Local Color

Backbeat writers weigh in on local CDs

The Enemy in Me
White Tower

Is the Enemy in Me having a goof and hoping the listener will catch on, or could this band really be as sloppy, spastic and inexplicable as White Tower would have us believe? Let the listener decide. Either way, this album abounds with drawn-out, chicken-scratch instrumentals, expressionist lyrical spurts and the occasional bongo interlude. Weenian in spirit, with Dead Milkmen undertones, the Enemy in Me is gonzo funk/punk fusion that's rough as hell but catchy -- and amusing -- in spite of itself. (Contact P.O. Box 8291, Denver, CO 80201-8291.) -- Bond


Back in the day, nothing could top Four. Chaotic, sloppy, retarded and joyous, the band bridged the gap between Crimpshrine's guttural pop punk and Operation Ivy's ska-damaged social relevance (that is, if songs like "Poop Boots" could be considered socially relevant). Now, five years after Four's demise, Discography is a document of all the busted amps, broken strings and ear-ringing memories. (Released by Paco Garden Records, www.pacogardenrecords.com.) -- Heller

Friends Forever
Tidal Wave City

Friends Forever doesn't play in bars or clubs. Actually, the only logical venue for a Friends Forever "concert" is the band's own battered VW bus, accompanied by smoke machines, fireworks and the horrified screams of unsuspecting onlookers. Now, however, discriminating consumers can subject themselves to this Boredoms-fueled, keyboard-and-feedback blitzkrieg in the relative safety of their own homes. Just keep a tight grip on that stereo remote. (Released by N.G.W.T.T. Records, P.O. Box 40183, Denver, CO 80204.) -- Heller

The Good Sirs
The Good Sirs

The Good Sirs move through their music with a sort of Southern swagger, which would make more sense if two of the trio's members -- brothers Dale and D.D. Seaton -- hailed from New Orleans rather than New Mexico. But that's a minor quibble about this generally sturdy collection. (And, hey, were it up to him, Mick Jagger would have us all believing he grew up in the middle of a Mississippi mud bog rather than the Queen's England.) This is pretty straightforward, pop-sensical stuff: guitar driven, verse-chorus-verse meditations on girls, isolation and just being bummed out. Hooky as heck, these are thirteen simple, sing-along tunes for the Herman's Hideaway set. (See www.thegoodsirs.com.) -- Bond

The Gravity Index
The Gravity Index

Tangled, Fugazi-esque guitar lines. Bellowing vocals. Alternating passages of brittle prettiness and full-throttle rock action. Saxophone? The Gravity Index refuses to play it safe on its inaugural EP release, mixing up the requisite At the Drive-In influence with brainy poetics, skronk-choked horns and fluid, dynamic rhythms. The band has also been known to do a mean live cover of Billy Squier's "The Stroke." (Released on Modern Radio Records; see thegravityindex.com.) -- Heller

Marty Jones & the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys
Full Boar

Denver's eternally grinning granddaddy of campy, bare-bones, barn-burnin' hick rock is back with his shit-kickin' posse and a brand-new collection of blues-and-booze ditties. While never failing to ooze down-home charm in a live setting, the Boys' slick packaging hides a homespun, low-fi approach to recording that unfortunately mutes the band's considerable charisma. A cameo by Southern Culture on the Skids's Mary Huff ("Falling Back to Pieces"), as well as a spirited cover of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," keeps things thumping. But live is still where Jones and the Boys thrive. (Released by Big Bender Records; see www.martyjones.net.) -- Patrick Casey

The LaVellas
My Talk With the Dead

There's some nasty debris floating around the LaVellas' soundscape: bombastic drums and guitars fill melodic voids as vocalist Robyn Green probes his own inner space. Bold, sometimes uncomfortably raw lyrics lie atop mopey, pretty, ringing guitar tones in an ambitiously atmospheric song cycle. A couple of bona fide singles -- "Seduction" and the hooky, headstrong "Apathy" -- invite the requisite Radiohead/Galaxie 500 comparisons. Ultimately, though, My Talk With the Dead is a creative, unique discourse among four talented players. (See www.thelavellas.com.) -- Bond

Mama's Boy
Live G.H.U.

Live recordings are a tricky business, as the crowd inevitably becomes a sort of third-party part of the band. Recorded at the Soiled Dove in 2001, Live G.H.U. is basically a showpiece for the guitar-slinging vocalist identified only as "The Outlaw." It's sometimes hard to tell if she's winning the audience members over with her growly, true-believer vocal booms or scaring them away: She's got a tendency to over-emote, which can weigh down quieter moments but works just fine on songs like "Waterskippin'," a hard-rocking, stop-starting speed dirge that exposes Mama's Boy's metal roots. We prefer our Mama down and dirty -- and, possibly, in a studio setting. (See www.mamasboytheband.com.) -- Bond

Mr. Pacman
Turbotron EP

A manic outburst of synthetic prog-punk mayhem, the debut release from Denver's self-styled "Atari rockers" merges Nintendo samples, guest spots (including a shout-out from the formidable Wesley Willis) and a heap of postmodern absurdism into a carrot for both happy feet and funny bones. The nine-track, nineteen-minute Turbotron whets the eardrums for a full-length album, Star Hustler, due later this year. "Welcome to the future," bleats Mr. Pacman on a song of the same name. "It sucks." (Contact Mr. Pacman International, P.O. Box 21493, Boulder, CO 80308, www.mrpacman.com.) -- Eric Peterson

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