By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
By A.H. Goldstein
Won Lump Some, an excellent Fort Collins band that relocated to the Bay Area last year, visited its old haunts the week before Christmas, and the result was another in what's become a series of confrontations between musicians, fans and police. According to police reports, the act's lead singer, Jason Hyland Mather, stripped while performing at Tony's Restaurant & Lounge on December 20, and when two officers attempted to pull him from the stage, the crowd erupted into a beer-bottle-tossing frenzy. Mather was subsequently charged with a pair of felony counts: inciting a riot and escaping while in custody for a felony. He remains in the Fort Collins area and will attend a pre-trial hearing on the matters February 14; beyond imparting this information, however, neither he nor any of the witnesses to the fracas will comment. It's too soon to know exactly what will come of the incident, but from what I've been able to glean from off-the-record sources, it seems clear that the police's version of the episode differs substantially from what others saw and heard. Stay tuned for more details.
You want local recordings? We've got local recordings.
Colorado Springs' own AUTONO is still at it after all these years, and Machines, on Big Ball Records, will make you glad the players have outlived most of their contemporaries. Chuck Snow (inexplicably referred to as "Dietrich Snow" in the liner notes) is in good voice, and his melodies are as sturdy as ever. Many of the cuts are less aggressive than they once might have been, but Snow's maturity draws out the pop verities at the heart of "Sun to Sun," "Last Angry Man" and "Back to Nowhere"--and "All You Can Eat" demonstrates that these guys can still tear it up when the mood strikes them. As for "El Mariachi," it exhibits both cleverness and complexity. Solid, built to last (Big Ball Records, P.O. Box 1949, Colorado Springs 80901-1949). Sonnus is from Boulder, but that doesn't mean the ghost of Pigpen hovers over Titled, its first CD. The band, made up of drummer Eric Lyde, bassist Jim Risner, guitarist Brian Kroll and vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Page, is an alterna-combo that occasionally gets downright nasty: "My Requiem" and "Quickened" are only two examples. There's plenty of Seattle in the cuts, and some of this influence is expressed in long-winded fashion; "Birthday" actually goes on for almost nine showboating minutes. There's talent here, but it's mated with a certain predictability that needs to go away before Sonnus can shine. Best of luck, guys (available in area record stores).
Under Shattered Skies, by Jubilant Bridge, isn't going to be confused with the flavor of the week: The music on the CD is of the acoustic variety, and it's deeply rooted in the folk tradition. But don't nod off yet. Vocalist Carol Van Alstine has a striking voice--clean, crisp and far purer than Michael Jackson's fondness for gloves. She's ably supported by dulcimer expert/vocalist Willie Jaeger and guitarist Scott Bennett, who perform with an earnestness that keeps the music feeling fresh. Van Alstine's "Before You Fly" and "Four Common Men Create the Weather (Diamonds)" are gorgeous, while "Independence Day," a Bruce Springsteen composition on which Jaeger sings lead, is converted into the Woody Guthrie-style ditty it's always wanted to be. For anyone who remembers Fairport Convention during the good old days, Jubilant Bridge is well worth crossing (Jubilant Bridge, P.O. Box 102695, Denver 80210). Instrumentally, Fiction, the latest CD from Mime, is a notable stride forward for the group; the minor-key guitars are dirty, distorted and properly foreboding. The vocals, by Jixon MacFarlane and Aaron Heideman, are effective as well, if a bit too obviously influenced by the late Ian Curtis; after turning your ears to "She Devours," "Nicotine," "Moonlight" and the title cut, you'll feel as if you've just been inducted into the Joy Division. Still, there are occasional experiments (like "Dusty Road") that defy expectations, as well as a general air of darkness that should help you overlook the slavishness. The outfit is moving in the right direction (Mime, P.O. Box 480892, Denver 80248).
King Rat's CD The Towne Liar was recorded this year, but it could have been released in 1980 or during any twelve-month period since then; the songs made me think of everyone from the Clash and the Alarm to Social Distortion. But the lyrics that lead vocalist/guitarist Luke Schmaltz barks out make the redundancies easier to take. "Trip Chick" and "Alone Star" are funny and snotty in equal measure, while "21" is such a good idea that it demands quoting: "I'm 21--I'm havin' fun/I'm 31--I'm having a son/41--I carry a gun/51--I hate everyone" and so on until "91--when is it gonna be done?/I'm 101--I don't have anyone." There's wisdom in that cynicism--enough, I hope, to convince these guys to stop shopping for music in the past and start looking to the future (available in area record stores). The Sauce, a recording by (I'm not making this up) the Sauce, is the aural equivalent of a good beating--but you don't have to be a masochist to enjoy it. Led by onetime Bunny Genghis star Tom Mick, the platter is enjoyably anarchic; you don't know from one minute to the next what's going to happen. "Turtle Buzz," the opening number, represents the sound of things falling apart; "System" kicks off with a Blind Melon intro that sucks you into a punky maelstrom; "Magnified & Magnificent" is half Joe Cocker, half Motsrhead; "Warm Up" is an unexpectedly arty instrumental; and "Shit Sunshine" is a grungy power ballad. When a band hits so many different spots on the map in one album, not everything sticks. But the Sauce retains the ability to surprise--and that's a quality worth applauding (Lok Music, P.O. Box 19612, Boulder 80302).