By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Self-promotion is a necessary evil for most local musicians, who don't have tireless legions of publicists, image consultants, label lackeys and demonic minions to do all their horn-tooting for them. We've got to hand it to the mad geniuses of Must ... Rock! (www.mustrock.com), who just put out their first run of "collectible personalities" trading cards, featuring the swoon-inducing likenesses of various local musicians in (mostly) full-color glory. Each packet contains a selection of cards, with fun facts about the featured artists and gazillions of exclamation points. Yeah, everybody already knows that Sullen's Shanna Kiel "grew up pretty and learned to be nice anyway!" -- but would you have guessed that she was temporarily renamed Shanna Savvis or that she longs to be a singing sock puppet? Who knew Fred's Variety Groupsinger/guitarist (and Lemmons booker) Sunyatta Marshall "has one less phalanx than humans come with standard" or that Bob Reuter -- who's "rocked in public since 1965!" -- also "throws right and bats from both sides"?
As if that weren't enough to satisfy your inner geek, tucked into each packet of cards is a mini CD featuring an exclusive track from the Ded Bugs, the Fantasy Four, the Phonocaptors, the Red Squares or the Trip Daddys.
Though the project is dedicated to St. Louis bands, two of the key Must ... Rock! players, erstwhile Red Squares Josh Boelter and Joel Lewis, are moving to New York, where they'll join another former Square, Matthew Shultz. They're still hoping to run another series of the local trading cards, with the help of some new recruits, before they go all bad and nationwide on us. (The Red Squares, by the way, are down to singer/songwriter Jason Toon and drummer Duane Perry.)
Must ... Rock is hosting a release party for the trading cards on June 23 at the Hi-Pointe. The musical lineup hasn't been nailed down yet, but Sullen and the Fantasy Four are there for sure. Get 'em to autograph their cards for you -- you never know what those things might go for on eBay someday!
Speaking of band promotions, we were flabbergasted to find Greenwheel in this month's Jane. (Jane, in case you're not up on your mainstream fashion/beauty mags, is widely assumed to be among the hipper ones on the strength of its origins in the far superior Sassy, a genuinely worthwhile but sadly defunct lifestyle monthly for teenage girls.) Pronounced "snacky" by the anonymous brainiacs who come up with the "Cute Band Alert!" every month, the members of Greenwheel -- who are, we'll freely admit, indeed kinda cute in a Dawson's Creek kinda way -- glower intensely in their expensively imaged Joshua Treeknockoff of a press photo. Cute, we'll swallow -- to each her own, right? What we couldn't comprehend was the comment about their "incredible lyrics" -- unless by "incredible" the writer means to imply "unbelievably pompous." We racked our little brains for hours, wondering how a magazine that champions Chan Marshall and the Breeders could stoop so low, and then we noticed the word "Promotion" at the top of the page. Duh. Thank you, Island/Def Jam, ka-ching!
Oh, yeah: The snacky quintet performs live at the Pageant on June 25 with Injected and Default.
A couple of weeks back, we reported that Streetside Records, locally owned and managed for more than 30 years, is set to merge with the New Jersey-based chain CD World. Streetside honcho Randy Davis, who wasn't available for comment before the original story ran, called us with some updated news about the merger, which, he insists, will only "enhance the shopping experience for the consumers." (We can't help but wonder, if it's such a joyous occasion, why no one issued a press release or even told lower-level employees about it beforehand, but that's quibbling, probably.) Davis, we were pleased to hear, will continue to have a job as vice president. He can't say for sure yet whether any upper-management positions will be eliminated, but all nine existing branches will continue to exist as Streetside stores. Whatever changes occur, Davis says, will be "invisible to consumers." He calls the merger a "marriage" and took exception to the "Enron slant" of our previous article. "We feel that since we're going to have roots input from our stores in terms of buying, we're still an independent record store," Davis says. "It's not about the stock value. It's about enhancing Streetside, providing an even better shopping experience for our customers and ensuring that Streetside continues to exist."