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Various Artists

Does Denver have a good music scene? Absolutely. The bad news, though, is that you'll have to look somewhere besides this compilation to truly find it. Local Shakedown Vol. II is a two-CD set showcasing 43 Colorado acts and was compiled over the course of the past two years by Andrew Murphy, the founder of the popular Radio 1190 show of the same name. Murphy's relocation to San Francisco a few months ago delayed the project, and that could be the reason there's an unhealthy number of groups here that have either broken up, moved out of state or evolved past their contributions to the disc. Not that there aren't highlights galore: Tracks by the Procussions, Monofog, One Dying Wish, O'er the Ramparts, Pinkuu, Multicast, Bright Channel, Mr. Pacman, the Maybellines, the Tarmints, D. Biddle and Navy Girls all shine -- even if many have been available on the bands' own releases for ages.

But the most conspicuous thing about this collection isn't what's included; it's what's missing. Absent are any statement of intent, info about the bands or liner notes of any kind to make clear what the criteria were behind the selections or why this CD even exists. Murphy's goal (you've got to go to the Smooch Records website to find it) is to "promote bands from Colorado," and he obviously put many hours of love and liters of sweat into this endeavor. Which makes it all the more sad that he couldn't have pushed the whole thing just a couple steps further and made Local Shakedown Vol. II as incredible and ass-kicking as the scene it purports to represent. (Munly, the Tarmints and the Swayback celebrate the disc's release on Saturday, May 22, at the Gothic Theatre.)

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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller