Sound Check

Friends of the Lorax, who's friends with the trees: The Highway 55 CD

Hit it and Quit It

BREVITY IS THE friend of consumerism and the foe of meaningful living, right? I cling to this idea even as my phone conversations become sound bites and my sleeping hours are pared back to military-experiment levels, all for the sake of keeping up. But, a couple of months ago, I caught a 7th Street Entry set by the Seattle trashy punk band Zeke that made me realize I've had this time thing wrong all along. Zeke, who satisfy in a visceral sort of way, ended their set after 15 minutes, when the drummer kicked his kit over and stormed offstage. I could have used another half-hour of Zeke, but, you know, I didn't need it, and neither did the room full of punks, who instead of rioting did the punk-rock thing and mingled with the band.

Perhaps extreme concision--15 minutes instead of two hours for a concert, one minute instead of five for a song--is more aesthetically subversive now than when the Minutemen first earned their name. If something feels too short, it forces you to pay attention, to not miss anything. You listen. More. Closely. That, at least, is what happened when I put on Fat Wreck Chords' wonderful Short Music for Short People compilation. The album features 30-second songs played by 101 old and new punk bands, including the Minutemen and locals Dillinger Four ("Farts Are Jazz to Assholes"). In a similar spirit, allow me to condense the considerable amount of recent news in local music into jazz-fart items short enough to miss if you don't slow down.


In Brief...

THE RHYME SAYERS' new hip-hop store, Fifth Element, is scheduled to open this week at 2411 Hennepin Ave. S.; (612) 377-0044. Crew members say they'll hawk hard-to-find national music alongside tees and low-rider bikes designed by the Native Ones... Rhyme Sayer DJ Abilities joins DJ Francisco to host On the Wheels at the Whole Music Club on Sunday, August 27; (612) 624-8638. It's a local hip-hop DJ contest with eight contenders and two international headline acts, Illusion and Frek Show... In the wake of Java Noire's success, local drum 'n' bass crew Jungle Vibe Collective has opened its own DJ café in South Minneapolis. Proprietor Paul Allen opened Café Fusion last week at 1526 E. Lake St. on the corner of Bloomington and Lake. The joint features live mixing every night until 1:00 a.m.; (612) 724-6245... Two other seasoned party throwers, DJs Nathan Yungerberg and Aldric Zaccardi, have left Java Noire to kick off a new Wednesday dance night, Electric Lights, at the freshly opened Central City Theatre at 343 E. Lake St.... Local sample-poppers Sukpatch have signed to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal imprint and have a new EP, Tie Down That Shiny Wave, due out September 7.

A righteous new 18-song compilation to benefit the Highway 55 protesters, Trees and Water: Songs of Resistance to the Reroute of 55, is available at the encampment and in select stores... Local prog-rockers 12 Rods are back from recording in Hawaii with Todd Rundgren, who's "not as weird as he's made out to be," per singer-guitarist Ryan Olcott. The group performs at the 400 Bar on September 4... Former Prince and the Revolution drummer Bobby Z. has signed the Sounds of Blackness to his Zinc independent label and will release their new album in late September... Three local bands with die-hard followings have broken up in recent months: Lily Liver, Greazy Meal, and Tina & the B-Sides. Tina Schlieske plans a final B-Sides show this fall. She performs in Elvis Presley drag with Trailer Trash on Friday, August 27 at Lee's Liquor Lounge; (612) 388-9491... At press time Vic Volare and the Volare Lounge Orchestra plan to play their final Tuesday-night gig at the Fine Line on August 24, thus perhaps marking the end of the Neo-Swing Era as we knew it in the Twin Cities. As it happens, the evening celebrates the release of a new, nationally distributed CD from Vic and company, Flyin' With Vic Volare and the Volare Lounge Orchestra. The enjoyable coaster features the crooner's signature song, "I'm Gonna Miss Minneapolis." He still hosts Music From the Club Lounge every Monday at 7:00 p.m. on KLBB-AM (1400 and 1470).

The Trashmen, the Del Counts, Trailer Trash, Canoise, the Litter, Ringer, the Underbeats, and Stage Brush all perform in a benefit for legendary Underbeats drummer Tom Nystrom, on Sunday, August 29. Nystrom underwent a cancer operation earlier this year. Music begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Medina Entertainment Center; (612) 478-6661... Last, Cheap Trick's affection for the Twin Cities was expressed with a surprise gig at St. Paul's Ryan's on July 20, and assuming the feeling is somewhat mutual, let me suggest a lunatic road trip for fans. The band celebrates its 25th anniversary in its hometown of Rockford, Illinois, at Davis Park on Saturday, August 28 with members of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Rock Valley High School Choir, and surprise guests. Go to for details.

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