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On the Scene

`Corporate Rock' just got better

Scenester has recently attained new levels of rock 'n' roll wisdom, creativity and expertise on its new CD, Spoon-fed Corporate Rock.

Formerly Stretch, the band released its first CD, It's A Band . dammit!, in 1998. In 1999, bassist Damian Wilson was hired to take over for the band's origianal bass player Aaron Smith. Smith, who played guitar for a few months, eventually left the group.

Scenester officially changed its name for the release of Spoon-fed Corporate Rock, which was produced by Socyermom Records, of which frontman/guitarist/vocalist Leonard Apodaca is co-founder. With moderate fanfare, the CD was released March 10 at the Launchpad. The evening featured performances by not only Scenester but loud local groups Ladykillers, Lush Rustler and Rebilt.

I've seen Apodaca perform a lot in the past. He's worked with many local bands and always has given the impression that, though he's comfortable on stage, he had not found a own unique groove, but that changed at the release party.

That night, he came into his own with confidence and personality. Wilson and drummer Luke Cordova, who also plays with local group Blunt Society, seemed to get caught up in the set and responded by playing what might be considered some of their strongest work yet, which only means that if Scenester keeps pushing ahead with its music and live performances, the only place for it to go is out of New Mexico and into the mainstream.

The rockin' first track "Nutritious" is an appropriate beginning to Spoon-fed Corporate Rock, with a grand drum intro and punked out rhythm. The song was written before Smith left the group to work on different projects.

"We literally wrote that song at one practice," Apodaca said. "Lyrically, it's kind of, `I want you, I don't want you, I want you, I don't want you.'"

Dispersed among the upbeat songs are gloomy ones laden with pessimistic prose that show the darker side of Apodaca's songwriting abilities. "And I Will," with its chilling melody, offers an Afgan Whigs creepiness ambiance, and is a big change from the songs on It's a band . dammit!

"I was definitely going for a different writing style," Apodaca said. "`Yum' going into `Junior' and `Dewdrop Meadow' and `Naked Girls and Nature Scenes,' that was stuff we (recorded) at the end, that stuff's a little more dissonant. It was kind of where I was at the time, I wanted to project a different sound. This time I wanted to get a little more medolodic."

A taste of twangy country-rock, which was one of the first CD's endearing and unique qualities, is back on the songs "LaLaLaLa" and "Summertime." The "get-up-and-dance" of "The News," "Choose" and "Bad" give a lift to the more mellow pieces.

"I guess a lot of them are self-discovery type songs," Apodaca, who writes all the lyrics, said. "Some of them are pretty much drunk rock songs. Some aren't really meant to tell a story. They pretty much just happened."

In only 12 songs, a million catchy hooks, a half-a-dozen genres of music and overflowing handfuls of interesting ideas that only this band would choose to explore exist. Lucklily, Scenester plans to push the CD nationally through the Socyermom label.

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Scenester will perform at Carraro's, 108 Vassar Dr. S.E., April 14 with numerous local bands, including Rebilt, Starsky and Icelandic, as part of a Socyermom Records benefit show.

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