Nothing to see here

While scouring the Internet recently for jobs, local poet Sandy Beach came across an ad on the Walker Art Center's website looking for "female choral singers and male dancers over 40." A few weeks later, she found herself pacing the floor of the Walker's Burnet Gallery disguised as a museum guard, mournfully wailing the refrain to a little-known Swedish pop song: "You know, you know, this is propaganda."

Beach's solo performance is an "interpretation" of a 2002 piece devised by art-world superstar Tino Sehgal, titled "This Is Propaganda." Sehgal is the poster boy for fleeting, immaterial art -- basically short-lived stunts that involve no physical act of creation and no evidence that an act of art has transpired at all. His work lives wholly in the world of ideas. Yet it can still be bought and sold and owned, usually for handsome fees. Another of Sehgal's works transpires in an empty gallery on the Walker's seventh floor, where a young woman writhes in slow motion on the floor each time a viewer sets foot in the room.

This, of course, is the type of radical conceptual art that pisses people off (having not yet witnessed Sehgal's work, local culture maven Steve Marsh deemed it "possibly douchetacular" on his blog ). Beach hasn't reported any angry confrontations with museum patrons yet. But this could be because of her assigned lines; declaring the work "propaganda" from the get-go undermines any critique of the artist as an overly serious, self-satisfied snob. And really, the work's fluctuating degree of existence makes it far less offensive than some of the objects of minimalist worship that surround it in the Burnet Gallery. Sehgal's works have just as many art-history antecedents as, say, Carl Andre's steel sidewalk to nowhere, but we sense that the immaterial artist has a bit more of a sense of humor.

  • Gregory J. Scott

Atmosphere suffocates us with new songs

As if last year's three "Sad Clown" seasonal EPs and the full-length album due April 22 aren't enough, Atmosphere has issued 13 new tracks available for free at The site explains that the mostly jovial and lighthearted songs, packaged together under the album title "Strictly Leakage," are meant to "chase away the winter doldrums" and are "great for first dates or crappy house parties." One track, "Crewed Up," includes an all-star guest roster of Blueprint, Brother Ali, Toki Wright, St. Paul Slim, Stage One and Muja Messiah.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Destroy my sweater

Mouthful of Bees frontman Chris Farstad has won first place in the much-ballyhooed Ugly Sweater Contest put on by Instudio. Dig the horrendous threads, which he picked up during his semester in Russia. MoB is one of the Afternoon Records bands collaborating with Limerick Records bands at Saturday's "More Than Friends" show at the Varsity Theater, also featuring Sonicate, We All Have Hooks for Hands, Capitol Jay, Windmills and One for the Team.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

The magic of Clorox

Here's a line I never thought I'd write down in my music reviewer's notebook: "More bleach bottle, less vocals."

That was my reaction after catching Skoal Kodiak Saturday at the Turf Club. The second act on a four-band bill that packed the place (so much for Mark Trehus' assertion to me that the Blind Shake and Vampire Hands need more press), SK has gained a lot of attention locally with its use of a bleach bottle as a musical instrument. And I have to admit, it's a pretty nifty gimmick.

Singer Markus Lunkenheimer somehow equipped a bottle of Clorox with an electric circuit board and various wiring to use it as a microphone/effects machine. He also plays said bottle as a flutelike instrument, which turned out to be more entertaining than his squelching, often just plain irritating vocals. What a rhythm section, though. Drummer Freddy Votel (ex-Cows) and bassist Brady Lenzen (Seawhores) sell Skoal Kodiak with their frazzled, frantic, futuristic beats. The trio's debut CD just hit stores last month.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Cool soundtrack alert

One more perfect thing about the movie "Juno" (whose writer Diablo Cody just won a Critic's Choice award): the bundle of sweet, innocent, effortlessly hip music packaged together for the soundtrack. Old nuggets by the Velvet Underground ("I'm Sticking With You," sung by drummer Moe Tucker) and Sonic Youth (the Carpenters cover "Superstar") figure prominently in the film. The song that steals the show/hearts, though, is "Anyone Else But You," by quirky New York folk duo the Moldy Peaches, whose female half, Kimya Dawson, also contributed new tunes to the movie. It's the little ditty our young protagonists re-create at the end of the film. You'll be singing it for months to come.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Cool site alert

The website is the epitome of cool -- like, Miles Davis cool. It's home to a record label that specializes in jazz and hip-hop, plus a clothing company that produces some of the coolest graphic T-shirts on the planet. The site might have gotten its name from Muhammad Ali's boxing style, but it's the champ's swagger that Ropeadope really represents. Besides great music by the likes of Antibalas, it's the T-shirt lines that really draw people to the site. Their graphic T's boast everything from soul and jazz legends to a line dedicated to the rebuilding of New Orleans.

  • Tom Horgen

Pachyderm habitat threatened

The famed Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minn., which many artists, including Nirvana, chose for its isolation, is under threat. An adjacent 28-acre plot is being sold for development. The studio's new owners are countering with the Pachyderm Preservation Project, online at Too bad Courtney Love's not still hanging around to scare the neighbors.

  • Chris Riemenschneider