The Metro Gnome

As if the first week of the new year weren't tedious enough, religious yahoos saw fit to protest the Marilyn Manson show at the Mercer Arena Saturday. How 1998!

With the Internet all screwy and Seattle Web companies vainly trying to stay upbeat (and low profile) as the industry goes kerplunk around them, let's turn our attention to the brick-and-mortar world. In the bad news department, indie pop and jazz specialists Eye and Ear Control will close shop at the end of the month. Owner Matthew Watters thought he could lure customers to Columbia City with a clean, well-lighted record store, and the Gnome salutes his efforts, though they failed. A final sale runs through the month of January; check out for details. In other record store news, guess who's coming to Ballard? Your correspondent was creeping along Market Street last weekend when he noticed a "coming soon" sign, and lo and behold, it's for a new Easy Street, from the same folks who've served West Seattle for years. So now it's official: Ballard is the Brooklyn of Seattle.

Don't tell that to the hip-hop community. Last weekend, a mysterious spam was sent to local artists, claiming to be from a nonprofit organization in Brooklyn, N.Y., alerting Seattle "it is time for rappers in the NW to improve their rappin [sic, throughout]." The e-mail went on to say, "This is not a hate mail, just a warning that it is time for all of you out there in the woods to improve your rappin," and included an offer to "listen to your music before you put it out, to make sure no more boo boo's are made with the release of those 1/2 ass records." Ouch! Now the Gnome might have backed up this criticism of NW hip-hop a few years back when a few vocal cheerleaders tried to inflate what was, to be blunt, some bland, SoCal-derivative shit. But the proliferation of noteworthy DJs and producers, the continued excellence of KCMU's Street Sounds, and the amazing new Boom Bap Project EP, Circumstance Dictates, suggest that Seattle hip-hop's on the right track. Back up the Gnome on this one; send vicious flames to (Be sure and cc

To end on a happier note, DJ and entrepreneur Nasir Rasheed's becoming more fashionable than an Armani dress on Gwyneth Paltrow. Nasir's got two new mix CDs out, both tied in to tr賠stylish establishments. For SoHo's minimalist, orange-coated Canteen, he created Canteen—Nourishment for Your Ears. (The Gnome had a delicious $12 grilled cheese there last summer.) And LA's chic hotel The Standard rang up Nasir for Room Service. Both discs feature the same laid-back grooves and witty beats found on his Sweet Mother samplers.

No sleep till . . . Ballard? You betcha!

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