Head Charge hits the road again; Atmosphere on MTV

by Dan Haugen

After reading about Saturday’s hockey fan riot in Dinkytown, I couldn’t help but think of all the paranoia by authorities in years past over Bon Appetit’s punk and hip-hop concerts bringing “the wrong crowd” into the neighborhood. I suppose it’s not really an issue anymore, since Bon Appetit’s new ownership ended the dive’s nightly live music schedule earlier this year, but still, I can’t remember a single instance where one of their concert crowds took to the street after a show and started a riot. I’m not trying to say that punk and hip-hop fans are holier than hockey fans, but just that it’s foolish to profile any bunch as “the wrong crowd.”

Moving on to more positive news… The University’s student-run radio station Radio K (770 AM) is in the midst of its spring “Powersurge.” Throughout the twice-annual fundraiser, the station sells fictitious “watts” to its listeners for ten dollars each. The Powersurges help the non-commercial music outlet cover about 15 percent of the station’s annual operating budget (other income sources include student service fees, underwriting sales and federal grants). Station Manager Andy Marlow said the station is on pace to reach their goal of one thousand callers by 6 p.m. Friday, when the Powersurge officially ends. That night the station celebrates with a “Gigawatt,” a supporter-appreciation concert at First Avenue with Atmosphere (backed by Heiruspecs), Sage Francis and Aesop Rock with Mr. Dibbs.

Atmosphere has a new full-length due out this summer, with its first single, “Modern Man’s Hustle,” possibly in stores by the end of this month. The group is also in some impressive company on new Villiage Voice compilation Love Songs for New York, a benefit for the September 11 Fund. Atmosphere’s “Summer Song” is featured on the CD, along with songs from Moby, Cornershop, Baaba Maal and others. Word is that Atmosphere also had their name dropped in an MTV News segment last week after their performance at the South by Southwest music festival. Meanwhile, their labelmate (and former collaborator) DJ Abilities landed in Spin magazine last month. He scratched on El P‘s upcoming album and will be going out on tour with him in the near future.

From the kings of Minneapolis hip-hop to the kings of Minneapolis metal… American Head Charge play an all-ages show at First Avenue tomorrow with Gravity Kills, Black Flood Diesel and Hatred. Head Charge sold close to 50,000 copies of their major label debut The War of Art last year. Today, after months of constant touring by the band, their record label will be releasing the album’s first single, “Just So You Know,” along with a music video. After tomorrow’s show, Head Charge hits the road for a month long co-headlining tour with Gravity Kills.

American Head Charge fans, this next recommendation probably isn’t for you. But lo-fi, indie-pop and alt-country fans should definitely check out the new Apartment Music compilation, out now on local label Free Election Records. The third and final CD release party takes place Friday at the 7th St. Entry with Kid Dakota, The Mike Brady Administration and The Ashtray Hearts.

Dan Haugen is the Lens music editor. Please send comments and correspondence to [email protected].