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Seeing Red

The Red Aunts have no relation to punk cliches.

On Ghetto Blaster, the women do just that. The disc delivers a twelve-pack of deliriously raw-boned, careening compositions that crash against walls of hook-filled chaos with an intensity that can be measured on the Richter scale. "I'm Crying," the platter's opening track, is a case in point. The song's sixty-second, one-chord opening gradually thickens with layers of gooey guitar squalls before exploding into a jarring mid-section. A Stooges-esque bridge and two and a half minutes of mayhem later, the Aunts' braying call-and-response vocals crest, and the tune collapses into a glorious, speaker-shaking heap. The story's the same throughout the rest of this delicious disc, with the band trading fancy licks for venom, invention and mountains of moxie. Add up the pissy snarl of Alanis Morissette and her radio-friendly counterparts, and the sum doesn't come close to equaling the vigor and volatility whipped up by the Red Aunts.

Davis is reluctant to stick a handle on the Aunts' music. "I guess it is punk rock," she acknowledges. "But I don't want to call it that, because I'd hate for it to get lumped in with all that other Foo Fighters kind of pop punk or anything like that. I hate that--I hate all of that music. I don't listen to any indie rock or punk or anything. I listen to pretty much all old music--people just rockin' and rollin' and screaming their heads off." These influences match up well with the players' primitivity. "We just don't play our instruments well enough to play what we want to play," Davis allows. "I'd love to play with a drummer and a tambourine, an acoustic guitar and a slide, but the minute you plug in with all your friends and you start shredding, it's like, 'Yeah, let's go kill everyone.' It just happens."

The Aunts are unlikely to receive an invitation to the Lilith Fair; according to Davis, just about the only thing that's "girlie" about the musicians is their concern about the colors of their instruments. But she admits to a fascination with music made by women. "I'm just attracted to that. The last three records I've been listening to, I realized they were all female musicians, and I'm like, 'I'm a girl-band geek, and I'm a girl, in a band.'" Questions about gender "can be annoying at times," she says. "But there really aren't many women playing music, or at least they're not given the recognition as much as men. So it is a big deal. I remember when I saw my first girl band. I saw the Lunachicks when I was eighteen, and I just lost it. I was like, wow. It changed my life."

If there are a lot of other role models out there with which young women interested in rocking can identify, Davis doesn't see them. She used to like Joan Jett until she simultaneously lightened her music and her hair, and she can't come up with a single nice thing to say about Courtney Love. "Oh, she's just...ugh," Davis practically spits. "I never liked her music, I don't think she writes very good songs, and I just don't care about her. She doesn't have any effect on my world of music. I remember when she was on the cover of Rolling Stone, I was like, 'Thank God. Now just get out of our lives. You've become a celebrity--now distance yourself from the true music scene, because you don't play any part in it.' I think she's a really irritating person...You can be the best player in the whole wide world, but if you don't have any soul, then forget about it."

Soul is something the Red Aunts have in abundance--and so is integrity. They continue to prize music over money, and if that means that they'll never make it out of the underground, so be it. "I really feel that with this band, to just accomplish what we have is something that doesn't happen very often," she says. "I never thought I could do it. I would have been in a band when I was eleven if I thought that girls could take drum lessons and be in bands. And this is gonna sound totally corny, but I know that I've made a difference in the world with my dumb punk-rock band."

Red Aunts, with King Rat and the Necessary Evils, 10 p.m. Saturday, April 4, Lion's Lair, 2022 East Colfax Avenue, $5, 320-9200; with Electric Summer and the Necessary Evils, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5, Club 156, CU-Boulder, $6, 492-8888.

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