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Welcome to a very special "Back to Cool" edition of Reverb. I've been writing this little column for a month now, and in a lot of ways, it has been like going back to school. I have deadlines. I have to do research. I have a little callus on the side of my finger where the pencil rubs ...

Anyway, this week I want to start out with a shout-out to a kid who will still be going back to school for years to come. Mat Larimer, who checks in at a whopping 13 years of age, just recently let me in on a little secret. It turns out he's an incredible songwriter.

About a month ago, he stops by and asks if he can give me a demo. A little rough around the edges, and obviously new to a soundboard, Mat's demo sounds a bit thin, but overall it's a phenomenal debut effort. Then, about a week later, he's back with another, better than the first. Now, just another week after that, he's back again, this time with a cassette titled Unfinished Album. Holy cow. You know how everyone says that Daniel Johnston sounds like a 13-year-old kid? Well, this is the kid! You can occasionally catch Mat live at Front Range Barbeque's open mic nights, and you should probably do it soon. At this rate, he'll be a superstar by the time he hits Sweet 16!


Speaking of Sweet 16s, I just got a copy of Mike Villalva's debut disc, The Introduction EP. Mike started writing songs and performing at the ripe and tender age of 16, and now, just a few years later, he's paying homage to the great teenage stars of the 1950s. This is rock 'n' roll music, straight up, in the purest sense. In fact, there are a few tunes on here that could easily slide into the AM rotation right between Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, without The Big Bopper even blinking. Anyhow, the EP will be launched Sept. 15 at The Rocket Room (230 Pueblo Ave.), and Villalva has plans for an early 2008 full-length release and spring tour.

And now for this weekend's event wrap-up ...

On Friday, Aug. 24, the Pikes Peak Blues Community will be presenting Chaz DePaolo at The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.). That same night The Rocket Room has indie/jazz rockers Poesis (featuring Pikes Peak Arts Council best solo artist nominee Xanthe) and Ashley Raines (boy Ashley, not girl Ashley) sharing the bill.

Saturday night starts off with a school-supply drive (so bring some) at Shuga's (702 S. Cascade Ave.) with the cello-core stylings of Loverleigh, Brandon Metz from leer43, and the angel-voiced Ryan Braithwaite. Then, it's back to the Rocket Room for an evening of punk rock and mutton chops with The Mansfields and Hussy. If you're unfamiliar with Hussy, it's a smashing blend of various Nobodys, some Regulars and a Cobra Kai or two. If you are unfamiliar with The Mansfields, well, you are obviously new to town. But if you think you've got them pinned, watch out: They have a secret announcement coming soon that will blow you away!

That's all for now. See you at The Black Sheep for the Supersuckers on Sunday!

Reverb deals exclusively in the local scene, and it can use your help. Send scene news, notes, updates, tips, thoughts, rants, shout-outs or, well, anything, really, to

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