By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Cyber-Punk Fiction, subtitled Music From the Motion Parody, isn't a local product: It comes from Re-Constriction, a subsidiary of San Diego's Cargo Music imprint. However, six of the twenty songs on this oddball satire of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack are performed by Denver-based Society Burning. Most of the tunes here are industrialized versions of cuts director Quentin Tarantino used in his big-screen hit, including a goofily ambient "Misirlou" by Tinfed and a Gary Numan-esque rendition of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" courtesy of 16 Volt. As for Society Burning, whose members are credited with coordinating the mock dialogue that pops up between tracks, the band checks in with the synthesizer-driven instrumental oddities "Bustin' Surfboards" and "Comanche" before bringing the noise on the propulsive "Surf Rider." If the disc is intended as a satire, it doesn't really come off, but several of the songs are worth hearing more than once. Or even twice (available in area record stores). As titles go, it'd be tough to top Knockin' Up Heaven's Whore, from King Rat. Too bad the rest of the disc isn't more original. The Rats have a keen sense of humor, and they display it to good effect on tracks such as "Burn It" (highlighted by the inspired line, "Burn the bridge to the 21st century") and "Criminal," in which guitarist/vocalist Luke Schmaltz claims, "I need to sing with pornography in front of me." In addition, the production is clean and simple, and the tracks are loud and sloppy in equal measure. But these guys reproduce the old-school punk formula so precisely that most of you will think you've already heard this album. And you have--literally dozens of times since the late Seventies. Recommended to those who think that change is bad (King Rat, 1525 South Holly, #104, Denver, CO 80222).
Guitarist Neil Haverstick's campaign to promote microtonal music--i.e., compositions that feature something other than the twelve-tone scale that most Western tunesmiths use--reaches a new level on tuningoEARTHA.MILLS. EDU. SUBTITLED A MICROTONAL MUSIC EXPERIENCE, THE DISC SPOTLIGHTS FOURTEEN NUMBERS BY TWELVE DIFFERENT ARTISTS, INCLUDING HAVERSTICK, WHO CHECKS IN WITH THE DARK, EXOTIC "SNAKE DANCE." NOT EVERYTHING IS AS ACCESSIBLE AS HAVERSTICK'S PIECE (STEPHEN JAMES TAYLOR'S "MOOD OF NEPTUNE/ASHES BEFORE THE SKY" IS AN ULTIMATELY TEDIOUS OPENER), BUT I WAS ATTRACTED TO "CITIFIED NOTIONS," A WEIRD HOEDOWN BY JOHN STARRETT; BILL ALVES'S GENTLE, JAZZY "JUST ON TIME"; AND WARREN BURT'S "12X12o Evening in Landcox Park," which recalls some of the percussive excursions taken by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It's a scattershot affair that sometimes feels more like an assignment than a pleasurable listening experience, but adventurous types will find their patience rewarded (listproc@eartha. mills.edu). Register's self-titled album provides something seldom heard from a Colorado band: heavy, emotional riffing and shifting, complex musical structures of the sort associated with Rodan and June of 44. As is typical in this subgenre, the performers (Dan Owens, Devon Rogers and Josie Fluri) don't so much write songs as assemble gripping sonic elements into patterns that move from deafeningly loud to extremely quiet and back again. For that reason, I didn't come away humming "The Curtain Never Lies," "Submariner" or "Silence Is Superiority," but I thoroughly enjoyed them as they played. A vigorous new voice on the Denver scene (Roja Records, P.O. Box 300355, Denver, CO 80203).
Some of the area's oddest balls are in Cherry Bomb Club, including Dave Moore and Miss Erika Brown (two veterans of Foreskin 500) and former Warlock Pincher/current Wild Canadian Dan Wanush. The act's demo is swell faux soul brightened by "Taste of My Body," in which Brown commands, "Drop to your knees/And worship me"; the ultra-catchy "Lull-A-Bye"; and a pair of dance-floor-ready concoctions--"Pilly Pop Drop" and "Carnal Connection"--that recall Madonna before she got in touch with her spiritual side. All four tracks are great fun and invite a single question: When can we hear more? (Dave Moore, 1570 Grape Street, Denver, CO 80220.) Unspoken Words is a showcase for Jim Cohn, a Boulder poet with three published books of verse to his credit (including his latest, The Dance of Yellow Lightning Over the Ridge, available from Rochester, New York's Writers & Books). Cohn is an unabashed disciple of the Beats: He studied at the Naropa Institute, and his song "Lay Down Yr Mountain" features contributions from Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, among others. As a result, several of these offerings (such as "When Robots Cry" and "Meditation at a Stoplight in the Rain") are less songs than readings with musical accompaniment. Catchier by comparison are mostly acoustic songs such as "Rewrote the Book," "Kootenai Ferry" and "Unspoken Words," during which Cohn doesn't exactly hide his fondness for Bob Dylan under a basket. Unspoken Words is unfailingly literate, but it only occasionally comes to life (MUSEX, 3000 Colorado Avenue, #E219, Boulder, CO 80303).
Sketch's latest, Superhero, contains fourteen good-time rockers aimed at the twenty-something demographic: "Captain Kirk" has obvious baby-boomer appeal, and the first line of "Stupid Love Song" mentions Seinfeld. "La De Da" and "American Pool" don't wear out their welcome, and "Secret Agent Dad" displays a goofy sense of humor that probably works live, but the production and performances are adequate at best and fail to distinguish these guys from the ever-growing pack. Although it's likable, you probably won't remember it in the morning (Sketch, 17897 East Oxford Place, Aurora, CO 80013). Rock doesn't get much more generic than Get Lit, by the Candles. The quartet occasionally tries to roughen things up, as on the ZZ Top-like "Coming Apart at the Seams" and the strikingly lame "Bite Your Tongue," but the players mostly stick with medium-tempo songs ("All Directions" and "Thinking of You" are typical) that could hardly be more anonymous. They're probably nice fellas, though (The Candles, 4653 South Hoyt Street, Littleton, CO 80213).