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As for the self-titled CD from Genuine, released on the Aspen-based Not Really Records imprint, it operates in the territory where rock and modern rock bleed into one; it's marginally contemporary while at the same time sounding little different from releases that came out ten or fifteen years ago. There's no question that this foursome--Jason Hlatky, Ian Hlatky, Matt Barnes and Jay Kurts--can play, but their heads aren't exactly overflowing with fresh ideas: For proof, check out "In a Dream" and "The Whereabouts of Annie," consecutive songs that begin slowly before exploding in what scribes at Guitar magazine referred to as "an instrumental frenzy" back when Led Zeppelin still existed. Genuine is proficient, but it definitely colors within the lines (available at area record stores).

Right now the talk of the critical community is Mansion on the Hill, a book by journalist Fred Goodman that chronicles what the author sees as the victory of capitalism over art in the rock-music field. As this description implies, Goodman can be didactic, pretentious and naive: Given the example of figures such as Colonel Tom Parker, his suggestion that that rock music was a relatively pure creative arena until the Sixties rise of Albert Grossman and David Geffen seems ludicrous on its face. The music business has never been marked by philanthropy, and although the rising profitability of the industry over the past quarter-century has certainly had a negative impact on the quality of albums being produced, whining about it demonstrates little more than a keen grasp of the obvious.

That said, Goodman does make some valid points. For instance, he rightly calls critic Dave Marsh to task for claiming to be an objective observer of Bruce Springsteen's career when Marsh's wife was on the Boss's payroll and he himself was a close, personal friend and associate of the singer. And he puts a welcome spotlight on a number of fairly obscure figures, including John Sinclair, former manager of the MC5 and Detroit-based leader of the White Panther Party. Sinclair was a left-wing zealot with a revolutionary agenda, and he paid the price for his radicalism; he wound up serving 29 months of a nine- to ten-year sentence after being arrested for the possession of two joints in 1966. (John Lennon was among those who played benefit concerts for Sinclair.) These days Sinclair lives in New Orleans and performs as a spoken-word artist: If I Could Be With You, a CD on Schoolkids Records that finds him teaming up with Ed Moss and the Society Jazz Orchestra, is an example of his work. He rarely travels to these parts, but he has two performances in the area this week: Thursday, March 13, at the Lion's Lair, and Sunday, March 16, at the Fox Theatre. Stop by and see a man who refuses to go quietly into the night.

These punks nowadays. New on the market is No Thanks to You, Volume 1, a disc recorded live at a MusicLink event in December: Bands in the spotlight include Uphollow, Pinhead Circus, Random Victim, the Hate Fuck Trio and two acts mentioned earlier, the 8 Bucks Experiment and the Hectics. No Thanks can be found in area record stores. In the meantime, the 15th Street Tavern is sponsoring a week's worth of pleasantly punky racket dubbed Cig Stock '97 in honor of Camel, the coffin-nail maker sponsoring the bash. Appropriately, the headliners on Monday, March 17, the opening night of the showcases, are the Fumes, who appear with Sizewell and Sticky 5 Pin. The rest of the schedule: Fort Collins's Wretch Like Me visits on Tuesday, March 18, with the Blast-Off Heads; Fatwater drops by on Wednesday, March 19; Armchair Martian, Chemical Billy and Acrobat Down appear on Thursday, March 20; Zeke, Steerjockey and the LaDonnas are on the bill on Friday, March 21; and Boss 302, Speedholes and (yes, them again) the Hectics wrap things up on Saturday, March 22. Hit all of these shows without a gas mask and you'll be in a cancer ward by the end of the week.

Smokin'. On Thursday, March 13, Saturation soaks up attention at Cricket on the Hill. On Friday, March 14, the Threshers go for the green during a St. Patrick's Day party at the Bluebird; Leftover Salmon hypes its upcoming CD, Euphoria, for the first of two nights at the Fox; Strange Monkey celebrates the release of a new disc, Ebola Shindig, at the 6th Avenue Rock Cafe, with Looking Glass Self; and Westword contributor Marty Jones and his Pork Boilin' Po' Boys panhandle at the 15th Street Tavern. On Saturday, March 15, the Burns Sisters fire up at the Swallow Hill Music Hall; Dave Gershen croons at the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts in Lafayette; Skull Flux tosses a warehouse party (call 575-1389 for details); and Tequila Mockingbird and Power Factor deal with the Wrath of Sharon at the Oriental Theater. On Sunday, March 16, Sweet Honey in the Rock is served up at Macky Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus. And on Wednesday, March 19, the Dirty Three get Low at the Mercury Cafe. High time, too.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com

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