By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
These words are borne out by Tropics and Meridians. The sounds on the disc are not radically different from those heard on Engine, but they feel fresh and vital. Tracks like "Anisette," "Lusitania" and "June Leaf" exude spontaneity; throughout them, the four accomplished players continually challenge one another to go beyond the boundaries of their creativity. It's a surprise to learn, then, that the concluding cut, "The Trees That They Once Lived In," was the only one recorded completely off the cuff.
"Our first record--we rehearsed and recorded it in two and a half weeks," Mueller says. "We went from not knowing what each of us was going to play to having it all down in that period of time. It was a very abbreviated work period, and I think that shows; it's much more eclectic than Tropics and Meridians. But on the Tropics record, we had a month just to practice. That was our goal--to have as much time as we could to really think about things and put them where we wanted them to go.
"We're terribly frugal people--both our records were recorded for around $2,000. But even though we were thinking about the money all the time, we tried not to stress too much and to just enjoy ourselves. That's where the 'Trees' song came from. We just said, 'Let's forget about how much everything costs and just jam for twenty minutes and see what comes out.' And we found something we'd been looking for all along."
Jamming, of course, can result in flaccid noodling as often as it does the excitement of discovery. The reasons that June of 44 has remained on the more interesting side of this fence thus far, Mueller feels, have everything to do with the way in which the musicians have grown together. "Over the course of the two years since we put the band together, we've actually been together for about five months," he points out. "So we haven't spent enough time to thoroughly diagnose how we play. But every time we are playing, things make a lot more sense and we have a stronger recognition of the way we sound. And when we do rehearse, we're beginning to realize what our sound is. Or maybe I should say that our sound is starting to be realized. Whichever."
It's doubtful that this achievement will catapult June of 44 to financial nirvana: Genealogy aside, the group's idiosyncratic nature likely will prevent it from becoming the Traveling Wilburys of the Nineties. Then again, Mueller occasionally exhibits a populist streak. Seconds after delivering an art-for-art's-sake address, he says about his music, "More than anything else, I think it's just about kids trying to entertain other kids." He laughs. "And that's why we're a supergroup."
June of 44, with Rex. 8 p.m. Monday, November 18, Fox Theatre, 1135 13th Street, Boulder, $5.25, 443-3399 or 830-