Singer-songwriter/guitarist Marc Benning understands that power pop only succeeds when its two primary components are kept in perfect balance -- and on Stop, he achieves his aim more often than not. "Get Out Alive," "Caroline," "Smoke From a Funeral" and many other tracks here are compulsively hummable without seeming wimpy, and they rock with conviction that never degenerates into mere dopiness. This Satellite is flying high.
When the members of All relocated to Fort Collins, many observers of the scene didn't expect them to stay there for long -- but seven years later, they're still in place, and they've created quite a scene around their studio, the accurately named Blasting Room. Live Plus One, their latest effort, definitely provides bang for the buck. Its first disc is a relentless rendering of 22 songs recorded at Fort Collins's Starlight Lounge last year; its second finds punk demigods the Descendents (three current members of All plus original vocalist Milo Aukerman), blitzing through another 21, including classics such as "My Dad Sucks," during a gig at L.A.'s Whiskey A Go-Go in 1996. Punk rock lives!
Drag the River's Chad Price is the lead vocalist of All, and colleague Jon Snodgrass hails from Armchair Martian -- so Closed must be high-energy punk, right? Not even close. The album is filled with hard-drinking tales of life and loss accompanied by plenty of cohort Zach Boddicker's pedal-steel. It's not country, it's not rock, and it's not a combination of these genres that any of the Eagles could relate to. Instead, it's gutsy, sincere music straight from the heart -- and the bottom of a bottle.
During Five Iron Frenzy's years of existence, ska has gone in and out of style (and given the success of the No Doubt single "Hey Baby," it may be on the rise again). But the band has stayed steadily on course, developing a tight, exciting variation on the style. The membership's Christian beliefs sometimes surface overtly, as on "Far, Far Away," but tunes like "Pre-Ex-Girlfriend" ("She said she hated Kenny G/That girl is way too good for me") will hit the pleasure spot for listeners of every stripe.
The concert that singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones gave at Red Rocks on July 5, 1990, is brand-new all over again, thanks to Live at Red Rocks, Artemis Records' recent release. Although On Hold at Red Rocks might be a more accurate title, the CD is authentically enjoyable, a quick trip back to the late '80s, when Jones released her classic Flying Cowboys. Chuck E.'s in Love -- and so are a lot of other people who listen to this.
Every few months for three years running, writer/editor/publisher Rod Brown has unleashed a new edition of Throat Culture Magazine, boosting its distribution and circulation with each press run. Brown's passion for "abrasive music" fuels this beast, a dense glossy loaded with articles, reviews and interviews regarding all things headbanging. In the case of this Throat Culture, the results usually come back positive.
As long as it pertains to getting ripped to the tits, local filmmaker/writer/boozebag Frank Rich prints all the news that's fit to drink. Whether it's the wisdom of forty-ounce philosophers, true stories from the sozzled

side or the savvy drunk's guide to low-cost quaffs, Modern Drunkard -- which took a hiatus in 1998 after a dozen issues -- covers the town like a cheap suit. Consistently funny, the monthly publication celebrates the passionate affair between language and liquor with regular columns from Giles Humbert III and the Concerned Cad. A filmic extension of the Drunkard campaign is currently in production under Rich's guidance; his prior credits include the noir-caper Nixing the Twist. The paper version includes cocktail recipes, obscure trivia and the occasional drunken doggerel from Joe or Jane Barfly. Li'l stories 'bout drinky an' hap -- hic! -- pee hour. Whudderya lookinat? Hahhgh? Gizadringk!

Artist/illustrator Lucas Richards's work may be familiar to buyers of local recordings: He's done covers for the Volts, the Dinnermints and the Pindowns, among others. But it's within the pages of Starving Magpie, a quarterly comic-book-style publication, that his vision is most fully realized. Richards and collaborator Soapy Argyle -- an area guitarist who crafts Starving's stories -- have compiled a year's worth of issues in a volume titled Captain Mis-

siletoe: The First Collection 2000-2001. Named for the tragicomic superhero who stars in most of the pen-drawn capers, the low-budget but creatively rendered collection is available at such cultural outposts as Wax Trax, WaterCourse Foods and the Buffalo Exchange.

Founded in 1972, Music Disc has exchanged its storefront on Hampden Avenue for a warehouse space at 3895A Newport Street in Denver; 45s are available for browsing by appointment, but the rest of the stock isn't. Fortunately, though, the entire library is accessible on the Web -- and what a library it is. The site has a huge collection of rare and hard-to-find albums, singles and so on. The prices ain't always cheap, but if the one thing that would make your life complete would be finding a copy of Captain Beefheart's "Ice Cream for Crow" on 45, it's worth it.
"Headbanger and Zombie Fag Extraordinaire" Maris the Great is up to his neck disemboweling Denver's heavy-metal finest -- a fiendish plot that the little ghoul expects will launch his own band to the forefront of the underground scene. As a contributing critic to Throat Culture Magazine (and the now-defunct Soundboard), His Greatness has already offed the likes of Drudgery, Black Lamb, 4 Head Scream, Rubber Planet, Rachel's Playpen and Malignari, among others. An endless splatterfest, this amusing, one-stop guide through the Queen City's willfully dark side also provides plenty of information about nu metal, old metal, death metal, grindcore, sludgecore, goth, punk and wee-wees.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of