Like the Astronauts twenty-odd years before them, Boulder's surf rockers Maraca 5-0 can boogiefoot with the best of 'em. Twang-crazed, bouncy, guitar-driven and chock-full of reverb-soaked fun, they're the Front Range's landlocked answer to So-Cal's Duane Eddy and the Ventures or Nashville's Los Straightjackets (who, oddly, opt to shoot the curl in Mexican wrestling masks). Sidestepping such hijinks for a more traditional and pipelined approach, the 5-0's sound is a youthful but timeless one -- like an eternal beachcomber with breakers and bikinis on the mind. Cowabunga, little trustafarian-dudes.
During its life as a Boulder outfit, Fat Mama displayed characteristics that -- in less able musical hands -- might not have played well outside of Colorado. It had a sprawling membership and jamming tendencies. It enjoyed fusing elements of jazz and rock into something many people associate with a proximity to pine trees and kind bud. Yet when the band made the leap and officially relocated to the East Coast in November, it snuck its chubby way into the most progressive and prestigious venues that the region has to offer -- including the notorious Knitting Factory jazz club in good ol' NYC. Nowadays, when Mama returns to town for a show, she does so as a benevolent ambassador from the great beyond.

During its life as a Boulder outfit, Fat Mama displayed characteristics that -- in less able musical hands -- might not have played well outside of Colorado. It had a sprawling membership and jamming tendencies. It enjoyed fusing elements of jazz and rock into something many people associate with a proximity to pine trees and kind bud. Yet when the band made the leap and officially relocated to the East Coast in November, it snuck its chubby way into the most progressive and prestigious venues that the region has to offer -- including the notorious Knitting Factory jazz club in good ol' NYC. Nowadays, when Mama returns to town for a show, she does so as a benevolent ambassador from the great beyond.

Nicholas Urata's Latin-Slavic-flavored ensemble is one spicy ethnic feast. If you're a sucker for strings -- or if you just like something deliciously eclectic -- this cosmopolitan chamber troupe should resin your bow. The Chicago-transplanted outfit's new full-length disc, Super melodrama, combines wild neoclassical inventiveness with frenetic guitar-rock sustenance. It also features the kind of violin playing that could put Frankenstein's monster (the Boris Karloff version, that is) into a goofy, smiling, trancelike stupor. Though the band plans to relocate to the East Coast later this year, the fun-loving bunch remains one of the best live acts to bless this town in ages. Oh, DeVotchKa, we hardly knew ye.

Nicholas Urata's Latin-Slavic-flavored ensemble is one spicy ethnic feast. If you're a sucker for strings -- or if you just like something deliciously eclectic -- this cosmopolitan chamber troupe should resin your bow. The Chicago-transplanted outfit's new full-length disc, Super melodrama, combines wild neoclassical inventiveness with frenetic guitar-rock sustenance. It also features the kind of violin playing that could put Frankenstein's monster (the Boris Karloff version, that is) into a goofy, smiling, trancelike stupor. Though the band plans to relocate to the East Coast later this year, the fun-loving bunch remains one of the best live acts to bless this town in ages. Oh, DeVotchKa, we hardly knew ye.

Los Angeles artist Judith Francisca Baca is the doyenne of Hispanic American muralists and, not surprisingly, one of the most willing to forge ahead with the medium. Her new mural at DIA -- a monumental paean to immigration based on the flight of her own grandparents from Mexico during the revolution -- briefly nods to the old fresco mural style in content before jettisoning off into the 21st century. And when you consider where it's displayed, in the main terminal of the controversial little airport that could, the fifty-foot mural, featuring digital imagery applied to a foil background, seems even more perfect for the times. Welcome, Baca.

Los Angeles artist Judith Francisca Baca is the doyenne of Hispanic American muralists and, not surprisingly, one of the most willing to forge ahead with the medium. Her new mural at DIA -- a monumental paean to immigration based on the flight of her own grandparents from Mexico during the revolution -- briefly nods to the old fresco mural style in content before jettisoning off into the 21st century. And when you consider where it's displayed, in the main terminal of the controversial little airport that could, the fifty-foot mural, featuring digital imagery applied to a foil background, seems even more perfect for the times. Welcome, Baca.

Buzz Bomber and the M-80s (Mike Mayhem and Jack Shit) brought their annual slay ride to town last December, brightening the dingy stage at Cricket on the Hill as well as the sad faces of sick tykes at Children's Hospital. Headlining a Toys for Tots benefit, Bomber and the boys helped stuff a fat stocking-load o' charity loot while fulfilling a time-honored Christmas tradition -- getting merrily hammered. And for any doubting Scrooges out there still searching for the meaning behind all the holiday grind, it should be as obvious as the red nose on that stupid reindeer: the kids, you drunken fools, the kids!

Buzz Bomber and the M-80s (Mike Mayhem and Jack Shit) brought their annual slay ride to town last December, brightening the dingy stage at Cricket on the Hill as well as the sad faces of sick tykes at Children's Hospital. Headlining a Toys for Tots benefit, Bomber and the boys helped stuff a fat stocking-load o' charity loot while fulfilling a time-honored Christmas tradition -- getting merrily hammered. And for any doubting Scrooges out there still searching for the meaning behind all the holiday grind, it should be as obvious as the red nose on that stupid reindeer: the kids, you drunken fools, the kids!

Whether or not motherhood ushers in the beginning of the end for local punk outfit the Geds, the band's frontwoman, Chanin Floyd, remains this area's baaadest rockin' mama. Why? Consider her impressive bass-slappin' resumé: Twice Wilted, '57 Lesbian, and Spell, a onetime signee to big label Island Records. Hopefully, any diapers, bottles or late-night hollerin' can augment the good, crunchy sound of Floyd's current power trio. Or send her in the direction of composing lullabies. Either way, thanks, rockin' mama -- it's been a terrific run.

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