DRINKIN' BUDDIES: With apologies to my regular readers, here's what happened: I got drunk, missed deadline, and this is all I have to show for it. It's a transcript of my attempt to write my weekly column, drunk, with my friend (who, on his behalf, shall remain nameless) in tow. As he was a bit drunker than myself, he plays Beavis to my Butthead. Or Billy to my Bil Keane. Or something like that.

What follows is an edited transcript of our listening party, in which we listen to the first five songs of the newest CDs of several bands coming to town this week. Did I mention we were drunk?

THE DOLLY RANCHERS--Ten o' Clock Bird (self-released)

Quote from press kit: "The all-girl band." Playing at 9 p.m. Sunday, February 4, at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Caliche Con Carne opens. Cover is $5. Call 884-0874 for more info.

Song 1--"She's Gone"

My Friend: Very nice.

Stephen Seigel: I would venture to say pretty.

Song 2--"Layer of Highway"

MF: I like this. It sounds good.

SS: Um, kinda bluegrassy, but not, like, too much so.

Song 3--"Truck Driver"

SS: A song about a truck driver named Steve. I'm sold. Oh wait, this is the best song I've ever heard. I could swear I've heard the lyrics "There ain't no ocean in Iowa" before, but it still works. We all know it, but sometimes we need a gentle reminder.

MF: This is awesome.

SS: Nice yodelin' action there at the end.

Song 4--"Tomorrow Afternoon"

MF: Nothin' like Leo Kottke to make you feel nice on Sunday mornin'. Oh, those little white girls.

SS: Yeah, that's some undeniably nice pickin'.

MF: Yeah, that must be Chet Atkins.

Song 5--"The Ballad of Jake Leg Judy"

MF: It's tight.

SS: Maybe a little too tight. OK, nice Eastern European change.

MF: American. Peter Tosh. Very weird. Very cool.

Summary: Excellent mountain blugrass-type stuff. You won't be disappointed in the live show.

THE GOSSIP--That's Not What I Heard (Kill Rock Stars)

Quote from press kit: "a fallen angel's punk-bruised blues." Playing at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6, at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Obsession in Pink opens. Cover is $5. Call 884-0874.

Song 1--"Swing Low"

SS: Oh, one of those full-throated grrl voices from the Pacific Northwest.

MF: Awesome. It was like so much cool blues shit. It was awesome.

SS: It was only like a minute long.

Song 2--"Got All This Waiting"

MF: Good stuff, but it's got that too-thin indie production.

SS: Fairly typical angry grrl stuff; executed well enough. No, better than average.

MF: I don't mind that the guitars are out-of-tune, but I'd be in heaven if there was some bass.

Song 3--"Bones"

SS: OK, this kinda rocks in that bastardized blues kinda way. Rocks indeed.

MF: Passin' out. Uh, I'm leavin'.

SS: This song kicks ass, though, huh?

MF: Yeah.

SS: Hey, where the fuck do you think you're going?

MF: Dude, I'm wasted.

SS: I don't give a rat's ass. We got a shitload more music to tell the people about.

MF: I hate you. All right, I'll stay, but you owe me, motherfucker.

Song 4--"Sweet Baby"

MF: She's got a great fucking voice.

SS: Yeah, she's kinda taking a cue from the BellRays. Pipes, man. The whole punk-blues connection.

MF: Like if Janis Joplin didn't suck.

For a switch, we decide to skip to Song 9--"Heartbeats"

SS: This sounds exactly like that one Depeche Mode song. You know, that one about havin' a personal Jesus?

MF: Oh that one about God'n'shit. These guys write good songs.

SS: Yeah, and they're all really short, just like they should be.

Summary: The ladies rock, but MF still thinks they need a bassist.

THE PHARCYDE--Plain Rap (Delicious Vinyl/Edel America)

Quote from press kit: "It's still The Pharcyde (now), it's just the new side of the phar." The Pharcyde plays at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. Openers are Golden Tung, Roladamus Bandye, Reddirt Specimenz, with DJ Cobra. Advance tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, or by phone at 321-1000. For more information call 629-9211.

Song 1--"Trust"

SS: A hip-hop album without an intro. That's a good sign.

MF: Oh my god, I think they just referenced The Residents.

SS: Shit, I think these guys are back, for real.

MF: Yeah, imagine bumpin' this in the SUV. This is smooth.

Song 2--"Network" (featuring Blackthought from The Roots)

SS: It's like they're not as goofy as they were on the first album, but they're not as serious as the last one either. A happy medium.

MF: True. True. I believe them.

Song 3--"Somethin'"

SS: Now this one's smooth.

MF: Brand Nubian reference. These guys just do it so good.

SS: I keep waiting for the requisite bad track. Every rap album's got one. So far, so good.

Song 4--"Misery"

MF: OK, here it is.

SS: This sounds like Luther Vandross or something. These guys could rap the Yellow Pages and it would sound good, but this backing track is wack. Way too smooth.

MF: Yeah, but this track might get me laid someday.

SS: I'll stick with my Al Green, thanks. This song is just making me mad.

Song 5--"Blaze"

MF: I like the Caribbean thing. Immediately.

SS: I don't know. It sorta sounds like they're trying a little too hard to be "current."

MF: But they work really well on this kinda choppy thing.

SS: I'm all right with the choppiness, but this is Pharcyde, not the Baha Men. That's kinda harsh. It's not bad.

Summary: The new disc is decent enough, but with a catalog like these guys have, you'd be a fool not to go see 'em.

LAST NOTES: Record collectors unite! Once again, the Tucson Area Record Show has gone holds court this weekend. Loads of dealers hawking wares that include vinyl in all formats, CDs, videos and other quality memorabilia--it's a record-collecting geek's wet dream.

The show gathers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 3, at the F.O.E. Eagles Lodge No. 180, 1530 N. Stone Ave. Early-bird admission (promptly at 8 a.m.) is $4, with the price dropping to $2 at 9 a.m., or $1 if you bring two cans of food for the Community Food Bank. For more information, call 628-8075.

Think back to November when the downtown community came together to bring you that spectacular annual All Souls' Day Parade. Imagine all of those poor artists digging in their pockets, skipping out on rent and early-morning coffee to finance an event that the mayor's office decided wasn't worthy of financial support. And now picture yourself helping out after the fact while enjoying a show that will quite possibly be as exciting as the procession and may even bring you a new, unique BICAS bike for your support.

This Friday, February 2 at 8 p.m., Tucson Puppet Works will host a benefit show featuring music from members of Mole Hill, Audio Gusto, Caliche con Carne and Suena a Coyolxauhqui. There are performances from Flam Chen, Mat Bevel, The Retainer Club and Tucson Puppet Works to boot, making this the best Groundhog Day event on your calendar. The show is at 111 E. Congress St. and entry is a donation of $5 or more! You can call the puppets at 770-1533 for more info.