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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Current, Day 2

I caught a bit of each airshift on 89.3 yesterday, from Thorn's opening spot, to Mary Lucia's afternoon, to Mark Wheat's evening roundup. Each veteran alternative radio personality put on shows enjoyable and diverse enough I was able to leave the radio tuned to the same station for more than 30 minutes at a time.

It's a little odd having Jim Ed Poole and Dale Connelly (The Morning show) in the above-mentioned batch of DJ's. Even they seem to be adjusting after their move from KSJN 99.5, and maybe placing more emphasis on local music, though they have exposed me to local music in the past. (Barra, for example.)

Erstwhile howwastheshow contributor Jen Paulson sent me this account of a day of listening to the new station, which I've published at howwastheshow with the title "Jen Paulson has a date with her radio. And it lasts until 4 a.m."

Over at "The Usual Suspects," Jim Maguire says that though he'll miss the Irish music program "Thistle and Shamrock," overall he enjoys the new format of the former WCAL.

Read Jim's review here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

KCMP "The Current" 89.3 FM goes live

You can feel this one in the air. Ever since the new MPR station 89.3 "The Current" took to the airwaves at 9 a.m. this morning, opening with the hidden Atmosphere track from Seven's Travels, everyone seems to be tuning it in. Clearly excited listeners have been sending me play by play reports. "They just played Blue!," read one email. Another read, "I hope you're writing something about 89.3 because if you don't, I will." Sounds like a threat! But I accepted that friend's offer, so expect her report soon.

In a press release, MPR says "The Current will launch principally as a music station with a limited number of newsbreaks, interviews and special features. While the music itself will always be primary, over time the broadcast schedule will become more complex, with added commentaries, vox pop, reviews, live performances, and other features that will make the station increasingly distinctive and compelling."

After finding I couldn't tune in the station over the web from the web listening link because of the company firewall, I dusted off the old boombox from under my desk and tuned it in to hear Mary Lucia dust off a Divorcee track I had not heard in a while.

Tune it in. Tell me what YOU think.

Read the press release for more information, including a full station staff roster.

Friday, January 14, 2005

It's cold as hell. Go to a rock show

As this week's Triple Rock Press Update so matter of factly pointed out, "It's too cold to go sledding, so a rock show is the perfect prevention for cabin fever."

Of course there are many shows tonight, but I am torn mainly between two. Kid Dakota, Rob Skoro and the Ashtray Hearts are at the Triple Rock in what should be a triple whammy of a bill. The ever twisting and turning Steve McPherson promises a full report from that show.

I myself will be heading to the Tinderbox Showcase in hopes that their quadruple bill will steam up the windows of the Uptown Bar a bit. The bill features Bridge Club, James Diers (of Love-Cars and Halloween Alaska, The Umbrella Sequence, and Dallas Orbiter in the headline spot celebrating the release of their new CD Magnesium Fireflies on Princess Records.)

I'm excited to hear Dallas Orbiter live for the first time. Truth be told, I was not familar with the band until I received their new disk (their third release) in the mail a week or so ago. As musical guests on KQ Homegrown Sunday night, the band seemed willing to accept the frequent label of "intergalactic space rock" because the term is so nearly meaningless it gives them the freedom to do just about anything. The disk is at times funky, at times poppy, at times weird (like when the melody of the opening track "Bed of Stars" is co-opted by that tremulous sound Alexander Courage used in the theme from Star Trek and when phaser sounds erupt in the functional title song of the album, "Arise.") Despite its "space moments," the album is surprisingly down to earth, listenable and fun. Only a severely under-exposed ear will miss the strong Radiohead influence on tracks like "So Pretty."

Of course you don't have to take my word on any of this as you can preview the entire album on the band's website:

Consider this my own "A List" or "Hot Ticket" promo piece for a show that has already been pushed by The City Pages, The Pulse and the Star Trib. What I'm really saying is that given the sub-zero forecast for tonight you might need a little extra assurance that you're headed for a sure-fire thing. This is it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

EMC EMusic Company kickoff party tonight at the Fine Line

John Dexter's EMC EMusic Company is a new music resources collective based in the Twin Cities that has the ambitious goal of being a "one-stop shop" for all a band's needs. Their motto reflects that: "Take care of the music. We'll handle the rest." At the time of writing, their website ( is a one page dead-end street, but updates are promised so be sure to check back.

Through strategic partnerships, they plan to offer "studio recording/mixing and mastering services, videos, photography, merchandise, graphic design (logos, cd artwork, posters, press kits, etc), printing services (flyers, press kits, posters, business cards), legal services, promotional services and even web page creation and design."

Anything missing in that list? Guitar lessons, beer delivery services, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers perhaps?

Their current team includes Winterland Studios, Marcus Brox Ideas, Lowertown Printing, Darin Back Photography,, and Greg Vasey Graphic Designs.

Tonight (Wednesday, January 12th) at the Fine Line EMC Emusic Company celebrates their grand opening with musical guests:

Gingerjake - 11:45
Innerelement (IA)- 10:30
The Humans - 9:15
Charlz Newman - 8:00

Doors are at 7PM, and it's $5. The first 50 people through the door get a free gift (that they actually claim you'll like.)

Did you miss Black-Eyed Snakes?

I was over at the Turf Club Friday, January 7th on my first night out of 2005 (in Minneapolis anyway) enjoying the strains of Vicious Vicious in their first public show in quite some time. Heads up! I am so enamoured of what Vicious Vicious are currently purveying I asked Erik Applewick if they they might grace the 2005 HowWasTheShow 3rd Anniversary Party (and my 3rd annual 39th Birthday party) coming up in June. Looks like a definite possibility at this point. I'm told Vicious Vicious will have a new CD coming out this Spring.

Anyway, though I was hunkered down at the Turf Club, it sounds like the Uptown Bar may have been one hell of a place to be on that same Friday. Greg Seitz did a wonderful review of the Black-Eyed Snakes show for us here. And howwastheshow contributor Cindy Collins emailed me that Greg had

"nailed the feeling of it, especially the stuff about the line about alienation early on and the anger and rawness not getting in the way of catchy percussive driven songs. Wish he'd noted how the last 5 songs were a miscellany of freeform stream of conscious playing, one thing leading into another, as Sparhawk told me. For example, when his drummer at one point did a slow, quiet, "tick, tick, tick" and a guitar added a low minor drone, I instantly in my mind heard the familiar beginning of "Bela Legosi's dead". And then they went into that in a phenomenally eerily accurate way. Great nostalgic moment as the vibe in the room was much like that scene in the Hunger film. I asked Sparhawk about that song and he said that they only knew they were going into that AFTER he heard those same familiar clicks and drones as well :) Loved that spontaneity. Loved his wry commentaries between songs."

The lengthily-titled blog If i were a 16 year old girl with the ability to predict the future and a habit of falling for rock stars also had a nice review. Looks like the writer of this piece was one of the women who got hit by the falling Sparhawk referenced in Greg's review. "I think I might still have a Chicken Bone George shaped indentation in the upper left quarter of my body," she said.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Good Radio and more

Tune into Radio K (770 AM and all day Friday for a chance to hear great live local music without going out into the cold or staying up too late! Some of the best local bands of 2004 will play live in Studio K from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Here's the schedule.

10 AM - Martin Devaney
11 AM - Spaghetti Western
12 noon - P.O.S.
1 PM - Thunder in the Valley
2 PM - Dosh
3 PM - Mark Mallman
4 PM - Olympic Hopefuls

Then, when you're done, head over to the Kitty Kat Club for the Princess Records Listening Party featuring Dallas Orbiter and Redstart from 6 to 8:30 p.m. They'll be spinning the two new CD's from these bands, and you'll have a chance to meet the musicians and chow down on free chicken wings.

Dallas Orbiter is a Minneapolis-based quintet exploring the cusp between sophisticated pop songwriting and modern, spaced-out psychedelia. The group began with long Krautrock and electric Miles Davis-inspired space jam sessions in the late nineties featuring singer and guitarist Mark Miller, bassist/guitarist Daniel Gahres, Rhodes piano and analog synth master Jonathan Schmig, and drummer Greg Flanagan. The current lineup solidified in 2000 when multi-instrumentalist Eric Lodahl joined up on bass, guitar, filters, Farfisa, and lap steel. Soon after, the band went to work on their first recording project in a tiny practice space near downtown Minneapolis.

Dallas Orbiter’s first self-titled cd was released in a handsome, handmade, hand-numbered limited edition in 2002., a webzine dedicated to all things psychedelia and post-rock declared it a “slab of psych-pop/rock genius.” A super limited (and again hand-packaged) experimental ep followed in 2003, entitled “Dallas Orbiter in a Vat of Laser.” The winter of 2002-2003 was spent building a studio in drummer Flanagan’s basement.

Redstart began as a one night stand in the summer of 2000, with players Wendy Lewis singer/songwriter and founder of past projects Rhea Valentine and Mary Nail. Michael Lewis (Happy Apple) Jeremy Ylivsaker (Fog, Barbara Cohen, Mark Mallman, Detroit, Melismatics) Martin Dosh (Fog, Lateduster, Vicious Vicious, and his one-man-band, Dosh) Greg Lewis (Science vs.Flames, Marc Anderson's group). Everyone had such a good time, they decided to play some more. After a year of spotty performances, they named it REDSTART and went into the studio in the fall of 2001 to record their first EP, REDSTART/one, which was released in May of 2002. Their new CD So Far from Over is now available via Princess Records. An additional live CD (recorded July 2003) is for sale at performances only.

If that's still not enough radio and recorded music, tune into KFAI's Strawberry Pop show overnight Friday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Larry Ravenswood tells me that The King of Rock and Roll will be appearing live in studio for his first interview since August 1977 to celebrate his 70'th birthday. Ravenswood will have the good fortune of interviewing "The King" after a 27 1/2 year hiatus. Explaining his long absence will be among questions he will have to answer, as well as giving his thoughts and insight on today's world and music scene (rap, pop, wardrobe malfunctions.) This show is not to be missed! (Though if you do you can catch it in the archives at

Saturday, January 01, 2005

More on the República Cromagnon club fire in Buenos Aires that killed 175: What were they thinking?

This fire, that killed 175 and injured hundreds more (many of whom were children) started pretty much like the one at the Fine Line did. Except it was started by the audience instead of the band, Los Callejeros (which loosely translates from Spanish as The Streetwise Ones.) One report claimed the club was nearly 4 times its capacity when the incident occurred. Here's an excerpt from today's New York Times:

The use of unsanctioned fireworks has been a problem at prior performances of Los Callejeros. At a concert for an audience of about 5,000 at the Obras Sanitarias here in July, the lead singer, Pato Fontanet, had to stop the show twice because of the amount of fireworks being set off by fans, despite heavy control by security at the entrance. His sister and girlfriend were among the victims who perished at the nightclub.

"Callejeros is the band to whose concerts fans bring the largest amount of fireworks in Argentina," Martín Bizzio, the manager of the band, said in a television interview. "Controls are very strict, but a lot manages to get through anyhow. What you see in the shows is about 15 or 20 percent of what they try to smuggle in. The roof was 100 percent flammable, and that's how it happened."

Reports in the local news media said the owner of the República Cromagnon club, Omar Chaban, a well-known figure in Buenos Aires's active night scene, came out before the band went onstage, speaking to club patrons for 10 minutes and asking them not to light fireworks. But the audience only hissed in defiance, the reports said. He was detained by the police on Friday for questioning.

Read the full article here.