WORLD OF MUSIC
Saturday is, for the most part, a radio desert, with AM dedicated to up-to-the-nanosecond updates of every college football score between traffic and weather, and FM continuing business as usual. Knob-twisters know that Sunday is heaven -- between specialty shows, music magazine programs and talk, it's the wave-riding equivalent of the Sunday paper. As usual, it takes community radio to bust a programming groove. Detroit's educational broadcasting frequency, 90.9 (aka WDTR) is making Saturday radio a more hospitable place to linger with five new specialty music programs. Starting every Saturday at 11 a.m., host Magic Mike brings techno, house and dance music to daylight audiences with "Stick It In Your Ear" -- a show name that this column fully endorses! At 12:30 p.m., Mike Johnson picks up the mic with "Exponents of Jazz," a cutting-edge jazz showcase that cedes the frequency to "Reggae Sound Blast," with host and local reggae musician O.C. Roberts at 2:30. At 4:30, former WDET world music host Ismael Ahmed brings listeners "World Mix," and, at 6:30 p.m., the day of musical bliss comes to a steamy close with "Caribe Serenade," a show featuring music from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, with host Ozzie Rivera till 8:30 p.m. WDTR is dubbing the whole shebang its "International Music Explosion." We'd prefer to stay away from the hyperbole and just tune in to the festivities. You can always read about sports on Sunday.
Superbadass Productions -- 'ow's that for setting the bar high with an organization name?! -- over the past couple of years has assembled events that create a synergy between sound, sight, fashion, food and funk by bringing together on one stage some of Detroit and Ann Arbor's most adventurous up-and-coming artists. And often, the fun is in the name of charity. Last July's "Fashion For Food" raised money for Ann Arbor runaway shelter Ozone House, for example. This Sunday, make it out to Ann Arbor's Nectarine Ballroom to dig into the artistic buffet as Superbadass is doing it again with "Sensual and the Cerebral," a showcase of free-form music, performance and visual art, and go-go and avant-garde dance -- plus "socially-conscious food." WCBN personality John Rastafari hosts the show that includes performances by the fabu-freaky rock wreckers Maschina, DJ Repete and the Robot Unlimited Orchestra (intriguing enough in name alone to make one slap down the price of admission!), ambient-indie soundsters Monaural, electronic spoken word by Greg Rochford (another member of the growing "Robot Poet" army all the "kids" are talking about these days), multitasking avant-garde dance from Jeremy Kalio (with musical accompaniment by Heart and Hand, aka Warren Defever) and deejay sets by Chuck Hampton and Carlos Souffront. There's much more here to speak of, but if the above-mentioned highlights don't get your circuits busy, you should probably stay home and master the new Crash Bandicoot outing. The date: Sunday, Nov. 22. The place: Nectarine Ballroom, 516 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. The Time: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. The number to call for info: 313-990-1995. Or check them onliine at www.angelfire.com/ny/superbadass/.
THE MYSTERY OF ROCK
It's a refreshing change of pace to not have "Made in Detroit" and a gaggle of extraneous information stamped all over a record of local origin. Case in point, the new 7" by 57 Waltz, a group with known Detroit-area connections. What we do know about the band from information gleaned from the record cover: A person named Megan brought her cello (to the recording session?); the two songs, "Stallions*2*Miranda" and "The Outer Rim of Delaware," were recorded by Tim Pak at his Woodshed Studios sometime in 1998; and "57 Waltz fully endorses coffee and all of its magical properties." The release is on Spectator Records -- also apparently of local origin. The indisputable evidence, though, lies in the vinyl grooves. 57 Waltz -- if that's the band's real name! -- crafts tight little rhythmic repetitions of organ, guitar, drum and bass, enchanting the listener before delivering the wash and wave of chorus that hits like a rock punch, but with frustrated reservation. The singer's voice sounds enough like Pavement's Steven Malkmus to conjure a note of familiarity, while striking a uniqueness enough to not be derivative. When indie-pop is as subtle as "Stallions" and as sneakily infectious as "The Outer Rim of Delaware," listeners should be more than happy to connect their own damn dots! I got my copy at Royal Oak's Neptune Records, but call your favorite emporium to request it. If I find anything out about 57 Waltz, you'll be the first to know.