Making Toast out of Cake

Making Toast out of Cake
The locally-owned, nationally-distributed alt-rock rag Cake hasn't published since April, and now most of its staff have moved on to start their own magazine, Toast, which should hit the stands later this week. Cake editors Hap Mansfield and Todd Bennington are on board, and so is art director Ian Rans, who was a driving force behind the new project. "Everybody just kind of agreed it was time to get the hell out of Dodge," he says of Cake's old staff.

It remains to be seen if Toast's title will sit well with The Toaster, the new local alternative news weekly that's preparing its own launch this winter. "What are the odds of them having the word 'toast,' of all things, in their name?" says Rans. "You should have seen the look on my face when somebody told me."

Yoko's "No. 1 City"
This month's issue of the Minnetonka-owned, Musicland-distributed rock mag Request has a feature on Yoko Sawai, a 23-year-old Japanese rock tourist who makes frequent trips to the States and considers Minneapolis her "No. 1 city." Recounting the last few days of her most recent tour through town, the piece is a nice slice of Cities rock life, following Sawai from Let it Be Records to the Whole Music Club to a Sandwiches basement party. Though filtered through the jaded pen of New York writer Helene Stapinski (who compares Run Westy Run to Billy Squire), Sawai's fan-girl enthusiasm is infectious.

I've been telling people for years that they should positively invert that old Gang of Four line about alienation ("at home he feels like a tourist"), and become vacationers at play in their own hometown. We need to regain that sense of camera-snapping wonder without losing our sense of place. I mean, if a rock pilgrim from Osaka would pass up New York to spend quality time in Vikingland, there's obviously something to this scene that our town's "next plane out" cynics are overlooking.

Freeloaded gets downloaded
One event scenesters seem to take for granted is Freeloaded, the two-year-old live music and DJs cabaret that saunters into the Front every Wednesday. Booked by Sensational Joint Chiefs guitarist James Everest, the night has always been something of a multi-culti chill room, where swanksters enjoy a mix of live hip hop, funk, and jazz. Now Freeloaded is coming to an end, with an August 26 closing night performance by the revolving-door funk super-group Fresh Squeeze.

This month's home stretch of Freeloaded lineups celebrates a distinct change in the music climate since Everest first proposed the event in the Spring of '96. "Back then, you rarely saw a DJ spinning at shows between sets," he says. "And you'd never see hip hop or acid jazz at a place like Lee's or the 400 Bar." Now the funk-uppity Joint Chiefs and their extended family of musicians can headline around town, and mellow DJ rooms like the Coolout Lounge at First Avenue are becoming more common.

Everest says he's taking a break from promoting Freeloaded to focus more on the music side of life--the Chiefs are recording an album to be released this fall. But if you need proof that the Wednesday tradition will be missed, check out tonight's eclectic lineup: Fresh Squeeze headline, while Androne--a.k.a. DJs Andrew and Drone--will tag team the turntables. Cameos by Anomaly(a.k.a. Jason Heinrichs) and Trek Tah Beam X-Press (featuring members of Full Length and MC Truth Maze of the Micranots) fill out the evening. Amazing. It's $3, 9 p.m. at the Front. Call 378-5115 for information.

 
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