February 27, 1998

This town has heart and beats like no other
by Mark Wheat, groveling for the keys to the city

August 17, 1996, was a banner night for Steeplejack. After playing a release party for their DEJADisc CD, Kitchen Radio in front of a packed house at the 7th St. Entry, they retired for the traditional post-show bacchanalia, a bender that landed singer/lead drunk Ben Connelly in the hospital and singer/lead asshole Andy Sullivan in the doghouse. They survived detox, divorce and the abandonment of their old rhythm section, only to find that their record label had gone out of business and that their van liked Dallas so much it left its transmission there.

That story, quoted directly from the press release for the band's new EP, if true, is hellishly honest and, if not, a hell of a story anyway. Either way, the EP's got soul and it's rock 'n' roll.

Unfortunately, DEJADisc folded just three weeks after Kitchen Radio. So after lots of regrouping they're back with a new rhythm section, and they've also found a set of soulmates in the team behind Bert Records. Dave Rasmussen and Dan Kromm approach the business of releasing CDs in a refreshingly frank way they only sign the bands they like and want to see recording on a steady basis it's that simple. Last year Bert helped Dan Newton, John Knowles (a.k.a. Caveman), and The Sandwiches release discs, and this year they want to release one brand new EP per month.

The "new Jack" swing of the 6-song set, Songs for Swingin' Lovers, is a nice mix of the band's countrified soul-folk and the brawling bar rock that this town is famous for. The band will join Simon and Amy on Radio K's "Off The Record," Radio K, 770 AM, Friday at 4 p.m. Accident Clearinghouse joins Steeplejack for their release party on Saturday, Feb. 28th at the 400 Bar. Plasmarecord is a newsletter put out by another brand new label with a twist, Plasma. Describing themselves as having "that Minnesota feel you can't get in any other city," Gutta Percha prepare to release their second CD with the label, who have also just uncorked the pop sounds of Charlie Bucket. Plasma's obvious civic pride is again reflected in the slogan on their T-shirt, which is "TV sucks (support local music)." More twisted enjoyment comes from the novel packaging of GP's 16 Millimeters. Its cover art is actually a playable extra song record, a new idea for the old technology that still tweaks my bells bigtime that's right, the twisting turntable! Gutta Percha celebrates this Friday, Feb. 27th at the Fine Line with Medium and Stew as the opening acts.

THIS IS A TRIPPY TIP...Beat Radio, the Twin Cities' only source of dance music radio, returned to the air Wednesday, February 18th at 6 p.m. on 1280 AM/WWTC (which had been playing an eclectic music mix since ceasing to be Radio AAHS). Beat Radio will spin its dance floor-centric music from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. It features 17 Twin Cities music DJs over ten stations of the Children's Broadcasting Corporation.

Beat Radio was first launched as a 20-watt low-power or "micro" FM station in July, 1996. The voice of the Beat, Alan Freed, stresses that they will still try to get the Federal Court to convince the FCC to license low-power FCC stations (those under 100 watts). Beat Radio will also continue to broadcast on KFAI, 90.3 FM Minneapolis & 106.7 FM St. Paul, Sunday nights overnight from 25 a.m.

Speaking of cool local DJs: two mixmasters, Rob Smith and Dave Lofquist, are doing a veritable festival of free-flowing grooves mixed with intoxicating ambient rock at two different sites.

"The New Atlantis," Fri. Feb. 27th @ Jitters. $3 featuring Ousia.
"Zero Gravity Jamboree," Sat. Feb. 28th @ Jitters. $3 with Metaphor.
"The Polar Bear Club," a regular first Sunday of every month outing, at The Loring, Sun. Mar. 1st where there's no cover. But there is Erion, with saxonic necromancy.

THIS WEEK ON "THE LOCAL SOUND DEPARTMENT," KFAI 90.3 & 106.7 FM, Friday 7:309 p.m. First Avenue General Manager Steve McClellan has been working at fostering the local scene while consistently exposing its audiences to acts from all over the world, for almost 20 years. So, I don't know what we'll talk about, but there certainly is a lot to choose from. Any suggestions? Call us live on the air at...341-0980. Our new co-producer, The Dan One, will be on hand to take your calls.

SNAIL ME...Box 111, KFAI, Riverside Ave, Mpls, MN 55454
CALL ME UP...341-3144 Ex 853

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