Sound Bites TEEN LOVE: A few weeks back I mused about the fact that the Weird Lovemakers, besieged by admiring lads brimming with youthful exuberance, were spotted signing autographs and CDs outside of Skrappy's to the utter delight of their teen fans. All kidding aside, after last Friday's finale performance at the Gouramie Records Brine Storm CD release party at the Club Congress, I was ready to ask for their autographs myself. As staggeringly tight and supremely energetic as they customarily are, The Weird Lovemakers transcended themselves that night, and pulled the audience along with them. I seem to recall seeing my body from above, as it strained against maturity and social propriety....

With punk rock now old enough to drink and a myriad of compilations of "seminal" punk-rock bands filling the bins (right alongside of the ska-rendered tributes to the same), you'd think punk to be long dead. Despite whatever discouraging outward signs, punk remains alive and kicking hard. One visit to Skrappy's during a Lovemakers' show is all the proof you need. It really is the kids who keep punk going, and keep it real--even if they mosh in baggy bell bottoms and Nikes instead of plaid peg-legs and shin-high, steel-toed Doc's. The spirit of punk lives in the interaction between the band and the audience, and is far from over in our local youth scene.

And playing to kids--who although they may not remember seminal punk rock certainly know how to respond to it--seems to have added a new dimension to the Weird energy roiling off the stage and de-adulterating the audience. Their frequent appearances of late on all-ages stages have elevated their live show to the sublime. Although perhaps not the most likely band to "make it" out of Tucson, they're perhaps the most deserving. The Weird Lovemakers are rock hard and they put out--you can quote me on that.

The recent completion of Flu Shot, a full-length follow-up to Electric Chump, is just one more thing to look forward to from these guys in the coming months. Watch for news of a release date on the Empty Records label.

OOOO-AH! You know that sound. It's the sound of Mentos Freshness--and don't claim ignorance, we've all been cracking jokes about those cheesy-awful Mentos commercials for years. My favorite is the one where a pert young woman--vexed because some suit who's late for an appointment deliberately parks her in--gets sassy with some Mentos and sweet talks a group of brawny blue-collar types into picking her car up and moving it for her. The mature man in the suit is impressed with her brass and she owes it all to Mentos, the Freshmaker. Wink.

Enter now Mentos, the Starmaker and cheerleader of independent alternative music. Mentos has teamed up with Zark! Records to produce four eclectic indie compilation CDs, simply called Fresh, Vols. 1-4. Six stage concerts are also in the works, to be broadcast live on the Internet from a series of prominent venues in various U.S. cities and from Amsterdam, Holland. In theory, listeners vote for their favorite bands from the Fresh compilations, and the most favored bands will play the live shows. The first two compilations hit the streets on Tuesday, January 27, and the first concert will be broadcast on Friday, January 30, live from the House of Blues in Chicago. Not a lot of time to vote, but a free indie show on the Internet isn't a bad idea. The first installment of the Freshmaker Tour airs at 8 p.m. PST, January 30, at

LAST NOTES: The Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St., lends itself well to festival shows with its large stage, ample seating, great visibility, and best of all, room to dance. And dancing is what's doin' at the Rialto Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 30, as the Tucson Musician's Network presents Latin Grooves: Dance Reventón, featuring five of Tucson's favorite Latin ensembles. The line-up swings from salsa to Latin jazz and funk, traditional Brazilian and world beats, and includes Típica Adelante, Manteca, Latino Sólido, The Aliesky Vienna Quartet and Pulse. Proceeds from Latin Grooves will be donated to Calli Toci, a non-profit, philanthropic Chicano organization. Tickets are $6 in advance, $8 on the day of the show. Call 795-5476 for more information.

On the subject of bands up and coming here in Tucson, The X Old Ladies performed a stellar opening set for Crawdaddy-O (who carried it home in style) at the Airport Lounge last Saturday, January 24. Less the ramshackle hoe-down of earlier incarnations and more a smooth fugue of jazz, funk and rock, the Ladies are sounding more savvy with every show. The next chance you have to catch the X Old Ladies will be Friday, January 30, at the Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. Call 670-9332 for more information.

An Austin trio, The Adults, set up camp in the Old Pueblo for the weekend, with a show on Thursday, January 29, at the Double Zero. Locals Los Federales and How To Build A Rocketship open the show. The Adults head over to The Airport Lounge, 20 E. Pennington St., on Friday, January 30, with the sensational duo The Twine opening. To give you some idea of what to expect, The Adults have definitely listened to their fair share of the Pixies, Frank Black, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr. as well as, I am sure, every Texan's solid staple of country-fried rock and roll. For more information about Friday's show at the Airport Lounge, call 882-0400.

James Ramos plays a selection of late 20th-century piano music in collaboration with pianist Erika Scheidel at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, February 1, at the PCC Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Rasmos performs the works of Muczynski, Hulbert, Lambro, Webster, Waxman and Wood. Tickets are $7, $5 for seniors and $3 for students. Call 206-6988 for more information.

DÉJÀ VU: To anyone who went to Aroma Caffe, 346 N. Fourth Ave., expecting to see Amor Belhôme Duo with Calexico last Thursday, January 22--my apologies. I was given the wrong date for the show. The performances are, in fact, planned for 8 p.m. Thursday, January 29. For those afraid they missed out: Voilà, a second chance. TW

--Lisa Weeks

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