TWO RADICALLY DIFFERENT new record labels are staging coming-out parties this week in the upstart clubs of Northeast. The first is Groove Garden Records, started by omnipresent DJ Jennifer Downham of KFAI's The Groove Garden. GG's first release is the live compilation LP/CD Freeloaded Wednesdays, commemorating the first anniversary of the Front's own jazz-hip-hop groove garden Freeloaded with live cuts from The Sensational Joint Chiefs, Full Length, Happy Apple, Atmosphere, Phull Surkle, Lady & the Katz, and more. The CD release and anniversary fete are Saturday night at Ground Zero, with nearly every band, rapper, and DJ that's been a regular at Freeloaded. DJs like Stage One, Insite, Bionic, and Psychomatic will be spinning yonder in the newly-christened The Back. ($5; 7 p.m.)
The second label debut is SunShip Records, the underground noise battalion that hosts a showcase around the corner at the Terminal Bar on Tuesday as part of the venue's "extreme music on Tuesday" series. The visiting artist is Death Squad from San Francisco--which sounds like equal parts Japanese noise, electro-distortion, and the soundtrack for your friendly neighborhood apocalyptic millennium cult. The local roster is fulfilled by boundary-pushing DJs Chris Sattinger and Rod Smith, performance-noise wackos Cock E.S.P. (who celebrate their new CD Menasha Red Light District), and one-man-noise/electronica-band Lost in Translation. Bring earplugs, and don't come looking for pop songs. ($3; 9 p.m.)
GIGS & OTHER STUFF: Recent CP cover-flowers The Hang Ups make a homecoming gig at Lee's Liquor Lounge Friday on the strength of their buzzing So We Go. The show also marks the return of local quartet Dutch Oven, who did an exceptional Prospective 7-inch ("Whammy"/"Mary Ellen") of punky, bluesy folk-rock in 1991 before two members variously defected to Nova Mob and California. Now, confirming the Minneapolis law that you can't escape your past, Dutch Oven is back. Fellow pop resurgents Lily Liver complete the bill... Also on Friday, folk master John Gorka, who got started on the local Red House Records and has moved here to stay, performs a special gig at Cedar Cultural Centre. It's a benefit for local couple Tom Lewanski and Gail Conzemius, who were badly hurt in a car accident ($20, 8 p.m.)... On Saturdays, you should have your AM dial affixed to rock crit Jim DeRogatis's rock & roll talk show Sound Opinions, from 6 to 8 p.m. on KSTP AM-1500. The show's latest selling point: Recent CP cover-queen Shawn Stewart signed on a few weeks back as DeRo's permanent co-host. It's all followed at 8 by the decidedly nonrock talk show Somethin' Stupid, hosted by Stewart's fellow REV alum Mary Lucia, with recent guests including Dylan Hicks and John Munson. So if the bad news of '97 radio is there's less good rock, the good news is there's more good talk.
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