It's too easy to disparage New Mexico for its lack of youth-empowering, School of Rock-style summer camps like the one featured in Girls Rock! (read Marisa Demarco's film review, then see it at the Guild June 6 through 12). We've got music programs, all right, but they're, uh, not quite synced up with the iPod generation. Lord knows Hummingbird Music Camp would be a lot cooler if your counselors were Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney) and Beth Ditto (The Gossip). But—for now, at least—we just don't have those kinds of resources.
Can you sneak literary references into ear candy? Self-described power-pop four-piece Sweetness doesn’t see why not. You might be too busy nodding your head to notice, but the garage-anthem “Angry Candy” is a reference to a stanza in an E.E. Cummings poem. The American wordsmith isn’t the only literary figure alluded to on the sly. “I think you can have pop songs with interesting lyrics that go beyond, ‘I want to hold you until the day I die,’ ” says guitarist and English major Chente Rimorin. “The lyrics can be intellectual innuendos.”
Devil on Our Side is like a long road trip with friends. There are moments when you're bored to tears and times when you wish you had stayed home, but when it's all over, you're glad you went. The record's sluggish pace and refusal to veer from its indie-punk schtick can make getting through the album on a first listen tough. But the murky, distorted guitars, high-strung keyboards and Adrianne Verhoeven's refreshingly out-of-tune vocals make the journey worth it. It's always sad when a quality outfit disbands, as The Anniversary did in 2004. But the group has a raw and giddy delivery that might have worn away if it had continued to make music. (SM)