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The Secret Star Next Door

Geoff Farina moves in, a Ladyfest pioneer passes on, a Lupe disciple finds Jesus, and more

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New kid in town: Prickly guitar-picker Geoff Farina has moved to the Chi-boogie. According to an anonymous tipster who probably wasn't Farina, the former Karate front man/Secret Star has followed his lady here while she pursues some higher education, and was recently spotted at the Mako Sica show at the Whistler.

This past weekend Olympia, Washington, lost longtime scene fixture Natalie Cox to hemangiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Cox played in Neon Panda and the Old Haunts, worked at Kill Rock Stars, and was one of the organizers of the first Ladyfest—the feminist music festival which has gone on to be a global phenomenon. Cox's blog about her battle is at, where donations are still being accepted to cover a massive hospice bill; any money received beyond that will go to a fund for her three-year-old son, Dillon.

Giant System Chicago, the video website of local filmmaker Kyle Obriot, features footage of area bands performing songs in their own practice spaces. Past highlights have included Disappears, Love of Everything, and doom metal outfit Killer Moon. Obriot tells Gossip Wolf that a video for Tiger Bones will air in September and that he plans to do a shoot with Tortoise in late November.

Ashtar Command, composed of former Hyde Park ork-pop sensation and current LA DJ Chris Holmes (of mid-90s buzz bands Yum Yum and Sabalon Glitz, aka "the Redd Kross of the U. of C. grad program") and current Chicagoan Brian Liesegang (best known as a founding member of Filter, who made that jam you liked in high school, "Hey Man, Nice Shot"), are still a band—well, if you call providing the world with occasional doses of obscure commercial music "being in a band." You may remember them from spots for Nissan and Microsoft, or that hot track for The Avengers with Ralph Fiennes? Us neither. Anyway, they've come out of hibernation to craft the track "Deadman's Gun" for the new Rockstar Games title Red Dead Redemption. You can watch the accompanying video on YouTube, if you dare.

Also shooting a video: local Husker Du tribute band Husker Dudes, which features Eric Mahle from Sybris, Dan Fanelli of Land of the El Caminos, and Geoff Greenberg of Mr. Rudy Day. According to Mahle it's being shot on VHS and is intended "to show people how awesome we are." Husker Dudes play September 10 at Quenchers.

Speaking of Sybris, the band has finished writing a new record and recently recorded two of the songs with Sanford Parker at Semaphore. They'll be doing most of the record with Parker, but also have a session slated at Engine with Neil Strauch to capture their "softer side." The tentatively titled Why Don't You Like Us? will come out on Absolutely Kosher sometime after they finish it, which won't be too soon, as bassist Shawn Podgurski is expecting a baby in early September and drummer Mahle is due shortly for hammer-toe surgery.

Demarco Castle, aka Gemini, earned national notice after making his own mix tapes and appearing on Lupe Fiasco's debut album, and at one point was scheduled to release his own full-length, Troubles of the World, on Fiasco's first and 15th label. Although that record has never come to fruition, Castle hasn't stopped making music. Last week, under the moniker Gemstones, he released On the Road to Glory: My Story, a new mix tape of 21 hip-hop and R&B songs. The contents are consistent with recent statements on Castle's MySpace page, where he announced that he had become a "messenger for Christ." His other unreleased album, Really Boring Un-Dirty Music, recorded with Pat Boone and Mase, should hit store shelves sometime after the dead walk.


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