Los Alvarados (bandleader Drew Weaver, bassist Andrew Boyer, guitarist Mark Sproull, and drummer Doug 'Sir Loin' Harlow) have personally selected this musical 12-pack with the utmost care and discretion, with an eye and ear to commiserating with those among us who have loved and lost. This is not the Blowfish Bla-Bla you'll hear in shopping malls or Saab convertibles - this is the Soundtrack of Life, baby.... Where the coffee is called Folgers and the wine label reads Gallo ... it's where imported beer isn't on the menu. Si Senor, from the first notes of this groovy, dubious dozen, you'll know where you are, even if you've never actually been there. It's where a 2001 Ford Ranger with 80,000 miles and good paint is called a 'new car.' It's where vacations are taken in the same state you live in. It's where gambling isn't a Choice, but a Necessity. It's where an adult video is an thoughtful, appreciated holiday stocking stuffer. It's where Love might be pushing the wrong side of forty, wearing her little black Captain Morgan promo tank-top and a pair of Be-dazzled Wrangler Cut-offs. That's her, fighting over rights to the pool table. She's swearing a bit and puffing on a Kool Menthol in spite of the 'No Smoking' signs all over the bar. Los Alvarados are proud taxpayers of this territory. They don't know anybody who's in 'the Industry.' Check that, they opened once for Eddie Money around 1991 in Ventura. Money is tight; and divorces aren't getting any cheaper. They eat fried food. They enjoy Van Damme and Steven Seagal movies. They perform their own oil changes. They don't understand Sushi or 'Dancing With the Stars.' They don't know who J-Lo's husband is. They don't watch reality TV -- their lives are a little too real for that! Yes, some of them frequent strip clubs. OK, some of them date the entertainers. For fun and relaxation, los Alvarados like to visit Tijuana or Los Angeles, and they all drink a little. To be honest, a Wednesday night El Toro practice session without a communally downed pint of Early Times or Ten High is rare. DREW WEAVER TODAY I was in Drew Weaver's San Clemente garage recently. There was a Mikita chop saw sitting right next to a cherry 1968 Fender Dual Showman. Odd. Like Weaver himself, a contradiction! There was a battle-scarred black Mexican Telecaster hanging from a hook on the wall. There was sawdust and loose Phillipine Mahogany boards everywhere. Weaver was in the middle of some project or other. There was a tasty-looking Manhattan (on-the-rocks - lemon twist) sitting on top of the Showman. The drink had some sawdust floating in it. Busty Tura Satana leered down from a calendar tacked to the wall. There was Scuba stuff and a 9'4' Dewey Weber hanging on the wall too. 'I write the songs,' croons Weaver as he sands a board. 'I make the whole world cry....' It's a sub-standard Barry Manilow imitation but it's funny anyway. Weaver goes on singing ...'and then I rip boards for the spice rack...and then I spray paint the picture frame....and then I patch the grass....' Mentally, I excuse him, he's just 'three Manhattans from the truth,' and the sawdust isn't helping. After years in the big cities like San Francisco, Cleveland and Paris, Weaver is now in a Sub-Urban phase of his life. It's a Pier One, Weed-Whackin', Eddie Bauer kind of zone. It's the cosmetically-altered neighbor hottie gushing over her new Pottery Barn catalogue. It's big-voiced neighbor guys comparing 'Killer Merlots' and 'killer' Cuban cigars! And a lot of golf talk. Cabo San Lucas is referred to as 'Cabo.' 'Between Nightmares' draws on this current reality. Beyond the title track, several others ('Two-Buck Chuck', 'Your Ex-Wife,' 'License to Chill') benefit as well from this fertile suburban soil. Mr. Weaver seems to be somewhere between 'Lampoon' and 'Hard-Hitting Expose' at the moment. These songs are funny, but they have meaning.....well, all except for 'Two-Buck Chuck.' At the very least, these little stories are caustic reminders that many of us are not dwelling in the best of all possible worlds! 'Sauced Up and Surly' is funny but sort of sad. 'Lovin' Time to Kill' is just beautiful, and 'This Heart' has a haunting feel to it; the song is bolstered by the band's understated, atmospheric arrangement. My favorite track is the first one, 'Hollywood,' which tracks the rise of a successful young Maryland émigré entrepreneur in our nation's show business capitol. 'You know I met a lotta players -- my little black book is a-gettin' thick.' J.J. Cale's 'Tijuana' is rendered in airy, ethereal beauty, and serves (with) 'Hollywood,' as a seedy bookend for the album as a whole - two of California's 'destination' cities, where things are not what they seem -- and where dreams rarely come true. Vinnie 'Big Tuna' de la Hoz Nevada Cabaret Entertainer Reno, Nevada.