by Mike Sheahan
You are reading “The Goods,” the column that promises,
once and only once, to not whine or complain about a damned
thing. For this week alone, everyone in Durango
drives like a NASCAR super hero, has no filthy personal habits
and enjoys impeccable taste in music. Fellow cynics should not
be alarmed, however, for next week I plan to go after this guy
who weaves through traffic shirtless while blaring Blues Traveler.
Add a backward baseball cap and, voila!, he is the most annoying
dude in town. But there’s no time for that now, it’s
time to get positive.
I am positively sure that music fans will have the devil of
a time deciding where to hang out Saturday night. On July 26,
the Summit is hosting punk rock courtesy of Durango locals Amazing
Larry and Denver’s own and local faves Gina Go Faster.
Two other bands will join the bill to produce what might be
the hardest rocking show outside of a Thirteens gig.
The pick of the week, though, happens the same night at Storyville
when the Portland, Ore., group Richmond Fontaine hits the stage.
It is hard to describe the sound of the band, sometimes loud
and aggressive and sometimes quiet and plaintive. Richmond Fontaine
has a foot clearly planted in roots music, but its gimpy other
foot loves post punk ’80s bands like the Replacements.
Richmond Fontaine is touring behind its most recent release
“Winnemucca.” With song titles like “Out of
State,” “Twyla,” and “Glisan Street,”
this is clearly an album about places with the northwest Nevada
town serving as a jumping off point. The band seems to hold
that idea near. The album reads and plays like a road trip soundtrack.
Richmond Fontaine’s release from 2001, “Lost Son,”
was a much more noisy affair filled with electric guitars and
hoarse vocals. I can only assume that the band will cover the
terrain of its entire career, and, as a heavily biased Northwest
music fan, I urge even the laziest jam band fan to give these
guys a shot.
The weekend kicks off with local alt-rock favorites Pop Shuv
It rocking the house at Storyville on Friday night. While some
local bands claim every show will be their last, Pop Shuv It
seems, by rarity of apperance, to always be playing its first.
The band has been in exile for a couple of months, working on
new material so this Friday should be a great show.
This week’s sign the end is near: It may be in our best
interests to cancel our cable and newspaper subscriptions right
about now since soon Kobe Bryant, like OJ Simpson and Bill Clinton
before him, will be the only thing in papers or on TV for months
to come. Sexual abuse allegations are not trivial or fodder
for entertainment, but surely the national media will do its
best to make us forget about that. FOX News will soon be airing
interviews with guys who know someone whose sister recently
drove through Eagle County. Who wins in such an ugly situation?
Well, I would bet the Bush administration is pretty thankful
for such a timely distraction.
This week’s record in review: There is a group of musicians
in, or associated with, the Chicago music scene that is against
the death penalty. Led by transplanted Welshman Jon Langford,
The Pine Valley Cosmonauts are a revolving collection of tunesmiths
that have just released “The Executioner’s Last
Song, Vol. II and III.” Preceded by last year’s
Vol. I, this double album brings more of the same to experienced
ears: tales of homicide, suicide and grief featuring a guest
artist on each song, with all proceeds going to fight the death
penalty. Self-intended humor and irony aside, this is an album
that is at best a clever concept album that benefits a great
cause and at worst a tossed together collection of mismatched
The record begins on a rough note with a clumsy reading of
Led Zeppelin’s already clumsy “Gallows Pole,”
and it isn’t until the first disc’s fifth track,
“Homicide,” featuring Skid Marks and Sally Timms,
that the album picks up a little and the listener realizes it’s
OK to enjoy such a seemingly morbid collection. From there the
discs keep up the good times approach with a German-sung, bloozy
tune called “Gulag Blues”; Langford doing a Welsh
pub sing-along called “Delilah”; and Alejandro Escovedo’s
“Bad News.” At times the joke goes a bit over the
top. Rhett Miller’s hopped-up version of the classic “Dang
Me” seems out of place, but mostly this a collection that
takes itself very seriously while insisting on wearing its tongue
firmly planted in cheek.
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