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Playing Around: zebrahead 

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If a band seeks critical acclaim on top of commercial success, a surefire tactic is the creation of a love song. With their sensitive, introspective lyrics, love songs can strike a chord with the spring-has-sprung romantic in all of us, bowling over even the most hard-assed critic.

It takes a fine mind to think up such a song. For example, take these lyrics from emerging band zebrahead: "This girl is pretty fly for a white gal/All the guys want her even though she's a juvenile/She's really kinda sad and just don't care/'Cause the only one she wants is her best friend Claire." Or, from the title track of their debut album Playmate of the Year: "There's this girl I don't know/Comes by every year or so/And if I get the mail before my Mom/Then I will stay out of trouble/She'll change every year/Even pretty without beer/She doesn't care about my hair/My car, my tiny pee pee/In the mirror. ... Hello how are you/Great to see you/Let's grab a sock/It's time to rock." We're talking deep eloquence here.

This up-and-coming new band from southern California is pulling out all the stops on its quest for fame and fortune. Above and beyond the sappy love songs, zebrahead has entered into an agreement with Playboy; the classic men's magazine gets mentioned in the band's lyrics and also appears, along with four Playmates, in the CD liner art. Zebrahead's press material consists of scantily clad Playmate Jodi Ann interviewing the band, and vice-versa. You can imagine the questions.

In a word, zebrahead is smarmy. But that very smarm lends a ballsy charm to their highly danceable, driving punk-rap-pop-rock.

Zebrahead plays Thursday night with Grand Theft Audio and Sprung Monkey at the Colorado Music Hall. Tickets are $10. Call 800/965-4827.

-- Kristen Sherwood

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