Loosegroove gets stuck in rut; oh Goodness.

The Gnome may have his head in the ground, but that don't keep the rumors from seeping through to his gnarly noggin. This one's a biggie: Loosegroove, the label founded by Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard and Satchel's Regan Hagar, has shut down. The five-year-old indie seemed healthy and was about to release a highly anticipated solo record from ex-Urge Overkill guitarist-vocalist Nash Kato. But indications are that Gossard wants to devote more time to Pearl Jam, which the band's Web site at Epic Records says will release an album, and tour, this year. Loosegroove had approximately 10 employees, who apparently have been laid off and given compensation packages, while the label's current roster—Kato, Eureka Farm, Critters Buggin, and others—may need to find a new home. One proposed plan would transfer Loosegroove's catalog, and Kato's forthcoming disc, to Will Records. Details of the deal should be known by next week.

There's more upheaval to relate. The fresh new year has brought down two other Seattle institutions early on: First Sky Cries Mary announced that it had disbanded after 11 years in the biz; now word comes that Goodness has split after a six-year run. Both groups dabbled with major labels and established sizable local fan bases despite lukewarm support from local critics (the Gnome excluded: He loves everybody!) and scenesters. Well, these naysayers may not have Goodness to kick around anymore, but they'll soon have a bunch of Goodness-related projects to spurn (all this reminds your Gnomeness of the late, great Michael Hutchence's eloquent proclamation: "Some like to kick/Some like to get kicked"). The first new thingamabob from the defunct band's camp is this week's release of the self-titled debut by the Rockfords on Epic. The outfit includes Goodness' Carrie Akre on vocals, Chris Friel on drums, and Danny Newcomb on guitar, along with Rick Friel on bass and, coincidentally, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready on guitar. Nancy Wilson chips in on a track too, singin' her, ahem, heart out. What does it sound like? Well, a lot like Goodness, actually.

Out on the live front, Scott McCaughey brought out some serious star power to pep up the Minus 5 at the Crocodile last Friday. The perpetually shade-wearin' frontman boasted a rhythm section of Peter Buck on bass and Bill Rieflin on drums, marking the first time members of R.E.M. and Ministry have performed together since Michael Stipe and Al Jourgensen's short-lived Country Showdown TV program on the Nashville Network. (Editor's note: The Gnome's a-fibbin'.) Also in on the Minus 5 fun was ex-President Chris Ballew, who played a keyboard—with all its keys. You betcha!

You can reach the Metro Gnome at metrognome@seattleweekly.com

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