Out Here

Shooting stars
Atomic Sound

This Mesquite foursome might well have begun sounding like a Bedhead after-school special interrupted by Flaming Lips commercials, but in the past two years has evolved into a remarkable beast of its own creation. "Happy Anniversary," which kicks off this six-song vinyl EP--neatly divided into the David Baker-produced "slick" side and the self-made lo-fi side--is deceiving in its buoyant charm; it's brisk enough to warrant a "pop" tag but dense enough to rupture the shiny exterior.

From then on ("Mauna Loa," "Joy of Flying Diamonds," etc.) the EP becomes a minisymphony of droning guitars and buried lyrics that swell and collapse, and if that sounds like Bedhead, consider that Bedhead's drama comes from a slow burn that turns into an inferno, while Comet prefers to warm itself over glowing embers. More to the point, Comet likes to rock.

Collection plate
Eat Yer Vegetables
Various artists
Quad C Records

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Here's a local-music collection that hits its high points halfway through, when Ronnie Dawson leads into Slobberbone leads into Cowboys and Indians; and while the Dawson and C&I tracks are available on other, better records (Rockinitis and The Western Life, respectively), Slobberbone's "Whiskey Glass Eye" adds a fine, dry acoustic touch to a previously rock-solid rock song. Brent Best's voice warms up to an acoustic guitar just fine, and the novice would never think twice about missing the original's kick and holler.

The rest of the disc--assembled by a music-biz class at Collin County Community College, all proceeds going toward a teen shelter and a CCCC music scholarship fund--contains nice surprises and destined-for-obscurities; if local-music compilations are a dime a dozen, this one merits a good nickel on the open market. REO Speedealer's "Showgirls" buries its garage-rock inside a full-metal exterior, and these boys deserve to be heard over a full-length album instead of piecemeal on compilations; same goes for The Soup, which does unabashed new-wave pop with the conviction of boys who haven't turned their calendars in a decade.

A good hunk of this is the sort of forgettable power-slop that gets an opening slot on a Wednesday night at Trees one week, then ends up breaking on Q102 the next; half of this roster proves you can discern a bad band by name alone (Quickserv Johnny, Purple Overdose, Tom Green, Dishpan, Glow). And to bottom it off, the soon-to-be-defunct Funland gets remade in the image of Course of Empire: COE drummer Chad Lovell remixes "Angry Girl" into a dance single you can barely walk to, but novelties mean never having to say you're sorry.

--Robert Wilonsky

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