By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
IN THEIR INFINITE wisdom, the University of Minnesota administrators who ran KUOM-AM back in the '60s decided that FM was a passing fad that would never catch on. So while we'll never know what might've happened to the operation were it not stuck on AM, it is clear that the current student-run 770 Radio K is making the best of the situation. Proof of that lies in the appropriately titled Stuck On AM, a two-CD set of local rock which serves as a benefit project for a new scholarship fund set up in the name of Kristen Pfaff, the late bassist for Holeand other bands who was also a U of M and Radio K alumna. The tracks were all recorded in the vintage KUOM multi-track studio set up by engineers with more heart than technical training, and lo and behold, the result is the best single local music comp in years. Props to the Radio K staff, especially Simon Peter Groebner, who--in addition to contributing to City Pages--hosts the Friday afternoon Off The Record show on which most of these sessions first aired. This Monday night the record gets its formal release party with a 10-hour, all-star showcase in both rooms at First Avenue. The first half begins at 5 p.m., is all-ages, and features (in order of appearance) June Sunday, Vibro Champs, February, Balloon Guy, and Low in the Mainroom, with Rainbow Girls, William & The Conquerors, Rex Daisy, 12 Rods, and King Can in the Entry. Part 2 kicks off at 9 p.m. with Stuart Davis, Rhea Valentine, Barb Cohen, Balloon Guy, and The Kelley Deal 6000 in the Mainroom, with The Wahinis, Rainbow Girls, The Mountain Singers, John's Black Dirt, and Dylan Hicks & Golf Ball Sized Boogie in the Entry. Admission is $4/$6 at the door for both shows, and all proceeds go to the Pfaff Scholarship Fund.
In other gig news, pure pop heartthrobs National Dynamite host a CD release party this Friday at 7th Street Entry. The musical MC will be ND pal Willie Wisely, along with Steeplejack, Dylan Hicks, and Kerry Fladland Surprise. $5, doors at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, you can't ever say TC native Morris Day lacks guts. Since leaving The Time and heading out to L.A. back in the day (meaning the late '80s), he has more or less crapped out in both music and film. Yet when he hits the stage, he immediately assumes the persona of the coolest dude imaginable. Of course, that glorious back catalog of purple funk tunes is a potent elixir, as his recent reunion gig here with the Time proved. Tonight's round two. $15/$17 at the door. Tuesday, 7 p.m. First Avenue, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls.; 338-8388. (Hermes/Robson)
THE APPOINTMENT CALENDAR is filling up for St. Paul rappers Phull Surkle. They recently visited L.A. to make recordings with Evil E--best known as the DJ for Ice-T--followed by a short Midwestern tour with Ice. The group was hooked up shortly after the Surkle's monstrous performance opening for Ice-T at the Fine Line earlier this year. There's some talk of Evil E scoring a production deal with Def Jam or Tommy Boy, too, but no real news yet. Phull Surkle aren't putting all their eggs in one basket -- they're also recording independently here at Logic Recordings and Funkytown. A CD/cassette single, "Syrup," is due June 16, and a full-length, Everyday Life, is in the works. In July, they'll go out again on a package tour with Ice-T, 2 Live Crew, and others; we can expect a Twin Cities date.
And what about Casino Royale, the jazz trio that bonded with the Surkle to create the Cities' most visible live rap act? Phull Surkle will continue playing and recording with them, too. But Casino Royale are also turning to their own thing. They're planning a part-live/part-studio Royale record for summer release. Casino Royale plays the Cabooze this Saturday before Greazy Meal; Phull Surkle with Casino Royale will take the Loring Bar stage on June 15. Got all that?
In January, Austin, TX renegade country singer Kelly Willis (above) recorded demos at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN, with backing from pals Son Volt. Willis and SV's Jay Farrar previously collaborated on a track for the Red Hot+Bothered comp--a fine cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues." Recently, a four-song promotional disc from the Pachyderm sessions surfaced, which includes a song Willis cowrote and performed with ex-Jayhawk Gary Louris, along with more Son Volt-backed stuff and a collaboration with labelmates 16 Horsepower. One song, "Fading Fast," can be found on the soundtrack to the upcoming Winona Ryder film Boys, but there's no word on whether the rest will hit the streets before early '97.
The Generator label released its latest slab last week, a mighty split single with Polara and Chicago's Red Red Meat playing each other's songs. Red Red Meat interprets a sweet & grimy version of Polara's "Listening Now," while Polara's Jennifer Jurgens takes lead vocals for "Carpet of Horses" (from RRM's Bunny Gets Paid)--which just happens to be the best singing she's committed to tape. The Polara side was recorded at the Terrarium at the onset of their album sessions for Interscope, and if the sonic adventurism of "Carpet" is any indication, it's going to be a great full-length.