VARIOUS ARTISTS: Rocky Mountain Low: CD

Jul 03, 2009

If not for Denver, my hometown I dub a big city on training wheels, there would be no Dead Kennedys. It goes to show that although like many unhip places, Denver may be overshadowed by bigger cities with more vibrant music scenes. However, my town will never be completely overlooked by the punk scene. This is but a few of the historical and cultural nuggets unveiled in The Colorado Rocky Mountain Low. This effort of Joseph Pope and Dalton Lawrence is one part fanzine, one part music compilation, and one part painstaking labor-intensive love. And of the fine features of those endeavors showcased gracefully here, the authors contextually preserve the underground music scene and its contributing members of the RockyMountain region during the late ‘70s. Pope best summarizes what this zine is about: “What you are holding is an overview and recorded document of every band that was playing and performing underground music in Colorado in the late 1970s. Good? Maybe. Bad? Definitely. Ugly? You bet.” That’s what’s so appealing about The Colorado Rocky Mountain Low. It’s not some superficial “Best Of” punk re-hash music compilation limited in style and often flagellating in cultural do’s, don’ts and is and isn’t. This gives the reader an unabashedly honest and objective guidebook to this palpable music scene. Rasmussen encourages readers to capture their respective scenes in much the same way he and Pope have. Such artistic independence is a common motif. “I find it particularly interesting that most of the songs presented here were non-live (i.e., not recorded at a gig).” Rasmussen wrote. “Many of the bands exemplified a true do-it-yourself ethic, either recording themselves or having a friend with proper equipment record them, while a few of the bands were ambitious enough to pay for actual studio time.” For some, this compilation may be too much of an intellectual leap because of the apparent differences from band to band presented here and the whole historical duty may be lost on them. But for true music fans, this is a refreshing approach to learning about music because, beyond being stylistically segregated, this compilation is truly eclectic. This gives fans a chance to think for themselves in terms of what they like from that scene or not. With three hundred of these made, this is a wise investment and for Pope and Rasmussen. Bravo.

 –N.L. Dewart (