It's like the '80s all over again, again. The same weekend the Sunday New York Times gives Duran Duran a feature story for the upcoming album those ragged tigers are about to release, the press is all over the possibility of Mt. St. Helens blowing whatever top it has left. I still remember the first big Mt. St. Helens eruption; I'd just stepped out from a family dinner at Denny's in Portland to witness a giant mushroom cloud on the horizon. I think we still have a couple layers of ash packing the dead bodies of my various childhood pets (hamsters, parakeets) beneath the surface of my parents' backyard. (As for Duran Duran, I was a John Taylor gal myself, but my best friend was all about Nick Rhodes.)

But it was more like '92--the end of the popularity cycle for pearly-lipped new wavers like Rhodes--when I first watched Headbangers Ball (my family was a little slow to the cable phenomenon). I remember seeing the premiere of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and like all 20 million other kids glued to MTV then, I had a shiver of excitement that this Northwest band just might get huge. Let's hope today's headbangers will get the same thrill from local boys Himsa when that metal/punk/hardcore force takes the road for the MTV2 Headbangers Ball 3 Tour. In addition to seeing the country with Cradle of Filth, Arch Enemy, and Bleeding Through, Himsa will appear on a special edition of the program on Saturday, November 6. I asked Himsa frontman John Pettibone what his earliest Ball memories were and he said, "Seeing the video for Cro-Mags' 'We Gotta Know.' I was 16 at the time. The video came on and I started floorpunching my bed. The best guest they had was when Danzig was on and they filmed it in a castle in Romania. That was awesome." Thanks to Himsa fans Bleeding Through, who helped hook the band up with this prestigious tour, Himsa can help a whole new generation of metalheads learn the power of the floorpunch. Himsa are currently recording a new album for 2005 and their live DVD comes out in January. (The Headbangers Ball Tour comes to the Premier November 30).

Speaking of specialty programming, Kinski's Chris Martin has a new radio show called Ampbuzz that airs on KBCS 91.3 and www.kbcs.fm. The good news is Martin plans on playing all the cool outsider-weirdo shit you'd expect a member of Seattle's talented space-rock/avant scene would have in his collection--everything from late-'60s German rock and mid-'70s Japanese psych to ambient-noise projectionists like Black Dice and Bardo Pond, with some Lightning Bolt thrown in for good measure. The bad news: Ampbuzz airs 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Tuesdays.

In interviewing Cody Votolato about the latest Blood Brothers release (see page 35), I learned his equally musical brother Rocky also has something new on the horizon. Rocky and his wife recently won a new home from a new reality TV show where a selected family receives a free furnished place to live for a year. The program is set to air sometime next year.

Brit poppers the Libertines came through town last week--without criminally bad-karma'd frontman Pete Doherty in tow--and played a set that showed just because their latest, eponymous disc makes the band sound tattered doesn't mean they can't nicely polish things up live. (The same can be said for openers Radio 4, whose Stealing of a Nation doesn't live up to the rawer rock energy the band radiates live.) After their show, pretty Libertines poster-boy Carl Barat gave the crowd at Kincora an eyeful when he swung by the bar for a post-performance drink.

While Barat was further getting his buzz on, though, I was on a plane to Minnesota for the weekend, where my Minneapolis-based sister took me out to the fifth annual Sound Unseen festival. The event, which I wish someone would replicate here, features "independent film about independent music," meaning films about everything from the Ramones and Elliott Smith to Jandek and other more obscure artists. From the little I was able to attend in one weekend, though, the highlight definitely was Hop Fu. They're the dream DJ team of Brooklyn's DJ IXL and DJ Spae, who scratch, remix, and generally perform an audio assault on the soundtrack to the classic 1982 kung-fu flick Superninjas. Every jab, high kick, and grunt emitted in the cinematic war of good vs. evil is reconfigured into an incredibly cool hiphop format that spoofs the film's high-camp value while adding a high entertainment value all their own. Let's hope Hop Fu will find their way to Seattle someday.

jennifer@thestranger.com

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