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New Kidd in town... Tara Murski is all about Kelly Kidd. So naturally, she thinks we should be, too. Frankly, the way she goes on about this Houston pretty boy, he damn well better be the next national dance sensation -- or she just might have a breakdown. The only other option would be to abandon the music business completely and go back to cutting hair as her sole means of personal and professional satisfaction.

Well, it looks like she may want to give those scissors a soak, because Kidd's got a lot of growing up to do. And from what I can tell of Altered Fates, his upcoming CD, merging synth-pop and hackneyed dance beats with self-pitying sentiment and the rare concession to progressive rock doesn't exactly constitute the growth path of least resistance. In fact, Altered Fates sounds like a disturbing cross between Paula Abdul, Yaz and Rush. That said, it's going to take more than a little tweaking here and there to get this stuff to fly anywhere, let alone the places Murski has in mind.

Whatever happens, Murski has a weighty personal investment in Kidd. She became his manager in 1994, and founded Northwich Productions solely as the vehicle for his promotion. Murski is aiming high in pushing the ten-track Altered Fates, shopping it to major labels and targeting commercial radio stations here in town -- primarily dancey Top 40 station KRBE (104.1 FM). But chances are, Kidd will have to break elsewhere before he has any prayer here. Yet Murski seems to think his best launching site is right here in Texas. Kidd, on the other hand, remains guarded about his future.

"Tara is very enthusiastic; if you want the rudder in the water, then it's best to [talk to] me," says Kidd. "Houston and Dallas have the number two and [number] three dance markets in the country [respectively]. It seems like all the [radio] stations [in Houston] are our friends now -- so that when we do get out there, they should at least come to the show and be supportive."

A Minnesota native, Kidd relocated to Houston for both family and career reasons: His mother moved to Houston years ago, after his parents divorced. But it was money borrowed from his dad that assured Altered Fates' fate. Kidd recorded the album in Los Angeles with producer David Eaton (Pushmonkey), intent on bringing a certain degree of heaviness to sound that was rooted in a bouncier, sampled approach.

"There's a lot of live instrumentation on the record," he relates. "I wanted to have more of an edge. I'm more interested in being provocative."

A couple of years back, "Air -- The Scare Mix," a track from Kidd's first project, a coed duo called ACACIA, actually got some attention in local nightclubs. All said and done, ACACIA sold a few thousand albums between here and Minnesota, which was enough to convince Kidd to go it on his own. It was also enough to win over Murski, who signed on as Kidd's manager, convinced she had a monster on her hands. "My mom is married to her brother," says Kidd of their personal connection.

Right now, Kidd is honing a live routine that involves him singing over prerecorded backing tracks, enhanced by the mixing skills of local house DJ Levon Louis. The package also includes a pair of female dancers and some rather interesting choreography. "We're not doing hip-hop crap," Kidd says. "We're doing old cabaret-style movements to my music. They're going to have cigars in their hands -- they're curvy, booby."

But isn't that all just a little too, umm, '80s?
"I'd hate to call it '80s," Kidd responds. "I'd like to call it art, instead."

Make way for Minnesota's Mr. Madonna.

Label games... Sad news: Lava/Atlantic has terminated its development deal with Houston's Sonnier Brothers Band. A July session with Austin producer Dave McNair paid for by the label netted a strong four-song tape, one that the group ought to be proud of. But Lava ultimately rejected the songs, apparently concerned about their radio-worthiness.

"They didn't hear a hit," says the group's bassist, Len Sonnier.
So it's back to square one. Good as the McNair recording is, the group refused Atlantic's offer to buy the master for their own use. Instead, they'll start from scratch at Houndpound, the Houston studio of King's X bassist Doug Pinnick, where they plan to lay down enough material for a full album. If all else fails, they'll release the thing on their own. These days, self-reliance may just be the way to go.

Etc.... Houston's I-45, Secret Sunday, Elsa Mira and Cole and the Deluge were picked to represent Houston in this year's North Texas Music Festival. The five-day, Texas-only event is held in Dallas. For anyone with an urge to travel, live showcases are Friday and Saturday nights at various clubs in Deep Ellum.

-- Hobart Rowland

Have a comment, tip, compliment or beef? E-mail Hobart Rowland at hobart_rowland@houstonpress.com.

 
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