Moovers and Shakers 2005

Backbeat scribes weigh in on their favorite new releases from the past year.

Ten Cent Redemption, Worst Plan Ever (Self-released). Fusing elements of ethereal Brit pop and Americana, Ten Cent Redemption's debut aches as much as it twangs. Led by erstwhile Carolyn's Mother frontman Rhett Lee -- who thoughtfully elegizes his previous outfit on the album's de facto centerpiece, "Somewhere in Between" -- this quartet has crafted a wholly organic sound that stands on its own. -- Herrera

The Trampolines, The Trampolines (Self-released). This summer, the Trampolines issued their eponymous debut before a sell-out crowd at Red Rocks; the release has since gone on to register as one of Twist & Shout's top sellers. With melodies and harmonies that are as sweet and seamless as braided pieces of cherry licorice, it's easy to see why. -- Herrera

Eddie Turner, Rise (NorthernBlues). An exceptional solo debut, Eddie Turner's Rise finds the Cuban exile and seasoned sideman for Tracy Nelson, Zephyr and Otis Taylor playing to his own fiery source of inspiration. Along with an experimental funeral march and a scorching acoustic-slide number, Turner pays tribute to Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Freddie King and the ultimate "Devil Boy" himself, Jimi Hendrix. Hook 'em, horns! -- La Briola

Uphollow, Jackets for the Trip (Hill Billy Stew Records). The guys in Uphollow have never truly gotten their due here or elsewhere, but as Jackets demonstrates, they keep getting better anyhow. This pop-opera on disc, accompanied by an impressive DVD, sports one charming, superbly recorded song after another, and if the story line meanders at times, the music's quality never does. What a Trip. -- Roberts

Valiomierda, Valiomierda (Five Core Records). Although their disc clocks in at under half an hour, Valiomierda's Lance Julander, Igor Panasewicz, Bart McCrorey and Val Landrum manage to squeeze a helluva lot into that span. Their debut is jammed with vicious riffing, relentless beats, menacing vocals and lyrics presented in English, Portuguese and Spanish. But this band rocks in any language. -- Roberts

Various Artists, The Life Crew Compilation, Vol. 1 (Self-released). This is one large Crew: Participating artists include Ideal Ideologies, Deca, ThemeOne, Awok, Pirate Sygnl, Gunther B, (G)riot, Prana, DJs Thought and Funktion, and AWHAT. The assembled tracks constitute a progressive collection of organic music that celebrates hip-hop's essential elements. -- Mayo

Various Artists, Low Budget Soul (Self-released). Low Budget Soul is absolutely stellar from start to finish. Compiled by Dent and Solpowa (and produced primarily by the latter), the CD showcases some of Denver's finest MCs -- Apostle, ManeRok, Ichiban, Mic Jones, Brown Bombers and the Fly, among others -- in a way that's varied yet remarkably cohesive. -- Herrera

Various Artists, Still Soft (Still Soft). In the market for polished songwriting, perfect pitch and careerist pretension? Look elsewhere than this collection of energetic, imaginative underground acts. The high points: Pee Pee's drunken country stagger, Little Paia's folk-dosed dementia, teamAWESOME's bratty booty punk, Mannequin Makeout's synth-and-sylph assault and Transistor Radio Sound's brittle, electro-acoustic pop. The low point: It's over way too quickly. -- Heller

Vaux, Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice. Like Muse in the midst of a hardcore-addled bender, Vaux continues to refine its manufacturing process, cutting bricks of jagged discord with pure melody à la Plague Music. A career-defining masterpiece, Virtue was originally slated to be issued by Atlantic, which has since inexplicably parted ways with the act. Two words for the dipshit label head who let this band slip away: Reprise and Wilco. Enough said. -- Herrera

The Verse, Domino Theory (Dojo). Son of a Vietnam vet, the newest soldier in the Dojo army reveals personal and political battle scars on this provocative set. Theory features solid production by Selecta Roswell and a guest appearance by Analog Suspect on the standout title track, which samples Noam Chomsky. -- Mayo

Ido Ziv and Friends, Assiya (Deep Tree Music). Israel-born, Boulder-based drummer and percussionist Ido Ziv leads an international lineup through almost an hour's worth of folkloric reverie and deep, polyrhythmic grooves. Integrating world genres while remaining true to the traditions of origin, Ziv turns Indian ragas, Celtic reels, Brazilian rhythms and more into a colorful tapestry fit to adorn any global village. -- La Briola

Armando Zuppa, Soup Kitchen (Avant-Acoustic). Who woulda thunk that Africa's original drum on a stick, the oft-snubbed banjo, could be applied to Latin beats or J.S. Bach's "Two Part Invention in C"? Even Greg Allman's "Midnight Rider" gets the hardscrabble makeover from ace picker Zuppa. A fresh, soulful voice in contemporary worldgrass, Zuppa stirs the pot like a culinary master. -- La Briola

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