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In One Ear

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WATER SIGNS, PISCES SINGS

Some people need just the flimsiest of pretexts to put on a veritable avant-sound music festival. And Detroit’s quite a better place for it, too. Good Sounds mainman Dave Hartman has put together "The Febrarian Birthday Party," ostensibly to celebrate those of you who have birthdays in February (including Hartman himself). People like Immigrant Suns bass player Joel Peterson, who’ll sit in with free jazz young lions Jason Shearer and Ben Hall. And speaking of Febrarians, Lisa Colwell and Geoff Walker abuse prepared cello, drums and electronics in the avant-scrape dronescapes of Basketcase, along with John Olson of Universal Indians. Joining this avant-community party are some friends from Grand Rapids. The LSDudes may have a goofball name, but nonetheless they execute excellent Kraftwerkian proto-synth-pop. And the Phantom Wedding Band features members of C3 and the Night Doctors, which is how folks in Grand Rapids say, "Get ready for some outrageous prog-punk mayhem and brilliance." Musicians such as these helped make a nifty little 50-track, hand-screened CD called What’s in the Bottle, the best regional comp since Labyrinths and Jokes popped out of Brighton. If you’re lucky, they’ll bring some down with them. Catch this crazy night of Michigan madness this Saturday (Feb. 19) at the Gold Dollar (3129 Cass Ave.), and call 313-833-6873 for more info. Greg Baise

SCOPE THE ’STOCK

For fans of psychedelia, there is perhaps no journal more erudite than Ptolemaic Terrascope. It’s a ‘zine so beloved that for the past several years musicians have been donating their talent to various Terrastocks, a benefit music festival. Retrogressing Terrastock (a photo show on display at Stormy Records) vividly documents the Terrastock of April 1998, held in San Francisco and photographed by Dianne Jones and Erik Auerbach. Auerbach’s photos are especially intoxicating, with their blurs of color. And Jones’ talent soaks each photo: She was responsible for the projections of experimental films that coated the performers in a good, old-fashioned lysergic light show. With subjects ranging from old-timers such as Tom Rapp to newer bands such as the Olivia Tremor Control, there should be something here to pique the interest of any underground rock fan. There are also rare shots of the reclusive Kendra Smith (photographed in all of her goofy-hat glory), and of course Windy and Carl (the proprietors of Stormy Records and darlings of the Terrastock set). Prices for most of the works hover around the neighborhood of the price of a haircut at the East End Barbershop (which shares its space with Stormy Records). Which means these psychedelic photographs are priced to blow out the door. But you better hurry – Retrogressing Terrastock closes at the end of the month. Stormy Records is located at 4717 Horger (just north of Michigan Avenue) in Dearborn. Call 313-581-2589 for more info. –Greg Baise

BLIZZARD OF SOUNDS

I’m going to admit a shortcoming of the music journalism industry, so gather close: We music-muso folk don’t write about nearly enough of the intriguing music created by fine, upstanding creative folk that comes out of our speakers. I’d explain the mechanics of time, space and logistics, but it’d bore the crap out of you. Instead, I’m going to use this space to tip you off to notable new records and a couple that slipped through the cracks. And you might just read about these artists in future issues of MT. But, just in case, seek out the records that follow at your fave music emporium and you can’t go wrong filling your world with great sounds.

Detroit hip-hop crew Renaissance Embassy dropped These Parts late last year on K-Million Ent. And it’s pure Detroit flow – plenty of bottom, layers of syncopated logic, minimal coastal posturing and real as you please.

Power-pop heroes the Atomic Numbers step to the plate with their new, long-awaited full-length, Electromotive (on Sid Flips rekkids). It’s worth the wait, if your bag happens to be classics-grounded rock ‘n’ roll that sinks its hooks deep. And, by the way, Verve Pipe mainman Brian Vander Ark produced.)

Fabulous Detroit singer-songwriter Jan Krist released Love Big, Us Small – four new songs, four unreleased tracks and a best-of from her first two out-of-print records – at the tail-end of 1999 on Silent Planet Records.

And, finally, Detroit’s Spectator Records has unveiled to the world a three-song 12-inch from area mystery man Richard Panic (who, live, performs behind a white curtain). Think Gary Numan-meets-Pulp-meets-Kraftwerk and you’re not too far off.

Stay tuned for more gems from the "D."

ONE MORE THING! WAIT! If you’re interested in info on this year’s Hamtramck Blowout (March 10 & 11), call 313-202-8047 for venue, lineup and other info. OK, resume perusing the sex ads now.Chris Handyside

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