ideas. When it came time to piece together a full album, Dunn says, “We became a lot more dedicated to our craft and to music, songwriting and recording. We were very much more intentional with all of it.”

In the years since they graduated, Blankslate has broken out onto Colorado’s music scene, playing shows all over the state. You can catch them at the Skylark Lounge on May 26, on their 22-show run throughout the Southwest and West Coast this summer, and sharing the stage with Peach Pit, The Backseat Lovers and more on Sept. 8 at Endless Sunshine 2023.

“Bell Station” by Blankslate

“A Fragile Thing” by Blankslate

Blankslate’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. Visit their website and follow them on Instagram (@blankslateband).

High Street Joggers Club

Members of High Street Joggers Club are (left to right) Jackson Harkness (BS ’20), Cole Schnider (BA ’20), Kevin Cincotta (BM ’20), Jack Cote (BA ’20), Jake Feldman (BA ’21) and Nate Garrett (BSBA ’20). Photo by Shelby Moeller

This six-piece rock band got their start as the go-to choice for house shows and backyard gigs during their time at DU. The current line-up—Nate Garrett (BSBA ’20) on drums, Kevin Cincotta (BM ’20) on keys, Cole Schnider (BA ’20) and Jake Feldman (BA ’21) on guitar, Jackson Harkness (BS ’20) on bass and Jack Cote (BA ’20) on lead vocals—is an amalgamation of past projects, groups and bands that became a DU supergroup of sorts.

Harkness, Cincotta and Cote’s previous band won the Battle of the Bands at Illegal Pete’s during their freshman year, and Feldman’s band won the following year, but both groups fizzled out in the following months. In April 2019, High Street Joggers Club sprung into existence.

Initially performing as a cover band, High Street Joggers Club took to any porch, backyard or basement that they could, many of which were dotted along High Street, on the western boundary of campus. Anyone who made it to one of their early shows can attest to the band’s energetic presence on stage, fueling hours of frantic dancing while often recruiting friends and other musicians in the crowd to play alongside them. While they found success as a party band, it didn’t take long for High Street Joggers Club to transition from covering classics to composing their own music.

Pulling from each of their own musical interests, from folk to hair metal, the band writes collaboratively. “Someone will bring in a lick or a riff or an idea and then little bits of that all get sprinkled in,” says guitarist Jake Feldman. “It’s always this big, collaborative process.” A fusion of different genres, sonic ideas and musical techniques is the core of their music, says vocalist Jack Cote. “We’ll try anything.”

With more than a dozen shows in Denver, one in Boulder and a show in San Francisco, and the release of their first single, “On & On,” 2022 was a busy year for High Street Joggers Club. This year, the band is focused on capturing and translating the energy of their live shows into recorded music.

You can see High Street Joggers Club at Globe Hall on May 5 and at Cervantes’ Other Side on June 24. Watch High Street Joggers Club perform “Add You to the List.”

“Add You to the List” by High Street Joggers Club

High Street Joggers Club’s music is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. Follow them on Instagram (@highstreetjoggersclub) to learn more.

Lead article photo courtesy of Blankslate

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