Memories, good and bad
Next time you wander into a Snyder drugstore for Milk Duds or hair gel, pick up the fine new benefit CD for the Minnesota Lakes chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Lasting Memories. The album contains the most jarring song sequence you'll ever hear on a local music compilation, throwing Flipp's orchestra-punk gem "Schizo Boy" (tasteful, guys) right before an easy-listening ballad by Mary Beth Carlson (who lost her father-in-law to the disease). The album also sports heartfelt cuts by Sounds of Blackness, the Steeles, and Bobby McFerrin, whose lovely "The Garden" finds him indulging in a nice bit of South African township jive.
Speaking of uneasy listening, McFerrin is the only celebrity who doesn't disgrace himself on Beatles producer George Martin's new vanity project, In My Life, a farewell album on which Martin records numerous "heroes and friends" covering songs by the Fab Four. In the liner notes, he claims this is his swan song, but did he really want to go out with a Golden Throats-style collection? To bid the sound-sculptor of Sgt. Pepper adieu, Robin Williams (with McFerrin) mugs his way through "Come Together," Goldie Hawn does a lounge version of "A Hard Day's Night," and Sean Connery pulls a William Shatner and does a spoken word version of "In My Life."
Lest you think this is camp, here's Martin's explanation: "I wanted to finish with the poignant lyrics of 'In My Life,' and I cannot think there is anybody else who can give them the meaning that Sean does." Apparently, his bird has flown.
Celine Dion's hopelessly pompous rendition of "Here There & Everywhere" is the biggest belly laugh in the bunch, but Jim Carrey does fire off one on-point quip over the climax of his take on "I Am the Walrus": "There, I did it! I defiled a timeless piece of art!" Coming to a cut-out bin or a Rhino reissue near you.
Live through this
While it's not surprising that Kristen Pfaff, who sang harmony and helped write the songs on Hole's 1994 Live Through This, has been reduced to a footnote in most reviews of Celebrity Skin, locals won't forget her soon. Her death of an apparent heroin overdose in June of 1994 was widely mourned in the Cities, where she was an activist at the University of Minnesota and co-founder of the noise band Janitor Joe.
Pfaff also helped Radio K get off the ground, and the station honored her memory by putting out the 1996 compilation Stuck on AM (which will be followed by a second volume in 1999), with proceeds going to a yearly $1,000 Memorial Scholarship in her name. This year's application deadline is November 2, and those interested in winning the award, which is earmarked for "individuals active in the arts in the pursuit of their educational goals," should contact the Kristen Pfaff Memorial Scholarship Fund Committee for information and application guidelines. Write: KPMSFC, P.O. Box 580578, Minneapolis, MN 55458-0578; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: members.aol.com/kpmsfc/kristen.
The Minnesota Association of Songwriters holds a CD release party on Saturday for its third volume of Future Hits from Minnesota Songwriters. The group's purpose is to provide a "support system" for local songwriters, and though there's some good country and light rock here, someone should fine "JD Dohnal" for rhyming "eight years later" with "in an L.A. theater" then following it with the phrase "Tommy found his soulmate's hand." (Saturday at O'Gara's in St. Paul; 644-3333.)
Meanwhile, readers whose interest was piqued by last week's mention in these pages of the fanzine Sweet Ass, should attend "Brain Whores in Paradise," a reading featuring the mag's braintrust Laura Brandenburg and Holly Day, who will recite "back-to-school erotica and Sci-fi serial-killer-influenced love poems, respectively." (Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Coffee Gallery, 2002 Lyndale Ave. S.; 870-9508.)
Lastly, don't miss Superman Curl at the Turf Club Friday as they celebrate the release of their newbie disc, Soundcheck (no relation). This catchy good-time fuzz-blast of an album contains one classic track, "I Hate Punk Rock," and since the title is spoken by an object of unrequited lust who burns down her school, it can be taken as ironic. Good thing, too, since nearly every guitar lick on Soundcheck can be traced to its corresponding ancestor on the punk bible, The Clash. Mollycuddle and Ten Ton Bridge open; a pre-party in the Clown Lounge begins at 8 p.m. at the Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W,. St. Paul; 647-0486.
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