Commercial Rock Radio Still Sucks

FOLKS RARELY GIVE the editors at Rolling Stone credit for having their fingers on the pulse of anything beyond their prostates, but Eric Boehlert's "Pop Journal" column in the current issue (with No Doubt on the cover) leads with an appropriately angry bit about radio deregulation, focusing on the demise of the Twin Cities' beloved REV 105. Writes Boehlert: "Last year, industry bigwigs insisted that by essentially permitting conglomerates to buy up as many stations as they could afford, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 would not only financially strengthen companies but allow them to support more daring programming. Fat chance." The piece goes on to quote Soul Coughing frontman M. Doughty, who asserts, "Having officially walked through every radio station in North America, I can honestly say REV was the only one that had a cause that was righteous."

Meanwhile, the local Americans For Radio Diversity--a loose coalition of fans, broadcasters, journalists, lawyers, and promoters whose mission "is to promote community-oriented commercial and public radio broadcasting"--have been busy. Aside from their planned April 9 rally with Michael Moore (Roger & Me, TV Nation, Downsize This!, etc.), postponed due to a conflict in Moore's schedule, they've been mobilizing a letter-writing campaign to the FCC to alert it to community concern about the sale of REV 105 to ABC-Cap Cities, which also owns KEGE (The Edge) and KQRS. Letters of public comment must be received by the FCC by April 30 (next Wednesday) to be considered in its decision to approve the sale, which is still pending. Letter-writing info is available at http://www.ard.wack.com/letters/, or contact ARD at ard@wack.com or 823-2606.

Meanwhile, the misanthropic Howard Stern is finally here to prey on the other commercial-rock morning shows (as if that's not shooting fish in a barrel). Here's one morsel of good news: Former REV 105 jock (and Radio K alumnus) Brian Oake has stepped to The Edge (93.7) for weekend shifts, succeeding Peter Johns as host of The Minnesota Modern Rock Hour (Sundays, 8:30 p.m.). Cynics will grumble, but it's cool to see the Edge take in Oake, a smart guy who genuinely loves the music. And a good 50 percent of MMRH is not on during The X-Files. (Hermes/Groebner)

UPCOMING GIGS, ETC.

WEDNESDAY: ATTENTION CARDIGANS fans: The coldly sensual Komeda hail from subarctic Umea, Sweden, and take their name from Roman Polanski's film composer Kryzsztof Komeda. That's appropriate for their mix of iced Krautrock and art-film exotica--which I'd say generates more pop urgency than Stereolab, to whose work The Genius of Komeda (Minty Fresh) has been over-compared on account of singer Lena Karlsson's stoic Euro-elegance. They'll be at 7th Street Entry with Canada's Kinnie Starr, a multifaceted DIY hip-hop hippie with an apparent yen to be the next Ani DiFranco. Kittycraft, our likable local answer to the Pacific Northwest's girl/boy, guitar/drums duos (see also Spinanes, Lois, Quasi), opens. $5. Doors at 8 p.m. 338-8388.

FRIDAY: ALWAYS A good bet for turning the Entry into an indie-rock dancefloor, sample jockeys Sukpatch have grown so loose and confident onstage (per their last Depth Probe cameo) that their slinky Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass (Slabco) is becoming mild-mannered by comparison. They'll be at the 7th Street Entry with Better Off Airport, who broke up shortly after the release of their spastic noisecore full-length Vivre (Roro). Now some of the members are back in action under the same name, so anything might happen. The busy Kittycraft opens. $5. Doors at 8 p.m.

SATURDAY: THE CABOOZE hosts a funk/ jazz/hip-hop showcase to hype the genesis of Groove Garden Records (the new label from DJ Jen Downham of KFAI's The Groove Garden) with The Joint Chiefs, Casino Royale, Atmosphere and Beyond. We've seen all four of them in tandem, but never all at once. Groove Garden's June debut will be a compilation of music from the Front's Freeloaded acid-jazz series. Music at 9 p.m. 338-6425... Fans of free jazz won't want to miss a rare performance by the venerable violin improviser Leroy Jenkins, who will be in town performing solos and duets with our own adventurous fiddler Jane Anfinson. $10. 8 p.m. Cultural Center of Minnesota, 3013 Lyndale Ave. S.; 827-0771.

TUESDAY: ON THE 29th, the release date of their long-delayed and astoundingly great So We Go, The Hang Ups play a free, acoustic in-store at 6 p.m. at Let It Be Records... Spain's umbrella punk label, Grita!, covers every type of thrash, from the straight-edge agenda of Todos Tus Muertos and Los Mas Turbados to the queso punk of the Pleasure Fuckers (insert joke here). As a manifesto for a fornication nation, the Pleasure Fuckers' For Your Pleasure is more silly than sexy, but rhythm guitarist Norah Findlay could easily be a chica addition to Tribe 8 with her vocal grinds on "Watermouth." They'll be at the Entry with Nashville Pussy, the Short Fuses (a blistering punkabilly quartet led by ex-Speedway 'billy queen Miss Georgia Peach, currently hawking a fine 7-inch, "Kick it In"/"Goof"), and Stanley opening. $4. 8 p.m. (Groebner/Schmitt)

 
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