Metric duo shimmers in Current session
How up close and personal was Monday's in-studio session with Metric indie heroine Emily Haines and her co-founding bandmate James Shaw at 89.3 the Current's studios? Close enough for the women in the crowd to let out a slight but audible gasp when they got a load of Haines' ruby velvet boots, after host Mary Lucia made note of their killerness.
The six-song taping in Minnesota Public Radio's UBS Forum was part of a short radio tour that Haines and Shaw are making this week to tout next week's release of "Synthetica," the hotly awaited follow-up to Metric's 2009 breakthrough album "Fantasies." The duo played stripped-down versions of both of the prior record's hits, "Help I'm Alive" and "Gimme Sympathy," but those weren't even the most electrifying moments.
They pulled off a cool, raw-groove version of the new single "Youth Without Youth" accompanied by a simplistic drum machine. With Haines on piano, they also put an elegant and dramatic spin on "Breathing Underwater," a highlight on the new record. Haines also shared/bragged a funny tale about meeting Lou Reed, who sings on the new album's closing track, "The Wanderlust."
Metric's session will air via the Current at 5 p.m. Tuesday 6/12 (the day the album comes out). Haines and Shaw will be back in town with their band for a Sept. 11 gig at the State Theatre.
- Chris Riemenschneider
Who will be America's top cupcake maker?
By Sunday evening, the world will know if Cupcake owner Kevin VanDeraa is the nation's cupcake champion. VanDeraa and fellow Cupcake-er Shane Penoyer are representing their Prospect Park bakery/café in the final round of the Food Network's "Cupcake Champions," an all-stars version of the popular reality series "Cupcake Wars."
VanDeraa is no stranger to the series; Sunday's finale marks his fourth appearance. The championship version tapped 16 previous winners, pitting four teams against each other in four rounds. The winner from each round advanced to the final, and its $50,000 prize.
"It's crazy stressful, although it's easier once you've gone through it more than once," said VanDeraa.
How do you train for a cupcake marathon? Practice runs, of course, but VanDeraa also watched as many previous episodes as possible, to glean useful information regarding the judges' preferences.
"I know how to make cupcakes, but you have to do more than that," he said. "Candace [Nelson] talked about how much she likes spicy chocolate, so I remembered that and used it. So yes, I was manipulating her, I was stalking her. That's how you compete."
Cupcake is hosting a viewing party on Sunday 6/10 at 6 p.m. at the New Century Theatre. Contact Cupcake for a free ticket.
- Rick Nelson
The new King of the Cabooze
A ringleader at the Fine Line Music Café for 12 years -- long enough to be synonymous with the venue in the eyes of many bands and booking agents -- Kim King has left her position to become the Cabooze's new national talent buyer. She said her hiring is just one of several changes afoot at the West Bank's biggest venue that will "make it more artist- and patron-friendly." King will be sharing her new duties with Jason Aukes, who has been doubling as a manager and booker at the Cabooze since former talent buyer James "Taco" Martin got sucked up by Austin, Texas, in 2010.
"I feel like it's a totally underutilized space for the capacity it has, so I'm excited and up for the challenge," King said.
King also tour manages for the reigniting Soul Asylum, duties she chalked up to honing "very different skill sets." She left on good terms at the Fine Line, with last week's Lil' Kim concert being something of a fitting namesake grand finale. Her old venue is even hosting a farewell party for King on Sunday afternoon 6/10. "I love and will miss them all, and I expect we will be doing some shows together," she said.
- Chris Riemenschneider