By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Local recordings of note--or at least ones that feature notes.
Nowhere in the biography of Shankis, whose disc is called Tales From Lonvernia, is there a mention of the Grateful Dead or any of its offspring; King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Rush are the inspirations cited. But in the interest of accuracy, I must note that the guitar on "Crokus" could hardly be more Jerry, the herky-jerky "Lost Dog" smells like Phish, "Stable Mable" threw me into a Widespread Panic, and so on. Competent, energetic and about as fresh as decade-old bread (Shankis, 2590 Dartmouth Avenue, Boulder, CO 80303). While shuttling from venue to venue at September's Westword Music Awards Showcase, I was handed Zev & Esan by the Future Presidents, a band that moved to the area from Michigan. The tape's sound is heavy on hisssssss that masks but doesn't blot out music that uses many of the influences cited in the Shankis item above. I liked "Virtual Yeti," an oddball concoction that's about as lo-fi as lo-fi gets, and "Donkey Teet Philosophy," with its busy musical progression, wasn't bad, either. But pretty much everything else (including the live material on the cassette's B-side) seemed little different from the work being churned out by approximately 37 million Boulder bands. Welcome to Colorado, guys (eze4prezo@AOL.COM).
CLARK OV SATURN VS. RECONE HELMUT, THE DEBUT BY PH10, PROVIDES YOU AND YOURS WITH FOUR SONGS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC THAT'S WITTY AND PROPULSIVE. "CORPUSCLE" MATES CONVINCING SLAMS WITH COSMIC BUBBLES, "7TH BOTTOM" IS AN ADVENTURE IN QUASI-AMBIENCE WHOSE CHANGES IN DIRECTION ARE ALWAYS WORTH FOLLOWING, "AMBULANCE DRIVERS" SPEEDS INTO DRUM-AND-BASS TERRITORY, AND "PROVERBIAL KICKS" DRAGS FRANK SINATRA INTO THE TECHNO ERA. SATURN AND HELMUT ARE FULL OF IDEAS BUT NOT FULL OF THEMSELVES (PH10, 2701 WEST 32ND AVENUE, #6, DENVER, CO 80211). SOMETIME DENVERITE KEOKI CHECKS IN WITH ALTERED-EGO-TRIP, WHICH FEATURES REMIXES OF TRACKS FROM HIS EGO TRIP DISC AS OVERSEEN BY SOME OF ELECTRONICA'S BIGGEST NAMES. THE CRYSTAL METHOD MAKES "CATERPILLAR" EVEN MORE IRRESISTIBLY DANCEABLE THAN IT WAS PREVIOUSLY, WHILE RABBIT IN THE MOON TURNS THE SAME TUNE INTO AN OPUS FOR ROBOTS; CIRRUS ACCENTUATES THE BRITTLENESS OF THE ORIGINAL DISC'S TITLE TRACK; AND OMAR SANTANA BRINGS OUT THE ORGIASTIC QUALITIES IN "CRASH." THIS ISN'T ESSENTIAL LISTENING, BUT KEOKI AFICIONADOS WILL BE INTRIGUED BY IT (AVAILABLE IN AREA RECORD STORES).
THE SISSY FUZZ CASSETTE LUFTGITARREN WAS CUT AT THE APPLES' PET SOUNDS STUDIO AND REFLECTS THE SENSIBILITIES OF THE ELEPHANT 6 CREW. "DON'T FEAR (THE REVERB)" (A PUN OF GENIUS) IS SLOPPY BUT WONDERFULLY TUNEFUL, WITH AN ENTHUSIASTIC GUITAR SOLO AND SUPER-SWEET VOCALS; AND "SUMMER SALIVA," "WAFFLE POULTICE" AND THE REST OVERFLOW WITH HOOKS, MELODIES, HARMONIES AND OTHER GOOD THINGS. THE MUSIC'S SIMPLICITY MAY STRIKE SOME AS A LIMITATION; TO ME, IT WAS ITS GREATEST ATTRIBUTE (SISSY FUZZ, 3027 HOOKER STREET, DENVER, CO 80211). I'M CORNUTo The Single is a twisted novelty number courtesy of John Baker and Mark Rasmussen. Jo A. Moore provides the baby-doll voice for Cornut, a character whose chipper attitude and cutesy-poo antics are intended to out-Barney Barney. The satire would be funnier if Teletubbies hadn't already taken kiddie shows to an even more bizarre level. Once again, fact is stranger than fiction (Cornut Publications, 2815 East Sixth Avenue, Denver, CO 80206).
On Tales From Another...Soul Sucking Day at the Office, World Separation covers a lot of college-rock territory. "Dark to Light" resembles Dave Matthews's idea of a serious statement, "Sensationalize Then Advertise" waters down the Rage Against the Machine alterna-rap style, "Party Train" lopes along on a skanky beat accented by horns, and "Cancer" is an overwrought opus that opens with the couplet "Attacking breasts and lungs/Vagina and testicles" and goes downhill from there. The CD is well-produced, and the playing by vocalist/trombonist/ keyboardist David Dinsmore and his associates is just fine, but the material is mighty weak and not nearly as meaningful as these chaps think it is (David Dinsmore, 303-480-0759). Non is an internationally recognized racket project overseen by Denver's Boyd Rice, whose idea of a good time will strike those with faint hearts as a little slice of hell. It's appropriate, then, that radio evangelist Bob Larson's choicest comment about Rice--"Boyd, you are Satan!"--is stickered on the jacket of God & Beast, Non's latest aural assault on the Mute imprint. All nine tracks here bleed directly into each other, taking a listener from the doomy, apocalyptic "Between Venus & Mars" to the ghostly "Millstones" without a breather. Rice plays the old "Is he serious?/Is he not?" game with fascism (in "The Law" he intones, "There are no rules...only the law/Of tooth and claw") and satanism ("Lucifer, the Morning Star" pits an angelic voice against what sounds like a buzz saw), but he also offers up some stimulating musical moments: "Out Out Out" is a clever tape treatment, while "Total War" finds him dabbling in death metal. Fun for the whole family it's not, but if you're interested in exploring the really dark side, you could do a lot worse (available in area record stores).
Here and Somewhere Else, by the Samples, starts off with a bit of a surprise: "We All Move On" is introduced by Lorne Bregitzer's saucy New Orleans-style trumpet and a busy mix of chattering background voices. The arrangements on "Anymore," "Losing End of Distance" and "The Birds of Paradise" are also somewhat more adventurous than usual--a good thing. Nonetheless, the Samples still sound like the Samples: Despite membership shifts, the presence of Sean Kelly and Andy Sheldon ensures that fans won't be shocked by their latest. After listening to a slew of discs by these guys during the Nineties, I can say with complete certitude that their music is not my thing: Hell, the icky nursery rhyme "Little People" and the new-age twaddle of "Going Through Changes" practically made me gag. But overall, I found Here and Somewhere Else to be more tolerable than most Samples fare. Not that true believers will care one way or the other (available in area record stores). Signs of a Summer Wind, by the Lord Franklin Group, is folk music of an especially earnest sort. Lead singer Jack Barkstrom (assisted by such acoustic-scene longtimers as Harry Bruckner, Carla Sciaky, Peter Schwimmer, Ellen Klaver and John McEuen) delicately renders material by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Tom Russell and Gordon Lightfoot. Since I'm not particularly fond of the don't-strum-too-hard-or-you-might-break-a-string brand of folk, my reaction to the disc as a whole shouldn't surprise you: Truth be told, I was nearly asleep by song five. Gotta start getting to bed at a decent hour (Lord Franklin Productions, 200 Union Boulevard, Suite 425, Lakewood, CO 80228).