Beware of mysterious new bands bearing gifts; apologies to Devon Allman and the members of the Jerry Mathers

It never hurts to send "Radar Station" early Christmas presents in exchange for space within, especially when the gifts are empty boxes; old, beat-up Fisher-Price tool chests; or nasty, smelly wingtip shoes. Recently a mysterious unnamed local band sent us, in three installments, those three gifts, the kind of presents we love around here (How'd you know about the stinky-shoe fetish? The carpenter/Boggle box fantasy? You've done your research!). In addition, the mystery band offered us three tapes with their music on it and a bunch of letters of the alphabet that we were to unscramble to determine their band's name -- a mini-Boggle game for the dimwitted, as it were.

Well, after countless cross-eyed hours spent in front of hi-tech anagram programs and consulting with some of the geniuses around the office, we've (ha!) figured it out: The band is called the Stmrofcions -- we're 99 percent sure -- and with a name like that, MTV's Buzzworthy is dead ahead. Now if we can just unscramble the music, we'll be set.... Even though the Slumfest (great acronym for "St. Louis Underground Music Festival") last week at the Galaxy was a complete wash -- what the hell happened? -- luckily for the dozen or so souls who braved it out, DJ K-9 was on the decks playing some great old-school hip-hop and new-school drum & bass. There he was onstage, pulling out all the stops, experimenting as he moved through vinyl like a blackjack dealer moving through the deck. To mix metaphors, it was akin to watching a great sax player sitting around his apartment polishing his tone, and K-9 at the Galaxy got it down. Were it not for K-9, though, we would have basically pissed away the 5-buck cover (apparently a couple of the scheduled bands started way too late, but by then the grumpiness had set in). K-9 made it all worthwhile.

Speaking of grumpiness, all the champagne, caviar and Cheez Whiz around here has been making us a bit feisty, and once the fog cleared we realized that in last week's column we basically called rock band Jerry Mathers, well, dumbasses. Oof. They most certainly are not. On the contrary; they seem to have a lot on the ball and sure can bang out a guitar din. It's just that if you're going to combine three genres, it'd be safer to combine polka, pub rock and Poison than it would to amalgamate punk, metal and rap. But given the premise, the Mathers do it quite well, and it takes brains to succeed.... Also on the subject of feistiness, music scribe Michael Kuelker was livid that we lumped local rocker Devon Allman in with the other children-of-famous-rockers (he's the son of Gregg Allman), thereby suggesting that the younger Allman has gotten some sort of free ride, or a shot at the big time, because of his last name: "What kind of shot are you talking about? I do know that because of the famous last name phenomenon Devon occasionally gets more Jaegermeister shots bought for him than you or I would, being bearers of pedestrian last names, but that most likely isn't the nub of the matter...."

Kuelker's right. The younger one does work his ass off around town (with his recent band Honeytribe and formerly with Dark Horses), and the suggestion that Allman doesn't have to pound the proverbial pavement because his Uncle Duane was one of the great rock guitarists of all time and his dad used to love Cher is, admittedly, flat-out wrong. "Please note," adds Kuelker of Allman and Honeytribe, "that he's again subsumed his name within the band context. He's a front man but no marquee-first ideologue. This isn't the Devon Allman Experience, the All-Allman Brothers All the Time Jamboree or Hank Williams III." Point well taken. Allman has been gigging in town for six years and hasn't received any sort of free ride; apologies are indeed in order for the insinuation.

Send all local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to "Radar Station," c/o The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: Radarstation@ srftstl.com.

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