Tower of Power

CPR offers a breath of life to the Valley Latin scene

Regardless, Flathead will be participating in the "Americana" category at the New TimesMusic Showcase on April 30. Meanwhile, Grave Danger continues its "World Tour 2000." And folks, we hate to sound redundant, but this band is the most entertaining live act in town; you should not pass up a chance to see it, as the members' full-time commitments (and their livers) will probably force them to go on hiatus once again. Grave Danger performs three more times in April, on the 20th at Bandersnatch in Tempe (a show that will feature an opening acoustic set by Daly and Dave Insley), the 26th at Nita's Hideaway, and on the 29th at the Arizona Roadhouse, with the Rumble Cats.

Goody Got It:A bit of clarification regarding last week's item about Haggis. The local alt-poppers did win the regional quarterfinal round of the Sam Goody-sponsored Bandemonium competition in Hollywood. The group then advanced to the national finals in Florida, where they eventually placed fourth, a very respectable finish considering that there were nearly 1,000 competitors when the contest began last year. Haggis will be performing in the "Pop" category at the New TimesMusic Showcase on April 30.

Limb-O Rock: Proving that old Tucson rockers neither die nor fade away -- they just start making albums for San Jacinto Records -- the legendary Phantom Limbs have just released a new disc on the label, their first in more than a decade.

The album, Not in So Many Words, is a terrific if hard-to-peg offering from the Old Pueblo quartet. The group, which once described its music as "analytical cowboy despair pop passing itself off as New Wave dance music," has stayed true to its off-kilter ethos, creating another idiosyncratic platter of desert roots.

Produced by former Sidewinder/Sand Rubie David Slutes (who was responsible for one of last year's true pop joys, Maryanne's Your First, Your Last, Your Everything), the album is an engaging mix of singer Jefferson Keenan's "Dylan-meets-the-Chipmunks twang" and a crisp yet spare neo-surf guitar backing.

Though the Phantom Limbs' discography -- 1983's Romanceand 1986's Train of Thought -- is limited and their recent performances even more scarce, the group holds as prominent a place as Green on Red or Giant Sand in Tucson's illustrious early-'80s musical history. Unfortunately, San Jac owner (and Luminarios leader) Rich Hopkins says the Limbs have decided that the album will be a kind of swan song. The group, which had been active as late as last year, will no longer play live. Not in So Many Wordsis available at Zia Record Exchange and at www.sanjacintorecords.com.

Give Me Libertine, Or Give Me . . . :The underground is always full of rumblings about the next great trash-rock outfit. Bands that get the New York Dolls-Johnny Thunders "Official Seal of Approval" are literally a dime a dozen. So it was with some suspicion that we picked up See You in the Next Life (Substandard Records), the much-touted full-length debut from New Yawk rawkers Libertine. Fronted by Belvy K. -- familiar to most as the onetime drummer for the U.K. Subs, 7 Seconds and D-Generation -- the group has received all the usual Heartbreakers/Clash nods, as well as less-common comparisons to the Psychedelic Furs and Jesus and Mary Chain.

Formed in 1997, Libertine has spent the better part of the past three years playing punk rock's chitlin circuit, having toured with luminaries like the Candy Snatchers, Lunachicks and Dictators (the group also earned the privilege of being the house band at Joey Ramone's birthday bash). Ironically, Libertine has also bowed on bigger stages opening for a handful of decidedly un-punk headliners like Mötley Crüe (which is not punk, no matter what Nikki Sixx says), Kid Rock, Smash Mouth and -- gasp! -- Third Eye Blind.

Having earned praise from the punk literati (Maximum Rock 'n' Roll, Hit List) for its previous EP Guttersnipe Glamour(as well as a U.K.-only rarities disc, Slowdown) as well as recent nods in the Village Voice and CMJ, the group is poised to become punk rock's "next big thing" -- which in sales terms is roughly equal to about 12 records. Issues of commerce aside, the album looked promising based on the cover alone -- an obvious pilfer of Generation X's Valley of the Dolls. Our verdict? Well, frankly, mixed. Though most of the album is a solid if predictable mélange of influences, it does bog down toward the end with a couple of less-than-stellar cuts.

Though the lead vocals are almost completely buried and unintelligible (a fact that has never seemed to affect critical response to the Stones' Exile on Main Street), Belvy K. no doubt possesses enough front-man moxie to pull off the "live fast, die young" sentiments of "Beautiful Disaster" and "The Sound of the Saints." But our eyebrows get raised whenever we see a punk band use the word "altruistic" in a song -- even if it's meant to be ironic, as in Libertine's no-hope anthem "Volunteer."

More to the point, we'd be curious exactly how the group's experience opening for the tepid Third Eye Blind went. Hopefully, Libertine did what we would expect of any band in the same position: kick over their amp line, piss on the drummer's shoes and then try to shag über-jackass singer Stephen Jenkins' girlfriend, Hollywood nubile Charlize Theron.

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