By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
In this space circa our September 17, 1998, issue, afternoon talk-show host Jay Marvin, one of the best reasons to tune into KHOW-AM/630 over the past several years, revealed that he was leaving the station to take a similar job at WFLA-AM in Tampa, Florida. But his departure was initially delayed and then canceled altogether after several weeks of what Marvin jokingly referred to as "the world's longest going-away show." Well, start the countdown again: Marvin has told his corporate overseer, KHOW-owner Jacor, that he will not be renewing his contract when it expires in September. At this point, Marvin declines to comment on future plans beyond saying that he hopes to finish a so-called cop novel he's writing. (His previous book, Punk Blood, is still available at amazon.com.) As for his reasons for splitting, he downplays both health concerns (he's been feeling better of late but is still on oxygen when he sleeps) and ratings: "I tripled the numbers from when I first got here and came close to quadrupling them," he says. "And the callers have been great. I just want to try something new." Laughing, he adds, "With the extreme economic boom we're expe-riencing, I think I'll get a job at Carl's Jr."
As if you haven't guessed by now, the Samples are a prolific bunch. Hot on the heels of Here and Somewhere Else, reviewed in this space in December, the band has issued The Tan Mule, a disc available only via e-mail or the Internet. Shipped in a zippered collector's pouch complete with slip sleeves designed for your other Samples CDs, the album starts out strongly with "Take My Heart," an enticing country ditty, but after that, it's pretty much what you'd expect: "Black & White" suggests Crosby, Stills and Nash; "Across the Sea" sounds like an outtake by that single-monikered guy to whom lead vocalist Sean Kelly is always being compared (hint: he used to front the Police); "Inside Out" is a sweet but familiar ballad; and so on. Those of you already on the bus will be thrilled; those who aren't couldn't care less (www.war.com). Keyboardist Al Laughlin, whose departure from the Samples was reportedly due at least in part to a persistent drug problem, has resurfaced as part of Trepanation, a combo that also features former Zuba bassist Sid Greenbud and ex-Thugs guitarist James Hambleton. The combo's self-titled CD covers plenty of territory: The opening track, "Two Face," is a generic ska romp, "Summertime" lifts the MC 900 Foot Jesus style, and "Quatro Veinte" nods to roots reggae. Despite some nice sax work on "Equinox," Trepanation comes across as party music for the collegiate set that's well-played but as overly familiar as that grabby uncle you know to avoid at family reunions (Mountain High Music, P.O. Box 2351, Boulder, CO 80306-2351).
While a Denverite, Shauna Strecker was best known for her work in Western Vogue. These days she's a resident of Nashville and a member of Katoorah Jayne, an act whose self-titled demo falls squarely into the Alanis Morissette camp. "Forgiveness," the first cut, is pure "You Oughta Know," and on "Like a Good Girl Should," "Chromosome Face" and others, Strecker approximates the nasal sauciness of the commercially divine Ms. M. Not that Strecker's doing an impression. It's the same voice she's always had--but it's more marketable these days. Don't be shocked if A&R folks leap to the same conclusion (Rock Your World, 1020 15th Street, #33D, Denver, CO 80202). Don't Drive Away Angry, by On Second Thought, is as slick a local disc as you're likely to find: The art design is clever and professional-looking, and the production values are way above average. The music, though, is not what you'd call bakery-fresh. The average Coloradan has heard the act's hey-dude blend of pop, reggae and jamming approximately a million times already; for me, it's been more like five million. There's nothing inherently wrong with Damon Guerrasio's reedy voice or the brittle playing of compatriots Tage Plantell, Doug Kok and Preston Moxcey, and I know full well there's an audience out there for that-sorta-sounds-like-Dave Matthews ditties such as "Lighthouse" and "Wait Up." But there's no point in denying it: The album bored the holy hell out of me. Call it a personal failing (available in area music stores).
Crackin' Off Beauties, a compilation of material by KRFX-FM/103.5 morning jocks Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax, benefits a good cause: A portion of its proceeds are earmarked for the Denver Police Department's widows and orphans fund. But the disc itself stands as proof that what's sometimes diverting when you're stuck in traffic on I-25 isn't always equally amusing when you're sitting in your living room with nowhere to go. Maybe someone out there will be convulsed with laughter by "N.L.E." (aka "Near Lesbian Experiences"), co-starring Olympian Amy Van Dyken, or a satirical commercial for "Lewinsky Motors," where "built-in jobs keep you pumped up," but I found the experience of listening to them somewhat less humorous than the episode of NYPD Blue in which the Jimmy Smits character died. The realization that millions of Americans went into paroxysms because an actor wanted to leave his TV series broke me up (available at the Virgin Megastore). More alleged yuks can be found on KS107.5 Complaints, another radio-station disc with a charity tie-in: Part of the money goes to an adopt-a-family program called "Feed the Streets." Jocks Rick Stacy, Larry Ulibarri and Jennifer Wilde are even more scattershot than Lewis and Floorwax, and attempts at wackiness like "If Your Girl Only Knew (Monica Mix)" and "Clinton in Deep Shhhh" aren't getting any fresher. Wake me when it's over (available at Tower Records and Best Buy).